Archive for February, 2007

Something came in the mail…

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

I wasn’t expecting this to turn up for a while longer, so it was surprising when the UPS guy turned up today with a bunch of copies of my book.


HOWTO: Write a successful US TV commercial dialogue

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

We’ve all seen them. Shallow, annoying, pointless TV commercials for products of limited or no value. Sometimes these commercials can leave you feeling you’re getting a deal when in fact they want to take you for a ride. But now there’s something different. And it’s called Jon’s US TV commercial guide. That’s right. Thanks to its patented technology and spaceage construction, Jon’s US TV commercial guide brings benefits never before available at any price. Jon’s US TV commercial guide is not available in stores but you can get all of these benefits and more by calling today!

“I tried Jon’s US TV commercial guide and was amazed. I’d tried other HOWTOs, but this was different. It really worked!”

“Hi, I’m doctor Bob Bobson from the center for Bobson research. I’ve been a family doctor for many years and I’ve seen first hand how many HOWTO guides can leave people drowsy and discontented. But Jon’s US TV commercial guide is the first guide in its class to really work. My patients agree, Jon’s US TV commercial guide really does work. And it’s that simple.”

“My doctor told me that Jon’s US TV commercial guide isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for people with kidney or liver problems, history of heart attack or high blood pressure. She also said I shouldn’t take it if I’ve been standing on my head or am a humorless drone, as these can lead to a successful lawsuit for everyday commonsense aversion”.

Jon’s US TV Commercial guide isn’t available in stores, but you can get it risk free in your own home for just ten payments of $19.95! That’s right! Ten payments of $19.95! People ask how we’re able to offer such value at such a great price. The secret’s in the patented technology harnessing the latest scientifically proven breakthrough in spaceage construction. In fact, we’re so confident in this product that we’re offering it to you risk free for 30 days! That’s right! Risk free in your own home for 30 days!

But wait! Call now and we’ll double your order. That’s right! We’ll double your order at no extra cost to you! Just pay additional shipping. Two Jon’s US TV Commercial guides for the price of one and a 30 day risk free trial in your own home! This offer isn’t available in stores, but you can take advantage of it right now – risk free – for just ten payments of $19.95!

But wait! Call in the next 5 minutes and we’ll shove it up your ass, no questions asked! That’s right! We’ll shove it up your ass, no questions asked! Call now!


Something I found on…

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

I’d like to thank the academy. Seriously though, thanks to the people who made this happen – my publisher (Debra, Carol, Kit and folks at Wiley), my friends (Kat, David, Matthew, Richard, Chris) and everyone else involved.


HOWTO: visit a doctor

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Life in the US is often interesting, from an introspective viewpoint anyway. Yesterday, I decided that this sore throat wasn’t going to get better on its own and needed some antibiotical assistance. So, I figured it was about time to register with a doctor and take care of all that jazz. Actually finding a doctor wasn’t too bad – I just used my health insurance provider’s website to find one down the street, called and got an apointment a few hours later. But when I got there, there was more fun to be had:

  • Fill in registration form.
  • Fill in more registration forms.
  • Fill in background form (all ok so far, overdone, but ok).
  • Fill in survey about depression. So I’m not depressed but they wanted to check I wasn’t about to kill myself as part of their paranoid default paperwork for new patients. I was tempted to write that the hassle involved in treating a sore throat was making me re-consider…but it’s not worth assuming a sense of humor exists.
  • Fill in survey about domestic violence. Yeah, that’s right. A sore throat requires this kind of information.
  • Take my blood pressure, weight, oxygen, heartrate, other vitals.
  • See doctor, who repeats most of the above.
  • Tell doctor “dude, I’ve got the same symptoms as someone who’s now already on antibiotics, I’m not dying, I just want a prescription and then I promise not to come back until I’m actually sick again”.
  • Doctor takes swabs of my throat to send off for analysis (presumably because they can claim this as an additional expense to my insurance company).
  • Discover the doctor is actually an OK dude. Originally Canadian and therefore versed in the Province based system in Canada, we had a good discussion about his support for universal healthcare, which local charities are good to donate to (I constantly feel guilt/annoyance that so many people here don’t have health coverage…and it really pisses me off) and the differences between US, Canadian and European healthcare systems.
  • Get prescription.
  • Go to CVS to claim it. They can’t find me in the insurance database. Phone calls, more waiting (and of course, I’m grumbling about the merits of universal healthcase by this point) and eventually after a wait they are able to process it.
  • Got antibiotics.

