Scanning things darkly or how I write about self-employment

In this post, I cover the last few Rocketboom episodes and news from Amanda Congdon, some Big Brother Australia and UK, the TV shows Saved and Kyle XY, my own personal dog food recipe, Mr Range on contractual and self-employed work, memediggers and more!

Today’s featured photographer is cageitfallsinto. He has some superb vistas and night photography. Most of the rest of the photos are from the HDR pool on flickr. You can see this as a photographical revue of HDR photography.

Index of this post

  1. Rocketboom
  2. Big Brother Australia and UK
  3. TV show Saved reviewed
  4. TV show Kyle XY opinions
  5. My own dog food recipe
  6. Mr Range on contractual and self-employed work
  7. Memediggers



Tuesday’s RB was pretty bad. JoCo didn’t say one word and was replaced by two Austrians talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger. I hope they are going to get better this week, because there are a lot of things happening in the news right now.


It looks like another week of field reports for RB. This is not looking good. Today’s episode was on comic-con. This was not very interesting, even if I used to collect comics. Wednesday’s episode was a bit better, but not that much. JoCo was still in the south of France and did her report over the phone.


Amanda Congdon releases a new video after a few weeks of speculation. Her blog is updated sporadically and she finally posted a new video. It’s funny, more so than the last few episodes of RB. I wonder when we will know what she has planned.


Big Brother Australia


Camilla and Chris are going at it. Maybe it’s because no one in their right mind would want to live with Camilla, she’s so obnoxious and petty sometimes. I’m glad that Chris is putting Camilla in her place.


Chris got evicted this Wednesday during the surprise eviction. I guess his conflict with Camilla was not appreciated by the BBAU viewers. From what I can tell, all the housemates are up for eviction.


Big Brother UK

Here is how the nominations broke down in BBUK:


Spiral & Michael Richard (Pete) 1

Susie & Imogen Michael (Spiral) 1

Jennie & Aisleyne Spiral (Micheal) 2

Mikey & Glyn Susie (Imogen) 1

Richard & Pete Michael (Spiral) 3


Which means that Spiral & Michael, Imogen & Susie and Richard & Pete. Since it’s a double eviction, both members of pair will be evicted. Aisleyne is definitely the most annoying housemate in the house, with her constant crying, screaming and laughing for no reason.


She is the worst. She realized that the crowd hated her, she changed the way she acted and started crying and wailing since she came back into the house. She noticed that it worked pretty well for Nikki, so she used the same technique. I find her the most fake of all the housemates, with her ass hanging out all the time.


Saved (TNT)


I don’t know really what to say about this show on TNT, playing right after The Closer. I find it interesting because TNT is using HBO’s philosophy in broadcasting. There is swearing and nudity. The more I think about it, there probably isn’t any swearing, but definitely nudity. The show is about a messed up paramedic who had dropped out of med school. His father is a renowned surgeon and all his family is quite successful except him, he is somewhat of a looser. His ex-girlfriend is now engaged to a doctor. She is a doctor herself.


Russel Brand from Big Brother’s Big Mouth, the talk show that follows the Daily show on E4 is really funny. I think the funniest thing about him is when he interacts with the blue whale. I like it when security kicks the shit out the whale and drag him out.


All in all, Brand is hilarious. He has got a lot of talent to host a show like that full on for half an hour 4 times a week.


Kyle XY


I’m surprised that this show is being released during the summer and on ABC Family. This show has the potential of being a good hit on the main network. Fifth episode and it’s getting better. It does have the “after school special” feel to it, but Nicholas Lea from X-files is playing in this as well and there are some mysteries that need clearing up.


It reminds me a bit of D.A.R.Y.L., a movie about a robot/android child from 1985.


Dog Food


Anyone who has had a dog comes to the same dilemma at some point. How healthy is the dog food that you feed your pet? Things get even more dicey when you have a purebred, because sometimes they have specific needs.


I was surprised to learn from my breeder when I bought Spike that she cooked food for her dogs. She was breeding Frenchies and Boston Terrier’s in North Bay Ontario, the closest Frenchie breeder to Montreal, Quebec. At first, I didn’t really think about it, but after driving about 10 hours to get home, I realized how problematic it might be. Over the next few weeks and months, I was able to perfect my recipe for his food. And to my surprise, this is pretty damn cheap. I costs about C4.00$ a week. My dog’s is pretty small, close to 30lbs, but this will work for bigger dogs in bigger quantities. It’s quite healthy too. You should also feed your dog some fresh fruits and veggies for vitamins. Sometimes, I add some dog vitamins to the stew.


