ghoulsis: (ivanova orly?)
Not that it'll make a damn bit of difference, but here's my letter that I'm emailing to my senators about the marriage amendment. Read more... )
ghoulsis: (one of those days starbuck)
I just got an email from my alma mater, confirming that I am one of the lucky few whose Social Security Number was compromised in the recent data theft.

Yay?

Dipshit boss better not come in today and say something dumb, because I think I just might hurt someone.

Get me in a room with the pissant little shit-frakker who did this. Just me and him in a room.

I won't need much time. Maybe an hour. 'Cause yeah, I wanna enjoy it a little.

*headdesk*

Dec. 27th, 2004 09:24 am
ghoulsis: (Default)
I was just browsing on my pregnancy message boards, and there was a whole thread about people who are planning to ask their OBs to induce them early or schedule their c-sections in such a way so that their babies won't share a birthday with other kids/spouse/relatives.

*boggles*

Elective c-sections irritate me enough, but now we have to schedule them so baby will have a "convenient" birthday? One mom said, "We have so many February birthdays in our family, I just want our daughter to have her own special day!" Like it's NOT going to be her birthday if her relatives have birthdays in the same week? *facepalm*

Natto is due two days before Zip's birthday, and frankly we couldn't be happier. Zip thinks it'd be cool to share a birthday with our son. I fail to see why it makes any difference at all. Ghoulsis and I are three weeks apart, and it's not like it was ever some big source of tension or anything. Jeesh. Besides, if the baby's going to share a birthday with a sibling, that might help head off some rivalry (one kid getting gifts and the other one not, and having to wait until their birthday rolls around) since they'd celebrate the same day. I would think that might be a plus.

I can understand why you might not want your birthday to fall on a major holiday, like Christmas or New Year's, because you'd likely get screwed on gifts. But I can't imagine deliberately inducing early just to avoid such a circumstance. I mean, the kid knows when he's done cooking. Why not let him decide when to come out?
ghoulsis: (Default)
Every day, every single day while out and about, I see a family in a car with unrestrained kids. Sometimes they're in the back, sometimes not. But more often than not, they aren't wearing seatbelts. And every time, I want to get out of my car when we're stopped at a light, pull the parent out of the driver's seat, and beat them senseless. Don't you realize you're putting their lives in jeopardy? I want to screech at them. Because every few weeks, I see a story on the news like this one:
http://www.thecarolinachannel.com/news/3987886/detail.html

And I have to ask myself: how many people have to be ejected and die in car accidents before people will start insisting that their kids buckle up?

I don't even think about it. Putting on my seatbelt when I get in the car is as much of a habit for me as putting on my socks when I get dressed in the morning. I don't think about it, I just do it. Driving to the store without a seatbelt on would feel as unnatural to me as walking to the mailbox without a shirt on.

What's the reasoning, people? Do you think it's too hard to get them to wear it? Do you think it won't actually protect them in a crash? Are you just too lazy to do something that takes two seconds and could save their lives? Or are you really dumb and arrogant enough to believe it won't happen to your kids? (And don't even give me that bullshit argument about "what if my car goes off a bridge into the water and my seatbelt jams." It's bullshit. That's happened maybe once or twice EVER, but EVERY DAMN DAY people get ejected and killed in accidents they otherwise would have survived had they been belted in. I for one know where to place my odds.)

I suspect a lot of it's cultural. Here in the South, people in general seem to be very anti-authority, especially when it comes to government. This prevailing attitude of "the guvmint can't tell ME what to do, dadgummit!" ends up being manifested as tiny acts of rebellion -- opposing mandatory seatbelt laws, or mandatory motorcycle helmet laws, etc. If I want to kill myself in a pointless traffic accident, it's mah God-given right to do so, and the guvmint can't stop me! seems to be the reasoning. So by extension: The guvmint can't tell ME how to raise MY chillen! So watch me shake my tiny fist at The Man and not put my kids in their car seats. Power to the people! *eyeroll*

If you're an adult, and you decide to do something boneheaded and get yourself killed, that's your right. But most kids don't know any better. It's our job as parents to protect them, whether they want to be protected or not. We owe it to our kids to do everything we can to keep them safe. And if you're going to insist that your kids wear seatbelts, the best way to get them in the habit is to wear them yourself. But most people in this state don't do that, either.

