Sunday, December 31, 2006

Urban Camping in Los Angeles

Happy New Years Eve!

This is my idea of urban camping:

On Friday, I flew my cough happy self to Los Angeles to celebrate the New Year with my someone special.

Just in time for my arrival, the hot water heater promptly broke. Yesterday, I had a cold shower that had just a hair of lukewarm to it. It wasn't fun, but I lived.

Today, there wasn't a drop of warm water in sight. It was 100% freezing, 100% of the time.

Along the same lines, the heater in BoRyan's place isn't quite up to speed, so this was my routine today: I woke up and turned the oven to 400 degrees and opened up the door to heat the air in the apartment. Then, I filled up the hot water kettle and turned on the stove to heat the water. I then poured that warm water into a bigger bowl that I used to bathe myself.


Me, Emily, and our neighbor lady downstairs all have dirty hair today. I have my fingers crossed that the plummer really does show up now like he promised. I just have to take a shower...

While I was out today, I picked up a dish of brown sugar body scrub and a scratchy brush. I can't wait to get clean.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Great magazine articles: InStyle and U.S. News

While dashing through the aiport today, I grabbed two magazines which turned out to be great: InStyle and U.S. News.

InStyle offered fun fashion tips, including:
* Tiny jackets with short sleeves are in this season.
* The Army and Navy Surplus Stores are great places to find fun accent pieces at reasonable prices.
* The Vonage V-Phone is a tiny little phone (the size of a thumb drive) on a keychain, in orange-- looks fun!
* is offering a Swarovski covered pepper spray canister, to keep you safe and stylish.

Okay, okay... so I'm sure you got tons of value out of that. :-)

Now, the magazine that you HAVE TO BUY this month-- U.S. News & World Report Annual Double Issue for December 25th, 2006 to January 1st, 2007. This magazine will change your life-- get it now before it's too late!!

Here's a summary of a few articles I read that I found helpful:

"50 Ways to Improve Your Life" article:
Included in this article are amazing tips, that are forward thinking and on point. Here are a few tips, in a nutshell:
* Get Happy, and You'll Live Longer -- "While some people may be born with sunny dispositions, happiness isn't necessarily based on genes or luck. Psychologists now belive it's like a learned skill, almost like knitting."
* Lose Those Shoes (downsizing on your heels)
* Eat at Home for Your Own Good -- "Research suggests that eating out plays a key role in America's obesity epidemic."
* Drink some cups of white tea -- "Move over green and black teas -- younger and healthier, and sweeter white tea is poised to take over your pot. White tea actually comes from the same plant... but is less processed and made from the buds of young leaves instead of mature, whithered leaves."
* Stop Diabetes 2 before you get it -- The American Diabetes Association "estimates 20.8 MILLION Americans have
* Book a passage to change -- Including how we treat our planet, how we view politics, and how we live daily
* Take up an instrument -- again
* Give each week a tech-free day
* Start your own blog
* Write your family cookbook (I'm thinking this could be a cool idea!)
* Divorceproof your marriage (or relationship) -- "Based on research, the best single predictor of whether a couple is going to divorce is contempt... Comtempt goes beyond criticism or name-calling to a you're-so-beneath-me tone of haughty superiority. 'My favorite example is correcting someone's grammer when they're arguing with you...' " Also, try this: " by the stranger standard. Like letting someone with only one item go in front of you at the supermarket line."
* Unplug the television
* Hit the road without the DVDs
* Coach your kids sports team
* Lift a shovel in New Orleans
* Vote!
* Lend a hand to your troops
* Help rennovate your local park
* Get rid of the leaf blower -- "A single gas powered leaf blower can emit as much pollution in one year as 80 cars" WOW! Time to get a rake!
* See a glacier before it melts!
And MORE! As you can see, this is a great article!

"America's High Anxiety" article:
I would really like to copy in this entire article... let's see if I can find it online. It definitely represents what I experienced over the last two years, and many people experience every day. I think that this one issue absoluately stiffles our country's innovation. So many people who might otherwise open their own business and help to generate more ideas and money for our country don't because of this one thing. What is it? Healthcare...

I found it! Read it (below) and be SURE to buy the latest copy of U.S. News (Dec. 25 - Jan. 1 Double issue) on the newstands today!

And, Happy New Year if I don't talk to you before!

