NPR is wimping out on me. Called and talked to --- for a few minutes who directed me to Silverman. Talked to him for a minute, he told me to sing my medicine protest song into his voice mail and they'd contact me and yes, they wanted to talke to a full spectrum rural family practice doctor. I called back, got the voice mail, sang and read two poems (Quota and Nutcracker) and left for LA. Went to the American Girl's Store with the Introverted Thinker, delicious tilapia. Just like something out of Eloise, but with my child being much more mature than anyone else there, including me. A two year old cried out of pure excitement. Anyhow, NPR hasn't called me back. Will be two weeks on Friday. Chickens.

Saw one of my people in clinic yesterday who is a guitarist for a billion years (note to self, go find his album.) Told him I'd tried to get NPR to bite on my medical protest song and he said that protest songs were tricky. Said that have to make the audience think that they are doing the protesting, not that they are being beaten over the head. On the other hand, could pull it off as a Blues song. Want a band. Punk rockabilly blues, I think. I will do vocals and write ('bout 12 songs in pipeline awaiting music) and mebbe flute and someday some stringed thing but I currently am too out of practice on both guitar and violin. Need a songwriter and whatever instruments show up. Guitar, base, tuba, Tuvan stringed things, all welcome. I was writing an ad for the paper in my head about it yesterday. Poet/vocalist iso songwriter and intrumental/vocalists for punk rockabilly blues. Influences include The Band, Talking Heads, Bach, Sweet Honey in the Rock, the Offspring and the Tuvan throat singers. And Walt Kelly, Lewis Carroll and Dorthy Dunnett. Heh, heh, heh.

Billy Boop wrote a tune to Idaho Gigalo and sang it into my cell phone. He sings it slowly and I thought it was a lounge tune (quite appropriate) and left him a message saying hadn't quite thought of that but liked it. He left message back (damn new tower in town won't talk to my cell phone if I am at home or work or in half the town. Very annoying. T mobile needs to cough up Brand New Phone or I will be going elsewhere, those slimy scumdogs.) that, no, not lounge tune, is Rock Anthem. I cracked up. Yep, expect to be top o'charts, middle age single mom doctor, har har har.

Hope to get hands on the CD today. Demo. Me, father, sister. Initial offering. Since we were so time short, recorded one take of everything we could think of for two hours on Monday and Tues. Two takes of Long Black Veil since first go round we were sorta microphone self conscious. I've never sung into a microphone before ever. Oh, yes, once, badly at the end of residency, another medical protest song. I sucked. 9 years of chorus among voice teachers and opera singers and other white hairs 10-20 years my senior have rubbed off a bit. Though I still don't "cover" enough (and still can't quite articulate what in the hell "covering" is. First time Liz told me to cover more, my internal response was, hmmm, don't know vocabulary. Didn't tell her though. Just tried to blend.)Anyhow, since we just did one take of everything, it is a little rough, natch, but we improved in our starts and stops. Tunes have diverged slightly over the years. Also sister knew the children's version of "Mr. Noah" and I've been listening to the Dave Von Ronk version, so different but harmonizing tunes and the chorus on hers was doodly doo, doodly doodly doodly doodly doo, while on mine was allelieu. So we sang doodly doo sometimes and allelieu sometimes and the same thing sometimes and different things sometimes and nearly got the giggles. Fun.

They said, we're not going to sell it are we? I said, I'm not, but I'll give to Mr. Music and gosh, bet he will if we give him 30% for his foundation. Being as how he is on a Musical Mission from God, he could sell heaven to the angels. They concurred.

Gosh, quarter to 7. Time to go home, shower, get ready for work and come back to the laptop medical mines. Tired of working flat out fast as can for 20 min visits and still getting behind by end of am and pm. Only minor zebras yest. New person with rash, psych stuff and rash was not drug allergy but shingles. 40 min went over. Can't help it, I HATE not being thorough. Went to first Rotary meeting ever yesterday, knew 1/3 of people in room by face or name and enjoyed it. Joked to General Singular (father) that I'm now a "joiner". He grimaced. I was dressed in pale yellow 1940s suit that makes me feel like a living Easter Egg. Very entertaining.

Oop. 12 min to 7. Bye.

