Monday, February 26, 2007

A Miss and A Hit

Okay, so my work computer situation spontaneously corrected itself today. I had two tech support guys from the hospital helping me yesterday (and they were remotely logged into my computer working on it, so I know it wasn’t me), and they couldn’t figure out why my SRA connection kept timing out. As a diagnosis of exclusion, they decided that the problem lay in the fact that I had upgraded to the latest version of IE which is apparently known to not be compatible with our intranet/internal hospital system. No one was strongly convinced that this was the culprit considering I had upgraded the browser upgrade 8 weeks ago. So I got up early today in order to take my computer in and get a browser downgrade. I decided I’d try to log in one last time before lugging it downstairs to my car, and sure enough, everything worked perfectly. Go figure. Mercury is retrograde which astrologers believe causes anything communication-related to go on the fritz. You know what? At this point, it’s as good an explanation as any.

So this weekend was busy. I celebrated my birthday with various people in my life. I also went to see models of a new construction condo complex in downtown Long Beach. When I got there, I discovered they had only one model even though there are six different layouts and sizes of condos in this development. Furthermore, the sole model was a mock-up in an unrelated building a block away from the actual construction site. WTF? Of course, they were urging everyone to disclose all their financial information, get prequalified, and sign on dotted lines. All the while, I’m thinking “Fuck you. You mislead everyone into coming down to see the ‘grand opening of the models,’ you show us a sole bogus unit in a building we won’t be living in, and now you want us to sign our lives away? Eat me.” Of course, I uttered none of these thoughts. I merely smiled benignly while inside I seethed with rage. When I got home and started reading the packet, I saw that HOAs are going to start at $500/month for the least expensive (yet still pricey) smallest unit. Let’s just say due to lack of interest, I’m no longer on the “interest list.”

On the flip side, a unit I’ve wistfully had my eye on in the Villa Riviera just came down $45,000, placing it at the excruciatingly stretched high end of my budget. This is an improvement from the unequivocally unobtainable status it was a few weeks ago. It’s lovely. Check it out. Note the black marble floor in the entry.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Time Flies

I'm mega busy. Hang in there for a fresh post soon. I'm working in the office a couple days this week due to technical difficulties. Get this... I upgraded to the newest version of IE on the hospital-provided computer, and now the system won't work. They actually have to downgrade the browser to get the damn thing up and running again. How lame is that? Seriously, how freaking LAME is that! Christ! Anyway, for me, working in-house throws my world off its axis, so I'm a bit dizzy right now. Stay tuned for my post-vertiginous state.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Birthday PSA

Today is my birthday.

To celebrate my 44 years of good health, I did something special today. This afternoon, I went to the hospital and donated blood, but more importantly, I registered to be in the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. I went in, filled out some forms, gave a pint, got my cheek swabbed for the bone marrow testing, enjoyed a sandwich and juice, and left with the satisfaction of knowing that it is now possible for me to make meaningful difference in someone’s life.

Bone marrow matching is more specific than blood matching. Because marrow tissue typing is so specific, a national data base has been developed to track potential donors’ types which is searched as patients require transplants. You may be a match for someone, but it is impossible to know until you give a sample. Getting on the data base facilitates that process. A successful bone marrow match and transplantation gives patients with lymphoma, leukemia, and other hematologic diseases the chance to make healthy blood cells again. It is truly the gift of life. I encourage you to learn more here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

LUST – An Anagram to SLUT

Apparently, I am fast earning a reputation as a Scrubs Slut. Over lunch this weekend, my brother said to me, “I meant to text message you at the time… I saw Donald Faison at the Lakers’/Knicks’ game this week.”

Me: “Really? Did he do any Turk dances?”

Brother: “No, but he made a big display of being a Knicks’ fan.”

Sister: “Was J.D. there?”

Brother: “No sign of Zach Braff.”

Me: “Whenever your wife calls me, she first asks if I’m watching Scrubs.”

Brother: “Dude, she’s totally learned the Scrubs schedule because you’ve gotten her off the phone in the past when it was on. The other night at 7:20, she said, ‘I need to call your sister, but I have to wait until 8:00 when Scrubs ends.’”

