Jul 30, 2007

Countdown begins...

As it begins to dawn on me that I'm going back to school in just a smidge over a week.

And I'm a little bit scared about it, probably because I didn't leave on a wildly good note on a number of factors, but there's still a surreal dream like quality to the knowledge that the summer's almost over and then it's back.

Don't get me wrong; I actually really like the school. I like the people there; I like learning things; I like getting closer to getting my medical degree, and if this paragraph is any indication, I like semicolons, but there's this 'freedom' high school feel to summer this time, something I hadn't experienced for quite a while, despite the shadowing and studying. No job, most of my time scheduled to myself, being with my parents...

And now, it'll be back to the world of responsibility. No more "fun with flashcards" at Disneyworld, since the stuff really is interesting, but back to the land where knowledge must be applied and tested rather than just simply known just in case "Eicosanoids" happens to come up as a category in Jeopardy.

The feeling is different than last term because I know what to expect, though ValueMD prepared me for it to a great degree, but it also means there's less excitement. Less fear, but less excitement because it's not off to the big unknown to end my stint as a technical writer and pursue my dream. It's the maintenance of that dream with an end to my stint as a lazy bum, and "lazy bum" is a far more difficult profession to leave. Ask anyone.

Which means it's back to preparation, dwelling on baggage allowances and the fact that I have to navigate Boston in time to not have to rush a flight that's at 6 in the morning, which will then invariably take me on the scenic route of NYC, Jamaica, Grenada. Unlike the six hours American Airlines robbed me of in Puerto Rico, I only have a scheduled 2 hours in Jamaica, which still tempts me to go in and out of customs just to get my passport stamped because I'm a total dork, but we shall see.

But last I updated, I was in North Carolina, wasn't I? Well, I'm back in New Hampshire just in time for a heat wave, thus the upstairs temperature during the day is actually hotter than Grenada, but I got to enjoy the California-winter temperatures before leaving, complete with storms and winds, which was actually pretty cool, despite the locals hardly being thrilled with it.

The drive back from NC... Mapquest, she lies to us, precious. Which I already knew of course, once ending up down a private drive in Beverly Hills, which was Mapquest's interpretation of "John Wayne Airport", which isn't even particularly close, but still, let me tell you definitively that driving I-95 from North Carolina to my temporary home in New Hampshire is not 13 hours by any stretch of the imagination, even accounting for the ferociously bad traffic that constitutes New York City and ALL of Connecticut, particularly since I drive like a maniac.

In addition, playing "red light/green light" on the George Washington Bridge is a stupid idea. When you're going to change toll-takers, just make the person wait like they do on every other bridge, including the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, so we're not talking rinky dinky little bridges. Do NOT, in that sort of traffic, arbitrarily flick on either red or green lights, causing everyone backed up in traffic to attempt desperate, last minute, panicked, slow motion, honking lane changes while narrowly avoiding the big rigs screaming through the enviable fastpass lane, or whatever the heck it's called. That was a traffic jam that didn't need to happen.

Which brings me to Connecticut... now... I don't know the Northeast too well, but it seems like Connecticut, as far as I heard, had a reputation for being a green pastured, albeit, whitebread existence while Jersey's reputation as the "Garden State" is often deemed largely ironic, dismissed as a stinking factory-sunk urban wasteland...

So it confused me that Jersey, almost exclusively, on the way down and up, via different routes, was beautiful, lush and green, while Connecticut seemed to be a vast congested concrete jungle punctuated only by arbitrary decisions to reduce 3-4 lanes of traffic to one to hammer up the barely paved roads. Did they run out of asphalt when they were paving over the state? I'll admit, it *is* a nice way to ensure traffic jams at 2 in the morning. Usually, that's a feat only accomplished by the tangle of the "80s" in the Bay Area. Yeesh.

Getting in at around 4 in the morning, I was so achey and exhausted from being in the car since 9 that morning with no cruise control that my calf muscles were actually trembling. DVT anyone? So thank you again, Mapquest with your 75% success rate. You are right just often enough that I let my guard down and trust you just in time to get hosed.

