Monday, August 30, 2010

Unexpected purchases

Click on image to enlarge.

Event though we had been planning on doing a remodel. We had not planned on the sudden changes we have had to make to our shower. Besides the purchase of a transfer bench and a knee scooter. We have also had to buy a hose shower head and a grab bar so that I can shower standing on one foot. None of these have our worker's comp provider said they are willing to pay for.

Let's be clear about this, had my employer not decided to hold an event in a field where put holes had been allowed to fill with grass, and were not marked off as hazard, none of this would have been necessary. Had I had such a hazard in my yard and had a guest tripped and broken a bone in his/her foot I would be libel for damages, including lost wages and all related expenses.

These are related expenses; but, this is workman's compensation...

When we do the remodel all this will be ripped out. These expenses are solely related to this work injury. The pain and the hassels do not end at the end of a work day. I am looking forward to surgery. This is a 24/7 reality for me.

Yes, I expect compensation! You betcha I do!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Learning to live differently

Click on photo to enlarge.

Yesterday, despite the worker's compensation claim's administrator's assertion that I did not need the doctor proscribed knee scooter, I got one anyway. It has made a huge difference. Not only has it improved my mobility it has reduced my pain. With my crutches, every time I came down on my good foot I felt a rush of pain in my bad foot. I think it was from the sudden stop in motion causing a swelling of blood in my lower part of my body when my good foot lands using the crutches. Kind of a secondary impact.

My pain is reduced and I am using much fewer pain killers. That alone is worth the cost of the knee scooter, to me at least.

Yesterday I went in and delivered some forms to my manager. The outing was exhausting. I slept several hours after getting home. So did my Susie. She has been working and taking care of me. That's like working two jobs! She has been tired too.

Besides learning to do things differently we are having to adapt to the adversarial relationship with the worker's comp provider. It shouldn't be so, my injury's pretty clear cut, but it is. I am keeping a journal of everything and asking in writing for copies of everything.

It seems, that's just what you have to do if you work for SJSU/CSU and get injured on the job. I am glad for my union rep who has been there for me and given me some great advice.

More great advice: Read this PDF formatted Guidebook to Worker's Compensation in California.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sedgwick CMS Sucks (in my opinion)

I had the first conversation with the claims manager for Sedgwick CMS, the company that manages worker's comp claims for the university. In my opinion she had all the charm of a bill collector for a collection agency.

She challenged that I was injured on company time. She said she thought the meeting I attended was on my lunch hour. I told her I was injured at 10:15 a.m. She said she would have to check on that. I told her I had a doctor's prescription for a knee scooter so I could get around. She said crutches were all I needed, and they would have to review and consider any prescription before they can approve it.

My doctor (a worker's comp doctor no less) had warned me their review process takes so long that approval, when it comes, is sometimes made months after the patient had healed.

I got a scooter today anyway. I guess we will have to fight for reimbursement instead. Thanks to the friends who recommended it, by the way, the scooter is wonderful!

So, for those of you who like to rag on trial lawyers, this is why we need them. If the attitude of the person I talked with at Sedgwick CMS is any indication; it looks like a worker's comp attorney may be in my future.

Isn't it wonderful our CSU system chose Sedgwick CMS to "manage" workers comp for the CSU system? Nice to know they are looking out for us!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Fall at SJSU

Click on photo to enlarge.

At 10:15 a.m. Tuesday August 24, 2010, I was attending the Welcome Convocation on the Tower Lawn at San Jose State. It was a very hot day and the actual convocation was being given on the lawn between the library and Washington Square Hall. I wanted to hear SJSU President Don Kassing speak because I had missed his speech on Monday due to needs at the Help Desk. I was walking on the lawn and suddenly I fell, twisting my foot underneath me.

There was a hole in the lawn that grass had grown up into. I did not see the hole.

It hurt and I thought I had sprained it. Sprained it badly. I attended the speech limping along. But, it hurt; badly! I limped back to the help desk and reported the injury to my supervisor. He called one of our staff who had a cart. They wheeled me over to the health center where they x-rayed me and said I had a Jones Fracture and an Avulsion fracture.

Information about that is here, and here, and here.

They were not able to give me pain medication as the university pharmacy was closed due to our recent layoffs. I was sent to the university's worker's comp provider where I waited for what seemed like forever. Finally we were seen and I was given some medication and referred to see the podiatrist (who comes in Thursday.)

Research on this has indicates this will be awhile. According to one source, "You won't be able to put weight on the leg, and will not be able to move the foot for several weeks, usually 6-8."

This is my new reality!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Giant turtle at SJSU

Click on image to enlarge.

On Friday morning a giant inflatable Sea Turtle was inflated on the tower lawn.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Installing KompoZer

Click on video to view.

KompoZer is a free, open source, what you see is what you get, HTML editor. KompoZer is maintained as a project on Sourceforge.

KompoZer is a complete web authoring system. KompoZer also provides web file management.

KompoZer is designed for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.

KompoZer is available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.

In this demo we will be showing how to download and install KompoZer on an Apple Macintosh computer running Mac OS X. We will be using the also free Firefox Web browser.

Friday, August 20, 2010

And the Old Cafeteria (and pub) comes down

The old cafeteria at SJSI

Click on image to enlarge

The demolition of the Old Cafeteria building is proceeding. I remember when the area where this truck is sitting was "The Pub." When Jack Elway was football coach at SJSU you would often see him here with players relaxing and drinking. I remember one time when his son John Elway was here with them. John was playing for Stanford at the time.

