Thursday, July 24, 2008

Overworked and Underpaid

I've been working for a transcription company in Florida for about 8 months now. It's going well. Sure, it's not a perfect job, but hey, it's paying the bills, right.

Last week, my friend Carrie offered me a part-time job transcribing notes for her mental health facility. Cool beans. Extra money means Mama can buy more electronic gadgets. Woo hoo!

An hour after I got off the phone with Carrie, Michelle, a nurse with whom I worked at Dr. Gabrail's office, called me and said that her boss wants to hire me as a transcriptionist. I had my interview yesterday and it went extremely well. So, I'll be doing part-time work for Carrie and part-time work for Dr. Eicher. Cool.

Then I got a phone call from Ann who wants me to type an 8-hour interview between a son and his ailing father. I said yes. That 8-hour interview will take me roughly 40 hours to type...while working for the other doctors.

All this time, I planned to continue working for the Florida company because I hate to turn down work.

This morning's phone call, of course, changed that strategy. A former client called and said their transcriptionist just turned in her notice and they want me to start tomorrow. Tomorrow?? Holy shit!

So, I called Terry from Florida and turned in my notice. She took it very well and said I was welcome back anytime. I think my fingers may just fall off from too much long, hard dic at one time. Isn't that how John Holmes died??

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to Make Your Own Charcoal

I'm a busy mama in the mornings. So it is with the utmost disregard for authority that I usually totally ignore the "do not leave toaster unattended" warning on the Pop Tarts box.

So, I'm sitting at Mom's desk knee-deep in the process of reformatting her computer when I hear, "Mom, your toast is burning." I didn't worry that much about it because I could always throw away the burnt pastries and start over.

Then I hear the tinge of panic in her voice as Heather says, "Ummm, they are on FIRE!!!"

I take off at a run and sure enough, there are flames within inches of the bottom of the cupboards. Heather was smart enough to avoid throwing water on an electrical fire (see, she really does pay attention to public service announcements!). Mom grabbed the baking soda and we quickly extinguished the flames.

Check out the pop tarts that were reincarnated into charcoal.

I had to use silicone potholders just to unplug the toaster because the plug had melted around the power strip. Meanwhile, the toaster is puffing away and filling the house with the putrid stench of burnt plastic. Ugh.

Unfortunately, the disgusting smell of burning plastic wasn't quite as easy to eradicate.

So, I guess when the experts say you should have a nice hot breakfast, this isn't quite what they had in mind.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Buying Voters

Our election process is severely flawed. We have a great premise "let the people decide" but it has become a system where the person with the most money can buy the most votes.

We have "news" channels like Fox News which paints every story with a lovey shade of Republican Red. We have the religious channels which proclaim with great enthusiasm when discussing abortion that every soul deserves to live (unless, of course, the baby turns out to be a gay Muslim Democrat). We've got Jon Stewart (and yeah, I've got him TiVo'd) poking holes in all of the Republican concepts.

The election is won or lost through the media. It doesn't really matter where the candidate stands on issues. All that matters is how the media will spin their version of where the candidate stands on them.

Today, The New Yorker magazine came out with a cover cartoon of Barack and Michelle Obama.

According to the magazine, they were doing "a satire of the media propaganda surrounding the candidate." All I can see is that The New Yorker was encouraging the very propaganda they were supposedly ridiculing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Get Crabby When The Kids Go To Camp

Last Sunday, I tearfully waved goodbye to my daughters as they went off to church camp for a week.

The tears were tears of joy.

Why? Because without two hungry teenagers in the house, suddenly I could afford to partake in my favorite pastime. Eating.

It started with Tuesday. King Crab Legs, baby!! I'm talking those super-sized suckers that have spiky legs the length of my own arm. I'm still drooling.

Tonight, it was Beth's favorite restaurant.

Don't let the picture of the (moderately) healthy ceasar salad fool you. My entree was grilled shrimp skewers dripping with garlic butter. Hopefully I'll still have garlic breath when they come home tomorrow and I kiss them hello.

Tomorrow, they're back. And I'm back to cheapo Mac & Cheese and Ramen soup.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Word of the Day Is...

OK, Kiddies, the word of the day is...

Irony as depicted in this picture.

Yes, I went to Sam's Club and bought the Jumbo Size bag of Reese's Pieces.

And yes, doing my part to aid in the "Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle" effort, I saved the plastic container that my Alli Weight Loss pills came in.

And yeah, I stored my candy in it. Ironic, eh?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm a Foxy Lady

A couple of years ago, I switched from Microsoft's "Internet Explorer" to Mozilla's "Firefox" as my web browser. I could give all sorts of good reasons for why I switched, but the ultimate answer is simply that all of the smart cyber geeks seemed to prefer Firefox.

Since then, I've upgraded to version 2.0 and last week I upgraded again to their newest version, aptly titled Firefox 3.0.

There are tons of security and performance improvements, but the upgrade was worth it for one reason only...

Full-page zoom.

Previously, I've had zoom capabilities for text but it was infinitely frustrating to my myopic eyes to try to figure out what was in a little picture. My 22-inch monitor was basically being wasted by many sites because the text and pictures would be fairly small with a big bit of nothingness off to the right.

Now, when I hold CTRL and move my scroll wheel, the whole page zooms in and out. I can read the tiniest print and check out the tiniest detail in pictures (Paris Hilton's underwear notwithstanding). It's awesome. And, of course, it is free.

Oh, and another nice benefit are the free add-ons that Firefox offers. My favorite is "AdBlock Plus" which eliminates ALL of those damn annoying animated banner ads.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Apt Commercialization

In this day and age of TiVo (and fake TiVo wannabes), it's not all that common that I watch those 30-minute segments of inane commercials.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Commercials are a necessary evil. They pay for the programs we watch, after all. Though, I have to say, my exorbitant cable bill clearly indicates that I'm already paying for that programming, but I digress.

Still, the problem is that most commercials are annoying. The public is more than willing to watch good commercials. Heck, the best part of the Super Bowl is the ads, right? But for the most part, companies don't care. They think that repeating the same sentences over and over and over is the most effective way to have people remember their product. And even more irritating than that is when they repeat the same exact commercial twice in less than 5 minutes. Ugh!

I guess that's what makes good commercials so memorable. That's why 30 years later we still remember Mean Joe Green and his Coca-Cola.

And, of course, there are the Budweiser frogs.

Sometimes commercials are just so perfect, you wonder why someone didn't think of it sooner. Today, I heard a Visa commercial where a young couple finally decide to buy a new flat-screen television. Of course, being of the "Now Generation," they don't have the money for it. Rather than save up for their new purchase, they whip out the old credit card. And the song that plays as they dig themselves deeper into debt? It's Queen's "I Want It All (and I want it NOW)." How perfect.