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“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Monday, February 21, 2005
    Various Things

    I've been posting out of boredom, or more specifically a desire to escape my online traffic school lessons. (Be strong, only two to go...) Should you ever find yourself slapped with a moving violation and forced to attend traffic school, I can recommend the one I've been using: EasyFastCheap.com. What can I say, the name attracted me.

    So how did I wind up in this sad, sad situation? Thereby hangs a tale. One morning back in December I was trying to see a nursing home patient in the far reaches of Hollywood before work. This was at a nursing home I hadn't been to in years, and didn't much like. The patient got transferred there because the daughter of the patient was being fussy and turned down two or three perfectly adequate, much closer places. I was headed back west on Santa Monica Boulevard and ran into a wall of cars coming off the 101. In an attempt to evade traffic, I made a quick left turn down a side residential street...

    ...and got nailed by a cop. Apparently the good folk of the neighborhood had enacted a "no left turn" policy during rush hour. The cop said there was a sign posted, which I honestly did not see - partly because I was stuck behind a large truck rig, partly because I was looking at ONCOMING TRAFFIC like you're SUPPOSED TO. I was not looking for a bloody sign. Long story short, I was not able to talk my way out of it and got a ticket. To look on the bright side, I've been living in LA for eleven years and this is my first one, so I guess I'm doing okay. I'm still nursing a grudge against the patient's daughter though.

    I don't know if other cities have the huge number of traffic schools that exist here. Traffic schools are a big part of Angeleno culture; after I got my ticket and started complaining about it, I was surprised to find how many people I know had been to one. I have a friend who once attended one in West Hollywood taught by a transvestite (he commented that the teacher dressed up to the nines for every class - false eyelashes, manicure, heels, the whole nine yards). And, of course, there are any number of "comedy" traffic schools, which I refused to even consider: I have better things to do than listen to a third-tier comic lecture me on the rules of the road while wearing a fright wig or acting like Groucho Marx. Come to think of it, with the advent of online traffic schools I wonder what all those lousy wannabe comedians are going to do for a living?

    To other things. I have quite a few links I've been saving up for you if you're lucky enough to be enjoying a three day weekend, unlike myself. The Firm does not take Presidents' Day off. Here we go:

    Here is a funny post from a woman who runs a great blog, all about her adventures teaching calculus to a bunch of math-impaired students in Vancouver: Tall, Dark and Mysterious. She also linked to this story, which I found interesting, about two mathematicians who crocheted a model of chaos theory. (My favorite line from the story: "Why don't you crochet something useful?" She showed him.)

    On a similar, somewhat math-related theme we have this extremely cool chart about baby names and their popularity in the last century. Check it out. (Requires Java.)

    Comics Curmudgeon: If you haven't clicked on this guy yet (he's linked on my sidebar), do yourself a favor and read him. He dissects the likes of Cathy and Garfield with vitriol and grace, but you have to read him on Mary Worth and Apartment 3-G to fully understand his genius. As a bonus, the comments are every bit as fun to read as the actual posts. If you just can't get enough Mary Worth, check this guy out. He's just as funny. (His blog doesn't focus on comics, so keep scrolling down to look for MW entries, but it's worth it.)

    I realize I'm really late to the party here, but if by any chance you haven't been following Lileks' Joe Ohio serial then do yourself a favor and start reading it. He based all these stories on random matchbooks he's been collecting. I can't wait to see how the Salt Lake City mystery pans out.

    And lastly (yes, I really am going to go to bed now), I give you Chez Miscarriage whom I found by way of Ilyka. (Read Ilyka!) This woman has converted her struggles to achieve motherhood into a wickedly funny series of posts. This one in particular is hilarious: I'll have to try that fake-IM-conversation trick sometime.

    And a happy Prezdets' Day to you all.



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