I headed out from Atlanta to Redmond yesterday. I've made this trip enough times that I thought I knew what to expect. I didn't expect a snowstorm.
I have a problem. When I (or my customers) are being taken advantage of it makes me so very angry...probably angrier that it should. I am in Hartford, CT this week to teach a course for a corporate client. One of the recommended hotels is a Crown Plaza Hotel at $199/night. It was the cheapest of the three hotels they selected. While I find expensive hotel rooms ostentacious, usually I can figure out why they are so expensive: excelent service, nice rooms, etc. The room I am in right now is actually about 1/2 the size of the $75/night hotel I stayed in a couple of weeks ago. Not just the size, but its a bit shabby actually.
I was reading Clemens Vasters' blog this morning when I read about something called Blog Tag started by Jeff Pulver. The idea is to tell five things no one knows about you and tag five other people to do the same. No one has tagged me, but I'll start it up here with some of my favorite bloggers:
I've been having trouble with my laptop shutting down unexpectedly. After some searching online, I found out that this is a common problem with my laptop (HP ZD8000) that the fins that cool down my desktop CPU get dirty. So I got a can of air and screwdriver and went to work. OMFG!
For those of you who do not know by much better half, Tricia is a sculptor that has just started doing shows and exhibitions. To go with that new step, we have created a new site to show off some of her pieces. Right now there are only a couple of her pieces there and a way to send her comments, but it should grow in the coming months. If you are interested in art, please visit her new site at http://www.sculpturesbytricia.com.
Elf on the TV, apple pies in the oven, ham on the table and I am blogging. I must be nuts. Of course I am at my mother's house and anything to get me out from in the middle of my vaguely crazy family. Its wonderful to be home, but I am constantly reminded of why I left my hometown to begin with.
I hope everyone out there is having a happy holidays, whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice or just December.
So it's Christmas day and I received a RoboSapien from my brother. It takes me back to my first 'Programmable' toy back in the eighties. Much more limited than the RoboSapien, the Big Trak was a tank that you could specify it to move forward, back, turn left and right, and fire a fake laser:
To whomever designed the kidney, I have a bone to pick with you. I've spent two of the past four nights in the Hospital dealing with kidney stones. Nasty thing is that the pain medication that usually dulls it well enough has done nothing with these new nasty sized pearls. Now that they know what they are made up (mostly calcium), I have to change the whole way I eat, or more appropriately, drink. I've been told to give up all milk products, colas and tea. I guess I have to drink water...
Well, enough of my griping.
For the past few years, I have been the editor of O'Reilly's .NET site (ONDotnet.com). It has been a great few years and I have meet some great authors and have had a great time working with O'Reilly's production staff. Doing a website that has new editorial content weekly was a challenge at times, but on the whole is was a spectactular experience.
Trish and I decided to move into an old stomping grounds of mine inside Atlanta proper. I always forget the nasty little things that can make a move feel like hell. In this case, the AC in the new apartment was(is) broken. I thought we could tough it out, but once the cats started to pant...I had to do something.
I usually say nasty, mean things about WalMart and how they've destroyed much of middle america's small business...but in this case, there was no one else open. So I left for an 1 1/2 trek to a 24-hour WalMart to buy an air conditioner. They were surprisingly helpful, if not completely unknowledgable about their own products. Two hours later (2:30am in my time zone) the bedroom is an ice box (like I like it) and the cats have been saved.
Tricia and I have been looking at houses today when we heard sirens and a car hit the car in front of us (thankfully everyone was ok). But when the car stopped that hit the car in front of us, the sirens were right behind them. They both jumped out and one of them ran off. The officers arrested the one that didn't run and 3 more patrol cars went after the one on foot. I never did find out if they caught him, but it was all a bit too exciting.
I have to admit, my first thought was whether there was going to be gunfire and that we were trapped in the middle of it (car in front of us and a car behind). Luckily there wasn't.
Currently my healthcare plan is cash. The quality me the care is adequate but the cost is crazy. I went to emergency room today. They offer a 40% discount to people with no insurance, if they pay within the first thirty days. I understand this is a policy to encourage users to pay their bill fast, but it seems to me that if they can afford a 40% discount, then that is nearer their costs. If you need to spread the cost past thirty days, no discount. So the people least able to afford healthcare are paying full fare. In fact, I would bet that the full price care is being paid by no-one with insurance. I would expect that the Blue-Cross's and Medicares out there have rate plans for what they pay for what. This seems regressive to me.
I think the majority of the un-insured in this country are the lower middle-class. I can afford to pay for care and would prefer medical insurance and will likely have insurance pretty soon. Its the lower middle class that seems to really get chewed up in this deal.
I am coming kind of late to the dance on this one. I needed to get some equipment for a new MCE box I am building, so I headed to Fry's this afternoon. While it was exactly what I expected; a store 4x the size of any of their competitors. I was glad to see a very helpful group of employees (not the case with CompUSA!).
Sure, I'd hoped to be quoted someday about Longhorn, Avalon, WinFS or something interesting...not this...not even sure why I posted anything...
They have quite a scam going on for individual people for coverage. Tricia and I recently applied for individual coverage and they happily took our application and the first month's premium. Before they even looked at the application, they charged our credit card. Then they dragged their feet on approving the application so we have to cancel the application and get coverage elsewhere. So the deal is that if you are not approved or cancel the application, they take 30 days to keep your money and issue an out of state check for the refund. So they are keeping our money floating in their accounts for two months while they mess around with us. While money isn't extravagant (~$600), I wonder how many other individuals are caught up in this mess too. I knew BCBS was a crooked organization (they are an insurance carrier afterall), but this just seems mean to do this to individuals that can scarcely deal with it, people trying to get individual insurance coverage. Just evil...
I am just glad we don't have anything like universal health care in this country :|
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