16 November, 2011

And the headache continues

I hate medical insurance.

I know, I know. "Hate" is a very strong word. It's not often I use that word and truly mean it. But in this case, I feel absolutely justified in my use of it. Medical insurance has caused nothing but trouble in my life. When dealing with cancer several years ago, the insurance carrier who my employer was using refused to pay any of my bills, claiming it was a "pre-existing condition." They stuck me with around $60,000 in medical bills. Needless to say, this has caused some problems in my life. Now today, cancer is once again being... well... cancerous.

After getting all treated and "cured" of all that nasty cancer business, I still have to go in for yearly checkups. I have to get my blood drawn to make sure that my T3, T4 and thyroglobulin levels are good. I have to get an ultrasound on my neck to make sure nothing's regrown. And I have to shake my doctor's hand and say "Thanks for not letting me die!" It's a pretty simple set of procedures, really, but it's costly nonetheless. For that trouble, the doctor's office charges $641. Ouch. Not to fear, medical insurance to the rescue! ...or maybe not. While they were kind enough to get the charges reduced to $221.91 due to "preferred rates" (umm...what?), they didn't actually pay any of it. Not a single penny. Nada. But wait, my work has planned for just such a problem! We have a second bit of coverage titled "Hospital Confinement Indemnity (GAP) Insurance." Yes, that does say "Hospital." No, I did not get this work done at a hospital. Don't worry, I'll come back to that. So now, a few phone calls, emails and hours later, I've got a GAP (is this supposed to be an acronym for something? Because I sure don't see it...) claim form to fill out and send along to this OTHER insurance company. As I am informed by our insurance carrier however, they will not cover the office visit. They will only cover the procedures performed there. So this leaves me with $61.37 (their cute little preferred rate) to pay of an original $641 bill. Not bad; I can handle that. After filling out the form, gathering up my doctor's bill, my original insurance explanation of benefits (in which they explained that they are going to do absolutely jack,) I faxed off all 9(!) pages to the GAP insurance company. Done deal! I should have a check in my hand within 10 days; fantastic!

But wait, you say, what about that "Hospital" business? This is where I get confused. I did not have my procedures performed at a hospital. I have not even been to a hospital in some time (knock on wood) and that is perfectly okay with me. This GAP coverage is specifically worded to be for hospital confinement resulting from sickness or injury. Granted, there is an "outpatient" section under which I may theoretically be covered, but I'm not holding my breath. Our insurance broker is absolutely certain this will be covered. After all, that's exactly why we got this silly second bit of coverage. Why wouldn't it cover it?

I'm just waiting to cringe and bend over at this point.

I hate medical insurance.

13 August, 2009

No wonder our nation is obese

You know, it really saddens me (and in fact, enrages as well) to read news headlines, every single day, along the lines of "Weight Lifting Benefits Breast Cancer Patients," and "Health Buzz: Diet and Excercise Protect Brain and Other Health News." Those are just two examples taken straight from Google News today. If I go digging onto individual news outlets, I get more wonderful gems. Take, for instance, this one from CNN: "Could Fat Babies Mean Fat Toddlers?"

Seriously, people? Is our nation really that mentally challenged that we still can't figure out what keeps us at the top of the list of fattest countries in the world? Here, let me save everybody a whole lot of time and sum it all up in one quick sentence: Healthy diet, combined with regular exercise, will keep you healthy.


If you want to lose weight, start jogging. If you want to gain muscle, lift weights. If those don't sound attractive to you, take up another hobby involving physical activity; dance, hiking, rock climbing, soccer, swimming, ANYTHING. It's not that difficult of a formula here, people. We're not searching for the elusive Higgs Boson. We're not trying to find the last digit of Pi. It's a simple matter of common sense and paying attention to your own body.

There is, of course, one other important message buried in this rant; most especially in that last paragraph. That message, for those of you who didn't notice, is: If you're not happy with the way you are, CHANGE. Don't say "I wish I was healthier;" do something about it!

If you find this posting offensive, first off, thanks for reading far enough to even become offended. That shows that you found some relevancy here. Second, try to think about why exactly it offends you. Hit too close to home? Think hard. Then do something about it.

24 March, 2009

A new *burp* tasty recipe!

Okay okay okay yeah it's been a long damn time since I've posted... again. Last night though, I made a great new recipe that I just had to share! Best of all, it's easy to make and most of the ingredients you really SHOULD already have available in your kitchen!

