March 19th, 2007

children of dune - leto 1

it started with work then went to interpretations of canon--I have no idea how

I'm going through a depressing country music phase, where I want to listen to breakup and death songs. My music tastes are almost constantly at odds with what I want to read. Lemme tell you, anytime the rotation includes one song about murder, two Johnny Cash, and this? There's something odd going on with the playlist.

Currently on the rotation--What Hurts the Most, Rascal Flatts. The video is wrenching as hell.


I had an interview on Friday. It was kind of bad, in that way that bad romantic comedies are bad. They told me one, but teh calendar said two. I assumed that meant they'd changed it--it was Friday, people go to a late lunch. It's the state. It happens. But no, it was one, leading me to run desperately to my computer and print out the calender function off Outlook and shoving it into the interviewer's cubicle with a desperate expression. So the interview went off at two, and the question and answer portion was fine. I'm good with those.

Then came the practical.

I want to give you an image. Let's go with a Stargate image, because hey, it's my lj, I can do that whether it's relatable or not.

You are given a series of copies of something in indistinct patterns written in Ancient and told to creat a spreadsheet from all twenty something pages. Some of the time they black out the name and claim number, sometimes not. Those two things are the only parts of the entire damn thing you understand. MBI number? Account? (Okay, I know what account is). A dizzying variety of acronyms. Some things that refer to money. Some--you have no idea. There are dates. You look at them like they're nuts.

It's STAR and STAR+ and Medicaid related, in case you're curious. You're probably not. Unless you work the programs, I cannot imagine a more boring topic of conversation. God, you should hear our jokes. Even I sometimes shudder in horror when I realize I'm laughing hysterically when someone makes a Medicaid/Medicare misnamed acronym joke. On the other hand, if you work with the implementation, you find yourself feverishly interested in the monthly policy updates, changes to providers, and being deeply and personally invested in whether or not you need prior authorization for non-generic medication.

Okay, what I said above would be very funny to one of us. You see why I don't really talk about my job much anymore.

Anyway, the pay is nice. The fact I'll be doing something new is nice. I had a horrific moment of comprehension today when I broke into my boss' office to reorganize all the personnel files that are about six months to ten months behind, or basically stopped being updated since I was his admin. I am that bored. The height of entertainment....

Wait. I was talking about the interview.

Well, the best part was, we had forty-five to do the spreadsheet (were they *fucking with me*?), the questionaire, and a letter that--God, okay, a letter to a clinic's owning company explaining why we wont' cover something. No, really. I have this--weird and strange need to--do the hardest thing first. I did the questionnaire really fast, but the spreadsheet fascinated me. I had never seen so many sheets of paper in legitimate English composed of such nonsense. Contextually, they were rejections of billing due to third party insurers--I can see people's eyes glazing already, but seriously, this is the height of chic social chat at the office--but mostly, they were long rows of acronyms with monetary value assigned. I read through it all in horror, worked out I was looking in the face of hell, and went back and looked for commonalities.

I'm good at pattern recognition--this is why I interview well for the state. I can usually figure out what they're looking for by paying attention to the wording of questions. This is why I was a good caseworker. That's all pattern recognition in policy. The problem was, it's pattern recognition of a foreign language. And some of the commonalities--like name and claim number--were blacked out on some and not others. I pulled everything that appeared on every sheet, named it something that sounded like I knew what I was talking about, and set up the spreadsheet. I was half way done when my interviewer came over at the thirty minute mark and asked if I would be willing to do the rest on Monday.

I almost laughed. Sure, I said, because seriously, it's not like I'd figure this out without a character map even if I had the whole weekend. I did hte rest today. Didn't finish the provider letter. Didnt' really care. I wasn't qualified for this job when they asked me to interview. No, really. So that I got the interview at all was a surprise. Mostly, I tend to rest a lot of my value on the fact that I'm always good at my job. This isn't bragging. This is boredom. If I'm not good at it, the days pass a lot longer than they should. Being good is being given a lot to do, and look at that, five comes fast.

Work II

Short version--in 2005, the state sold off a lot of their social services to a private contractor, Accenture, better known under another name as the people who worked with Enron. No. I'm not kidding. I kind of want to cry, but this is typical of the current administration, so whatever. This included caseworker jobs. I was one of those, and changed jobs before they could start pink-slipping us. Well, as predicted, they made a mess of it. A huge mess of the CHIP program, the Medicaids, the--well, name it, they fucked it up royally. Tuesday last week, my mom called me while I was resting my feet in Millennium Park to tell me that the contract had been severed.

I won't try to explain my glee. It's hard to describe without going into strange, surreal comparisons to the Rapture, but suffice to say, there's a level of joy going on here that defies description. It's like--I don't know. I'm ombudsman--I know the level of fuck-upedness going on in the state due to both Accenture and the fact that the state, in prep for the rollout, started pink-slipping like crazy and we lost the best and brightest of our caseworking staff. The tenured. The ones that knew policy backward, forward, and sideways. The ones that coudl do the work. Leavingn the entire state with underqualified trainees in temp positions--so we weren't getting, in some cases, the best people. We were hiring people who knew how to read. Maybe.

Just suffice to say--I am very pleased with the universe.


I had this thoughtful topic on gen, slash, and het, but I'm still overthinking my instinctive response to the treatment of non-canon slash and non-canon het unequally, which was hostile. I'm less comfortable with diametrically opposing points of view than I really thought I was. Over-emotional reactions to stories, sure, I know I go places there, but that at least makes sense to me--it's *fic* and the point of fic is emotional engagement. A sudden hostility to a meta surprises me. I got over it quickly, because above and beyond that, it was interesting and thoughtful and brought up some questions I've been asking myself on the blurry lines between slash, het, gen, and the canon that rules them all.

Here abyssinia4077 talks about het, slash, gen, and labeling stories.

A part of this the way I set up my flist; I keep myself fairly isolated from things that really annoy me, so I'm unused to being highly annoyed unless I'm linked or someone points it out to me. A part of me does wonder if we lost something in switching to lj and being able to, in essence, pick our mailinglist mates, instead of having to deal with the annoying people daily and building up a certain level of tolerance for it. Or it could be just me; I'm getting more fixed in what I'm willing to deal with and what I'll blow off because I just am not willing to listen today. Etc. Etc. Etc. Which is a sign of either creeping intolerance or sheer laziness. I'm not sure which. I think I prefer the laziness.

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Singing along to Buffy the Musical soundtrack. God. It's so good that no one is close enough to have their ears start to bleed.