Wait I was listening to That!

I’ve actually uttered that phrase because I was listening to decent music while I was on hold and then someone picked up. When it comes to hold music it is normally feast or famine. Most of the time it is some prerecorded generic crap music that your communications provider has installed as part of the software. In rare instances you run across the business/office that has invested some money in their communications equipment and the local soft rock radio station is piped through while you wait to speak with a human.

My problem is the automated hold system that reminds me every 2&½ seconds that “We value your service and know that you are busy and someone will be right with you.” No shit Sherlock. I get more annoyed at that constantly parroted than I do the shitty hold music. What’s worse is when it keeps interrupting a decent song. When I am on hold extend that please continue to hold reminder to somewhere around the 40 second mark. Personally, I wouldn’t mind hearing the reminder between songs, but I think most people would forget/ give up if the reminder wasn’t more frequent.

Bottom line here is less reminders better tunes.

Airsoft: Comfort Part II

Time to get back to some airsoft talk. I last left off my thoughts about comfort at the waist so lets continue moving up the body. So looking at the torso area you have a few basic options.

1. Plate carrier.

2. Chest Rig.

3. Zip Front Vest

Again depending on the role you are fulfilling will dictate your choice. I started with a vest, but ended up with switching to a plate carrier because of the greater coverage area it give in providing an extra layer to protect against bb hits, but also for greater pouch customization.

Moving out to the arms some people like to use full or partial arm guards. I haven’t found a reason to use them, but it depends on the look your are going for and the protection you want. Elbow pads are another consideration. In the roles I normally play in I don’t really have a need for them, but if you find yourself in the prone position a lot it is something to think about. Finally your hands. This is a safety issue as much as it is a comfort issue, but I strongly suggest some sort of gloves. The amount of suckage when getting hit in the fingers with a round is right up there with hitting your funny bone. Also, if it is an outdoors op there is temperature to consider as well.

Moving up to the neck. I have yet to see someone actually wear a neck guard, but from my time as a hockey goalie I felt it wise to include. Otherwise one of the best items I have found to wear is a shemagh. It provides protection for your neck, wicks away some of your sweat, can help keep the wire for your coms out of the way, and helps maintain body heat in colder environments.

Just a reminder that goggles are a must just find the pair that works best for you. Also, another reminder is that although not a requirement I highly suggest this piece of equipment. Although they normally aren’t all that comfortable, yes I am aware we are taking about comfort here, it can be adapted so that it is comfortable.

Finally the top of your head. There are a cajillian different options here from nothing at all to full on riot helmet. It all depends on the role your are playing or look you are trying to mimic, but my suggestion is to wear something. It’ll provide some help to protect against impacts and in colder environments help maintain body heat and wick away sweat.

Medication: Flagyl

Flagyl or more commonly known by its generic name metronidazole is used to treat a variety of bacterial infection. One of the first things every patient is counseled on other than how to take the medication is to avoid alcohol. Avoiding that combo is so important that we warn patients not to use mouth washes and certain cough syrups due to the amount of gastrointestinal distress it can cause. I bring this up for two reasons.

  • To convey how important it is to listen to our warnings when talking to someone about medication from the pharmacy.
  • There’s normally a story to go along with it.

So of course I’ve had the patient say to me, “Why didn’t you tell me the medication would react poorly with alcohol?” Well the fact of the matter is we did. The consultation upon pick up, the hand written note on the bag, or the warning sticker that is on the bottle. Three strikes and you’re out. The only person to blame is you. It was the equivalent of driving your car off the end of the unfinished highway because the warning signs, flares, and cones weren’t a great enough signal.

The first story comes via my manager. When first starting out in San Francisco she worked alongside a female pharmacist of the Asian persuasion. While consulting a patient on why not to consume alcohol while taking Flagyl the pharmacist expressed it as such “you drink while taking this you die”. (Insert best bad Asian accent here.) While I agree with this sentiment it probably could have been expressed better.

The second story is a patient interaction of my own. After informing the patient that they needed to avoid consuming any kind of alcohol while taking the medication they proceeded to ask me if just one beer would be ok. If I go to the extent of warning you to avoid mouth wash and cough syrups that contain alcohol CLEARLY ONE BEER IS NOT GOING TO BE OKAY! I ask the patient how intimate they wanted to get with their toilet because that would most likely be the end result.

