Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Hello everyone! I’m sorry this post has been so delayed. College has been keeping me busy, so I am sticking to the tradition that my post will be as late as ever.

But never fear! I will try to write on Tuesdays as much as possible, and when I become more familiar with my schedule, I will be able to write at a more consistent time. For now, you will have to live with what you get.

This specific post is about the Health Care Reforms that are being enacted under a bill entitled “American’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” It is a 1014 page bill that covers health care reforms in America. It is currently being discussed in the Senate and has been the topic of many a debate in the media.

As a disclaimer, my opinion on the matter is that this bill should not be enacted. I am not a supporter of a public health care option (nor am I a supporter of other governmentally funded welfare projects such as social security).

So uh. Read. Enjoy. Hope you learn a little more.

Currently Listening To: Love Story (Taylor Swift)
Currently Drinking: Pepsi Cherry
Currently Eating: M&Ms
Currently Watching: Toradora
Currently Reading: My textbooks
Random Image of the Day

So. Health Care.

Yea. Health Care Bill.

Tonight, President Obama’s speech was all about addressing the concerns of Health Care reform and answering all the questions on the 1000 page bill that is passing through the House of Representatives (that’s right, it hasn’t even gotten to the Senate). It was a very long speech about how the health care reform would not impose itself upon the American public, and how there were many misconceptions (mostly on the Republican side) about how the health care system would be ruined.

So, to get it out of the way, let me explain the bill in a little detail.

It is NOT some Nazi program bent on destroying the world. There are no death panels, and not EVERYONE would HAVE to have public health care.

The bill has two purposes: creating a public health care option and fixing the problems with the current health care system (the exact quote is “enact strong insurance market reforms”). These reforms would include creating a maximum up front payment for the patient, forcing everyone to have health care and, as previously mentioned, creating a public health care option that would be available to all American citizens. This public health care plan would enter the market as a competitor to private companies, to encourage choice and competition.

Also, each health care plan would have to be reviewed by a Health Choice Commissioner, who would regulate which health care plans were legally available. To be available, the plans have to contain essential benefits and protections, and would (obviously) have to be affordable.

In total, the plan would cost 9 Billion (count those zeros with me: 9,000,000,000) dollars over the span of 10 years. Yes, this is cheaper than the Iraq war, but that doesn’t make it any less pricey.

President Obama says the intention of the bill is to reform the health care system by regulating private companies and creating a public option that will allow all citizens to have health care (regardless of health history) and will encourage private companies to keep their health plans low and available to everyone (all health care plans must guarantee availability and renew-ability to ALL citizens).

President Obama also claims that the health care plan is self-sustaining, with revenues being brought in by premiums, other insurance companies (who have to pay fees if their plan is too expensive) and by cutting down on money that is being spent frivolously. How he and the government intends on jump starting the program as a whole is still a mystery to me.

One of my biggest concerns when it comes to cost is that government plans have a habit of costing more than they’ve been predicted to cost. Take Social Security for example, which has been following the “this is going to be a self-sustaining program” concept since 1939. Five (5) adults currently pay for one (1) senior citizen who is on social security. This cannot be sustained for much longer, especially with the baby boomer generation coming into an age where they can start collecting their social security benefits.

Or take the welfare benefits that discourage people from finding jobs because they make more money on welfare than they would finding a job. Don’t forget we are also paying for the Medicaid system, which provides health care to poor and low-income families.

These were all programs that started off with wonderful intentions to provide happiness and comfortability to all the citizens and legal residents of the United States. But these are very expensive, very abused programs which are practically at the brink of failure.

The new Health Care bill is not much different. It is intended to be a program for the American Government to, once again, provide some sort of social welfare for the country. However, I find the bill to be too vague and too expensive. Nine billion dollars is a lot, but I’d venture to say that people will use it as an excuse to spend more money.

Which brings me to my next topic. I first heard this concern from 20/20 (which my mom had fallen asleep watching). In the show, they compare the need for health care with the need for groceries (not a perfect metaphor, but it serves its purpose). If an individual paid a “grocery insurance,” that person would put a certain amount of money down to get a certain amount of grocery products, just as health insurance allows you to obtain health care coverage.

