Times Square NYE coverage without annoying hosts

Live streaming coverage right now on Hulu, without any annoying host. Just techno remixes of upbeat music superimposed over crowd shots, periodically zooming in on small groups of people shouting "woo." Not terribly exciting to stare at for an extended period of time, but nicer to have on than the version with screaming people. Oh, they are showing the interviews with the Waterford crystal people who made the ball and all that, but otherwise it's pretty much free of yapping.


Target thinks all Jewish ritual/home items are for Hanukkah

I just did a search on Target.com for Passover, because they surprisingly have some cool seder plates and things. I'm not sure why hanukkiot came up in the "Passover" search, but whatever. But what is really messed up is that most of the Passover items (as well as a freakin mezuzah and a wine goblet) are labeled as "dishware for Hanukkah." I've written some reviews such as this one for a horseradish (maror) container:

Please, stop labeling all of the Jewish items as "hanukkah." This is a ritual item for PASSOVER. Even just "Jewish" and "horseradish" would be sufficient if you don't know what holiday it's for. Or, google "Jewish" and "horseradish," and you'll pretty quickly find that horseradish is used on Passover as a required part of a ritual, and isn't otherwise used in Jewish practice except as a tasty condiment.

I got snarkier and snarkier with each one, hoping that the reviews won't comply to the terms of their happy friendly smiley review guidelines, and then maybe the deleter-peon will have to pass them along to someone who's able to change stuff on the site. Because, uh, what?

Also, a mezuzah isn't dishware. It doesn't even look like dishware. Nor does it look like it's for Hanukkah, but that's beside, wait, no, that IS the point.

Dear goyim: If you're going to randomly guess what holiday something is for, you'll probably want to go with shabbat or Passover. You know, since these are the ones that are observed by just about every Jew, involve lots of items and rituals, and are biblical holidays. Hanukkah is cool and all, but it has dreidels and a hanukkiah and you give presents to kids. That's about it.


Longassgermanwordtime

There should be a longassgermanword for when you see something at the store and are extremely amazed and disturbed at the same time that such a thing exists.

(The example that evoked the need for such a word is bags of already-hardboiled eggs sold in the refrigerated case at the grocery store. WTF?)


Breaking news from The Boston Globe

For those of us out there who don't own maps, the Globe presents 10 T rides you should walk. No, they didn't include any analysis of average trips on congested and/or infrequent lines versus average walk times, which might actually be interesting and possibly surprising. This is simply a list of T stations on different lines (and a few on the same line) that are within a few blocks of one another, along with the explanation that the streets can be also used to get between the stations. Oh, and there's also an archive photo showing something more-or-less along the route between each pair of stations, presumably to enlighten subway riders that one doesn't see things such as parades and gardens while riding in an underground tunnel.


Ineffective use of "all set"

I've mostly come to accept the Massholism "all set" with all its
various meanings. But this waiter just came over and asked me "all set
over here?" and I had no idea if he was asking whether I wanted
something else, whether I wanted my plate taken away, or what. The
phrase isn't very useful when it's just by itself without any context,
dude.


Delores Handy word of the day

"snow flarries"


Free theatrical performances going on now at your local Starbucks

Just about every time I go to a Starbucks and stay and sit, there are these two people who are always there. It doesn't matter which Starbucks, or what sort of community, or what time of day -- there are these two people who are always there. I think Starbucks might hire them as some sort of entertainment.

They usually come across as two women, though occasionally there will be a woman and a gay-presenting man. They're almost always white, but periodically one of them is Asian. About half the time they're in their 30s or so, and about half the time in their 50s. Sometimes there's one of each, but I think this might be a production glitch, as it's uncommon.

The two people stay and talk for a long time, as if they'd planned to do so, yet they never order their drinks in a "for-here" mug. They rarely order anything but a drink. They frequently also have a plastic cup of water in addition to their coffee-esque drink.

