Thursday, April 24, 2014

Who Would You Save?

The other night, I watched The Buddy Holly Story starring a pre-crazy Gary Busey. Really, it was amazing how not cuckoo he was.

Anyway, the minute the characters started talking about Buddy going out on tour towards the end of the film, I started playing time traveler in my mind. I do this a lot. Like when I read and watched Daniel Deronda - there are some Jewish characters living in Germany, which is fine for the 19th century, but I wanted to yell at the TV that they needed to get the hell out of there.  You know, like you'd yell at a horror movie, only the characters aren't doing anything stupid. It's just that I know more than they do thanks to history and all that.

I've learned from Doctor Who that you can change some things, but not others. You can't kill Hitler for example because so much history hangs off of him. There was a character on Sanctuary who did kill Hitler, but it didn't do any good - he was replaced by a double and the Reich carried on.

But there are some things you could change without damaging the time line, or whatever. While watching The Buddy Holly Story, I started thinking that you could probably prevent that plane crash without causing too much damage. It's only music history, after all. It's not like the crash led to a bunch of safety reforms. And entertainers still get on those dinky little planes and die sometimes, so it's not like the crash served as a cautionary tale that saved lives.

Buddy Holly's music influenced The Beatles, but his death had nothing to do with that. His wife remarried and had kids with someone else - but if he'd lived, they might've divorced anyway.

Maybe Ritchie Valens still would've been a one hit wonder, but he was so young and his family would've preferred to keep him around. Same thing for the Big Bopper.

But Buddy would've kept making music, maybe going on to produce other people's music since he produced his own. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert posited that had he lived, Buddy would've continued to be unique and influential, or he might've been the next Paul Anka or Barry Manilow.

Then again, when Rose went back and saved her father on Doctor Who, the whole of space and time started to unravel. So maybe we shouldn't change anything in the past, given the chance. 

Thoughts? What do you think would've happened if Buddy Holly & co. had lived? Were their deaths so inevitable that their bus would've crashed instead? 

Who from history would you save? And what consequences do you think that would have? 

Given the chance, I'd like to save some victims of the Inquisition and the Witch Hunts. There were so many that saving a few wouldn't affect history.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Poll - Have I Made an Oops?

A few years ago, I told my hairdresser that I wanted to dye my hair red. He thought for a moment and then sagely declared, "Copper."

So when I finally took the plunge, I went with copper. (I dye my own hair because I'm cheap and because my old hairdresser used to tell me that I only needed highlights. Then she said I should try lowlights too and my hair looked stripy. Never again.)

But there are a few downsides to copper. All red dyes fade really fast. And they're really bright at first. I like that, but some people don't. I read in a magazine that dying your hair red is so tricky that you should never do it at home. Which is why it's damn near impossible to find my copper dye in the store.

And sometimes when I see someone with bright auburn hair, I covet it. 

So on impulse, I took the plunge. On the one hand, it beats the impulse I had to dye my hair black because the drug store carries ten shades of black but no copper.

But now I'm wondering if my skin is way too ruddy for auburn. Or maybe I just need to get used to it. 

Which is where you come in:
Jen with copper hair
Jen with auburn hair

Which hair color looks better? free polls 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tweet, Tweet

Tweet, tweet, motherfucker.
I'm still here. As is the tendonitis in my shoulder.

I haven't unplugged as I've been icing my shoulder on the couch - I've been clutching my smartphone in my good hand. Which is also my non-dominant hand, so good times.

The one time I wrote a blog post on my phone's Blogger app, it didn't get save. So I'm not doing that again.

Twitter, however, works just fine on my phone. So, here's some of the witty, clever and brilliant things I've been saying. (If you see a bunch of gray lines instead of images displaying tweets, refresh the page.)

Seriously, what's wrong with you people? It's like you don't like sociopaths or something. Also, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 is too many words to say, so HA and I refer to it as The Mighty B! which I just discovered was created by Amy Poehler, so now I'm wondering why I've never watched it.

