Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Day In Day Out, My Tear Stained Face Pressed Against My Window Pane I Search The Sky, Well Desperately For Rain"~The Temptations

Because maybe if it was raining, at least the snow would stop. We can all talk about how quickly last weekend's snow was melting, but for true snow melting performance, it needs to stop snowing. It needs to stop. It just does.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"For Destruction Ice Is Also Great And Would Suffice"

The snowfall we had yesterday broke several records, as you can see here. That's a lot of snow, I don't care who you are. Here's something interesting. By the way, I can hear you saying "I'll be the judge of that."
The snow was so deep, and heavy, that light coming up from the depths was blue like a glacier, or a mailman having to walk in it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot*

Do you ever have mornings when you can't remember what day it is when you first wake up? And then, sometimes, you can't remember why it would matter anyway? The chances are five out of seven that it's a work day, and about 50/50 that, here at least, it's going to be snowing.
They are predicting storm totals of up to two feet of snow by tomorrow afternoon. Hold on, if I have batteries for the camera I'll take a picture right now. There, see what I mean?

*Using the phonetic letter code here, Whiskey refers to weather, and Tango and Foxtrot are dances; we're dancing with snowflakes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

RTFM

Apparently that acronym is intended to remind people to always check the documentation before asking for help. I know that I have always glided right over the part of the instructions that say how to adjust the clips on my pedals. I finally did adjust them, and for once, feel a little confidence that I might not fall off my bike. That will probably last until I fall off my bike.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end;"

Yesterday, some people, apparently everyone in the city with a bike, rode out on the trail from Anchorage to Eagle River. It was a glorious day and a delightful ride.
Today was another pretty day, and I thought, after work, to ride around in town for awhile, but the trails were still slush and the roads, after the eleventh snowiest winter on record, were still covered in gravel and dust.
It was a brief unpleasant ride, which in times to come, I think will serve me pretty well as an epitaph. Of course, in our family epitaphs are more a pretty idea than a stone monument, since we tend to find ourselves reduced to ashes and then thrown in a lake.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance or Can't I All Just Get Along?

Since at least 1957, scientists have believed that people make decisions and then rationalize them afterwards. They have had a lot of good reasons for thinking this, although, they may have thought of them after the fact.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Weaponized Yogurt

I just heard that in Denver, you have to poke yogurt with a fork before opening it because it's under so much pressure compared to the high altitude atmospheric pressure that it will spray all over. If we ever have a base on the moon, and it's attacked, we could just throw yogurt at them. Or if we were really desperate, sour cream.
For years, we've complained at the Postal Service that we couldn't set our own rates, that we had to go through the Postal Board of Governors. In the postal reform that was passed recently we finally got that right. It was like giving a child a gun. Now no one knows what it costs to mail a letter. The window clerks use a Ouija board, and the rest of us just make stuff up. All we know for sure is, next month, the rates are going up.
I don't know if you've noticed, but lately this blog has been sort of an ineffectual rant about health care. One of my customers today was at least as upset as I was. He brought up McCain's health care policies. I said I really admire McCain, but I couldn't believe he was offering a gas tax holiday, that was such a horrible idea, that we shouldn't be incentivizing (what a horrid made-up word) gas consumption. But then, I realized, hey wait a minute, one "talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner " to a customer.

Friday, April 18, 2008

“This sort of puts the spotlight on the greed angle of the business,” said Dr. Robert R. Clancy

In case the quote above didn't make it clear, here's another article about insurance companies, including our own Caremark and Medco. It seems that sometimes they're the exclusive distributors for expensive drugs. When they become the only distributors, the prices inexplicably skyrocket. As one executive explained, "We did some market research,” Mr. Cartt said. Talking to pediatric neurologists and others about various pricing options “gave us some comfort that the strategy would work, and physicians would continue to use the drug, and payers would pay,” he said. “The reality was better than we expected.”

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Calling Dr. Leonard, Calling Dr. Leonard

Yesterday we got only two magazines. One was from the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, and the other from AARP.
I'm the hip, happening, cool dad, who listens to edgy singers like the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, so why I am I getting some old guy's mail?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April in Paris, Just Like April in Anchorage Except For The Snowblindness

Now that I've cleared up a long standing misunderstanding with my daughter (there are both fresh and salt water angelfish) I realize I probably misunderstood something my father said. He must not have said the snow is always gone by the 15th of April, but that it always snows on the 15th.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Abandon All Hope, That's a Good First Step

This morning I was meditating on despair because my newest Centro was lying dead in my arms, and then it started to snow. It turned out, though, that I wasn't really meditating, so much as feeling sorry for myself.
When I got home, my Centro had revived; I felt good again. But then, a trip to the pharmacy, another $700. gone and the snow started to stay.
I know this insight isn't very deep, but in April no forecast should include the word "accumulation".

Monday, April 14, 2008

New York Times Reports That Health Insurance Companies Are Horrible Monsters, Like That's News

The New York Times reported yesterday that unlike Karen, some lucky bastards are still getting coverage for expensive drugs. Under new programs called Tier 4, and Tier 5, the insurance companies now pay almost nothing for expensive drugs, compared to the actual nothing she gets.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

“Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, "I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway."”

