Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bob Marley has no American equivalent.

If you could meld Elvis Presley, George Washington, and Jesus (I know Jesus is not an American, but you get the idea), you might come close to the stature Marley has in Jamaica...maybe not even that close though, as neither Elvis, Washington, nor Jesus can be considered at all hip in the year 2007.

When there was no Marley playing over the resort speaker system (which was rare), the bartenders would give impromptu a cappella renditions of "No Woman, No Cry" and "One Love/People Get Ready"; In our room, we had Songs of Freedom playing nearly continuously through the CD player/clock radio. The room service attendants always seemed impressed by the music and would remark: "You got the Marley playing, Mon".

Perhaps most interesting, the terms "Marley" and "Bob Marley" have entered the Jamaican vernacular, and are used much like the word "Smurf" in Smurf Village. Shortly after we arrived at the resort, a bartender asked where we were from. After we told him, he got excited and said: "You have some great Bob Marley in California". It was not until after he asked if we were cops that I knew what he was talking about.

Here's a video Nicole shot from our room:

Speaking of our room, we had the best view(s) in the joint. Our corner unit, gave us four, count them four, fantastic views. The first is from the jacuzzi tub/shower. It will be difficult to return home (and to taking non-view showers).

I would have some cool underwater photos to post, except the sea conditions were too rough through most of our trip to scuba or snorkel. That was our only real complaint about the vacation (that, and the British guy who coughed on me, causing me to get sick for our last day of the trip). We did manage to get in some sailing (you can see our room behind Nicole--second floor, right side). Please click here for a previous review of the Hobie Wave.

And I learned to windsurf. Windsurfing is far harder than I had imagined. (Picture #2 is me being overpowered by the much larger 5 meter sail).

Nothing cures the pain of windsurfing like a little bit of rum. Here's Easton, delivering either a "Mai Thai 2000", or the drink right after that...which was "something with a lot of rum in it." If you have to ask what the difference between a mai thai, and a mai thai 2000 is...well, you probably shouldn't be drinking it.

After the sun when down, I switched to rum martinis. The pink thing is Nicole's cosmo.

I am certain that I have uploaded too many photos already (sorry, really should upgrade to DSL). Oh well, here's Nicole with a couple of parrots. The first one would not talk, but would occasionally laugh at us. The second one would say hello, goodbye, and not much else. Also, a photo of Nicole and Charlie, the resort's 100 year old turtle. Believe it or not, the turtle was better at following posing directions than was Nicole.

How about some proof that Nico and I were on this trip together? Here we are at Dunn River Falls.

Sorry for the size of this one, we'll use it for the next vacation, when the tour organizer demands a non-bicycling/non-sunglass photo. There was a cool sunset going on, but it appears we waiting just a little too long to have the picture taken:

While I'm on this picture uploading spree: Here's me in front of the Ocho Rios Pharmacy. If you can picture a full sized Rite-Aid, compressed down to the size of a Taco Bell, that will give you an idea of how cramped Jamaican pharmacies are. Like a Rite-Aid, each section (cosmetics, cold products, sun screens) had an employee asking if we needed any help...only due to the size of the store, they stood about three feet from each other. There was a long line to get to the pharmacist, so no interesting international RPh dialogue like in Mexico or Europe.

I was going to end with some hard hitting commentary about how the Jamaicans don't like us very much. I am actually not sure if that is the case or not...perhaps I'll think about it and post something later. If there is a Jamaican middle class anywhere in the country, we did not see it. We saw a few mansions, and many, many huts...many missing roofs and/or second stories. Here's one in a good state of repair.

Like my coworkers, those Jamaicans did like my last name; Lasco is like the Nabisco of Jamaica, or something. There were Lasco signs everywhere. And a hostess at one of the restaurants at our resort told us that we must rent Lasko Deathtrain.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Heav'n has no Rage...