Their discussions are loud enough for everyone to hear pretty clearly, yet not quite reaching the level of annoyingly or inappropriately loud. The discussions span a variety of topics, but they're clearly rehearsed, and everything discussed is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. There are never any "um"s or "hm"s, and absolutely no laughter. They speak with polished grammar, and always use a lot of adjectives and pop-psych words. The passive voice is used excessively. The discussions involve a lot of insights into people's feelings and motivations for doing things, as well as what is wrong with people and how this might be fixed. There's an early-adolescent-like amazement in their voices, as if they've JUST DISCOVERED that it's possible to have insight into why someone might do something. Also, they seem to have just discovered adjectives. Actually, most everything is an extremely new and exciting revelation, and the other person happily plays along. They'll talk about how they just discovered that you CAN ACTUALLY PAY YOUR BILLS by going ONLINE ON THE COMPUTER. Now, these always seem to be people of a great deal of education and privilege, but everything is NONETHELESS VERY SHINY AND NEW. Even a simple compliment just isn't so simple:

"I wanted to tell you that I REALLY LIKE that hat that you are WEARING. The textures and the COLORS are just so FLATTERING."

"Oh, it's so INTRIGUING that you MENTION that, because this HAT is one that was given to me by this NEIGHBOR, who really has this KNACK for knitting things, and I feel that it's very MEANINGFUL to have gotten a HAT from this NEIGHBOR, who gave me a HAT, particularly during this phase in my life when I've been laying the groundwork to address my naïveté."

"Well, it would appear to me that perhaps it is NOT actually knit, because if you'll LOOK, you'll see how there are these PATTERNS, which makes me wonder whether it's actually WOVEN, because sometimes clever people who are inclined to give hats to their close confidantes might actually take the initiative to WEAVE them."

"On second thought, it seems that perhaps you are RIGHT. Regardless, having received a HAT just further affirms to me that I am a good person, who deserves to have good things happen to me, such as being the recipient of a hat, whether woven or knitted. Now, at times when I've been wearing a hat, as well as at other times that I'm NOT wearing a hat, I'm beginning to realize that I'm starting to install this ABILITY to determine whether I can think POSITIVELY about a SITUATION."

Also, it bears mentioning that these people never come in, and they never leave. They're just there.


Dear Massholes

Can you please kindly refrain from putting space savers in the two-
hour visitor spots when there are 525684499722579 resident spots open
and shoveled and spacesaverless? The two-hour spots are designated
that way for the purpose of turning over spots during the day. You
know, like every two hours or so. You don't get to save them so that
they're yours for longer than that. If you do have a resident permit,
then put your damn space saver in a resident spot. If not, go register
your car correctly and pay your damn taxes. I'm going to go out on a
limb here and guess that said space-saving wasn't done by someone who
came to visit, shoveled out a spot, then happened to be hauling around
a chair to mark said spot for the next time they visit the neighborhood.


HP tracking webcams don't recognize Black people

This is messed up.

I want to see more geeky tests done on it though. Is there a certain skin-color line where it stops recognizing faces at a certain darkness? Would it recognize a really really tan white person? Would it recognize a Black person with albinism? Would it recognize fake faces of varying degrees of realism?


Dammit google, now you're just mocking me

It's showing ads in my sidebar for "free parking permits."


Usually parking space savers just annoy me, but this time I'm truly baffled

I came home today to find a spot in front of my house shoveled out and Massholishly claimed.

By my trash can.

(Yes, I took the spot.)


Wow, Somerville is really digging themselves into a hole, but where do I go from here?

Today I've found out that:

1) The Health Commission person (a nurse) is willing to get me a parking permit: "If your client can not request a permit perhaps the ordering Physician/NP/PA without identifying information other than the client's neighborhood might be useful if you want a permit"

I'm not sure quite what that's supposed to mean, but it sounds as if they will respect a person's privacy if a physician tells them to, but not if a licensed mental health counselor tells them to. Discrimination based on type of disability, anyone? I wrote back and said that I'm not aware if the person has a physician, but I'm a licensed mental health counselor who is happy to sign anything they'd like me to, and was told that in that case, I should ask the person's family members to go to the visitor parking place and disclose the personal information the person doesn't want disclosed.

(I'm getting really tired of the unsolicited advice about what I should do with a client about whom I've purposely not given any details, as well as the serious disrespect from a fellow healthcare professional who continually assumes that I don't know how to make clinically appropriate decisions regarding my client.)

2) Various agencies, such as Early Intervention and an in-home therapy program for teens, have permits assigned to their agency. They aren't required to provide any sort of list of clients they see. The permits cost more than for an individual provider, but the city apparently relies just on the professionalism of the licensed clinicians as enough assurance that the staff aren't parking in Somerville for nefarious purposes.

