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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Schadenfreude; My Lunch with a Bureaucrat

As promised, I had lunch Wednesday with my former boss from the Agency. If I had to summarize what I learned, I could say that everything that bugged me about the Agency has increased, with absolutely no offsetting positives. Statewide budget shortfalls have served only to accelerate the stupidity and duplicity.

On the bright side, he pitched that I could work there part time whenever I wanted to. There are two important facts to keep in mind when thinking about this. First, bureaucrats in the Agency are notorious for promising to do things that simply are not within their power to do. Second, I absolutely hated working there. Every day presented a new challenge in maintaining a reasonable level of professional integrity. Aside from that, I say what the heck, eh?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Funny You Don’t Look Fluish

K has been down with a bad cold this week. Symptoms began in Friday last week. She finally yesterday off, she is having a tough time. It probably would have been better to take off a day or two at the beginning of last week. Let that be a lesson to all of us.

As yoga teachers love to repeat, it is important to listen to your body and respond honestly.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bad Timing, but is There Ever a Good Time?

We are having nearly perfect weather for this three day weekend, but it seems like half the population is sick with a cold and fever. I am hanging around the house taking care of K, who as I write this at ten in the morning is in bed sleeping it off, but with a lower fever than yesterday.

Last week I finally started putting forth some effort to contact folks I have worked with. I am starting with my former boss at what I will refer to as the agency. He is desperately looking for another agency to work for, more or less for the same reasons I bolted last fall. We’ll have lunch Wednesday.

I cannot believe how long I have put off efforts to renew contacts with work related folks. I really needed this much time to pass for the bitterness to get to a level where it isn’t apparent. I had to get to the point where I can just say things like professional issues and massive reorganization to describe my last two jobs and how they ultimately ended. Anybody with brains can figure out the story beyond that, and it certainly isn’t in my best interest to tell them.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

No More Mr Nice Guy

I am proud to share John McCain's glorious view of a future full of possibilities (at least for the few most deserving). I am so glad we have a republican candidate who has the guts to stand up to those cross eyed lilly-livered self-help analyst couch potatoes with their snotty "yes I can" pap.

Here, let Senator McCain tell it like it is in mostly his own words.

By the way, has anyone but me noticed the way conservatives cheer when their candidates mention terrorism? Holy Francisco Franco Batman, whose side are these guys on?

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Doctors, Ugh

Doctors, Ugh

I went to the doctor today, for the annual check up and to deal with a couple of small nuisances. I see the PA, because I have figured out ½ hour to 45 minutes with the PA is more useful than a doctor trying to complete a 15 minute visit in 5 minutes. We were able to take care of everything, however there is something disconcerting about dealing with what passes for health care in these United States.

Dealing with the office folks before the visit is always a drag. You get treated more like a number than a human being. Given the existing finance mechanisms, there’s no way to avoid that. At my doctor’s, each visit begins with weight and blood pressure measurement by the technician. Her first shot at the blood pressure gave 141/80. I had to say,
Hey, just minute there, my life time record high is 125/85.
She took a second reading of 122/81. It would have been lower if not for dealing with the pre-visit paperwork. Next, enter the PA.

The PA and the surgeon who took care of me when I had my surgery have both left, the PA to Guatemala and the surgeon to retirement. Therefore, I feel a need to tell my abbreviated medical background to the new PA. I am afraid I overwhelmed her, although she seemed to have gotten over it, since she ordered the correct tests. I need to take a weird hormone and blood sugar test to assure there isn’t any repeat action in tumortown. The observable symptoms tend to be subtle until things get past a breaking point and life becomes weird. Therefore, I have to do some tests to assure everything is OK.

In any event, I give fasting blood tomorrow morning, and we’ll meet again in early March to go over the test results. I have to do some concurrent monitoring in the interim. This is the price I pay for admitting I don't feel perfect and great when I work out with weights.

