Friday, 26 June 2009

Blog of Bling #21- Where in the world are my parents?

So the one solace my parents took from me moving from Louisville to London, is that they would get to visit. As of last thursday, they've been making their way through Europe towards London.

Is it weird that they haven't called or emailed me yet? I must say, I'm feeling a bit neglected at the moment.

Oh well, I suppose they'll have to call when they make it to London when they need help with bags or something...

On a happier note, I'm on a string of good sports luck lately. Tuesday, a last second free kick gave us a tie to finish at least 3rd in our football league. Wednesday, the US rocked the #1 team in the world, Spain in the Confed Cup. I pretty much perpetuated the American stereotype by being extremely loud and obnoxious at the pub I watched the game. What was worse is that I was completely surrounded by spanish fans.

Clapping loudly, cheering, running around the pub after both goals were scored are things for which I will not apologize. However, drunkenly singing the national anthem after the match was over, might have crossed the line. Many thanks to my friend Laia, who respected the imaginary American flag.

Anyway, I have a try-out with a local football club tomorrow, so hopefully the sports luck hasn't run its course! More on this, and the location of my parents coming soon!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Blog of Bling #20- Musings on health care

Seeing as how my life is so.... normal right now for the first time in a while and I've inconveniently committed myself to writing a blog entry at least once every two weeks, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the whole health care reform that's going on in the states right now. Yawn... i know, but you can't make the highlight reel every week.

Frankly, this whole issue hurts my head. 1.) Everyone in the richest nation in the world should be insured. PERIOD, the end. It makes sense for the uninsured and the insured. The uninsured (obviously) don't put off simple procedures and then have to deal with the chronic disease or costs that come later. The insured benefit from not having to "pick up the cost" of the transferred bill from the uninsured. No brainer. Plus we are the richest nation in the world and its embarrassing.

So what's the best way to do that? I have no idea. I'm afraid the insurance and pharma companies have their claws way too deep into the issue for real change (but if I was them, I'd hang on for dear life too). As I have lots of friends that work for insurance brokers, I don't know if this is blasphemous or not, but does it really make a lot of sense for Insurance companies to be for profit? With low overhead, they would work quite well for the insured and the company. But these gigantic corporations, with tremendous bueracracy can't possibly keep the cost of a simple medical procedure down, if the procedure has to pay the time of the doctor, nurses, and the 10 accountants the paperwork had to go through to get approved.

Anyway, rant aside, when you have business people making medical decisions (or in the case of pharmaceuticals) pushing more medical decisions, its not surprising that the patient and the doctor have lost out. Its important to note that I don't think most doctors are to blame for the skyrocketing costs. Between the cost of malpractice insurance and medical school debt, they are probably under-payed for the risks they are accepting.

Which leads us to reform. I'm not exactly sure what they mean by a public option, based on the response of the pundits. Here's what the government should do though. Create a cheap, non-for-profit alternative to private health care. Require that every citizen be required to have medical insurance and that the cost via public option should be deemed by the person's tax bracket.

I hear the conservatives going crazy over this option though, saying its going to put private insurance companies out of business. Sure, its going to cause them to change the way they do business and they might not make the killing they make right now, but isn't competition the crux of conservative economics. Do they really think that with all the governments beauracracy that a private, well run company couldn't outcompete the public option?! Hell no! What they are really saying is that the insurance companies are making too much money right now for the system to change.

So what's actually going to happen: The only option left is for the government to pick up the large bill of the uninsured which is too expensive. So then they'll change it to subsidize only a portion of the uninsured, in which case what's the point anyway?! The country will end up with more debt and no result. Big business will have yet again triumphed over the less than wealthy.

I'm definitely not in my expertise area, so thoughts?

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Blog of Bling #19- Guess who?

Bling’s back! I apologize for my posting hiatus. As the days in London have gotten warmer and longer, somehow my free time has become less and less… The Blog of Bling has taken a hit on the priority list, and for that, I do apologize.

So, quick life update: I moved. I am now the proud tenant of my own studio flat. Unfortunately, as I removed the greatest source of stress in my life (flatmates) I’ve also removed the greatest source of blog material as well… I’ll try to get some new pictures up soon.

I'm currently working on a post about my thoughts on the apparently world famous Creation Science Museum in Florence, Ky. Need to tone it down a bit, but I should have it up in the next couple of days!

One last thing, I want to wish the best of luck to Carmelle Martinez who should be headed to the delivery room sometime today! Best of luck Carmelle!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Blog of Bling #18- FYI: Bling is NEVER the little spoon!

So I was walking home from the pub last Friday night, pissed (in the English sense) as usual. Way up the street I see a couple people hanging out near the front of my flat. As I draw nearer, I realize it’s my flatmate HF (probably shouldn't post names without permission) and a mate of my flatmate Leighton who lives across the hall from me. I exchange pleasantries as I enter the house, but honestly, I don’t care much for HF as she has trouble cleaning up after herself and maintains a general “holier-than-thou” aura that I can’t really stand; there’s not much love lost between us though. To make things worse, her new friend, the mate of my neighbor speaks some kind of Birmingham-ian English that I don’t understand at all. Plus he looks like a twerp, so I manage to get by without introducing myself, for which I’m quite pleased with myself.

