Thursday, July 22, 2004

A new meaning to "elective surgery"

3 Accused of $97-Million Rent-a-Patient Scheme...Authorities say that more than 5,000 people, from August 2002 to April 2003, were taken to the Unity Outpatient Surgery Center, where they underwent procedures they didn't need, including colonoscopies and surgeries for hemorrhoids, pain management and sweaty palms.
Blogger's spellecheck wanted to replace 'colonoscopies' with 'salonkeepers.'

p.s. The self-loathing episode has passed. Phew.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

What computer pros listen to, by job type

developers are headbangers, microsoft certified pros are britney fans, and management goes for mozart. linux users tend toward electronica, and security goes for the dead.
via slashdot.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

lightening up with black humor

i was watching "i love the 90's" last night, a show that recaps the pop culture events of a particular year. the year in question was 1997, the year in which 39 members of the heaven's gate cult killed themselves in an attempt to rendez-vous with the spaceship they believed was trailing the Hale Bopp comet. all the cult members were dressed alike when they were found, including identical pairs of black nike sneakers. trey parker was commenting on this on the tv show. trey parker is the co creator and everything-er of South Park. i met someone who was a friend of his in high school who told me that trey had been my neighbor when i lived on brook forest road in evergreen colorado as a kid. so i was predisposed to like him. but his comment about heaven's gate slayed me: "what's tragic about that? dying in the hospital with tubes sticking out of you? that's tragic. go out in sneaks thinking you're going up in a spaceship? genius."

2 days, 18 hours and 22 minutes of self loathing

thursday i had class in the morning and the end of program banquet in the evening. i went home in the afternoon to buy dog food. i napped at home and woke up 20 minutes before i had to leave. i fed mac, did a few things around the house, and then left for school at around 5:40pm. i was headed east with rush hour traffic. i merged with slow traffic, which gradually sped up. i could see the traffic in my lane up ahead a little bit through the windows of the suburban in front of me. i watched the faster lane to my left in my mirror. when it looked plausible, i turned to see how fast traffic was approaching. it looked ok, so i sped up as i was turning forward and i hit the car in front of me hard. i'm guessing i was going 15 miles an hour and he was going about 5. the guy was really nice, although we were both shook up. my neck has been sore, but it feels much better today. i have a bruise the size of an orange on my leg. his bumper and back doors (it's the kind of suburban with two side-by-side barn doors in the back) are damaged. we've handed it off to insurance.

i feel like a complete idiot. when i rear-ended the little toyota (in february or march i think), the problem was a combination of impatient driving in heavy traffic and my miscalculation of scout's stopping distance. i was almost stopped by the time i hit the toyota. i felt like an idiot, but i could see what happened. here, i have no idea besides bad judgment. in hindsight, i should have just stayed in the lane i was in. i generally don't like to do that because there's lots of merging in and out of that lane because of the closely spaced exits through glendale. it's not one of the terrible highway areas that i am especially vigilant about on my regular drive - i don't usually drive that direction in rush hour. i'm immeasurably grateful that the other driver and i weren't hurt worse than we were (he said his neck was sore too) and that i'm moving across the street from school. did the stress of buying a home, firing my realtor, and teaching contribute? did the fact that i had a meltdown earlier that day about how disappointed i was about how the yess program was organized contribute? sure, but everyone has bad days and times of high stress. i really don't know what to do to address this. these are the only two traffic accidents i've caused in my life, and they are 5 months or less apart and they happened within 1/2 mile of each other, on opposite sides of the highway. they're both rear-end collisions while changing lanes. should i take a defensive driving course? in this case i don't think the collision would have been avoided if i wasn't in scout. scout was undamaged. i think if i had had a better seat belt i wouldn't have slid forward and banged up my leg. it's my experience that factory installed seat-belts keep you tightly in your seat. in this case i think the lap belt was a little high. also, it might have helped to have a higher headrest.

holly humorously suggests that the data supports my keeping scout. if i'm going to keep rear ending people, she says, at least only one car is being damaged in the process.