Which is surprising because Zardoz is known as that movie with Sean Connery in a big red diaper. There are some people who think that Zardoz is a brilliant sic fi movie ruined by distractingly bad costume design. These people are wrong.

Still having a sense of humor is how I can tell that my ennui is nothing to worry about.
I mean really. The phrase "Hobby Lobby" should never be uttered by any member of the Supreme Court. It's sullies the dignity of the institution. 

Aaaaaand now I see why I don't have more Twitter followers. Join me on Twitter while I try to be funnier. Or don't. I'll probably do more posts like this just to remind myself that I'm not as funny as I think as am. At least not in 140 characters.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm OK. You?

My latest blog absence hasn't been caused by my own illness or ennui. It's just that my Dad was in the hospital and schlepping back and forth took up a lot of time and energy.

He's home now, and several members of my family actually believe that the stubborn SOB is actually going to start following doctors' orders this time. They're so cute. I wish I could bet money on this, because it would be a lucrative stream of income.

Feel free to prove me wrong, Daddoo.

In other news, I finally made it to the Ophthalmologist to get my irritated eye balls looked at. Since he tested my vision, he gave me prescriptions for new contacts and glasses. 

I ordered both online and I feel dirty.

Not because ordering glasses online can be a dodgy affair, but because I'm cheating on my optometrist. I've been seeing the same guy since I was nine years old. I sent him a postcard during my Junior Year Abroad. It's always a delight seeing him, even though I can't see a damn thing after he dilates my pupils.

But the reason I'm wearing really old eyeglasses with the coating coming off, which obscures  my vision which is already bad because the prescription is that when I buy glasses from him, it costs over $500. Which I can't justify spending on glasses I never wear out of the house. Not because I'm vain (which I am), but because every pair of glasses I've ever had press on my nose in just the right way to trigger a migraine if I wear them for too long.

One thing causing the high cost is my insistence on nice looking frames even though no one who isn't married to me is going to see me in them. The other cause is that I'm totes blind, and have a super strong prescription, which is even costlier when I get them thinned down so I'm not sporting the coke bottle look.

So yeah, I'm vain. But I'm also full of hope that the next pair of glasses will be better to wear, and I can start going whole days without contact lenses, which would make my Optho happy. 

And, of course, the glasses I ordered online may not work out, so I'll have to see my optometrist anyway. 

Stay tuned for more of that exciting saga.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Here We Go Again

So Tuesday, aka the day after I'd finished with the whole trying to find a chiropractor rigamarole, I woke up with pink eye. That's what I get for leaving the house the day before, I guess. Or maybe I caught it from Bob Costas, even though I'm not watching the Olympics. (Which is just as well because watching sports requiring being able to see the TV clearly and that's not something I can do with my crappy eye glasses. Not only is the prescription out of date, but the glare coating is coming off, making them less transparent than glasses should be.)

So I handled it like a sane human being. Sadly, my health insurance company (and in network providers) are not sane.

