In celebration of British intelligence, since we are heading to England soon, I had to share this very funny and true snippet.
This is the transcript of the actual radio conversation between the British and the Irish off the coast of Co.Kerry (Ireland) in Oct. 1998. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations (of Ireland I’m assuming):
Irish: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision
British: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision
Irish: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision
British: This is the captain of a British navy ship, I say again divert YOUR course
Irish: Negative. I say again you will have to divert YOUR course
British: This is the aircraft carrier HMS Britannia! The second largest ship in the British Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand you change your course 15 degrees north, I say again, that is 15 degrees north or countermeasures will be taken to ensure the safety of this ship.
Irish: We are a lighthouse. Your call.
We are off to England for Christmas and New Year’s. Very very exciting! Dean’s family is in Liverpool so we will spend 5 days with family for the holidays including Boxing Day which I have never celebrated before. Then we’ll be in London for 5 days through New Year’s Day.
I went cray-cray looking for discounted air fare, settling on $1265 x 2 for an outbound flight SFO – Dulles – Manchester and a direct homebound flight from Heathrow to SFO. I feel I failed miserably on booking flights as those fares are unbelievably pricey.
To soothe my inner frugality, I scored on our hotels. I believe Booking.com is the way to go. Across the board, they had super discounted rates. $350 for 5 nights at a centrally-located hotel in Liverpoool. And, wait for it, $960 for 5 nights at a West End hotel in London. Woot-woot! Both reservations have free cancellation so I have the next couple months to find even better deals.
I wanted this home in Bernal Heights. Open house was on a Tuesday in the afternoon. I asked if I could see it over the weekend; the agent said offers were due the next day and the owner would most likely take one of them. She was right because a sale is now pending.
A home in San Francisco with no HOA fees plus a $1,000 studio below the home to offset your mortgage. Are you kidding me? I would have overbid the $700k asking price by $50k. If you put 20% down on $750,000 subtract the rental income of $1,000, your mortgage would be $1700!!!
This was THE property of properties to buy in the city.
Here’s the studio.
Marky’s been in town and we’ve been out every night. I am so looking forward to being at home and watching the debate tonight. Here is an interesting NYTimes retrospective on the presidential debates ow.ly/e8drF.
We’ve dined at Wayfare Tavern, Bar Agricole to celebrate his birthday, then Pauline’s Pizza last night. Besides gorging like pigs and drinking like fish, another thing I like about Marc is he has really good friends who are all super fun, smart, catty, and loyal.
Last night was a perfect summer night with his friends hosting dinner and drinks on their Dolores Terrace rooftop. Their quiet side-street which is half a block in length dead ends, meaning there is zero traffic. Given its ideal location, the owners mentioned that a studio apartment on their street had recently been rented for $3900 with a long line of prospective tenants outside the door. No parking and below ground studio apartment for almost $4k. Hello rental bubble?! We left around midnight, strangely that was on the early side given the dozen people still hanging out when we took off.
Picture of Marc and Tony, celebrating back-to-back birthdays, at Bar Agricole.
Holy shit, my favorite aunt just called right now and told me she’s giving me her Birkin bag. “Because you’re the best.”
OMIGOD! Going to pick it up this weekend.
All I know is that it’s green, so here’s a picture from online.
Here is info from Wikipedia.
The Birkin bag is a handbag by Hermès, handmade in leather and named after actress and singer Jane Birkin. The bag is a symbol of wealth due to its high price and elusiveness to the public. The bags are distributed to Hermès boutiques on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities, creating scarcity and, intended or unintended, exclusivity.
The big news is that I got sunburned hanging out at the Biergarten in Hayes Valley on Sunday. My shoulders still feel raw two days later. We got into a debate at our communal picnic table about whether or not the weather in San Francisco sucks. There were the naysayers, then there was a very outspoken advocate from Michigan who proclaimed that this is some of the best weather in the country. He emphasized that our cold weather doesn’t even compare to other places, and potentially shouldn’t even be considered cold! Anyone who doesn’t like SF weather should shove it and move back to whether it is they come from with their blizzardly winters.
I don’t really have an opinion because I haven’t really lived in very many places so it’s hard to compare. I lived in Chicago and yes, SF weather beats Chicago. One good thing about SF is if you’re cold, all you have to do is head a few minutes North, East, or South and I can guarantee you’ll discover good weather.
Prior to imbibing on Sunday, we went up to the top of Mount Davidson which is the highest point in SF. Stunning views. I wish I had my camera. Driving around the beautiful Forest Hill neighborhood, we passed by a couple open houses. Because I’m always on the hunt, I wondered why the homes hadn’t come up in my searches. Maybe because they’re going for $1.8 million! So beautiful. I commented to the real estate agent, “The downstairs is perfect for an au pair.” Seriously, if anyone has that kind of money and wants to live in the city, check out the Forest Hill neighborhood. There’s light traffic so children can play freely outside.
The neighborhood kids had setup a “Drive-through Lemonade Stand.” I had to stop. Dean was in the passenger seat and I made him conduct the transaction. Pretty good, not too sweet. A mom was watching them and I was like, “Good job on the quality control, Mom!”
