I’ve just finished the family taxes (Nate comes next, hang on, fella), and a spate of forms that I fill out annually when Seabury sees what kind of medical insurance it can afford, and I’m working on financial aid applications. Permit me to say, relative to all these, that I have yet to encounter a form that doesn’t invoke my deepest anxieties about making a mistake, misunderstanding or forgetting something, and having my house surrounded by flare-orange-suited agents from a federal agency, armed with automatic weapons. I’m not math-phobic; I appreciate some sorts of legal puzzling; but this particular high-stakes game gives me a terrible allergic reaction, and the ways that tax software (no doubt itself constrained by dread legal forces) and insurance companies elicit information from me aggravate every confusion and fear my unconscious mind could rev up.
Again, next year I hope I can send our taxes to a professional. This year I needed to do them in a hurry so that I can submit financial aid information (late) to go with Si’s college applications (Happy Birthday, 18-year-old son!). There’s a lot of good work to be one simplifying and clarifying information-gathering for these agencies.
At the other end of the spectrum, Burning Monkey Mahjong 2005 has just been released, and this ludic user interface has me very positively impressed. If only I had more opportunity to play this, and less obligation to fill out the former.