:-) Angie

America's High Anxiety
By Mortimer B. Zuckerman
Posted Sunday, December 17, 2006

Our nation's core bargain with the middle class is disintegrating. We are into the fifth year of a relatively robust expansion, but millions are worse off. Exposed to greater risks in job security, they feel abandoned, left to fund their own health and retirement programs out of static or falling real incomes.

Resentment and envy are not normal characteristics of our society; we usually don't care how much the other guy makes as long as we feel we're getting a fair shake. Today, however, the middle class is not. Most of our economic gains have gone to people at the very top of the income ladder. Median income for a household of people of working age, by contrast, has fallen five years in a row. What's more, in a rapidly changing economy, Americans are losing their jobs, and while they often find new ones, the average pay is 17 percent below what they were earning before.

Even college graduates have been hard hit, their wages having failed to keep pace with inflation over the past five years-and this at a time when the profits per share for the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index have been increasing at double-digit rates while corporate profits are at the highest level in two generations. Wages and salaries, meanwhile, account for the lowest share of our GDP since the government began recording the data, in 1947. As former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers put it: "If the anxious middle's concerns about fairness are this serious when the unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, there will be far greater concerns whenever the economy next turns down."

Risk. The economy is going great guns-thanks to globalization, continued technology advancements, and improved productivity-but the middle class and working families just don't feel they are getting ahead, despite the fact that they're working very hard. Indeed, many ordinary Americans say they are either falling behind or just barely keeping up.
Philosophers and politicians-from Plato to Disraeli to John Edwards-are fond of the "two nations" concept (slave/free; rich/poor; black/white). Today, we can add another: secure/anxious. Risk, even more than the level of incomes, is the main issue. As family incomes have become more stable, loss aversion has become increasingly important. By a margin of 2 to 1, Americans-traditionally, eager entrepreneurs-consider it more important to protect current sources of income than to take an opportunity to take a chance on something new and make more money.

Tens of millions of Americans live in fear that a major health problem can reduce them to bankruptcy. They realize their families are one health crisis away from family hardship, which is a key reason for the pervasive feeling of personal and permanent insecurity.
This particularly affects American families. Marriage has always been a vital economic and social institution. Yet married people with kids are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as single adults or childless couples, and they're more likely to lose their homes than married couples without children or single adults. Why hasn't the two-earner family protected more Americans from the risk of financial disaster? Well, to most families, a second income is not a luxury but a necessity, as wages for men basically flattened out as women entered the workforce. The job market has become more uncertain, with roughly as large a share of workers involuntarily losing their jobs every three years as during the steep economic decline of the early 1980s. The cost of housing, education, healthcare, and child care, meanwhile, has gone through the roof.

Think about what happens when a woman leaves the workforce to have a child.

Think about the possibility of a child who becomes chronically ill.

Think about what happens when one of two parents loses his or her job, and what happens afterward when families break apart.

Think about the fact that raising a child to the age of 18 will cost over $200,000 for a middle-income family-and that doesn't even account for college tuition, now a required ticket for admission into the middle class.

Perhaps that's why for the first time, according to the Census Bureau, households headed by single people outnumber those headed by married ones.

If there is one single source of risk our policymakers must tackle, it is health insurance. We must not muddle on, a band-aid here and a band-aid there. We must find some way to provide universal health insurance, especially to cover all children. This is one of the critical reasons that Americans are nervous and no longer believe that the next generation will be better off.

The deep disquiet in this newly anxious American nation was evident in last month's midterm elections. Whichever party better focuses on healthcare will do a world of good for itself and the country.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Almost better!!!

Today was another day with the lepers. It's amazing how people run the other way when your voice is horse.

Anyway, I'm just about bored out of my goard with all this... hopefully, I'll have something fun to write about soon.

I finally did go to the doctor today. It looks like what started as a cold may have developed into a sinus infection.

To remedy this, the doctor wrote me the typical prescriptions for an antibiotic and cough medicine. Then, she said, "would you like a 'sinus cocktail'"? Sinus cocktail? What's that?

Anyway, after talking to a few friends and family members around the country-- I've decided that this could possibly be a Memphis term. Okahoma didn't know it. California didn't. And not Washington DC. And that's a pretty good cross section I'd say.