I first heard the following proverb at Disneyland prior to the start of a guest (crowd) control shift. The lead (supervisor) pulled out this worn copy of Zen Flesh, Zen Bones and proceeded to give us a spiritual pep talk. The following paragraph changed my life:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him. Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

Thinking about that strawberry is how I manage to get by during those 51 weeks every year when I am not in paradise. Okay, Newport Beach is not that bad, but it is still a good idea to have some zen handy for those days when your company misses earnings estimates by six cents.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just in case Jamaica is absolutely the most fabulous place anywhere...

I thought I would look into getting registered to practice pharmacy in Jamaica.

(If you want to read a similar story about the Hawaiian Boards, click here.)

Unfortunately, the people of Jamaica do not appear to be actively seeking American Pharmacists. Here is all the information from the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica website under the link "Policy for the Registration of Foreign Trained Pharmacists".

It would appear there are not very many pharmacists in Jamaica. In California, you can go to the Board of Pharmacy Website and search by name and/or license number to find a specific pharmacist (I'm number 52 thousand and something). Things are simpler in Jamaica. Click here to see the 25 pharmacists with last names starting with A. Half of them are named Allen, and half Anderson. Are those common names in Jamaica, or are there two competing pharmacy dynasties?

Anyway, in case I don't get another post in before Friday, I'll be in:


I thought Jamaica was 3 hours ahead of us. I suppose there is no need for Daylight Saving Time in the Carribean.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I told the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!

Email sent to my coworkers on Saturday:

Some friends were going to come over for dinner tonight, but have cancelled due to illness.

If I know Mrs. Lasko at all, she’ll be spending the day cleaning up the condo and cooking something fabulous (while I slave away here at work). Were I to relay the above information promptly, it is likely that neither of these things will happen.

So the question for the group is: at what hour am I required to let the Mrs. know that nobody will be joining us for dinner? Hmmmn, why isn’t Minh working today?

My tally from the all female crew yielded one "LOL" (which I took to mean, "No need to tell her yet"), 3 responses of the: "Have you no conscience?" variety, and 3 abstentions. (This world is run by clowns, who don't get my jokes).

I ended up breaking the news to Nicole before any of the extensive cooking and/or cleaning occurred...I was rewarded with: a clean house, tamales from scratch, and a mojito. I don't think it's a gay

I guess those Mormons might be on to something.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And if you don't expect too much form me, you might not be let down...

For the first time since leaving my job at the happiest place on earth, I have exceeded expectations on an annual performance review. Oh my God, I entered the pharmacy profession (or at least pharmacy business) 12 years ago...

Certainly, the main reason for my run of mediocre (met expectations) performance reviews has been the fact that I am rarely in a job long enough to be evaluated, let alone long enough to receive any sort of commendation. But also, I tend to do my work very well when I start a job (if it's interesting, at least...Crescent Healthcare was not interesting); after a few months, I get bored, and begin the search for a new job. I suppose much of life is like this. I really need to reverse my strategy in the future...exceeding expectations would be a breeze.

So I am not really sure what I did differently during this last year of employment. Just in case somebody important is reading my blog, I will not write about how I've been phoning it in here for as long as I can remember. (I have a friend who once had a merit increase revoked [due to UC budget constraints, not lack of merit]--I think he hung a sign over his desk that read: "I will pretend to work for as long as you pretend to pay me". Or was that the other way around: "As long as you pretend to pay me, I will pretend to work"?)

Note to anyone that has recently complained that my posts are of no interest to anybody except the writer:

1) Please put blog related comments and/or complaints in the appropriate comment field. Yes, registration is required, but it takes 10 seconds to register, and you are more than welcome to make up a name.

2) Read more carefully, maybe something will be applicable to your own existence. Maybe not, I am not particulary deep, and I am well aware my writing style can be less than clear. If you want easy, try USA Today (The only newspaper in the country that is not afraid to tell the truth: that everything is just fine).

Sorry, I did not mean to chastise my 3 or 4 remaining readers. On that note, a special takealotofdrugs shout out to my Uncle Terry, who somehow stumbled across my page a few days ago. Hey Terry, how much UNH stock is too much UNH stock?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why do you doubt me, my darling tortoise?

