Surely, I am Going to Hell

From BBC News:

"US skier to meet S Korean father:
Toby Dawson's story has made headlines in South Korea

A US skier whose Olympic medal brought to light his biological father is in South Korea for their first reunion.

28-year-old Toby Dawson admitted he felt a mixture of emotions as he prepared to meet Kim Jae-su, a bus driver from the port city of Busan.

Mr Kim said he lost his son while visiting a street market in 1981.

Mr Dawson's 2006 bronze medal, and the story of his adoption by a US couple, prompted dozens of South Koreans to claim they were his real parents.

Kim Jae-su, 53, said he had made the connection after friends and relatives called him, saying the skier looked just like him."

What, Asian?

...Like I said, surely headed for Hell.


What do Wineries, Hospitals, and the Discovery of Gold Have in Common?


It's that time of year again, when I pull out my creativity hat and try to earn money from Mom's work. The scholarship is pretty unimaginative, but for a hospital whose main concern should probably be its patients, I don't mind going the extra mile to add some spice to my application.

Luckily, the Indian spices were cheap this year...Bad metaphors aside, Sutter's Santa Rosa hospital announced earlier this year that it plans to close at the end of 2007 amidst claims that it had no intention of performing necessary seismic retrofitting on its main campus due to rising construction and patient care costs. Their outpatient facilities like their women's clinic, pyschiatric and family care facilities will remain, but inpatient and emergency care (including their well-renowned, high profile new heart trauma center) are shutting down.

So, basically, an average of 130 daily patients and 1,200 employees will be out of work pretty soon. Of the two other major hospitals-- Kaiser and Memorial-- only Memorial is willing to take on the under- and uninsured patient load (besides, Kaiser specializes in non-urgent outpatient care), leaving Sonoma County with one major community hospital. Memorial is a fine hospital, but one emergency/trauma resource in a moderately large city and even larger county, regardless of increases in beds or staff, is bound to leave the city helpless if something should ever happen to that hospital, or at the very least increase traffic jams in concentrated areas on what are already overcrowded, ill-maintained roads.

And what does Sutter get out of it? They're a not-for-profit corporation which boasts that it reinvests profits into patient care and that they offer "costly and generally unprofitable, such as medical research, trauma care and immunization programs for children of poor families." Their mission statement, verbatim is: " It's our mission to offer these much needed services, regardless of how we're reimbursed."

And yet, the hospital is closing because the costs to keep the hospital running, to keep it able to provide these "much needed services" exceed the costs of other regions in Northern California that it serves. Maybe I've missed the whole story, maybe there are benefits to the job and resource loss that Sutter has yet to disclose-- but given that the Press Democrat (of all sources) was the one to leak the news about its closure, Sutter should probably come up with something better than "we can neither confirm nor deny allegations of our intentions and motivations for closing this hospital."

It's not as huge of a company as the national hospital chains (like Kaiser) so I think it's easier to hold the whole group accountable for its actions-- especially if it's going to claim that it serves the underserved where for-profit hospitals won't go.

My mom's experience with all these changes has been moderately frustrating, to say the least. After the PD released the breaking news that Sutter planned to close, a lot of employees went to work kind of annoyed that day. Sutter execs scrambled to put together a memo that basically said "we meant to tell you sooner, but nothing's really been finalized yet," and after a week or two of some weird standoff between employees and execs, Sutter offered incentives for employees to remain with Sutter until the end of 2007 instead of jumping ship. Big whoop.

Long story short, Sutter isn't really explaining itself well for its actions, and people are starting to get suspicious for how they're dealing with the newsbreaks. And if my Mom wants to keep her pension (and retire before 70), she might have to move or commute an hour or two away.

But my financial aid package will increase my family contribution because the "incentive" to stay with Sutter is a raise...


I Could be Asleep

But that means I would have done my homework.


Quote time!

Here are some choice favorites from this weekend's bout of reminiscence to days apparently long, long gone (some are funnier than others):

Resolved: The actions of corporations ought to be held to the same moral standards as the actions of individuals.

--"If you negate, you're supporting environmental terrorism, including melting the Antarctic glaciers, increasing cancer among Guatemalans, and supporting sweatshops in Cambodia."