  1. I called my PCP's office and asked if she could fit me in. 
  2. Her office told me that she had an emergency and had to leave the office, so the earliest she could see me was Thursday afternoon.
  3. So I make an appointment and go bitch on Twitter.
  4. One of my tweeps suggests that I see if my PCP has someone covering for her (because how could she not?) and then call the insurance company to see about going to an Urgent Care Center.
  5. I called the PCP's office again and this time they me that she's out of the country and there's only a covering doctor on Monday and Thursday. Which this is not. So it's the covering doctor I have an appointment with, but they didn't bother mentioning that. "She's on the other side of the world. She's asleep. I can't call her to see if it's OK if someone else calls in a prescription for you."
  6. So I called the insurance company. They give me the name and address of an Urgent Care Center nearby.
  7. I have lunch because I figure I'll be waiting for hours at the Urgent Care Center.
  8. I hop on the subway for three stops and walk several blocks to the address they gave me.
  9. Which is a construction site. The building has been demolished.
  10. I call the insurance company and stand on the street freezing. 
  11. After four minutes of this, I decide to go into the pharmacy down the block and ask if the Urgent Care Center just moved, or went out of business.
  12. They give me the new address, which is in a completely different direction from the subway station than the one I'd just gone. 
  13. So I retrace my steps and walk a few more blocks.
  14. While walking, I call my husband and tell him to go on the state healthcare exchange website because we are switching companies. Last straw, thy name is construction site.
  15. I find a place with several "walk ins welcome" signs. They have a different name from what the insurance company gave me, but they are displaying signs for my insurance company.
  16. Too bad they're not taking any more walk-ins today.
  17. I start to melt down and explain about being sent to the wrong address.
  18. The receptionist them tells me that they don't take walk-ins on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Which is not what she said to me 60 seconds earlier.
  19. She then suggests I go to the emergency room. For something that is so not an emergency that I'll be waiting for hours. And paying $100 co-pay. To get some fucking eye drops.
  20. I call my opthamologist and leave a message. 
  21. I go home and call the insurance company to complain about being sent to A GODDAMN FUCKING CONSTRUCTION SITE.
  22. The first guy I speak to is like, OK I'll transfer you to a supervisor so you can lodge a complaint.
  23. The second person I speak to is not a supervisor, but takes down my complaint. She is oddly unsurprised to hear that I was sent to a location that isn't there any more. 
  24. She puts me on hold and my opthamologist calls on my other phone. I explain that I'm not allowed to see him without a referral, which I can't get because my PCP is out of the country with no coverage. He calls in a prescription for me.
  25. While I'm talking to him, the insurance company woman comes back on the phone and I ask her to hold on and explain what's going on.
  26. She then calls my PCP and finds out that there's a covering doctor at another office. She starts telling me that I can go today.
  27. I scream NO! Because I've just explained to her moments before that my opthamologist just called in a prescription and I don't need help, just to formally complain. Because, demolished building.
  28. Between her incompetence, refusal to listen, and complete lack of sympathy or surprise that they sent a sick person out into a freezing cold day to go to a building that isn't there anymore…I lose my struggle not to curse her out.
  29. I hang up, google the president of the insurance company and write him a letter explaining how much they suck.
  30. By now, the pink eye has spread to the other eye, so I've lost all chance of wearing a contact lens in the good eye and wearing my eye patch over the other eye. And this is why my opthamologist nagged me about getting better glasses. 
  31. Have I mentioned that I'm also on the tail end of a cold and I have tendinitis in my shoulder?
  32. Then I get a migraine, either from the cold, the stress or the pressure of my glasses on my nose (which is why I never wear them). 
So, how are you?

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Find a New Doctor

People always have the same worry when switching health insurance plans. Can I keep my doctor? As a techie, I had 5 jobs in as many years with the accompanying insurance switches. Plus, at one job we switched insurance while I was there. This is not a new worry with Obamacare.

The thing is that people hate change. Even more than they love their doctors. But what really sucks is finding a new in-network doctor.

I've been seeing the same chiropractor for 7 or 8 years. First, I went to him because he was in network and close to my office. As the years passed, he became one of those doctors who isn't in any network (is this just a NYC thing?). At least this guy takes payment from insurance companies. I've had other docs who make you pay whatever they say up front and then maybe you can get reimbursed. For 70% of what the insurance thinks the doc should've charged, which is about 75% of what the do actually charged. Or less.

I see my chiropractor once or twice a week depending on how I'm doing. The migraines throw my neck out of whack, which can lead to more migraines.

So it's important, but now costs $90 a pop. Which my new insurance won't cover because there's no out of network coverage. Which is fine at this point because my old insurance (which cost more) had a ridiculously high deductible, so they hardly paid for anything. Hell, they only applied 10 chiro visits to my deductible. Out of 50+


So I decided that it's time to find an in network chiro, and then maybe switch back to the old guy once the insurance stops paying if I don't like the new one as much. Though maybe not because I no longer work anywhere near the old chiro so it's a 2 hour round trip on top of however long I spend at the office.

