Cold Ground
email Derryl (replace AT with @)

Places to Go:
Derryl's Fotolog
Fictionwise (reprints of some of Derryl's fiction)
Alyx Dellamonica
Boing Boing
Charlie Stross
Jena Snyder
Making Light
Randy Reichardt

~ Wednesday, November 27, 2002
More soccer. We lost, dammit, 2-0. The goalie for the other team had just played in the floor hockey final before, and it was like he was in The Matrix; the ball must have been like a beach ball to his eyes after playing with the small ball. He was unconscious, robbed me blind once when he was on his back. And neither goal could be put on our keeper, so all in all, it was a very good game that just happened to have the wrong result.
Three pages to go on the paper and just over 24 hours to do it. Of course, I also have to make sure that citations ad bibliography are properly done, and tonight is the soccer final, but I'm feeling pretty good about it.

In the meantime, another appalling example of the problems at the hospital here in town. Frankly, considering this is a city of roughly 80,000, with a vast rural area to serve as well, this is inexcusable. But the problem is, I'm thinking, our proximity to Vancouver means that no one in his or her right mind wants to trundle up to the smelly wilds of Prince George for the Christmas holidays. Instead, they all stay down in LotusLand and ignore the fact that there is potential for suffering and even death up here.

If Aidan had been born in these conditions it's pretty likely that both he and Jo would have died, seeing how it was an emergency C-section. So, "because the difference is only $375, there is little incentive to travel to Prince George from places such as Vancouver." In other words, the fact that the doctor might be able to save a life, or at the least, make it so the mother gets to have her baby at her home hospital, where she more likely has family to support her, this is not enough incentive, even when coupled with an extra $375/day.

So what's the answer? First of all, how about clamping down on vacation plans? In retail, you don't take your holidays over Christmas. While I wouldn't suggest such a radical action for specialists, it seems to me that if one goes, another stays. This is monumentally bad planning. Second, calculate how many patients are expected to be transferred because of this boondoggle (they keep track of how many go each year, and can easily extrapolate a safe number from that), and then figure out how much it is going to cost for transportation; air, ambulance, salaries for pilots or drivers and medical staff meant to accompany the patient, possibility of hotel rooms, that sort of thing. Then, take that amount of money and sink it into a temporary fund to up the locum rate for the month of December only. But make sure you do your damndest to guilt the doctors into realizing just what it is they are coming to the north for: money, not to help patients.

As an aside, last night on the news I heard that the health department in the territory of Nunavut spends a mind-blowing thirty million dollars a year on airplane fuel alone. And yet many of these communities are covered only by nursing stations. I wonder how many flights are true emergencies, and how many need either a doctor or, as they allow in Utah but not up here (and this is fodder for a future rant), Nurse Practicioners?
~ Monday, November 25, 2002
"The proposal calls for building a $125 million pumping station and pipeline within the national park. It would require drilling 1,200-foot shafts through the canyon rim." This would of course be Grand Canyon that they're talking about, which tells me that some bozos never learn.

I dealt with the potential response to this sort of idiocy in my story "The Abbey Engine" (yes, it's in that issue, even if he doesn't have me listed there), which involved the catastrophic monkeywrenching of the Glen Canyon Dam. In it, my characters mention a true-life story in which it was proposed that the government dam the Colorado River to fill up the Grand Canyon. It as suggested that this would make it easier for tourists to float their boats on over to the edges to see the geology and the pictographs. Luckily, David Brower and the Sierra Club, which he headed at the time, ran some ads in the big papers, suggesting that maybe we could also flood the Sistine Chapel so that tourists could get closer to the painting on the ceiling.

Let's hope someone has the cojones and the guns to slam this one down, Shrub or no Shrub. 'Cause you know this is being sounded out only because of the new anti-environment environment down there.
Soccer Update:

Indoor soccer intramurals at the university, where I'm 13-20 years older than everyone else, tonight we played the semifinal. Win and we play Wednesday in the final, lose and that's it.

We started the game with a temporary addition to the team (as did our opponents), but he left early. Our normal two subs didn't show, so we had no chances after the first ten minutes to get a rest, other than at the half. Not easy on this old body of mine. Before the end of the half, we took the lead when Finn drifted a nice pass to Kurt, who popped it in from up close. The score then remained 1-0 until halfway through the second half, when the other team (who, incidentally, manhandled us in the regular season) scored.

It remained that way until Finn blasted a shot at the goalie that slipped through his fingers and right to my waiting boot, and BAM!, into the back of the net. Then the ref announced that there was just over a minute left. We held them off, and now play the final. Nice to score the winning goal.
More happenings on the health care front. But first, let me link you to this excellent piece by Eric Tam, so that I don't have to take the time to tell you what an idiot David Frum is (and shall always be).

Our doctor is leaving. When we were in Logan, our family doctor there left to start up in Saipan, of all places. But when he left, we were handed off to another doctor who was glad to take us on. That won't happen here. We're back to searching out help in the rather poor clinic and emergency room.

But, to give props where they are due, yesterday a girl (8-years-old, I think) who catches the school bus with Aidan ended up in the hospital, after a stop at the clinic, and by last night was in the OR, where they dealt with her appendicitis attack. Well done, diligent and speedy care, something I'm glad to hear can still happen.
~ Sunday, November 24, 2002
New Photoshop Phriday: Normal Books for Sci-Fi Audiences. Very funny stuff.
One paper down, one to go. This one was a comparison of the sublime in Shelley's "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" and Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey", a short essay, only supposed to come in around 1500 words.

There will be some more thoughts posted on the upcoming one, but in the meantime, Guy Gavriel Kay contacted me and told me about a speech he had made on the subject (although he wanders into some different territory than I plan); it can be found here.

In the meantime, I'd be appreciative if any readers somewhere in the Lower Mainland, or any who have better internet search skills that moi, would check and see if they can find any information on an entity called "Urum Life Insurance", which will have what is likely a fax number of 604-689-4586. The explanation for this goes to Saturday at 4:05am, whe the damn phone rang, and I had neglected to bring the cordless with the caller ID to the bedroom. So of course I staggered out and answered the damn thing, only to be greeted by the beeps of what was likely a fax machine, set on auto-dial, searching for a brotherly signal in return.

And then Brennan woke up, itching from his chicken pox and complaining of ants in his pants (although he since denies this and insists it was ants in his bed, and that they were eating him), so I had to spend time getting him back to sleep. And then, of course, I didn't have an easy time of getting back to sleep myself.

So you can imagine that I would love to have some contact information so that I can phone and ream someone - anyone - out. Feel free to pass the word about this, if you care to. First person to get me the right info will be entitled to a signed copy of the new anthology Land/Space, coming soon and including my story "Blue Train".
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