Prescriptions shouldn’t be this idiotic…

So it’s no secret that my love of all things bad for me has resulted in a need for blood pressure medication. Not a huge deal, one pill a day keeps me from stroking out at 39.

The catch of course, is my insurance. Now I’ve had the same company through my past two employers, and neither will pay a cent towards the medication. As a result, if I rely on my insurance, it costs $300+ a month.

Enter the manufacturer of the drug, who provided a coupon for those of us in the same boat where it only costs $10 a month. That was my reality until I switched to a new plan, which required me to use their specific pharmacy, and their specific mail order.

Mind you – neither their pharmacy or mail order plan save me any money. I’d be dropping $300 to stay in the good graces of my insurer’s preference. As a result, my co pay is now $50 a month. Not earth shattering, I know, but since my insurer refuses to utter the magic words to the pharmacy, I’m another $40 out of pocket each month.

My doctor switched me from the local pharmacy to one in NJ hoping to get me a lower co-pay. Instead, it was still $50, and on top of that this new pharmacy would have rather wait until they get the aforementioned magic words before sending me the medication that keeps me from having the aforementioned stroke.

I finally say “ok, ship it to me now, I’m almost out, and we will worry about this later.” That’s all fine and dandy until month #2 comes along, and instead of shipping me anything, they’re waiting for me to call and request a shipment… They have a reminder service, that calls me in advance to get authorization, but I have to specifically request it.

Specifically request a service I didn’t know existed. Ok, whatever, so my next prescription is on its way, and then I get a call from the new pharmacy this morning. “In order to get you a lower co-pay (that we will not tell you) we have transferred your prescription to RANDOMCOMPANYNAME, so call them at this number to set things up.”

RANDOMCOMPANYNAME? Not open on Saturdays. Call their number, after a handful of rings the line goes dead. No message, no menu, etc… I’m about ready to give up and have my doctor write out the prescription to the local pharmacy, and eat the higher copay just so things stay local, predictable, and I can you know, not have a stroke.

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Found this on an old backup… May continue to develop it. Wrote it back in 2003.

The silent timer ticked away, days, hours, minutes, seconds, until a devastating test is carried out.  The crack in the desert floor hid everything, the secret Government complex, the truth about the oddly disfigured and dismembered animals found which dotted an invisible border around the complex…

Jack Stillson had a run of  bad luck.  He lost his wife, daughter, to a bottle he couldn’t let go of and a career driving 18-wheeler’s cross-country.  His family hadn’t seen him in over a year, and didn’t notice as he stood on the rainy street looking in the window.  Through the smoke from the cigarette in his palm, he saw the new home, with the new furniture, new pictures, and most importantly new man holding his young daughter as she was his own.  Something clicked in his head at that moment, and he began to realize exactly what he’d been missing all along.

It’d been more than a month since he had a drink, and his old habit of walking into Kelley’s Pub was a surefire way to halt any possible record.  The bartender recognized his old friend and waved him over with a sparkle in his eye.  “What’ll it be, Jack, the usual?”

“Not this time Pat, I’ll have a Coke.” The bartender stood and looked at him, astonished.  “Yes you heard me right, that’ll be just a Coke, no ice.”  Jack never understood why places put so much ice in the cup whenever he ordered a drink, after all, the beverage is already cold.  He sat there drinking his Coke and it dawned on him that he had absolutely no desire to spike it with some Rum, or even move on to something a little harder than the fizzy sugar drink.

After drinking nearly an entire six-pack of Cola, a feeling washed over Jack, almost like the excitement of his first hard-drink while his parents were off learning to square dance.  He opened up his pack of Reds and went to light up a smoke….only to tuck the cancer-stick back in the box and toss it on the bar.  Jack felt good, he didn’t know where it came from but was not about to question the rush of energy he had.  He ran through the rain, across the glistening streets, until he came to his old front-door.  The heart beating in his chest seemed to be louder than his knock at the door.  Lights clicked on inside, some distant grumbling was heard as Jennifer came to the door and opened it.  Upon site of Jack, she sighed and began to close the door again…

“Jenny, no!  Wait!”

