Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Now THAT is what I call teamwork

She-who-does-not-do-well-with smoke has developed some respiratory issues surrounding the fires. We have returned home, but she has something of a chest infection and is losing her voice. Also, her patience. The night before last, we were trying to get the kids to bed. Josh was not getting out of the tub so she raised her voice to let him know she meant business. He got out before she got to three. Maya was not getting in bed after being told multiple times. She was told very sternly to do so. I gave Josh his clothes but he was dawdling getting dressed when she went to check on him. "Josh," she said, "I'm losing my voice and don't want to shout at you. Can you please get dressed?" He was sympathetic to her plight. "Want me to do the shouting for you, Mommy?"

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Lighthearted Update

Nothing has really changed firewise since the last update. Our house is still inside the fire perimeter but not burning. We are still unable to find a few of our friends. Most of Escondido is still evacuated, but not all of it. The main change is that some of the rest of the city is coming back to life. My office is open and I am working remotely reading requirements specs. People are returning to their homes as the Santa Ana winds have died down. The air quality is still incredibly poor. So, no point in rehashing that further. Let me tell you about my nephew.

Ian is seven months younger than Josh. My sister and brother-in-law had been keeping him away from the news because they don't want to freak him out. Well, they had been watching PBS when the news came on. They figured PBS news would probably not be too upsetting, but they led in with the fires. And he saw them and picked up that they were in California.

Ian: Mommy, are those fires?
Sam: Yes, they are.
Ian: In California?
Sam: Yes.
Ian: Doesn't Uncle Bri live there?
Sam: That's why Daddy and I have been watching the news.
Ian: Does Uncle Bri have tools?
Sam: (hesitantly) I'm sure he has some...
Ian: Oh, that's all right then. Uncl Bri can just build them a new house.

So, at least he is not worried. And he has an inflated sense of my abilities. But, just now I can live with that.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Settling in to Evacuee Mode

Wednesday night and the Sox are up 4-1! Oh, and our home is still in fire danger. Some people are being allowed to move back in and the winds have died down a bit, but that has caused things to shift. We still have some friends that are unaccounted for, but by and large our community is safe. If you look at this map you can see the latest estimates of fire perimeter. It also shows active and controlled burns. To see our house, check the box next to zip code 92027. Zoom out 1 level. Then center the screen on the red homes near Oak Hill cemetery. Roseann Ave is NNW of there. We are just inside the red shaded area, which is inside the estimated fire zone. With any luck, the shifting winds will turn it back from us. More tomorrow. But since I can't do anything about it, I am trying to avoid the news stations and focus on locating friends. That and watching the Red Sox. From in Denver.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Still Safe - Update II

The situation at home is still very much in flux. After spending a night in Long Beach and looking at the various places north, south, and west of us that were burning, we decided we needed to get out of California. The air quality is too bad for us. I'm having trouble breathing, and if we stayed much longer, she-who-has-dipped-into-her-emergency-supply-of-prednisone may have been headed for an ER trip. So we used priceline to find the cheapest fare to family and ended up with the Denver folks. We are staying at the Fairfield Inn in Southeast Denver. There is no truth to the rumor that we chose Denver so we could see a World Series game. In fire news, our neighborhood has thus far been spared, but the fire to the north and the fire to the south of us are supposed to merge tomorrow. The largsest fire is still only 1 percent contained. More as I know it.

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We're Safe

For those who have seen the fires and are wondering what is going on, we are safe. We've been evacuated, but as far as we can tell, our neighborhood is not in the current fire path. As long as the winds don't change, we should still have a home once the fires are contained. We have evacuated from two locations and are currently in Long Beach. However, there are fires to the north of us, just above LA, and to the south of us in San Diego. We'll llikely be on the move again today as we try to get out of the smoke zone. The particulate count in the air is six times normal and we are all feeling it in our respiratory systems. I'll post more when I can. If you want to see the information we look for locally, here are a couple of good links.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Funny Goes to Eleven

There's a website called How it Should Have Ended. It takes shots at popular movies with lame endings. It also has a few melanges like the clip below which talks about alien invasion from the perspective of several popular movies.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Depends on Your Definition of Covered

Lets hear it for the health insurance industry! Hip-hip hooray! anyone interested in donating to my health bureaucracy telethon? Didn't think so. Why is that? Could it be that they spend countless dollars figuring out how to avoid paying you? Granted, they must save more than they spend otherwise all that would be left is perverse pleasure. And while perverse pleasure can be fun, it doesn't buy a Mercedes...

I got to talk to a "Customer Service" person yesterday. When I switched jobs, my health insurance switched. I still have most of the same doctors, but when you switch insurance, if you have recurring prescriptions you need "prior authorization" before refilling them. Now, pardon my ignorance, but if I show up at the pharmacy with a written prescription, isn't that prior authorization? I certainly didn't write the prescription myself! Someone had to authorize it before I filled it. My money is on the guy who signed it.

