Reinsurance often only applies to losses above a certain size. For pricing, clients will often provide a large lost listing that consists of all losses among a certain amount. Large losses often include some detail about the loss and today I reviewed a set of lost listings for a school board insurance policy. When teachers screw up, the school board is inevitably sued and this creates some novel listings:
1) A teacher was sued for running an escort service out of the school with students as the workers.
2) A teacher was sued for convincing a physically handicapped kid to play dodgeball where upon he then had the crap knocked out of him as a handicapped kid playing dodgeball.
Sometimes if I leave work early I run into Joe on the train ride home. He and I both take the quiet ride car and I pulled out my laptop and he pulled out his Kindle. I texted him “what are you reading” and replied by holding his hands up to his mouth and miming that he was eating, followed by tucking his arms like he had wings and flapping them while cawing. He was reading George RR Martin’s “A Feast for Crows”. I replied with another text consisting of “last time you and I talked you were reading” where I then mimed thunder and the sound of katanas striking each other with accompanying hand motions. ”A Storm Of Swords”.
The next book in the series is “A Dance with Dragons”, not sure how I’d do that while sitting.
I’m still not very useful at work and I completely recognize this. My normal tactic is to just kind of ignore my ignorance and plug along anyway. Today I was asked to do some time sensitive work and began plugging away. After a few hours I was told that I was taking too long but that something else important had to be done and someone would take over for what I was doing. The task I was asked to do was trivial and once again I felt like head bee guy.
I had entered a bid to be the photographer for a charity event in DC. I knew the person running the event and indicated that if they couldn’t meet my rate I’d do it for free. The event coordinator later contacted me:
Coordinator: We really like your work but we don’t have the money in our budget to pay you.
Me: How much is in your budget?
Coordinator: We have $500 for photographer and DJ. The cheapest DJ we found was for $400.
Me: Does the venue have a PA system?
Coordinator: Yes, why?
Me: Do you have a laptop?
Coordinator: Yes, Terry, why?
Me: Spotify Premium.
My bid was accepted.
Fifteen people attended Operation Icicle which is few compared to most gatherings I have. There were two waves of departure which left a core of six from 1am onward. We talked for a few hours and before one friend left we chatted:
Me: Did you enjoy yourself?
Him: I suppose. It wasn’t your best gathering.
Him: Better luck next time.
The wood was a little damp, the night rather cold, and the ground a little wet. These added up to less than the evening I wanted. While cleaning up, one of the guests fell almost directly on my surgical site and I declared a moratorium on fun for the evening. I retired for the night smelling of smoke and disappointment.
Maybe Operation Icicle had run its course. My first one was in 1999 and I held them regularly throughout high school. I stopped in college but returned to having them a year after. Of those attending this evening, Rachel had been attending the longest and was the only one from my high school group to still be in my circle of friends. For about 1/3 of the people present this was their first one. Maybe this history and ritual was lost to them. I’ll be moving downtown within the next half year. I probably won’t have outdoor winter parties then.
Operation Icicle is my once a year winter party where a fire is constructed and we collectively laugh at the cold. Normally I have some help to set up for this event but this year my crack team of six Eagle Scouts proved unable to help. I was feeling well so was comfortable taking care of everything myself. I had visited my doctor the previous week who told me to continue to take it easy. At some point where I had put the sixth tree log into the back of my dad’s truck I determined that I had officially ignored doctor’s orders.
The most glaring violation of this was when moving logs from the house to the camp fire circle. As I exited the top driveway one fell out and began rolling down W. Bristol Rd. I stopped the car, grabbed it and threw it in the back of the truck again with the motion of someone picking up and tossing a basketball.
I was able to go the day without painkillers and shuffled around in a bit of a haze. I hadn’t slept well and couldn’t really study nor do anything like clean. I didn’t do anything today except make a crappy cake. I think the cat was even underwhelmed with what I managed to accomplish today. I’m glad I return to work on Monday.