Me: “Yeah, there are back-to-back episodes of Scrubs weeknights on Comedy Central from 7-8, four episodes from 6-8 on Saturdays.”

Brother: “It’s pathetic that you know that.”

He’s right. I used to loathe television to the point that I seriously didn’t watch it for about 20 years. I’ve only had cable for a year. Before that, I kept my television unplugged and only used it when I rented a video, maybe once quarterly. Maybe. Now, I’m totally addicted to Scrubs reruns.

Brother: “By the way, KFed was at the game, too. Incredibly, he was on the floor. He sat two seats away from Spike Lee.”

Me: “WTF?? Kfed had floor seats at Staples Center? That’s just plain wrong.”

Everyone agreed this was just plain wrong, and from this point, the conversation devolved into an analysis of Britney’s head-shaving, tattoo-garnering meltdown…

Caution - Potential Spoiler Ahead

Okay, I’ve got a potential spoiler for Thursday’s episode of Grey’s. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it makes sense and sounds like something from Shonda Rhimes' pen. If you don’t want to know, do NOT read ahead. I’ll give you a little space.
Okay, here it is. We know that there will be another character death this week, and according to producers’ leaks, “one of the deaths will stick.” The new spoiler is that Ellis is going to die on the operating table (nice going, Burke!), and apparently, they are going to transplant an organ from Ellis into Meredith to save the latter’s life. Furthermore, there is speculation (and far less certain than the first part) that Meredith and Ellis will have some conversation in that parallel universe where Meredith was last seen hanging out with Denny and Dylan.

And let me just add that I’m not 100 percent convinced that Isaiah Washington is going to remain employed. TV guide reported as recently as last week that they were STILL filming this week’s episode. That's rather curious. Honestly, from a plot point-of-view, it makes more sense to me that they kill off Ellis. There’s really not much more they can do with her character.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Not a Review, a Warning

Look, I know I’m a little hypercritical, but allow me to spare you about 90 minutes of mind-numbing boredom. I made the mistaking of seeing Music and Lyrics as I was duped by a few cute ads deftly featuring Hugh Grant. I say “deftly” because his performance is the sole redeeming factor of a film which otherwise fails miserably, and it was mighty clever of the marketing folks to feature the best 30 seconds of the movie in their preview. Obviously, I knew it wouldn’t be art or anything, but I thought it would be reliable for a few laughs. In reality, it was good for very few laughs and no hearty ones at that. To be fair, some of the audience appeared to like it, but their higher cognitive powers were obviously anesthetized. Everyone in my party thought it was crap.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Revving Up?

With the exception of The Office, it was a disappointing night in television last night.

Scrubs. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I can't even really remember what it was about only 18 hours later, it was that dull. Maybe this should be the last season. If future episodes are that lackluster, there's no point in continuing.

Grey's. I'll probably have more to say about it once my thoughts cogitate a bit longer, but mostly, I thought it sucked hard. Ryan and I have already swapped emails about this, so I know some of you disagree with me, but I thought Izzy's little "speech" was ridiculous. When did she get so fucking sanctimonious? The ending? I'll withhold final judgment until we see what they do with it. My first thought was, "oh dear God, don't tell me they're going to run a parallel universe of dead people starring Meredith, Denny and Bomb Squad guy." That I even had that thought at all tells me this show is officially over-the-top in terms of cheesy melodrama. It's been (deliberately) "leaked" through E!'s television writer that someone else dies next week, and "one of the deaths will stick." That basically suggests to me that next week's episode will have Meredith hanging out in purgatory with Denny and Bomb Squad guy, no doubt swapping grand philosophical ideas. In the meantime, someone else will die (Ellis? McDreamy in a grand Romeo/Juliet gesture as suggested by Lainey?), and Meredith will be miraculously resuscitated, probably by Addison in some sweeping moment of irony. On the podcast I listened to today, Shonda Rhimes (creator, producer, head writer) clearly declared she doesn't believe in "happily ever afters." Fine, I don't either, but at this point, Grey's is a trainwreck. While I admit I can't look away, I also note that it's not the same as being a quality show. I still long for a return to the sharp programming of seasons #1 and 2, and because I'm not a complete nihilist, I'm holding out a glimmer of hope.

My head hurts.