I walked into CVS after jumping through all the necessary hoops to get a couple written prescriptions I have been filling monthly for the last year at the same pharmacy. I handed over the new insurance card. The technician took down the information and explained that the doctor would have to authorize them to the insurance company. Apparently, they need a verbal from the doctor. His signature is not good enough. I imagine this is an attempt to talk the doctor into prescribing a cheaper, less effective medicine. I explained to the pharmacy that the aforementioned hoop jumping used up my buffer and that I was all out. I needed to pick the medicine up later that day. I gave them my cell and told them to call if there were any problems.

I was unable to get back that day, but they didn't call me. I had no reason to suspect anything was amiss. I sent she-who-was-going-to-near-there to pick it up on her way to get the kids at school. I know you will all be shocked to learn that they were not ready. What's more, the technician claimed to not have our insurance information. They were still waiting on authorization for one of the prescriptions and thought it could take up to three more days. But they weren't done. The prescription that was authorized had a maximum quantity of 1 per day. My prescription was for 1.5, so they couldn't fill that. They were able to get the prescription broken into two, though. I could have a prescription for a month's supply at one dosage and a month's supply at half dosage, though. I'd just have to make a co-pay for each.

She-who-was-now-late-picking-up-the-kids bounced the ball back into my court and said she would check back later. My job was to call the insurance company and ask them WTF? The conversation went something like this:

ME: So, why do I need the person who wrote the prescription to tell you that it is, in fact, his signature on it?
HER: It's just a medication that we need prior authorization on.
ME: So, the fact that I have been getting the same prescription filled every month for a year is not enough proof that it is authorized? Especially since he reauthorizes it every month?
HER: But WE have never talked to him.
ME: And you are worried the pharmacy is dishonest?
HER: No. We just need authorization.
ME: Beyond the written prescription on the special copy proof paper that only medical professionals have access to.
HER: Yes. He needs to call us.
ME: Because that is much harder to fake than the written prescription...
HER: I'm sorry, sir. But we need authorization.
ME: Well, I need medicine. And I can't wait another three to five days.
HER: Oh! The authorization just came in. The pharmacy should submit it again and it will be accepted.
ME: That's a fortuitous bit of timing.
ME: Now about the other prescription.
HER: Yes?
ME: Why is that not covered?
HER: It is covered, sir.
ME: No. A dose that has already proven ineffective for me is covered.
HER: I'm showing here that we authorized this...
ME: As two separate prescriptions. I have to pay two co-pays. One prescription has one strength pill and the other has the same pill at half the strength.
HER: (pleased that I get it) Yes, sir. Two prescriptions.
ME: But if it's the same medicine, it is not two prescriptions, is it?
HER: We only cover a quantity of thirty in each dose.
ME: So, if there were 4 different doses, I could pay 4 co-pays and get 30 of each?
HER: Well, you'd have to get your doctor to prescribe...
ME: And this doesn't strike you as bogus at all?
HER: What do you mean?
ME: If I'm taking the same thing at two different strengths, it really isn't two prescriptions. If I take an extra strength Tylenol and regular strength Tylenol, are those different medicines?
HER: Well, no, but...
ME: This is just a way of scamming me out of twenty-five bucks because you want to say that you cover something, but don't really want to cover it.
HER: It is covered, sir.
ME: Then why am I not paying one of the amounts listed on my card?
HER: There are quantity limits on...
ME: Right, right. Quantity limits.
*long silence*
ME: So, that's it, then?
*long silence*
ME: I guess I have to go pay two copays for my prescription.
HER: (happy to be back on script) That's correct, sir. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Why do they always offer more help when they haven't really given any help that could be added to?

ME: Yes. I would like you to relay a message to your superiors. I realize you were just doing your job, so I don't blame you for enforcing their rules. However, I'd like them to know that I do not like this insurance at all. I am going to change at my earliest opportunity. In fact, I am going to tell my company to drop you as a provider.

When she-who-went-back-for-the-meds returned. There were only two prescriptions and two co-pays. And the quantity was for one and a half tablets. :)

The evil part? We are about to do open enrollment at work. My insurance will change as of November 1st. We had already decided to ditch them. I had nothing to do with it. But it was fun pretending I had. :)

There you go, Bill. How's that?

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

I Guess You're Right

I dropped Josh off at before school care on my way to work on Friday and held out my arms for my customary goodbye hug. He ran at me full bore and bonked me in the gut with his forehead. "Hey! I wanted a hug, not a head butt!" Josh had a sensible answer. "That's not your butt, silly!"

