Archive for September, 2006

Gulp.

September 30, 2006

I just placed an order for a customized HP-Compaq laptop.

Do I need a new laptop? Not particularly; the old one is less than 3 years old.

Do I want a new laptop? A card-carrying gadget-freak like me? Heck yeah!

For those who care… here’s the rundown on what I am getting:

Compaq Presario V6000T customizable Notebook PC
Genuine Windows XP Home Edition
Intel(R) Core(TM) Duo processor T2050 (1.60 GHz)
15.4″ WXGA Widescreen (1280×800)
Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator 950 w/Ports
IMPRINT Finish + Microphone + QuickPlay
1.0GB DDR2 SDRAM (2x512MB)
80 GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
Super Multi 8X DVD+/-R/RW w/Double Layer Support
802.11b/g WLAN
Extra 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Microsoft(R) Works/Money
System Recovery DVD w/Genuine XP Home Edition

Estimated build completion date is October 11, and shipping should be 5-7 business days after that.

It should arrive just in time for NaNoWriMo 2006.

And now I had better get some work done, so I can pay for the thing!

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Friday Night Miscellaneous

September 29, 2006

Met up yesterday with old high school boyfriend Jeff. It was his 50th birthday. Who’d-a thunk all those years ago, we’d be drinking coffee when we were 50?

Neighbor Howard is studying Arabic at the Defense Language Institute. The other day he hollered across the parking lot that he wished we’d go to war with a country with an easier language! I told him Scotland is out of the question. His idea? France. But then again… how much use is it to attack cheese-eating surrender monkeys, anyway? Too easy, when all you have to do is say “Boo!” and they drop their weapons and throw their hands into the air!

Since I dislike Apple products even more than I dislike Microsoft products, when I finally took the leap and got an MP3 player, it was NOT an iPod. Nope. Not me. I picked up this nice little number this morning. After a bit of fiddling and futzing, I managed to transfer 200 MP3 files to it. Then I tried out every pair of headphones in the house–and the earbuds that came with the player are the best ones. Go figure. It’ll be interesting to see if these earbuds stay in my ears any better than another pair I tried in the past….

Pregnant woman #2‘s doctor is going to put her on modified bed rest in one more month, so Lil’ Sis is going to come in and work her job as a temp. The plan is for her to start 2 weeks from Monday so Stacy will have 2 weeks to train her.

Speaking of work, every time I drive into the office parking lot, I look at the oak trees, and try to figure out which ones in the Google Maps image aren’t there anymore.

Ith’s blog comments are still futzed up, and she hasn’t taken me up on my offer to let her post over here. You can always e-mail her if you have anything you’d like to share with her, though.

And according to the gas prices web site I checked, it’s still only $2.46 at the place I gassed up last weekend. The next cheapest place is $2.70.

Last but not least… I’m having lunch tomorrow with the two published authors who are helping me with the very lengthy and painful and detailed edits to my manuscript.

And it’s way past my bedtime… so I’m off to commune with my pillow and blankie. G’night!

Wise Choice

September 26, 2006

You know how when you rent a car, they always try to sell you the “damage waiver” or whatever they call it?

The two times my poor Lexus has had to go to the hospital, I have put out the extra money for the damage waiver, and then never had anything happen to the rental car. But that’s what insurance is for–you hope you never have to use it, but if something happens, at least you have it.

My sister had to put her car in the body shop because somebody hit her in the parking lot. I recommended the damage waiver to her–and it was a good thing she got it, because somebody hit the rental car in the parking lot.

Without the damage waiver, she would have had to pay another entire (large) deductible to fix the rental car.

Party Like It’s 2004

September 24, 2006

There is one local station selling regular gas for $2.43 a gallon.

The next cheapest station is $2.76. The one right down on my corner is $2.86.

I figured it was worth it to save 4 bucks on my 13-gallon fill-up (I still had a quarter of a tank) and drove the 5 miles or so to the station. The lines at the pumps reminded me of 1974. At one point I backed back out into the street to let out a motorhome towing a boat, but I only had to wait about 5 minutes’ total, unlike 1974, when a half-hour wait in line was a good thing. (And gas was 52 cents a gallon.)

And the beauty of it all? It’s not a Citgo station!

It’s The Governator, Stupid!

September 22, 2006

Watching Phil Angelides’ latest TV ad, you’d think George W. Bush was running for governor of California, not Aaahnold.

But apparently Angelides is running against Bush, not Schwarzenegger.

The ad features video of Governor Schwarzenegger enthusiastically endorsing George W. Bush in 2004, while the text at the bottom sorrowfully informs the viewer that under Bush, we still have large numbers of troops in Iraq, gas prices have soared, and the national debt has ballooned.

Um… which of those issues are directly under the control of the governor of California? Which of those things did Arnold cause to happen? And how will his opponent, if we elect him governor, fix them?

Am I missing something here?

Oh. That’s right. I live in a blue state.

My bad. Nevermind.

Cross-posted at Wizbang Bomb Squad.

Big Changes In The World

September 22, 2006

A co-worker and I were shooting the breeze and got to discussing, when did all this health insurance stuff start, anyway?

I mentioned that all those many years ago when I started in this racket, a patient would see the doctor, the doctor’s office sent a claim to the patient’s insurance company, and the insurance company paid the bill. Easy as anything.