1) I start out with a big pot filled up with water

2) I keep most of my bones from the week. I add them to the water as well as some chicken legs. The cost? About C2.46$.

3) I also keep some veggies, from leftover spinach to carrots, some overripe fruits, apples and bananas and add them to the mix. Cost, nada, it’s all stuff that you normally through out.

4) Most bigger dogs will not be able to eat this unless it’s been boiled for hours because the chicken bones can get stuck in their throats.

5) I start boiling the mix for about four hours.

6) In a few hours, the chicken starts breaking down. I make sure that they are in pieces.

7) I add some rice to the stew and put the heat to minimum



Mr Range on contractual or self-employed work


After reading Mr Angry’s post on contractual workers, I decided to give some of my own thoughts in the matter. I have been self-employed in finance for the last few years. I have also worked as a web, graphic and software designer as a contractual worker. In total, most of my work experience has been as a self-employed worker.


There are some key benefits and disadvantages in being self-employed. Before considering doing this, you need to make sure that you will be able to sustain yourself through some rough periods, meaning you need to have some kind of emergency fund ready, be it accessing the equity of your home through a credit line or savings or investors.


Why? To protect you during the downs, before having a company and being self-employed, you have your ups and your downs.


One of the key benefits is more money and to have your salary as gross, instead of net. This means that you do your own finances and declare your own taxes. As a self-employed worker, there are a lot of things that you can deduct as an expense, from car payments, to gas, to cell phones, to utilities, to part of the interest on your home mortgage. There are a lot of deductions, even if you don’t go overboard, there are ways to considerably reduce the amount of income tax that you will pay.


Setting yourself up as self-employed is done in a snap. Most workers won’t even have to incorporate. In Canada, you can file as a self-employed worker without having a company name. It’s just a different way of filing your income tax.


You can also incorporate at some point, but you should wait before doing this. It gets more complicated and there are more costs involved. If you generate expenses and revenues in excess of 80000$ to 100000$, by all means incorporate as a sole owner. This means that you can get an income tax exemption in Canada for 5 years until your company matures. No income tax!


The other thing you have to remember is that you need a lot of contacts, from business contacts to personal networking, you need to put yourself out there to be able to get some contracts. You can always try agencies, but from my personal experience, networking is the best way to generate business. You have to be able to market yourself to your potential clients, because when you start out, nobody will do this for you.


There are also some disadvantages. Not knowing how long some contracts will last, not having any job security per se, not having any health insurance. These are questions and problems that all self-employed people face.


In Canada, health insurance isn’t a problem since we do have public health insurance. But most times, you won’t have any other benefits, like disability pay, sick days, paid vacations etc.


Depending how this works out, it’s possible to set up your own benefits for yourself and your future employees. It’s not that expensive and it’s well worthwhile if something happens.


I’ve known guys making 75000$ gross working for another company and when they went into business themselves, they doubled their gross earnings. In the end, this could easily be 3 to 4 times the salary that the worker was making before, doing the same thing for himself, especially in IT.


In business, it’s always best to assume the worst will happen. So if contracts are a plenty, save some money for a rainy day, start an emergency fund. If things are going really well, make sure to consult an accountant to set up some processes to pay less income tax, such as trusts, holding companies and more.


In Canada, if you haven’t invested more that 10% of the net worth of your company and it is not worth more than 500000$, your sale will be income tax free. The company has to be “pure”, meaning that all the money produced in reinvested into the company, naturally after having paid off salaries.


Most self-employed or single company owners draw a small salary. They have all their normal things flowing through their company, from their utilities to their cars. So the money that they take out of the company is the minimum, since logically they have to declare this income and pay income tax on this. If the company has already paid income tax on earnings, you can see a double taxation appearing, which is why it is very important to draw out the least that you can, if you are incorporated.


Otherwise, if you are simply self employed, you just have to make sure that you deduct all the expenses that you can.



A Scanner Darkly


This new movie from Richard Linklater based on a Philip Dick story is produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh. This movie was shot first and then modified and animated in a most peculiar way. It’s a process known as rotoscoping: Artists digitally trace over some frames of live-action footage by hand with a Wacom pen and tablet. Custom software fills in the rest. But Waking Life, a wispy collection of vignettes defined by its lack of visual uniformity, was a less ambitious production.


