Monday, November 22, 2004

Redpanda: Pimpin' Disease Management Since 2004.

Today was the second time that I was filmed for some sort of disease-management-related or company-related promo. That's right, second.

I was filmed for a commercial a few months back, but so far nothing has come of it. I signed stacks and stacks of release forms, so I'm sure that one day I'll find footage of myself in some random training video or T.V. ad.

Today's bit was a bit more self-directed. My company has been courting a big account, and my program is apparently one of the selling points. The problem? No one really "gets" what disease management is. The solution? Hey, let's make a video of Redpanda doing her thang! It'll be great!


So, after tossing and turning till the wee hours last night, listening to Sean snore loudly and cartoonishly and Mathilda the Evil One chase something loud and rolling, I had to get to work early to write a script for someone's video. But I did! And it was great! And they filmed the video! And now I don't have to get ready for it any more! And now I get to go home in 2 hours and sleep!

"You're so good on the phone!" my boss exclaimed.

I think she thinks I should work for a 1-900-#. Which, perhaps, I should.

I will be available, for a fee, to Pimp any disease management programs you have in the works.

That is all.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Sean: So, how'd it go?

Redpanda: I dunno. You know how in interviews they always ask you those stupid scenario questions? And you have to make some crap up on the fly, like when you were a kid and had to make up sins for confession?

Sean: Made-up stuff? Sure.

Redpanda: Yeah. Like, "Oh, I totally remember when that happened to me! I handled it ever so well, by doing A, B, and C. Everything worked out beautifully!"

Sean: Oh. Well, at least you were making up work-related stuff. I usually just make up random stuff.

Redpanda: Random stuff?

Sean: Sure. During my interview, I told (my boss) I could fit 50 hot dogs in my mouth.

Redpanda: ...

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Ok, so when I was mentioning the "snow" yesterday? How there were flakes on my windshield? I meant it in a kind of joking way, like Ha-ha, I am now a New Englander! See me complain about the weather! Just a few scattered flakes of snow and already I'm bitching!. What I most certainly did NOT mean is that it was actually, really and truly, going to SNOW.

It did.

Like, inches and inches.

Can you believe that crap? I'm waiting for Old Man Winter to pop out of the clouds and yell: "Psyche!". (Of course, then he would probably have to be wearing a Hypercolor sweatshirt and penny-rolled pants with his flock-of-seagulls haircut, but that's really not the point...)

So, snow.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Friday Wrap-Up

We skipped the sushi. But it was an ideal birthday for Sean, in that he consumed something containing peanut butter at each and every meal.

You should check out this site. Thanks to my birthday buddy Stumpy for the link!

Tonight promises to be a fun night, and you're invited! My friend Melissa's first photography show has its reception at MassArt. It's in the Kennedy Building from 5-6:30 (621 Huntington Ave.). But hey, if you can't make it, it's there through Nov. 20th. Check it out!
After that, I recommend you head over to Copperfield's just outside of Kenmore Square to see Groove of the Day funk it up old-school. They don't go on till 11:30, but I bet you could drink till then if you wanted to.

If you see a tall redhead wandering aimlessly around either event, feel free to tell her "hi", and perhaps that you like her shoes.

It's supposed to snow today. SNOW. SNOW. There were a few itty-bitty flakes of death on my windshield this morning. It's only November. Excuse me as I suppress a sob.

I'm working till 3 today, which I find irksome. Normally, I would have today off and work tomorrow. But some sort of maintenance is going on tomorrow, so the building will be closed. So, I had to come in today to "make up" that time. Now I ask you: is it my fault that the powers that be are closing the building? Can't they just eat those 6 measley hours? The answer to both questions: NO.

I long for a big steaming mug of hot chocolate. But I will have to settle for coffee or tea if I don't want to leave the building. Sigh.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Oh, The Birthdays I've Neglected!

Everyone's birthday has been lately! Dave's and Randy's were both last week. (Happy belated, guys!) My dad's was a bit before that. Today is Sean's.

In celebration of his birthday:

I let him sleep till 10.
I got up early and baked him a Special Birthday Breakfast: Peanut-butter coffee cake. (I say "bleah!" But he says "Yum!")
I made him coffee with hot chocolate, whipped cream, and hot pink candy dinosaurs.
I let him putter around the house for hours without complaining, until my stomach began digesting itself and I had to say "TAKE A SHOWER SO WE CAN GO FOR LUNCH ALREADY! I'M FREAKIN' STARVED!"
When he is finished with said shower, we will be heading towards my old digs, Brookline, so we can have a "Juicy Hamburger Lunch" at Coolidge Corner Clubhouse. We will then spend approximately 27 hours browsing at Brookline Booksmith before heading to Coolidge Corner Theater to see a matinee.
After that, we shall see if I am dragged to J.P. Licks ("They have CAKE BATTER! ICE CREAM! And it's Perfect Jimmie Weather!")* or for sushi. Or both.

