Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random Rant About FM Radio

Since I was a wee lad, I've notice a tremendously disturbing fact. Radio stations play the same songs over and over and over. This has been a big pet peeve of mine for years. I even went to the trouble to call local rock stations and say "What's the deal dooods?" 
I explain that while the Who is a great freakin' band, I know they released more than the three songs that you guys play constantly. The Who released about 18 albums right? and I mean 'Baba O'Riley', 'Who are You' and 'Magic Bus' are all great rock songs but man, mix it up a little. The same goes for every other band in the known universe. Queen? They did like 30 albums, and what do we hear? 'Another one Bites the Dust', 'We are the Champions', and 'Killer Queen'
The Allman Brothers...again..awesome! but many times can one hear 'Ramblin' Man' ?
The Stones? 'Satisfaction', 'Jumpin' Jack Flash'...and God help me if I have to hear 'Hotel California' one more freakin' time I'm going to remove my ears with a cheese grater.
The standard response when one calls/emails a radio station regarding the play list is something like..'blah we have no control...a station director picks the songs...we try to play a big variety...aliens have turned our brains to Silly Putty and we are now incapable of changing anything including our minds..." I'm guessing the people who select these play lists know as much about music as I know about astro-physics. Which is very, very little....I'm sure these people don't know the difference between Buddy Guy and Guy Smiley. Sad.
I then tell them, trying to be helpful of course, that the Stones have released like 50 albums and they did in fact, do more than the three songs. Ironically I've been hung-up on more than once.
I even called pretending I was a student doing a paper on the operations of an FM radio station. Again, I'm not sure they were too interested in talking to me. 
I was once told by a friend who said he worked in radio (the story was later changed to 'he smoked pot in a  DJ booth with a DJ' at some point during college) that a station can only play songs that were released as singles. Whatever...
The good news is there are a few stations left out there that will mix it up. The links are on the side of my blog there. 90.5 the Night is a college station right here in central Jersey. Great stuff, and the best part, no commercials. Same goes for The University of Pennsylvania. again, no commercials, great mix of music. And of course, least we forget. WDST. They're up in New York state, but you can get them on the 'net. Check 'em out.

New Kicks

Just a couple of pics of my new kicks. I love these Chuck Taylors with the great designs. I have other pairs and will put up a pic later. The problem is when they release a design you like 'you have to get it while you can'. These had to be special ordered from my local Journey's store. But the good thign is it's free to have them do it and shipping is free. I had my next day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Boring, I know

Not too many things have happened here since my last post. Nothing awfully exciting. I had my CT Scan on Monday, was rejected via email for a job with a company I've  been trying to land with, and have decided that maybe my brain just doesn't seem to be completely in sync with me or my appendages.
The most exciting event of the past few days occured during the week at a very early hour of the morning. Why do bad things always happen before 5am? Nothing exciting ever happens at say , 1 oclock, just after you've had anice big lunch. Belly full. Ready for action. But again, I digress.
At four am Mags got up to go to the bathroom. She also decided to brush her teeth. What followed was a very panicked wife waking a very much sleepign husband. "I've done something stupid."
She was in no mood for a witty retort and I was frankly too tired to provide one. "What's goin' on?"
"I just brushed my teeth with___" (note here: it was not toothpaste) and the tube of said 'not toothpaste' warned that one should call Poison Center if this product is ingested. So we both ran downstairs to get the phone book. Mags found three different 800 numbers. None of which were manned at this time of the morning. So if you're poisoned between 8pm and 8am, you're screwed. I found a local office in the YellowBook and they actually answered! The nice man said that the warning on the tube was to protect the manufacturer of 'not toothpaste' and she should not worry. The worse side-effect may be a slightly irritated bowel thing. Relieved we went back to bed. I was the only one who slept. Mags stayed awake, still shaken and partly afraid I'd write about this in my blog.
I am still waiting for the results from my CTScan. I think Mags summed it up best when she said "bad news travels fast." So no news is good news. Right?? Anyone?? Also, no result from the blood-work part of my annual physical which was more like an 18-months physical, being a little overdue. It was a complete physical and everything seemed to be in fine working order. She even offered me the 'bonus' part of the examine, but I protect that part of my body like Israel protects it's airspace.  And although there was nudity, on my part mind you, there was no screaming, fainting, gasping  and most importantly,  no laughing. I'm hoping the good doctor has recovered from the shock of seeing me bare-arsed. I apologise if you're reading this Dr. Mo. 
When I left my job, things were being away at work. Things like office supplies, a picnic table or two, file cabinets, shelving units. One of the things I got was a 3-in-one copier/faxer/scanner/printer thinger. Wait that's four isn't it? Well, Mags needed to fax something somewhere and I finally downloaded the software for the machine, set it all up and attempted to fax said forms. I tried and tried without success. Mags, at this point, has come to help me. We both examine and reexamine the machine and go over the on-line manual. I shake my head thinking the thing is crap and that's why it was given to me. Suddenly, one of us realises something very, very important. There is no phone line running to our fax. 
Weather sucks today. Raining (surprise) but it is relatively warm so the snow fore casted will probably never happen. Now if you'll excuse me I'm due for my Ginko.

