Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I've gotten used to using Facebook--I've integrated it into my nearly-daily life. I check it in the morning, I check it in the evening (ain't we got fun?) and I believe my 90 (90?!?) friends care what I have to say.

I started using it at the behest of a friend--I wanted to lurk, but signing up gives you a page, and I started getting friend requests IMMEDIATELY. Not that I'm all that popular, but there they were. So there was no going back.

Now I'm getting used to the fact that the pronouncements I make while sitting in my pajamas at the computer are broadcast out to people who READ them. And probably extrapolate from them. Sometimes I forget that I made such a pronouncement when asked about it in real life

My goal? To never post a TGIF. Or take a quiz with the question, "Favorite karaoke song?"


Monday, April 06, 2009

Lucy's Latest Impersonation

A classic.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Not again

A story in the New York Times reminded me of the absolutely awful way Neupogen made me feel:

"Neupogen stimulates the growth of white blood cells and makes his bones sensate in a way he never thought possible; he can feel the marrow aching within them. Painkillers donít ease the discomfort so much as they drug him into a foggy resignation that might, to a stranger, pass for repose."

I swear I could hear my bones creaking. A tooth cracked. It just *hurt*.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wrong Kind of Penthouse

I was sitting on an airplane recently, my dad on one side and a stranger on the other. I had brought old copies of the New York Times Sunday Magazine to read and (finally) do the crossword puzzles. I was having a bit of trouble with one, so I decided to ask my dad for his help. Everything went swimmingly (he knew 1970's actors and car models) until I got to this clue:

Penthouse feature (4 letters)

My dad turns to me and says, "Well, 'Forum' is too long, isn't it?"

The guy on the other side of me laughed out loud. (Turns out the correct answer was 'view'.)


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Calling It

Conor and Lucy have recently been playing a game where they vie to be the last one to brush their teeth. As we head upstairs to start the bedtime ritual, Conor will typically yell, "Lucy brushes first!". (No one wants to say, "I'm last!")

The other night Lucy beat him to it as she went upstairs first, and Conor confronted her and she reiterated, "I called it. You're first." He couldn't argue with that logic, so Plan B was apparently to play on my sympathies so he burst into tears. "She ah-ah-ah-always b-b-b-b-bosses me around". Telling him that he lost, fair and square, at his own game was cold comfort, so I didn't say anything and gave him a hug. He took that as encouragement, that his tactic was working, so he escalated his complaints--Lucy always wins, Lucy always gets her way, etc.

And this is where I win the bad parenting award for the night. I told him to brush his teeth with his tears.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Card

I received a holiday card from a boss at my current client, and she wrote,

"...your grace with people is a gift to us."

Oh, yeah. All you people who think otherwise can suck it!


Friday, December 12, 2008

It's All About the Coat

This is a coat that can make a homeless man raise his head off his cardboard pillow and yell, "Nice coat!" It's made from the pelts of a thousand Beanie Babies. It has raised the green-eyed monster in my cubicle mates--I swear they wear it when I have to leave my desk.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

When Precondition is True

Now, I'm not a super-glamorous traveling consultant anymore, racking up frequent flyer miles and tiny bottles of hotel shampoo. But I'm a consultant, and that means I work with the dysfunctional. The latest? A QA person who doesn't understand the word WHEN.

WHEN doesn't she understand WHEN? Hah! I crack myself up. WHEN it's used as such, "WHEN the customer is super-special, always use the smiley-face icon in the confirmation message.

Which causes the QA person to ask, "What do you mean by 'WHEN'?" Uhhhhh.... Just try to define the word 'when' without using the word, or risk workplace bias by asking if English is their first language.

We compromised by changes all instances of WHEN to IF. As in IF the customer is super-special, THEN always use the smiley-face icon in the confirmation message.

But it got better--or worst.

The developer and architect don't understand the concept of a precondition for certain functionality--something that has to be true in order to access the functionality. "But what if it's not true", they ask. Then don't show it to them because they can't do it!

But they protest, "But we can't do that. What we can do is give them access, then if they shouldn't have access we take it away."

What I call taunting, they call cross-selling.


Monday, October 27, 2008

What's Next?

Wikipedia had a front-page article today on the NeXT computer. When I was in grad school in 1990, I decided to do a paper on the NeXT computer for a class. I can't remember why, but it seemed like a good idea. I (felt like I) was computer savvy, after all, having taken programming courses in high school and as an undergrad. I've often said that I would have had a minor in computer science if only the University of Texas had offered minors. But they didn't, so I was saved from having to actually take all those computer and science courses, and instead took Pascal pass/fail.