So here's how the search went.

  1. Check insurance company website to find docs nearby.
  2. Map out each address to see who's closest.
  3. Check them on zocdoc to see if they have any really bad ratings.
  4. Find a doc 3 subway stops away.
  5. Call to verify this doc is actually in network. No one knows, but his name is in the directory and he actually does work at that number (unlike the 3 other docs I called) so I figure I'm good to go.
  6. Get referral from new PCP whose waiting room is a new kind of Hell, but she's within walking distance, so whatevs.
  7. Call to make appointment and discover that he just has walk in hours. 10-12 Monday Wednesday and Friday, last appointment at 11:30
  8. Go there on Friday rushing so I make it by 11:30
  9. Discover that he didn't come in. The front desk has no idea and the physical therapy people who works in the room he uses don't know either. Though they say he leaves at 11:40 not noon.
  10. Call the office on Monday at 10:30 to see if he's there.
  11. He isn't. Front desk and physical therapists have no idea.
  12. Repeat on Wednesday. No one has any idea if he's ever coming in again.
  13. Repeat steps 1-3, finding exactly one doc who is in network and located where I can get to in less than an hour each way. But he may not accept my plan. The office insists they have to call the insurance company even though the insurance company thinks that those other docs are in network when they're not.
  14. Call insurance company to complain and ask for help.
  15. The customer service rep calls doc 3 subway stops away and gets the same vague nonsense about the walk in hours.
  16. CSR then says that I don't have chiropractic coverage. Arranges to have a supervisor call me back.
  17. Check the manual and dog ear the pages explicitly stating that I have chiropractic coverage.
  18. Do not hear from supervisor. Do get a migraine from the stress.
  19. Worry that the one doctor called the insurance company and got the same nonsense about not having coverage.
  20. Call the new new chiropractor and be told that he takes it as long as it isn't the Medicaid plan, which it isn't.
  21. Make an appointment for the one day a week this guy is in the office.
  22. Call insurance company to make sure that no one tells the office that I don't have coverage. New CSR tells supervisor to educate the last CSR.
  23. New CSR also tells me that they haven't certified that specific location for the doctor, so no go. They have to inspect it in person, etc.
  24. New CSR calls several chiropractors on the list with the same results I got - no one listed is actually in network, working at that number, or answering their phone.
  25. Oh, and by the way, the CSR says that the online search on the insurance company's website is no good for some completely inexplicable reason. She says it's just a google search, which it totally isn't. (The ex-techie part of my brain can tell the difference.) This means that there are less than 10 in-network chiropractors (listed in the big book they mailed me), as opposed to the 20 listed online. None of which are in-network anyway.
  26. This means that the jerk who didn't show up at his office wasn't in network and would've turned me away if he'd actually been there.
  27. New CSR sends the list of in-network chiropractors to the provider relations department so they can figure out WTF is going on. 
  28. The provider directory is updated quarterly, so I'm screwed until April. So back to the old chiropractor in the meantime.This is the first time this company has offered any chiropractic coverage, so it's a complete mystery whether they'll convince any chiropractors to join the network.
  29. I consider canceling the appointment with the new new chiropractor, but decide to see what they say about the uncertified location BS.
  30. The new new chiropractor calls - they were told nothing about having to certify their location. However, they were told that I have to pay $2,000 out of pocket before the insurance will start paying. This is completely inaccurate. This plan has no deductible, and the $2,000 is an out of pocket maximum, after which I won't even have to pay co-payments.
  31. Call the insurance company so we can get accurate info and call the doctor's office together. Explain everything to customer service rep. I get put on hold and then disconnected.
  32. Call again. Explain everything again. I get put on hold while CSR #4 (I think) checks. The hold music keeps stopping and going silent, which is not great for my stress levels.
  33. Rep gets back on phone and tells me that I can't see the doctor at the uncertified location. She then starts trying to call his other, certified locations and the numbers are still as bad as when I called them. She tries to find a correct number for one of the certified offices while I listen in to her talking to herself. She keeps saying, "Why is it only giving me a fax number?" It's because your software system was designed by Kafka.
  34. She calls the uncertified office and they don't know anything about the chiropractor's other offices. Just like when I spoke to them. We leave it that she'll speak to the actual doctor the next day (the only day of the week he goes to the uncertified office) and see if she can get a working phone number for one of the other locations out of him. She says she'll call me back after speaking to him, but I know better than to believe her.
  35. I spend the rest of the day nursing another hangover.
  36. Call the chiropractor to cancel the appointment. I explain why and the person I speak to says she'll take the certification issue to management.
  37. I'm tempted to try out the guy anyway, since his visits cost $50 instead of $90, but there has got to be an out of network chiropractor closer to my apartment.
  38. I consider calling the doctor when he's in the office to ask about the other locations myself, only I lack the emotional strength.
  39. I google chiropractors in my neighborhood, and find one two blocks away. I call, and get her e-mail address from her outgoing voicemail message. I send an e-mail, but it bounces.
  40. I call the voicemail again and discover that I only copied down her e-mail address wrong, and she does actually exist. Re-send e-mail.
  41. She calls & leaves a voicemail saying that she's going on vacation and won't be back until the end of the month.
  42. I call the one other chiropractor in the neighborhood and he doesn't accept private patients. I'm totally OK with this since he's in the same medical complex as my primary care doctor and I'd rather not visit The Waiting Room of the Damned on a weekly basis.
  43. So I e-mail the doctor who's about to go on vacation and tell her I'm in.
  44. And then I schedule an appointment with my old, $90 a pop chiropractor because I can't go much longer without an adjustment.
And this is why we need nationalized healthcare. One fucking network.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Buried Treasure