Monday, February 16, 2009

United Health Care...United Health Care.. How Doth Thou Sucketh? Let Me Count the Ways...

Okay as you can tell by my last post I do not have a whole lot of faith in anything anyone at UHC has to say. I really hate to have bummer entries, but this may be one of them, so if you're having a somewhat good day, move on. Or stay and laugh at the idiocy I've endured since last Thursday. I don't know where to begin so I'll do my best to get everything in.

I recently has a physical and during said physical A lump was found in my neck. My doc, knowing family history, said to be safe I should have  CT Scan. Well, the lunacy I have encountered can only be compared to.... well I don't know. You decide...
I am told the office staff had to gain a pre-cert so I could have this done and would call me in a day or so. Well, that day, only an hour or so later, Lisa calls from my docs office.
"'Tis Himself."
"This is Lisa. We have a small problem. Your insurance company is claiming you are not a member."
"Yeah I know. We just want you to be aware...this may take us a little while."
Knowing this is not her fault I say "okay. Let me know when you get it."
She apologizes and hangs up.
For kicks I call and ask the pinhead who gets my call to verify I am a member. He says "of course you are."
"Then why is someone in your company telling my doctors office I am not?"
He, of course, blames my doctors office. "They must be doing something wrong. Have them try again."
"Sure." Fuckstick. I call my docs office and not only does UHC still not believe I am a member ( I have a card with my name on it and everything.) they are still refusing my pre-cert. 
I see the office staff the next day and they are apologetic. "We had to fax everything over to them including a copy of your membercard and some of your DNA and a fecal sample. But we'll get it done." It did take three days.
Several days later they call and gave me a pre-cert#. I thanked them and on Thursday, the day before my CT Scan; Mags got a letter from a place called CareCore. It was the info and pre-cert for my CTScan. Apparently CareCore handles all the precertifications for ( MRI's,CT Scans, ordering jello-cups and bicycle helmets for the staff at UHC....) Not only was Mag's name on it instead of mine, the authorization number was totally different. I called UHC and they told me they had no record of any number or pre-cert at all. I went through the whole routine and finally the cock-knocker who took my call said "I will put you in touch with CareCore." So I was 'transferred' to the company that had closed their phones an hour and a half earlier.  I immediately called UHC back and got a blonde ( I knew she was blonde..sometimes you can just tell) named Alicia.
This half-wit also told me that there was no such info in the system but I should relax because I didn't even need a pre-cert for a CTScan. Anyone with eight or more functioning brain-cells will tell you you certainly do. Heck the cat laughed at me when he heard me say 'what? I don't need a pre-cert?' The radiology place wouldn't do the procedure without a pre-cert. 
So long story short, Alicia was as helpful as an electric bathing suit.
Next morning I call CareCore and get the info straightened out. I am told to go ahead and have the test done. I explain to who I can only guess was a little, 75 year old southern black grandmother, that I cancelled.  She was as sweet as I am short and she got very serious, "Honey you need this done. This is important."
"Yes ma'am. I had to cancel because the ass-cracks at UHC told me it hadn't been approved."
"Hrrmph..I don't know why they do that. You are all set. Go have your test done."
"Yes ma'am."
In the mean time , Radiology group calls and says that, yes, it has been approved and I can come in in one hour. Sadly, I have broken the fasting deal and cannot. She reschedules me for today. 
Ordeal over right? Hah!
I am filling out my paperwork this morning and the receptionist calls me over and hands me the phone??
Apparently it is CareCore wanting to tell me my procedure was approved to be done at the hospital, and not in the radiology building. It may not be covered..blahblah...I may have turned white but when I said "What??" the receptionist looked and me and smiled "They do this to us alll the time. 80% of the time we have problems with them. You'll be covered."
I 'approve' my test to be done in the 'radiology' building and finally, finally get my test done.
And by the way, UHC has told us that the docs we are seeing aren't in network....super huh?

