In other news our fucking cock landlord has the heat in the building turned off and it's been super cold again recently, so we had literally no heat over the weekend and it was miserable, so I got the fun of calling him.
Oh, and the white trash neighbors had a backyard bon fire at midnight and filled our house with smoke. That's the last one I'm tolerating, next time I just tell them no, and if it persists they get reported for fire code violations. I went and talked to them about it once before and they were just like "oh yeah okay". I have no problem confronting them, I'm just concerned about the possible revenge response. (* see later).
And the other side neighbors just had a baby. It's not actually that bad, we hear it cry a bit once in a while, but the side walls in the building are almost half decent (unlike the floors). The baby neighbors are actually incredibly considerate about not making noise, actually too considerate, I find it annoying. It makes me feel uptight just being around them. I sort of imagine that they put a pillow over the crying baby because they're worried about it being too loud.
The whole situation with health care billing pisses me off so much. You don't get to see your bill until weeks after you go in, because the health plan has to approve or not approve various charges. Many providers illegally try to "balance bill" you. Watch out for that. Even if you are careful and specifically try to go to a preferred providers, they will often take you in for xrays or something and the xray tech is not a preferred provider, so blammo suddenly you get a nasty bill. The thing that happened with my physical therapist is that the company is a preferred provider, but the particular therapist that they assigned me to is not.
It's ridiculous how bad the health insurance system is if you think about it. The health insurance companies should want you to go to cheaper, better providers. It would save them money, which should be the whole point of an HMO type company, is to set you up with better care for cheaper. But they don't, they do nothing. The right way to do it would be to provide information and choise to the customer. For example, make you pay a 10% coinsurance, and then show you the average cost of various providers. Also, they should give you quality ratings for various providers. It is in their best interest financially to send you to better quality providers who make you healthier in the minimum number of visits, because that reduces their cost of followups and complications. They are better off if you see surgeons who have a higher improvement rate. But they provide you with none of that information. Instead they literally just give you a provider directory with 1000 names in it. Gee thanks, now what do I do? Eenie meanie miney moe.
Some random less bitter junk :
This is pretty old, but the NYT Buy vs. Rent Calculator is super awesome. It's just an amazingly well designed piece of interactive statistics graphing. You can click on all the spots to get more info, you can drag the sliders on the left and it adjusts the graph. It's just so money.
The crashing real estate market is sort of tempting me, but this actually reminded me that it's not so hot. Yes, things are closer to a decent bargain than they have been, but even undervalued stuff is not likely to go up much at all in the next 5 years, what with finances being generally tight and people being scared of buying. I'm expecting home prices to be almost level for 5 years, so even getting into something that seems like a bargain right now isn't really a great move unless you hold it for 10 years or so.
(*) : I think the fear of revenge response is actually usually wrong. For example in customer service situations, when someone is being totally incompetent, like the other day I went to the UPS store and was trying to send something to Lebanon, PA, and the guy starts asking about declared value and contents and whatnot, I started thinking in my head "wait, are you doing a custom form to send this to the country of Lebanon?" but I just tried to be nice. The logic is that if you just call them on their stupidness then they will be unhelpful, while if you are polite and nice to them, they will try to help you more and give you better service.
I think that's mostly wrong. Most people just try to incompetently muddle through life and are just constantly fucking up and cutting corners and being lazy and not doing their job. If you let them, they will keep doing that. If you give an inch by being nice, they will just keep fucking up. If you call them on and say "hey, I'm sending this to Pennsylvania buddy", they get shocked out of it, they realize they can't get away with sneaking their half assed shit past you, because you're going to call them on it. Then they want to get their work done and take care of you because they don't want to be around someone that calls them on shit.
Also : Majesco's stock ticker is COOL !? WTF that is so awesome. And it's perfect if you ever meet the Majesco people. They know absolutely nothing about video game development, and literally talk like The Sopranos; I swear that company is some kind of mob money laundering operation.