Sunday, December 30, 2007

May the Spirit of Fake Hanukkah Live in Your Hearts All Year Round

Sarah had a cold and Leah had a sore throat so we had to cancel, or at least postpone fake Hanukkah tonight. Since it's more a celebration of a concept than a firm date we can celebrate it any time. Sort of like Kwanzaa or Ramadan. That's not exactly a slam on a Muslim "holy" day since the beginning and end of Ramadan often aren't known until just hours before it happens.
Which is only slightly more confusing than Easter. But even if we can predict Easter sometimes years in advance, we do have to give them credit where they really shine; suicide bombings. There they're number one with a bullet.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

While We're At It, Maybe We Should Get an Artificial Tree

We're having a Hanukkah party tomorrow night even though it ended about two weeks ago. While we were cleaning up, of course, we bickered. I told them, "In the spirit of fake Hanukkah, can't we at least pretend to get along?"

Friday, December 28, 2007

Caremark Monster Update

It appears that after all the confusion over whether or not the Caremark monsters* would fill Karen's prescription, it turns out they might. They finally called back this morning at exactly 4 am to say that they were going to fill it today and their website indicates that it might be happening as I type this. Of course, in the past, Caremark monsters have filled prescriptions then had to be begged to ship them.
In any event, today is our last day with Caremark monsters. As of tomorrow our plan will be using Medco.
So, a scorecard; Caremark monsters called at 4 am, Karen's doctor and Medtronics haven't called at all.

*Here, and elsewhere in this post, an attempt to influence google searches. I should also note (for google) that the Caremark monsters own the CVS chain of drugstores. CVS monsters(?), I don't know since we don't have CVS monsters(?) in Alaska (which is 4 hours earlier than EST where I assume the Caremark monsters skulk)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

How our Dogs See the Patriot Act vs the ACLU

Our dogs know that when we say, "Kennel up," we're going to give them a treat and then lock them up for awhile. To them, it's a no-brainer, they run to their cage.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day Afternoon

A few weeks ago I spent my lunch break talking to Caremark and then handed the phone to Karen and she spent over an hour on the phone with them. They told us that they couldn't ship her prescription because they had been waiting for her doctor to call them back, but then the nurse had called them back so that was okay, but no wait, it was too soon to ship the order, but Karen had a broken arm where RSD was setting in so she was using more medicine, so okay they could ship part of the order, but if they did that they wouldn't ship the rest of it. If she rationed her remaining medicine and jumped through some flaming hoops they would ship the entire order on the 28th.
So she's been gritting her teeth and lashing out at us, but she's taking less medicine than she needs and we're going to make it. Except...
On Christmas Eve the lying monsters at Caremark (I want to keep using the word Caremark so that google searches might turn up Caremark especially if the search also uses the terms lying and monsters) called and left a message that they wouldn't be able to send the order because they needed to talk to the doctor. I called them this afternoon, and they said, "There's nothing we can do." I told them that should be their motto and hung up on them. I called Blue Cross and they said there was nothing they could do. I made a couple of other calls and then girded my loins (oh, that reminds me; this morning I watched a Project Runway episode where they redesigned letter carrier uniforms) and told Karen about the Caremark/Blue Cross/Sith decision. She said she had a secret number and the names of two CSRs that had approved the order weeks ago.
I called and both Jersey and Mae were unavailable, but Daisy (and here's another thing, "Daisy", "Mae", "Jersey" seem pretty made up. I bet it's like phone sex operators are embarrassed to use their real names because they're ashamed of what they do) said the order was approved and would be overnighted on the 28th with no extra charge. She practically promised us a fruit basket. I explained that that was all well and good, but who was right Daisy Mae and the other Dogpatch operators, or Ina that told us to essentially stop bothering them? She said she'd talk to Mae and Jersey and call us back.
That makes a firm commitment from Karen's doctor's office, the Medtronic rep, and now Caremark to call us back.

Boxing Day Morning

Late last night, our credulous friend Ambre came by. Somehow the topic of aural manipulation came up. I said that it had been debunked years ago by a 13 year old. She said that maybe the tester had used people who only claimed to be able to manipulate auras. I told her that was almost certainly true.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Customer Service

Last night I opened cards from my customers. They were full of flattering praise for the service they get from me; along the lines of, "Man, we sure get some customer service from you sometimes it seems like you're on our porch forever. Dude, maybe you should give some customer service to somebody else and let us shut our door."