But since I'm self-employed, I have to provide my client's identifying info? What.


Somerville parking update

The director of the health department acknowledged that a provider can't disclose client information, and informed me that there's an easy solution of either using a meter or having the individual get a visitor permit. Right. There aren't meters in the neighborhood, or I'd of course have used them. My client doesn't leave the house much and doesn't share personal documents, both due to disability. The first thing I did when I found out they were going to resident parking was to google what was necessary to get a visitor pass. I asked individual whether able to take a bill or copy of lease to parking office, and individual responded with a very strong preference to have privacy respected, particularly by government agencies.


Wine isn't a beverage?



I think I see what the problem on the green line is

Red line maintenance?


Trying to be green in my renovations

Over the past few weeks, I've been ripping out a wall to make a closet more useful. I didn't think to take much of a "before" pic, and the "after" pic is awaiting getting all the junk out of the room (more on that later), but here's the general idea, from a pic I took after I removed some casing and plaster to see what I was dealing with and whether I wanted to proceed:

molding gone, bout to crowbar the fuck out of the jack stud

The closet spans the entire (about nine-foot) width of the larger of the two front bedrooms, both of which are currently used as guest-type rooms. It's the only large closet in the house -- the small guest room has no closet thus far (stay tuned for "eeka builds a closet"), our bedroom has one full of clothes, and the fourth bedroom (den) has a small closet in which we keep coats and luggage. The big closet was originally accessed through a 24-inch door at the far right, as seen above. In demolishing it, I found that based on the construction methods and way that the closet was tied into the house construction, everything about the closet was original (1893) construction, except for the modern door, hinges, and some of the jamb, which were retrofitting onto original casing.

As one might guess, this made the leftmost seven feet of the closet pretty useless. We had some large plastic storage bins and things in it, and we had to take everything out in order to get to anything. Since this is pretty much the only large storage in the house, I decided to remedy this by knocking out the wall and putting in sliding doors.

A few groovy demolition and construction photos:

hells to the yeah Molly, center, about to pull a Jericho casing up, shelf down

I've now got the doors installed and the walls repaired and everything. All that's left now is painting all the casing white and putting shelving in the closet and filling it up. I'm going to use IKEA GORM shelving, because it's about the cheapest sturdiest modular shelving around, and I like that it's untreated pine, so greener than the other cheap shelving, which tends to either be plastic or flimsy headed-for-the-landfill-in-less-than-a-generation metal.

I've managed to repurpose almost all of the debris from the project, which is really what the point of this post is (but hey, I never pass up an opportunity to talk about do-it-yourselfage).
  • Old door, door hardware, closet rod: donated to the Boston Building Materials Resource Center.
  • Door casing removed from left side: used it to build the new casing on the new left side of the opening.
  • Solid wood shelf supports from closet: used this as the inside casing for the top of the opening. Only needed to buy the one nine-foot length of outside casing to match the casing on the sides.
  • Plaster removed from wall: donated to a few individuals via freecycle and an expressive therapies listserv. One plans to paint/collage on the large pieces, one plans to smash up scraps to put into plaster/concrete projects, and one is using the pieces as yard fill and for weighing down some planters.
  • Laths removed from wall: donated via freecycle to someone who is going to use them as kindling. Also saved a small bag of them for using for future wall repairs and/or shimming. Used some of them during the closet project to shim the casing, saddle, and sliding door track.
  • Timbers from walls (the construction is old enough that the wall studs are hand-hewn timbers of various dimensions, including some with bark still intact): donating via freecycle to one person who is going to use them for landscaping and one person who is going to use them in sculpture projects.
  • Boxes that the doors came in: donating them via freecycle, offering them as large flat boxes in which one can ship art and similar flat items. There's a huge demand for these sorts of boxes, and they're ridiculously expensive at shipping or framing stores. Recycled smaller boxes and plastic containers from other hardware and materials.
  • Styrofoam sheets that were lining the boxes the doors came in: donating to someone via freecycle (not sure for what purpose they will be used, but offered them as something one could use for packing or for school projects/displays).
The room is currently full of all the stuff that needs to go into the closet. Once that's done, I'll post a finished picture. Fun project, and quite a bit easier than I might have anticipated, using only common household tools (I have no specialty tools, and the only power tools I own are a jigsaw and a drill/driver, though I do have a heavy-duty crowbar that came in very handy in this project). I highly recommend undertaking such a thing.