The Punch Line: While driving home, I realized that the symptoms I have been experiencing are most likely happening because I am drinking too much coffee in the morning. I will cut down starting tomorrow and see how that works. I wish I could have these kinds of revelations in a more convenient order (i. e., figure out about coffee before deciding I need to go to the doctor). Life is just like that.

Doctor, Take Up thy Stethoscope and Walk. Thus spake Pink Floyd

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I’m doing bicycle repair, Nyah, Nyah

The nyah nyah is targeted toward my Midwestern readers.

Although we can expect a week or two more of wet weather sometime between now and April, I am sitting here with the windows open. Today’s high temperature will be above 65 degrees F and the sun is shining. I can deal with this.

I spent a couple of hours earlier this afternoon getting our bicycles into riding shape. This unbelievably February weather that we seem to get every year always catches me off guard. I should have taken care of the bicycles last week, since I always try to give the tires a few days lose pressure and reveal any slow leaks. I figure that’s better than finding a slow leak 10 miles from home. I have done a trail-side inner tube patch, but that is a real pain. By the way, those little frame-mounted air pumps don’t give you much pressure, unless you’re a lot stronger than me. Aside from cleaning and lubrication, the only real work I did was readjusting the lower low gear adjustment screw on one of the rear derailleurs. Everything else looks to be in good shape.

Since it looks like the weather will hold out, I may take a shorter ride on the American River Bike Trail . I figure for the first outing of the year, I should limit myself to about 10 miles. The bike trail is my favorite thing about Sacramento. It is a jewel laying in the midst of some of the ugliest urban sprawl I have seen. I can take the trail downtown, have morning coffee break across from City hall with Kathleen, or I can ride east, from near our place to Fair Oaks. Both these are about a 12 mile round trip.

I always put the bike on a rack and drive to somewhere near the trail. Bike riding on the streets is not a good idea (that’s where the urban sprawl fits in).

It is amazing how a couple of balmy, sunny days can lift the spirits.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Is the Healthcare in California Influenced by A Modern Prometheus?

California, thanks to a thorough legislative audit bureau and a refreshingly practical minded legislative committee, has just avoided about the most ill conceived and underfunded harebrained healthcare reform scam yet to surface in these United States. After our narrow escape, you have to wonder who’s watching the store.

Some local pundits claim the reform efforts were ruined by the administration’s never ending obsequiousness expressed in its efforts to twist the reform to please the varied moneyed constituencies, including the mangled care industry, hospitals and doctors.

Well I did some further investigation, and I although I cannot divulge the most fertile sources of ignorance, stupidity and bumbling toadyism within the administration that produced this embarrassment (at least not without the risk of getting in trouble), I wonder if everybody’s favorite doctor, Dr Frankenstein, was involved.

Important disclosure: This article is not in any way a realistic reflection of Dr Frankenstein’s (Gawd, I love typing this guy’s name) contributions to the failed health care reform (if he was involved at all), nor his very impressive lifelong contribution to physician practice in Southern California. Rather, I am solely poking fun at the guy’s name.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Continuing Professional Education versus Dracula

Continuing Professional Education versus DraculaNo, this is not a newly re-released cult film from the 1950s.

I used most of today to catch up with professional reading. I can log up to 30 hours independent reading a year. I read the last four months’ periodicals form two actuarial organizations, for a grand total of three hours.

I read about recent proposals for principle based valuation standards, Bayesian credibility theory, changes to continuing education requirements, letters from the organizations to the IRS about recent decisions related to pensions, among many other equally engaging topics.

I read an inspirational short article about how ‘Standards of Practice are our Friends’. Although some people I know don’t share that attitude, they are not nearly as badass as the wimpiest of the undead..

It is with great regret that I must make the shocking disclosure that actuarial literature does not hold a candle to Dracula, although the technical knowledge available in each cannon may be of similar value. It is interesting that fans of both genres tend to express their enthusiasm by dressing in dorky genre-related costumes, however fans of Dracula seem to be more enthusiastic about piercing, and they probably have better music at their parties.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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