March 31, 2010


You should get the Gardasil vaccine. Here's why:

It prevents the 4 most common and most deadly strains of HPV.
HPV is an incredibly common STD (you could already have it).
Certain strains of HPV turn into genital warts or cervical cancer.
HPV affects both men and women (well, at least those who are having sex).
You could be carrying HPV and not know it and pass it to a partner.
The only way to test for HPV is to test symptoms.
HPV is transmitted through simple skin contact.
Condoms don't provide 100% protection against HPV.

Gardasil is administered in 3 doses in 6 months at any doctor, gynecologist or Planned Parenthood clinic. Very few people feel any side effects (mostly some soreness at the injection site) and it has been proven effective in blocking those deadliest strains of HPV. The key word in that sentence, however, is blocking. Once you have a strain of HPV it's yours to keep (and share). Gardasil can't really help you once you've gotten a strain; it can, however, continue to block the other three strains, so it's still worth getting.

The biggest caveat is price. Retail value is about $160 per shot, for a total of close to $500. Insurance covers most of this price, but even if it doesn't $500 isn't much compared to the cost of cancer, financial and otherwise. Plus, the distributor, Merck & Co., made an agreement with Planned Parenthood to give the shot to qualified individuals (those of us who are poor enough) for $20 a pop. Hooray!

I finally finished the 6 month, 3 shot procedure this week. The only side effect I experienced the whole time was when I got the last shot. The drug is stored at very low temperatures, so a thoughtful nurse will let it sit out for a few minutes before injecting it. Unfortunately, I didn't get to wait long enough, so the injection was pure cold going straight into my muscle. And then I went to work, where I use my arms extensively, so it's still a little sore. But now I'm protected against the 4 strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts, so even if my future partner has one of those strains I'll be OK.

So, to quote a friend: Not getting cancer is where it's at!

March 25, 2010

Recession Proof Your Life!

No, not the beer!

The latest catch phrase for advertising is "recession-proof." If you do this or buy that you will recession-proof this or that. On my door was a paper telling me I can recession-proof my mouth. My mouth! For only $69 I can get a full cleaning, exam, x-ray and other dental goodies. I'm not exactly sure how this is recession-proofing my mouth. Right now I'm paying $0, outside of the cost of toothpaste, so $69 seems kind of steep.

This is not a new idea, however. We've always been told that if we buy this or do that we're really investing in the future and it will end up saving us money down the road. This is why car service companies offer 4 oil changes for $39.99. At ten bucks a pop that's a fantastic deal. But the fine lines say you have to get those oil changes every 3,000 miles and who does that? So you end up spending $40 thinking it's a great deal and a year later you either can't find the rewards card or you move or just plain forget.

Now, what a local dentist could do to recession-proof my mouth is offer me a free cleaning, no strings attached. I'd certainly take them up on that offer.

March 22, 2010

I See Rich People

I'm usually mildly amused when the homeless find creative ways to ask for money at traffic intersections. But one guy took it a step too far.

His sign, which was typed in enormous font on paper glued to cardboard, read "I see rich people." The first time I saw him he was looking pretty not-homeless, in clean clothes, standing at an intersection near the mall I live by. He was laughing and joking with some other guy. I had just worked at the Park for 4 hours and had less than an hour to shower and eat before starting my 8 hour shift at Job #2. I realize I live in a rather well-off area, but it's also chock full of starving students (and, apparently, college graduates who work 2 jobs).

The second time I saw him was later that night, while working my shift at Job #2. This time he was standing at an exit at the Fashion Valley mall, guilting people for their evening of extravagant shopping. Again, he had on clean clothes and a smile. I drove by (in a brown 15-passenger van) shaking my head. He saw, waved and thought I was laughing at his sign.

I'm not sure what he was trying to do (because it was obvious this wasn't his only way of getting money), but he made me angry. So fuck you, I See Rich People guy. Just because I live in San Diego and just because I'm driving around moderately wealthy areas does not mean I will find your shenanigans funny. I don't have the time to just stand around shopping malls waving to cars, like apparently you do, so either you're recently laid off and eating through your severance pay or you've got someone taking care of you. Either way, STFU and go away. Besides:

March 14, 2010

Dog Meat

China is discussing a possible ban on dog meat. Might happen sometime this decade. But you might be thinking, as I did, that dog meat is eaten because there's nothing else to eat, and it's better to eat dog than starve.


Dog meat is on restaurant menus and is rather popular. Dogs are collected in cages and sold and slaughtered. This video on CNN is pretty difficult to watch. It also shows how cats are kept before sold to the slaughter, but cat eating isn't as common. PRI did an interview on the ban, too, and both articles discussed the various reasons people eat dog. Many believe dog is healthier, can keep you warm in winter, help you sweat in summer, and that the adrenaline in the body before the animal is killed is beneficial (dogs are often killed in incredible inhumane manners in order to get that adrenaline). Because the Chinese are getting more and more companion animals dog and cat meat is gradually becoming less popular. Many dissenters argue that some of the animals being sold for slaughter may well be lost or stolen pets. Though no one is arguing that pet dogs should be eaten, there's no way to tell a dog is a stray once the collar is gone.

Actually, that's not true. Well known vegetarian Jonathan Safran Foer makes a case for eating dogs. And he even quotes Animal Farm! Winner! Foer makes a great point, one I've contemplated extensively for several months now, and one that makes me whip out my phone to check the EDF Seafood Selector every time I buy fish. It is strange that we eat some animals and not others, because we don't just eat the stupid ones. And even if we did just eat the stupid animals, no animal is dumb enough to not realize when life sucks and then you die a horrible death.

Whatever you do, do NOT do a Google image search for dog meat. Just don't. I did, and then did a search for cute puppies in order to not start crying. And now

March 10, 2010


Find out what it means to me! Oh!

Been discussing respect in the workplace. Some of us aren't really feeling it right about now, myself oh so included. I'm of the belief that just because a person works for (or under, giggity) another person doesn't give the person in the superior position a right to act like a superior person. Big difference there.

A part-time job opportunity arose recently, right around the time my supervisor scheduled me for a 2-day week, so I took it. What's next week looking like? Close to full time. Absolutely zero stability. And because I'm low man on the scheduling totem pole I don't get my requests for time off. I feel like my supervisor could work with me a little more but doesn't because he isn't required to. I just keep telling myself that in one month (the day I get back from SF!) I can sign up for work loans and apply for other jobs, and if God loves me it'll all be over soon. And I don't even care that my supervisors will see me applying for all these jobs as soon as I'm allowed to. I don't belong in that department because I want to feel respected by my supervisors for being a good employee.

Sometimes I wish I didn't love the Park so much. If I didn't know that other departments are run more smoothly and with greater respect for their employees, if I didn't believe in what the Society does for conservation, and if I didn't want to make my career with animals then I'd be out as soon as I found something else to pay the bills. I'm not happy at work, but I stay because I remember being the happiest I've ever been in a better department. April can't get here soon enough.