The Packrat Versus the Archivist

Posted in About Me, Geekdom, Rants on April 1st, 2007 by Дмитрий

My mother in-law is a Pack Rat. She goes to yard sales, swap meets, closeouts and random stores and just buys stuff - everything: dishes, books, gadgets, containers, furniture, doo-dads, whatever - everything.

Sometimes she convinces herself that she needs it for her home or life, sometimes she convinces herself she will give it as a gift. But more than likely it will end up in her closet or shed in a box and never look at it or use it. Or she might ask David and I if we need it, even if it’s something totally inappropriate, like lace curtains or a 20-year-old deep fryer.

This is the pack rat. I am often accused of having pack rat tendencies. David is too. This is because we both enjoy accumulating things. We exhibit what most psychologists call the ‘antisocial behavior’ of collecting stuff. Stuff we don’t tend to ‘use’.

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Doctors We Don’t Hate

Posted in Fresno, Health on April 16th, 2007 by Дмитрий

The biggest single thing I miss about my hometown of Fresno, CA was my doctor. He was great: He was older (50s when I first started going to him), but very smart and up-to-date on all the latest medical journals, research AND pop-culture trends. He was really down-to earth and straight-talking. He wasn’t “directive”-based in his communication with you (eg, he didn’t just shoot off instructions and expect you to follow them unquestioningly), but he was also not a hand-holder, in the sense that if you were fat or doing stupid things, he would say so.

He was of a special breed: he did not accept any insurance plans but some insurers would reimburse a little to you if you filed claims for his bills yourself (provided you had a PPO or similar plan). Many people find this distasteful, but it meant he was not beholden to insurance company bureaucratic red tape, such as charge-per-visit copays, maximum visit duration, maximum exam frequencies, etc. He made sure all his patients had a 2-hour physical every 18 months, during which he would give you the full physical exam, in addition to lab work and EKG, then sit down with you and rattle off questions for up to a half hour about your lifestyle and behaviors. Most insurance companies don’t allow physicals to be more than 60-minutes of billable time. He could also do things like take a call directly with you (rather than just delegating this to his nurse or assistant) and if you spent 10-15 minutes discussing the funny red spot, he would either reccommend you come in, and get his money for the call that way, or tell you what to do and send a 18.00 bill for the call.

This, to me, resulted in a unique familiarity with my health that I don’t feel I’ve had in more than 5 years now. I have had very few health problems, but I never quite know how well I am. I got some life insurance late last year and was actually surprised when I got the preferred rate after my physical with them.

In any case, now I’m once again moved to a new home, and once again have another physician who I feel I’m meeting for the first time every time I go in. He has to look at the chart before greeting me to see what my name is, and when I call asking to talk to someone I’m told to come in so they can bill my insurance company for a visit in order to make talking to me worthwhile.

Does anyone know of any good online directories for physicians that accept patients without being beholden to insurance company rules or that will accept patients who want to pay cash for office visits? Maybe even a doctor who stays up-to-date on things like supplements and nutrition and such, but who won’t flinch at prescribing statins or chemo when warranted? If that was wrapped up in a doctor who would also not flinch at talk of butt-sex or boy-sex and could reccommend the best lubes and rubbers and toys, I’d finally feel that I had a doc as good as my old Fresno doctor. Alas…

Live From the Hills O’er Blacksburg…

Posted in Americana on April 17th, 2007 by Дмитрий

“…And the President told reporters that, while he is against killing people, he’s scared to say anything bad about guns for fear that Charlton Heston will shoot his ass up. Back to you, Kevin.”

Some Thoughts…

Posted in Americana, Economics on April 18th, 2007 by Дмитрий

…On the ‘Revelations’ coming out of Blacksburg…

What is it with these people having so many friends in college? I don’t think I made a single ‘friend’ in college - it’s not like high school where you get classes with people in your neighborhood and have scheduled class breaks and lunches where you’re forced to socialize. In college, you are on a campus full of people with different schedules who live all over the region and most people have jobs that soak up their non-class time. Who are these post-high-school social butterflies?

On top of that, what is it with this loser who thinks that because he doesn’t have any friends but his preppy classmates do that he’s somehow being excluded? Get a job, get a life. A social life is best left behind in high school, or you can wait til after you graduate from college when you have time to party and imbibe before the crush of debt and miscellaneous biological clocks drives you into responsible adulthood. Don’t blame still-stuck-in-high-school-mentality preppies for your lack of friends - that’s what college is about: class, low-paying jobs, and resenting every minute of it. I see no excuse for shooting up a few classes because of this.

Finally, is this going to be another witch-hunt for the loner student with no friends who writes sp00ky stories? Pardon me, but isn’t this also a high school type reaction? Can’t adults handle a few sp00ky stories, even a bit of g0re? If you’re too busy scrimping together cash to move out of your parents’ house and finish that degree before you’re 25, are you allowed to NOT be “outgoing” and “involved”?

Jane Jacobs talked once about how college had become the new high school, in that employers expect candidates to have a degree now, regardless of what field and usually regardless of that field’s relation to the degree - it’s about credentialing rather than training. She should have added that this has not only resulted in the fall of the learned professions, but the continuation of juvenile traditions, such as popularity contests, beauty pageants and clique-building from high school and into college. You just get to add alcohol to the mix.

Apple’s “Cool”. Ew.

Posted in Mac, creative clASS on April 27th, 2007 by Дмитрий

I am seriously considering switching over to all-Windows products. Why?

Because this never-ending, annoying marketing campaign by Apple has convinced me that if I keep using Apple products I’ll turn into a gross metrosexual hipster who doesn’t know how to use a spreadsheet.

How do these hipsters afford their expensive Mac do-dads when they can’t even stomach doing anything but playing with photos and mp3 files? Since when did Apple become the frontman for denigrating productive, knowledgeable people as too uncool for their products?