So, here we go. There's not really a name for it, but it's got two separate pieces which go together wonderfully. Here they are:

Caramelized balsamic onions
* 1 medium size red onion
* 1/2 stick unsalted butter
* About 1/4-1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
* Healthy sprinkle of black pepper
* Light sprinkle of salt
* Light sprinkle of ground thyme
* 2 tsp sugar

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Slice the onion into half rings, about 1/4 inch wide and add to the melted butter. Pour the balsamic vinegar over top of the onions and stir until they become soft, about 5 minutes, adding the pepper, salt and thyme about halfway through. Once the onions are soft, sprinkle the sugar over the whole thing and let it cook until the onions start to turn golden brown, stirring less frequently.

Once the onions are ready, set them aside and place another skillet onto your already warm burner for the following:

Lemon balsamic tilapia
* 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
* About 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (enough to fully cover the surface used to cook the fish)
* Slightly less lemon juice than balsamic vinegar. You want about a 4:3 ratio of balsamic to lemon.
* A dash of ground cloves
* Tilapia fillets (I made 3; much more and you'll overcrowd the pan, causing you to lose heat)

Toss the garlic into the pan and let it sizzle for a minute to bring out some flavor. Next, lay the bed of balsamic and lemon juice, being sure that your entire fillets will fit inside this bed. Be sure that the garlic is evenly distributed throughout the bed also, so that you don't get too heavy of a garlic flavor in one spot. Now, add the tilapia on top of everything and put that dash of cloves over top. You don't want a lot, just a hint will do the trick. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, until it's thoroughly cooked through. This shouldn't take long at all.

To serve, just toss everything onto a plate. There should be plenty of juices in both pans to give you a nice drizzle over top.

P.S. This also reheats very well!

19 August, 2008

Getting Sun's JDK working right in Fedora

This should be an easy task, right? Just download the RPM, install it, done and done. Right? Well, no, not quite.

I've managed to whip up a couple commands that help with the post-install though. Namely, overriding all of the various symlinks throughout the system to IcedTea and GCJ. Here, for your viewing and usage pleasure, is what I have come up with. Please feel free to emend where you deem appropriate, and please let me know if I am missing things!

alternatives --install /usr/bin/java java /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/java 20000 --slave /usr/bin/keytool keytool /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/keytool --slave /usr/bin/orbd orbd /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/orbd --slave /usr/bin/pack200 pack200 /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/pack200 --slave /usr/bin/policytool policytool /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/policytool --slave /usr/bin/rmid rmid /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/rmid --slave /usr/bin/rmiregistry rmiregistry /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/rmiregistry --slave /usr/bin/servertool servertool /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/servertool --slave /usr/bin/tnameserv tnameserv /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/tnameserv --slave /usr/bin/unpack200 unpack200 /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/unpack200 --slave /usr/lib/jvm/jre jre /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/jre

alternatives --install /usr/bin/javac javac /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/javac 20000 --slave /usr/bin/appletviewer appletviewer /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/appletviewer --slave /usr/bin/apt apt /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/apt --slave /usr/bin/extcheck extcheck /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/extcheck --slave /usr/bin/jar jar /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jar --slave /usr/bin/jarsigner jarsigner /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jarsigner --slave /usr/bin/javadoc javadoc /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/javadoc --slave /usr/bin/javah javah /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/javah --slave /usr/bin/javap javap /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/javap --slave /usr/bin/jconsole jconsole /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jconsole --slave /usr/bin/jdb jdb /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jdb --slave /usr/bin/jhat jhat /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jhat --slave /usr/bin/jinfo jinfo /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jinfo --slave /usr/bin/jmap jmap /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jmap --slave /usr/bin/jps jps /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jps --slave /usr/bin/jrunscript jrunscript /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jrunscript --slave /usr/bin/jsadebugd jsadebugd /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jsadebugd --slave /usr/bin/jstack jstack /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jstack --slave /usr/bin/jstat jstat /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jstat --slave /usr/bin/jstatd jstatd /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/jstatd --slave /usr/bin/native2ascii native2ascii /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/native2ascii --slave /usr/bin/rmic rmic /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/rmic --slave /usr/bin/schemagen schemagen /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/schemagen --slave /usr/bin/serialver serialver /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/serialver --slave /usr/bin/wsgen wsgen /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/wsgen --slave /usr/bin/wsimport wsimport /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/wsimport --slave /usr/bin/xjc xjc /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07/bin/xjc --slave /usr/lib/jvm/java java_sdk /usr/java/jdk1.6.0_07
You may notice that I did not include the manpages in these alternatives definitions. This was intentional... because alternatives is looking for gzips and the JDK, by default, does not gzip them. Whatever. I leave that as an exercise for the user. I just didn't feel like bothering, myself. :)

21 July, 2008

Another yummy veggieful recipe

I may not be on my low iodine diet anymore... and it may have been a few years since I've been vegetarian, but I still enjoy experimenting with foods related to both diets. In that light, I made up some totally delicious pasta on Friday evening, which I felt needed to be shared. The idea originated from the Pasta Romantico at Boulders on Broadway, then changed a bit from a recipe found on the side of the pasta box... then received a few changes and additions of my own. A nice personal touch from yours truly.

