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Thursday, August 31, 2006

My father used to have his biography in a book called Who's Who. (Maybe he still does, I was surprised to see that the book is still in print). This book was the kind of thing that your parents read in the days before the internet...I suppose after meeting a potential business partner, you would consult Who's Who, to confirm that the person in question was "somebody". Fortunately, now we have 1-800-Dentist, so you don't have to go to the library to be sure that the guy drilling your teeth did not graduate from a dental school in Guatemala.

I had always guessed that the real purpose of the book was to get people like my father to throw down $70, or whatever it cost to see their names in print.

So yesterday, I got this letter from the Consumers' Research Council of America letting me know that I am one of America's Top Pharmacists. Never heard of the Consumers' Research Council of America? Click on the pharmacy link for a detailed explanation of the profession of pharmacy. Click on the Top Pharmacists Search Engine to see my name. I cannot argue with an organization as prestigious as the Consumers' Research Council of America, but I must wonder, where did they hear of my greatness? And does this have anything to do with the $229 plaque that Nicole will not buy me? Nothing says: "I'm a great pharmacist" like a plaque that says: "I'm a great pharmacist". I could carry it around on job interviews.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mapquest says I only ran 12 miles, but I assure you it felt like more. I had planned on turning around at the Huntington Beach Pier (about 5 miles, one way), but after 5 miles, I just felt like running. So I ran. Shortly thereafter, I no longer felt like running. So I ran back. Probably not my fastest 12 miles ever, but I am officially in half-marathon shape. Not bad, considering I started training 18 days ago.

A couple hours later, I took the friends and family sailing. Nobody appeared to noticed how impaired I was after having just run 12 miles...at least until I crashed into the slip while attempting to dock. It was a truly gentle crash landing, so maybe nobody noticed even then. From right to left are: my hand (no, I did not take this picture), my mother (in her first takealotofdrugs appearance?), Sailing Nicole, and Jessica's little brother Ben (currently sans blog).

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Best conversation in public ever...

So Nicole, Jessica, and I bicycled down to Dana Point this morning...we had planned on doing the Tour De 5 Cities, but somebody locked her keys in her car.

So we're in line at this juice bar/sandwich shop..and the line was long, because the BCI ride had arrived right before us. The conversation went pretty much like this (I did not have a tape recorder running, so this is just my best recollection).

Nico: Michael can't just sit around for 4 hours.
Jessica: See, I'm not the only one that has to always be doing something.
Michael: Yes, but I'm self-sufficient.
Jessica: I had a life before I met you two. (Did I mention Jessica is kind of loud?)
People in line behind us: Laughter.
Jessica: Hi!
Michael: Most certainly blogworthy.
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Since it's the weekend, let me catch up on some unrelated news.

1) I am taking the stokefire challenge and attempting to get a tagline on a t-shirt. Tate is a professional thing namer; here are his entries. I am not a professional; here are mine.

2) I have not done a mileage update in a while.

(For the week)
New Balance miles: 24 (slight improvement over last weeks 23 miles--7 of those on a treadmill)

Total bicycling miles: 100

Seriously considering an Ironman in the spring. I guess that's only a 70.3 (which is half an Ironman), but it's a Kona qualifier. Guess I better learn how to swim.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

6 Martinis for the price of 1.

Sorry, I left this witty anecdote off of the previous Bonaventure Post.



I had never had a Grey Goose Martini before, but it seemed like the thing to do while sitting in a revolving bar. Regular martinis were $11.75 (without the souvenir light-up glass), so I was a little afraid that I was ordering a $20 drink. Nicole resisted my instructions to order an appletini, and instead settled on a lemon drop.

Drinks, Take 1:

Waitress brings out a tray with our glasses and two shakers. I wasn't watching very closely, but she somehow managed to knock over both shakers, creating a big mess of ice and expensive vodka. She put the glasses down in front of us and said, "Well, here are your drinks". Nicole and I think this is hysterical.

Drinks, Take 2:

Waitress brings us new (frosty glasses). Pours Nicole's (sugared rim, with a lemon), pours mine...then says, I got these backwards. Nicole and I think this is hysterical.

Drinks, Take 3:

Waitress comes back with new glasses and shakers. The shakers are now labeled (with a lemon on top of one, and an olive on top of the other). "We're pulling for you", I say. Waitress pours drinks correctly, and thanks us..."because most people would be yelling by now".

Yelling? We felt kind of guilty, because she was the one going back to the bartender and explaining what happened. The bar takes an hour and twenty minutes to make one revolution...what could be the harm in waiting a few extra minutes for drinks?