The patient then proceeds to tell me that they had a party they needed to attend and would just start the medication on Monday so as not to ruin their weekend. I advised them about delaying the medication was not a wise decision, but since I was not their mother that I cannot make them take the medication either. Said patient took the medication and went on their merry way. Find out about a week later that the patient did not heed our warning and ended up vomiting so much that they dehydrated themselves enough to end up being admitted to the ER. Not a huge believer in Karma, but I’m pretty sure it caught up with them on this one.

Micromanagement

Micromanagement is one of the worst ways to run a business and/or supervise employees. To me it says that the supervisor doesn’t trust the employee(s). Having to report about every single facet of a job task is tedious and a waste of time which in my experience makes completing the task in general take more time.

When starting something that is a brand new service, product, or procedure I am more than willing to go through some extra motions and extra reporting steps just to make sure everything is running smoothly and working as should be. However, when it has been some time into whatever it may be step back and the employees do what they have proven to be able to do.

Another acceptable reason for micromanagement would be safety. If the task being performed is something that is abnormally dangerous than  yes by all means please check and double, triple, quadruple check me. Last thing I need is causing harm to myself or someone else.

If you are in a supervisory position have some faith in those in your charge. Once they have mastered what is required take a step back and let the machine run. Let the expectations needed be known and I’ll bet everyone steps up and gets it done.

The Drive-Thru

Right as I earned my drivers learners permit I started working at Burger King. After a few short months of sweating my ass off working the fryers I was trained to work the registers and shortly from there was put on the drive-thru as well. As enjoyable as it was to be out from behind the fryer I quickly learned that interacting with the public required different tactics and that the drive-thru was sometimes more of a punishment than a privilege.

During the summer and intermittently throughout the school year as breaks would allow I also worked construction. It is during that time that I would  help build the pharmacy where I would later work. While constructing the building I would see the prints and what I thought was just going to be a large bay window for the pharmacy because it was only the door and window overlay turned out to be the drive-thru.

Knowing the unique difficulties that drive-thru customers sometimes have or can create I felt prepared to deal with still having a drive-thru component. What I was not prepared for was people not treating the pharmacy was the modicum of respect it deserves, but having the same mentality of the get it done yesterday that the fast food drive-thru had. We will fill medications as quickly as possible for patients, but not at the sacrifice of safety.

Within the past year or so I have stopped trying to do the dumb ass dance of telling people how busy we are and I will try to do it quicker and now plainly state that this isn’t (insert randomly chosen fast food chain here). What’s worse is that the powers that be would rather us treat it like a fast food drive-thru.

When looking back the pharmacy drive-thru was created to help the patient who is in pain or has a disability that makes getting in and out of their vehicle a not so easy task. For the patient who has some sort of pathogen and doesn’t wish to infect the other patients and staff by coming inside. To these people I say a special thank you. And finally for those with children who are either asleep or are sick and bringing them inside probably isn’t a kosher idea. All of this I agree with and maybe a handful of other exceptions.

I’m going to bottom line this. Using the pharmacy drive-thru is a privilege not a right.

Je Suis Charlie

My condolences to the friends and family of those whose lives were ended in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine. I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

As for the assholes who committed these murders I hope that when the G.I.G.N. catches up with you that no quarter is given. You don’t deserve it.

To the rest of the world who takes issue with anyone poking fun at your religious deities. GET OVER IT. Most of the worlds countries have evolved enough to allow for freedom of expression and most people have learned to deal with it. If you live somewhere, where it is restricted or frowned upon to express yourself and you agree with it please permanently hold your breath. No one is making you view the material and its not a malicious attack.

The Smell of Winter

This evening it is exceptionally cold outside. The sky is mostly clear and the moon is bright. The air also has a crisp fresh smell to air with the faint odor of a wood fire nearby. This normally occurs the evening after a days worth of fresh snow has fallen. It’s like a cleaning of the atmosphere. It is nights like these that allow me to further embrace my inner Canadian heritage. This is also why I enjoy the winter about other seasons.

Do Your Best

When set to a task whether it be a task at one of my jobs, in scouting, etc… I do “my best”. By “my best” I try to figure out how to give 100%. I strive to always bring my “A” game. Honestly, I don’t know any other way to do things. The only time I don’t put in my max effort is when I am sick or injured even then I am going to look for a way to maximize my effort.

Here comes the rant.

I take issue when I have to work/interact with someone and they aren’t bringing their “A” game. I don’t expect it all the time, but when you never show up with your “A” game don’t expect me to be on my good list for long. What really annoys the shit out of me is when a person’s “B-” game is impacting my ability to put forth my “A” game.