The resulting recipe has no name, except for delicious. Here it is:

  • 1 package (8oz) angel hair pasta
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 whole scallions, chopped
  • 1 red onion slice, chopped (I sliced one ring from the middle of the onion)
  • 1-2 small white mushroom(s), chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped basil
Preparing the pasta:
Boil 3 quarts water, add noodles to the boiling water, let the water return to boiling, then cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until noodles are tender. Careful not to overcook! Once thoroughly cooked, drain and rinse with cold water to ensure they don't continue cooking.

Preparing the rest:
In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil. Once warmed up (just a couple minutes) add the garlic and scallions to the olive oil. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Don't let these brown! Next, add the scallions, red onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, pepper and basil. Cook all of this for another 5 minutes or so, continuing to stir frequently. You want the garlic to start getting yellowish, but not browned and give all of the flavors a chance to mix together.

Final touches:
Once both the pasta and veggie medley are ready, combine them in a large bowl (including the olive oil you cooked the veggies in!) and toss them together. Squeeze the 1/2 lime over top of the mix. Toss some more to make sure all the flavors are mixed throughout, and you're ready to go!

Serve warm (not hot!) with a sprinkling of feta cheese over top. Makes about 6 full size servings.

This does refrigerate and microwave well. A good sized portion takes 60 seconds to get warmed up perfectly in my microwave.


As always, let me know if you have tried and enjoyed the recipe!

P.S. If you want to get a small bit of meat in here, I haven't tried it myself but I would bet that if you sauteed some shrimp and added them in here, it would be quite tasty.

28 June, 2008

Highs and lows

Life definitely has these, all the damn time. Today was going great. Hanging out with my buddy Don and his kids. We had lunch, I went and picked a new SWEET tv, we had just gotten that dropped off and were heading to a movie, when BAM! A lady pulled right out in front of me in an intersection. What is it with people and pulling in front of me? Seriously. It's like I've got a big flashing sign over my head saying "PLEASE PULL IN FRONT OF ME!" So now the front end of my car is all smashed up. The passenger side headlight is hanging down, the entire bumper is hanging down, as is the front grill. It's quite lovely. Luckily, nobody was hurt... and the airbag didn't deploy. Still though, it sucks ass. I can't even really drive at night now, because one of my headlights is popped out. Hell I don't even really want to drive much at all if I don't have to. I'm worried parts might start falling off.


Oh well, at least I can sit here and watch my pretty new TV. I may be moving in a week, but I just couldn't help myself. There's no way something like that is going to stay in the box around me. :)

28 May, 2008

A whole new level of frustration

This whole low iodine diet thing is going to kill me one of these days. Not only is it a hassle to have to cook all of my meals, with very limited ingredients... but I'm also staying with friends right now, so I don't have all of my normal kitchenware and spices. Then to top things off, since I am staying with friends, my entire life is packed up in boxes in the garage... which, up until 5 minutes ago, included all of my cookbooks and loose recipes. Just about an hour ago, I began the endeavor to hunt for these materials... and I have just now finally gotten to sit back down at my computer, finally having achieved my goal. I had to, quite literally, climb around, over and THROUGH all of my belongings. I opened nearly ever box that I had packed in the hopes that these were in there. Now, I know what you're thinking... cook books, the box should be labeled "Books". That's what I thought. Next logical guess.. "Kitchen". Nope. Then I started going through the unlabeled boxes, of which I had plenty. I packed and moved in a bit of a hurry. By the time I got to the last 2 boxes, I was about ready to give up. One of the boxes is nigh impossible to get to without removing half of my other belongings first. The other box, which was in fact right out in front within easy access, I had discounted right off because it was far too large. Certainly I wouldn't put books in a box that large. ...right? Oh well the hell, so I tried it, and lo and behold, there are my freaking cookbooks.

Damn that sucked.

At least I can say I got a good workout today. Even if it wasn't rock climbing, my thus-far limited experience with it certainly helped, finding foot holds and hand holds through that mess.

...now I have to spend the time actually cooking something. Ugh.

I think I may just go get some of The Joey Pizza.