--"The judge is, like, a woman [me] and I'm, like, a man. We're different, but equal. The same is true of corporations and their standards: moral standards are different from legal standards, but pretty much equal since they're both standards."

--"I could outspeak you ten laps even if you had a head start; your spreading doesn't intimidate me."

--"Extend all three arguments [timer beeps] and I win."

--"Moral standards, def: Evolutionary adaptations of prescriptively 'good' behavior that ensures survival."

And my personal favorite, "If the judge has any morality, she'll choose the affirmative."

As it happens, I did, but it was because he was cute (among other things, like, you know, a case).

The whole weekend was kind of disillusioning, because I discovered that either I am, in fact, an old lady, or policy debate is, in fact, as evil as I thought it was. It's probably the former, but I think there's something pretty tangible in the latter, too.


Sunday Morning, or Still Too Nice

I decided to skip out on the first round this morning because I was useless yesterday morning anyway. Of course, that's what all the other judges thought, too. But whatever.

That didn't change the fact that a dull but constant banging woke me up at 7:15... the knock on the downstairs door by one debater trying to wake up the other debater who had grabbed a free bed in my neighbors' apartment (but whose alarm had surely not gone off). Since everyone in that apartment sleeps harder than the cryogenically frozen, and since the spare key they usually leave with us was not to be found (neither was my phone), I had to wake up Kyle to use his phone to call someone in the apartment to open the door to shake the kid out of bed.

I went back to bed thinking the second round started at 10, and hit snooze at 9:30. And now, here I am, having missed the ballot pickup, waiting for the third round of the morning to start, but too tired to get up and go get breakfast (they've run out of donuts here, and the only coffee left is decaf).

There are two things I value more highly than just about anything else-- food and sleep. In absence of either (or both) I am liable to be grumpy or catatonic: the perfect antidote for Objective Judging, a common side effect of College Education and Native English Speaker.

Oh, what a beautiful morning.


Saturday Mornings, or I am Too Nice

Normally, consciousness at almost-9 on a Saturday is ungodly. In this case, it's my third hour of what must be insanity or masochism. I prefer the latter.

Why, you ask? Because I couldn't get enough of Saturday morning debate tournaments in high school-- getting up at 5:30, meeting at school at 6:30, and coming home at midnight-- that I wanted to judge them for slave wages and junk food! So here I am.

I am currently housing two debaters from my old school, and in exchange for the pleasure of experiencing free coffee and King Pin's new trans-fat-free donuts in Dwinelle while I twiddle my thumbs waiting for a ballot, I get to remember why it is that I don't schedule classes before 10.

On the other side of the fourth wall, however, I've found that it's more difficult to meet people. Whereas as a debater I debated one or more persons and could actually interact with them before, during, and after a round, as a judge I'm usually by myself or with parents who speak little to no English (but who nod vigorously often). The cute ones usually take themselves too seriously.

I like judging much better than debating, mostly because I can observe things in other people that I could rarely observe in myself, but it annoys me how judges are treated like toddlers because those running the tournament and those participating in it cater to the lowest common denominator: toddlers.

Anyway, I posted because 1) I didn't post yesterday and Kyle got bored, and 2) I went to the judges' room at 7:30 as agreed and wasn't even called for the first round. This was a moment I had wished Berkeley were more like Harvard, who I hear posts both debate pairings and judge assignments the night before so that people like me don't sit around eating all the donuts and scribbling on the desks.



Do I sound too much like a 'blogger'-type already? What is that? Maybe I'm just trying to find a way to avoid homework. I do have a rather extraordinary quantity.

I'm here to entertain; my diary flows better on Friendster, livejournal, myspace, Facebook, and Xanga. Don't worry, I only have two and a half such accounts, purely for research purposes.

At this point my audience is basically my roommates anyway. And maybe my mom, but I'm hoping she either doesn't know or keeps quiet.


My roommates decided that I spend too much time perfecting complaints against companies that do me wrong, and I couldn't agree more. Further, they suggested I focus my time on writing that other people could actually appreciate, rather than just being bitterly impressed (or so I can only assume).

So here we go. A blog. A footprint on the magnanimous Internet; something to Google me by when I'm dead, or in prison, or President or something.