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2007 November



Bitter Cold And A Bit Bitter

Wow, it’s been way too long since I’ve updated the blog! A lot is going on these days. We’re STILL in Philadelphia but making many, many preparations for Korea. Since the swirl molester guy got caught, the Koreans are going nuts about about security, and rightly so. It’s probably something they should have done a long time ago, but it is making it more of a pain for us. So from what I can gather, you now need a full medical exam and a criminal background check in addition to all the other required documents.

The medical exam:

So they want you to get all this blood work done and chest x-rays as well. What a pain. I’m sure this is causing problems for many others as well. First off, I don’t have insurance. The US medical insurance thing is really out of control, no, really, I mean it. I don’t care much that I don’t have medical insurance because I’ve been running and I feel really healthy. Yeah, I’m not covered if I get hit by a car or something, but I’ll have coverage again as soon as we start teaching. The problems I’m having go something like this:

I call a local doctor:

“Oh, you don’t have insurance, we don’t want you.” Or, “Oh, it will be $300-400 for the first office visit, is that OK?”

So I call the local major hospital to find out about what they could offer, or get a referral:

“Hello, can I make some kind of appointment to get some medical work done there or can you refer me to someplace else?” She says “What do you need done? Are you a patient of a doctor here?” I say “Well, I just moved here from California and don’t have a doctor, and I don’t have insurance either. I just need some basic blood work done and a chest x-ray to fulfill a requirement for this job I’m getting overseas.” She says, “If you don’t have insurance I don’t think anyone will help you here. And we don’t do any blood work here at the hospital. We wouldn’t be able to do a chest x-ray either.” I say “Well, can you refer me to someplace else that could do those things?” She says “Humm, you know, it’s really hard, I can’t think of anywhere that would be able to do those things.” I sit on the phone stunned. You can’t get blood work or x-rays done at a hospital? And she doesn’t know of anywhere else that can do it. Humm… What’s wrong with this picture??? Is it me or what?

Finally, I call some other phone book numbers in search of a place to get a medical exam. Most places are rude and just say they won’t or can’t help. Do these people want to make money? Why do they list ads in the phone book then? Finally I get a woman on the line who is willing to talk to me, there was only a little resentment in her voice. She seems amazed when I tell her I don’t have a family doctor and haven’t been to a doctor in six or seven years and that I don’t have any medical records. This immediately put me in some kind of “low income crack head” category in her mind I think. Anyway, she informs me that “someone of my clientele can try calling such and such number.” Someone of my clientele? Humm.. What’s that supposed to mean I wonder? I finally get to a clinic that says they will see me and that the cost of the visit will be based on my income. Amazing. OK, so the phone staff hung up on me a couple of times and were rude, but they actually agree to see me. I wish somebody would tell me, is this the standard for this type of situation? What do other people do that move around and don’t have a “family” doctor? So the appointment is in like four weeks, big deal. At least it’s probably going to be free! Hahaha

Now, go watch the Michael Moore movie “Sicko”. Enough said… I wish I lived in Canada. 🙂

The Criminal Background Check:

So I call the Korean consulate in New York. Me, “Hello, I’m calling about the EPIK program.” Him, “Well, you missed the deadline, today is the cut-off for applications.” Me, “Oh, so I guess I’m too late, Thanks anyway.” Him, “Well, no, don’t get that impression. You can still apply anytime and it won’t be a problem.” Me, “Oh, I see.” Well, I think I see anyway… Me, “So I have to get this new background check, but the problem is I lived in California for four years and in February I moved to Georgia, but I’ve been staying at my in-laws house in Philadelphia for six months or more. Which state should I get the background check from.” Him, “Umm.. Well… Ahhh…” A few more moments of stunned silence. Him, “Just get it for your current location.” Me, “Even though I don’t really live here?” Him, “Well, umm, get it for California then. Yes, I think it would be fine from California.” Me, “Oh, ok.” Well, I’m glad I called and got the definitive answer from the EPIK department. With that “so so” answer we decide to email EPIK directly on the website to get to the bottom of the matter. We send a four paragraph email explaining the situation and get back a one line response “Just get it from you current location. That will be fine.” I have the feeling that I could get my uncle who is a police officer to write me up a page or two on letter head and they would say “Great!”, as long as it didn’t say anything bad, of course. I really don’t think they would check sources. It seems like the documents are just to console their minds.

I’m sure this is what traveling and cross cultural relations are all about though. It does make me cranky sometimes. But I’m trying to keep reminding myself to take it all in good fun. And for the most part, it is.

Before I forget, Here are some more animated gifs:
check.gif gearsworking1.gif rotateglobe.gif

Oh, we went to Pittsburgh for thanksgiving at my parent’s house. My brother and his family drove up from Annapolis as well. So everyone was together for the first time in a long while. It was nice. It was a treat to spend time with my brothers two girls, Olivia and Tess. They are both growing up way too fast! I wish I couple summon that much energy as easily as they do each day!

Ok, back to work. I hope everyone is well out in la-la-land!




Adobe Flash Player 9 No Sound on Mac OSX

OK, so all of a sudden my Flash player had no sound… Was it the latest Mac software update? The latest Flash player update? My web browser? My computer about to die? I HATE these kind of problems! I did some searching around and found an answer here:

The answer

This may help you PC users out there as well. Basically you can skip reading all the threads above, here is the solution:

In the Applications > Utilities folder open the Audio MIDI setup. Find the audio output settings and change it from 96khz to 44khz or 48khz. Viola!!! This fixes the problem. Yay!



Philadelphia by train

Market East Station

Today Nancy and I ventured down to the city on the train. It took about 45 minutes, not too bad. But it did cost $24!!! I think that’s pretty darn expensive. Too bad everyone wants their own car, it makes it hard for the rail systems to survive I guess. The picture above was taken at Market East Station when we got off the train. The train in the picture was the train we rode in. The station is underground and you come out right in the Terminal Market. The place has many restaurants and other shops. We walked a few blocks from there to go and check out a local Gelato shop. I took some pictures of the place for my friend Michael who just opened up a shop out in Marin, California.

Capogiro Gelato Shop on 13th street

I snapped a quick shot of my coffee and tangerine gelato. The place only had a few people when we came in, but a few minutes after this shot it filled up almost to capacity. Nancy was surprised that so many people would want a cold desert on such a winter day. We stayed for a while and I did some research on Korea jobs and then we headed home. It was fun to get out and about for a bit and do some people watching.



Cool stop motion animation

Nancy found this stop motion animation clip while surfing around on the net. He did it all on a white board I think. Pretty cool video, check it out!