Well, if a person had an option between the steak or the chicken (both of which would be covered by the grocery insurance), the person would obviously choose the steak.

This is true for health insurance, with many people choosing more expensive surgeries because it is “covered under the health insurance: “When we pay for health care with someone else’s money, it creates nasty incentives. It’s good to be covered in case of a medical catastrophe, like a heart attack or cancer, but when patients pay for almost everything from physicals to acupuncture using third-party money, they have no reason to care about cost. Because the buyers don’t care about cost, neither do the health-care providers.”

20/20 uses Lasik as an example. Because Lasik is not covered under any insurance policy, doctors have to compete to encourage patients to buy from them. This competition is what drives the price of Lasik down. Buyers have to “shop around” for prices, just as they do with other products.

This is the same type of competition that President Obama talks about in his Address to Congress about the Health Care Reforms. He claims that having a public option will drive down prices and create competition between health care because the public option will inherently be cheaper BECAUSE there is no behind-the-scenes-money-wasting.

Bullshit! For one, public health care may not always be the cheapest. For two, it is not competition if public health care has clear advantages in the market. While private companies will have to pay a fee for expensive health care plans and will have to go under the scrutiny of a Health Choice Commissioner (who is and will be federally paid), public health care will not go under the same lenses BECAUSE it is a government program. Also, the reforms REQUIRE that every person have health insurance. President Obama says this is because every person “has to do their part, or the system will not work.” However, I feel that it is a person’s choice to want or not want health care, just as it is a person’s right to not get a job, lie under oath and commit suicide. All of these actions have severe consequences (expensive hospital bills, no money, going to jail and death, respectively), but they are still “options,” even if they are not the ones you would chose (I would personally buy some good health care, get a job, not lie under oath, and live).

For example, if a small business owner does not want to provide health care (DOES NOT WANT is very different from cannot), it is his/her right to not provide said health care. Because it doesn’t provide health care while its competitors do, that small company (the one not providing health care) will suffer a labor shortage and will eventually go bankrupt/fade out. It’s a simple matter of “this is a poor business choice,” and I would rather a small business owner want to provide health care than HAVE TO provide health care.

I am all for the goals of reforming health care system (whether it has to do with drug companies, medical malpractice laws or insurance businesses). However, I feel that the plan leaves too many holes open for future abuse of the system, and will end up as a detriment to the US Economy (since it’s going to get ridiculously expensive one day). I’m glad that the Obama Administration is taking steps to improve the health care system in America, but I feel that there should be a separation between reforming the health care system and adding a public health care option. I also feel that Obama should be concentrating on other things, such as improving the economy. Were this bill to be enacted, none of the laws would go into action until 2013 (when President Obama will either be out of office or serving his second term) anyway. I feel there are more pressing matters at hand.

I feel the same way about this bill as I do many of the other government social welfare/insurance programs. Good intentions, bad implementations.


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Otakon 2009

Hey everyone! I have slowly been getting back into blogging. I’m so sorry for not posting as often as I should be. I’ve been quite busy with cosplay, work, Circle K and other stuff. I did make a review (kind of?) about Otakon, and I have various more blog posts saved, which will be slowly (but surely) coming out more and more often.

Besides this, nothing much has been going on. I turned 19 (hurrah), and got a lot of great stuff. And, at Otakon, I got tons (tons) of prints and a very nice red yukata I will show of… eventually. =] Pictures of me @ Otakon will be up, er, eventually. I promise.

Currently Listening To: I Miss You (Blink 182)
Currently Drinking: Sprite
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2
Currently Watching: Mushi-shi (again)
Currently Reading: Nothing
Current Mood: Whoo, Post-Con Exaustion

So this weekend, I attended Otakon 2009, the second largest anime convention in the United States (the largest on the East coast). It was a good convention (save the few disappointing panels we ran across), and was an overall enjoyable experience. For Otakon, it was slightly under par as opposed to its previous years, but I anticipated it (due to lack of money and other things), but was still a very successful con.