Feel free to disagree. In fact, I welcome it. I'm so discouraged, I'd like someone to tell me there's still something right about this show (besides Alex).

p.s. If Doc the dead dog turns up in any of these parallel universe scenes, I'm going to blow a gasket.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Office Blues

My sister works in an office full of women who are as lame as the crazy bitches I call my co-workers. I guess three people have developed kidney infections in the last several weeks, so one of these geniuses has determined that the kidney infections are being caused by dust on the toilet paper in the office. Do you love it? I should note that this wasn't the same woman who wondered out loud how one goes about depositing those giant, dry-erase board checks at the bank. I'm not making this up.

That takes me back to the days when I worked in-house and one of my, ahem, "colleagues" called in sick because she had run out of Prozac. Never mind that the pharmacy where she gets her prescriptions filled at almost no cost is the one in the hospital where she reports to work. During my tenure of working with this woman, she called in sick at various times for "anal pain," tripping over the dog, house fire, and the all-time classic, "my husband just killed someone." I. Kid. You. Not.

My point is this. When I start to worry that I'm spending too much time by myself, what with telecommuting and striving to leave my house as little as possible, I need only to remind myself of the typical interaction with the average citizen to realize my plan of limiting my interpersonal time to selected friends and family remains the best strategy. To that end, I just upped my Netflix subscription to two-at-a-time from one.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I was listening to the radio this morning, and during Show Biz News, it was reported that Heather Mills has signed to be on Dancing with the Stars! I love KROQ because they don't censor Show Biz News reporter Ralph Garman from saying what we're all thinking, which this morning was "yes folks, Dancing with the Stars has signed a one-legged, money-grubbing whore." I almost crashed when I bent over to kiss my radio.

Speaking of television, I exploded in a rant last week expressing my concern about the future of Grey's Anatomy. Will it continue to be the quality show it was in season one and most of season two, or is it already devolving into a sad cliche? Apparently, I'm not the only one feeling the pain of disappointment based on your comments and a post at The Gilded Moose yesterday. Part two of Grey's big sweeps 3-part episode airs Thursday and will likely answer the question, "Is Meredith Grey sleeping with the fishes?" (please oh please oh please oh please) So what did you guys think of part one of the ferry boat fire/mass casualty extravaganza? I'm withholding my final judgment until all three episodes air, but a couple little details were vintage Grey's and worth mentioning.

1. The chief is hysterical. He showed up to work with his hair dyed black. He did this "for the ladies." Awesome elevator scene with the chief and the attendings.

2. Loved the scene with Cristina and Alex where she expressed her morbid curiosity about the disaster site, getting excited when she heard that there were pilons on top of bodies, jealous that she didn't get to go to traumapalooza and witness the carnage first-hand, and culminating with the two interns engaging in their usual bickering of medical oneupsmanship. Surgeons are indeed arrogant, and Cristina and Alex are the only two interns who actually come across as surgeons-in-training to me. I always love scenes involving dialogue between these two.

3. Funny to see that Bailey and Callie O'Malley are as annoyed as the rest of us by their ever-cheerful colleague Sydney.

4. I liked the foreshadowing of Meredith's bathtub scene at the beginning of the show for what was to happen at the end. I guarantee McDreamy is going to be the one to pull her out of the water. That's what foreshadowing is.

On an ironic side note, my employer (also a large teaching hospital) is conducting employee seminars on managing mass casualty emergencies the same time as Grey's big ferry boat story arc. Coincidence?

What the hell. Since it's sweeps, I'm going to comment on all my favorite network shows.

The Office - Pam left the wedding with Roy! I know a lot of people are clamoring for Pam and Jim to get together already, but I'm rather enjoying the suspense. BTW, one of the best things about The Office is watching the deleted scenes each week on NBC's website. There's lots of good stuff there. They haven't explained it on the show yet, but in one of the deleted scenes a couple weeks ago (the week Jim put Andy's cell phone in the ceiling), Andy was sent away to anger management which he calls "management training." This show never disappoints. Incidentally, Dr. Drew from Loveline is a big fan of The Office.

Brothers and Sisters - Did you notice the reference to Defamer made by Chad (Jason Lewis' character) during Sunday's show? Good stuff. The actress who plays Chad's girlfriend is the real-life daughter of Patricia Wettig (Holly) and Michael Olin (producer/writer/director). And Holly's daughter, Rebecca, is going to be introduced on the next episode. For the record, I'm Team Brothers. I can't stand the sisters.

