damn doctors

So, I had a bad experience with a doctor yesturday.

Of course, it was an eye doctor but it does go to show the dangers of doctors abusing their authority. I went for my first eye exam in about two years. I've worn glasses since I was 5, so I'm well versed in these visits. I picked a new guy, because he was close to my apartment and got an appointment for my vacation week. Just looking for the basic exam and to get a new prescription because my current glasses are showing their age. I also have a coupon for a $40 gift certificate when I get my glasses at this great little place in Boston called S.E.E.

I should have expected problems when I had to wait an hour and a half for my exam after I got there early. Suffice to say, I was not thrilled. But, what happened next was the real problem. The doc takes a visual exam of my eyes, does the Glaucoma test, does the wall test, and that's it. He didn't actually check my prescription. You know, the "Is it better now... or now" test. Its such a familiar part of an eye exam that its even gotten into commercials. None of that. He pronounces my vision with my glasses to be 20/20 or better. He then proceeds to lecture me about how near-sighted I am (like I wasn't aware) and start insisting on me getting a referal from my primary care physician so he can dilate my pupils. Now, this always happened as a normal part of the exam before, but whatever. I already knew I wasn't coming back to him so I tried to put him off and ask about getting my prescription.

The guy refuses to write me a prescription. He insists I come back for that. He proceeds to then say I need to come back THREE more times and starts suggesting ways for me to make a reason for my PCP to give me a referral. I'm just too upset to even know what to do. I should have held my ground, but it was intimating. I mean, I tried to bring up what I needed, and the guy flat out refused me. I called my HMO and they were uniformly unhelpful so I called back my doctor and insisting on getting a prescription saying I didn't know when I could come back due to work demands. They were also unhelpful but acted like they'd see if he could mail it to me.

Its all so frustrating. It was supposed to be a simple little eye exam and its just left me feeling helpless and frustrated. I don't appreciate someone taking $15 from me and gosh knows what from my HMO just to make me wait 90 minutes for a 5 minute exam that wasn't even complete. And I expected my HMO to be more interested in a doc trying to extort additional visits from a patient, since they are paying more of that then I am. The only good thing is I had this appointment this week because my annual eye exam is done by calendar year so I can get another as of next week and have it paid for. They better, anyway. I'm also going to talk to my employers insurance agent (who is not an employee of the HMO but an independant guy who handles a lot of accounts with them) and see if he can do anything since he specifically said that's what he was there for. Wish me luck.


movie review two years too late

Okay, so I finally saw Shallow Hal, only about 2 years after it was released. Quite a hot-button issue in the fat community with a lot of people making judgements sight unseen, myself included. You know what? We were right, and we didn't need to watch this garbage to know that.

Everything that upset people at the time was entirely accurate. The only problem was that some people expected us to be won over by the heartfelt ending. They refused to admit that we had a right to see it as condesending and insulting. I'm sorry, but "I love you anyway" just doesn't feel quite as nice as "I love you" no matter how much you want it, too. The movie's producers seem to be missing a point even made in the movie. Just because a conditional love is offered doesn't mean a fat person won't see through it.

Still, the real devil is in the details. Oh, forget the absurd sight-gags that really upset me before I saw the film. The just plain stupid attention to detail is what really irked me. They actually seemed to have the Rosemary character down at a couple points, but the character kept contradicting herself. I mean, we do see her being realistically self-conscious when showing off her lingerea to Hal, and that felt very honest. But, the scene before she is being the same way about wearing hot-pants and a belly shirt in front of her parents. I mean, I understand where the character is coming from, but I also don't get why a self-apologizing fat person would even own hot pants or a bikini. They made her apologetically fat when it was convenient and uncompramisingly fat when it was convenient. There was just no consistancy. I'd have found it all much more satisfying if her character had been more defiant and self-confident. Or, at least give us reason to think Hal is giving her such self-confidence. I just didn't see that developed, so it all felt pieced together.

And honestly, 1 boyfriend? I mean, I know it happens, but still, its not that common either, is it? Again, the movie just promotes a ghetoization of fat people rather than challenging those perceptions. It pretends to be unconventional, but only after it makes time to acknowledge all the conventions. Heck, even the Peace Corps was a stupid plot point, since they actually wouldn't allow a woman like Rosemary to participate. I know the Peace Corps was really just a punch line, but its a reminder of just how shut out fat people are.