And today when Zip and I go out holiday shopping, we'll see kids bouncing around in the back of a car. And I'll give that same disgusted sigh, and he'll say, "I know, I know" in that same resigned tone, and in another two or three weeks we'll see yet another story on the news about people who would still be alive but for that one simple act.
ghoulsis: (Default)
Memo to Jell-o: If it comes out of a box, it's not homemade.

I realize you're mixing it up in your house. But mixing something up in your kitchen that came out of a box doesn't make it homemade. Yet in your commercials, you say something to the effect that it's good to always have some Jell-o pudding on hand, because "it's just five minutes to homemade."

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. If I mix sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, almond, eggs, and assorted other ingredients together, spoon it onto a cookie sheet and bake the resulting cookies, those cookies are homemade. If I scoop premade cookie dough out of a tube onto a cookie sheet and bake it, those cookies are NOT homemade. Believe it or not, there is a difference.

I can't explain why this gets on my nerves so much, but it does. Just the fact that I have to add milk to the pudding mix doesn't make it a recipe. And just because I can't eat it straight out of the box doesn't make it homemade. That's like saying if I heat up a frozen pizza in the oven, it's homemade. I call bullshit.
ghoulsis: (churchlady)
Apparently some lawmaker in Indiana thinks that designating a highway as I-69 is contributing to the moral decay of America. No, I swear I'm not making this up:

http://www.hoosiergazette.com/News/Nov2004/news003.htm

It's nice to know that, now that we've got all those other social problems cleared up -- you know, unemployment, teen pregnancy, homelessness, malnutrition, illiteracy, etc. -- we can focus on the truly important things, like if naming a highway I-69 will make teenagers snicker.

*eyeroll*

[ETA: Turns out this is a hoax. Sorry, folks.]
ghoulsis: (bender)
One of the alumni volunteers in my fraternity is complaining (publicly, on a listserv) that a lot of undergrads don't attend the national conventions because of cost. And he thinks it's just silly.

As comparison, he talks about how much money it's costing him to attend a professional conference, and since our convention is so much more reasonable, there's no reason (in his opinion) that anyone should be unable to go. (I find myself wondering how much of his conference cost will be subsidized by his company. But I digress.)

He claims to remember what it was like to be a broke college student. I suspect otherwise.

Best case scenario, if I were an undergraduate going to convention, would be an outlay of around $300. Let's play pretend for a minute. Here's how it breaks down:

The conference itself is about $130 for registration plus the banquets. Hotel is $70 per night. Ok, so far it doesn't sound too awful, especially since you can (theoretically) shoehorn 4 people into that hotel room for the same $70. But five nights in that hotel = $350, split four ways (best case scenario) is still close to $90 per person. (And that's assuming the $70 quote includes hospitality taxes, etc., which we all know drive up the cost considerably.)

Here's the real problem, though: the convention is in Denver. To fly round-trip from here to Denver at that time of year (between Christmas and New Year's) would run between $450 and $500. Ouch. What if I drive? Assuming I can carpool and/or have a reliable car, it's just over 1500 miles of driving each way. If it were physically possible to drive nonstop (four passengers in 8-hour shifts), we could theoretically do that in 24 hours. My car gets about 25 mpg, which translates to approximately 60 gallons of gas each way... times the current gas rate here (which is cheaper than most places at $1.65/gallon) ends up being about a hundred bucks in gas each way. So, $50 per person for gas, but it'll end up being more than that, since gas is more expensive in other states. This is assuming we don't stop to sleep overnight anyplace, which would add an unspecified charge for hotel rooms (since, unlike the convention, most hotels DO charge more for extra people staying in the room). And this is all assuming that my parents would consent to me driving 3/4 of the way across the country with three other college students. (Did I mention this is in the winter? So we're driving across the mountains in the winter. Won't Mom be thrilled?)