There was actually a rumor floating around that Morgellon’s syndrome was a fake disease hijacked by some viral marketing campaign in order to promote the movie. If it was, it was an ambitious idea. It’s quite a controversial subject, Morgellon’s syndrome, in the medical community. The CDC has just formed a task force to investigate it further (June 2006).


Although the movie looks great and has an interesting premise. It is funny at times. The story revolves around Bob Arctor played by Keanu Reeves, who is investigating drug users as an undercover agent for the Sheriff’s department. There is a great cast present, from Winona Ryder, to Robert Downey Jr to Woody Harrelson.


It is confusing too. The agent started taking a new drug called substance D and it messed it up which messes up the way the hemispheres of the brain work. The works of Philip Dick, from Total Recall, Blade Runner and Minority Report have been ambitiously made into films. Not all of the worked well. This is an interesting way to render his story. There could be some parallels made with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Though the movies aren’t similar, I guess one of the main themes of this movie is alienation caused by drug use.






Digg labs is available, you are able to view digg through a stack and a swarm. Interesting, but relevant? Discover more here by an article I have written.


There are a lot of new subreddits, from lipstick, slate, nytimes, nsfw and a few others, Reddit is growing by leaps and bounds. From what I have read, Reddit is run by two geeks in a basement somewhere, this might be an urban legend, but it sounds real enough. Reddit is quite interesting, I find that among the new crop out there, they are among the best with NowPublic and digg. I like the new Netscape, but the interface needs to be improved, because it’s a bit ugly right now.


nsfw, lipstick, slate, nytimes



You can actually request subreddits. Users then vote to decide which request to make into a subreddit. It’s a great concept that has yet to be picked up by any other memedigger. These guys are actually marketing their technology to other companies and platforms. This way, they could license their software to others who want to use similar systems.



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12 responses to “Scanning things darkly or how I write about self-employment”

  1. candice Avatar

    Read the Mr. Angry article as well, liked it. One of the fun things I discovered doing my taxes is that at least in the U.S., tuition and books for school are expenses. Going back to school is actually helping me financially.

  2. cheH Avatar

    self employed must be a glorious job if one is multi-talented like you are:)

    btw,Ja, ich spreche Deutsch,so perfekt ist es trotzdem noch nicht 😉

  3. Hell Boy Avatar
    Hell Boy

    thanks for the self-employed part, gotta clarify a few things for myself 😉 btw do you think we have to pay tax for stolen stuff? :-d

  4. range Avatar

    @candice: that’s write, you can write off books and tuition.

    @Cherry, thanks, but I don’t think I’m really that good. I just like to write and make a living out of it.

    @HellBoy if the things are hot and you declare them, I guess it’s ok 😛

    Thanks for your comments guys!

  5. charles ravndal Avatar

    Self-Employed is quite nice since you don’t have to follow some boring routines like waking early in the morning, fighting your way around the busy traffic just to reach the office on time and some other hassles.

    It’s just nice to be your own boss!

  6. range Avatar

    @Chas: there are good things and bad things about it.

    One of the bad things is the ups and downs in revenues. They can change from month to month at the beginning and this can be hard to adjust to for people not used to dealing with this. Which is why it’s important to have an emergency fund.

    Not having a boss is cool though.

  7. meliza Avatar

    Being self employed though I have not tried it but couple of my friends did, is pretty scary at times especially when the income is somewhat not stable. I should not say that I guess it depends on what kind of business like people I know were freelance artists and they surely had a hard time. I would love to be self employed someday but I think I lack the discipline. Got pimped by queer chef.

  8. charles ravndal Avatar

    That is true but so does working in a firm right. I guess in life there is always two sides just like a coin.

  9. range Avatar

    I think that there are always compromises to be made. I have known firms that only hire self-employed workers to ease the tax burdens. But these firms offered full time work.

    Freelancing as an artist can be challenging, I guess. It is always exciting too when somebody decides to do art for a living. I think that there are probably a lot of part time artists around who wish to do it fulltime at some point in order to pursue their dreams.

  10. The Artist Avatar

    Some incredible writing here, always enjoy my visits, with best wishes, The Artist

  11. range Avatar

    Thanks the Artist, I enjoy the feedback!

  12. Morgellon’s Disease « memoirs on a rainy day Avatar

    […] Morgellon’s Disease, Koantum Matters has got a good primer on the illness. I wrote about A Scanner Darkly and Morgellon’s syndrome back in 2006. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Last Minute 2008 @ Sunworld Dynasty Taipeidid […]

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