But every person I talked to in Memphis knew it-- young, old, man, woman.

For those reading who may not know what a sinus cocktail is, it's a combination of 2 shots: one is a steroid of some kind and one reduces the amount of drainage you're producing... and I think there are some antibiotics mixed in. The idea is that it takes the antibiotic pills a few days to kick in and this helps in the meantime... Actually, I hear I'll be a new person tomorrow.

I'm counting on that!

The whole visit was definitely an interesting experience. First, they drew blood to be sure I had an infection-- 3 vials of it. Yeow! Then, they gave me the two shots. I can't really remember the last time I had a shot per se... so I was a little nervous. This poor lady who did it-- that's all she does all day is give people shots. What an experience with other people that is.

Anyway, I had to do this whole drop your pants, hold onto the table routine. I let her know that although I wouldn't move during the shots, it did really freak me out to have them. I think this formed some kind of rapport, as she gave me tips to reduce the pain and was chatty. This made the whole thing way more reasonable.

Afterward, I went to the Walgreen's next door to get my prescriptions and walk off the shots. That's one of the ways to reduce the pain-- walk.

While I was there, I had the good fortune to get a phone call from my friend Larry. I had a few extra tickets to an event this weekend and he's going to take his kids. Larry just so happens to live near the Walgreen's and drove up to get the tickets. I'm super happy he'll be able to use them and take his kids. :-)

In the end, I'm here to type about the experience... :-) I just have a few extra bandaides.... and for those of you who may have talked with me personally lately, this is nothing new. I'm really becoming quite tolerant of pain. For one reason or another, I've fallen down completely on the ground 3 times since moving back to Memphis a couple of months ago. I'm black and blue and covered with bandages constantly. Sexy!

So, the moral is-- life is looking up and I'm fighting to get better. Although I do enjoy time at home and relaxation... It's not my favorite when it's forced... and also, when it spans over a month. This all started at the end of November.

But again, I'll be better tomorrow I hope!

Cross your fingers for me. :-)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I've lost my voice...

So, I'm sick again. Did I say that already? lol. :-)

I don't actually FEEL that bad, but I SOUND terrible! I've almost lost my voice.

It's left me feeling somewhat isolated. I can't really talk to anyone... and at work, I've been staying low, to keep from getting sent home. :-)

I think that tomorrow I may work from home. I'm also going to head to the doctor.

I can hardly breathe (much less talk) right now without coughing. Will it be allergies? A cold? A sinus infection?

Your guess is as good as mine! lol.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I'm awake. It's 5:30 A.M. and I'm officially up and typing. I woke up this morning hacking myself to death (I'm sick again-- ugh), and I thought I'd give the computer a try for a few minutes until my body relaxes again enough to go back to sleep.

I checked on my Myspace and received the most unexpected Christmas interaction I had all day.

Last night, I was purusing through Myspace... I see one of my classmates from high school who I never knew was on Myspace. I remember her as one of those people who was a bit of a trouble maker and a bit endearing at the same time... definitely someone with issues, but someone you wanted to like. She appears to be divorced with 2 children-- one of them being a small baby. I was happy to see how strong and independant she appears to be.

I thought that I should definitely connect. Our 10 year class reunion is coming up soon and I'm making a special effort to reach out to my classmates. As you probably already know, I do keep in close touch with my friends via the online world.

Anyway, this morning, I received this reply to my "friend request" in my inbox on Myspace from her:
Thanks for the request, but I"m going to deny it..You were on my list for a
long time and I sent you a couple of emails asking how you were doing and
never replied...I'm not trying to be crappy, I just don't think anyone
can have
1000 friends and keep up with them..but I do hope that everything
is going well
for you and I'm sure I will see you at the reunion! Best of
luck and I hope you
had a great Christmas

My thoughts on this:

--Who takes Myspace seriously?
--Does it matter that I never received her messages? Did she even send them to the right person?
--Does she really expect everybody on Myspace to keep up with all of their Myspace friends all of the time? And is this really what qualifies you to be someone's Myspace friend? Isn't it just supposed to be fun?
--Hello, I am an online marketer, this is why I have over 1000 friends...
--And by the way, I do keep up with many of them... I can multitask.

Anyway, not that this really matters, but give me a break... and take your issues somewhere else. I was seriously trying to be a nice person.