Since then, I've primarily been sleeping and reading the latest Harry Potter book (see above about being a dork), thus basking in the sweet sweet fiction that will have to go away in a week. I have kept up the biochem though, polishing off hemostasis AGAIN tonight before lounging in a bath, again, to enjoy the luxuries I will not have in Grenada. That's right, no bathtub, not when I was in the dorm, not in my upcoming apartment, and as a girl with girl genes and girl parts, I must, as a duty to my gender, periodically soak in tepid perfumed liquid, with champagne and classical music as optional, thus my deprivation from that nearly caused me to go into symptomatic withdrawal whilst on the Rock... so I'm stocking up now, lest the testosterone build...

Jul 26, 2007

Back in the city of cigarettes...

AKA Winston-Salem. Staying at my dad's for the night en route back to New Hampshire after spending the day driving through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. If I get to see half as much Europe next summer as I've seen U.S. this summer, I'll consider it an unbridled success... if I can even afford to do the airfare to Europe next summer. It's crazy expensive, or as they say in New England, "wicked" expensive, thus I've found that trying to get to Prague via ANY European city, be it Dresden or freaking London in summer '08 may cost about what it would to do your average round trip shuttle to Kenya. Yeesh.

So, August 7th is approaching quickly, as is August 15th, the former being the date I return to the Rock, and the latter being the date I finally conquer my biochem/sleep demons. I'm debating over what to do the 13th and 14th, considering those are the Carnival days, which I'd really like to see, but am not dumb enough to conquer aforementioned demons by getting good and drunk the night before.

I'm semi prepared for the trip. The doctor I'm shadowing wrote me up the orders to get my titers done so I didn't have to fight with the school's default horrible insurance over seeing a primary doctor for it (besides, it's my blood; I should be able to test it for whatever I want, and I even know how to draw it now), I need to renew said horrible insurance to be allowed back in, and I've got my invoice from the school, which is nice because even though my loan covers it, it's nice to get a biannual heart attack reminder of how much trouble I'm going to be in if I flunk out. This term was to the term of 20 grand.... which would be a sizeable down payment on a house; I'm just saying... Added on book fees were over 400 dollars, which isn't even on the expensive side, though I think in the future, I'd want to go with buying used books from an upper termer instead of ordering them new, to be sucked out of my loan check. They might even come pre-highlighted.

But where was I? Ah yes, Disney World, which still rocks, though I'm still putting Disneyland above the Magic Kingdom, but I did fall in love with Animal Kingdom, and will probably get around to putting the pictures up around the same time I finally get the Boston 4th of July pictures up. Heh heh.

I'm a little scattered tonight, due to that firehose of fun known as Disney, driving all day, and being generally icky and tired. Florida in the summer is, not surprisingly, hot and muggy, and at Disney parks, you tend to walk miles and miles a day, which is good for your heart and bad for personal hygiene. In fact, on that note, I think I'll leave you all with this truncated blogpost and run off to shower.

Jul 22, 2007

Well, I'm closer to the Caribbean...

Being in Florida and all...

Apparently, one of the side effects to being a med student is that instead of spending my summers lazing around watching television, contemplating my navel, or succumbing to a secondhand headhunter job as a technical writer all of which I've done in times past, I actually make the most out of my summer because I not only feel like I did enough work to earn it, but it's only going to get worse from here, and graduation, rather than being a license to relax, is only the initiation ceremony to an onslaught of the-worse, which hopefully medical school will have taught me to handle, not in knowing everything (or anything), but simply in being used to being overwhelmed.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, was the longest run on sentence in history. Even Dean Koontz couldn't have done better, and I read enough of him in my formative years (which probably explains a lot) to shape my entire adult string of verbiage.

But to expand, this summer I have gotten counseling for being an insomniac idiot, shadowed three orthopods including getting to play doctor by doing the preliminaries on a patient with a sprained wrist who didn't know I had no idea what I was doing (even got to palpate the area to deliberately induce pain!), studied endless biochem, and toured New Hampshire (including the White Mountains and hiking a number of the trails), Boston, Cape Cod, Maine, Montreal, Vermont, and now Florida, which added Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to the itinerary (we drove) all in a fell swoop.

I'm not doing as well as Lori (part of the original team bravo and supporter of my left side during the sprained ankle fiasco), who has been doing a tour of Europe that causes me to go sick with envy, but I'm still chalking up the summer as a win. It still seems odd that it's coming to a close though.