So even if I do best-case scenario -- four people in a room, four people carpooling instead of driving alone or flying... I'm still looking at a personal outlay of something like $300. I don't know about you guys, but when I was an undergraduate, I rarely had $300 sitting around collecting dust. That was a LOT of money to me then. (It still is now.)

I'll admit, even though that's not AS huge sum of money to me now... it's still a lot. $300 is still $300, but my perception of it has changed as I've gotten older. I think it's partly because I deal in much larger numbers now -- $500 for car insurance here, $250 for car payment there, $875 for the mortgage... so a one-time outlay of $300 doesn't seem like THAT much to me. But it wasn't so long ago that I can remember sleeping in my car in a Wal-Mart parking lot because the $40 extravagance of staying in a hotel overnight on a long car trip was unthinkable. I simply didn't have it. Very often I turned down opportunities to attend conferences in other cities because I didn't have transportation, or couldn't afford the $30 or $40 registration fee. And forget lodging! The one conference I attended as an undergrad, I was able to attend because there were no housing fees -- I slept on a brother's dorm room floor.

Our alumni volunteers seem to just assume that the students aren't going to convention because they're lazy or have other things to do. Not so -- at least, not for all of them. $300 seems like a lot more when you're making $6.25 an hour at your work-study job, which is helping put you through school. I would have loved to go to the national convention when I was an undergrad... but it was either do that, or pay the rent. And I opted to pay the rent. Back then, $300 would have broken the bank. It's too bad that our alumni can't seem to remember that time in their lives.
ghoulsis: (bender)
So just now in the mail, I get an invoice.

Yup, you guessed it... it's for my medical records.

In bold print, it says my records won't be sent until I pay up.

So either the girl at the old office was lying, or she's incompetent. I'm not sure which is worse at this point.

Three. Weeks. For seven pieces of paper.

I don't know whether to cry or scream.

*grumble*

Sep. 13th, 2004 02:33 pm
ghoulsis: (bender)
I finally got through to an actual live person at my old OB office. She claims the records were sent on 8/24 and there's no charge for them since I was a fairly new patient (there was hardly anything to send).

*grumble*

So now I have a call in to my (hopefully) new office to find out if they have the records in hand, and if not, I'll have to call back AGAIN to the old office and ask them to resend them.

Trying. Not. To. Have. A. Flameout.

Breathe in, breathe out.
Breathe in, breathe out.

Mercy.

Sep. 12th, 2004 04:36 pm
ghoulsis: (bender)
I think I have a new fave TV show -- "Close Calls of the PBR."

Hubby and I always root for the bull whenever we catch bullriding on TV, but this is great. It's like watching a program about Nascar, but they only show the crashes!

Yes, we're sick. (We're aware of it.)

I find myself wondering exactly how many brain cells do you have to kill off drinking Bud Light before you decide it's a good idea to pursue a career as a rodeo clown.
ghoulsis: (Default)
So last Monday, you may recall, gentle reader, that I made the decision to change OB practices. The only hitch was, I had to have my old office send my medical records to my new office. Ok. Once they get the records, they'll call me for an appointment. Great.

That very day, I called my old OB's office and left a message for medical records, telling them I needed a copy of my records sent to Blah blah blah, etc. On Wednesday, they finally call me and say I have to sign a release. Fine. Can you fax it to me? Great.

The rest of Wednesday, no fax. Thursday, still no fax, and I leave another message. Friday morning rolls around, and still no fax. I drive 45 minutes to the office, sit for 20 minutes waiting, then fill out the form and drive another 45 minutes home. Oh, and it turns out I have to pay for the records, but no one there could tell me how much it will be, because they hire out someone to do med records for them, and she only comes in on Wednesdays. Fine.

I call today to find out how much I owe, since I just have a sneaking suspicion that my paperwork won't be sent unless I pay in advance. I leave a message in medical records. After several hours, I call back to the front desk and ask them if there's anyone in medical records today. No? How nice. Call back tomorrow, they tell me.

