28 August 2009

The last Japanese Photo

When I was in Tokyo last month, I spent a couple nights hanging out with my friend Sou, who I met in Shanghai in June. The first night, we went to dinner, and then he took me around to see a couple of interesting elements of the Tokyo scene. We went to a huge video arcade, and one floor was completely dedicated to photo booths. The interesting thing about this floor was that couples were only allowed if they were M/F or F/F. M/M pairs were not allowed. Sou wanted to show me, so we snuck in and took a series of photos. While we were post-processing it, we almost got kicked out, but Sou explained that I was a tourist and he wanted to show me Japanese culture, so we were allowed to stay.

I forgot about the photo until today, when I pulled it out of a book and scanned it to send it to Sou. Here it is for you too!

From Korea & Tokyo, 2009

27 August 2009

sunrise photos

The last few weeks have been busy for me. I've been working on a show, planning for classes, trying to exercise, and grabbing whatever free time with Sarah I can.

This morning, I got up with Sarah, and when she went off to work, I walked down to the beach to take some photos. You can see all of them at this link, but here are a few for starters:

From Long Beach sunrise 8/27/09

From Long Beach sunrise 8/27/09

From Long Beach sunrise 8/27/09

12 August 2009

Health Care, misinformation, and Harry Potter

This morning, I updated my Facebook status to this:

Vincent Olivieri heard that if ObamaCare passes, his grandmother will have to play russian roulette as part of her annual checkup.

It didn't take long before there was a flurry of discussion on the recent health care debate. Once the misinformation got rebutted by fact, the debate devolved into absurdity. I'll post the entire dialog here, but I'll take out the identities of the posters:

College friend #1: we're so afraid of death in this country that we can't even think about talking of end-of-life care without getting paranoid! and then noone actually has a clue about what we might want and it causes families lots of extra stress when they don't need it.

Me: Amen!

College friend #2: Hahahaha!!! I heard that they were going to redub the whole health care system "Kevorkianomics"...and that Obama will actually be slated to pull the plug on one-in-four elderly Americans PERSONALLY... Now THAT, my friends, is a President with a bedside manner...

Theatre friend #1: Apparently, they're giving up on the whole "kill granny" line of attack.

The new one is they'll kill your kids. Cause, you know, that one's more plausible...

Me: They say that violence against the homeless is most often a teen beating up an elderly homeless person. Sounds like ObamaCare in action!

College friend #3: It's not paranoia -- it will be reality. Talk to some people from Canada and Germany who are familiar with the health care systems there.

Me: Wow, clearly I'm misinformed. I have friends in Canada and Germany (and France, and England, and South Korea), and none of them have mentioned death panels. In fact, I have one friend who chose to return to South Korea for cancer treatment because it was better for her (both in terms of price and quality) than care in the USA.

If you can point me towards some people who can vouch for the death panels, I'll be happy to check into it.

College friend #3: There don't have to be death panels -- just a refusal to provide certain treatment or surgeries to someone over a certain age.

Theatre friend #2: wow , and this from a president who doesn't even have a birth certificate. Of course he doesn't care about death, he isn't really alive! :)

High School friend: Many people in England still have private health insurance, and I've heard them complain about their national healthcare system, but they've opted not to use it.

When I lived in England, I found the national healthcare system to be wonderful, not very different from the PPO healthcare system I'd experienced until then in the states.

Friend of Sarah: Didn't Obama appoint Kevorkian as the new Health Care Czar? Or was it the cabinet position as head of Health and Human Services?

Theatre friend #3: There are so many good things about universal health care: I lived in Scotland for 2 years and during that time my foot got run over by a car and it was seriously messed up. I tore all the ligaments and ripped the skin. Had to go to the emergency room, get x-rays, stitches, be on crutches for 8 weeks and do physical therapy. It cost me NOTHING. All they asked was that I return the crutches when I was done so that someone else could use them. Again, it cost NOTHING. Had I been stateside, I would have been screwed.
And for the record, I have never heard of anyone over a certain age being turned away for treatment.

Alright, devil's advocate time. Even IF what Allegra is saying is true, that there will be panels that will choose to deny non-cost-effective care to elderly people who are on the government plan, isn't having that plan STILL better than no plan at all?