To expand on the earlier biochem, I've been trying to rebuild my confidence after the crap at finals by learning this stuff so well that I aim to teach it. Since I've been visiting with my parents, doing this while not being completely antisocial involves a system of flashcards, where they get to feel (and are) helpful by reading my flash cards to me, I get to learn all my material, and they get to learn far more about biochem than they ever wanted to.

I'm embarrassed that it's gotten to an extent that this is how I'm spending time spent in line at Disneyworld, causing me to get the absolute *strangest* looks from fellow ride-waiters who now know WAY more about unconjugated bilirubin than they expected when boarding the Finding Nemo ride, which, for the record, is identical to the Haunted Mansion but without the dead people.

To backtrack, I spent the day at Epcot Center, being my first Disney destination because I'm an ubergeek. To compound my ubergeekness since I never grew out of my childhood love of aminals (up to and including ponies and puppies), tomorrow is Animal Kingdom.

Does this seem like an emotionally-stunted vacation for a 26 year old? Don't care. Disney rocks. Well... not Disney cartoons (except the Pixar stuff) because there isn't the wanton violence celebrated in the Warner Brothers tradition, but it is still a place that constructs an entirely artificial but temporarily convincing reality where one can forget that she is going back to medical school in two and a half weeks. Yargh. If I regress to 8 year old mentality, that gives me another 18 years before I have to take the biochem final, and in the meantime I can worry about which New Kids on the Block snap bracelet makes me look the most fly. I think I just dated myself.

In other news, I've gotten to learn to be junior phlebotomist (not at Disneyworld; Epcot hasn't expanded that much yet) on my dad while he was visiting since he has good veins, and I'm getting a more secure stick now. It's a strange thing to do that's hard to describe. Due to anatomy class relations on tests (you are aiming for the median cubital vein to draw blood when suddenly the patient screams and complains of pain and fingering in his first three fingertips. What nerve have you hit and what will your malpractice settlement be?), I'm actually more skittish about hitting major structures that I would have expected with my experience since I KNOW that nothing vital is that superficial and I'm not going to screw up that badly, but yeek.

Speaking of blood draws, I had to get stuck again (though it was the cleanest blood draw I've ever had; apparently my phlebotomist's dad had been patient too) and I'm immune to Hep B, which is pretty cool. Now if I could only get the rubella titers to show up, which they never do, thus I'll have to get the MMR shot... again.. like always, until the next time I have my titers drawn and rinse repeat. I think it's rubella.

To attract back the few prospective students that are getting tired of reading about my east coast adventures, which have absolutely no relevance whatsoever to getting into, starting, or attending medical school, there's a medical form you have to fill out, get approved by your doctor and all that, so if you have good health insurance, use it as soon as possible so you don't have to worry about it arranging it later on the school's insurance or in that scary time if you quit your job with some time left before you leave.

There doesn't seem to be a yellow fever risk on Grenada, and the last cases in Trinidad were, I believe, in the early 70s, so I opted out of that vaccine (it's not required nor necessarily recommended, but the combination of going to a tropical country AND entering the medical profession tend to bring with it a host of involuntary and voluntary vaccines), since the side effects of it tend to be grossly unpleasant. MMRV or titers are required, as is Hep B, and a TB test. I believe you can register for first term without at least some of them, but don't quote me on it. I know you can register if you have started, but not completed, a shot series, like for hep B, so don't panic if you get your health instructions right before school starts and don't have time to do the full series.

Meningitis is recommended, but not required. I went with it because though it's not a common condition, people with meningitis are going to go to the hospital, which is where you're going to be. I also went for it early (as in, before basic sciences) because I had good insurance at the time (thank you, temp job!) and without it, that is one pricey shot. It's also a viscous and uncomfortable shot, so go with the nondominant arm.

I got typhoid vaccine largely because I could and it doesn't have significant side effects (though anything can), but it's hardly a common condition (if ever) on Grenada.

Basically, the island of Grenada is relatively free of evil nasty bugs by virtue of being, well, an island. I believe Hep A is a risk, but not a big one, and a much bigger risk elsewhere. It doesn't have malaria, though in the rainforest, it does have rare cases of Dengue, so spray yourself down with mosquito repellent. I've never met anyone whose gotten it (though I've heard rumors that half the students with general flu think they have it), but it's out there. You're probably more likely to pick up exotic nasties on the plane ride down.