“You know you can’t be coming around here like this Jack.”  Jenny had opened the door enough to see her ex husband, soaking wet in blue jeans, plaid shirt, and worn baseball cap, standing there with an ear to ear grin.

“All I want to know is if I can take Ashlea out tomorrow while I am in town, that is all”

“She has school tomorrow, Jack, it’s a school night, remember?  Wait, how could you, do you even know what day it is anymore?  All you think about is your next bottle and what exit the nearest bar is at…”  Jack lowered his head for a moment, but then cut off his old flame…

“Then I’ll see her first thing tomorrow to wait for the school bus.”  With that he turned around and walked away as the door slammed from behind.

The rain had since subsided, the small alarm clock in his Peterbuilt waking him from a recurrent dream…  A bright light in the desert…  the road falling out from under his rig on a mountain road…  The slide towards the light…and then he wakes up.

‘I’ve got to get to Ashlea,’ he thought to himself.  Freshening up a bit with a bottle of cologne and some spray-on deodorant, he headed off towards his daughter.

“Daddy!” His daughter ran up to him and hugged him around the waist with all her might.  “Are you back?  Are you really back?”

“I’m back for now Honey, I was hoping you’d let me wait with you for the school bus.”

They sat on the bench and talked for a few minutes until the school bus rolled up, and a rather large Monitor stepped out.  “Watch out for her Daddy, she’s Maggie and she’s very mean to everybody.”
”Mean is she?  Not to my little girl.”

Jack began to walk Ashlea around the front of the waiting bus when he was cut off halfway across the grille by Maggie.  “You know we try to teach our kids not to talk to strangers, but every once and awhile one of you weirdo’s will show up at their stop and try to take advantage of them!”

“I’m her father, and since you are not her Mother, I really have no reason to waste my time with you.”  Jack made his way around Maggie, a very portly woman in her forties who despite the laws of modern physics managed to fit herself into a skin-tight white shirt and a sky-blue pair of spandex pants.  Nobody managed to tell her off like that in the past 10 years, which is why the driver shook his hand as Maggie watched from in front of this bus.

Standing on the first step, Jack gave his little girl a hug, and wished her a good day at school.  The driver chimed in, “You really frosted Maggie, nobody’s managed to get her that fired up in years.”  The driver offered his hand, “the name’s Sam, and I do believe you’ve made the remainder of my morning uncomfortable…  Need a lift anywhere?”
”My rig is parked 2 blocks over, but I can walk…”

“So can Maggie!”
The door closed, the bus began to pull away, and Maggie’s shrill voice was drowned out by the sound of the bus’s diesel engine pulling it up the hill.

Jack waved his daughter goodbye and saw a couple of guys he knew waiting by the truck.  They had gone on to work with a major trucking company while Jack had stayed independent.  “Jack, what’re you up to.”
”Just heading back out of town Lloyd.”
”I sure hope so, you know nobody uses you indy’s anymore.”
”And nothing ever gets there on time.”
As Jack started to pull himself into the truck, he felt a slight tug on his shirt but ignored it.  Lloyd’s nameless cohort slipped an open flask of whiskey into his side pocket.  The truck fired up and pulled away.  Lloyd looked to his friend and said “The second our State Trooper finds that flask on him, we won’t have to worry about seeing his alkie ass around town again.

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Middle-aged Human Burning Turtle (not very catchy, I know).

If I had to describe myself right now… it’s how I’ve been my whole life… I’m a turtle on fire.  When you think of a turtle what do you see in your head… Slow, persistent, keeps moving forward, and can hide in its shell if need be.  Only difference here is, my shell is on fire.  What’s a shell?  Armor.  Only it’s not steel, it’s not Kevlar, it’s not 3 inch thick plexiglass.  It’s flesh.  Thick, heavy, burning flesh.  I still feel the lap of every flame.  I feel the physical.  I feel the burning.  Whether I’m standing still… hiding in my shell, or moving forward… the fire is always there.  A constant pain, a constant burning, a constant torment I cannot see, reach, touch, or extinguish.  A constant stress.  A constant agony.  A constant pain.  I can’t outrun it.   I cannot escape.  I am a turtle on fire.  Cursed to burn.  Cursed to keep going.  I can’t feel anything but the fire at my back, chasing me.