Byte me.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Scrooge and intellectual property rights

A more serious, but important thought for Christmas... by Joseph E Stiglitz, professor ...from

A medical prize fund could improve the financing of drug innovations

At Christmas, we traditionally retell Dickens's story of Scrooge, who cared more for money than for his fellow human beings. What would we think of a Scrooge who could cure diseases that blighted thousands of people's lives but did not do so? Clearly, we would be horrified. But this has increasingly been happening in the name of economics, under the innocent sounding guise of "intellectual property rights."

Intellectual property differs from other property—restricting its use is inefficient as it costs nothing for another person to use it. Thomas Jefferson, America's third president, put it more poetically than modern economists (who refer to "zero marginal costs" and "non-rivalrous consumption") when he said that knowledge is like a candle, when one candle lights another it does not diminish from the light of the first. Using knowledge to help someone does not prevent that knowledge from helping others. Intellectual property rights, however, enable one person or company to have exclusive control of the use of a particular piece of knowledge, thereby creating monopoly power. Monopolies distort the economy. Restricting the use of medical knowledge not only affects economic efficiency, but also life itself.

We tolerate such restrictions in the belief that they might spur innovation, balancing costs against benefits. But the costs of restrictions can outweigh the benefits. It is hard to see how the patent issued by the US government for the healing properties of turmeric, which had been known for hundreds of years, stimulated research. Had the patent been enforced in India, poor people who wanted to use this compound would have had to pay royalties to the United States.

In 1995 the Uruguay round trade negotiations concluded in the establishment of the World Trade Organization, which imposed US style intellectual property rights around the world. These rights were intended to reduce access to generic medicines and they succeeded. As generic medicines cost a fraction of their brand name counterparts, billions could no longer afford the drugs they needed. For example, a year's treatment with a generic cocktail of AIDS drugs might cost $130 (£65; {euro}170) compared with $10 000 for the brand name version.1 Billions of people living on $2-3 a day cannot afford $10 000, though they might be able to scrape together enough for the generic drugs. And matters are getting worse. New drug regimens recommended by the World Health Organization and second line defences that need to be used as resistance to standard treatments develops can cost much more.

Developing countries paid a high price for this agreement. But what have they received in return? Drug companies spend more on advertising and marketing than on research, more on research on lifestyle drugs than on life saving drugs, and almost nothing on diseases that affect developing countries only. This is not surprising. Poor people cannot afford drugs, and drug companies make investments that yield the highest returns. The chief executive of Novartis, a drug company with a history of social responsibility, said "We have no model which would [meet] the need for new drugs in a sustainable way ... You can't expect for-profit organizations to do this on a large scale."2

Research needs money, but the current system results in limited funds being spent in the wrong way. For instance, the human genome project decoded the human genome within the target timeframe, but a few scientists managed to beat the project so they could patent genes related to breast cancer. The social value of gaining this knowledge slightly earlier was small, but the cost was enormous. Consequently the cost of testing for breast cancer vulnerability genes is high. In countries with no national health service many women with these genes will fail to be tested. In counties where governments will pay for these tests less money will be available for other public health needs.

A medical prize fund provides an alternative. Such a fund would give large rewards for cures or vaccines for diseases like malaria that affect millions, and smaller rewards for drugs that are similar to existing ones, with perhaps slightly different side effects. The intellectual property would be available to generic drug companies. The power of competitive markets would ensure a wide distribution at the lowest possible price, unlike the current system, which uses monopoly power, with its high prices and limited usage.

The prizes could be funded by governments in advanced industrial countries. For diseases that affect the developed world, governments are already paying as part of the health care they provide for their citizens. For diseases that affect developing countries, the funding could be part of development assistance. Money spent in this way might do as much to improve the wellbeing of people in the developing world—and even their productivity—as any other that they are given.

The medical prize fund could be one of several ways to promote innovation in crucial diseases. The most important ideas that emerge from basic science have never been protected by patents and never should be. Most researchers are motivated by the desire to enhance understanding and help humankind. Of course money is needed, and governments must continue to provide money through research grants along with support for government research laboratories and research universities. The patent system would continue to play a part for applications for which no one offers a prize . The prize fund should complement these other methods of funding; it at least holds the promise that in the future more money will be spent on research than on advertising and marketing of drugs, and that research concentrates on diseases that matter. Importantly, the medical prize fund would ensure that we make the best possible use of whatever knowledge we acquire, rather than hoarding it and limiting usage to those who can afford it, as Scrooge might have done. It is a thought we should keep in mind this Christmas.

