Showing posts from July, 2007

Bureaucracy, or, How to Kill a Person's Soul Slowly and Without Remorse

I get a little frustrated at times.Issue 1Calling today to continue the immigration processes. I needed to talk with each of my doctors and request a medical history that I could take with me to the Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP) for the Canadian government. All three of my doctor’s offices open at 8 am or later, are open until 5 pm or earlier, and take a lunch break from 12-2 pm. Wish I could get such great hours.The first place I call the medical records person is out or on the line and I leave a detailed message—no problem. Second place I call, the medical records person has no idea what I’m asking for (???) and transfers me to my doctor’s secretary. I explain that I need a letter or brief history explaining my medical condition while she’s been my doctor (for 12 years, btw). The woman tells me that my doctor is out of the offices until August 15. I say, “So?” She says, “Well, I can’t request it until then.” I repeat, “So?” She asks, “So you still want it?” I answer with, “W…

Another Trip... Another Story

This trip I went with a different strategy. Normally, I fly Thursday night on the red-eye, arriving mid-Friday and exhausted. Then I fly out on the 6am flight and get back to Irvine around noon to two in the afternoon. This time I flew all day on Friday, taking an early morning flight from LAX and then I chose a 4 pm flight for my trip back.

I already posted the brief story of the delay I encountered on the trip up to Canada.

After our usual tearful goodbyes, I boarded the plane from SJ and was seated next to a young boy, Travis, who was taking his first ever flight. He had the plastic necklace with the paperwork and information he needed to get where he was going (he is 12 and going to Toronto to catch a bus to St. George for a camp. Apparently did it through Tim Horton's, Canada's equivalent of Starbuck's Coffee). It was odd answering all of his question, watching his delight at takeoff and landing, and his amazement of flying over the Great Lakes and other parts of the t…


M made an appointment for me to get my immigration photos done today at a local travel agency. While there, the man mentioned that his son is living in Irvine, CA! His wife had just returned from visiting their son about a week ago-- shortly after I arrived in SJ from there! Isn't that a strange coincidence that two people would find a common thread from all the way across the continent?

Anyway, one more thing to check off the list for Immigration. I still need to get my medical appointment (which is the doozy) and a letter back from the FBI and we can finish up the paperwork and file.

Odds and Ends

Loving my time here, as I always do. We have dinner tonight with her father's side of the family and I'm going out with two friends to see Transformers finally afterward. I bet that it would be 45 days before Lindsay Lohan was caught doing anything. I was off by about 40 days.Volver is an odd movie. Not bad, but I guess I don't like how the Spanish tell their stories. I felt it could have been made clearer and more involving. Started reading Harry Potter. Good, so far.Why can't we get Holmes on Homes on the West Coast? Great show!Speaking of HP, the fifth movie is quite good. I enjoyed it nearly as much as Azkaban, my other favorite in the series so far. Still don't understand why they released it in the summer, where it won't do nearly the business it could (history has proven this already with Azkaban). We got the tuxes fitted and ordered. Some paperwork filled out with Father John and sent off. And some purchases and ideas done for the wedding.Hunters level …


I suddenly felt a quick, sharp pain in my pinky finger yesterday and I looked down and the fingernail was hanging by a thread and was torn straight across from one side to the other well into the pink section. The tiny little bit of the nail that is still attached has blood welling under it from where the nail is no longer attached to the skin.

A little hard to take a clear picture of one's own finger. Hopefully this gives an idea of the damage done, when viewed in comparison to the nail next to it.

Since I type daily, hourly as both my job and as part of my entertainment, having this nail come off in such a dramatic way is a bit disconcerting. The now tender area where the nail used to be hits on everything and even air blowing across it is a new, interesting sensation.

This makes the second time in a few months where something like this has occurred. A few weeks ago I looked down and noticed that half of one of my toenails was broken and that, too, went well into the pink area and …

A Good Step

M's dad called and asked if I was on a vacation-vacation or a working-vacation. If I was on a real vacation, he wanted me to come with him up to the cottage and see it as well as help him with some minor chores up there.