i'm really annoyed at myself, and it shows up in my dreams. the morning after the collision, i dreamed that i had a car that i couldn't control, and it rolled into people. i dreamed that in two separate dreams. this morning i had a dream that some guy (a stranger) didn't like my haircut. it's too long for you, can't you tell that? he said.

roberta suggested that i schedule a time for getting out all my annoyance with myself. not only was i not successful in postponing the onset of the annoyance, but i seem unable to shut it off. i guess it will pass in time. teaching is over, so maybe i'll start to feel less stressed. escrow closes next monday. i'm worried that everything won't be ready. ok, maybe stress won't decrease any time soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

My realtor, Lu Gordon

I realized that she reminds me of the fairy godmother in Shrek.

We thought you'd be interested because...

Roberta went to the Amazon site the other day. Here's what she read:
My Life was released today; We thought you'd be interested because you bought Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. An exhaustive, soul-searching memoir, Bill Clinton's My Life is a refreshingly candid look at the former president as a son, brother, teacher, father, husband, and public figure....
Tearoom Trade is a commonly assigned sociology classic about fieldwork on the phenomenon of men who have sex with men but mostly live lives of married heterosexuals, which is interesting enough. But what connects it to My Life? Impersonal Sex in Public Office? If it was a goal of Amazon to titillate or provoke, I think they succeeded.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Zuma Beach and Spiderman 2

sunday jason and i went to zuma beach. i had a crappy morning before that - holly and i had taken the dogs to the park and her kouzo attacked mac. i think beast is physically ok, since i couldn't find any cuts or anything on him. he was stressed and nervous. poor baby. then i went home and felt too exhausted to plan a beach day, especially if it was going to be crowded and traffic would be bad. i lay on the couch and felt sorry for myself. i had been playing phone tag with my realtor, planning to fire her when i talked to her. the suspense was killing me, and i was unhappy already, so i called her again. the conversation went as well as it could have from my end. we agreed that her manager would handle the rest of the sale. i called roberta, for the 40th time that weekend, and she commiserated. i started feeling better. jason and i made plans to go to the beach.

glendale was hot, but by the time we got to santa monica, it was overcast and cool. we went past malibu to zuma beach, and the weather was perfect. when we got there we went for the parking lot, but then decided to get some deli sandwiches. when we got back to the parking lot, it was closed. we crawled along a small road with a million other cars. we passed a very small space which the jason's subcompact car surprisingly fit in. so we parked right next to the beach for free. we laid around eating for a while, then put all the stuff in the car and went for a walk. around 5, we headed back into the city and went to see spiderman 2. we went to the vista theater, which is awesome. i didn't like the movie hardly at all though. it was heavy handed and slow. j.k. simmons stole the movie as the owner of the bugle.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

congrats to sam

when i was doing a rotation in richard andersen's lab at caltech, i was working with sam musallam. he published an article in science this week (subscription only, sorry), which he mentioned would also be covered in the wall street journal. but most importantly, it was mentioned on metafilter! here's an article in new scientist that's publicly available. sam's going to be looking for a job soon, and i think this will be great (flash) for him.

useful, hopefully

i have had a couple extra gmail invitations for a while. i heard about, which connects people with invites to military folks who want accounts. after i registered with them, i didn't hear anything for a while. yesterday i got two requests, and now i've sent off the invitations. the activity might be due to this article in the stars and stripes.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Homeowners Association Minutes

I'm reviewing the minutes from the past year's meetings. Here's my favorite entry:
Extracted over 100lbs of honey from outer stairwell - area was infested with swarms of bees.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Can you hear me now?

As were others, I was amused when Maria Sharapova couldn't get the cell phone to work when she tried to call her mom by cell phone immediately after winning Wimbledon. I'm waiting to hear who the provider is. It's crying out for a television commercial: Sharapova standing in the middle of the court on the phone, saying "Hi mom. I can hear you fine now. I switched to [brand]."