It may be a day for tummyaches.

Happy 29th, honey! You're worth the achin'.

*This is not the time, but here would be a good place to introduce the sprinkles v/s jimmies debate.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

This is Your Life

I had one of those This is Your Life moments last night. You know the kind I mean--those moments in which all of a sudden every molecule around you seems bright and lucid, where you have the strange sense of seeing yourself in the very same place later on, thus predicting your own deja vu.

I was sitting in the Kirkland Cafe with my Magic Hat #9 (which I indicated to Sean that I wanted by holding up 9 fingers and gesturing to my head), listening to the wonderous funky stylings of Groove of the Day, and gazing just beyond bassist August's head through the window. The neon sign cast an eerie blue glow that reflected in the panes, but I could still see the Kebab Factory, which I've always been meaning to try, and Toscanini's, which I love, across the street. People hurried by wrapped in scarves and light autumn jackets, kicking at the crunchy leaves on the sidewalk while craning their necks to see who was playing.

I smiled at the people around me. Dave and Joanna are getting married! And Louis and Jeannine just had a baby! And Sean just went to get me another beer! Maybe it was just the beers, which I had started consuming earlier as we noshed at the Thirsty Scholar, but I began to feel like I was wrapped in a cozy blanket of contentment. I liked everyone around me. I was jammin' out to the music. New beers kept appearing.

It's one of those things, this forging of a new life where before there was none. It happens gradually, so slowly that sometimes it's painful. But then, sometimes you'll just be sitting there, doing nothing in particular, and you'll realize This is MY life. I have made it. It is mine. And I relish it.

And at moments like that, there's really nothing more you can do but grin gamely at the people grinning around you, and politely point to your head to request another beer.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Feel Better

A friend forwarded this to me. I'm sure it's from a column somewhere, but I can't seem to google it up. If anyone has seen it before, let me know so I can give proper credit.

Fear won.

Yesterday, the day after election day, I felt it. I was
spirit-deprived, sleep-deprived, faith-deprived, aghast. I wanted to email
all of my friends in other countries and apologize for something that wasn’t
my fault. I wanted to secede, retreat to my cosmopolitan bubble, spend the
next four years in denial. I couldn’t find a single comfort, except for the
fact that my state had remained blue. And that, in the end, didn’t matter.
I drank lots of caffeine, took a nap in my office, didn’t have anything to
say to all the people around me who were similarly speechless, aghast. I
was afraid to be gay, Jewish, liberal, Democratic, democratic - a
non-majority American. I couldn’t believe that my country could be so
stupid. And then I could believe it, and that was worse.

That was yesterday.

Then I went to sleep. Then I woke up.

History will say, beyond the fact that our country managed to
re-elect the worst president in its two-hundred-plus years, that this
election was won purely on the basis of fear. The Republicans seized the
day because they played the fear card again and again and again. Kerry
waited until the end to play it - and it’s not a card that can be played
second. There was no positivity, no vision in Bush’s campaign; he didn’t
even bother to try. There was only fear.

The Michael Moore movie we should have all been looking at wasn’t
“Farenheit 9/11” - it was “Bowling for Columbine”, with its central thesis
that American history has been dictated by fear of the other, both outside
and within. The thesis certainly extends to today. How else can you
explain how people in small town Ohio can say that their most pressing,
decisive concern is terrorism? Do they say that out of empathy for the
people of New York and DC who are the most likely targets? No. They fear,
however improbably, for themselves. And because - for some reason that has
nothing to do with the truth - there wasn’t an economic fear to
counterbalance their safety fears, they went red.

Then there is the dubiously phrased matter of “moral issues.” If
you listened very closely to the sounds coming from hell, you could hear the
slave owners and the segregationists and the woman-haters laughing every
time that button was pushed. Because it was their legacy that was born
again in this election. Gay marriage is just a part of it. Abortion is
just a part of it. Fear of the other manifests itself in an arrogant,
ignorant righteousness. And this time, that righteousness voted. This fact
beat me up more than anything else.

But wait. I thought about it some more, and I realized that if I’d
been asked which of the factors decided my vote the most - Iraq, terrorism,
the economy, etc. - I would have probably said “moral issues” as well.
Because I feel everything about the Bush administration comes down to moral
issues - and the (again) arrogant, ignorant, self-righteous,
uncompassionate, dogmatic, stubborn, and at times hateful way that they rule
our country. It is repugnant, undemocratic, and needs to be opposed. They
have defined morality to their own goals. We need to take it back.

It is a horrifying thing to wake up and find that fifty-one percent
of your country is just plain wrong. The word disappointment can’t even
begin to describe it. But here’s the good news: forty-nine percent got it
right. There are over fifty-five million people in this country who got it
right. This is not a small opposition. This is not a fringe element.
These are many, many voices that came together with a strength never seen
before. It wasn’t enough, but it was something. We can’t quiet them now.

