October 29, 2004

Totally 80s Unconscious

I just woke up from a dream in which I was watching a Tom Petty music video. The song was basically telling Judy Tenuta to quit telling People magazine that they used to go out when they never did and in fact, actually, he hates her, and in the dream I was just watching this thinking, "Oh word, Tom."

Judy Tenuta. I thought I had forgotten about that creature.

Posted by Ilyka at 04:11 PM | Comments (3)

October 16, 2004

Drs. Homey Don't Play That and Rules Are For Other, Lesser Beings

I think Dr. Alice requested a medical transcription anecdote from me a couple weeks ago. I haven't really had any of these because I am lucky: I transcribe physicians anymore who are really super-awesome dictators. (It always sounds so weird to call them "dictators," though for all I know they are that way to work with, actually.)

I mean they are so cool that when one of them dictated half a 5-minute dictation in a poorly-done Irish brogue, I not only didn't mind, I loved it--particularly when he made the aside, "this is hard!" midway through it. Yes, doctor. A good Irish brogue that doesn't sound hella cheesy is a difficult thing. I figure he did it on a dare or a bet or something. Anyway, more doctors should feel free to have fun with accents. Unless they already have accents, in which case I would like to take a moment to broadcast this request to the fine people of India:

Please: When someone praises your English--which is usually very, very good, don't get me wrong on this--please do not take that as license to speak at a rate of 300 words per minute. Because I guarantee you there are still some words you are just not pronouncing correctly at all and when you say them real fast?--Yes, thank you. I knew you would understand.

Anyway, nothing's perfect. Despite the preponderance of wonderful, clear-speaking, fabulous doctors for whom I transcribe emergency reports, there still always have to be a couple "special" cases. These have been nicknamed, without affection, Dr. Homey Don't Play That and Dr. Rules Are For Other, Lesser Beings.

You might have surmised that these two probably have the same principal flaw.

You might as well congratulate yourself because, BINGO.

See, neither Dr. Homey Don't Play That nor Dr. Rules Are For Other, Lesser Beings thinks it is worth his or her time to include such trivial information as:

--The patient's name

--The date of visit

--A birthdate?

--A sex?

--Maybe a chart number?

--Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

And the thing is . . . the thing is . . . the thing is, we have like a system that more or less does this for the doctors. I think they have to punch in a thing or two--okay, I have no idea actually what they have to punch in, but the point is, I'm assured by my company that yes, there is a system by which they can make sure all that information is contained in the dictation without having to do very much to bring that happy circumstance about.

And the other thing is, all the other physicians do whatever that magical thing is they do to get all the patient information in the dictation already, so that I don't have to try to make out a hastily-mumbled name that HEAVEN FORBID WE SHOULD EVER SPELL, like 95% of the time. I could forgive accidents. I could forgive "sometimes" or "once in awhile." But Drs. Homey Don't Play That and Rules Are For Other, Lesser Beings? They're on more of a "never" kick with the patient information. Maybe they have a bet on with each other, I don't know.

This would be annoying, but still merely a minor nuisance, except for one other commonality these two share: Unrestrained cheerfulness and vivacity.

I mean, they leave this I-don't-know-I-kind-of-thought-it-was-maybe-important? information off all their dictations. They've been told not to leave this stuff off--trust me, I verified that much before I started complaining here--and not only are they unrepentant and determined to continue leaving this stuff off, but they both - sound - so - freaking - HAPPY - about it. Like you know the weather gals--don't tsk-tsk at me; they usually are women, admit it--that your local news stations have? These two sound like that.

"Hi! This is Dr. Homey Don't Play That Dictating on a Patient Indecipherable Lopez, whose sex, birthdate, account number or, heck, date of visit I can't be bothered to provide you! Chief complaint is nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea x3 days!" Hi! This is an underpaid transcriptionist who yearns to type, "Use the ADT feed, you cretin, or never get another report back from me again" instead of what you actually just said there!

There's nothing I can do, though. I took a survey, and I'm not the only one irritated by it, and complaints have been made, and counselings have taken place, and, you know, what can you do? These guys ultimately make the rules; they're the customers.

And Rules Are For Other, Lesser Beings.