Anyway, she only charged us for the lemon drop. I may never know how much a Grey Goose martini is supposed to cost.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Oh the intransigence!

(or: How you get to be vice-president of a large corporation)

So I'm working on this project for my supervisor; I send him a little note, which ends up getting forwarded to not one, but two vice-presidents. I know what your thinking: "Michael, if that email was half as eloquent as this blog, you have nothing to worry about". And you're probably right...though one of the VPs uses very big words in his email (like the aforementioned intransigence--yes, I did have to look that one up).

At first I thought I would also learn so big words that others would have to look up...but then I decided it would be easier to create some of my own. And it looks like Snakes on a Bike (previously Snakewoman) gets my first entry with: "Rainbow". Hopefully, the context will make people realize I'm not talking about the splitting of white sunlight into it component colors by raindrops.

Entry for today:

paluka
1. (n) The act of aggravating somebody (usually unintentionally) through a careless act.
2. (v) To aggravate somebody (usually unintentionally) through a careless act.

Please post any suggestions for new words in the appropriate comment field. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

You know there is not much going on in the world when I start off a post with my brand new pair of shoes!!!!

How was I able to afford such a fancy pair of shoes, you ask. Turns out I am not going to be layed off. Instead, we're looking to hire 25 more pharmacists. Pharmacists in (or interested in being) in the Orange County, California area: Would you too like to be able to afford a new pair of shoes of your own? Are you interested in the easiest job in pharmacy? Well send me a resume, and maybe I'll buy you a pair of shoes with the referal bonus. Disclaimer: your coworkers may be moderately irritating.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2 Days in the Valley.

I guess I was downtown for part of the 2 days, but that does not sound as good. In fact, nobody would name a movie: "Part of 2 days in Downtown".

So I was in this wedding yesterday. Nothing better than getting to wear a tuxedo...it's like a bunch of tailors sat around and thought up the most uncomfortable set of garments they could possibly invent. I wish I were a waiter, so that I could wear tuxedos every day. I would have them made out of tweed, so that they would be extra itchy. Anyway, congratulations to my very good friends Dalia and Dan...it's about time.

So living here in the Bubble, we're about an hour away from Los Angeles (unless there's traffic..I hate LA). But I cannot tell you the last time I actually made that drive. Since we had this wedding to go to, we decided to do some touristy stuff: Here's Nico at the La Brea Tar Pits (if you're not a Spanish speaker, that translates to "the Tar Tar Pits").



They've been digging in pit 91 for 40 years, but have only made it 12 feet. They were uncovering a sabertooth skeleton while we watched.



Here's a sign that hung over the pit. Good stuff (Like: "We do not find dinosaurs at Rancho La Brea").



More touristy stuff: The historical Farmers' Market. We had freshly made ice cream, which was just mediocre...and of all things, here's a pharmacy (does anybody else think this looks like a Mexican pharmacy?)



That's about it on our trip to LA...oh, except we stayed at the Bonaventure. Those elevators freak me out.

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In work related news:

Things you can say to a co-worker on her birthday: "You don't look a day over 50."

Things you cannot say to a co-worker on her birthday: "I'd like to wish you at least 8 more happy birthdays."

Well I guess you can say it...but nobody else will think it's funny.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Usual complaints in the mail: Today's post lacked humor.

I guess I'll take that as compliment; I really didn't realize that the rest of the posts were funny...

Anyway: New Balance Mileage for the week so far: 16

For a photo essay on yesterday's run (9 miles), please click here and here.
I had an article I wanted to link to, but it's from the Pink Sheet Daily, and I doubt any of you have subscriptions. I would mirror it, or cut and paste the article, but the Pink Sheet's security is so advanced, that I cannot hack it. So, I'll type out a few excerpts for this post, which I have titled:

"Uptight America"

...The agency [FDA] sought to determine how Barr would ensure sales would be restricted to "only those pharmacies agreeing to...keep the OTC version of the drug behind the pharmacy counter and...dispense the drug only upon the production of a valid photo identification card establishing the age of the consumer," Acting Commissioner Andrew von Eschenback noted in the July 31 letter requesting the meeting.

Barr's proposed Convenient Access, Responsible Education (CARE) enforcement and education plan that would accompany OTC sale of the drug also would not allow stores without pharmacies, such as convenience stores or gas stations, to carry the OTC version of Plan B, FDA's letter indicates...

...The acting commissioner's letter requested information about Barr's "plan to routinely monitor these pharmacies to make sure they comply with the restricted distribution plan," and how the firm plans on enforcing the restrictions in any non-compliant pharmacies...

...Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) expressed concerns that FDA would be holding Barr "to an unusual standard...to police and enforce age restrictions on the sale of Plan B" during an Aug. 1 Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee hearing on von Eschenbach's nomination...


Please don't misunderstand me, I am all for this mythical "third class of drugs" that would be available without a prescription from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist (only). (Actually, I suppose this third class of drugs already exists...it's just kind of empty right now). But seriously, how many meetings are the FDA and congress going to be having about how to prevent minors from buying this drug? Why don't we let 7-11 sell the stuff? They already know how to card for cigarettes.

I guess I should have a Plan B link somewhere, in case anybody wants to read about Plan B. Interesting bit of (pre) Plan B trivia: the FDA was requesting that drug companies market a morning after pill (the technology has been around for 50 years, the morning after pill is just a high dose oral contraceptive) in the mid to late 90s (those crazy, freewheeling Clinton years), but nobody in the pharmaceutical industry wanted to touch the product for fear of alienating Middle America. A new company (Gynetics) was created, and quickly received FDA approval to sell Preven (4 high dose birth control pills and a pregnancy test, if memory serves). Gynetics and Preven are both gone...we'll see how this Plan B thing works out.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just when I thought I had nothing to write about, somebody asks me what Nicole is doing today. The usual response goes something like: "It's Wednesday...She's either having an affair, or it's Rainbow night." I suppose the two are not mutually exclusive...but I digress. My response, of course, encourages the next question, "What's rainbow."

Unfortunately, I am not entirely sure. Whenever I ask, I am told something about "service"...like: "We're a service organization", or "We do service". Checking out the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls webiste, I see that service is indeed important to them; at least the font is bigger than public speaking, poise, leadership, or fun.

Here's a picture stolen from Tricia's website. I'm pretty sure Nicole has that exact dress, so maybe she's in there somewhere.



Here's a copy of my (email) conversation with the Snakewoman...this is usually about how the Rainbow conversation goes.

Me: So they wear these dresses, and walk around in circles…nicole plays the piano. When somebody gets some memorized speech wrong, Nicole pounds on a couple of keys loudly…it’s what’s the word, I’m looking for? Not quite surreal…unreal?

Snakewoman: Tea up the nose. Too funny! How long has she been a Rainbow Girl? What caused her to join this…club? This is just very strange to me. Fascinating really.

Me: I think her grandmother was a rainbow girl…Nicole was the grand musician for the state of California when she was in high school. I believe most rainbow girls grow out of it after high school (when they become too old to be rainbow girls). Now she’s a past grand musician for the state of California…for some reason, that’s “grandy” for short. As in, “I got my grandy to play at my reception”. Instead, I call her the grand wizard…or sometimes, the grand poobah. But usually, the grand wizard.

Snakewoman: Isn’t the Grand Wizard the big guy in the KKK? I’m sure she appreciates that. Does she have any retirement plans?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So this very morning I was debating with a co-worker about the importance of correctly pronouncing words in the English language. (I believe the argument started yesterday after she mispronounced cache). Actually, I should clarify, since I'm on the phone most of the day, conversations with coworkers tend to be entirely in email. So, here is a direct email quote (I only added the quotation marks/italics): "Doesn’t the populace make the words? I mean, the dictionary can say one thing, but if 74% of people say it the other way, I would say the dictionary is wrong. Words are tools, not rules." This statement angered me a little, probably because I am one of the few people in this country that knows how to correctly pronounce the words forte and mauve...now I can't say that I have ever had the occasion to use "mauve" in a sentence, but I usually mispronounce "forte" just so people won't wonder what the hell I'm talking about.

However, after a quick trip over to stokefire this afternoon, I realized I was on completely the wrong side of this issue. I don't know what craigslist is like over there, but here it's mostly a place to find casual encounters and cheap cleaning ladies...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Random thoughts on a Monday morning:

1) Snakes on a Plane. Anybody know what this movie is about?

2) Watched Eraserhead for the first time over the weekend. Weird even for a David Lynch movie? Definitely weird...

3) Dinner at the only Swiss restaurant in the OC on Friday. How Swiss was it? Our waiter had a French accent..but they did have Dole on the wine list. We did not risk it.

4) Total New Balance miles for last week: 14

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Happy Tin Anniversary, Ms. Lasko. Your six pack of beer will be waiting for you at home.

In other news: Members of Parliament are reading my blog (or so says the gostats counter):
in.parliament.uk
194.60.38.10

Friday, August 11, 2006

Marathon training begins. The plans are currently calling for Long Beach and/or the Outer Banks. Thought maybe I would raise some money for a charitable organization this time around. Anybody have any good suggestions?

