Remember Ruxpin?

Question: Can you buy a Teddy Ruxpin talking stuffed animal cheaply on Ebay?
Answer: Hell Yeah!
Question: Can you then put your own cassettes in him to make him say ridiculous things?
Answer: Um. Sorta.
Unfortunately this idea will probably never be realized. Apparently, Teddy uses unique coded tapes. It sounds like someone could make the tapes with a four-track cassette recorder, some sharp objects, and a little ingenuity, but alas, it would be more complicated than I have time for. If anyone is up for the challenge, be sure to care for your bear.

2L v. 1L

Given the choice between the stress of last year (first year of law school) and this year, I’d have to say last year was actually easier. This is horrible news for a first year law student, but I’m done with that. I’ve almost finished my development and analysis memo for my note for the Journal of Science and Technology Law, but everything else I’m supposed to have done this weekend is still in my bag from Friday.
I think the doctor was right. I’m feeling much better.

Why Can’t Technology Better Health Care?

For some reason, my throat has been on fire over the last few days. No matter how much water I drank, I was unable to ease the pain. I did, however, achieve a state of clear piss.
Today was my first visit to Boston University Student Health Services. (I think the guy in the upper right corner is the doctor that actually saw me.) Basically, I was told many times that I probably don’t have strep-throat, which is good. What do I have? “Um, well, just a sore throat.” Got some cough-drops for the road. Hey – free cough-drops!
“Okay, what’s the point of this post, shouldn’t Andrew go into a little rant about something?…” Indeed I do have a rant.

During the whole walk over to this place I was thinking, “for once I can go to the doctor and I won’t have to fill out too many forms, because BU made me jump through all sorts of hoops (physical, vaccinations, ‘cough for me please’, etc) back in Seattle. See, I move a lot. And each time I have to start over with filling out the forms, “Have you had any of the following medical conditions: cancer, allergies, mental problems, general pain, frustration with life, an unhealthy desire to update webpages?…” It’s really depressing to read through those lists. I hope no one has to check more than a few of those boxes. And each time I move I also end up having to get extra shots that I know I already had, “just to be safe,” because I manage to lose, or can’t read, my shot record.
But not this time. This time I just walk in there and they’re going to have it. Because I’m all checked out and I sent those “mandatory” forms in last year, before the “deadline”. You can guess what happened: “We don’t seem to have your forms. You’ll have to fill this out…”
Now, don’t we have the technology to put information into computers? Why don’t we just have a medical database where clinics and hospitals can look up our file? Why duplicate the work over and over again? “That would be scary! What if that information fell into the wrong hands?!” Look, all my money exists in a computer and that doesn’t bother me. Most of my intellectual and creative output exists in a computer too. All of this is in danger of “falling into the wrong hands” or (more likely) being accidentally screwed up by technical problems. Does that stop me from using my computer? Does it stop me from converting my greenbacks into binary? Heeeellll no. So why can’t medical information be stored in a database too? And frankly, I don’t care who’s hands my medical information falls into. Oh my god – now the whole world will know that I had a sore throat!

Autumnal Equinox

Today is the official beginning of my favorite season: Autumn. Also known as Fall for some reason. They’re both nice. This picture was taken from this evening. Notice that the light-lines at almost a perfect right-angle. I missed the actual equinox this morning, but I think the whole day counts.

The Bog Roll Alternative

I was intrigued by part of an adbusters piece that mentioned something called “the pooh-rag system” (number 20 in the article). The idea is that toilet paper is harmful to the environment and that, for much the same reasons one should bring his own bag to the grocery store, one should use cloth toilet paper. To do so requires some sort of system to deal with the fact that, well, that’s nasty sh*t.
“There is something called the pooh-rag system, in which you tear rags into small sheets to use in lieu of toilet paper. You place the used rags in a large jug of vinegar. When the jug is full, you take it to the laundromat and put the contents through a low-water wash cycle so the rags can be used again.”
I’m not for or against this system, but I really don’t like the part about taking those rags down to the laundry mat. Special thanks to my landlord for installing a brand new washer in our basement (no more public laundry for me thanks).
Now – can’t we have some sort of compromise where we don’t need to wash out these rags-o-nastage? Of course there is an answer. Even when on the road.

SF, Boston, and Los Vegas – But No Dinner

I’ve been back for a few days, but I never got a chance to report on my trip to San Francisco. It was short, and I probably spent more time traveling than I spent at the actual destination (well, it seems like that anyway).
I flew on America West Airlines. At first I was reluctant about this fact. I’ve been on some other no-so-major airlines and had some bad experiences. America West turned out to be okay though. They gave out the full can of soda and they even had Dr. Pepper. The only drawback is that I had to stop in Phoenix and Las Vegas, but both were very interesting cities. On the way back, I ended up on a 4pm to 1am flight with NO MEAL. What’s up? So I can’t say it’s a great airline, just not a bad one.
Phoenix is a city known for it’s sprawl, and sprawl it does. It looked to me like there were nothing but single-family houses, right up to the downtown area – which appeared to be more like a downtown street, a long row of office buildings. The rest of the city just went out forever in blocks. Not many trees. Not much grass.
Las Vegas was a little different. The houses were even more “cookie-cutter” and the streets had more artificial and intentional curves. For example, blocks with a little curvy part so that people can live on a curved street. The strip is ridiculous from the air. It looks like a big theme park. The craziest thing about stopping in Las Vegas though: there are slot machines in the airport. It took me awhile to stop smiling about that. I decided that I should gamble a little, since I’ve never “played” a slot machine before. I put in a buck, lost – another buck, lost – anoth… oh wait, I came to my senses.