Covered California is a Scam

Every day, self gets a message in her in-box: You have until Dec. 15 to sign up for mandatory health insurance.

Then: GET HELP PICKING A PLAN BEFORE DECEMBER 15.

Then, a glorious array of plans starting at $871/month, and going up all the way to $3,000/month.

Then,

PLEASE CONTACT US. WE MAY CONNECT YOU TO A MARKETPLACE-REGISTERED AGENT OR BROER WHO WILL CONTACT YOU TO HELP YOU ENROLL, THROUGH A SERVICE WE’VE PARTNERED WITH, HELP ON-DEMAND. AGENTS AND BROKERS ARE TRAINED BY THE MARKETPLACE AND LICENSED IN THEIR RESPECTIVE STATE. THEY ARE USUALLY PAID BY THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WHOSE PLANS THEY SELL.

The above message is giving self all kinds of trills of alarm: “They are USUALLY PAID BY THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WHOSE PLANS THEY SELL.”

These ‘brokers of health’ will get all your vital information, and end up telling you the same thing you know already: Health insurance is mandatory, here are the plans: $871/month, $918/month, $1,001/month, $1,300/month.

When the IRS penalty is $700, doesn’t it make better financial sense to pay the penalty, which is less than even just one month’s premium?

Even on a plan, annual deductible is $6300, so you would be paying roughly $12,000 year and some, FOR ROUTINE CARE.

Self tried yesterday to enroll in a national health insurance plan. As soon as the rep learned self was a California resident, she said, “Sorry, can’t help you. You have to choose a plan from Covered California.”

The system of health care in the United States is in the hands of snake-oil salesmen.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Photo a Week Challenge: In the Neighborhood

Love this week’s Photo a Week Challenge.

Self is heading home soon. Here are three pictures she took just before she left on her latest trip:

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Kepler’s Books and Magazines, Menlo Park, California: Self read here when her first book came out, ages and ages and ages ago.

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Courthouse Square, Redwood City, California: This has been her home for almost as long as she’s lived in America. It’s one of the most vibrant, ethnically-mixed places on the Peninsula.

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Stanford University, which made of self a writer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Happening to Neelay in Redwood City, California: The Overstory, p. 279

Really love these Redwood City scenes (where Neelay bases his electronic game company), just sayin’.

Below, a scene self has just finished reading (Neelay’s just had a telephone conversation with his mother, who’s misconstrued his reference to his female caregiver as a reference to a fiancée):

“Goodness. These things take time, Neelay.”

When they hang up, he raises his hand in the air and slams it down onto the desk’s front edge. There’s a very wrong sound, and a sharp white pain, and he knows he has broken at least one bone.

In blinding pain, he rides his private elevator down into the opulent lobby, the beautiful redwood trim paid for by millions of people’s desire to live anywhere else but here. His eyes stream with tears and rage. But quietly, politely, to the terrified receptionist, he holds up his swollen, snapped claw, and says, “I’m going to have to get to the hospital.”

He knows what’s waiting for him there, after they mend his hand. They will scold him. They’ll put him on a drip and make him swear to eat properly. As the receptionist makes her frantic calls, Neelay glances up at the wall where he has hung those words of Borges, still the guiding principle of his young life:

Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe in the future he shall be.

Note to dear blog readers: Never ever let your mother have this kind of an effect on you. Or you may end up like poor Neelay here!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 70: MONOCHROME

P. A. Moed quotes Kim Hunter:

. . . emotions come through much stronger in black and white. Color is distracting in a way, it pleases the eye but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart.

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Domestic Terminal, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila: September 2019

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Sitting at an Outdoor Table, Café Borrone, Menlo Park, California: August 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Monterey in 1786: Life in a California Mission, from the Journals of Jean Francois de la Pérouse

The commander’s house, the largest in San Francisco, had a dirt floor “without being boarded, paved, or even reduced to an even surface: the roof was covered in with flags and rushes; the furniture consisted of a very sparing assortment of the meanest kind.” The commander’s wife, while “decently dressed,” received him “seated crosslegged on a mat.”