Some of you may remember my previous marathoning exploits: Marathon #1 and Marathon #2. (Quick aside, Nicole with sock puppets is right above the Marathon #2 entry).

I swore not to run another marathon until I could qualify for Boston. 3 hours, 10 minutes is never, never going to happen. So maybe I'll shoot for 3 and a half hours. That's a nice, lofty goal.

Anyway, I have not been running for over a month (what with the bicycling, and the vacationing, and the bicycle vacationing). So last night I thought I would start it up again by running to the post office (7 miles, round trip) and back with the Big Boss Man. Not only am I out of running shape...actually I guess that's it, I'm out of running shape. On the way back from the post office, with mail in one hand, and a Power Gel in the other, I tripped over my shoe laces. Normally, I suppose I would have put my hands down to break the fall; however, as my hands were full, I did this neat tuck and roll (and roll, and roll) move . I was hoping to have some disgusting photos of my knees or elbows, but I seem to have escaped unscathed.

Is there a moral to this story?
How about:
1) Practice running before you go running.
2) Make sure your shoelaces are tied.
3) Run on the sand, it's softer.

And id Nico can do it:
Odometer (8/9/06): 7 miles

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm kind of sad. The Fun Zone (looks like that link is already dead. If you want, you can read about the area right here.) is pretty run down and all, but it's a real genuine piece of Americana that they're removing.

An artists rendition of the finished construction (at least the ferris wheel stays):



NEWPORT BEACH - With a "salute to the past and a nod to the future," officials at the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum have settled on designs for their new home at the Balboa Fun Zone, a remodel they say offers a classic feel while helping revitalize the peninsula.

...The museum bought the Fun Zone last year for $14 million, and remodeling will cost $6 million more.


Hey you Nautical Musuem bastards...why do you need a $5 donation from me to enter your "freemuseumm" if you have 20 million dollars squirreled away?

P.S. In the middle of reading The Fountainhead, and this "salute to the past, nod to the future crap" is indeed irritating.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sadly, many of the Too Much Joy links I needed to write this entry have disappeared from the world wide web. So we will make do...and you will just have to believe me about most of it.

Seven or 8 years ago, when I first decided to spring the 9 dollars for a domain name, I had my heart set on drugsaremylife.com; however drugsaremylife.com was already taken (glad to see somebody is still doing something useful with the domain). So I registered the next best thing, borrowed from the title of a little known Too Much Joy song, Take A Lot Of Drugs. Aside from all the revenue I am not making by selling Drugs Are My Life T-Shirts (check your local pharmacy school if you want one), I like takealotofdrugs.com better (anybody want a T-shirt?).

So anyway, there's this really cool story that goes along with the song, and I used to have some real newspaper clippings somewhere. Now all I can find is this reproduction. The brief version of the story goes something like this: A Too Much Joy fan/congressional aide (the band was big in D.C.) played Theme Song at a GOP party the night the republicans took back the house. Something about the song touched Newt Gingrich, and everybody was breaking champagne glasses to the lyric "Smash a glass and cry, Too Much Joy...to create you must destroy..." Unable to convince the members of Too Much Joy that this story was true, the fan had Newt sign a letter thanking the band for their inspirational song, etc. What would a band that had once traveled to Florida to play a set of 2 Live Crew (no way I can check that link at work) songs, for the purpose of getting arrested, do with such a letter? Call the newspapers and local news, and tell them that Newt Gingrich likes a band that is encouraging your kids to "take a lot of drugs, drink a lot of beer, and have a lot of sex..." Newt denied the story, but lead singer Tim Quirk still has his copy of the letter.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Email I received from a co-worker today...Actually, most of the pharmacists in the building received the email:

Subject: BOYCOTT STARBUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No more STARBUCKS!
Next time you feel like getting your latte, know that its contributing to the killings of many innocent civilians....BOYCOTT STARBUCKS UNTIL ISRAEL STOPS CARPET BOMBING LEBANON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Israel may say they are only hitting the muslim areas but their recent attack was to a strictly Christian Beach Resort. They are basically demolishing a beautiful city and killing thousands....Stand against violence....the world we live in has becoming appalling...

Lebanese Lobby ::: Lebanon


So where to begin?

If you were reading diligently, you would have noticed that the first link (from the lebanese lobby link) admits that the letter is a "parody", but that all the views expressed are true.