Merry Christmas via Text?

I wonder exactly what the future of technology is.

Up until a few weeks ago, I've been using an old cell phone. So old in fact that I rarely sent or received text messages.

Then, I switched to a new cell phone that can send and receive text messages with ease. When I was sick a few weeks ago, I spent a good part of my time in bed exchanging notes with my friends. One night, I think I may have sent around 50 text messages. Wow.

Then, it became apparent to me that some of my friends have been sending 'mass' text messages. These are messages that you may get that say, "Hey, want to go to the movies tonight?" It's a little like phishing. You can send out a mass message to all of your friends and find out who is available without them knowing just who you asked.

So, last week, I tried the mass messaging; it was successful. I sent out a reminder just before meeting up for drinks. Friends who might have forgotten came; friends who were looking for something to do were given an option.

Since then, I've become much more aware of the mass messages I receive.

Today, I've gotten around 6 text messages that I suspect are mass Merry Christmas'. What do you think? Do these messages allow you to more closely connect to your friends or are they disconnecting?

I must say... I tend to feel it connects us. In the past, I would have not heard anything from my friends. It's hard to get away on Christmas day to connect. Text messages allow us to reach out on our own terms... to others who can receive them on their own terms. It's a bonus that you can connect to so many people at one time.

I do wonder though... what is the future of this? Will we eventually send Christmas card-like messages via text message? Christmas presents?

Either way, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fun Night Playing Trivia at TJ Mulligan's

I know I've been a little checked out lately. Not too worry, tonight won't be much different.

This is just a quick post to say that after a screwed up day, the evening went quite well.

I met up with Serrabee for dinner at Blue Fin before heading down the street to play trivia. I've only every played trivia in Memphis once before and it was an accident. This time, I invited my friends who have never played before.

In the beginning, a few of our team members thought we should just drink... that we didn't understand it well enough to play. Clearly, our self esteem was low for about the first half. When we got to half time, the DJ began to read the team names in reverse order, starting with the most poorly ranked team. As he went up the list and our team name wasn't called (which by the way ended up somehow being "Angie's B*tches), the team began to think we had done so poorly that we weren't ranked at all. That was right up until it was declared that we were in FIRST place!


If there's one thing I have, it's smart friends!

At our little table, we had the following (that I know of, although I didn't get to quiz everyone... ha):
--> 3 engineers
--> 1 chemist
--> 1 psycologist
--> 4 computer programmers
--> 5 current or former Fed Ex employees

Needless to say, we had the math and sciences covered. Unfortunately, we were much more behind on pop culture. When they asked which popular song particular lyrics came from, we weren't sure. When they asked who invited the thermometer, we not only knew who invented it, but how and why... It had something to do with glass balls and liquid and density... but anyway.

Up through the second to last question of the game, we were in 1st place, ahead by around 12 points. The longer the game went on, the more serious and quiet the table became.

The last question was a hard one, especially since we weren't cheating. It was, rank the following 4 companies in order of value. McDonald's, IBM, Marlboro, and Coca Cola.

Unfortunately, we weren't so lucky on this question. We missed it and fell to 3rd place. Still, we won a certificate for $$$ off our tab. It was pretty good for a first try!


Monday, December 04, 2006


Well, in case that you've been wondering what happened to me or the second day on my vacation, I've been sick.

Starting this time last week, I go a cold and ever since, I've been resting-- trying to get better as fast as possible. As you may agree though, the main thing that a cold needs is time. Luckily, I'm just about better and back into the swing of things.

I'll try to take the time to finish my stories about Hawaii as soon as I can. After that, I need to post the photos from my birthday party.

By far, I had the best birthday this year. It officially lasted around a month, with a trip, a party, lunches, dinners... it was great! Thanks to everyone who pitched in! :-)

On another note, the Christmas shopping has been going well. I've been shopping from home and have found that most retailers are giving free shipping and often, free returns. I have compiled my favorite online merchants onto one page for you: It's easy to find and easy to remember. As you know, I LOVE online shopping! Check it out and let me know how it goes.

Back again soon--