As medical science has advanced over the years, with more and more new (expensive) technologies being devised all the time (MRI, CT, PET scanning to name just a few), insurance companies have gotten more and more picky, requiring prior authorization for procedures and treatments, and then once the procedure is done, demanding justification, medical records, documentation of medical necessity, and so forth.

I called my 85 year old mother whose father was a doctor, and asked her what medical practice was like back in those days.

Between high school and college, in 1939, she worked as his receptionist. Office hours were from 1 to 5 p.m. Presumably in the mornings he was making hospital rounds and the like. She was paid $1 a day, and earned enough money to buy herself a wristwatch.

There was no such thing as insurance. Office visits were $2, and a house call was $3. Occasionally a patient could not afford to pay for the visit, so he would see them for free. Or the patient would bring him a chicken or two.

When making house calls, he had to be very careful in his conversation, because if he admired a painting or a knick-knack or anything, very often the patient would try to make a present of it to him on the spot.

(I asked my mother whether if he admired the 18-year-old daughter, would they have offered HER as a gift. She didn’t think so.)

My mother also mentioned that she had found an old hospital bill from the late 1940’s, when her mother had a hysterectomy. The bill does not indicate how long she stayed in the hospital; but the total bill was something over $200. They gave her a substantial discount because she was a doctor’s wife, and she paid something like $192.16 for the entire hospital stay. There was no surgeon’s bill to go with the hospital bill, but my mother speculated that the surgeon probably operated at no charge, again at the doctor discount.

I reminded my mother that when she went to work for a large medical clinic in town in the mid 1960’s, one of the employee benefits was free medical care for the employees and their entire families. Later, sometime before she left that job about 1973, this was converted to a group health insurance policy that covered the employees and their families.

So the answer to the original question, when did all this insurance nonsense start, is sometime in the last 35 to 40 years.

And that and 50 cents will get us tomorrow’s newspaper.

Announcement

September 21, 2006

Ith, the queen of the ondragonswing.com blog community, is having technical difficulties with her blog. So I have invited her to come on board over here and post to her heart’s content, should she so desire.

Y’all give her a nice warm welcome, y’hear?

Too Bizarre Not To Share

September 21, 2006

Was goofing off on the web while I should have been working, and discovered they have finally “updated” the Google Maps satellite image of our new office location.

Well… “updated” in the sense that it is now a recognizable image, rather than the big green blur that used to be there. But not “updated” in the sense that the image is newer than, say, about two years. Because our new office is not there.

Yep, that oddly-shaped chunk of dry brown grass with a few oak trees now contains a fair-sized office building and a couple of parking lots, one on the uphill side and one on the downhill side. You can’t tell but that’s a pretty steep slope. Our street is the slightly curved one that takes off to the left from the bottom of the image, and our driveway begins just past the first oak tree and goes up parallel to the straight road. Our building sits somewhere about in the middle–and there are plans for a second building above, but construction hasn’t yet started.

But the main reason I couldn’t resist posting the picture is the airplane, and its shadow. Did I mention our upper parking lot is right on the airport approach path, just about 2 miles (or less) from the runway?

Right Thinking Girl Is Hacked Off.

September 18, 2006

As well she should be.

You all may remember her as the author of the essay “Love in a time of danger” that landed in so many of our in-boxes a couple of years ago.

She has since married Sean, the man who lost his first wife in the south tower of the WTC on 9/11.

What has her hacked off now is that on a recent plane trip, her seven year old stepson, the boy who lost his biological mother when he was only two, was practically strip-searched by a probable pedophile disguised as a TSA agent.

Let me repeat that. A seven year old obviously non-Muslim boy, with obviously non-Muslim parents, who lost his biological mother to islamofascist terrorists (and did not lose his father only because Sean was downstairs getting a bagel when the plane hit the north tower), was invasively searched with inappropriate touching in the process.

If that weren’t enough, RTG herself was also inappropriately searched, IN PUBLIC, because the (lesbian?) TSA agent did not understand the concept of an underwire bra. She was not taken into a private room. She was forced to prove the metallic content of her lingerie which resulted in her flashing some people who had no right to be flashed.

I cannot think of words to describe this. “Nucking futs” is not nearly strong enough.

(And that is why I wear a cotton sports bra when I travel.)

Heh.

September 14, 2006

From a friend, an interesting way to deal with a telemarketer:

The phone rang as I was sitting down to dinner. When I answered it I was greeted with “Is this Karl Brummer?” Not sounding anything like my name, I asked who was calling.

The telemarketer said he was with The Rubber Band Powered Freezer Company or something like that. Then I asked him if he knew Karl personally and why was he was calling this number.

I then said off to the side, “get some pictures of the body at various angles and the blood smears.” I then turned back to the phone and advised the caller that he had called a murder scene and must stay on the line because we had already traced this call and he would get a summons to testify in the murder case.

I questioned him at great length as to his name, address, phone numbers at home, at work, who he worked for, how he knew the dead guy and could he prove where he had been about one hour before he made this call.

The telemarketer was getting very concerned and his answers were being given in a shaky voice. Then I told him we had located his position and that the police were entering the building to take him into custody, at that point I heard the phone fall and the sounds of his running.

I returned to the dinner table and my wife asked me why I had tears streaming down my face and so help me, I couldn’t tell her for about fifteen minutes. My dinner was cold, but it was the best meal in a long, long time.

Do with the information as you wish.