Posted by Ilyka at 03:47 AM | Comments (5)

October 15, 2004

The Anti-Blog

If I resume posting regularly that's what this is going to become, I think: The Anti-Blog. I know you all think I've been doing nothing but playing Sims 2 lately and, well, you're partly right. There have also been some intervening problems of a personal nature, including but not limited to my boyfriend having a seizure on my living room floor last weekend, but I'm not going to get too into that because that's more his business than yours or mine.

All I can say is I now owe every movie "heroine" an apology. You know how in films the female lead will just stand there and scream when the bad guy attacks/the house catches fire/insert-peril-here? And you know how you roll your eyes and go, "Cripes, lady, snap out of it, you've got to get out of there/whack the bad guy over the head with that lamp/insert-saving-action-here, quit being so hysterical?" Well, I've typed accounts of seizures a hundred times if I've typed them once; I know what to do if someone has one; and I still freaked the hell right out. I'm lucky--he's lucky--I remembered to call 911.

But the other thing (and I'm sure this is going to irk some people, and I'm equally sure I don't care) is that lately when I go to read blogs I come away disgusted, disappointed, or both. I don't like saying that because my view is, if you don't like what you read, write something better yourself on your own dumb blog and, well, I haven't been too good about doing that. So I'm living in the glass house chucking the biggest rocks I can find; okay, gotcha. I'm clear on that. All I can say is I agreed heartily with this assessment, but it's more than that; and just personally, if I had written that, I wouldn't turn around a week or two later and participate in a "blogging symposium" that devolves into lusty--excuse me; I meant boring--talk of BlogAd revenue with the guy who accused me of having "fear and contempt" for this bold new paradigm, er, for blogging. But that's just me.

It's not fear and contempt, at least not for me. It's that bloggers are . . . uh, anyone remember what happens in the last chapter of Animal Farm? Yeah, it's like that. It's getting harder to tell the difference.

Is Bush losing ground or something? Is that what made you all get so unbelievably stupid over this Cheney's daughter thing? I'm reading Lileks today and he's about to blow a gasket over it. And I think of him as the sane, professoinal blogger, unlike you yobbos and me too. Lileks! Did it ever occur to you that the reason so many conservapundits are interpreting Kerry's remark as a slam on Mary Cheney is because--stay with me a moment--to many Republicans, observing that someone's daughter is lesbian is considered an embarrassment to the parents?

See, I think you guys are projecting. A-gain. There's nothing weird, creepy, or rude about noting that an adult is gay, if that person is out about it. There IS something weird, creepy, and rude about taking four years to acknowledge that your daughter is gay. You guys are the ones who are weird, creepy, and rude. You guys are the ones who decided, once Bush's post-9/11 approval rating gave you the stones to go for it, that a Federal Marriage Amendment was the single most important domestic issue facing the country. You guys brought this into it. And then you were all shocked to realize that as a result, guys like Andrew Sullivan might actually become offended and withdraw support for the president--but that didn't ttrouble social conservatives for long, did it? No, they just started clucking their tongues and saying, "It sure is a shame Andrew can't see past his own selfish desire to enjoy the same rights we do long enough to care about the War on Terror."

But who started it, amigos y amigas? Who got us to that point? That wasn't the Democrats. The last I checked, the Democrats were not proposing a Constitutional amendment to restrict anyone's freedom. That would be the Republicans--you know, the party of limited government.

If Bush loses this election, he will have deserved it. Here's what I got out of the last debate, here's what I remember George giving me as the chief reason why I should vote for him, why I should love his domestic policy: No Child Left Behind. I have no idea what this act does, but I do know it was apparently important enough that he gave it as the answer to seemingly every single question.

Right now what Bush has going for him is that he perceives global terrorism as something more than a nuisance. If he wins, it will be because on international policy, it's hard to be less coherent than John Kerry. That doesn't mean I've got the warm fuzzies for Bush. And don't bother coming here if you think that's what you're gonna get. And if you want to interpret that as my having become a shill for Kerry? Sweet dreams, muchacho, and pray reality doesn't intrude on any of them. Because I have just one question: Where would the Bush campaign be right now if the Democrats had actually nominated a guy who was any good at this game?

Posted by Ilyka at 07:34 PM | Comments (11)

October 07, 2004

In Which I Take Time Out from Computer Games to Eat Something

I had migas this morning and mom always taught me to share, so there's a recipe for you in the extended entry. Oh, it isn't anything fancy. For fancy food you go here or here or, shoot, half a dozen other places. I just make stuff that tastes good to me. Your mileage may vary, etc.