I feel like I'm about to rupture something. I used to work in the medical records department of a very large pediatric specialty practice. When I got requests for records, I usually did them the same day, but always within 72 hours. Especially if a patient needed them. (Now insurance companies, I wasn't in such a hurry. But I always got the lead out for a patient.) So pardon me if a freeping WEEK AND A HALF seems a bit, shall we say, EXCESSIVE.

So I will call tomorrow. And if I still get no joy tomorrow, I will call on Friday. And if I've gotten no action on Friday, I'll call the OB nurse at the new practice and ask her for a suggestion on what to do. Maybe if THEIR office sends off a request for my records, something might get done. Or maybe she'll at least be willing to consider booking an appointment for me while we're waiting on the records thing to get straightened out.

If I have to, I'll drive back to the old office and camp out in their waiting room until someone freeping well helps me. What're they gonna do? Tell me I can't come back anymore? I should be so lucky! If only!

And they wonder why I don't want to go there anymore. Harumph.
ghoulsis: (Default)
So the husband and I were shopping at the Mart of K for a few random items over the weekend, and I decided I needed new socks, as many of mine are stained orange from field work or are quite holey. There was a sale, buy one pack get one 50% off, so hubby got some too.

On the way to the register, he noticed that the socks were packaged in resealable bags.

I'm gonna pause for just a minute, to let that sink in.

Socks. In a resealable. Package. Like a ziploc.

Hubby's response? "Oh, of course! It's because fresh socks taste better!"

What marketing genius decided THIS was a good idea? Are there people out there who buy new socks, but only wash some of them, "saving" the rest for later? And apparently they're worried the socks will go stale in the meantime? Who ARE these people?
ghoulsis: (Default)
The current issue of The Washington Monthly features a photo of Ted Turner.

The cover copy reads: "My Beef With Big Media by Ted Turner."

I hate to be pointing out the obvious or something, but... uh, Ted? To most of America, you are Big Media.

I'm just sayin', is all.
ghoulsis: (Default)
Today officially sucks.

* I woke up with morning sickness, again. Realized after I got up that I forgot to take my prenatal vitamins last night. *Doh!*

* I couldn't find my sunglasses, then realized I'd left them in hubby's car. I unlocked his car, retrieved my sunglasses, and then managed to slam the car door on my own head. Great. I now have a headache and a lovely quarter-inch gash in my head next to my right eyebrow. Oh, and it's swelling. And, it bled all over me on the way to school.

* Upon arriving at school, the truck in front of me got the very last parking space behind my building, so I had to park in my Secret Hiding Place, thus nearly making me have to run so I wouldn't be late for class.

* While in class, hubby called to notify me that the OB nurse from the (potentially) new doctor's office called. (I told the office to have her to call me *after 9:30* today since I wouldn't be home from class until then.)

* When I got home, I called the office back, only to wind up in Hold Purgatory. I finally hung up after 20 minutes of their shitty hold music.

I just can't WAIT to find out what other treasures await me today!

[11:16 am, ETA:]

* It appears I was just push-polled by the Bush campaign, or by a group supporting the Shrub. This just gets better and better.

* And now, I can't access my university email account. Great. Just great.

[12:47 pm, ETA:]

* AND! I tried to register for my meeting in Seattle in November, and it wouldn't let me register as a Graduate Student (non-member -- $180) -- it keeps defaulting to Guest (nonmember -- $425!!). AAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!
ghoulsis: (Default)
I brought our kitty home from the vet this morning. She's still not quite acting like herself -- very clumsy, and didn't seem to know where she was when I brought her in the house. (She did stop growling when she heard my voice, though, so that's an encouraging sign.)

The vet is having us feed her antibiotics with a dropper for the next three weeks or so. Fun. AND! There's more! They gave us a plaque-fighting mouthwash! Yes, folks, mouthwash for my cat. It's in a little squeeze bottle. The directions say to use it when brushing isn't possible, after every meal. Crap, even *I* don't manage to brush after every meal. I mean, if I'd known to do this when she was a kitten, I *might* have had some success. But now? She's seven, for crying out loud. I'm not in the mood to have my eyes gouged out by her failing back claws every day.