After the pub it was the Market Cafe, kind of like a Peet's Coffee. We went there many times in the morning.

There was a lot of parties, dinners and awards ceremonies in the University Room here. Many happy memories.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Labor Media Skills Workshop

I am at day two of the Media Skills Workshop at the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Former SF Chronicle reporter Rob Collier just finished a talk about how to work with the news media. This is a great workshop and I am very happy to be here. Andrea Buffa, to the left of Rob is one of the facilitators of the seminar.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

March mornings in August at SJSU

Click on photo to enlarge.

This morning as I drove to work the thermometer said 56 degrees (13.3 C.)

For California in the dog days of summer that's fracken cold! It has been warming up in the afternoon, but nothing like what we would normally see. While the rest of the country is sweltering; we are wearing sweaters and jackets in the morning.

I guess March is being rerun over and over again this year, kinda like Groundhog Day. Go figure?

Monday, August 09, 2010

SJSU systems problems on Aug. 9, 2010

UPDATE: Systems seem to be working normally as of 8:55 a.m.

As of about 8:30 a.m. there is an SJSU systems outage affecting multiple systems and we do not know when these systems will return to normal. Affected systems include:

  • SJSU Lotus Notes E-Mail
  • SJSUOne portal for changing SJSUOne passwords
  • SJSU Google Provided Gmail.
  • SJSUOne authentication based services for authenticating other services.

Systems that were working last time we checked include:

  • MySJSU
  • SJSUOne based wireless authentication
  • Legacy UNIX authentication

At this time we do not have information regarding the cause or the time of return to service of these services. It is possible some services may be restored intermittently. Full stability of services can not be assured at this time.

Systems can be returned to full or partial functionality without notice, so the best advice is to keep checking.

UPDATE: Systems seem to be working normally as of 8:55 a.m.

Friday, August 06, 2010

That's me

Click on image to enlarge.

This morning at 9 a.m. my friend and SJSU ace photographer Robert Bain was scheduled to do a photo shoot. So, I went over to see how it was going. He used me to check his lighting (that's Tower Hall in the background.)

It is wicked cold for August in California and I was wearing a heavy sweatshirt Susie and I bought in Quebec City, Canada last June.

I was not dressed for a photo shoot. I did not shave this morning and I had my own camera over my shoulder. But, that's me! It was really nice of Bob to share the photos with me.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

We need a security audit, now please

Audits are not the most welcome thing. Nobody likes an audit. But, with SJSU in the midst of a huge migration from proprietary e-mail systems like Lotus Notes and Exchange to Google Provided Gmail there have been some major changes that should be looked at. The user authentication method (UAM) used by the old systems was distributed and administrated by staff employees in organizational units (OUs) who had administration capabilities limited to employees in their own OU. The UAM for Gmail at SJSU is SJSUOne.

Password resets for SJSUOne campus wide are routinely done by student assistants. SJSUOne is the same UAM that has been used for the SJSU wireless network and the current security protocols were designed with less secure needs in mind (like the wireless network) than authentication to every employee at SJSU's e-mail.

Somebody who has expertise and real authority (and ability to change things if they need to be changed) needs to take a hard look and decide if SJSU's SJSUOne security protocols are tight enough to be used for a system that will authenticate the e-mail of the university president, the head of HR, SJSU's counselors, deans, managers, faculty and every other employee of San Jose State University.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Fire Season

I can tell you why I think about Janet Fitch this time of year. It's because of White Oleander. In that novel Fitch so eloquently describes California's fifth season, fire season.

Summer in California is short. It lasts maybe a month, between the solstice and the ides of July. Then comes fire season that runs through the dog days of summer into late October. The California fire season forms a backdrop for much of her novel, White Oleander. It's when the Santa Anas blow. That's where we are now. Fitch captures the brutal heart of this season:

The Santa Anas blew in hot from the desert, shriveling the last of the spring grass into whiskers of pale straw. Only the oleanders thrived, their delicate poisonous blooms, their dagger green leaves. We could not sleep in the hot dry nights, my mother and I.
— Janet Fitch (White Oleander)

Janet Fitch is an intense writer who wields worlds with amazing efficiency. Sometimes, I get the feeling she is a writer possessed by a thinking, creative and hungry demon. Her demon can only be satiated by writing. Getting paid for writing for Fitch, I suspect, is a side benefit. Her passion for writing seems so intense to me. I think she would write no matter the compensation.

I suspect if intelligence were (formally) recognized in this country as being evil, if intelligence was made illegal, if thinking writers were being burned at the stake along with intellectuals and other enemies of the state for practicing their witchcraft, if Fitch survived the first pogrom; she would still be writing.

I can see Janet Fitch working midnights at Denny's and writing on the back of napkins. By day she would post her writing on public bathroom mirrors, if she had to; to feed the demon.

Fitch wrote:

I regret nothing. No woman with any self-respect would have done less. The question of good and evil will always be one of philosophy's most intriguing problems, up there with the problem of existence itself. I'm not quarreling with your choice of issues, only with your intellectually diminished approach. If evil means to be self-motivated, to live on one's own terms, then every artist, every thinker, every original mind, is evil. Because we dare to look through our own eyes rather than mouth cliches lent us from the so-called Fathers. To dare to see is to steal fire from the Gods. This is mankind's destiny, the engine which fuels us as a race.
— Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
[More quotes by Janet Fitch.]

I am glad Fitch is blogging and we can read her blog as well as her books. It is good Janet Fitch has to feed her demon.

White Oleander and Paint It Black are powerful books. If you want to read some of the best contemporary fiction writing there is. Start there!