I didn't know you were THE Gramm! Is she there with you? or IMing?
Yes ... Just hung up with her -- phone.
cool. I feel like I'm meeting Steadman!
are you and what on Earth do you do?
... I'm Gramm and what I do is sort of forgotten thing ... I'm a refugee
from the Big
6 (or 5 or however many there are these days) accounting world.
I did tax work for them and tired of the culture where there is no personal
life. I escaped to the world of tax software. I write software that
other CPA's use to prepare tax returns.
I'm an accountant by education so I write the "tax logic"
(if that's not an oxymoron) part of our software.
What kind of education does that require? You DO have an education,
the back of the cereal box.
50,000 cereal boxes in the shape of heavy books, right?
painfully boring, coma-inducing heavy books. Actually I've got my Masters
in Accounting with an emphasis in Tax.
you get annoyed when people in your life ask you for free tax advice?
it's one of the things that I sort of take for granted (that I can do
my own taxes) and realize that knowing at tax guy is like knowing somebody
at the car dealership or having your brother in law be a dentist ...
it's just cool to have a good connection.
right then -- we'll get biographical in a second, but since we're on
the subject, can I give you a few tax scenarios and you tell me how
screwed the person would be?
right. I have a friend. We'll call her... "Matty." Anyway,
Matty hasn't filed a tax return in five years. I shit you not. She's
thinking of filing this year. Is she making a terrible mistake? How
screwed is "Matty"?
less screwed than if she didn't file. No doubt, there's a bend over
and we're not using a lube feeling to be had but it all depends on why
she didn't file. If it's because she didn't really have all that much
income then there's no problem. Any penalties that the IRS can start
lobbing at you all start with a person owing tax.
if she's just, like, really scattered and kind of bad about stuff like
that and has had some warrants out for her arrests. Like basically "Shit
happens" to the 10th power is just her life every day. Will that
Not so much.
she generally would have gotten a refund (she's so poor the ants give
HER food), it's not that bad?
fair statement. She generally won't get those refunds back, but she
won't be hosed and owe a bunch in penalties because the IRS just sucks.
She'll be glad to hear that. Okay, second scenario: Say someone is about
to get married. IS there anything they should do, tax-wise, to prepare
for the blessed union? Should you hide your berra-bonds or go offshore
with your comic book collection or anything like that?
near and dear to my heart. Actually, I shall direct you to the taxes
thread over at Math+1. Naked Hannah asked that very question and
I gave a whole big long explanation.
However, if you've got "Superman #1" in some hermetically
sealed plastic baggie, I might move it to safer ground. You know how
girls are with comic books.
girls are icky. So you're living in Dallas, right? I always hear from
people in Austin (myself included when I talk in my head) about how
sucky Dallas is compared to Austin. Say something nice about Dallas.
a great new arena for the Mavericks and Stars to play in.
you a big sports fan?
also got about eleventy
million strip clubs.
you know a lot of obscure sports trivia?
I know lots
of obscure trivia period. Some of it is sports related.
your favorite sports figure of all time and why?
harder question than I thought...
the tough questions.
for me to name one favorite. The figures that I like are the ones that
take care of business on the field and don't talk trash. Ones that are
gentlemen in the community and don't get
arrested with a hooker and 56 lbs of coke. Lately I've read a great
deal about some contemporary examples of that. David Robinson, Tim Duncan,
Peyton Manning. Old School examples that I can think of: Ken Dryden,
good, you're not one of those Dallas Mavs fans that hates the Spurs.
prefer that Dallas win, I actually have a hard time hating (true irrational
hatred) any team.
Because those guys are dicks.
an arrogant prick, along with Karl Malone. But Shaq, for all that's
been said about him, he just plays. He pays his taxes, doesn't father
13 kids with 13 different women.
but on MTV cribs, he was comparing himself to Superman and showing off
his 20-inch rims. I'm sorry, but that guy's a dick. A
responsible dick, maybe, but still.
i've not seen that one.
i have to admit, his wife was really cute. She's about 1/8th his size,
but she seems able to keep him in line, which I admire.
some logistics, that while I never want to envision, I just wonder how
that all works. Angles and whatnot.
can afford pulleys and harnesses.
that's it. I knew there something I was forgetting as a mere mortal.
Plus, since he says he's Superman, maybe he can levitate like Dean Cain
did with what's her name back when she was hot.
let's talk about your past. Have you ever killed a man? In cold blood?
Small varmints, a duck, a dove, but no men.
killed a dove? Explain yourself.
No Ozzy-like stunts No bats either. Actually, I grew up in Southern
Alberta (as in Canada).
doves represent peace, then doesn't dove hunting constitute some sort
of pro-war stance?
dove hunting is more pro let's go out on a fall weekend and drink some
beer and burp and scratch and be manly than it is pro-WMD and all that.
you eat them?
don't. I don't even know how to dress a dove. Field dress that is.
I was going to say to take them to Sak's.