AARRJHJGYIGHHHHH

Tom Assbrook, if you say "TARP program" one more time, imma beat you
over the head with an ATM machine.


Delores Handy word of the day

"sprent to the sinnet"


National Call-In Day for Early Intervention and Early Childhood Servi

(Please excuse the formatting -- I'm sending this from my phone since
I wanted people to see it right away.)

> On Wednesday and Thursday, December 9th and 10th, advocates from
> across
> the country will contact the White House to ask them to increase
> funding
> for early intervention and other early childhood programs in the 2011
> budget. The administration is currently working on its budget
> recommendations for the next fiscal year and we need to make sure that
> early childhood programs are prioritized. The President's budget
> sends a
> signal to Congress on what should be the top investments in the next
> budget cycle --- ultimately setting the blueprint for what gets in the
> budget.
>
> We need everyone to take action by contacting the White House:
> 1.) To call the comments line dial 202-456-1111. (You may need to call
> more than once if you get a busy signal.)
> 2.) To email the President, fill out the form on this website:
> http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
>
> Here is a sample script:
> "My name is ________ and I'm from (Insert Organization) in (City),
> (State). "Please help children get the strong start they need to
> succeed
> by supporting a $500 million increase in Part C of IDEA (early
> intervention) for infants and toddlers with disabilities. Scientific
> evidence has been clear that intervention in the first three years
> of life
> while neurological pathways are still growing provides the most
> benefit
> for postive outcomes for a child. By addressing developmental issues
> at
> the time when it has the most impact on the future of a child provides
> long term savings and could eliminate the need for future services.
> Please
> make sure to include this increase in your budget recommendations
> for FY
> 2011."
>
> Please urge everyone you know including families currently receiving
> EI
> services, past families, everyone in your office, everyone that you
> collaborate with and even your own family and friends! The more
> people who
> take action, the more our voices will be heard in this very important
> budget process. With the $10 million anticipated shortfall in the EI
> budget for FY 2010, we must work on every avenue to increase EI
> funding
> sources to prevent devastating changes to the EI system. Please make
> sure
> this action is at the top of your list for Thursday and Friday.



The City of Somerville wants me to violate federal healthcare laws

I'm seeing a client in Somerville, every week at the individual's home, as this is an individual who has difficulty traveling. The individual's street just became resident permit parking only. I talked to the Somerville Traffic and Parking Department, and was told I could get a healthcare provider placard, which costs $25 a year. This sounded annoying, but sufficient to meet my needs and I asked what I needed to do. (I should note here that Boston, where I do most of my work, does not issue any such thing, despite several agencies and providers trying to get them to do so for years.)

The man told me I'd need to disclose the home address of the person, when I'd be there, and what kind of service I'd be providing. I told him I couldn't do this, as it violates this person's confidentiality. I said I was willing to provide the street name along with my professional license number and vehicle information, which I thought should be sufficient to ensure that I'm not abusing the parking permit. He was incredibly rude, cutting me off repeatedly and telling me that "lady, no one has ever had a problem with giving me that information in 15 years" and telling me "you think you're the only one in Somerville who sees people at their homes? There's people from all sorts of VNAs seeing people, and none of them have a problem filling out a form," and, "I can't give you a carte blanche to just do whatever you want all over the city." Wow. Because that's clearly what I really was asking for, not just a parking permit to park on one street for an hour a week, for which I was willing to give pretty much any of my own personal information and was willing to pay the ridiculous $25 fee.

I've spoken to someone at the American Music Therapy Association national office, who agrees that the request is inappropriate and says this should be obvious from the text of HIPAA, the code of ethics, and the standards of practice. This person also emphasized that I would need a release to provide the name of the person's street, since that's also personally identifying information. (I tried calling the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure as well, but it went to a voicemail box that was full, as is often the case there.) It seems obvious enough to me as well that they should issue the parking permit based on my vehicle registration and/or professional license, so that if I do abuse the parking privileges, it comes back entirely to me and doesn't involve my completely innocent clients in any way. Of course all of this is obvious, but how do I convey this to the ridiculous Somerville parking guy so I can get a parking permit?