The main disappointing key was in the cosplay department. The “amazing” cosplays were few and far in between, and many of them were repeats of last year. There were several impressive cosplays, but the majority of the cosplays were limited to Soul Eater, Black Butler and the various Shounen Jump animes. Even Final Fantasy was under cosplayed (this includes the Kingdom Hearts cosplayers). Again, I attribute it to major money issues, but it was still depressing.

Something else I noticed, especially while observing cosplays, is that there is a clear and defined split between various cliques/groups of the con, and I’m not just talking about the furries. It makes me think back to my first convention (Big Apple Anime Fest 2003 if anyone was wondering). Was I really that rowdy and loud? I wonder if anyone wanted to strangle me the way I wanted to choke the brats that kept stepping on my cosplay this weekend. This gap is most evident in cosplay, which is mostly split into 3 or 4 groups (it’s more apparent than ever before because I’ve simply gone to too many conventions this year) at any given time. It makes me wonder what “cosplay group” I belong in. I can’t easily place myself in the half-ass cosplay group or the “God damn everyone and their mother cosplays *so-and-so*” (as popular as a cosplay Lulu is, there were far more Narutos and Luffies and Madame Reds) as I did my previous years (especially in my first couple years… I was smack in that group). But, I’m nowhere near the “pro cosplay” group, although I did have the great privilege of talking to a couple journeyman and master rank cosplayers (they were really nice and gave me a couple tips on what I could do for further cosplays… *squee!*).

In any case, I’ve been somehow convinced to cosplay next year and, better yet, compete next year in either the masquerade or the hall. I’m not quite sure which one, but I already have my costume picked out (and I’m not changing it dammit!), so I’m pumped for next year.

One thing that kind of bugged me this year was the large amount of people who stared down my chest (and this is more than usual). People were literally talking to my boobies, and there were plenty of people trying to get peep shots up my skirt (if anyone as seen the Lulu cosplay, he or she is more than aware of how short the front is). I had a couple people come to me and tell me my costume was “the best damn Lulu I’ve seen yet,” then ask to hug me and stuff like that. There was a black lady who was not part of the con-craze (aka, she was a normal woman living in Baltimore) and she came up to me and asked me how I kept my bust so “high.” (That was an interesting experience in it of itself, since she was all into asking questions about the con) And, lots of guys wanting to take pictures next to me, which is not unusual in it of itself, but is always funny. I find that female friends drag their male friends to me to take a picture, because the guys are too scared to ask me (this is usually for the younger age group, but has occasionally happened for the 20+).

In any case, Otakon has left me with the anime/gaming craze, so that’s what I’ll be doing for another month or so. That and cosplay planning.

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Whoo Vampires! *bleh*

I’m back from Spring Break! I know, I already mentioned it, but being back has been pretty good, except for one thing. A lot of things have been going on, so here it goes:

This afternoon, my laptop fried. From what I gather, it’s the Power Supply, which I’ll need replaced. My warranty is still on it, so I’m good. But still, ARG! This puts me back many a days with work and stuff.

So, to kill some time with my angst without having a computer, I decided to take some pictures (results below). I also took some pictures with my brother.

Half Heart

Besides that, I also decided to make okonomiyaki with friends in Geneseo. I’ll be buying the ingredients down here, since you probably can’t find it upstate or anything (and besides, I really would rather go scavenging for ingredients here than in Rochester).

This is the recipe I’ll be using to make okonomiyaki. I did it once during a food fair many years ago, and I do eat it every so often, but this’ll be the first time I’m buying the ingredients and doing it super legit. I’m so excited.

I watched an interview with Ben Bernanke today as well, which really shocked me (he’s the FED Chairman, he’s not supposed to be doing interviews). Anyway, he makes a lot of good points, but I know they’ll be taken the wrong way. Which was thus proven by the assessment of the interview in the CBS 2 news.

And… I ran into a image site which has me going through more anime pics (omg ><). I saw a new picture of Saber Lily, which is the “light” version of Saber from Fate/Stay Night (Saber Lily comes from Fate/Unlimited Codes).

Anyway, since I’m on Spring Break and I got shit to do (plus, it’s not my laptop), this is probably going to be a much smaller rant. Thank you for everyone who has been progressively commenting on my work (especially the hair thing. It really threw me off, but I’ll remember to get out more reviews of hair stuff when I start using more).