Boston Legal - According to, someone leaves the firm tonight! (I'm not fishing, EditThis, just reporting the news and commenting.) I also recently read from the same source that the actors who play Brad Chase and Jeffrey Coho are each involved in pilots for new shows, so my guess is it's either of them. I'm going to have to predict that tonight's departure will be Coho considering that Brad (finally) got a little piece of storyline last week, what with the paternity of Denise's baby and all. My mother is going to die if Brad leaves, but maybe she'll stop making me uncomfortable with her inappropriate sexual comments about him if he's no longer on her television each week. Yeah, my 70-something-year-old mom has the hots for Brad Chase, just kill me now. I only started watching BL this season, but I'm nearly caught up thanks to Netflix. It's smart, irreverent, quirky, and features awesome costume parties.

Scrubs - Scrubs got off to a late start this season, and I think it's only just getting back into its awesome groove. I loved the musical episode a couple of weeks ago. Coming up in the next several weeks, they are killing off a regular character. I don't know who it is, but I heard that Nurse Roberts is going into a coma soon, so figure it out. If it were forced to decide which regular to bump, I'd choose Nervous Guy aka Dr. Murphy and spare Nurse Roberts, although I do get a kick out of Nervous Guy's unlikely friendship with Ted. Without question, my favorite characters are Dr. Cox and Jordan. Let's hope this isn't Scrubs' last season and that NBC gives it a little more support after leaving it in limbo for so many months in 2006.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Not One Word About Anna Nicole Smith

My real estate journey continues. Prices are steadily deflating in Southern California, much to my delight (no offense, homeowners). There's been no "bubble popping" or market crash, it's just more of a slow leak. That said, it's apparent to me that proximity to the ocean predicts a slower decline in price, and while more expensive overall, is clearly a better investment because these properties retain their value. The bottom line for me is that in the six months I've diligently been tracking prices, more choices in better neighborhoods are becoming available.

Over the weekend, I focused my attention on some of the historic and grand buildings in downtown Long Beach. I'm very attracted to the elegant 1920s architecture while in some ways put off by lack of amenities. Nevertheless, I contacted a couple local realtors who specialize in these buildings and began making charts to track issues like pet policies, parking, condo versus co-op status (yes, there are still several co-ops in Long Beach, and I prefer a condo), etc. Sadly, I had to eliminate a graceful old beauty, the Cooper Arms (pictured), due its prohibition on pets (bastards!).

One realtor's email actually charmed me. Turns out, she lives in the building I had inquired about (which explains why she has so many listings in that building). She not only described the pet policy, but she went as far as to detail specific animals who live there by breed, weight, and name. It was a smart strategy, too, because now I'm even more in love with the building that houses Chipmunk the mastiff and Stanley the pug owned by a vet who gives discounts to his neighbors!

I went against my better judgment recently and gave Comedy Central's new show, The Sarah Silverman Program, a watch. I've never thought she was particularly funny, and the commercials did not pique my interest. But I'm a long-time fan of Jimmy Kimmel, and on his endorsement (she's his girlfriend), I decided to keep an open mind and watch her show. Please, allow me to spare you the misery. This show is neither funny nor entertaining. In fact, it was painful. It's 30 minutes of my life regrettably wasted.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Rant and a Blind Item

If you don't watch Grey's Anatomy, this rant may not be for you (or maybe it is?). But there's a blind item at the end of this post, and another new post just below it. I've been waxing prosaic today.

Anyway, I've got to get something off my chest right now, before the 3-part sweeps episode of Grey's Anatomy begins tomorrow.

Look, I still love my Grey's Anatomy, but I have some concerns. My worries began at the end of last season. This season, the show seems to vacillate between the sublime and the ridiculous. I understand that reality must be suspended for the purpose of entertainment. I am also mindful of the challenge of being creative and producing a show that is interesting and will bring viewers back each week. For example, I think it's fine that the medical cases on Grey's are unusual because, quite frankly, you wouldn't craft a 60-minute medical drama around routine cases. I love that they will take a case and draw some significance from it or relate it back to a lesson for the main characters. Patients are eccentric; the show gets that and handles it well. And I thought the first season was flawless as well as much of the second season.