Well, I'm off to bed to hit the DisneyZoo tomorrow, but figured I'd update to let people know that the rushing approach of the new semester hasn't put me in catatonic withdrawal... yet.

Jul 8, 2007

Ay Caramba!!

That's a lot of Massachusetts!!!

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the nonstop Ishie ego site, where I blog about my general adventures while incoming SGU students try desperately to sift through to find some substance, and a big hello to all my Annex peeps out there.

Happy belated Independence Day to all my fellow colonists out there, and happy uhh... any other day to everyone else. And to our former owners, we love you, England, we really do. We just also really love blowing things up.

So, where was I? I'm going to separate this into a few entires, because in the last couple of days I have walked the Freedom Trail, fought 600,000 people for a 4th of July on the banks of Boston's Charles River right outside the Esplanade, been pulled in to get a close up view of a hemiarthroscopy, and burned around Cape Cod. And to think, I just wanted to bum around this summer. Of course, that's still pretty much bumming around. It's just bumming around while spending more money. Where's that loan when you need it? LONG BLOG POST ALERT (but lots of pictures!!)

I guess I'll go in order... Previously, I blogged about driving in Boston with the chief, oft repeated advice of "don't ever do it", since the drivers are insane, and they fail to mark ANYTHING.

Turns out Boston doesn't want you driving in Boston either, a feature I noticed when I went to pick up my dad at Logan airport and decided to take the *smart* way in: the MBTA, as noted before. As I pull into Alewife station, I notice that they expressly tell you NOT to drive. This would also explain how Paul Revere mananged to complete his ride, though they no longer allow horses on the subway.

Speaking of Paul Revere, as this statue demonstrates, he doesn't actually ride all that well, and in said graven image, he is not only COMPLETELY in his horse's mouth to a degree that I'm surprised it hasn't bucked him off, but he's kind of skewed backwards with his legs sticking out. Paul Revere's Fall. One if by buck. Two if by rear.

Paul: "Whoooooaaaaaaa... I really wish I'd sprung the 9 bucks for that Charlie Ticket!"

Fortunately, Washington is a better rider. This may explain why we won the Revolutionary War. Riding lessons.

George: "Dammit Paul, be secure in the saddle, and quiet your hands!"
John and Ringo: "She loves you; yeah yeah yeah."

Anyway, parked at the Alewife station, which is 5 bucks for 24 hours of parking, which, combined with the 9 dollars a person for an all day bus/rail pass, is probably the second best money I've ever spent (the first best was the 40 bucks I spent for a 9 hour trip around Margarita Island).

Nowwwww all night long Charlie rides through the station crying "What will become of me? How can I afford to see my sister in Chelsea or my cousin in Roxbury?"

So for this low 14$ price, you can ride around ALL day and never once have to get behind a steering wheel. They have the best public transport I've ever seen, even besting San Francisco, which I always thought was pretty high end, and EVERYTHING is labeled and explained. Apparently, when Boston was allocating an "informative signs" budget, it all went underground, leaving nary a road sign to assist the unwary drivers above. Is that how you spell "nary"? Moving on.

Picked up dad at the airport by transferring a couple of trains and then taking the shuttle over to Logan, which, of course, is all part of that 9 dollars. I'm liking Boston more and more by this point, thus I can now honestly say, which I could not previously, that I am fond of Boston rather than thinking it should be turned into smoldering nuclear rubble, and that's saying a lot after that day of trying to drive through it!

Dropped his luggage back at the car and set to do the Freedom Trail, which is apparently one of the most famous historic trails in the United States. We unfortunately managed to skip the first couple of stops (like where Sam Adams and Paul Revere are buried, whoops), but started in the King's Chapel, and their requisite cemetery so at least we've seen John Winslow and Mary Chilton's death marker, and that's something, right?

I see dead people. By the way, noting the similarity between the design on the closest grave marker and Skullhead Boneyhands from Animaniacs is unamerican. Be advised.

Highlights... hmmm... it was cool. The Freedom Trail is very well marked by either a series of double bricks in the sidewalk, or where that fails, a painted red line.