Got jumped at work. Was topic of the meeting with five people talking at me. No warning and They Expressed Concern that I was Behind On Charts.I pointed out that I had asked the administration multiple times for some days to catch up but they said no, if you aren't in clinic we're docking you leave. Regardless of call and meetings and all the other crap, it doesn't count. Then I had laryngitis, called in sick but was covering for the other group. They handed off a laboring woman and I was with her in the hospital for the entire day. I emailed asking if this was REALLY going to be counted as a day of leave. Our COO said yes. I emailed that if I hadn't cancelled clinic for being sick I not only wouldn't have seen my patients, because they would have been rescheduled because of the ob, but she would have had to pay me then. She actually said they'd pay me for that day before I left. One of the Jumper Jerks today said Had I Been That Behind On Charts Before and he Went On and I had to get back in his face to get him to back off and let me answer. I also had prefaced the meeting by saying I wanted 20 min of not meeting to actually eat lunch because I just can't during meeting right now because the pressure to see more people faster just hurts and enrages me. My job in Colorado took exactly this trajectory until I had a week where for 5 days in a row I had something really complicated going on and had to lifeflight 5 people in 5 days. Preterm preeclamptic, a kiddo with Guillan Barre (1 in 10,000 occurance), bleeding pregnant needing middle of the day c/s, don't remember 4th one and then another preterm preeclamptic who had to be flown out by fixed wing airplane and had a crash c/s and a 406 gram baby. We cancelled all or part of my clinic every day. Two days a week I was the only doctor in the clinic with 5 midlevels, covering obstetrics and admitting for all six of us. I said, can't I just be the admitting/obstetrics doctor those days? They said no. I said, seems stupid to run things so busy we have to cancel and reschedule people every day. So in today's meeting they Suggested I Cut Back. We Want You to Succeed. I said, um, yeah, I went to three and a half days a week from four as of this week. They Suggested Maybe You Can Only Handle Three. I fucking hate being ganged up on and I fucking hate hidden agendas. Be nice if someone would actually say, "what would help you?" instead of "We Have Decided How To Fix You." Also, when they Wanted Me To Succeed, my first thought was FUCK OFF and my second was that success for me has nothing to do with 18 or more patients a day, or money, though I need enough of it to take care of me and my kids. Mmy definition of success might intersect with the hospital's, but I'm bloody well not adopting theirs. It's fairly comic really that I've gotten three "What a good clinician you are." comments in the last month, one from the COO, but then they are fucking getting in my way. Kinda mixed message there. We really are impressed by what you do but cut it out and act like everyone else.

Actually our COO did say "what would help?" before I left. So I've sent her 6 suggestions so far. Including, well, I may be a maverik but I'm a smart creative maverik so why don't you give me my head for 6 months and see what happens?

Funniest comment was from my Extroverted Feeler. "Gosh mom," he said, "Five on one. Tell them they need a couple more." That seriously cheered me up. I thought, sort of a back handed compliment if they have to go five on one with me.

Medicine is being turned into a McDonald's Assembly line. Check the boxes, talk about one thing per visit, follow the template. I do not fucking think so. Mentally I quit today. Was starting to set up my own clinic anyhow, in my head. Not ready to run the business quite yet, but closing in on it. Need to learn accounting. Also ICD 10 is going to be a monumental pain in the ass. It will not give better care. It will just make it 10 times harder to bill and so the insurance companies can keep even more of the profits that their fucking slimy CEOs are making for the shareholders. I think everyone should Fucking Divest. If you are invested in an insurance company than you too are making money off refusing to treat sick people. Why do doctors roll over and let congress, insurance companies, the FDA, drug companies and hospitals tell them what to do? Mostly because what docs really want to do is take care of their patients, so they keep putting their heads down and pulling a heavier load. Isn't working. We've had every doctor over 50 quit our system except the one who's old enough to get out of call. And he said wistfully to me that he didn't miss call but missed the inpatient work. We need him. I said I'd go to bat for him to do days only. He didn't answer. I'm too radical.

Also I'd rather have my own clinic building on my second lot so there's the little matter of building it. I'm not ready to give official notice. However, in my heart I have.

Damn, was hoping I wouldn't have to.

Damn, damn, damn.

There are a two important things about sports may people forget. First of all, it helps to pick one team and root for them over time. Best of all if it's a local team. You don't need to spend your whole weekend in front of the television sucking up potato chips. You can watch your one game and get on with your life. And you can get to know this one team. You learn each players story, and take a bit of them into you. Over the years, that compiled data ads up to lore, something that can be shared.