I should mention that this individual is very adamant about not releasing any personal information to anyone, which is fully within this person's rights. When the parking signs went up, I suggested that this person might want to get a visitor parking placard in case anyone wanted to come visit, not specifically me, and offered to do this with this person, but this person was not willing to share any bills or anything with the Traffic and Parking people, and is generally very suspicious of government-type people. I didn't press the issue at all, because it would be unethical for me to put the client in a position of going outside a personal comfort zone in order to effectively provide a favor for me. This person should not be required to divulge personal information to the City of Somerville in order to continue receiving healthcare. Nor should this person be put in a position of potentially being contacted by the City of Somerville should I decide to abuse my parking permit, or even if there's a question about it. I'm ethically required to provide healthcare unconditionally, and I can't tell my client that I can only continue providing services if my client signs a release allowing me to tell the City of Somerville that this person is receiving mental health services.


LMAWTF

Why is there a Longwood Medical Area shuttle from JFK/UMass to LMA?
Does the number 8 bus just not do it for some people?


Now all the car needs is a fireplace

A green Subaru (insert dyke joke here) just went by on Longwood Ave
with what appears to be a real pair o' antlers strapped to the bike
rack. OMG.


Delores Handy word of the day

"four-game wen streak," "florward," "four-puont-two million"


Call or e-mail today to save Early Intervention services in Massachusetts

Early Intervention Call to Action Day: On Tuesday, December 1st: We are asking all Early Intervention supporters to take 1 minute and call or email Governor Patrick with a simple but important message asking him to fix or reverse his veto and reinstate the Early Intervention Retained language to preserve Early Intervention services.

Last week, the Governor vetoed the Early Intervention Retained Revenue language that the Legislature had included in the Supplemental budget. This language would have reinstated the Early Intervention Retained Revenue line item and provided the funding needed to address a $2 million shortfall in Early Intervention. If this retained revenue funding is not restored, then the shortfall will be addressed by implementing eligibility changes, service cuts or increased fees to parents.

Despite this major setback, we are not giving up. The Governor can essentially fix the veto by reinstating the EI retained revenue language in another budget vehicle in January.

Action Item: Please take 1 minute on Tuesday and call or email Governor Patrick with the following message:

"I am calling about Early Intervention. Please fix the veto by reinstating the Early Intervention retained revenue language to preserve EI services for children and families. Thank you, Governor Patrick."


Call the Governor: (617) 725-4005.

Or send an email to the Governor.

For those who aren't familiar with Early Intervention, the programs exist across the state (across the nation in various forms actually, as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and are funded by the Department of Public Health. Programs provide services to children between birth and age three who currently show a developmental delay in any area, have a disability or medical condition that affects their development in an ongoing way, or are at risk of developmental delays due to risk factors such as prematurity or issues with home/family environment. The services are provided at little or no cost to families (depending on income) and are crucial in identifying and working with children as early as possible so that they can catch up with their peers and be ready to attend a community preschool setting and/or can be connected to a method of learning that is appropriate for their special needs.


Mass Eye and Ear is ridiculous as usual

I've been going to MEEI for routine eye exams (new contacts and glasses), because I have uveitis and see the (awesome) uveitis specialist there, and it's probably better that I see an MD for eye-related stuff. I called just now to make an appointment, and they told me to allow 3-4 hours for the appointment. Uh, no. Then I convinced them to schedule the eye exam and contact lens fitting on different days so I could more or less get to work on time (they have this awful system where you have a scheduled appointment with the ophthalmologist, then go over to the
contact lens department where you don't really have an appointment and have to wait a long time, then back to the ophthalmologist where you wait again). So they said I could do it on two days, and would need to plan on 2.5-3 hours each day. Again, no. Just no. Once you actually
see a provider there, they're all great, but the structure of the place is just way too dysfunctional for me to put up with when I don't absolutely need one of their specialists. I just called and made an appointment at Fenway. They said it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.

(Also, I'm fairly convinced that MEEI is able to be so unaccommodating because of ableism and the population they serve. Most of the people going to their highly esteemed ophthalmology department are people with multiple medical issues -- largely people who don't work. There
are always a lot of people there being led around by their children or nursing home aides. These people won't complain about how ridiculous it is to take half a day off to get a damn glasses prescription. I really doubt the place would routinely treat people this way if they saw mostly non-marginalized people who would hang up and call somewhere else like I did.)