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Shiver me timbers… My MySpace was hacked!

So I get this spam email this morning…  Normally I don’t even bother reading through these – but in an interesting turn of events the scammer actually posted an email address that is mine (that hasn’t actually been used as anything but a forwarder for years) and my old MySpace password.  If I had to guess, there was probably a breach of MySpace back in the day, or wherever the database files are currently stored – and this enterprising individual/group is hoping that people still use the same login/password to this day and will panic.

In actuality – I haven’t used MySpace since… 2009 I think?

Bonus points for effort, but this is entirely bullshit.  I feel bad for the folks who will blindly send off money as a result of this sort of email.  The takeaway here is don’t use the same password in multiple locations, and don’t re-use old passwords.  I wish them luck with my “files”. 🙂


I greet you!

I have bad news for you.
06/28/2018 – on this day I hacked your operating system and got full access to your account marlin@tothemetal.net
On that day your account (marlin@tothemetal.net) password was: *********

It is useless to change the password, my malware intercepts it every time.

How it was:
In the software of the router to which you were connected that day, there was a vulnerability.
I first hacked this router and placed my malicious code on it.
When you entered in the Internet, my trojan was installed on the operating system of your device.

After that, I made a full dump of your disk (I have all your address book, history of viewing sites, all files, phone numbers and addresses of all your contacts).

A month ago, I wanted to lock your device and ask for a small amount of money to unlock.
But I looked at the sites that you regularly visit, and came to the big delight of your favorite resources.
I’m talking about sites for adults.

I want to say – you are a big pervert. You have unbridled fantasy!

After that, an idea came to my mind.
I made a screenshot of the intimate website where you have fun (you know what it is about, right?).
After that, I took off your joys (using the camera of your device). It turned out beautifully, do not hesitate.

I am strongly belive that you would not like to show these pictures to your relatives, friends or colleagues.
I think $984 is a very small amount for my silence.
Besides, I spent a lot of time on you!

I accept money only in Bitcoins.
My BTC wallet: x

You do not know how to replenish a Bitcoin wallet?
In any search engine write “how to send money to btc wallet”.
It’s easier than send money to a credit card!

For payment you have a little more than two days (exactly 50 hours).
Do not worry, the timer will start at the moment when you open this letter. Yes, yes .. it has already started!

After payment, my virus and dirty photos with you self-destruct automatically.
Narrative, if I do not receive the specified amount from you, then your device will be blocked, and all your contacts will receive a photos with your “joys”.

I want you to be prudent.
– Do not try to find and destroy my virus! (All your data is already uploaded to a remote server)
– Do not try to contact me (this is not feasible, I sent you an email from your account)
– Various security services will not help you; formatting a disk or destroying a device will not help either, since your data is already on a remote server.

P.S. I guarantee you that I will not disturb you again after payment, as you are not my single victim.
 This is a hacker code of honor.

From now on, I advise you to use good antiviruses and update them regularly (several times a day)!

Don’t be mad at me, everyone has their own work.
Farewell.

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Tales from the commute

Been heading in earlier to beat the traffic nightmare that is Route 17… It splits into two lanes, left goes to the Thruway, right goes to the Thruway as well in addition to offering exits to Bear Mountain and 17 South. Leaving an hour later puts me into a 10+ minute traffic jam.

So I get to the train this morning which thankfully was NOT cancelled, and as I’m standing on the platform, this woman shoves past me to get to the yellow line. Not realizing she’s now standing in a puddle on an otherwise dry platform, I laugh as the water proceeds to dump on her head.