Migas or Something Like That

4······eggs, beaten with just a splash of milk
1/2···chopped red or green bell pepper
1/4···minced white onion
1······minced serrano or jalapeno pepper
1······deseeded chopped small tomato*, or substitute 1 heaping tablespoon salsa cruda
2······corn tortillas, "chipped" (cut into small triangles, about 2 cm each side)
2······good handfuls grated cheddar or colby/jack cheese
1/4···cup vegetable oil
salt, pepper, New Mexico chile powder, chives

*Note: In Europe and other parts of the world in which tomatoes need not be the size of baseballs, ignore the descriptor "small." In the U.S. use about half a beefsteak, or one plum tomato, or one of those little ones that come still on the vines and usually have the phrase "Euro-style" somewhere on the label just so you can feel like a total poseur at the grocery store which, if you're buying those, you probably are. Well, c'est la vie.

Heat up the oil in a good nonstick saute pan and toss in your bell pepper, onion, and chile pepper. When they start to go a bit soft, toss in the chipped corn tortillas and mix it all up to get everything evenly coated with oil.

When the tortillas start to go a bit soft, toss in the chopped tomato. Or just cheat and scrape the last tablespoon or so of picante sauce out of the jar so you can get rid of it and have room in the fridge, like I did this morning. I probably shouldn't admit this, but when I haven't had any fresh tomatoes around I have even been reduced to throwing in a couple of Taco Bell sauce packets, albeit with results best described as "deserved." I told you this was not a fancy recipe.

Season contents of pan with salt, pepper, and chile powder to taste. You could throw other seasonings of your choice in with that, but if I see you reaching for the cumin I am going to cry for you. The trouble with people who don't live in the Southwest attempting to cook Southwestern food is that they have somehow acquired the notion that cumin goes into everything. I blame Bobby Flay, simply because I don't like him and because, well, why not? Anyway, cumin goes into a lot less Mexican and Southwestern cuisine than you think. Put the cumin down.

Did you beat up your eggs yet? Hurry up and beat your eggs up before the stuff in the pan goes all soggy. Pour them over the stuff in the pan and swirl to coat. Sprinkle one good handful of grated cheese into the eggs. Sort of fold, rather than outright scramble, everything together. You just sort of go around bringing the cooked eggs from the bottom up to the top and so on.

When the eggs are done to your taste turn off the burner, sprinkle the other good handful of cheese over the top and sprinkle chives over the top of that, and either throw a lid on the pan for just a minute to melt the cheese or show off what a purist you are by sticking the pan--the pan with the flameproof handle, naturalmente--under the broiler for a second. Unless you have your own salamander at home, in which case you could stick it under that and oh, p.s., I hate you.

This serves approximately:

Two starving, hungover people in need of the greasy breakfast cure, or
Three normal people, or
Four people who are horrified that you didn't beat the eggs with skim milk and use fat-free cheddar. Say, those eggs are from free-range chickens, aren't they? Aren't they?

Posted by Ilyka at 10:31 PM | Comments (5)

October 02, 2004

Okay, This is Maybe Becoming a Problem

So has anyone ever had to have a friend lock something addictive up for them--bottles, smokes, bongs, Sims 2 CDs--to help them sober up? Because I think I've reached that point.

This game doesn't even run on my setup so much as it sadly chug-chug-chugs along, the little people simulation that could, and I still can't keep from loading it up first thing in the morning. Which then becomes afternoon. Which then becomes whoops, time to work! Which then becomes, etc. I'm convinced I don't have a better graphics card because God really does love me after all, and He knows that with a better graphics card I might actually starve to death from my compulsion to sit here 24/7 telling little imaginary creatures to make sure they eat.

Anyway. Apparently there were presidential debates recently? Uh-huh, really, you don't say. Right now all I could offer about that would be only of the most pathetic nature. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Heartfelt if insufficient thank-yous to Jim, Dr. Alice, and Helen, who all emailed to nag and to verify that I had not actually passed out of the land of the living. I am here. I am not dead yet. Now take these discs away from me, I'm not kidding.

Posted by Ilyka at 01:40 AM | Comments (12)