After we left the museum, we headed to the famous Toy Boat dessert place in the Richmond because I had to satisfy my daily ice-cream craving. It really is getting out of hand. This is why I don’t allow us to buy anything sweet when we go grocery shopping. As soon as it’s in the house, it’s consumed. I have no self-control.
While enjoying two scoops of vanilla-peanut butter-cookie, I noticed an interesting dynamic. White grandparents were there with their three toddler grandchildren. The three kids–two girls and one boy–didn’t look like siblings. They looked more like cousins because they had different features, yet they were all half white, half chinese. I don’t know if any of you have been to Toy Boat, but there’s a plastic mechanical horse smack in the middle of the store that you can ride for a few quarters. One of the girls was riding it the whole time. When it stopped, she cried, “Again, again!” Grandpa was on-hand to reinsert more coins. What’s sad is that the other kids wanted to ride too, but never got a chance. The other girl even tried to climb from behind, but couldn’t mount it.
The family gets ready to leave as I mention to Dean that grandpa clearly has a favorite. He only works on putting her jacket on, then—get this—he nuzzles her nose with his own, clutches her hand, then leads her out, leaving his wife and other two grandkids trailing behind him!
While I find the grandfather’s behavior a little unnerving, it actually makes quite a bit of sense to me how grandparents have favorites. They’re one generation removed. There are typically more grandchildren than children and in larger groups, you’re bound to have preferences. Saying you have a favorite grandchild is a lot more acceptable than saying you have a favorite child. But favorites among children has always been a fascinating topic for me. Probably because I was always so shocked when my friends said that they were their mom’s or dad’s favorite.
“How do you know?”
“You just know.”
My parents have always reiterated their equal love stance and their actions proved it. I can’t imagine growing up in a household where there were favorites, but then again, there were only two of us. Anyway have any thoughts from their own experiences?
Today we saw the Man Ray & Lee Miller exhibit at the Legion of Honor. I loved it, very intriguing. The two were artists and lovers, with the exhibit depicting their career, relationship, and friendship that spanned their lifetimes. Man Ray was an all-around creative artist (painter, illustrator, film-maker). Lee Miller was a celebrated model who honed her craft in photography to become a war correspondent for Vogue. Their romantic relationship lasted a few years, during which they collaborated together and inspired one another.
Their world revolved around art and other creative types. One section of the exhibit shows the work of their friends, including the sculptor Alexander Calder who, during one of Man Ray’s dinner parties, fashioned a weight lifter from the wire of a champagne cork and added red dumb bells using the wax. Very impressive.
Man Ray was devastated when Lee left him. One of his most famous pieces is a picture of Lee’s eye that he attached to a metronome. He called the work Object to be Destroyed. What’s really touching is Man Ray reaching out to Lee to offer his friendship after she returned from the war with chronic depression. The exhibit ends with a picture of the two of them, old and smiling, at an art event.
Recent articles in the NYTimes have indicated that inflated and inaccurate billing is happening across hospitals.
The Obama administration has issued a strong and much-needed warning to hospitals and doctors about the fraudulent use of electronic medical records to illegally inflate their billings to Medicare. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, cited “troubling indications” that some providers are billing for services never provided and vowed to prosecute. They sent a letter to five major hospital trade associations on Monday, two days after an article in The Times described in detail how greater use of electronic records might be making it easier for hospitals and doctors to submit erroneous payment claims.
A Times analysis of Medicare data compiled by the American Hospital Association found that hospitals received $1 billion more in Medicare reimbursements in 2010 than they had in 2006, at least in part by changing the billing codes they assign to patients in emergency rooms.
The findings involved two kinds of potential abuses. One is “cloning,” in which a doctor cuts and pastes information from a patient’s electronic record to suggest that the services were performed again at the later date, or possibly uses the same documentation for other patients as well. The other is “upcoding,” in which hospitals may exaggerate the intensity of care provided or the severity of a patient’s condition to justify higher billings.
Continuing to deal with the incompetency of Kaiser, I can vociferously tell you that not a single employee at the hospital will champion your cause. They do not care. They do not have time. It’s not their responsibility. There is zero accountability. Something has got to change, but it won’t happen until there’s serious litigation and Kaiser has to pay out millions. Isn’t it sad that I want my own hospital to undergo litigation? That I want it to be screwed because otherwise they’ll continue to overcharge patients?
Why would I get charged differently for the same procedure? When I bring this up, the receptionist says, “That’s what the code says. You can certainly sort it out later with billing.” And essentially I can’t see the doctor unless I cough up the money and just pray that it truly will get sorted out later. But almost a full year later, I am still trying to fucking figure out my health care costs? DIE-DIE KAISER!
One last thing I’ll say about the party last weekend. The DJs were sick! They did a really good job of catering to all our generations. The highlight was when everyone on the dance floor did Gangnam Style. Woot-woot! Plus the two DJs were super cute, like nerdy handsome. They must have been in their early twenties, one Filipino and another Chinese. Single ladies, I’ve got the hookup. Or at least my mom does.
This is truly the summer of love and engagements. I’ve never experienced anything like this before—not even when a bunch of my friends were getting married altogether. It’s become so rampant that I’m keeping a list in my notepad. I directly know 11 people who have gotten engaged just this summer. They’re people from all walks of life: elementary school, high school, grad school, work, Burning Man. Mind-boggling.