Friday, February 13, 2009

This Explains Alot

(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fasting Again? Who Am I, Gandhi??

So I went for my yearly physical the otehr day and part of that is 'fasting bloodwork'. Meaning that after midnight the day of your bloodwork, you can eat or drink nothing. Nothing. This means no morning tea, which means a slightly irratable leprechaun. Slightly. No only slightly today because the missus and I have started going to a new doctors office. Same group, different office.  The new office is very nice in a brand new building. The staff is very competant and friendly and the new docs are very thorough. But I digress. Again.
During my physical I mentioned that I had been having some pain in my neck/throat area. A dull, kinda throbby pain that radiated away from the area. My doctor felt my neck and did say she felt something in there. Sadly, it was not a wad of fifties. She didn't seem overly concerned but given my family history, I should have a CT scan. So once again I will be fasting on Friday (yes the 13th. Don't think I didn't hesitate before booking that one) from 5am until after my scan. Hopefully it is nothing more than a fatty something or other. Maybe a third eye! How cool would that be??
After that I will scoot into the little cafe at the gift shop and have me a nice big cup of hot tea, and maybe a muffin...or cookies. 
Wish me luck...or don't.... your call...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Somethings Wrong at Our House

Last night we ventured out for my birthday dinner. It snowed like crazy on my actual bday and besides, Mags come home from work completely wiped out so I suggested we wait until the weekend.
We decided that we would return to the restaurant where we got married. It's a two hundred year old inn. Its got all the quirks an old house has, creaky sloped floors, tiny doorways, low ceilings, fireplaces scattered throughout. And it has always had the best food. The best. The menu is small but everything on there that we ever had to eat there was fantastic. That was until last night.
We got there early and were seated immediately. Mags got a soda while I ordered a Sammy. It allll started with the beer. I know my beer and this wasn't a Boston Lager. I made a face and Mags inquired 'everything okay?'. I said "this beer is weird. It's almost, strawberry flavored."
"I'm tellin' ya."
So the next time our waitress came by, I inquired, politely of course.
"'Scuse me. Is this a flavored beer.?"
"No. What's wrong with it?"
"It kinda tastes like strawberries."
"Ohhh it's the winter ale."
Now see, I know it wasn't, but not one to make a scene I drank my "WinterAle"
So the appetizer (best dish of the night) came out and then our salads. The salads were good and the home-made dressings were really tasty.
Then, the main course. I ordered a fillet Mignon medium rare and Mags got a veal Osso Bucco dish.
My steak was practically blackened on the outside and bloody on the inside and when Mags took one whiff of her food, she pushed it aside. I cut away the seared flesh and ate my almost rare beef. I looked up and noticed her not eating. "What's wrong?"
"That meat doesn't taste right. Try it maybe it's just me."
So I tried it and I am sure the meat was almost past it's shelf life. It did smell bad. Our waitress finally came back and asked Mags what was wrong and she quietly told her the food was no good. The waitress acted all shocked and stuff. Mags told her "Smell it."
The waitress looked at her and then lifted the plate to her nose. She hesitated and then said, "Hmm you're the first person that's ever complained about this dish. Can I get you something else?" At this point Mags stomach was doing somersaults and she passed. 
Now this is very, very rare that a meal out would not be eaten by my wife. She's not a picky eater. In the 9 years we've been together, she has only sent back 2 meals. I mean the woman has eaten gazelle in Botswana, goat eyes with the tribal nomads in the high plains of Mongolia, and monkey butt in the Congo. (When I told you my wife was a rebel I wasn't kidding) In all seriousness, the woman likes to eat out and 99% of the time she enjoys her meals.
So in the end, the waitress didn't take the meal off our tab, heck she even had another waitress bring us our check. We asked this 'new' waitress if there was a new chef and she too was kinda caught off guard, "No he's been here for years." 'Years' meaning just under two, which is the last time we were there.
On the way out Mags was saying to me "I don't care if I ever eat there again."
An older couple coming up the porch heard her and the husband said to me "That bad?"
"Do not get the Osso bucco." was my only reply. Mags gave the wife the rest of the report.
Interestingly enough a couple at a nearby table had some complaints too. We couldn't hear it the whole story , but they left unhappy too.
Sadly, last night looked to be our last night eating there. What a shame. How can a place that used to be so very good, become so very bad??