I'll give it a shot, of course. But the only conclusion I can draw is that our vet wants our cat to think I'm the Devil.

Hopefully after our kitty gets used to being home and the anesthesia wears off completely, she'll be back to her old self. As it is, she's refusing saucers of milk, which is very unusual and has me worried. Maybe her mouth is sore. I hope that's all it is. She at least ate her dinner, but she was very tentative about it. Poor baby.

[8:30 pm... Edited to add: Yup, she thinks I'm the Devil. Ugh. It's much, MUCH more challenging to pull up the lips of a squirming kitty to get to her teeth than, say, a dog. The antibiotic went down ok -- it's a liquid and has to be administered with a dropper, but I managed to squeeze it all down the hatch on the second try or so. The mouthwash is a joke, a sick mofo joke.]
ghoulsis: (Default)
Ok, this is just too funny. Our phone rang a little while ago... which startled me, since it's been broken pretty much since Friday. It was the phone company wanting to know if we were satisfied with our service.

Now, mind you, the phone company hasn't been to the house, nor did they call my husband ahead of time like they said they would. In fact, until that very moment I didn't know the phone was fixed at all.

Funnier still: When I hung up, I picked the phone back up to make sure there was really a dial tone, and I got the stutter-tone, meaning there's a message on voice mail.

It was from the phone company repairman... calling to tell me the phone was fixed.

Now... if it had REALLY been fixed when he called... the call wouldn't have rolled to voice mail, now would it?

Oh well. I'm just glad to still have DSL, whether or not the phone continues to work. We shall see.
ghoulsis: (Default)
I'm sitting at home today waiting on the phone guy. Unfortunately I've seen some of the phone guys around here and so it's not nearly so exciting as it might be if I were waiting for, say, firefighters. (You know, just to check my smoke detectors or something.)

The really amusing thing is, our DSL connection still works. Yes, the DSL that runs off the very same phone line that now is denying us home phone service. WTF??

Hubby's prediction is that, if they show up at all (which seems increasingly unlikely), they'll fix the phone and break the DSL. This would not surprise me a bit.

As it is, the current situation is not a total loss. Since the phone doesn't work, I can expect no calls from telemarketers or YKW. And the voice mail still works, so if there are any truly important calls, we can still retrieve our messages. On balance, I'd rather have DSL and no phone than the other way around.

The phone guy is supposed to be here no later than 6. And so I wait. I'd rather be out shopping for baby stuff or maternity clothes, or taking a nice relaxing nap, but no. Here I sit.
ghoulsis: (Default)
Advisors to the FDA have recently concluded that it may be ok to sell defibrillators without a prescription. http://www.thecarolinachannel.com/health/3596688/detail.html

Huh?

These are the same people who think I'm too stupid to take birth control pills without having a doctor explain how they work. So, BCPs are STILL not available over the counter.

But now they're saying I can buy a defibrillator?

What kind of retards do we have working in our government, anyhow?

(Note: Yes, I realize that the defibs in question are the automated kind. But even so, the Red Cross recommends that people have training before using them. "Over the counter" tends to indicate no training. So the FDA is saying I don't need training to shock someone's heart back to a normal rhythm, but I'm too stupid to figure out how to take a pill every day? Could it be that it's 'cause I'm a girl?)
ghoulsis: (Default)
I just... don't even know what to say about this.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2651843

The whole article is Big Fun, but this is my favorite passage:

'For example, Holt, Rinehart and Winston's "Lifetime Health" lists 10 steps for students to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. The use of latex condoms is not one of them. Students are advised, however, to get plenty of rest.'

You know, we really need an emoticon for "pulling my hair out."
ghoulsis: (Default)
Well, since Saint Ronnie of Reagan thought ketchup was a vegetable too, I guess now I can get two servings at once:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-afries15jun15,0,202707.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

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