In places, it seems somewhat arbitrary, taking long ways to cross the street, and going suspiciously out of its way to hit gift shops, but this 2.5 mile trail takes you by Faneil Hall, Quincy Market, the Old North Church, Paul Revere Mall, Paul Revere's House, the first school, Bunker Hill, King's Chapel, the USS Constitution, Boston Harbor, and the site of the Boston Massacre, and nowhere nearly in that order. To compensate, here's some pictures:

Okay, that's actually in Townsend, Mass, which is a cute well-patriotically decorated little town en route to Alewife station. But hey, nice July 3rd stuff, right?

One if by land:

Two if by sea:

Apparently, the "super" duck tour refers to the "super" feeling of relief you get *if* you manage to make it back to shore without drowning in Boston harbor from capsizing your listing, four-wheeled, fully-unseaworthy little thingamajig that makes the watertight old style VW Bug look like Old Ironsides in comparison.

See, I was worried people would forget I was in New England, thus necessitating the token church, though technically this is a meeting hall, so there you go. You can tell we're actually in a big city though due to the counterintuitive giant buildings behind it. Boston is kind of cool that way, particularly to those of us from Northern California who are unfamiliar with anything built before 1906.

Yeah! No tax on tea!!! Except... uhh... there's a tax on tea now... but most of it is Lipton, which already tastes like it's been dumped into a harbor, making future Boston tea parties somewhat redundant. D'oh. Incidentally, we're still paying a 'stamp tax'. But... uh... our military doesn't have to wear those red coats that scream 'please hide in the woods and shoot me', so I'm going to still say we came out ahead.

Yeah, they have these guys everywhere, but I still love them. Despite living in driving distance of San Francisco for years, I'd still head over to Pier 39/Ghiradelli Square/Fisherman's Wharf to see the performers (and the sea lions), and these ones are dressed in colonial best! The performers, not the sea lions. Sea lions are hard to get into bonnets due to the large teeth.

Hmm... "Hanging with St. Francis" sounds like a Tori Amos song, doesn't it?

No, this is not just another generic church; it's the Old North Church, so show some respect!

Kids, don't drink and drive... but if you do, drink Dr. Mcgillicuddy's!

Some of the places along the Freedom Trail are open with a suggested donation, and in some places, that suggestion becomes mandatory, but still, doing the Freedom Trail yourself is quite affordable. There are a lot of actors in costumes doing presentations about the history, which is always a treat. Even more of a treat was in the Old North Church, accidentally (sort of) getting pulled into the "Behind the Scenes" tour, and getting to climb halfway up the steeple to see where they'd come into put out the "one if by land; two if by sea" lights, and where Paul Revere had started the first bellringers guild as a teenager, and all the bellringing information contained within. I bowed out before getting taken down to the crypt, not because I wasn't interested, but because I figured I'd pressed my luck for long enough and didn't want to get 'discovered' in my unauthorized tour groupage. Bad Ishie.

The bell ropes and the tour guide whom I suspect knew I wasn't supposed to be there since when she did her count she said "close enough", but chose not to rat me out to the Man. Thanks tour guide!

Inside the main part of the church, they were giving an explanation of the history of the Old North Church, and interestingly, instead of normal pews, the church had sort of... they probably have a technical name I'm forgetting, but boxes for entire families that could be bought and decorated back in the day so that you didn't have to be bothered to mingle with riff raff while in church. Nice, eh? But posh! The other churches I didn't notice being similarly equipped, so apparently, it was just the Anglicans that were rich?

The clock has been working (though I think it needs to be wound) since it was created back in Colonial times, and those cherubs up there were actually stolen off someone else's ship (Canada?) and donated to the church. Boston took the unprecedented step of offering to give them back but the victims said "Eh, keep em; you've had them long enough..."

Oh, no, I'm wrong about the pews/boxes... my pictures of Kings Chapel reveal similar boxes, just apparently my lack of an attention span, so instead of deleting that last bit, I'll leave it in for kicks.

And speaking of Kings Chapel, taa daa:

Quincy Market is a definite lunch spot and is essentially the nation's largest food court, with some awesome seafood and a host of other things, one of which, is a huge crowd of people, apparently at all times. Best to eat outside.

I couldn't board the USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, because it was closed, but it's still a really cool ship that they apparently take out every year to stretch her... uhhh... rudder? Sails! That's it, sails.

There's also a destroyer at the other side of the shipyard whose name and
significance I've forgotten but it does possess a number of flags, and flags are always cool, right?