That Maya Angelou quote has almost nothing to do with this post, except they both contain the word snow. Oh, seeing the word "contain" reminds me, I meant to say, doesn't the letter "C" seem like an English-speakers' affectation? It's sort of like showing off. "We have so many letters we have extras we don't even need. De todas formas,
According to a phone book I read as a kid, Anchorage sits on a broad alluvial plain. On one side is Cook Inlet. To the east, on the opposite side of the city from the water is the front range of the Chugach Mountains. The weather is usually much more extreme near the mountains and milder near the water. The official weather station for the city is very close to the water. Given the wildly varying snow totals from yesterday's storm, I'm wondering if the snow gauge is inside the station.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer, NOT

This winter started in 2007, so it's already in its second year. So far this month we've had 12 inches of snow. I've been alternating between stoicism and rage. Part of the time, I'm all "It's just doing it for attention, don't let it see that you're upset," and the other part of the time, I'm letting it see.
Since I didn't go for a planned bicycle ride on Saturday (see above) I spent some time turning snippets of songs into ring tones for my new phone. Afterwards, I realized that since no one ever calls me, it was kind of a waste of time. However, it just goes to show you, or maybe it's, you never can tell, anyway, I got two phone calls today.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Let a Smile Be Your Snow Shovel, You Cock-Eyed Optimist

If it's true that over time, stock markets rise, the standard of living and longevity go up, while the price of ever better technology goes down (I'm typing this on my phone) then pessimists must always be disappointed. And we are.
For example, I've got time to type this on my phone because we're waiting for the doctor who ditched us on Friday, my day off. Because the latest appointment they'll make is half past three (it's half past instead of 3:30 because I couldn't find the colon, obviously I have now, but the semicolon is still missing) I had to take time off from work to sit here; here, where it's well after 4.
For another thing it's snowing.
Okay, now I'm home; the doctor finally did come in. She did some stuff, then I asked what she had done to support our appeal. She said, "This is the first I've heard of it."

Monday, April 07, 2008

I Don't Think Even a One-Horse Open Sleigh Would Have Helped

This morning, any hope I had for a timely spring was dashed in the snow. Although, as the sun rose higher and higher, hope did climb back up the precipice. The Weather Service forecasts an overnight low in the teens...

Today, starting with the moose in the back yard, I was waiting for just one thing, anything, to go right.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

"That corpse you planted last year in your garden, Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?"~Eliot

Well, fine then, April is the cruelest month. Last week I was wearing shoes to deliver mail and telling people I was going to stop riding on studs (on my tires, don't get all SPCA on me). Yesterday it started to snow, and stick, and today it's completely winter again.

In our ongoing series of ineffectual rants about citizens being marginalized by a government that subordinates them to corporations, let me offer this article. So, okay, socialized medicine is bad. But substituting corporations for government isn't so hot either. A medical chart shouldn't have a line for net profit.

By the way, since Karen's feet were on the ground the other day when the doctor was hitting her with a hammer, we couldn't figure out what reflex the doctor was testing. Since he'd never seen her before, I think it was a test to see if Karen was a drug seeking addict, or a pain patient. She passed the test when she reflexively began to cry.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Mengele Clinic

When I was in the ninth grade, I said that the assistant principal was like a nazi. My very scary French teacher went completely mad. She didn't just teach French, she was French. During the Second World War, she had been in a concentration camp, her wrist was tattooed, and she knew nazis. So, I know that comparing the doctor Karen saw today to Dr. Mengele, is bound to offend, and after reading the Wikipedia entry, I'm offended myself.
Still, it's a convenient shorthand for a torturous visit. After we had waited for over an hour past her appointment, we were told that her doctor had left and we would have to see whoever was still there. He listened to Karen tell him that her legs hurt so badly that she couldn't sleep and without her oral meds, she could never get relief. Oh, wait, did I tell you that we did buy a small number of her meds last week? They cost $400. for a few days supply.
Okay, so the doctor listens to Karen and then he gets a hammer out of a drawer, and approaches Karen who is complaining about the agony in her legs, and he hits her several times in the legs. Then while she cried in the corner, he did write her a prescription for her meds. He wrote it for thirty. I told him that I couldn't afford to buy that many since last week fifteen cost her that $4oo I was telling you about. But, oops, I was wrong. When I took the prescription for the fifteen that he wrote to the pharmacy, it was $600. I asked why it had gone up fifty percent in a week, he told me that she only got ten last week.
But, at least her regular doctor has sent all that information to Blue Cross so we can stop spending $1000 a week. Just kidding, one of the things the doctor was planning on talking to us about today, if she had stuck around, we found out, was whether we wanted her to mail in the records we had begged her to mail in.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

This Post Is Just a "Proof of Life" and Just Barely That

The vinyl is laid, the transition strips are down (although, I never did remember whatever it was that was so cute about them, probably something about transitioning something into something else or something) floors have been Swiffed and the Wii is hooked up. I played a quick game, and now I'm blogging. Either we're done, or, and this is more likely, we have very low standards.