And I still can't get around the "in spite of" ending. Give us something. Some acknowledgement that there ARE people who would honestly find Rosemary beautiful. We're here. Get used to it. But no, she's doomed to "in spite of" and told to be happy about it. All the movie really does, then, is to defend the status quo and only dare to suggest the perfectly conventional message. Safe, perhaps, but nothing edgy about. Just more of the same. Give me "Inclusive of" any day over "In spite of".


merry december

I have a couple weeks off to celebrate the season. Going home for a week and then just hanging around for a week. Should be a nice relaxation. Work has been very stressful for a couple months and it hasn't helped that I've been sick off and on. Lots of little frustrations, too. It doesn't help that my girlfriend's been so busy with buying a house that I've hardly seen her for weeks. And even before that, we had a stretch of about two months where we were alternatingly sick. Not like I haven't seen her, its just not the full girlfriend experience. But, its understandable. Just not helping with the stress.

But, I get to go home and play with my dad's big screen television and computer. Generally not do much. And that's not bad.

So Merry December to you all, and you can still comment with an email to get my online Christmas Card. Hope life holds you well.

Opps. I forgot I've been using lower-case in my titles. Good thing I can fix that. hehe


random thoughts #2

I really REALLY REALLY feel bad for any children or young adults who get subjected to a Kidz Bop CD or video. Have you seen the commercials for these crimes against nature? Basically, they take pop songz and santize them by way of having them sung by kidz who can't really sing, but you hope no one notices if you get enough of them together to sing in a very large group. Judging by the video, these are those disturbing children that I'm pretty sure are produced by Disney in labs. You know, those bland, attractive in that manufactured to specificationz way, who've clearly been bred for acting in Disney movies. I'm guessing the Kidz Bop kidz are the rejectz from the Disney factories who are bought wholesale. All very disturbing.

My favorite Reese's Limited Edition flavor (check out my first post for more), White Chocolate, is back for good. I'm so psyched. I can stop hording the White Chocolate miniatures now! I think the Inside Outs are now perminant, too, but I didn't really care for those. The flavor balance is just all out of whack.

Has anyone else noticed the subtle fat hatred in those Jazzy ads for Chili's restaurants? You know, the ones with some "regular person" singing about Chili's in some style of music. There are about 4 of them, and they all follow the same pattern. Start with a wide shot of regular person singing. Cut to food. Cut to regular person at the restaurant with friends. Logo. Close up of regular person signing. All except one. That one happens to have a fat woman as the regular person. It skips the at restaurant with friends and the close-up. It only has the wide-shot. It all seems kind suspect to me. I mean, its JUST the fat woman who doesn't get the close-up out of all the ads. That seems too convenient to me. Meh.

I'm all done with my Christmas shopping. Yay! Woo hoo! Not that I'm a last minute type, but I have a nasty tendancy to fret about gifts so much that I don't even have them come Christmas. I freak myself out much more then necessary. I had a brief period of panic that I was going to do that again and just got something impulsive for my girlfriend. But its something. Its the thought that counts, not the overthinking.

Speaking of my girlfriend, I'm now dating a home-owner. Again, woo hoo! And, also, that's kinda scary. Not as scary as when I first found out an exgirlfriend was married. And that happened when I was 20! I don't have many ex's either. hehe

Red Sox fans are the most self-important, self-absorbed sports fans around. They don't deserve a World Series victory, and I hope they never get one and that every star player their turn on gets one. Already happened with Roger Clemmens and Wade Boggs and Mo Vaughn had a near miss. Looks like Nomar gets to be the next to try to show-up the team and fans which responded to his loyalty and unfailing dedication by treating him like dirt.

Oh, that's right, no one here cares about sports.

I'm sending out an online Christmas Card this year. Respond to this message with your email if you want to get one. Unless you already got it.

That is all.


freedom tower unvailed

Final designs for the Freedom Tower complex in NYC were unvailed today. Still not sure what I think about them. Some of the renderings make it look stunningly dramatic and others make it look underwhelming.

I should preface this by saying that I personally thought they should rebuild the towers as they were. Aside from being a nice big FU to the people responsible for the destruction of the WTC, I actually liked how they looked. I know architects slammed them, but there was just something about their simplicity and bluntness that really worked in the urban environment. In cities, we always see buildings shoe-horned to fit the surroundings. That was actually an artistic conceit of the Hancock Tower in Boston, which I actually like a lot. Still, there was something refreshingly defiant about the Twin Towers. Not only did they have the balls to build a big box in the biggest city on Earth, they went and built another right next to it. They demanded attention. Which, no doubt, is what made it an attractive target as well.

