Free Animated Films in the Baltimore Area

The Pratt library in Baltimore has three terrific animated films coming up in the next couple of months. This weekend is Brave, ParaNorman is in February and Hop is in March.

You can see my comments about Brave here: and ParaNorman here:

Tips for Making Circle Skirts

Here's a nice tutorial for anyone who wants to make a circle skirt and is a little confused by a full circle, a half circle or a quarter circle. Courtesy of By Hand By London. Even if math isn't your strong suit you should still take a look at this tutorial if you want to male your own very simple skirts.

Buyer Beware

I don't have the details but there are a lot of warnings about being careful post super storm/hurricane Sandy. Lots of autos and other valuables were damaged in the storm and will declared totaled or unsalvageable by the insurance companies.

The problem with this is unscrupulous con artists will buy up, or just plain haul away, the damaged goods, then clean them up and sell them as though nothing whatsoever happened. With autos you should be able to get the history of the vehicle before purchasing, which should tip you off (at which point I would report the seller) but I'm not sure how you should protect yourself against purchasing other damaged goods.

Some websites specialize in "salvageable" items, which you can often buy in lots, and they usually tell you where these things come from, but I would still be very careful.

Tax Relief for Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

The IRS has announced tax relief for those who have been adversely affected by hurricane Sandy in three states; New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting in late October. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Feb. 1, 2013 to file these returns and pay any taxes due. This includes the fourth quarter individual estimated tax payment, normally due Jan. 15, 2013. It also includes payroll and excise tax returns and accompanying payments for the third and fourth quarters, normally due on Oct. 31, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2013 respectively. It also applies to tax-exempt organizations required to file Form 990 series returns with an original or extended deadline falling during this period.
The IRS will abate any interest, late-payment or late-filing penalty that would otherwise apply. The IRS automatically provides this relief to any taxpayer located in the disaster area. Taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief.

They are also assisting anyone whose books, records or tax professionals are located in affected areas. For more info read the entire release here:

Rundown on the Penalties Associated with Not Having Health Insurance Under Obamacare

MSN wrote an interesting piece on the affects of the penalties portion of Obamacare, which is scheduled to go begin in 2014. It's still plenty confusing but maybe I am less confused? The clearest part is the list of exemptions. which includes people who object for religious reasons. I have no idea what this means.

Free Kidney Disease Screening

One of the most annoying things about chronic kidney disease is that by the time it's caught there is usually tremendous kidney damage already done. The National Kidney Foundation is trying to combat that by identifying CKD patients as early as possible. They are offering free screenings all over the country as part of their KEEP, KIDNEY EARLY EVALUATION PROGRAM, initiative. You can see a list of times and places here:

Free Flu Shots

Anne Arundel County Health Department is holding free flu and pneumonia shot clinics through the beginning of November. You can get the shot or the nasal spray. There are two locations which have weekly clinics, one in Glen Burnie and one in Parole.

Free Halloween Coloring Pages

If you're looking for something fun and simple for your kids to do you may like these Halloween coloring pages from Ravensblight. There is a haunted house, a cemetery and a skull. When I was young we would put these kinds of pictures in the windows when we finished and pretend they were stained glass.

Five Dollars for Nice Used Clothes

If you're out of work and in the Baltimore area and looking for something to wear to a job interview you might want to head over to Charity's Closet. This is a second hand clothing store filled with gorgeous things. A college student I know picked up an Oscar De La Renta wool jacket for five dollars.

A recent grad didn't find anything that fit him but the very helpful volunteers have extensive training in preparing people for interviews and they gave him excellent advice which he was able to implement at another nearby store. The company where he interviewed said that he was the best dressed candidate.

The store has much more to offer female shoppers but there are definitely nice things for men.

You can find out more here:

Free Online College Classes

You can take a variety of college classes online for free via a site called Coursera. There are sixteen different disciplines like biology and life sciences, Health and Society & Medical Ethics, and Computer Science: Systems, Security, Networking. These classes are offered by sixteen different universities including Princeton, Duke and Caltech. You get a certificate when you complete a class. I'm currently signed up for a programming class that starts next month. Access their website for lots more information.

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