Thank goodness I only had a sore throat. I hate to think how bad it would be if I actually had anything particularly wrong with me. It’s not that any one thing was annoying/excessive, it’s just the overall experience that’s typically overblown and rediculous. Anyway, they’ve even more than in the UK, convinced me to avoid seeing a doctor here again unless I really feel like hours of fun and enjoyment just to deal with a trivial sore throat :-)

Irony of the day: being asked a bunch of times for your “social security” number and thinking to yourself “that’s right, social security, because the government here really provide for the people”. I like a lot of things about the US, but nobody is ever going to sell me on how healthcare works here…and now I’ve briefly experienced the whole broken mess for myself. People here do know the healthcare system is broken, it’s just that nobody can agree on how to fix it (read: rightwing types unwilling to pay higher taxes for universal healthcare benefits to wider society).

The number one reason I’m pissed off? Because of the disparity. I get good coverage through my employer, but so many millions of people don’t get anything – I hate to think about their experiences. Health should not be about who you work for, what job you do or how much you can afford to pay…not in an advanced society, anyway. I wish people who vote for fucktarded losers would finally realize this. But they won’t, because it’s not in keeping with unrealistic, unmaintainable tax cuts and general cuts to federal programs in order to spend more on fighting daddy’s war…


Changing musical tastes…

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

It’s interesting (to a limited subset of the populous) how my musical tastes have changed over the last few years. For example, a few years ago, you wouldn’t have seen me in a Borders picking up miscellaneous items from the Coldplay backcatlogue, or listening to Radiohead. But there you go – I guess we all have grow to up, eventually :-)

So, I’m in Borders earlier listening to random stuff, figuring what the impulse purchase du jour is going to be, and decide to go grab a coffee. And, of course, there’s a complete waste of space in the line. Seriously, this guy had “allegedly” been given a stale carrot cake last Thursday and turned up (sans receipt, stinking of booze) to demand they give him items equivalent in value to said item. When they only offered him a free $2.something cake, instead of the $3.whatever he’d apparently spent, he went apeshit. People are great, aren’t they? I mean, seriously, FFS.


Bush: $2.9 trillion mostly spent on FUD

Monday, February 5th, 2007

The BBC have an article up on Bush’s penultimate budget (he can’t piss away money so easily after next year). No real surprises so far – I’ll do a little more digging into the finer points for my interest – in that he’s squandering billions on pointless wars while screwing the young and the old out of social medical welfare programs (Medicare) as a means to cut spending in order to avoid future tax hikes.

This is a followup to his laughable provision in his State of the Union speech to not tax those earning under $15,000 (those who already can’t afford healthcare and who won’t be able to) so that they can somehow find money to spend on getting healthcare when, in reality, they need the money for more immediate and essential provisions – healthcare is a luxary to many on very low incomes, one that we should provide as part of a fair and balanced democratic and advanced society.

But Bush isn’t a complete fucktard. No, he’s able to see that the books (he doesn’t read books, but let’s just assume he does for a second) don’t balance in the longer term. So he wants to cut federal welfare program spending in order to avoid tax hikes. Unwilling to allow sanity and reason to interfere (those tending to suggest that one less Iraq war could lead to universal healthcare) – the only solution here is an increase in taxation to provide for the needy – he’ll happily squander billions on fighting his daddy’s war, while ignoring the millions of his own citizens who face the more tragic immediate danger of poor education, disproportionate medical treatment for rich and poor and a widening gap in social classes within US society. But then, only sane people see these real problems.