Landscape: California

Hidden Valley Loop Trail, Joshua Tree National Park:

  • In the distance were giant boulders and, everywhere on the plain beneath them, Joshua trees. I had always loved the oaks and pines and redwoods of the Bay Area, with their long and leafy limbs, but I had missed the desert trees: stout, prickly, wild-armed, and yet utterly fragile.

The Other Americans, by Laila Lalami, p. 137

3 CALIFORNIA CITIES (Tuesday Photo Challenge)

Self loves whenever viveka of my guilty pleasures posts for a new photo challenge.

Yesterday she posted on Tuesday Photo Challenge’s prompt: CITY. She has pictures of Chicago, Seattle, Hong Kong, Stockholm, and several others.

Self took the picture below last Saturday, during the Palo Alto Art & Wine Festival.

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Here’s a picture of Courthouse Square in self’s very own Redwood City:

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Friday, Just before an evening concert, July 2019

Self gave a reading at Philippine Expressions in Long Beach in March 2018. The naval yards are huge. This is the marina at sunset. I have never seen so many boats gathered in one place, virtually stretching to the horizon. My feeling was awe:

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Long Beach, California, March 2018

Photo A Week Challenge: STILL LIFE

Self LOVES still life. Taking pictures of things are a lot of fun.

So happy to join the Photo A Week Challenge this week.

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Still Life with Reading Material: Home in Redwood City, August 2019 (Self brought that shell all the way from the Philippines)

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More Redwood City: Dining Room, July 2019

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And Still More Redwood City: Front Porch, July 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Lens-Artists Challenge # 57: TAKING A BREAK

Self’s current book, Mihaly Czsikszentmihalyi’s FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE is a very, very interesting book.

Her son and daughter-in-law were Psychology majors at Claremont, the school where the author taught. In fact, she read about him in the Claremont Graduate University alumni magazine, The Flame.

She is trying to practice Flow thinking (see graph below). She is trying to achieve “complexity” in her consciousness. This will be her project for the rest of the summer.

She thinks this goal is very much tied in with the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: TAKING A BREAK.

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Today, she walked downtown, which she hadn’t done in two weeks. Courthouse Square was empty. Nevertheless, the trip was not in vain, for she saw a movie: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Is this a ‘Flow’ experience? Self thinks it is. Watching movies is one of self’s most enjoyable activities.

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Mid-Afternoon, Courthouse Square, Redwood City, CA

And, she spends A LOT of time in her garden, where her efforts are repaid with gorgeous blooms like this one, on her Sheila’s Perfume rose:

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Sheila’s Perfume, last week of July 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

California: The Light

California light is harsh. There are no subtleties between light and dark.

You’re young and then you’re suddenly old. It just happens.

We’re at the very middle of summer. After tomorrow, the days will get shorter. Self is sorry that she didn’t enjoy the summer as much as she should have. The weather every day was so unsettling: some days cool, like early spring. And then, the very next day, intensely hot.

She loves watching CNN: that succession of animatronic talking heads. The best moments of the Democratic Campaign so far have been: 1) Pete Buttigieg being confronted by a crowd of angry black citizens of South Bend, asking him if he believed in Black Lives Matter (“Are you asking me if black lives matter?” Buttigieg asked. “Of course they do.” A woman yelled: SAY IT. WE WANT TO HEAR YOU SAY IT. High drama, self loved it. Buttigieg did not back down. 2) Michael Bennett’s speech highlights, shown this morning before he came on The View. Until this morning, she barely registered a thought about him. WOW, that speech they aired this morning was a scorcher.

Both Buttigieg and Bennet are long shots, but they each represent a uniquely American energy. Which is COMPLETELY LACKING in the GOP.

She watched both Democratic debates. She was not enthused by Kamala’s unleashing on Biden. Self means, someone had to go after Biden, and no one was doing it, good for Kamala for having the keenest ambition of all the candidates. But really, it felt almost too easy. She won’t find it that easy to go after POTUS the same way.

Self tries to imagine a presidential debate between Trump and Kamala. She doesn’t think he’ll go for creepily stalking her across the stage, as he did with Hillary (Or maybe he will. Who knows? He’s clearly used that tactic before. On someone. Alas, Hillary was completely unprepared for the grotesque gesture)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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