And that leads to the second truth about sport, it is best when shared, and reinforced when you share your passion for that team with others. We don't go to the game alone. We go with others who share our passion for the game. We have parties where the game is watched together. We break bread with other fans, and watch our teams ups and downs in fellowship.

It is true that sticking to single team means not every season will prove victorious. But that's not bad either. There's joy in shared misery, and each new season brings fresh hopes and joys as new players and coaches rotate in. As a fan of the Ohio State University I define football success as a national or Big Ten championship. But for other teams success is defined differently. A trip to the NCAA tournament is one measure. Beating a loathed rival is another. I discovered baseball in the 1960s and the Cleveland Indians were my home town franchise. Back then Indians fans defined success as season where we won more games than we lost. You lost a lot of games as an Indians fan back then. Sustained mediocrity gives fans an enormous appreciation of success. Nothing is sweeter than when your team emerges from the desert of defeat into the spotlight of victory. When the Indians started going in the '90s you could feel the energy everywhere

In hockey, my home team is the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets have been known as a measure of utility, one of three professional sports franchises to have never played a playoff game. We used to joke about this, correctly pointing out we were the only National Hockey League franchise to have never lost a playoff game. But the joke is bitter, for it implies that every season has ended in games without meaning. But they are my home team, and I share my passion for them and the game of hockey with several friends. In fact, it has helped bond us together. And this year's team has been different. I get the same feeling I did back in the 90s when the Indians started down the road that led to two trips to the World Series. There's a buzz on the street when your team starts beating the same people it always lost to, and in their house.

So it was last night when I and about 350 other Blue Jackets fans found ourselves at the R Bar, Columbus's only hockey bar. We came knowing that one measly point was all that stood between us and the Jackets' first trip to the playoffs. The game was against the Chicago Blackhawks, and original six franchise with a long and storied tradition and current holders of the fourth playoff spot. The Chicago crowd was loud and partisan, and spirits fell when the Jackets fell behind 2-0, one goal having been knocked in by our team Captain and all-star Rick Nash.

In the past, we would have been done. The old Jackets would have folded under adversity on the road. Not anymore. The Jackets rallied to tie it. And with each beer the high fives and screams became louder. We cheered like we were at the United Center and wanted our players to take heart from us. We laughed and told stories, though I knew none of the people next to me. Our hearts fell when we fell behind 3-2 but leapt again when Nash scored a goal to tie the game at three. We were all in shock when Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock sent defenseman Fedor Tyutin out in the shootout. But we were screaming when he scored the winning goal.

And so it came to pass: The Columbus Blue Jackets are now in the playoffs, and a team absolutely nobody wants to meet in the first round. Our cheering could be heard from blocks away. We bought rounds for each other slapped hands, cheered and hugged. Couples began groping in earnest. We had the finest of sports moments, shared joy from a long awaited triumph. And it was sweet!

This year the Jackets lose their first playoff game.

Beer! Mermaids! Jazz! The grand Copenhagen birthday-meet of 2009

On Thursday I was hung over so I was grateful for the opportunity to slouch on the sofa by the window enjoying the sun and recuperating for some time. Wntrmute discovered that, while The Labyrinth had no toaster, there was an old-school upside-down grill (or perhaps it would be better described as an electric barbecue) on which we could toast toast. We headed out annoyingly late, intending to visit Tivoli Gardens, which is the centuries-old garden-cum-amusement park in the middle of Copenhagen. While waiting at the Metro station I figured out exactly what the ugly brown boxes nearby where. The wedge-shaped box had a door at one end - it concealed a set of stairs leading down underground, and the other low brown boxes were ventilation and possibly covered skylights from the room underneath the sandy area where they were situated. What's down there? Probably electrical or sewage stuff.

Not modern art, then.

Since I wanted to do some wandering and get the lay of the land, so to speak, we started from Christianshavn station on the crown-shaped Christianshavn island and worked our way west towards Tivoli along the canals or rivers or whatever you want to call those particular bodies of water. It's wholly unclear whether Copenhagen is built on a river or not, because there are so many artificial islands and waterways around obscuring the natural geography. Still, I'm not complaining. We found lots of entirely inoffensive, non-touristy buildings which I considered to be worth photographing and photographed them. When we reached the main bridge we found a preposterously expensive boat-restaurant and an amusing conceptual effort at a boat-hotel. Or rather, a hotel-boat. A boat-hotel would probably be a hotel for boats. We crossed the bridge (Langebro) and worked our way down Hans Christian Andersen's Boulevard, past the Københavns Rådhus which is the Copenhagen city hall, and then reached the Rådhuspladsen which is the main city square.