As stunning as the Freedom Tower appears to be, part of the design seems intended to deflect attention. A VERY significant part of its upper struction looks skelatal, which has the effect of making the Towers seem transparent. Like its trying not to be notice. Something just doesn't sit right with me about that. I don't like the idea of us trying to bind ourselves in the face of threats. I am encouraged by the idea of standing front and center. It projects strength, perminance. As beautiful as the Freedom Tower is, it seems like an effort at camoflage. Pretending nothing was every really there to begin with.

Actually, I'm most initially impressed by the sister structures which occupy the Trade Center land. Towering about as high as the meaningful part of the main tower, they also rise above the buildings around it. The slanting roofs make for a powerful addition to the skyline from the Statue of Liberty.

But, the execution will be key. Maybe the computers are ghosting the top of the tower too much, and it will really be a visible and tangible proof of the tower's reach towards the sky. Maybe the companion buildings will be colored drably so they don't make as potent an addition as they might. But, its all interesting, and I'm eager to see it proceed, even if its not what I would have liked to see.


we got him. now what?

It seems that the No. 2 fugative in the world has been caught as we dragged a bearded Saddam Hussain out of a hole. A couple of thoughts...

Damn good we got him alive. It frustrated me to no end the way we murdered his sons. Not that they are good people, but that they could have led us to their father and provided other valuable information. Oh yeah, and be brought to justice the old fashioned way. Instead, we sent an absurd ammount of manpower into a residential neighborhood rather than wait them out. This left the disturbing prospect that we were either lied to about Iraq's WMD threat or that the one man who would know where they were was still out there. Guess that last one is crossed off the list, as long as he didn't supply anyone else with the info in the 8 months it took to catch him.

That's another thing, 8 months? And he wound up being exactly where we always thought he'd be? Am I missing something here? Why did it take this long when he was still out by his hometown?

Finally, one thing keeps popping into my head every time I hear this refered to as perhaps the most extensive manhunt in history. I hinted at this in my opening. This better not be the most extensive manhunt in history, because there is someone out there we need to catch even more and we've been actively after him for over a year longer than Hussain. Remember what started the whole War on Terror? Wasn't Saddam. It was someone else who is apparently still out there and well funded to boot. But we caught Saddam. So I guess the administration is hoping people will forget about what really started this and how we never did catch the No. 1 fugative.


people suck

Sorry. I know I haven't posted here in forever. December is my busiest time at work, especially last weekend. I actually worked both days during the Blizzard. Wheeee! And apparently people in Massachusetts completely freak out in the face of snow, buying bread like they are getting trapped for winter. But, I keep thinking of things to write about, really. I just usually collapse long before I can get around to writing them. So what finally inspired my return to the blog? Me being pissed of. Sorry to do this to you, but my friend at work has left early and my girlfriend is busy buying a house and out of range for me to bitch to, so you get stuck with it.

People really suck sometimes.

I went to lunch today. I was only buying lunch because I've been too exhausted and sick to get into work on time, much less make a sandwich on the way here. So, I went out for pizza. My favorite place, unfortunetly, was out of Sicilian which is the only stuff they do right, so rather then wait for hot sicilian (which is not that good to begin with, and would be undercooked because that's what they do when someone is waiting) I went next door to a lesser pizza joint with higher prices. Not much higher, but considering a better place is right next door it still strikes me as pretty ballsy.

Anyway, I get my pizza, and they stick two pieces of Sicilian on a paper plate. Not a great set-up, but whatever. Problem is, some guy is crowding me to begin with and as I'm trying to get off to a table, he bumps me causing me to drop the pizza. So there is $5 wasted. An accident, sure, but caused by him crowding me to begin with. The real kicker is, the guy doesn't even acknowledge any of this. Acts like its all on TV or something and didn't involve him. Doesn't apologize at all, even after I glared at him. Really pissed me off. Mostly, though, because I'm not out $5. I spend money on some frivilous things, but I utterly hate wasting money. Drives me insane. Really just bothers me very deeply. Not sure why, because its not like I'm a spend-thrift. I just like getting my money's worth on things, and getting litterally nothing just doesn't sit right at all with me. It just leaves me completely crest-fallen and upset.