Getting to the ferry, the usual slip is closed, and normally there’s a guy shouting to tell us which slip to use. He’s not there so we all line up at the next available berth like last week. He shows up about 5 seconds after we all mistakenly rush to yet another slip where we hear someone shout Wall Street. Here’s an idea, move the sign until whatever maintenance is complete.

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The Ranch… Come on Netflix, you can do better.

The big question going into season 5 of The Ranch on Netflix was how they planned to handle the firing of Danny Masterson, who played Rooster – one of the 3 leads of the show with Beau (Sam Elliot) and Colt (Ashton Kutcher).

Old rape allegations caught up with Masterson during the height of the “metoo” movement and he was summarily fired.  I’m not getting into why he was fired, I’m focusing here on how the show handled it.  Spoilers ahead.

The main arc this season is a wildfire that heavily damaged the town and Ranch, and burned down the Peterson ranch that Colt had planned to develop and raise his family on with Abby (Elisha Cuthbert) and how the group of family and friends recover from it.

A big chunk of this season surrounded Rooster’s actions to protect the ranch, Colt’s efforts to cover for his brother, and of course Rooster’s relationship with Mary who recently started up again with her ex-con boyfriend Nick (Josh Burrow).  That’s when the trouble started.

Nick’s character just sucked the life out of the show, the writing didn’t fit, the character didn’t fit.  Threatening to kill Rooster if he ever went near Mary again (who pretty much runs his mother’s bar)… Then subsequently threatening to kill him and his family if he didn’t leave town right then and there.  That’s it.  That’s how this character, this lead is written off the show.

Dexter had a better sendoff.

The next season will introduce a new character played by Dax Shepard to fill the empty space left by Rooster.  Honestly, with how this was handled I’m really curious if the writers can dig the show out of the massive hole they’ve landed in.  Personally?  I would have kept the character and replaced the actor.

As of right now – Rooster’s gone to who knows where, no idea if the character will return.  Mary’s broken up from an ex-con who was crazy enough to break into Rooster’s cabin and force him out of town at gunpoint.  The show just took a really dark turn here, Empire Strikes Back dark.  It used to be light-hearted and hopeful.  In one fell swoop that mood is gone.

There was some great character development here, especially when it comes to the father/son dynamic between Beau and Colt.  I still want to see where the story goes but I’m not entirely sure it’s salvageable.  Wait and see I guess.

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15 Minute Ribs?

Got my hands on a pressure cooker over the weekend, and I can honestly say if I use it for nothing else – making ribs with the thing has turned a half day ordeal into a quick snack.

I always heard that the steam pressure and heat generated in the cooker can rapidly accelerate the cooking of meat and they were not kidding. I picked up a rack of baby backs with an idea to smoke them for Sunday dinner.

Instead, I quickly thawed them in the kitchen sink (fill sink with hot water, drop ribs in while still in the plastic) and give it 20-30 minutes. Once thawed, I took the ribs out, quartered the rack, and seared them in 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil I added to the cooker.

Once seared, I applied a coffee based dry rub, and lined them up vertically in the cooker. To the cooker I added a cup and a half of chicken broth and a half cup of Larceny bourbon.

Lastly, I locked down the lid and set the timer to 15 minutes.

I was stunned. These were not overcooked “fall off the bone” ribs, and they had perfect tenderness and mouth feel after only 15 minutes, fully cooked in the pressure cooker.

After I took the ribs out, I fired up the pressure cooker one more time with the vent open to reduce the sauce that was created, and then I basted the ribs with it.

Next time I’ll be finishing them in the smoker at very low heat to infuse flavor and not overcook them.

If you prefer overcooked ribs, 20 to 30 minutes in the pressure cooker would ruin them nicely! 🙂

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Far Cry 5

Finished Far Cry 5 the other day. Despite the scale of the game and its various story / side missions, to me it seemed to go really quick. Not to mention, I dropped extra $$$ on the “Gold” edition which entitles me to two DLC’s, a handful of weapons with marginal benefits, and a free copy of Far Cry 3 Classic when it arrives for Xbox One in “September 2018.”

