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Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Confused about the new Medicare changes? It's all clearly explained in this Washington Post article:
In this example, the out-of-pocket cost for drugs would total $750. That cost results from the plan's $250 annual deductible and 25 percent in co-payments, or $500, for the next $2,000 in drugs, until the total cost reaches $2,250. To qualify for the drug benefit, participants must also pay an average premium of $35 a month, adding another $420 to the annual cost. That would bring the patient's total cost to $1,170.

The plan would reimburse 75 percent of the drug costs (after the $250 deductible is paid) up to $2,250 a year, for a $1,500 annual benefit. If a person's drug costs exceed $2,250 a year, there is no additional benefit until out-of-pocket expenses reach $3,600 a year. That would amount to a $2,850 gap that the patient must pay.

I'm sure everyone's parents and grandparents will have no trouble figuring this out...

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Monday, November 24, 2003
Had to reboot my Dell Axim X5 today. After a quick search using Google, I figured out that the erratic behaviour of Pocket Word was not uncommon, and that a soft reset would most likely fix the problem, as it did. It still seems a little amazing to me that we as consumers of computer products put up with such flawed systems. I read an article about Bill Gates recently, and his main interest is in producing products that consumers can't live without. Fixing the existing systems would be high on my list. Computer vendors don't want to acknowledge bugs in their systems, much less use that fact as a selling point for an upgrade.

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I rode to the government center today. The ride takes about an hour, approximately 13 miles. In that time I had “encounters” with three or four motorists. Most of them were related to motorists failing to yield to me at a crosswalk (I use a paved trail for nearly the entire route). They barely hesitate at a right turns on red, much less look in my direction before turning. A large dump truck nearly ran me down as the driver waved his arms at me; upset that I had the audacity to try to cross on green in a crosswalk. I'm getting tired of having confrontations with all the bully motorists out there.

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Most of the dead links on my site point to articles in the Washington Post. After two weeks, one must pay to view archived content on the Post site. So the article in the Post about references to URLs in research papers going away after relatively short time was a little ironic. Time for a letter to the editor.

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Friday, November 21, 2003
It only took 6 buses and two planes to travel from the parent's house in Jacksonville to home. It was a long day, but worth the savings of $50 over taking taxis or airport shuttles. It's unfortunate that the private transportation companies seem to have a monopoly at many airports. There is almost no information available about public transit at either Jax or Dulles. The "welcome" lady at Jax had never heard of a public transit option from the airport, and the Dulles literature doesn't mention that it's possible to take a Metro bus to DC for $2.50.

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Sunday, November 16, 2003
There's an article in the Post about how many blogs are turning into mutual admiration societies. There are references to several literary blogs that I intend to check out, such as bookslut.

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Friday, November 14, 2003
It was a cold ride to art class this morning. Fortunately the strong wind that has been blowing for a couple of days was at my back. It made for a long return trip. Gotta take advantage of these sunny Fall days before winter sets in.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2003
High-speed Internet service at home is going to take some getting used to. Formerly I would hit a link and daydream for a while as it loaded. Now it pops up in no time and I'm not ready. I'm thinking it won't take long to adjust...

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Monday, November 10, 2003
It occurred to me the other day how similar motor vehicles are to bullies when it comes to pedestrians and cyclists. Motorists use their advantage, size and weight, to intimidate pedestrians. They do things that they wouldn't dare do if they were walking. And most pedestrians realize their disadvantage in these situations and they simply wait until the ogre passes.

When I assert my rights as a pedestrian, that's when these bullys really get upset. “How dare you walk in front of me and slow ME down!”.

They beauty of Google is that I can usually find someone out there who thinks along the same lines:
Crosswalk is a Stop Sign for Motorists.

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Sunday, November 09, 2003
There's something about Howard Dean that makes me uncomfortable. I think he's changed his position too many times and made too many blunders in the past month. And now, after saying that he would abide by agreed upon campaign limits, he's foregoing federal funds. I'm leaning towards supporting John Kerry, who also may give up public funds, but only because he's been forced to by Dean.

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Recent movies - Watched Adaptation on video last night, an excellent, strange, self-reverential movie with some great acting by Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper as the wild orchid thief. Highly recommended.

Also saw The Station Agent at a local arts theatre that seems to have been discovered by the masses. It used to be that there were maybe two or three people in line to buy tickets and the theatre was mostly empty. Fortunately that has changed, which bodes well for the longevity of the place.

Enjoyed the movie, although the first 20 minutes or so were a little slow.

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Contact and Calendar syncing - Little did I know how difficult it would be to get my various calendars and contact lists in sync. I'm using Activesync for the PowerPC and Win2000 Outlook, and Intellisync for Outlook and Yahoo! Calendar. I should have known to clean up the contacts before doing the intial sync but I didn't. Then figuring out how to remove the bad entries and not have them return from an unclean source was not easy.

If I were a normal person, I would think about these issues before barging forward, but I'm not and I didn't. And just when I think everything is copacetic (a word I don't hear much these days), changes start rippling through the various calendars. At this point I don't care, just stop updating each other already!

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Thursday, November 06, 2003
After hearing that CBS caved in to the right wing on the Reagan show, I wondered if anyone had proposed boycotting CBS. I should have known that the radical right already has a boycott CBS page. This is probably only the beginning of a radical right censorship campaign. Maybe they're afraid that people will hear the real story about the Reagan debacle, er, presidency.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Eating on the run - Lunch today consisted of homemade hummus dipped with Great Harvest wheat bread and crackers, a banana dipped in peanut butter, and for dessert, a cracker smeared with raspberry jam. The hummus is great, especially since it's the first batch I've ever made at home:
Hummus recipe
1 can garbonzo beans
3 T tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
Some liquid from the canned beans
Salt to taste

Blend until smooth

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Election Day - Worked for a few hours yesterday passing out Democratic sample ballots at a nearby polling place. There were a few whackos, but most people were decent. Made the mistake of licking my finger to peel off a sheet of paper just after shaking the hand of a Republican sleeze-ball, and now figure I'm going to come down with some kind of virus in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

Supervisor Hudgins handily won reelection. Her opponent was an anti-tax political novice. I knew he didn't stand a chance when I checked his website a while ago and it hadn't been updated in several months.

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