Stephanie Colburtle? This turtle race has gotten lame. I do not care for Stephen Colbert, or his turtle...his ice cream looks okay.

And no, I am not very busy today.
Leeches are not drugs.

That was not the point of this article:

At least 115 chemical compounds have been developed from what researchers thought was the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, with many being used in drugs.
But genetic analysis has now shown the leech that led to the discoveries may have been the species Hirudo verbana.

But these two sentences that got me thinking of my year(s) in the basement pharmacy at UCI:

Leeches are used in modern medicine mainly as a research tool, with scientists developing drugs based on the chemicals in their bodies.

Leeches were once used traditionally and have made a return to the doctor's armoury since the 1980s, when it was realised they were useful after plastic and reconstructive surgery.

I only know of one FDA approved drug made from's quite possible there are more, and I am just out of date (I have not been a real pharmacist in over three years). [Future employers, that's just a joke. I read a lot. Please feel confident in hiring me.] We used a bit of Refludan (lepirudan) at UCI, but we used far, far more real, live, swimming leeches. At most hospitals, leeches are handles by the blood UCI leeches are drugs. They get dispensed in little prescription vials with little prescription labels. They get dispensed by a pharmacist...who gets to catch them with a little fish net, and put them in the aforementioned prescription vials. Leech suppliers have all kinds of storage/maintenance recommendations (like changing the water every other day); but seriously, have any of you seen our home aquarium?

Hmmmn, I had some sort of point when I started writing this...oh yeah: Leeches are not drugs.

My favorite line of that article:

It could be equally devastating for the leeches themselves, which as H. medicinalis have legal protection, but as H. verbana have no defence against being collected from the wild in hundreds of thousands.

What the hell are you people doing collecting hundreds of thousands of leeches?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mr. Skinner (too busy to read this blog), you have a lot of catching up to do.

Newport to Bolsa Chica and back=20 miles. That runner's high you've heard so much about is a hoax; well, maybe not a hoax, but very short lived (it was completely gone at the half way point...with me 10 miles from home).

If you ever run 20 miles, do not make any plans for the rest of the day. You will not get said plans done. Unless your plans are to watch Oprah and fall asleep.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Something has finally happened.

I have moved up in the world.

Yes that's right: I, Michael B. Lasko, have a window cubicle. I am not sure why that picture looks so dreary, because my cubicle is actually super sunny all day. I was wearing sunglsses for a while...and not just to look cool. Also in the new cubicle: a bigger monitor. Not much bigger or anything, but at least my anti-glare screen no longer falls off.
The People's Republic of California

Do they make those in a bicycle jersey?

Finally got around to doing my taxes. Although Uncle Sam has given us a couple of extra days this year, I thought I might have better things to do on April 17th.

(You really should have clicked that link, it gets you free ice-cream).

Nico and I had the W-4s set up perfectly this year (or almost perfectly, we ended up owing $400 to the Feds). Unfortunately, both of us neglected to update the dreaded DE-4 (that's the California equivalent of the W-4 for you out of staters)...resulting in $3000 owed to the Proud State of California. I have got to find a better accountant.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Buy us beers, we're friends for life.

Alternative title was: "It's never winter here"

Except it was a very cold day sailing, so that title was not very appropriate. Except in an ironic sort of way, I suppose.

Nicole always looks huge in these photos (like she could crush the other occupants of the boat at will--do not anger Giant Nicole). She's actually quite svelte, but everybody else is always afraid to move off the benches...putting Nicole on the rail, at the front of the boat (and closest to the photographer). If I knew more about art, or photography...or physics, I would know what this was called. (perspective???) Also pictured are Janet, and Janet's friends Charles and Samantha. Charles bought us nachos and beer (please see title above), and Samantha quotes lines from Airplane, so they get another photo (beautiful Corona Del Mar coastline in the background).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's always 5 o'clock somewhere.

(Alternative title was: And you people thought I was making this#@!& up.)