Today we had a traditional Christmas. Our tradition is to be disappointed that we're not some other family that knows how to pick out gifts that people want, and to hide our disappointment if we don't get what we want, or talk to each other over dinner, or remember to buy milk. We finished up with a virtual monastic silence broken only by percussive stylings of door slams.

Friday, December 21, 2007

We Don't Know Who They Are, But We Don't Like Them

They say that in Chinese, the word for crisis is composed of "danger" and "opportunity". As usual, they're at least wrong, if not outright lying. Or maybe I'm thinking of Thomas Edison who might have said, "Problems are really opportunities."Unless it was someone else Whoever, I wish they'd been trying to find a way to deal with boxes of Harry and David's fruit and their insane "Protect From Freezing" demand. I'm pretty sure that the Marquis de Sade wrote that. It's pears! We have grocery stores up here now; what does it say when you send someone pears? "I think you're too lazy to get up off the couch and buy some fruit,"?
I ended up calling my supervisor this afternoon and telling him that he didn't have to feel sorry for me, but that I felt terrible having to tell him that I wasn't going to be done on time.
Also today, I got a present from one of my customers, a book about an adventurous bike rider. The blurb says it's by a 12 year old boy trapped in a man's body. I said to Karen and Leah, "A retarded bike rider, it's like I've got a twin," but then I realized they just meant he was adventurous and like that. "An adventurous bike rider, it's like I don't have a twin."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And Not the Keisha Knight-Pullam Version Either

The temperature has been hovering around zero lately. This afternoon, a breeze came up and it began to snow. I felt like the little match girl's mailman.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Brr, Baby, Brr

Evaporative cooling is the concept behind perspiring. It worked best, I imagine, in Eden. Not as well, in Alaska, Eden's polar opposite.
Yesterday it was below zero when I went for a bike ride, so I put on layer after layer of clothes. I warmed up, then overheated, then cooled, then froze. I spent the day trying to get things and people to do what they were supposed to. First I rode to a locksmith to get our lock fixed, and then Karen and I drove over to her doctor's office. Since she broke her arm, they've been promising to put in a temporary infusion pump to cover her shoulder so she can do physical therapy and avoid (oops, too late) RSD setting in at the injury site. We call or go in every week and they tell us they'll call with a schedule. We spent over an hour yesterday, but this time we did get a firm commitment that they'd call us.

Last night, after I went to sleep, our dogs were outside and saw a cow moose and her calf in the yard next door. Notwithstanding the fact that the moose's liver weighs more than they do, they began to bark at it and wouldn't come in when Karen called, nor when the moose began kicking the fence separating them. Finally, exhaustion set in, I guess, and they came in. Karen says the moose then jumped the fence and followed them up the stairs. I slept on. When I went to work this morning, the cow and her calf surprised me when I put up the garage door, so after looking at each other for awhile with the strobe on my bike flashing at her, which really highlighted in a psychedelic way how far back she had put her ears, I decided, really, I don't have to go out the alley, do I?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Not Seen on Animal Planet

If you were a coyote, would you gnaw your head off to get out of a trap? What if the trap was in your head?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Letter

Those of you lucky enough to not be on the receiving end of our Christmas letter may be interested to know that it's approximately finished.
It includes a warning, "May cause drowsiness, don't read this letter while driving,"

Friday, December 14, 2007

If at First You Don't Succeed

At the post office we've tried the management technique of letting the lunatics run the asylum and it hasn't worked. We're going to have to try harder.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We Have a Message For Our Customers

I delivered a card to all my customers from the postal service today. The card listed three ways to buy stamps, and not one of them involved going to a post office. We have a message for our customers, "We're busy, don't bother us."

So, when you listen to Ron Paul, his message of small government doing only what we can't do alone sounds pretty compelling. Here's my problem, though, some of his supporters are the kind of people that I would cross a street to avoid. They're the kind of people that our parents (The Greatest Generation) crossed an ocean to destroy. Specifically, they deny that the Nazi Holocaust happened, but even if it did, the Jews had it coming. In fact, the Holocaust that they want to talk about is the slaughter of Persians that Jews celebrate as Purim (pdf).

