Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Institutional promiscuity

Can you recite to me how the U.S. Electoral College works?

Right. Why, then, is it so easy for a U.S. Senator to just switch parties....consequences include potentially reversing control of the U.S. Senate....preventing filibusters on key legislation....changing control of powerful sub-committees....reneging on implicit promises made to voters and financial supporters......

No legislative process. No bureaucratic hurdles. All completed simply by the spoken word.

Party-hoppin' is easy stuff, Arlen, so there's no need to assure us you're "full of vim vigor and vitality" - even if you are 79. However, a new photographer may help.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thank You For Smoking. Indeed

Let's face it: we are bombarded with spin at work, on the freeway, on the airwaves, on the web....so tonight, it was with profound....refreshment....that I was introduced to PureSmoker.com.

This unabashedly frank site essentially allows "users" (in the truest sense of the word) to freebase out those pesky cigarette impurities (=tobacco) so people can just cut to the chase to access the source of their addictions more directly.

Straight from the straight-shootin' site:
2. What is in the cartridge and this Vapor you inhale?
Three main ingredients make up this liquid (what some like to call ELiquid). They consist of:
Water: Cant survive without it. Its that substance you see covering 70+ percent of the earth
PG (Propylene Glycol): Considered generally food safe by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Its mainly used in flavoring extracts but can also be found in medicines, cosmetics, hand soap, etc…
Some Include Nicotine: Need I say more? I could go on for hours. The fact remains, NICOTINE IS ADDICTIVE.
You can't say you weren't warned!

A picture says a thousand tokes

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rock & Roll: source of all wisdom

My big revelation in the job search process was this:

"Negotiations" = asking for something.

Thing is, the banks already asked! The gvt gave, and wisely.

But now they want to "re-ask"?

I don't think so.

Hold the line, Timothy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Volume. That's what we do.

Vintage SNL fans will instantly know what such a phrase means....for the more mainstream population, I simply refer you to the latest dark foreboding on the prospects of our culture today: The Virgin Megastore closing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sometimes exposing the truth costs something

My love for euphemisms continues...
  • "Is that bad?" = I am a cruel person
  • "Your goals align with mine" = Your work will support my goals (variation: In this case, there IS an I in teamwork)
  • "Professional" = I am not employed and have no title.
  • "Executive" = same as immediately above, but I also seek a role where I can delegate and get paid a lot
  • "Thanks for being so open" = I am going to do my best to forget everything you just over-shared.
..and on a darker note:
"Assigned to a special military tribunal" = time to make arrangements

[Of course, I would welcome learning of cases where such fora ruled in favor of the defendant and thus be proven wrong].

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Open to correction

Really, that's all we can ask of us imperfect beings right? Based on a crazy turn of events this evening, I hereby recant (half of) my cynical life-motto: "If it seems like it can't get any worse, it will."

The sordid deets:
It's 5pm and my friend A is demoing some software on my new idol-worship Macbook, and I log back into my Gmail account only to find this incomprehensible error message:
Lieber Nutzer,

in Deutschland heißt unser E-Mail-Service Google Mail, nicht Gmail.

Sie können Ihre E-Mails in Deutschland direkt unter http://mail.google.com

Ihr Google-Team

Der E-Mail-Service von Google ist in Deutschland nicht mehr über die von Ihnen eingegebene URL abrufbar.

Allgemeine Informationen zu Google finden Sie in Deutschland wie gewohnt unter www.google.de oder www.google.com.

Um....this is disturbing, to say the least. I'm convinced I've been violated by a trojan. I'll stop there.

But sit tight: the incredibly audacious thing is that (even more than the fact that "Lieber Nutzer" means "Dear User" and not, as A prefers, "Dear Nutcase") this is...LEGIT!

My gmail was truly "rehubbed" and all I had to do was use mail.google.com vs. gmail.google.com

All on Google servers. All legit. All clean.

So in this case, things didn't get worse than I expected.... they actually got BETTER! C-raz-y.

My Lieber Nutzer message makes me want to break out the Sacher Torte!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Two steps forward....

And that would be which humans, being resourceful in exactly what way?

I was quite aware that the trip down from my mountaintop customer service experience today was inevitable...but it felt so soon....and the descent, so far...

I know it's possible to order prescriptions online...have them sent to you...the whole internet thing and all....I've done it. And yet today, I knew, in the deepest recesses of my profoundly intuitive self that I would have to - for some cosmic reason as yet unknown to me - make a live visit to the Kaiser Pharmacy for my first transaction.

Entering the pharmacological SuperStore (Costco meets Epcot) was in itself awe-inspiring: a wing for Member Services (that came later), a cafeteria, health kiosks, a bakery (I'm sure they're serving a preventative form of sugar) all left my head spinning. When I managed to find my way to the pharmacy, I was confronted with Grand Central Station-like billboards advertising whose prescriptions were ready (felt a bit un-HIPAA-ish to me but perhaps data transmitted in open-air is less regulated).

In any case, all went somewhat as hoped - prescription received by doc, filled, waiting - until the Moment of Truth came: payment.

CONEXIS, the administrator (= money gatherer) of the COBRA insurance coverage on behalf of my former employer, had no issue taking my $800+ in cash I paid to continue coverage and updating its website to say I was now in "covered" status.

But they missed a little detail: they didn't tell my insurance provider. Which, I learned to my astonishment, was no vagary but actually standard 'practice': the customer service rep admitted that his whole raison d'etre is fielding calls from people trying to fill their first prescription or make their first doctor's visit (you know, get health services), only to get denied service because....

...patients are supposed to manually tell the provider that CONEXIS says we're covered and...

I'm clinging to the assumption that the ".org" means that CONEXIS makes absolutely NOTHING on these transactions.

I believe you.


Easter is just 'round the corner, so let's hear it for the virtues Jesus came to instill. Today: I hereby forgive AT&T!

Yes, in a turn as dramatic as Sally Field changing personalities, this beloved telecom bane of my existence has shown a radically different face and, as such, garnered my forgiveness.

So wha'happend? I had to pinch myself today when I, with trepidation, walked into the store where I first purchased my iPhone last summer (part 2 came later). I was hoping that the retail staff would be willing to deviate from any policy requiring proof of purchase and take subjective pity on the fact that my car charger wasn't working.

What then transpired was none other than awe-inducing: boom-ba-da-ding, the floorperson pulled up a record of my purchase within seconds, and the return was not only seamlessly executed, but even upgraded (or, as I like to say, Upgrayedd-ed) to a better model.

As long as "this" AT&T is talkin', I'm forgiving.