Buttons and Beads
Over the holidays, His Awesomeness & I had a longer than usual visit to his relatives in Missouri/Kansas. Long enough to do some sightseeing. 

When I read about the Steamboat Arabia museum, I thought, "hey, cool." A bunch of guys decided to locate and dig up a sunken 19th century steamboat. The Steamboat Arabia sank on its way upriver, so it was full of supplies it was taking to General Stores in Missouri. And since the Army Corps of Engineers has been keeping the Missouri River on the same path for a relatively short time, the steamboat was buried under  a field nowhere near where the river is today.

Since the field was a working farm, and they were paying for the excavation with their own money, they had to do the entire excavation in the few months of winter when the field would've been lying fallow anyway.

The guys figured they'd sell what they found and make a huge profit. But the first barrel they dug up was full of pristine fancy china. They decided that they had to honor the historical significance of the find and open a museum. Which they did.

More buttons & beads.
The museum is staffed by the sons and grandsons of the guys who did the digging back in the 80s. They said a couple of times that they'd never sell any of it, and there was no market for that sort of thing anyway. I have to disagree with them there because other museums might want to buy some items, and there are all sorts of collectors who would love to get their hands on some of these things.

Everything is in amazing condition because it was underground with no oxygen or water causing damage of decomposition. They drank a bottle of champagne they dug up, and lived to talk about. It was still fizzy. A local chef ate a pickle from one of the jars they found. It was still crunchy.

They've only prepared about half of their find for display, so there's more to come. And they're planning to dig up another steamboat this year.

Totally worth the trip, even with the difficulties I had trying to get a cup of freaking tea before we went in.

So here, look at pretty pictures. 

Forks & knives


Clay pipe bowls. I loved the different colors. The pipe stems are to the left.


Pots, dishes, candles, writing slates

More pots and knives

An assembled pipe

Clothing, fabric and skeins of yarn. There's some silk that's water impermeable, so they had to wash each side separately. The silk may be the most valuable thing there (in terms of money). The stitching on the clothes had disintegrated, so they had to resew it all.

More buttons, and a shirt


Rubber buttons

Tools n stuff
What's the coolest obscure museum you've ever been to?