I refuse to give George W. Bush the satisfaction of my fear. I will
not let him take his campaign tricks and play them on me after the election
is over. (The campaign, mark my words, continues.) I felt fear yesterday.
Gut-wrenching, mind-numbing, soul-confusing fear. It was nearly paralyzing
in its sadness and frustration. Then I realized: the Republicans want me
to be paralyzed. They want me - and you, and all of the forty-eight percent
- to be absolutely petrified with fear. We cannot, under any circumstances,
let that happen. We didn’t let that happen for the past year when he threw
all kinds of orange alerts and vague threats our way. His re-election
doesn’t change our need to be vigilant. It increases it. They are genuine
reasons to be scared of another Bush administration. But we cannot shut
down or shut up. I keep thinking of that despicably brilliant ad the Bush
campaign used, showing the wolves tearing through the woods, talking about
the need for safety against attack. But here’s the thing: they (and in
this case I mean the Bush forces, not terrorists) might be wolves, but we
are not sheep. I refuse to be a sheep. We are wolves, too, no matter how
many times we are told we are sheep. And we must be fierce in our

Don’t let the news break you. They want us broken.

Don’t let your spirit be compromised. You’re going to need your

This is not the end of anything, nor is it the beginning of
anything. It is the continuation of a fight that has been going on for a
very, very long time. It’s called right vs. wrong. And right might get
bruised, and abused, and paralyzed. But every day it prevails in fifty-five
million different ways. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. The next
four years are going to be awful. People will die because of this election.
The fight is going to be harder. But that just means we have to be even
more vigilant.

Fear won, but we can’t let it win.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

More of the Same or Dear America or Speaking of Seppuku

Dear America,

I live my life trying to fight the good fight for the little guy. I work lower-paying jobs that I feel "truly make a difference". I never fail to engage someone in a debate about how at-risk populations don't deserve their circumstances, and do deserve a leg-up (so to speak). I design campaigns to educate and uplift said populations. I pay down my six-figure student loans slowly, so very slowly.

Now, I feel you deserve to know that my feelings for you have changed.

Family farmers in the midwest--when you cry out to me about the cancers your family has developed from the toxins leaching into your soil? Who did you vote for?

Factory workers--when you hold up those signs and chant about the minimum wage not being a "living wage"? Which mark did you fill in on Nov. 2?

Senior citizens--when you realize that you can no longer afford your prescription drugs? Where was your vote?

Parents of teenagers--when your child discovers he or she cannot attend college because there are no programs in place to help him or her pay for it? Did you even show up?

Parents of younger children--when your child attends an unsafe or unsatisfactory school? Are you sure you pulled that lever correctly?

Parents of soldiers who aren't coming home--when you go on with your life despite this fact? Did you vote for someone with a plan to get out?

You who don't want to pay eight bucks a gallon for gas--where did your loyalties lie?

You who has been collecting unemployment for eight months--did you put out your hands and plead for more?

Great. You got your tax breaks, rich white men of America. I hope that's some consolation when the kid whose HeadStart program was cut 5 years ago shoots your son in the freaking head.

You voted the "religious" and "moral" man into office. Great. Osama Bin Laden feels he is religious and moral as well.

I am finished with you, America. I and the vast majority of the voters on the coasts and metropolitan areas who were voting Kerry? We're fine. My friends who are Kerry supporters? Fine. We don't need the social services right now. We can pay for our kids to go to private schools and college, so they probably will never join the military to get a free college education later (but get shot to bits first). We have health insurance from our employers. We buy organic veggies and don't smoke.

Fuck you, Middle America. Lie in the bed that you've made. And when it pricks and jabs at you? Shut the fuck up. You deserve every bit of it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

What Democracy?

Today, Sean and I left early to scamper down the road and vote, which we did because we are good people and do not suck. We passed many other non-sucky people who were also going to vote. The ones who didn't seem to be heading towards a place to vote I will assume are either planning to vote after work or are republicans. This makes me more comfortable.

But really, that's not what my li'l story is about today. We parked our car and walked quickly in the brisk autumn air, my stomach knotting with aggressive butterflies. I remember all too well the aftermath of the last election, when I thought it's not that bad, things probably won't be that bad, he can't be that awful.... Of course, that naive young girl has had to live in the mess that Bush has made of America ever since, so she's much less naive now and more ready to kick his pathetic ass out.

Approaching the front desk area, we were asked for our address. We responded with it, and then followed up with our names. The sweet elderly lade smiled at me. "I need to see your ID, sweetie." she said. Well, of course. I'm voting, after all. I gave her my ID, smiled, and waited for Sean to hand her his.

He never did.

He didn't have to.

Apparently, if you have voted "before" in some states, you are not required to show your identification when you go to vote.

So, basically, I could have spent my day voting and voting and voting all over the country. If only I had known. I could have volunteered in a nursing home, become familiar with everyone's name. I could have volunteered in several nursing homes. I hear that there's a lot of those in Florida.

So, that clears that up. Our voting system is a joke.