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Really Manny??

Pictured here we see Manny. Just Manny. He is one of those people who will be recognized with just a single name, ala Madonna, Renaldo, Gump, Judas, Leadbelly, Yaz, Tiffany, Ike, Whoopi, and of course, Yanni
Manny is a great hitter. No two ways about it the boy can rap the horsehide. He does however, have his moments. He is generally known for being moody, outspoken and generally, well.. a flake.
"Manny being Manny." as the saying goes.
Now MLB's biggest malcontent since who knows who has recently passed on a 25 million dollar, single-season contract. Seriously dude? 
I mean, I can't hit a curve ball, (whoa..bad example) throw a baseball from left field into the plate, or catch all that well to be perfectly honest. But honestly, how exactly does one say no to a 25 million dollar contract?
I mean you are just playing a game. A pretty easy-going affair, baseball. There's not alot of physical contact. Not like being crushed by a lineman in the NFL, or decked at center ice by Shanny. You basically stand out in the sun and catch a ball now and then. Maybe you have to try and hit the ball oh, maybe three times a game.
If you get a simple ahem, 'injury', you'll sit on the bench for two days for a bad-hair day to three months for a hangnail. Don't get me wrong, I like baseball and all but if we're gonna be honest with ourselves, you guys have it pretty darn easy.
So your rejection of this contract is baffling. Let's look at the numbers shall we? Maybe you can be persuaded to accept the Dodgers 'paltry' offer.
25 million dollars broken down over the course of 162 games comes out to about....
$154,320.98 per game if each game lasts, I dunno four hours, that means you will make...
$38,580.25  per hour even if it rains you'll still make....ummmm $154,320.98 
If you bat 4 times, you'll get $9645.06. Per plate appearance  Even if you strike out. Awesome, right! Almost ten grand for failing! Gotta love this game huh?
If you play a full week, say seven games, including a home at home double-header, you will make about...$1,080,246.80. A cool Mill. Dig it! Think about this. My wife and I when I was employed, would have had to work almost twenty-two years to make that, and that doesn't include paying for things like, food, electricity, health insurance...silly stuff.
I could go on about all the stuff you could buy with all that crazy freakin' loot, but I won't not in this entry anyways. 
True you are an awesome hitter, no doubting that at all. You were great for the Sox. But come on Manny...sign the contract and go play ball

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Pics

It snowed all day yesterday and into the night. Here are just a few pics I snapped this morning.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snow Pics

It's been snowing here since 5am. Some pics of the woods behind the house. I'm sooo happy nobody can ever build behind us.