Bunker Hill... which in no way resembles a giant phallus... I wanted to climb up, because it apparently affords an incredible view of Boston, but the ability to climb it closed for the evening 15 minutes before we got there, so we sat in the battlefield eating lemon sorbet because battlefields always make nice picnic spots and boring field trips.

(Is Boston compensating for something??)

As it got late in the day and our feet were getting sore, we found ourself at the US shipyard with no real intention of walking all the way back, and no train station near by, but we did managed to hop a bus (REALLY good public transport), got directions to a seafood restaurant (I'm eating so much seafood in New England, I think I'm growing gills) from one of the stationmasters, and headed to the No Name, which is way down in the loading docks where you'd never expect there to be a restaurant.

Getting there was weird because Boston has something called the Silver Line, which is essentially... a subway without a train. A city bus drives in pre-made winding tunnels, identical to the subways but better lit, but without that pesky track, you just have a driver whose entire life must be like driving on the freeway when they put up those concrete barriers that make you feel like you're on a slolum course. Ahhhh!!!!!!!!!!

The restaurant was cool though, and one of those kitchy little places that I adore. Good lobster.

Then it was back through the silver line, back to the trains, back to Alewife and home by 1:30 in the morning, only to wake up at 6:30 and do it all over again for the 4th!

Jul 2, 2007

She may ride forever...

neath the streets of Boston; she's the chick that never returned...

Kingston Trio fans? No?

I'm picking up my dad in Boston tomorrow, and having learned from my last experience, I'm taking the train, or the MBTA or whatever they're calling it now. Planning on doing the 4th in Boston, which should be interesting to say the least. I wanted to do either a Boston on the 4th or Times Square on New Year's, ya know, one time where you're in the middle of a giant party of clumped together people so thick that you say "no mas!" and join a convent. That's my goal. Also to make that remoteness of Grenada seem all that much nicer. I'm going back on August 7th, a date which looms over me a bit, but actually less so now that I finally gulped down my fear and bought the ticket. As far as prepping to go back, I'm now (AGAIN) about halfway through eukaryotic epigenetics. Doesn't *that* sound like fun? For the uninitiated, that's the way in which genes are controlled in things-that-are-not-bacteria in ways that you can inherit but aren't IN your genes. Make sense? No? Me neither, but some of it's pretty cool in ways I'm not going to get into, because it would require so much boring backstory as to not make it worth it. Whoops, too late.

Still, if I'm going to have to take a final, I suppose better biochem than histo, something I *never* thought I'd say. Not because histo was that hard, but simply because I could not bring myself to care about it, despite having the coolest instructor. But biochem, as I've said in the past, and GRUDGINGLY, has some cool stuff, and the genetics section has the really cool shiz. Nitrogen metabolism, less so. Ooh, the significance of lysine and leucine. GRIPPING.

So what am I doing now? Do you care? Too bad! Grilling chicken and discovering that if you watch tv in the daytime, M*A*S*H is on like... 27 hours a day. Almost as often as reruns of the Daily Show, which damn, I like, but when you can recite the entire episode by 8:30 PM, it's a bit excessive, when Comedy Central isn't boring me with movies I've never heard of and ENDLESS ads for Girls Gone Wild. Apparently, since this enterprise has become so played out that it even makes topless women uninteresting, now they jump topless out of planes. Think of the windburn!

Oh, speaking of offensive commercials, I found one more offensive than the stupid Jared commercials AND the watch commercials, and I can't even remember what company is promoting this brand of nonsense.

But according to this company (and creepy cartoon mascot, which brings to mind the truly FUNNY Sunny D commercial where the cartoon spokesman pops out and the family screams and runs in terror, as any sane person would do), your man will love you if you buy him a HDTV. In fact, if you buy him the HDTV, he'll love you so much, he may buy you a shiny object from the jewelry counter because women are raccoons.

Screw diamonds, where's *my* HDTV? I can't watch MASH reruns on a diamond tennis bracelet.

So the desktop computer had a stroke and I had to play with the registry, which I hate doing because I keep being convinced that I'm going to do something horrible and the computer is going to melt into a pile of plastic goo while a deep mechanical voice cackles at me. I suppose the plus to diamonds is they don't have a registry you have to screw with.

I fixed most things (including the internet), but the Skype is screwed, so now I need to hook equipment back to my laptop like I had on the island, which violates my laziness clause, so blah. Well, to the BBQ!