Was the extra cost worth it? After I play the DLC’s and whatnot, I’ll chime in. That said, one of my biggest complaints of Far Cry 3 and 4 (forget Primal, that shit bored me) – is that the games felt TOO long. Too much to do, so much so that actually beating the  game felt like a chore.  Not this time around, I got to the end, finished the story, finished the sides, and kept asking “is this it?” not realizing that I actually spent 65 hours on it. Comparatively speaking, I spent 30 hours on Far Cry 3 and 58 on Far Cry 4.  5 didn’t feel nearly as drawn out as either of those.

Ubisoft’s Far Cry series has become extremely predictable at this point, the only thing that changes with each iteration are the weapons and story – besides that just fill in the blanks and go.  Is predictable really bad though?  Definitely feels like they’re working to strike a balance between “LETS DO ALL THE THINGS” and “Why did they stop playing so soon?

As far as complaints?  My only real complaints involve the weapons and vehicles.  The vehicles have a few major classes, beyond the class (sports car, off roader, big truck, etc…) the individual options are all functionally identical.  Off roaders are always faster and better handling than cars.  Care to fly?  Helicopters have significant visual variety, but performance is identical, same for planes (which can be landed in 20 feet on any road).  The main difference being some have guns, some have guns and rockets, and others have neither.  Guns?  Again you have classes, pistol, shotgun, SMG (never actually used one), rifle, heavy machine guns, sniper rifles, etc… Outside of each class?  Visual differences, no real functional differences.  Once you unlock an HMG with a silencer and a scope – 83% of the remaining weapons become pointless.

They’re doing it right.  I saw a complaint from a major online video game reviewer that they couldn’t take the story seriously, that was their biggest complaint.  I laughed.  These are the same people who looked at a guy named Mario tossing fireballs at turtles with wings and tossed the controller aside because nothing like that existed in nature.  While Far Cry is predictable, it is as challenging as you want it to be, and most importantly – fun.

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The Blue Tent Sky

Just finished reading one Hell of a story with a capital H.  It’s something that apparently blew up on social media over the past few years that I completely missed, and only caught wind of due to my Conservative leanings and Facebook’s ability to point out things a deplorable like myself may want to read.

The cliffs notes?  Guy is in an unfortunate situation due to his ex wife, moving between a house in Colorado, an apartment in NJ, and his parents home in NJ.  His mother gets worried about something he says (thinking he might be suicidal) and calls 911.  A dirty cop takes the call.  Brian Aitken gets arrested for possessing legally purchased firearms, ammunition, and magazines.  He’s prosecuted by a dirty prosecutor.  Convicted by a dirty judge.  Ignorant, knee-jerk, gun hating politicians tried to make an example of him.  He wound up making an example of them.

Guy lost his home, his son, all because of a bullshit legal system trying to score points.  This is entirely true, and not the only story I’ve heard of law abiding citizens being victimized by the state of NJ.  It’s all fact, it’s all public record, and something that should be seriously considered any time your first reaction to any gun incident is MORE LAWS.

We’ve got the laws, most are completely inane and only serve to punish the law abiding.  Criminals don’t care, and neither do the politicians in their rapid-fire placation of voters to stay in office and gain power.

I suggest whether you’re for or against guns – read this book.  It’s $2 in Kindle format, and I finished it in about 3 hours.  It’ll either open your eyes or confirm the terrifying reality of how our government really doesn’t know what they’re doing when it comes to guns.

The author has recently received a full pardon, but be aware – you could be next even if everything you do follows the letter of the law.

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You can keep it.

So I overhear a guy in the office saying something about wearing a “blazer” and I honestly couldn’t remember what the hell it was, so I ask.  He explains then says “I didn’t realize you lived that far upstate.”

“Yea I’m surrounded by like 2000 acres of farm land”

“You can keep it.”

“It’s quiet at night, I own my home, and drive a $60k pickup truck.  Gladly.”

Blew his snark right out the back of his head.

I don’t understand why people need to be that way, but I’m more than happy to sink to their level and beat them with experience.

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