Ralph Lauren shirts and chinos. I've only actually done dove hunting
me about your childhood. What was it like growing up in Alberta? Were
you a Canadian citizen?
until I moved to Houston that I realized how country come to town it
was. At the time it was all incredibly normal. It was actually a great
place to raise a family. I was born in the states so I'm a U.S. citizen
and my dad took a job in the oil business and they sent him to work
there. The town was about 45,000 people when we moved there and about
60,000 when we left.
the oil like up there? Is it friendlier?
it wears a toque and drinks lots of Molson.
made you move to Dallas and what made you get into the tax business?
business was sort of a "Shit, I've got this big fancy Masters in
Accounting with an emphasis in tax degree, my parents would kill me
if I went and was a street musician" decision. It was just sort
of what came next.
Dallas was more an afterthought. When I graduated, I got a job with
Arthur Andersen (now defunct thanks to Enron) in Denver. Why Denver
Denver? I ask.
college, my parents moved to Denver from Houston (again following the
oil) and I did an internship with AA in Denver the summer before my
you blow them away with your mad accounting skillz?
them or something. Actually, unless you really, really fuck up, an offer
for a permanent job is usually the result of an internship.
kinds of stuff do you like to do outside of work and, um, gunning down
flying emmissaries of peace?
of work I'm sort of all over the map. I do lots of different things.
Right now, I'm actually refinishing a guitar. Like all other accountants,
I like to play golf, I love to see live music (much harder to do in
Dallas -- and why I wish I was back in Austin).
are your musical influences? Do you get to listen to music at work?
the sucky things about my job during my busy period (that just ended
thank god), there are tons of good things. Two of the best: no dress
code and my own private office. Thus, music is on almost all the time
Influences are an interesting topic. Growing up in Southern Alberta,
meant much country.
they listen to the same kind of country music there that you'd hear
about the time I'm aware that there's something else out there and that
my parents actually like country means I must rebel. From a country
top 40 perspective, yes. You'll hear the same things. What you won't
hear is the (I hate this label but will use it begrudingly) Alt-Country
you still listen to that kind of music now? What's the best kind of
music to work to?
Top 40 Country
- No. I'm not much into Brooks & Dunn and the like. Alt-Country
is pretty much what I'm about most of the time.
grammplusone: My rebellion from country in my crazy youth was right
at the explosion of the the 80's metal hair bands.
dude... you sported a mullet, huh?
musical pleasure is '80s metal and KISS. I was a KISS
freak. There was probably a time when my mother considered psychiatric
work with a couple of guys like that. They'll be all cynical about music
until you mention KISS and then their eyes totally light up.
time I was about 11 or 12 until 14 or 15, every square inch of my walls
were covered in KISS pictures and posters. I went as Peter Chris (the
drummer/cat) for Halloween twice.
you seen them in concert?
saw them before the got back together in the mid 90's. My little town
was too much of a zit on the ass of Alberta to get KISS in for a concert
in the '70s. I have seen them twice in the old make-up. Putting them
in context back in the 70's, I would have lost my mind. They were so
far ahead of everyone else spectacle wise. It would have made my 12
year old adolescent head spin completely around a la Exorcist.
I think they invited the word "Spectacle." Or maybe I'm thinking
I'm not sure
about Testicle but the sure did make the Cod Piece an important part
of every metal geek's wardrobe.
of subject: What are your goals for this year?
all serious and shit. Uhh ... My goals Being an anal tax guy does have
a downside. One of my big goals is, when appropriate and necessary,
to just get the fuck over myself.
do you mean by that?
way too much of my 18 - 28 period doing what I thought everyone else
wanted me to do. Doing what I "should" be doing instead of
listening to myself.
Sometimes it's hard step out of the analytical problem solving fix it
mode and just enjoy things. I've just got to get over myself. I feel
incredibly lucky that I found the job I have now. It's such a good fit
for me. I've always been sort of a computer geek. I can make them work
pretty well. However, it was pretty clear from the two real programming
classes I ever took that I couldn't actually be a full fledged programmer.
I'm just not that smart/good.
However, my job now sort of lets me do my tax stuff, which for whatever
reason, I'm good at and combine it with my inner computer geek. That
said, I need to leave that part of me at work and enjoy myself more.
Laugh more, take more spontaneous trips, enjoy the time I have with
my daughter. Fact is, I've probably already reached the zenith of my
coolness as a dad. I'm still pretty cool and I don't get the eye-rolling
"daaaaaad" with the exasperated sighs but there's times when
I'm not cool I want to enjoy those moments as much as possible. [Editor's
note: Gramm asked me to clarify that he
wants to enjoy the moments where heactually IS cool instead of the way
it insinuates now that he wants to enjoy the moments where he's NOT
cool. Because everybody wants to be cool, right? -- ed]
won't be long before I'm trying to find the website for "Our Lady
of the Holy Chastity Belt" convent located on Mt. Virginity in
Switzerland (where there are no boys).