Anyway, I head into the lounge to watch a little tele to find my flatmate LM making out with a new friend he’s brought home for the night. Ugh, so I shut the door and call it a night. Not five minutes in bed, when I hear LM and his friend coming up the stairs. I put my earplugs in as per usual and try to pass out.

About 10 minutes after this, I hear someone coming all the way up to the top floor where Leighton and I live. Ha, I think. Hannah kicked LM’s mate to the curb and now he needs to know where to crash. I hear muffled knocking through my earplugs as I role over toward the window, determined to sleep through all the racket.

All of the sudden, something or someone is climbing into bed with me! I scream “WHAT THE F@&$?!!” pretty much at the top of my lungs as this thing jumps about 10 feet in the ear and starts to head for the door. I follow this up with a rhetorical “WHO THE F- ARE YOU?!” Only this twerp that has snuck into my room doesn’t know it was rhetorical, and starts to answer. “Oh my bad, mate, I’m…”


Well the twerp scurries out my room as fast as he can, cause I am literally about to explode. After he’s gone I try to calm myself and go back to sleep. Sure enough, 5 minutes later when the fumes coming out of my ears have subsided, I hear another muffled knock. Surely not, no way, I think to myself. But sure enough, in pops the head of this twerp who apologizes, grabs his shirt that he left on the floor and runs out of the room!! What can I do at this point but turn back over and hope to the heavens that it was a case of mistaken identity, but it certainly takes me a while to finally get to sleep.

As it turns out, HF told this poor pawn of a twerp to meet her in “her room at the top of the stairs across from LM’s after using the restroom” .... which would actually be my room. That's a pretty bold play in the conflagration between her and I. I really don't know how I'm going to top that one. For right now, I'm just going to consider myself lucky to that I avoided being unintentionally spooned and desperately try to repress the memory!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Blog of Bling #17- Minutia-mania

Not a lot that's interesting has happened in the last few weeks, thus the long delay between posts. I guess I could update everyone on the minutia of my life, but that's just not the blog of bling way. Well, maybe just a little...

I did make the team of the week in my 7-aside football (soccer) league this week.

Unfortunately, the three green guys on the left side of the image were all playing for the opposing team and we lost yet again, 1-3. In order to stave off relegation, we'll have to win in two weeks against the second worst (points wise as we are clearly better than last...) team in the league.

I guess one more thing I could mention is that I'll be back in states March 20th, and back in Louisville March 25th, and I'll be staying through April 7th (one day past the NCAA championship game, which was completely accidental of course). I'll be presenting some results (well, lack of results) at the Chlamydia Basic Research Society Conference in Little Rock Arkansas. Weird, I know, but its a free trip home!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Blog of Bling #15- A Bling's Life Bonus Round

Hello faithful Blog of Bling-ers! Apologies for the delay in a new post. The reason for the delay is that I'm actually going mentally insane. Every waking moment I am drifting farther from sanity into an abyss of frustration and senility. Therefore, I will quickly catch you all up on my life in London 2009 so far. Then I will go back into the laboratory and transfer incredibly small volumes of samples that may or may not be contaminated from one tube to another. I'll quit working when I'm so hungry I physically begin to shake and can no longer pipette accurately.

So here goes:

I scored a 40 yard goal to take the lead for my team in my Sunday Soccer league. It was probably one of the better goals I've ever scored. We ended up losing though.

Some bouncer wouldn't let me into a shitty club until my entire group threatened to leave. Then he let me in and we left anyway because it sucked.

The "Britain Blizzard" officially ended today. Apparently six inches of snow in 36 hours on a city that never sees snow and is entirely dependent on public transportation will cause chaos. I walked to work yesterday which took about an hour both ways. I was told the distance from my house to work is about 8-10 km, which I think means about 25 miles.

Shut up, you don't know the conversion of Km to miles either...

Not new: my flat houses seven people. New: the normal people have now outnumbered the crazy people. We're having a party on friday in which a bunch of scientists, nurses, Australians, IT representatives, and a couple snobby girls will mix it up. Fireworks (or perhaps just fires) are expected.

Alright boys and girls, fun time is over as my boss just walked behind me a big "Blog of Bling" window open on my computer. Time to go finish creating an ulcer and pulling out my hair!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Blog of Bling #14- Asking the right questions

I normally try to keep my writings as light and entertaining as possible. Blogs aren't the best places to voice disagreements; it's easy to make judgements about politics or religion when there's nobody talking back at you. However, I am SO riled up after reading the comments page on Courier-Journal online, that I hope you'll allow my indulgence.

I once asked my father what the definition of a republican and democrat was. What he said, rather the paraphrased version of what he said, has stuck with me for a very long time. He said that Democrats wanted to help the poor by taking more money from the rich, and spending it directly on the poor, while republicans think the government should take less taxes from everyone, so that people have more money to spend on companies, which causes the prices of "stuff" to go down and creates more jobs for the poor without. I don't remember how old I was at the time, but I remember thinking that there could be a disagreement even when the final goal was the same was a cool concept.

Should those more fortunate be forced to pay for quality health care, education, and infrastructure for everyone? I don't know, I really don't.

But considering the US is THE richest country in the world, I do know that every American DESERVES these things as the right to a quality existence. How could they best be provided? That's the question Republicans and Democrats SHOULD be discussing.

Here is good luck to the new executive branch and the population that elected them! May the quality of life for all people in the USA and world be better in four years than it ever has been!