Unfortunately, I had to beg off because I'm here on a working vacation and had to do my job during the time he was going to be gone. It is nice that her dad likes me enough to ask this. I guess I made an impression when I "helped" him on the sump pump project.

M's mother asked after me when M picked her up at the airport earlier. Maybe the ice is melting a little there, too?

Die Hard

M and I went to see Live Free or Die Hard on Sunday. A decent film with a lot of exactly what you are looking for in a Die Hard film. However, there were a few things that were annoying or a bit over the top.

First, the intro was too long. The entire scene with his daughter could have been summed up with one or two lines of dialogue; i.e., "Yeah, my daughter is in New York. She hates my guts these days, but I still look after her." Boom-- no six minutes of a stupid scene where he pulls a boyfriend of his car during a make-out session with the daughter and then an argument with the daughter.

Next, while I appreciated that a majority of the stunts were done "live" (i.e., without CGI or using minimal CGI), those that did use CGI were fairly obvious. M and I both felt pulled out of the movie seeing such obviously CGId scenes. As she put it, if you are going to spend money on the CGI, you should spend enough to make it look believable.

Further, M had a problem with the pl…

Travel Story

Flying on Friday the 13th, I wondered if I would have any jinxes show up. And, of course, frequent visitors to the blog will recollect my many other travel stories without it being a cursed day.

Canada is considered an international flight and, therefore, services like Super Shuttle try to get you there the mandatory 3 hours early-- even when you are already checked in, have printed out your tickets, and have no baggage to check. The gentleman driving the Super Shuttle got to my place right at 5:40 am, the very beginning of my 15 minute window. He then proceeded to go to the next stop by what can only be described as a "roundabout" method. After a couple of u-turns, we reached the next person's home, picked her up, and continued. Luckily, the next home, an elderly couple, was close by. However, he banged two more u-turns getting there, as well.

He finally got us to LAX and, just like last time, even though I told him I could be dropped off at the security check area inste…

Dangerous Driving Habits

I have a lunch buddy at work, Dorothy. She's a really nice woman with whom I get along fairly well and who has a wicked sense of humor. She also likes fast cars and is overly opinionated. Makes for interesting conversations.

Yesterday, while driving to IHOP for lunch (one of our favorite destinations), we spotted a fast car on the road. She got so excited that she actually pressed down on my right knee to force me to speed up! I was, as you can imagine, a little surprised by this. She didn't recognize what it was and wanted to get closer so she could see it and figure it out.

Well, we did catch up to it at a stop light and saw it was a Diablo (Lamborghini model). She oohed and aahed over it until the lights turned green and away we went.

I then teased her the rest of the lunch about her pressing my leg down to speed me up. "The audacity!" I said. "How reckless!" I extolled. We had a good laugh about it.

Today, while leaving Gina's, there was a Lotus park…

Bridge to Terabithia

When I sat down to watch Bridge to Terabithia, I thought I was watching a Narnia-esque style story about two children who create an imaginary world that somehow comes to life. A movie about what happens to them there and how they become the heroes of the world.

What I found was a story about dysfunctional families, loss, growth, and rebirth.

Jesse is the only son in a family with four girls. The dad (Robert Patrick, in a surprisingly deep and moderated performance) is a bit of a hard ass because his family is living right on the edge; his job and the meager farming they do is barely keeping the family fed. He wants a manly son, but Jesse is interested in art and things creative. The father-son bond is strained and neither can understand the other's perspective.

Next door in moves free-spirited Leslie, who is a cute girl who is also creative, from a functional family of other creative people (both her parents are writers).

Jesse and Leslie's first meeting doesn't go very well, …

A Little Disconcerting

I got my Live Scan fingerprints done today, and the form sent off to the California DOJ. While doing so, the fingerprint specialist needed to type my address into the system. When I reviewed what he typed, he asked, "Heard some trouble in your area the other day?"

"Yes, there were a lot of sirens a couple of days ago. I never did find out why."

"Murder," he responded.

"Man," I said.

What do you say to that? It is a little startling to find out that your normally very well protected and safe neighborhood has had a heinous crime within blocks of where you live. Now, granted, we still rank as one of the top 2 safest cities in the country in heinous crimes (last stat I can find says we are the #1 safest, but a news report on channel 5 said that another city was, so I don't know), but it shakes your confidence to know one happened so close by.