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Funny X - The Unknown Funny

More classic comedy. I don't have much hope of beating most of you to the punch on the latest viral stuff. So, I have to think of what has amused me in the past and find it. This is a twist on the classic theme, as it is a classic comic on a contemporary show.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Very Innocent

This is a little dated already, but it stuck with me. For those of you who don't follow sports, the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden just had a huge sexual harassment judgment go against them. They need to pay a former employee $11.6 million dollars! Follow this link for the whole story or read on for my thoughts and excerpts. And for those out there who like to cast aspersions on the accuser, this woman, Anucha Browne Sanders, has some pretty impressive credentials. She was a vice president of marketing for the team and was making $250k per year. She was a respected college athlete as well. Her problem? She didn't like team president and former NBA great Isaiah Thomas calling her "bitch" or "ho"...

Apparently, Isaiah didn't like her initially and was abusive and degrading toward her. But he warmed up to her and then started hitting on her. She complained to team ownership and was fired. There's a lot of "He said, she said" in this case, but there are some things that are not in dispute. In deposition, Isaiah was asked if it as acceptable to curse at a woman in the workplace. That's a pretty easy question to answer. Unless you are an arrogant moron. He responded that "a white male calling a black female a bitch is highly offensive," Really? How about a black man calling a black woman a bitch? "Not as much." So, there's your credibility in a nutshell.

Don't worry, he was smooth on other issues as well. Isiah explained a controversial 2005 hug with Browne Sanders like this: "I went to give her a kiss on the cheek and she recoiled in such a way that it made me feel uncomfortable, and I said, 'What? No love today?'"

She also got some heat from at least one star player because she wouldn't break rules for him. When asked to remember a heated exchange with Browne Sanders after she wouldn't give him free tickets to a home game, Marbury made one thing clear: "I didn't call her a black bitch. I called her a bitch." Yeah. That can't have helped the case either.

With evidence like this, you have to wonder why they didn't settle out of court.

After the verdict, Isaiah asserted that he was "innocent. Very innocent." Is 'very innocent' like 'slightly pregnant' or 'most original'? When you have to add words to qualify your innocence, especially in light of the undisputed items above, you can just give it up. Admit you made a mistake and that you have a lot to learn and move on.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bullet Point Updates - A REAL Post!

I haven't posted anything of substance of late and if I wait until I post the updates to start posting new stuff, then the blog will remain a once-a-week funny clip server. That's no good. So, I'm going to give abridged updates on my life. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or in private mail.

  • I started a new-new-new job at the end of August. You read that right. I am on my third job since leaving Cymer. It has been a long, hard summer. Each of the three jobs I left, Cymer and the two others, I left of my own free will, but not necessarily on my own terms. Well, that's not true. The terms were my own; they were just not the choices I wanted to make. They were each better than the alternatives available to me at the time. I just wanted better alternatives.
  • Those events left me pretty depressed. Searching for a new job took up a lot of my free time, such as it was. I didn't take very good care of myself. As a result, I am in need of a weight loss jump start. So, I'm back on the program again. Eating well and exercising. I'm trying to keep my calories reasonable. With the whole "eat well and exercise" plan, I'm down 8.2 lbs in 3 weeks.
  • The new job rocks! I'll post more about it later, but I'm at a company called DivX. I'm a Senior White box Test engineer. We're called ourselves QA Developers since we bridge the gap between the two realms. The corporate philosophy is reminiscent of the early days at Foliage. The people are cool. I'm working with interesting technology. And they actually expect good things from me. It's a huge boost to my self-esteem.
  • Theater stuff is rocking again. I am now the Artistic Director of Patio Playhouse and am directing a fairly ambitious youth theatre production. We are working on "The Pirates of Penzance". We aren't doing the youth version, either. We are doing the full on show. So far, it is a great experience. She-who-is-a-great-complement-to-my-skills is my assistant director. We also have a kick butt music director and an amazing young choreographer. More as it develops.
  • I missed a lot of news stories that I wanted to comment on. Most of them are no longer topical. One that I feel I need to is Senator Craig. I know that there are very few people out there who are buying his lame ass story, but I was still bothered by it. His excuse for touching feet with the other guy is that he has a "wide stance". I don't care how long your legs are, the distance you can spread your legs is limited by the material at your waist, because that is what will be around your ankles. Try it. I couldn't get my legs close to the edge of my stall, never mind into the next one. So, his pants had to be up to pull off this stunt. So, there is no way he was using the stall for its intended purpose.
That's not all the news from Lake Wobegon, but it's a darn good start.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Funny IX - Number Nine. Number Nine. Number Nine...

Classic comedy from one of my favorite duos of all time. The video quality is not the best and the audio is slightly out of synch, but they still make me laugh today.

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