Does anyone know if Paul disassociates himself from these loathsome people?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From Our Department of Unnecessary Skills

I was coming up a driveway today where a man teaches bagpipes. To the extent that you can ever tell what a bagpiper is playing, I think they were playing a lullaby.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bonzo For President

According to KTUU, 29% of the people voting in their poll plan on supporting Ron Paul at Alaska's Republican caucus. That might be a little high because I doubt if 29% of the people voting in the poll are even going to the caucus. I went once. It was okay. You had to pretend to care what other people thought, but that's true almost everywhere you go.
Mike Huckabee came in second, even though according to a friend of mine he shares 97% of his DNA with a chimpanzee. I don't know why he would say that or how he could even know. I'm not sure if a chimpanzee has come forward, or what.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's the Human Genome Project

Of course, if Gov.Huckabee can answer the question of how he came to share 97% of his DNA with a monkey, he might gain ground yet.
I received that quote in an e-mail yesterday. I'm not sure what the writer was trying to imply about Mike Huckabee, but at least the governor wasn't sharing 100% of his DNA with interns or strangers in men's rooms.
Of course, as soon as I finish this post I'm going over to KTUU's web site to vote for Ron Paul in their poll.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Riding in Cars With Dogs

Last night Karen and I went shopping. We took the dogs along for the ride because they can't be left home alone (we can't afford the pay per view of Cesar Millan). While we were driving to the store, Karen reported on each thought the dogs had. I told her that the next time we have an opening for a new dog, we're getting a hand puppet.
Thanks to the people that provided ideas for Anchorage entertainment, including the ones that came via e-mail.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My What Far Seeing Eyes You Have Grandmother

As I was getting out of my truck today, after handing a man his mail, his dog lunged forward and bit me on the foot. Well, boot, actually. Even in this eerily warm winter I'm not delivering mail barefoot. The man said, "He thought you were getting ready to kick him."
Apparently the dog can see into the future.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

This Post Written by Me, Wardrobe Provided (for a fee) by Kirkland Clothing, Dogs Provided by Satan, Meals Provided (for a consideration) by Kelloggs

I started reading Neal Gaiman's Fragile Things this evening, and it reminded me of something else that irritates me. I had been reading for several pages and still hadn't stumbled on a story. Instead, Mr. Gaiman was explaining the origin of each story, who had commissioned it, where he was when he wrote it, etc. Maybe I'll care, maybe I won't, kind of depends on the story doesn't it? I feel the same way watching a movie; roll the credits when it's over. Why should I sit there for ten minutes finding out who the production companies were (especially since they pretty much exist to only to hide money and beat whatever creativity that was brought to bear into some formula that they think will appeal to the exact demographic they're looking to sell a video game to) before I've even seen the movie. I'll probably hate the movie anyway.
I bet some people hate long parenthetical asides, too.
I suppose instead of reading, I should have been working on the Christmas letter, but I've pretty much lost interest in that. If you're a blog reader, you already know far more about our year than you wanted to, and if you're not a blog reader, you probably weren't interested in our year to begin with.
Apparently I wasn't importunate enough asking about things to in Alaska in January. We have a guest coming and I don't do anything, so I was asking for advice. I know at least a few people read this. Some of you live here in Anchorage (I just put Anchorage in, in case people searching blogger for "Anchorage" stumble on this and have some ideas) and some of you have visited here. What did you enjoy? What about these things:
Do you think it's worth driving to Homer to see the Eagle Lady and her hundreds of eagles? It's sort of the last chance because they're banning the practice of feeding the eagles. She's been grandfathered in, as it were, but only for a few more years or until she dies.
Or going to Fairbanks to see a really short day?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What's Amazing is I Spent Most of the Year Watching TV

So, I said that our Christmas letter would be a highlight reel from this blog, and that that being the case it would probably be short. Well, I hadn't counted on just how much I love the sound of my own voice, even if it's only in my own head (mmm, well put).
It turned out to be four pages. Every word could have been a keeper, but that wouldn't be a Christmas letter, it would be a hostage situation. Since the last couple of lines are actually about Christmas, not me, we know it would have a peaceful ending, but still.
I did it over using just facts which cut it down to one page, printed it in green, and showed it to Karen. "Pretty boring", was the verdict. I don't know what we're going to do now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Life Imitating Art

I was trying to think of something cute to post today. It was so cold and windy and I was so hungry that I thought about writing that I was daydreaming about taking a hot bath in a tub full of oatmeal. And then I did begin daydreaming about it.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Well, I See I Was A Fool

I was going to say that when I realized that Santa and penguins weren't just a random juxtaposition, but in fact a symbolic representation of the universality of the "Happy Holidays" movement. It stretches as far as the North is from the South. About 13,000 miles. Unlike Christ's forgiveness that stretches as far as the East is from the West, an infinite and all-encompassing circle.
Or because I had hoped that my reader would provide suggestions for something to do up here. If they had, I might have done it because even though we haven't really started yet, I'm already bored with cleaning the "back" bedroom.
But now, since Lobotomy, a Memoir has been taken, at least I've come up with a title for my autobiography.