Tangent. It's about at this point that I realised what was bugging me about the Danish pedestrian crossings. Not the fact that there's no button and they just turn green automatically if you wait long enough, at any time of the day or night. Not the fact that they beep continuously (in a manner disturbingly reminiscent of a cardiac monitor), and the beep speeds up when it's time for you to cross. Not even the fact that right-turners (Danes drive on the right) will attempt to turn the corner even as you're crossing, but it's okay because you have right of way and they'll stop for you. No, it's the fact that the little green man is facing the wrong way. He's walking right to left instead of left to right as in the United Kingdom.

Danish roads are also slightly treacherous because a cycle lane is an actual separate lane of traffic, not a lane painted on the pavement, and bicycles are often to be found driving down those lanes. Sometimes there's a drop from the pavement to the cycle lane, then a full-width lane for bikes, then another drop to a row of parked cars, then two lanes of motor traffic, then all the same again in the opposite order on the far side. Danish roads are extremely wide compared to, say, British ones, and I really like this about the country. Even if there's loads of traffic, it makes everything so much less... fraught.

We made a brief diversion to a coffee shop and a Seven Eleven (the latter of which positively litter the city) for food, which we munched down in the square while listening to pointlessly poppy (that is, "of or pertaining to pop music") versions of traditional ethnic music being played behind us. I had what amounts to a kebab, a wooden skewer loaded with chicken, which was pleasing in terms of the perfect meat-to-non-meat ratio, being one to zero. Wish I'd had more though. One of those would be good right now, actually. We made a brief stop at a design shop where we discovered a small statue of a reclining fat white stick figure, labelled "noder". How did they know?

Copenhagen is the place where Carlsberg lager is made, hence the "so good the Danes hate to see it leave" slogan. In the UK, Carlsberg is marketed as "Probably the best beer in the world", which I found highly amusing because at Rådhuspladsen it is much less trumpeted, as merely "Probably the best beer in town". How many other beers are made in Copenhagen? At least it's more likely to be true.

I have very little experience with amusement parks, so when I say that Tivoli is my favourite so far, you should not be especially impressed. I have only ever visited The American Adventure near Nottingham, which was mediocre at its peak and fell into a decline whose amusing/depressing story is charted well on Wikipedia. At the time I travelled to Denmark, the Danish kroner was worth almost exactly one-eighth of a British pound, making mental conversions extremely easy to judge (just divide by 2 three times), so I was painfully aware of the high cost of entry and then of the equally high costs of rides and restaurants (of which there were more of the latter than the former). The park had apparently only opened for the season the previous day; on our way in, we saw several rides under tests, running without people in them. According to Dimview there were very few people in the park compared to the heaving summer season, which was nice. DTal and I decided to make a bee line for the Himmelskibet ("Star Flyer"), on which you sit in a plastic seat not much more substantial than a child's playground swing, are raised up on chains to about 80 metres in the air and swung around at high speed. This was a pretty great experience because of the view it offered - we could see the Middelgrunden wind farm off the coast, and all the way to the Øresund bridge-tunnel crossing linking Copenhagen with Malmö, Sweden. (If we ran out of things to do in the week we had planned to take a one-off trip to Malmö, but we didn't. Well, maybe we did, I wasn't the last to leave.)

Tangent. Bridge-tunnel crossings are awesome. In a situation where a bridge is the most financially sensible thing to build, you may find that the water passage you are crossing must also allow water traffic through it, or, in this case, that it's illegal to build a bridge so close to an airport. What do you do? Build half of the crossing underwater, then add an artificial island where the tunnel surfaces and becomes a bridge to the other side. In this case, the artificial island is called Pebelholm ("Pepper Island") which is a cool name chosen to go nicely with its big brother to the north, which is called Saltholm.