So, that's what just happened to me. Sorry to stick you with it, but I had to get it out to someone. Stay tuned for something better later. I promise.


$40 air freshener

I had a BIG MOMENT last night. One of those signs of adulthood. Probably one of the last I will experience, actually, as I'm really getting a touch too old to have any Adult Firsts. But at least one was left.

I got my first Christmas Tree on my own. Woo hoo!

Out of college, I lived with my now ex-girlfriend and she had a fake tree which predated me and I never really felt was mine and besides, was fake. Last year, I opted not to get a tree since I was not on good terms with my roommate and my now girlfriend had one at her place anyway. She lent me a little fake tree which suited my needs, anyhow.

But this year, there is no fall back. My girlfriend is probably not getting a tree at all since she will be moving just before Christmas. I have big living room just begging for a tree. I thought about getting a fake one, but one wiff of the massive wreathes in my office building's lobby convinced me that I needed a real tree.

I'll be decorating it tonight. I have lights which I used to decorate my windows last year and picked up some ornaments at le Boutique Target. Have to let the branches drop first, of course. Which is essentially all I know about Christmas trees. Its a nice looking sucker. Not too big, but nicely full. I'm all excited. I woke up and the pine scent was just all over the place. Gotta love the real deal. And I've always been a sucker for room's lit by Tree lights. Its one of those enduring childhood memories that always moves me. I can't wait.

The funny thing, of course, is that I'm celebrating Christmas at all. I'm religious non-committed, after all, being an agnostic. Just goes to show how secularized the holiday has become. Although, I've always been a sucker for the Charlie Brown Christmas special precisely because it is so religious. I am not be of faith, but I have tremendous respect for those who are and do it right, encouraging others not by bluster or force but by living as examples of the teachings of their faith. The Charlie Brown special is doing it right. Reminding us what Christmas really means, both if religious and secular terms. Its one of only a handful of Christmas specials which is explicitly anti-consumerism, and you have to love that. Even The Grinch can't quite claim to be that as its more interested in stripping away the artifice to show the true meaning. That's not quite the same thing as Chuck's explicit condemnation of consumpsion celebrating. And I respect the hell out of how they do it. Painting Christmas without Santa and Rudolph and Snowman but rather with the hope of the Savior. Christmas get's slagged for being an unimportant religious holiday, but Charlie Brown provides an important rebutal to that line.

But, I can't say I went with Chuck's choice of trees when I got my $40 Air Freshener. At least's not some weird color or made of aluminum or (shudder) inflatable.


won't someone please think of the soldiers

It seems the Pentagon is considering battlefield use of the Segway Human Transporter.

Haven't we put the men and women of our armed forces through enough?

Those are those bizarre little two wheel scooters that balance themselves in some complicated and ingenious way that you don't quite understand but is supposedly one of the most brilliant inventions ever even though it looks kinda goofy and no one can actually imagine people using the darn things. Supposedly, its virtually impossible to fall off the thing. Although our President seems to have managed to fall off the un-fall off-able Segway. (Seems he forgot to turn it on)

But our soldiers? In battle? Do we really need to spend the millions you just know we are spending to figure out that a battlion of Marines puttering around on scooters is not likely to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy. Somehow, I just can't picture some exciting and inspiring military combat video game involving scooting about.

And for that matter, what the heck is with all of these exciting and inspiring military combat video games? They seem to be all over the place. Forget the handful of blatent exploitations of the Iraq war. I'm talking about the combat simulators, usually either based in modern day urban warfare situation or in World War II. There just seems to be so many of them. I understood it to a point, butthere is a point when it just feels like too much. My dad is into them, and he actually served in the armed forces. Okay, he served in the Navy and JFK and John Kerry notwithstanding, that's not really a combat activity, but it still seems weird that a vetern would be interested in playing pretend soldier. Still, it seems a bit more understandable for him than for the majority who are playing the games who surely have never even been remotely in combat situations. The weirdest are the games that do multiplayer "death-match" games in their real World War II. That just freaks me out. I mean, I can sorta wrap my head around doing honor to those who fought in defense of freedom in World War II against the Nazi's with video games which chronicle their couragous efforts. Video games aren't just play anymore. They are a way of archiving our culture, our history. But using this as a backdrop to kill people over a high-speed connection just seems weird to me.

Oh, well. I guess mine is not to question why.