I woke this morning at 6:30, showered and trimmed my beard, put on a size 16 shirt and caught the 7:21 train to Suburban Station where I would ascend 30 floors to where I work as an actuary. That evening, I took a subway to meet Janine who’d come down from New York City to watch an episode of Community at Suzie’s with some other friends. Besides Suzie, I had known none of the people present for more than 8 months. Janine stayed over that night. We sat in my kitchen and ate cheese, just like we had for years.
No element of the above could have happened 9 months ago.
A friend’s laptop had started to behave badly with periodic power offs and freezes and I attacked it. After running some tests it seemed that the hard drive was having issues. A backup was impossible due to current sectors so I ran Spinrite on it for six hours, copied all the data to another drive, swapped that other drive in, and the computer seemed good as new.
All and all, it was straight forward but just a little time consuming. Once I figured out that the hard drive was at fault the steps and tools were apparent and off-the-shelf solutions in each phase did the job as opposed to having to come up with scripts or some other recipe at each step. The hardest step was running Spinrite. The laptop had a CD drive that sounded like it was powered by a pull string and contained bits of gravel so I had to make a second copy of my Spinrite disk after finding the drive damaged CDs after a bit of play. I smiled proudly when I returned the laptop to its owner.
Aside: Computer hardware has an emotional connection for me. My second job at the age of 11 was working for an IT staffing agency run by a family friend. We spent three whole days getting a 10BaseT network to communicate between three computers and when we saw that network drive first populate in “My Computer” in Windows 95′s File Explorer we were elated. Tommy had an absurd belief in the power of technology and it was infectious. Be provided my first 386 computer and bought me a copy of SimTower. Tommy died when I was in middle school while he was in his 40s having never married and never having had children. I’d like to think I carry that baton in their absence.
A few years ago, Sam Lodise and I installed a RAID array for a Windows Home Server. We had blocked out the whole day but the process literally took minutes. It worked flawlessly. Tommy would have smiled. When I restarted Suzie’s laptop after swapping out hard drives using a SATA to USB adapter and it booted into Windows without a hiccup, I think he was smiling then too.
Suzie had gotten tickets for Janine, Whit, Suzie, and I to see the Daily Show in New York City so today I played hookie. I wanted to look reasonable but found that none of my pants would fit. Surgery plus swelling plus the abdominal wrap had added enough inches that my size 36-38 pants would not fit me. I pondered wearing shorts to NYC but the daytime high was about 10 degrees and I couldn’t move quickly. I rooted around in the attic for anything that might fit the bill and found a single old pair of gray pants that stayed in place without a belt.
I shuffled to my car, we drove to Hamilton station, I shuffled onto the train, we trained to New York, I shuffled to the subway, we subwayed, we shuffled to the Daily Show to get tickets. Hours later, we went in for the actual taping.
Entering the studio involved passing through a metal detector and I figure I’d try to get out ahead of it:
Me: I’m recovering from surgery and have an abdominal binding on. It’s going to set off the metal detector.
Security Guard: May I see it?
Me: Yeah *unbuttons shirt*
Security Guard: Holy shit. Step through. Oh, what are those? *points to drainage bulbs*
Me: Do you really want to know?
Security Guard: Is it blood?
Security Guard: What is it?
Me: Wound exudate.
Security Guard: Oh, of course.
We sat in the studio where it was a little chilly and watched as young Jewish men shuffled people into the studio. A warm-up act came out as a kind of comedic fluffer and he did a few standard bits followed by the tried and true favorite of picking on audience members. Those from far away were noted, those who had odd jobs were identified, and Whit was mocked for looking like he had knocked off Mr. Rogers wardrobe. The show itself was enjoyable and I was glad for the experience. I did some more shuffling and I was again home.
Being out in the world and infirmed was eye opening. Everything took longer to get to, sitting and standing took effort, movements through public spaces were much more deliberate, and I walked a little bit away from everyone. I felt and moved like an elderly person. One behavior I caught myself doing was walking slowly and in the center of the sidewalk. I didn’t want to bump into anything so this is naturally where I walked, slowly. I hope I remember my experience next time I mentally curse a septuagenarian on the pavements of Philly.
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