The question I have to ask is this-- did it happen on the other side of Jamboree? Because everyone knows th…

One Week to Go

I desperately need another stint with my lady. One week from today I will be on my way there (leaving my apartment at quarter to 6 am (PST) with a planned arrival time in SJ at 11:30 pm (AST)).

I'm taking my suit with me, as there are two weddings I'm supposed to attend with her while I'm there; her friends Chris and Suzy the following Saturday and then her friend Regan the Saturday after that (M is the MOH for that wedding). And, as always, I have to work while I'm there, so the work laptop has to go.

Super Shuttle is prepped, the cat is looked after, work is ready for my physical absence. I still need to pack and prep for the actual trip, but otherwise I'm ready to go!

Time spent with your loved one is always time well-spent and I could use some of that about now.

The System Worked... This Time

A few posts ago I talked about the issue that cropped up where I couldn't get my medication delivered due to a problem with my doctor's office. Now that everything is resolved, I waited to hear back from PrecisionRX to schedule the new delivery. When I didn't hear back yesterday (I ignored Wednesday, being a national holiday) I was determined to call today and get that scheduled. I was hopeful that I could get it delivered tomorrow, as tomorrow will mark the second week since the last time I took my arthritis medications.

This became especially important as today I woke up with some swelling in my left foot, my knees and wrists sore, and my back stiff. I'm happy that it took this long before the problems cropped up, as it tells me I do have a generous leeway if I have to go without my meds again. But I also want to get the next injection so I can clear up the soreness now and get back to being mostly pain free.

It took about 20 minutes before I got an agent. I explaine…


1. Had doctor's appointment today. Was calm as I brought up the issues. Doctor claimed he was unaware of it, but apologized for it and had his staff call the RX company to get things going again. Now I have to call them back and schedule the delivery.

A. Addendum note: my last visit to my other doctor brought up extremely low lymphocytes (primarily used in immune system) and high glucose. Lymphocytes were about 150 below the minimum range and glucuse was about 25 points above maximum range number. Neither doctor is immediately concerned at this moment about the glucose, although it could lead to diabetes so will be monitored. Lymphocytes is more of a concern, as it means my immune system sucks worse than usual right now (my scores are generally low, but within range, for this test due to my various medications). If it stays low or if one of my other related test results suddenly spike, immediate action will be taken. This doctor did a quick blood analysis in the office and my resu…


So I scheduled my next month's worth of Enbrel to arrive on Friday, June 29, as I am taking the medication every Saturday. I get a call on Friday from PrecisionRX that they cannot send it to me as my doctor has denied the prescription "... until you see him for a follow up."

This is, plain and simple, blackmail. My doctor, contrary to the Hippocratic Oath, is saying, "If you want to continue to feel good, you must come see me." Since I am gearing up for another trip to Canada, this comes at a horrible time and has thrown a monkey wrench into the works.

If the doctor needed me to be seen, I can think of a bunch of different ways he could have made that a lot more clear to me prior to it coming down to this Mexican standoff. For example:
He could have made it much, much clearer at the time of my last appointment that this would be the result. He could have provided me with a simple document that stated this would be the result.He could have allowed the prescriptio…

Parenting Principles

Disclaimer: I'm not a parent and I don't babysit. So my understanding of how to rear a child is entirely from how I was reared, what I see, and what my common sense tells me.

I went to the nearby Albertsons today. While in the checkout line, the little boy in front of me was playing with the cord they use to block off the closed aisles. I don't know his age, but he barely came up to my waist, so I'm guessing around 4-5. The cord is long, black, and stretches pretty far. His dad told him, "You be careful with that. Don't let go or you'll hit that man there."

The child continued to play with it and, inevitably, let it go and it snaked back and hit me in the groin. Luckily, the snap on it wasn't strong and it didn't hurt.

The man went ape. First he yelled at his child, "What did I tell you? You apologize to that man right now!" He kept yelling that until a crying child walked up to me and just sort of looked at me. Something came out, no…