Also, I do have a twitter account (due to some people in college… and a lot of people back at home telling me they got one). My account name is xocomint.

Currently Listening: Nothing
Currently Watching: Dollhouse, The Unit
Currently Playing: The World Ends With You, Animal Crossing
Current Mood: Upset (about her laptop) and happy (for ingredient-buying/cosplay-work)

Today, my best friend (and essentially my twin) told me that she saw Twilight, the movie and decided to order Twilight the series.

I’m not sure what to make of this. The tutor/teacher in me is telling me it’s a good thing, since people are actually picking up a book and reading. Girls, anyway, are picking up books and reading. But the gamer/reader/writer/everything else in me is screaming to burn every Twilight book ever.

Let me backtrack.

I like novels. I’m a fan of good writing, and I enjoy reading. My literary criticism and my commentary-type work is much better than my creative writing. But this only makes me appreciate and enjoy good writing ever the more.

I used to be a decently big fan of Anne Rice, prior to her born-again Christian moment. I read all her vampire books (not her witch ones, interestingly), and I do like my vampire novels. I even like Dracula, even though that was more about the hunting of Dracula than actually him.

Anyway, Twilight is a poor excuse of a gothic romance novel about vampires that play baseball and fall in love with what they like to eat. A grave portion of the novel is about a girl (Bella) who is somehow magically obsessed with a guy who keeps pushing her away. They go to high school (High School Musical: Shiny Vampire Edition), which is how they met. So, later, he ends up “growing to like her” for no reason than her obsession with him. Then, he admits to her that he’s a vampire.

Now. Vampire. The typical vampire has only two requirements: Drinks blood & dies in the sun. Everything else (the garlic, the super-human strength, the bats, the everything else) is pretty much dependent on what legends you read, and what the vampire is supposed to be in the novel, as prescribed by the author.

TWILIGHT VAMPIRES DO NOT DIE IN THE SUN. In fact, they sparkle and shine and go outside and hang out with everyone. They’re not even like, cool vampires. They drink animal blood and play baseball.

Okay, back to the storyline. There’s another vampire coven (aka vampire family) that gets together and ends up liking Bella. Now, these group of vampires are like “Well. If you’re not going to eat her, I will” (whoo, go badass vampires), and Edward is all “NO, SHE’S GOING TO BE MY BABYDARLINGHONEYPIESWEETIE.” Some crummy and poorly written fighting moments happen (most of which I skipped), and, at the end of the book, they go to prom together.

The other books are worse than this. Spoilers are covered because I’m not sure if people actually read this and give two shits about Twilight, but I’m being polite:

So then Bella makes a friend with a werewolf, and then has to choose between wolf-boy and shiny-vampire. She chooses shiny-vampire, obviously, because everyone loves vampires *gags*. Then, she becomes a vampire and has a baby and the whole world wants to kill her baby at first, but then decides not to because something was proven wrong and everything ends happily ever after.

The movie is even worse. Here is a really good description of the movie, long story short. At least with the book, there are some half-assed excuses for some of the things, and I think there’s an attempt to make being a vampire look like a curse (Yes. Being a vampire is actually SUPPOSED to be a curse, not a super cool thing that will make all women swoon over you).

I mean, yes, I know people have right to read, write and watch what they want, but it’s just aggravating to think that the average girl thinks of Edward as the ideal guy. A jackass who hates her and only obsessed with her later because she dotes on his every whim.

Goodness gracious, girls don’t make sense. They want to be independent, and they claim that men always try to control them and abuse their feminine nature. But then, they obsessed over a female main character that swoons over a guy who keeps throwing her away.

I wonder why all vampires are supposed to be super pretty. I mean, what happens to the really ugly vampires? Do their families throw them out in the sun to burn up because they have a crooked nose? I know in World Of Darkness, they at least try to explain this with the idea that some covens only choose beautiful people because those certain covens are shallow and obsessed with that kind of stuff (plus, there are some ugly as fuck vampires in WoD).

Anyway, this was much longer than I had hoped, and I was really trying to shorten everything, but there it is. Twilight the novel is poor. Twilight the movie is 100x worse.

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