The thing that's bothering me is that Grey's is asking us to suspend reality more often and to a much higher degree of absurdity than it used to, and I think it's starting to affect the quality of the show.

Now, I've worked in medicine for the past ten years, so my eye is finely tuned to medical veracity. Grey's is actually reliable with regard to things like hospital protocols, medications, the actors' believability in delivering medical lingo (something that actually has improved over time - there were some problems early on with over-enunciation), and things of that nature. I'm going to address things both in terms of my professional knowledge and as a layperson. I think the most glaring problems are actually things a layperson would question.

1. First off, I'm probably going to surprise you because I'm giving Izzy's cutting of Denny's LVAD wires a pass. It was lame, it would never happen in real life, and if it did, she'd be out of the program, stripped of her medical license, and none of her friends would cover for her, but I'm going to give it a pass for two reasons, 1) dramatic license for that storyline and 2) because frankly, there was a much more egregious problem during those finale couple episodes last season, and that was the damned prom! A prom that took place in the hospital, sanctioned by the chief of surgery in which everyone was required to stop practicing medicine to attend. No, no, no, a thousand times NO! Terrible.

2. Addison's "specialty." Is she an OB/GYN? Is she a pediatric surgeon? Is she a geneticist with a cystic fibrosis emphasis? Guess what... the answer to all these questions is YES! She is supposedly trained in all these things, three subspecialties, with fellowships in this, that, and blah blah blah. But I'm here to tell you, that's totally ridiculous. It is theoretically possible that someone would train in all these subspecialties, but completely irrational that anyone would practice all of them concurrently. The point of being a specialist is that you do ONE thing and become expert at it. She's also barely old enough to have completed the necessary training of all the specialties her character supposedly has. OB/GYNs are not pediatric surgeons who are not geneticists. No one does all of this unless we're talking rural Botswana where there is one physician serving the entire country. But in a state-of-the-art, urban teaching hospital? Sorry. No effing way. This item is actually my biggest problem with the show.

3. The Denny Duquette Free Clinic. This is where Grey's is closest to swimming in shark-infested waters, revving up and getting ready to jump. First off, this clinic is the brain child of a surgical resident. There are two things wrong with that statement, one is SURGICAL, and the other is RESIDENT. For those of you who don't understand the intern/resident thing, an intern is simply a first-year resident. A basic general surgery residency is 4-5 years in duration. (If a surgeon subspecializes, he or she enters into a fellowship, a separate post-residency program that lasts anywhere from 2-4 years, depending on the subject). So Bailey who oversees the interns is really only 3-4 years ahead of them. She's not an attending. She hasn't taken - or passed - her boards yet because she's not finished with her residency. SHE IS IN TRAINING, JUST LIKE THE INTERNS! We know she's in her last year of residency because there was an episode last season that dealt with the fact that she wasn't going to do a fellowship because she was having a baby (not that a baby precludes a fellowship, that was her personal choice). It is true that teaching hospitals have all sorts of clinics, and it's true that interns and residents work in these clinics. Nevertheless, a resident would not conceive of nor open a new clinic at a hospital. Secondly, surgeons don't open free clinics offering GENERAL MEDICINE! NO NO NO NO! Oh, and if that's not enough, this clinic went from zero to open for business in EIGHT days! WTF? Yeah, there are lots of problems from the outset with this new clinic.

4. The normal, single-episode format seems to be disappearing. We just had a 2-part episode with George's dad dying. I listened to the writer's podcast about how the story was autobiographical to her father dying and understood why they wanted to go to two parts. They basically wanted to keep some scenes in (the fart scene, for example, and those of you who watch know what I'm talking about, it was delightful actually) that precluded the typical 42-minute format. So they beefed up a couple other storylines and made the show entitled "Six Days" a 2-parter. Okay, fine; in moderation, I can tolerate this. Now, what, a minute later, we're about to embark on a 3-part episode? That's called a mini-series, folks. Yeah, I know it's sweeps, but whoever heard of such a thing? It's over the top, and it begs the question of how much longer until every episode becomes "a very special episode of Grey's Anatomy," which is what happens to shows when they suck hard. This 3-part situation is a very bad sign. All I can say is that all three shows better be phenomenal, and we'd better look back at the end of them and unanimously agree, "hell yeah, that was worth it!"