Those of us with insurance (and I'm one of those lucky people) can keep our non-death panel plans, right? This new plan is for people who don't have insurance, right? So, wouldn't the EVIL DEATH PANEL plan be better than no plan at all?

I think I need to read my way through this plan. I'm still not convinced that it provides for death panels, but honestly, I haven't read it myself. I'm getting my information from Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Specter, etc. Which is a far sight better than getting it from Beck & Limbaugh, but not as good as just reading the damn thing myself....

Have any of you read it?

Extended family:
Just remember you will be old one day. When you are young you get everything. As you get older it is more difficult.....

Long Beach friend: Having just dealt with the medical system while my mother was terminally ill, what we have now isn't so humane, I have to say.

Me: Right, but even if the EVIL DEATH PANEL plan were in existence and it passes, it still wouldn't affect Medicare benefits.

And even if the EVIL DEATH PANEL plan were in existence and it passes, it still wouldn't affect your current health plan unless you wanted it to.

I just read for myself the section of the bill that pertains to Advanced Care Planning. There's nothing in it about killing anyone, old, young, healthy, or sick. Nothing. Everything in there is about setting up opportunities for the elderly to think about and plan for things like living wills, etc. Which everyone should have anyway. I put my living will & DNR documents together when I was 31....

I've just done some quick research, and here are some links.

The link to the Advanced Care Planning section of the bill:

This link (from an admittedly progressive site) debunks five big health care plan myths:

Not trusting their claim of endorsement by AARP, I went here:

And got connected to this debunking page:

...which refutes Allegra's claims.

That article then links to this page:

...which allows you to compare key points of all the major plans. This just obfuscates the situation, since it reminds us that there is no agreed-on plan. There are still a bunch of different plans out there, all vying for support. It's tough to say what will or will not be in the plan, because everyone's still working out the kinks.

Short ending to a long story: Medicare benefits are unaffected, there is no EVIL DEATH PANEL for the elderly, and the claims of denial of non-cost-effective treatment are grossly exaggerated and just BARELY accurate.

Long Beach friend:
So, I've thought a lot about this while taking a bath just now, and it's all clear to me now. Obama is Voldemort. I just knew it. Maybe they'll send an army of dementors and death eaters after the elderly. That sounds efficient. Speaking of which, Vinnie, wanna do Harry Potter in 3D Imax, come on, it will be fun.

Me: Also, Obama and Voldemort are tall and slender.

Long Beach friend: LOL

08 August 2009

Birthday at Huntington

On Thursday, Sarah, Denise, Jaymi, and I went to the Huntington Library. Calling it a library is slightly inappropriate, since next to the library is a HUGE garden. I brought along my new camera. Here are some lovely photos from our lovely day!

Here's Sarah:



The grounds of the central gardens:

An orange bug! (click for a closer view!)

This cactus looks like it's swimming:

The Japanese Garden:

A close-up of a flower:


Today, weather.com says this about Long Beach:

"Abundant sunshine. High 79F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph."

I love the choice of the word 'abundant,' with its implication of joyousness, as opposed to 'excessive,' which reads as too much. Lots of big poofy clouds are an abundance. A sky full of low stratus clouds are excessive.

Think I'll go for a run in this abundance. More text later, along with photos from my birthday at the Huntington.

03 August 2009

T-minus-21 hours

Denise is coming to visit tomorrow! She's coming out to LA for a friends' wedding, but she's making the trip a few days early so that she can visit with Sarah and I. Sarah and I have been running errands and trying to clean before she gets her (actually, the condo was filthy, and Denise's visit is a good excuse for us to clean).

When she lands tomorrow, she and I and a third friend will go to dinner. On Wednesday, we're heading down into the OC and then to dinner with some friends from LB. On Thursday, we'll head up to the Huntington Library for a day outside in the sun and heat. We're going to meet Jaymi and Kerri then, and all go out for a nice birthday dinner. On Friday, I'll take her to the airport to rent a car for her drive up north for the wedding.

Things left to do:
* figure out what else to do in the OC (in addition to visiting the U and eating at Memphis)
* vacuum
* tidy the office/guest bedroom a bit more.