So I went to a demonstration of the NeXT--it was being offered to universities--and I remember standing in front of that oh-so-sleek cube, with the amazingly crisp grayscale display. It was 17 inches! And there were these things on the screen. Icons. Now, you have to get in the wayback machine and remember that in 1990 there were no icons on PC's. Macs, yes, but I wasn't a Mac person. And I stood there and admired it, and even poked at the keyboard a few times, and I did move the mouse around--but I didn't know what I wanted this beautiful computer to do. And the very geeky guy demonstrating the computer couldn't tell me what I wanted it to do, either, so I left and wrote my paper from articles I got out of the library.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Steady as She Goes

Now, I certainly don't have it as bad as this:
Scott's Diabetes Explanation: The Airplane Analogy but it's similar. I need to keep asking myself if I'm tired, and, if so, what kind of tired? I really want to get on the total auto-pilot....


Monday, October 06, 2008

Just Lucky, I Guess

NPR ran a story on resorting to superstitions when you feel out of control.
When Not In Control, People Imagine Order:
"New research shows that when people perceive they have no control over a given situation, they are more likely to see illusions, patterns where none exist and even believe in conspiracy theories. The study suggests that people impose imaginary order when no real order can be perceived."

Last week, when I returned to Stanford for my diagnostic mammogram, I panicked because not only had I not brought my cache of cool-but-read magazines to deposit in the waiting room, I had not even read my latest copy of CURE. If it turned out bad, I'd know why. But it didn't. I'm still not sure I can go without reading that issue of CURE--it's bound to come back to haunt me!


Friday, October 03, 2008

Twice as Fun

Every year, in the fall, it's time for testing. And now that I'm up for yearly mammograms, the advances in technology are working against me. Digital imaging finds a LOT. Last year the "screening mammogram", the standard, found something and I had to return for a "diagnostic mammogram" to find out it was nothing. Nothing they could identify, anyway, so unless microscopic aliens were setting up shop, I was good to go for another year.

So this year I figured it'd happen again, so when I went in for the screening mammogram I asked the technician to look at last years images to make sure she covered any suspicious ground.

Oh, she says, I meant to look at your previous images before I brought you in.

Go ahead, I said, I'll wait. And I stood there, because there was only one chair and it was in front of the computer and she was in it, and I didn't say anything because I didn't think distracting her would help anyone and she eventually took the images.

And I got the calls, a scary-sounding call from a nurse from each of the three doctors I'd asked the reports to be sent to. They use the trying-not-to-frighten-you-but-you-better-take-this-seriously voice.

So I go back, and when I do I explain the situation and ask each and every person I talk to how to get around this two-trip effort. The best answer was from the radiologist who came out personally to say that my images looked fine. She said that she really didn't know how to combine the two in my situation because it was the insurance company who wouldn't pay for both at the same time. But if there was a symptom they would essentially skip the screening and go straight for a diagnostic. And something transient, like pain, would be the kind of symptom whose disappearance would be easy to explain after the diagnostic screening. Thanks, doc!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's News!

An article in today's San Francisco Chronicle caught my eye: Lymphoma forum, fundraiser walk in S.F. Some of the highlights:

"Lymphoma, the most common type of blood cancer...." (I guess when you go to journalism school them tell you it's a blood cancer. I learned, from HAVING it, that it's a cancer of the lymphatic system. Close, but no cigar.)

"While other kinds of cancer are stabilizing or declining in numbers, incidents of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - about 332,000 of the 500,000 Americans with lymphoma have this form - are rising by 4 percent every year." (Oh, my, aren't we getting popular?)

"It's a disease I like to treat because we have a lot of success with it," said San Francisco oncologist Dr. Stephen Hufford, who is affiliated with California Pacific Medical Center. "There are so many different varieties - some are highly curable, others aren't curable but you can live a long time. In a way, it's one of the better malignancies that we deal with because of the variety of treatments we have." (It's statements like this that remind me that this is a business, too, and that it may suck to have limited treatment options for people. But seriously, no one wants ANY malignancy!)


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Grandma and Grandpa

I can't decide whether I'm being snarky or not--especially since you know it *bugs* her to be a grandma.


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