The others elected to simply hang around and wait until DTal and I came back, then we headed off for the other tall object in the park, which was the Golden Tower. We deliberately opted for the side of the tower which faced east so we could get a better look at the Øresund Bridge, but unfortunately I was required to remove my glasses so I couldn't see anything. Glasses were placed in handy buckets positioned on the ground next to each seat. Not the best location-- aren't those buckets for throwing up into? I guess that's an incentive not to throw up then. The Golden Tower was a personable, chummy ride; it was possible to have fairly low-volume conversations at the top of the tower before being dropped mid-syllable. The only real question is what, exactly, is the best thing to be caught saying when you drop?

Speaking of wind farms, at the centre of the park near the fountain was a huge, full-scale wind turbine, except oriented to point upwards, and turning some ten metres above everybody's heads. This was a monument to Danish use of renewable energy, which (DTal and I noted) was turning at a constant speed and had its blades oriented vertically to push as much air out of the way as possible, meaning it had to be powered by other, real wind turbines. Perhaps it was mechanically coupled directly to one of them.

We stopped off to try on some patently ridiculous sunglasses and to buy food. Evil Catullus bought fried chicken of some description, DTal, Wntrmute, Dimview and sloebertje bought ice cream, and I got noodles and sweet and sour chicken in a miniature tub, being the healthy one. The booth where I bought the latter was pretty smart; instead of waiting around for my food, I was handed a chunky red disc with a LED and a miniature buzzer inside it, and allowed to wander away, with instructions to return when the disc beeped at me that my food was ready.

We toddled onwards and discovered a lake and a pirate ship, complete with diners eating on the deck (so I guess it was a restaurant) and a frankly terrifying animatronic movement-triggered pirate who welcomed landlubbers aboard. Nearby was a clam and a sign; the sign read "This clam spits water into the lake every five minutes", but was positioned so that you could only read the sign if you were standing right where the clam would spit water at you. This seems to me like a hilarious idea for a trap. I wonder how many of the park staff just spend all their days waiting for the next sucker to get showered with water. It's probably the highlight of their week. As we circled around the other side of the lake, we discovered that a small decorative boat was moored to the pirate ship, and some kind of launch on the far shore, so I hypothesised that these were used during shows, with some guest of honour crossing the lake and boarding the ship as part of it.

Crossing a bridge over the lake, we discovered that it was full of seabirds, swimming around, waiting patiently to be fed from the nearby dispenser. But, on closer inspection, the dispenser appeared to contain "fish food", for the huge, beautiful, gawping carp which swarmed just below the surface where the birds were sitting. Thus arose the question: how to feed the fish without feeding the birds? Several tactics were pioneered. Evil Catullus threw food far away to distract the birds, then hurriedly fed the fish while they weren't looking. I experimented with throwing small bits of gravel into the water where only the birds would go for them, in order to irritate them, but they caught on to this tactic pretty quickly. I found it interesting that through all of this we had coloured the fish as the heroes and the birds as the villains. Had the dispenser read "bird food", our opinions would have been completely reversed.

By this time it was close to the point where BaronWR was going to need collecting from the airport. We managed to hang around for long enough for the many and various lamps, lights and lanterns dotted around the park to light up, and then we had to leave. I was sad about this, because I think Tivoli probably looks amazing at night. Overall it's an enjoyable experience as long as you treat Danish kroners as funny money and try not to let the ridiculous cost matter too much.

On the way out of the main Tivoli gate, we passed a row of large copper urns marked with old-fashioned names of various planets on them. It was apparently some kind of attempt at a scale model of an old-school nine-planet solar system. At least, I claim it was to scale; others disagree.

We returned home via the surface train and then the Metro. By this point DTal's and my decision to fold our clip cards (10-punch tickets for Metro use) in half and store them in our wallets was proving to be a mistake, because many of the machines could not be coaxed into punching them. We only rode the surface train (which runs down what is effectively a canal in the middle of the city, only instead of water, there are train tracks) for one stop, which was enough to establish that the wheel base on Danish trains is much wider than on British ones, making the trains themselves incredibly spacious and comfortable. BaronWR was retrieved in time for dinner, which was pasta and meat/mushroom sauce cooked in a tureen bigger than the kitchen sink. I know this, because I washed up. If you leave me in charge of something I will automatically tidy it up, so I automatically tidied the kitchen up afterwards.

Wntrmute whipped out his tripod and we made a panorama which, due to cunning quick-change artistry straight out of old-school plate photography, featured BaronWR and Dimview twice, and myself thrice.

And then we drank, and sank into bed.

Not together.

Nodermeets aren't as debauched as you've heard.

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