In conclusion, there are still many things to love about Grey's Anatomy. Perhaps I'm taking this all too seriously, but it sucks when a show this good starts its decline so early (this is only it's second full season, the first season was a spring replacement and only 9 episodes). I'll be watching with a critical eye over the next few weeks, hoping for the best.

Okay, here's the blind item. It's from

I guess it is now officially safe to say that it is not a good idea for married actors to be asked to make out with their costars on TV. It seems like only yesterday I was teasing you with tantalizing tidbits about a married-but-not-to-each-other tube couple whose on-screen chemistry only intensified when the cameras were off.... And well, here we go again. This time, only one of the torrid twosome is hitched, and aside from that pesky spouse hanging around, things seem to be going as well for the lovers off screen as they are on. I can't tell you which night the pair's ensemble show airs (or whether it's the same night as the last duo's much-buzzed-about show), but I will leave you with this one final clue: No amount of medicine in the world could cure these two lovesick puppies. So, care to hazard a guess? You know you want to.

Okay, I watch three medical shows on television... Grey's, Scrubs and House. I can only think of one more (ER). Anyone care to hazard a guess about the blind item? I honestly am drawing a blank.

Meet the Smithereens

Hey Beatles fans, I've got a hot tip for you... Meet the Smithereens. Do you remember them, the Smithereens? I was a fan back in the day, but they haven't recorded anything together since 1999 until now. They have covered the album, Meet the Beatles, in its entirety. They didn't rearrange or try to rework the classics; they simply went in and recorded it straight. And it works rather beautifully. I previewed all the songs on iTunes before I downloaded, something I strongly recommend before downloading anything. (Had I listened to my own advice, I might have saved a buck when I downloaded an unwanted ballad-like version of 99 Luft Balloons, but I digress.) I think it sounds fantastic, and is a lovely tribute to Meet the Beatles which was released 43, yes 43 years ago this year.

And here's a more obscure musical tip which will only appeal to a select target audience, Scrubs fans. This is a link to an album by Ted's band. Yes, the bumbling hospital lawyer on the show and his barbershop quartet-style acapella singers are indeed a band in real life, and they have a website and a CD for sale.

Even though I was working Sunday, I turned the Super Bowl on to keep track of the score and watch the commercials. I'm usually a big fan of the Super Bowl Sunday ads, but it was my feeling that this year represented a rather anemic effort by Madison Avenue. My favorite was the Oprah/Letterman spot, but I also appreciated the one for "connectile dysfunction." (Note that only three days later, the corporate affiliation of each ad is already lost, though I think connectile dysfunction might have been Sprint. Maybe.) I was done working by halftime, and enjoyed Prince and his theatrical guitar work, even in the pouring rain. And for the record, no, I don't think the suggestive shadowing was an unplanned accident. In fact, I thought it was quite clever "wardrobe malfunction," oh snap!

Later, I enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursday Night Post

I want to thank everyone for their supportive messages of sympathy to my last post. I really appreciated your kind words and was especially grateful to those of you who shared your personal stories of grief. There truly is strength in numbers.

I don't know if it's obvious or not, but I upgraded to the new version of Blogger. It mostly seems the same to me. The only real difference I've seen is that it's harder to post on other Blogger blogs because I have to sign in with my Google account, and it doesn't seem to "remember" me which means I have to sign in over and over as I go from blog to blog I want to post to. Pain. In. The. Ass.

New episodes of The Office, Scrubs, and Grey's Anatomy tonight. So don't call me! ;)

UPDATE: Callie O'Malley?! That was an entertaining episode of Grey's tonight, but then again, February sweeps are here. Thing is, it only took eight days to get the Denny Duquette Clinic up and running? Careful of dangerous, shark-infested waters ahead (but at the risk of repeating myself... sweeps). Oh, and I just heard on the news, the Dempsey twins were born tonight. Yes, McDreamy's real-life wife popped out a pair of boys. So congrats the family McDreamy. Pictured is McSteamy for no good reason other than I enjoy his torso.