Starbucks hoaxes are, of course, nothing new. Here's one about how the company does not support the war in Iraq. And an interesting one about Starbucks closing all its stores in Israel. Don't get me wrong, as part owner of Diedrich Coffee, I am not opposed to a Starbucks boycott...still, I could do without the anti-Israel crap sent to my work address. I get enough of that from CNN.

What is with all this talk of Zionism?

I used to share an office with a Palestinian guy. Commenting on a water bottle that one our colleagues was drinking out of (it said something like: "Women's Zionism Day"), he said, "I knew she was Jewish, but I had no idea she was a Zionist". Hey, it was 2001, and I'm all for a state of Israel, so I replied, "Dude, we all are". I did not understand then, and I do not understand now what the term means to the Muslim world. Does "Unionist" still carry a negative connotation in the South?

I was planning on a light and lively post about the origin of my site's name. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

This computer thing is going to be big...Com-pu-ter. That was my prediction 3 or 4 years ago. So, I went out and bought one.

Prediction for today: This blog thing is going to be big. Even the Snakewoman has one.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

He saves lives, he diffuses bombs, he fill prescriptions...

I was looking forward to writing a blurb about the Florida pharmacist who rescued a woman from certain death this morning. CNN interviewed him this morning, and the story went something like this:

1) Woman comes in with what she says is a bomb strapped to her body; her face is cut, and she claims a man with a knife outside is going to blow her up if she does not return with Lortab in 2 minutes.

2) The brave pharmacist instead calls 9-1-1, and stays with the woman until police arrive. A robot then cuts the bomb from the woman, and our hero pharmacist has saved the day.

As it turns out, the woman later confessed that there was no man with a knife, and she had taped a portable propane tank/pieces of a video game console to her body because she could not afford to pay for the Lortab.

Alas, still no positive pharmacist press. Just another day for the dope police. Meanwhile, do not be afraid of this woman:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Black Pill???

So this woman calls me to say that we're trying to kill her. Evidently her cimetidine (previously a white tablet) was now black. Actually, said I, that pill is green.

She went on to tell me that when she was young, if you were in the hospital and they gave you a black pill, it was poison. I have never heard this expression before, and my quick internet search only turned up a few vague references:

Italian immigrants to the United States brought with them the tale of the "Black Pill". According to this legend which was believed by many of them, at the end of their lives, if requested, a doctor could give them a black pill which would end their suffering. This legend would seem to be a direct reference to the Belladonna berry which is an integral part of their ethnic history.

My quick memory search tells me that there are no black pills (at least available by prescription). Legions of pharmacists reading my blog: Have any of you ever seen a black pill?
Because we're so good at handling our liquor?



CNN interpreted Mel Gibson's apology as a request to the Jewish community to help him overcome his alcohol addiction.

I'm not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.

Mr. Gibson: You could try drinking less...and maybe keeping your mouth shut when you do choose to imbibe. Also, whatever you, do not insult the masons.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

People like crap.

That is the only explanation I can come up with to account for the incredible popularity of chain restaurants. Sure, In-N-Out makes a pretty good cheese burger (as spoken by a struggling vegetarian), though I do remember them being even better when you had to drive a little to find one. Also, the farther you get from SoCal, the worse they are. But In-N-Out is not even a good example. Take Chevy's. Has anybody ever said: "Mmmn, I love Chevy's. Nobody makes better Tex-Mex". (Disclaimer: I have never actually been to Chevy's, so maybe they do make the best Tex-Mex).

I bring all this up because last night the missus, the missus's sister, the missus's sister's roomate, and I went to Romano's Macaroni Grill. The food was a little better than mediocre, and the service was horrible (waiting 45 minutes for the check horrible...it felt like France). Many years ago, Nico and I ate at the original restaurant (in Columbus, OH, if memory serves). That place was quite good...and dare I say, original. It would have almost given me a reason to go back to Columbus...if I were ever in the near vicinity. But in Huntington Beach, it's just another restaurant serving large glasses of cheap wine.
Stokefire.com has earned an official takealotofdrugs.com hyperlink. Please loyal readers, try not overrun the stokefire servers.

Right on topic for this historic occasion: A mirror of the startup page at work this morning. Tate, perhaps you can explain why my company is inflicting this sort of thing upon us. Here's an excerpt from the "branding guide":

Through extensive research, we learned that customers want to do business with a company that has knowledge, that uses its knowledge and experience in innovative ways, and that has a commitment to achieving improved clinical and financial outcomes for its customers. This insight underscores the appropriateness of our brand
position. We measure outcomes and deliver results.


FYI the start page is usually used for really important stuff (like my 15 minutes of fame).