An Open Letter to our President

Good Afternoon Mr. President,
I'm hoping all is well with you and the family. First off congrats on your new job and your new digs. I mean how cool is it living in the White House? Your own bowling alley? Seriously?? You are da' man! Is there a bar in that bowling alley? If so, I'll send along my address and maybe I'll come throw a few frames with ya'. I'm awful so you should have an easy go of it. I'm certainly not going to play hoops with you..whew that would be ugly. 
Anyways, back to the congratulations. You ran a great campaign and in my honest opinion, you're the right guy for the job. What a great time in the history of our country eh? The first African-American President. After the decades of struggle, harassment and plain outright cruelty directed at the African-American people this is a pretty awesome feat. All the years of struggle..from the gross injustice of slavery, to the struggles and the fight of folks like the brave Medgar Evers,  the brilliant Dr Martin Luther King, and the tiny in stature but feisty in spirit Rosa Parks and the countless others, this is truly monumental event. 
I can never truly understand what this was like because I am white. I'm Irish so that means I'm about as white as they come. But I studied history and I've seen the news. You should be super-proud of yourself.
I, like many Americans who can reason and use logic understand that our country is a mess. I feel that while I know you'll do a great job, you've really got your work cut out for yourself. You came on at a really bad time. It cannot be fixed in 5 months, 8 months, it may take more than a year. To use a hockey metaphor, I equate you with the back-up goalie whose coach sticks him between the pipes early in the third when his team is already down by four goals and expects you to save the day.
I'm hoping that everyone in the country, from the average citizen to the highest form of government will work with you and give you the time and support that you need to get your job done. Let's face it a lot of people want you to fail simply because of the color of your skin. They will piss and moan at every chance they get, at every bill that doesn't pass...every opportunity and between us, these people suck. They suck like a nine dollar vacuum cleaner. Ignorance is an ugly thing.  
I know it won't be easy but you must ignore these pinheads and plod on. I'm excited to see what you come up with to get us back on the right track. I am, sadly, amongst the swelling ranks of folks who have lost their jobs. I always took pride in the fact that I worked hard every day to provide for Mags and Meself. It's tough being supported by the missus, watching her go off to work everyday will I stay home with the boys. (Okay, the first week was pretty nice.) It's hard on my wife because of her many health issues, I know it is, but I'm hoping something good will happen for us soon. 
I know you came up in a single parent household and you guys (you and your Mom) didn't have it easy financially. I can relate to that. I had both parents at home, but there was six of us and money was always tight, as it is now. I feel that is oneof the things that will really help you. The majority of this country is struggling. We can't relate to someone who grew up with money, in a privileged lifestyle. We all know what it's like to watch our pennies. And as the economy continues to nosedive, more and more of us are in that boat. 
I'm hoping there won't be any more big money bail-outs for these companies whose executives spend more on a rug than I make in a year. Why would anyone give these morons money?
As far as the smoking thing goes, I never tried it ( I hear it stunts your growth) but I know people who have tried to quit it isn't easy. If reporters kept mentioning it, why don't you just tell them to feck off? Oh, wait...maybe you shouldn't do that. Never mind.
I'm excited about the stimulus plan and if I promise not to tell anyone could you possibly get me mine a little sooner that, ya know, anyone else?....please...?
In closing I'd like to wish you all the best. 

P.S. Look, maybe you should cut Michelle's mom her check first, really, I don't want to cause any trouble for ya big guy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Am Not Turning 40...I Am Not Turning 40...I Am....

If I keep saying it, it won't happen right? I am just over 8 hours away from hitting the big 40. I'm not too sure how I feel about it. It was alamot 40 years ago today, on a brutally cold New England morning (all February mornings in New England are brutally cold) that yours truly made his world debut. I was, by all accounts a big baby. You wouldn't know it to look at me now but I rocked the scales at almost ten pounds. I was so big my mother had to have a capital C- section. (Please tell me you get that). By the same accounts, I was soothed immediately by a warm bath, a tiny knit Bruins beanie, and a binky that had been dipped in Jamiesons.
I look back and am amazed at how fast my life has been flying by. I have had many trials and tribulations along the way. Mostly health-wise. It's cool though, all the bad stuff that you deal with makes you stronger. It has made me the perseon I am today.
I've had spinal surgery twice, a few 'growths' removed, I've moved to Joisey, met a fantabulous woman, married her, bought a house, buried my father, baby sister, and one of my best friends. 
I've been to Vegas, all over New England, Canada a few times, Upstate New York, lots of places. 
Flown once. Met alot of really cool people. So honestly, the good has outweighed the bad. But that has only happened recently. Once I met my wife, my life started on the upswing. 
We have had our share of rough times but we get through it. Together.
Life is a crazy thing. And like my Dad used to say, it goes by fast kiddo. 
So tomorrow when the Grandfather clock chimes at 8:30 I'll wish Meself a Happy Birthday.