Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The American Contribution

Apparently, the US was called "stingy" (rightly so) and now the Bush administration has pledged a total of $35 million towards the earthquake/tsunami relief effort. (In other news, Washington is offering $25 million for information leading to the death or capture of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been hailed as the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq.) $25 million, easy come, easy go- for certain causes that is.

Relief Efforts

OK, so here's some organizations that are mounting relief efforts to help with the crisis in Asia. I just tried calling a few to get more information (Like, if I donate to you, what percentage of the actual $$ will be sent for aid?), but there were long wait times to speak with representatives from the organizations that I called. I haven't chosen the one that I will donate to, but when I figure that I out, I'll post it (assuming that one is better than the others.) And if anyone reading this has any inside knowledge, please pass it on!

— American Jewish World Service: 800-889-7146,

— American Red Cross International Response Fund: 800-HELP NOW,

— Catholic Relief Services: 800-736-3467,

— Direct Relief International: 805-964-4767,

— Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres: 888-392-0392,
— International Medical Corps: 800-481-4462,

— International Orthodox Christian Charities Middle East Crisis Response: 877-803-4622,

— Mercy Corps: 800-852-2100,

— Operation USA: 800-678-7255,


The devastation occurring on the other side of the world right now breaks my heart. Yesterday I was able to hold back tears as I was reading news updates, today I could not.
I feel quite useless at my sedentary desk job....I have no even distant family member or friend affected by the earthquake and tsunami, but I still have this need to do something. The best I could work up at the moment, was a call to the President to request that he scale back the $40 million dollar inauguration bash and donate more than the $20 million in aid that will be sent to Asia. Maybe you could call, too?
Here's the number:

Friday, December 10, 2004

A new world of renting blues

So, I don't like my landlady.
She is one of those types that takes on projects, like owning a house and having tenants, as if it were a pet. And she is a terrible pet owner: not one of those loving, dog-owner types, but rather a goldfish-killer, forget-to-water-the-cactus-to-death, types. Let's call her Homeowner extraordinaire or HE for short.
I have many quibbles about her negligence, but really not quite enough patience to document it all here. So I'll just give the highlights of the "good times".
1.) The Mold.
So, the back corner of the house looked like godzilla had been snacking on it. I mean there was a chunk of house, just gone. You know, I mentioned it at the lease signing and was told that it was, "Not my problem". Well, post-remnants of hurricane, um, which one was it?, Bob or Waldo or something, mold began growing in the corner of my daughter's room, about 3 feet from where her head rests to sleep. This was the beginning of the saga that involved many phone calls and a very convoluted path to resolution. (yes, this ends well.)
2.) The Glass
Somehow HE got it in her head that the house needed to be painted (Although how painting could resolve the godzilla snack problem was and is still a mystery to me. I don't think logic is one of HE's better traits.) So during the painting process the newest immigrant, $2-an-hour workers that HE'd hired removed all of the storm glass and put them *inside* my house in front of every window. For 2 months.
And it was *only* two months because I removed them from inside my house myself, following several futile phone calls and broken promises (She's not a call-returning-type of girl) which incited me to take matters into my own hands. I decided that I didn't feel like sueing her after my 2-yr-old fell into a pane of glass (oh, wait, 2-yrs-olds NEVER trip or jump...I'm just overprotective. ?)
3.) The Call
Dec. 1, 8:51am
HE leaves a message on my work voicemail complaining that I was 2 months late on my rent, due on the 1st of the month. Following my blood pressure spike, I confirmed via on-line banking that not only had I mailed my November's rent, but it had been cashed and cleared by Nov. 8th. So I was late on December's rent as of Dec. 1, 8:51 am?!? Um, hmmmm.
4.) The Current State
Well, I returned her call and finally laid into her, in contrast to all the nice, positive-reinforcement type calls that I'd made in the past. It felt good and apparently is the right way to handle this woman: She said "thank you!" right before I slammed the phone down. So, I'm prepared to be neglected for awhile, again. The storm windows are still not in (yay, expensive heating bills!!), but at least they are not sitting ducks for a 2-yr-old crash. I'm just hoping that my bathroom ceiling leak doesn't start up again...HE will decide to have Spanish only-speaking cheap labor plant new bushes instead of sending in construction workers, while my ceiling caves in (but, goddamn-it the neighbors will think the house looks great!)

(And I'm only 3.5 months into my lease.) :)

Friday, December 03, 2004

What I learned today in the world of medical writing

Doesn't purpura sound like it'd be something nice to have?

Well, in fact it is purplish spots due to skin hemorrhaging. I guess I don't want it anymore.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

To be fair

OK. So here's Delta's response. I thought that they were nice, but not abundantly overflowing as they should be, with their compensation. You can decide for your self, though....

Dear Dr. B,
Thank you for your comments regarding your recent flights. I am disappointed to read of the service you were offered as you describe, and appreciate your taking time to let us know your concerns.

We are striving to become the world's greatest airline, that starts with becoming number one in the eye of our customers. More importantly, our team is well-trained to be sensitive and caring in assisting you with any needs you may have, especially under such circumstances. While there are many different things that can interfere with our operation, we realize that the way our people respond is what will ultimately determine how our customers will feel about us. Knowing this, it was very disturbing to have your report about how poorly we handled the circumstances you described. Please accept my sincerest apology and rest assured that we will make every effort to ensure that things are handled differently in the future.

While I cannot recreate this specific flight, I have authorized a transportation voucher for $75.00 to be sent to you, which you can use toward the purchase of a future Delta flight. You should receive this voucher within the next 2-3 weeks.

Again, I am very sorry for any hardships we may have caused. I realize you have a choice when making travel plans, and hope you will give Delta another opportunity to be of service.

Thank you again for your feedback.

Russ Harrell
Customer Care

Woooowho! Sweet! I'm going to the bank with my $75 bucks! Oh, wait, I can only use it for 'future Delta travel'. Bugger that. I get 1/4th of a ticket paid for and they get more business? How about a refund on the money I already dropped for a lousy, puke-seat. And re-reading that last bit made me think of two words: COOKIE CUTTER. Um, yeah, have they had to use this form letter much?