If I have any Prescription Solutions readers left, sorry about the video. Here's a still of the raised martini flag:

In retrospect, we really should have been drinking Coronas.

In entertainment news: Went to see Grindhouse last night. I can't remember the last movie I saw in the theater; it takes a lot to get me into a a new Quentin Tarantino movie. If you have not seen any Grindhouse press, it's supposed to be a re-creation of a cheesy double feature you may have seen in a 1970s theater (if you're old enough). Robert Rodriguez made the first movie, which was actually pretty good. Perhaps after 2 hours of sitting in one place, I was just unprepared for a Tarantino movie. Please read a professional's review somewhere else; I will just say: 1) Tarantino does not write dialouge for women very well (or maybe he does, but it felt too much like he was saying, "Hey, I can write for women, too." and 2) All 7 or 8 women in the movie sounded like Uma Thurman in either Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill (or Kill Bill 2). Get somebody to read this, if you don't know what I'm talking about: "I do believe Marsellus Wallace, my husband, your boss, told you to take me out and do whatever I want. I wanna dance, I wanna win. I want that trophy, so dance good."

So now I'm curious...for this movie, Tarantino can obviuosly just tell his actresses: "Read your lines like Mia Wallace..." But what did he tell Uma Thurman for Pulp Fiction? Does she talk like that all the time?

In other entertainment news, Snakes on a Plane came in the mail today. Without having seen the movie, I thought I would write a Snakes on a Plane Drinking Game. Here it is:

Snakes on a Plane Drinking Game

Take a drink when:

Somebody says: "Snakes on a plane" (Two drinks if it's Samuel L. Jackson)
Somebody gets bit by a snake (Two drinks if it's Samuel L. Jackson)
Any reference to a specific type of snake (Two drinks if it's a Black Mambo)
Finish your drink if: 1) Samuel L. Jackson says: "Snakes on a mother $#@%&*! plane" or 2) Samuel L. Jackson get's killed.

Friday, April 06, 2007

If you ask me, all Fridays are pretty good...

My official Ovations calendar says today is Good Friday. (The Ovations calendar never misses a holiday; today is alsoChakri Day--Chakri Day is actually listed first.)

I do not have any time to read a wiki today, but if memory serves, we are celebrating a crucifixion. Somebody please tell me why this is a happy occasion. I am usually only interested in drinking holidays (which rules out just about everything Jewish--we do not even drink on New Years.) Is anybody having a cool crucifixion party tonight? No such thing as a crucifixion party, you say? Full body suspension might very well be worse...

Yeah, people pay money for this. And you're afraid to get your belly button pierced?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It was too much tequila, or not quite enough.

People are always asking me for marathon training tips. I have to confess, I am not the best person to ask (I spent a full 3 weeks training for my second marathon). But this one thing I know: Sparks do not make for good running least nothing the iPod felt like playing. For a couple of miles, everything that "shuffled" sounded like Bohemian, I guess I'm not the first person to come to this conclusion:

”Simple Ballet” is opera-rock five years before Queen released “The Bohemian Rhapsody.” And, it’s seriously about as good as that song … and much weirder. (I do hope that I’m not committing blasphemy with such a statement!) It’s not really the finest song on this album, but it’s really quite delightful. The pompous cymbal keeps things classy. The piano is ever trusty in keeping the song moving, and an electric guitar keeps this song firmly within the genre of rock ‘n’ roll. Come on, you’ve got to at least check out this album so that you can show off to your friends that you found something that predates Queen. Seriously.

It is true, I have way too many CDs...and an obsolete iPod.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

15 days till Jamaica!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Laughing at the sunrise, like he's been up all night.

Why would anyone want to start work at 6:00 AM?

I am too tired to remember...but I got here in less than 8 minutes.

Man, the sun doesn't come up for another half hour.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My apologies, that last post was not meant to be such a tease. Something has not happened yet, and even if it had: I have had no time to write about it.

In other news, I need better drugs. Keith Richard's father, he makes pure mescaline taste like ginger beer.