Geek Chic

on our hike, jason has been explaining that by studying math in college that he didn't get ahead in the way that one would be studying physics, but he didn't fall behind by studying biology.

me: this is the rating system in the weird geek-chic world?
jason: there's no need to preface that with "weird."
me: you're right, it's redundant.
jason: that's not what i mean.

format after mightygirl.

To do: Buy house

This is a reminder I scheduled in April. I'm so happy about the progress I've made and hopeful that completion is near.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Climbing Mt. Wilson

Jason and I hiked from Sierra Madre to Mt. Wilson today. I took this picture from near the top. We came didn't come up via the valley pictured, but a similar valley to its left. The hike was 7 3/4 miles, with a 4100 foot elevation gain. It was great and exhausting. I stopped a million times. The first hour and a half was hot and steep, with little shade and a fair number of people. The rest was varyingly steep, but often pretty, shaded and wooded. I had blisters on both heels, but they weren't too painful. I'll have to wear open-backed sandals for a few days. It took us 4 hours and 45 minutes. I sweated profusely and drank about 2 liters of water. My clothes and backpack are covered with salt from my sweat. It was sunny and in the low 80s.

Every day I see Mt. Wilson from campus. It looks huge and impossible tall and far away. Believing it was climbable was mentally challenging. I'm usually not one to do something because it's there, as if the presence of a challenge is inherently motivating, but in this case I was.

Before the hike we spend about an hour and a half shuttling a car to the top and then coming back down to the bottom. We agreed that this is onerous. Also, I generally don't like hiking on the Los Angeles side of the mountains, because the smog impairs my breathing and is ugly. Also, the view (at least for the first while) is the city. There were many reasons we didn't want to repeat this hike. Now we won't have to.

The hike is similar to the below link. It has a different starting place and travels mostly on footpaths, not roads. The views and flora are much the same.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

A fool's audience is soon amused

The below quote seems to have been written by a young white guy. Between his use of the term "pansy" and his assertion that he is a "red-blooded, masculine man of the male gender," we note that he seems a bit defensive. Nevertheless, we (lest you think I'm using the royal we, be assured that I mean my condo-approved (yes! It's true!) dog and I) are amused and impressed and may even contribute to the inevitable burn reconstruction fund.
Like any red-blooded, masculine man of the male gender, I love PVC weaponry. You should too. If the concept of heading on down to the local Home Depot and transforming $100 worth of random pipe bits into a killing machine doesn't appeal to you, you're a goddamn pansy. Also, you're probably sane and will live significantly longer than I will. Nonetheless you disgust me, and I take comfort in the knowledge that your obituary will be nowhere near as humorous as mine. For those of you who laugh in the face of hypersonic shards of plastic puncturing your spleen, here’s an intimate look at how I've kept myself busy for the past week: building a PVC flamethrower.

Friday, July 02, 2004

renaissance gastrulation

after a rough night, i stayed home today. i've decided that vomiting is like the body trying to undo gastrulation. gastrulation is the process by which a spherical embryo develops a tube which becomes the gastrointestinal tract. i'm not sure if it was stress or food, but there is some food i'll never eat again. being sick in that way is so unpleasant. i could never be bulimic. bad dog makes it look not so terrible. maybe he just doesn't feel sorry for himself the way i do.

mary carillo was talking about maria sharapova saying that she (maria) was a renaissance woman. with an implied preface of "i mean really," mary said, "she's 17 and she plays tennis and models."

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Dog? What dog?

i had a hellish day today on the real estate front. i went to the apartment for the inspection. it turns out that the sellers didn't know that my moving in was contingent on mac being welcome. it also was revealed that the by-laws limit dogs in the condo to one dog under 25 lb per condo. the by-laws also forbid children under 14 (of which there are many in the complex). the realtors had a fight over who had dropped the ball. luckily the sellers are smart and competent people and we negotiated directly. they found the vice president of the homeowners' association who has two dogs and another member of the HOA who has a large dog. i might not get the assurance in writing, but if i talk with these two and feel reassured, that will be enough for me.