(Even high performance race cars aren’t capable of having the throttle pinned to the floor all the time. Have to down shift and throttle back once in a while. However, when second place starts closing the gap and it’s the last couple of laps get it in gear and pin that throttle.)

I’m going to borrow a quote from Adam Carolla, “Don’t do your best. Do my best.” I’m not saying you need to be able to perform at my level all the time, but when I only have to put forth 75% of my effort to equal 100% of your effort that’s not kosher.

I am also reminded of conversation I had with my mother the other day.

Me: I’m tired of busting my ass and always bringing my A game while some people show up and only bring their B- game.

Mom: I think you have higher expectations than is reasonable for most people. You should probably knock it down a peg.

I thought about that for a second and then dismissed it. I’m not going to lower my expectations of others when I know that they are capable of doing better work and/or achieving better results. Even more so when I know they are shirking responsibility.

Me: I’ll knock it down one peg when everyone else steps it up 3.

I’m sure some people are gonna get butt hurt over this taking it as a personal attack.

I honestly don’t care. Most of the people I interact with will read this and not give it a second thought because they bust their ass as hard and sometimes harder than I do and have not a thing to worry about. Some others will read this and might feel insulted, angry, hurt, and possibly guilty. If that happens to be you, take a long hard look in the mirror before you take issue. This is an opportunity for self evaluation and improvement. How can you improve “your best?” It’s a question I try and ask myself at least once a week.

Hitting the Reset Button

Ladies and Gents take out your steno pads and pencils, clearly you lost your notes from last year. During open enrollment your chose to either renew or change your insurance. As a result of this you most likely got new insurance cards. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILTY TO UPDATE THIS INFORMATION WITH ALL YOUR PROVIDERS. THIS INCLUDES THE PHARMACY.

Crystal balls are not standard pharmacy equipment so we will not be pulling a “miss cleo” to guess at your benefits. Although I am one with the force my Jedi powers do not give me the foresight to see your ID number. I will say that my company has equipped us with tools to help search out the information because we do understand that the insurance companies sometimes do a less than stellar job on getting the new cards to people in a timely manner. However, it doesn’t guarantee that we can see. Your insurance provider has to participate and correctly load your information in the search databases.

Since it is the beginning of the year it is also important to remember that DEDUCTIBLES AND PREMIUMS RESET. Yes, we realize that your pay X amount of dollars per paycheck/month to have insurance, but much like car insurance unless you pay a lot up front you will have at least a deductible to take care once you need to use the insurance.

I also ask for some patience. There are a lot of changes happening all at once in the beginning of the year. Although we are aware of a lot it we don’t know why everything has changed to what it has. We will fix and find you answers as quickly as possible, but remember you are most likely not the only person having issues.

Airsoft: Comfort

Alright so what I consider the second thing to consider when putting your airsoft kit together is comfort. Some of this will also play into safety as well.

Let’s start from the ground and work our way up. One thing to remember is for every piece of gear you choose that’s the weight you are going to have to carry. With that in mind let start with the feet.

Socks…….wear them. Make sure the sock will cover the same area the boot is. Wearing ankle socks with boots that come up high on your shin is asking for some rub burn issues. I also recommend wearing socks with extra padding on the feet soul area. I find it cuts down on fatigue, add foot comfort, and reduces end of op pain.

Boots…..wear them. There are many safety reasons to wear them, but comfort is key as well. You will be running around in them for 5 or more hours based on the op. Please remember to break them in. One optional thing for the boots may be inserts of some kind.

Moving up the leg lets look at the shin to knee area. I like to wear just knee pads mostly to save my knees some wear and tear, but also to save my pants some wear and tear as well. If you opt for the combat pants with knee inserts you need to accept the fact that the fabric holding the inserts in place will eventually break apart. Some people like to wear shin protectors along with knee pads. It honestly comes down to your role choice and how aggressive a player you are.

Continuing up to the waist area. Regardless of the role you chose to play I strongly suggest wearing some sort regular belt of suspenders to help hold your pants up. You will be moving around a lot and they will loosen up. I can also suggest a battle belt of some kind on top of it. Even if it’s just another belt to further help hold your pants up. Depending on your role and kit choice you might also find yourself putting pouches, side arm holsters, extra mag holders, etc… on it.

Although I don’t personally use one I have run across a player or two that have chosen to wear some protection over their sensitive neather regions. I see this as more of a safety option, but whatever helps you feel more comfortable while playing is always a plus to me.

After some thought comfort is going to have to be split into two posts. Too many thoughts to share and I only made it to the waist area.