Grab bag

Jan. 5th, 2019 07:14 pm
warriorsavant: (Meh)
Herein a grab bag of posts that I'd half-written, but didn't get around to posting. Have a number of half-formed ideas and half-written posts that I'm going to finish and post. I hate back-logs.

"Papa knows…" This soon?
Read more... )

Christmas? Bah humbug (belated, but so be it).
Christmas? Bah humbug (belated, but so be it). )

Back to the future (coin names).
Back to the future (coin names). )

Software updates at gunpoint.
Software updates at gunpoint. )
warriorsavant: (Venice)
Last day before we break for the holidays. I love my work, but need a break. Usually on the last day we close at noon, then Evil Secretary and I go out for lunch. We'd accidentally already booked some patients at the end of the day, and didn't really feel like sitting in a restaurant, so we just blocked off 2 hours mid-day, and I brought in lox and bagels (and all the trimmings, and a toaster) and we had that for lunch. Also a bottle of wine (only 1-2 glasses each, since had to work later). Had lunch, and a walk (last pleasant day for a while), and a good gab. For the rest of the bottle, if patients were pleasant, we offered them a small glass of "holiday cheer." Good way to finish the working year.
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
Saturday was the annual Santa Claus Parade. Basically a non-religious Christmas parade. Seems way too early, but besides the early-starting commercialization of Christmas, it tends to get too cold and snowy for parades later in the year. I'd never been to it. Not all that interested in parades in general (and even less so standing out in the cold), but we thoughts the kids might enjoy it. They did. We did come a little late (I've organized 20 vehicle convoys with less effort than getting 2 kids out the door with 27 snowsuits and idiot mittens), even though the parade only starts a few blocks from our house (most parades in Montreal start at that intersection which is arguable the "beginning" of the downtown proper). That was probably for the good, as they likely would have gotten bored if they'd sat through the whole thing. Instead, they enjoyed the floats and marching units. Heavy on elves and santas, but a few different ones like an Chinese culture group doing a thing with twirling parasols. They enjoyed it, and so did we.

I'm not all that thrilled with the whole "Christmas decorations go up right after Halloween" commercial greedfest. At least in the US, there's Thanksgiving to break up the two month stretch. Christmas Carols I divide into 2 groups: traditional ones, which I love until I've heard each one for the 100th time that year, and which point they annoy me; and newer ones, which annoy me from the first time I hear them. Did I mention "bah humbug."

After the parade, we went to the nearby mall to have a bite of bad food and pick up a couple of items we needed. They had some entertainment, which was good because I was watching the kids while Nom braved the lines. By that time, Wallstreet had fallen asleep, but Hedgefund enjoyed the juggler dressed as an elf (complete with Spock ears). As jugglers go, he was kind of lame, but for a 4-year old, it was great.

Okay, a good start to the Christmas season; I'll see if I can keep my (limited) holiday cheer attitude for another 6 weeks.
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
Yes, that's Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays. Screw that bland, politically correct nonsense. And don't tell me about multiculturalism or inclusiveness; I'm an Askenazi Jew married to a Vietnamese Buddhist. Our household is as multicultural as it gets, short of thinking I'm Angelina Biglips and adopting 12 children, each from a different ethnic group, to prove how worldly I am. (For the record, I married Nom because I like her as a person.) Oh yeah, and bah humbug to everybody who disagrees.

I admit that's my real feeling about Christmas. Bah humbug. The only Christmas characters I really liked were Ebenezer Scrooge & the Grinch, and even they punked out at the end. Okay, I'm not really such a grumble-bum, at least not any more. Frankly, most people hate the "holiday season," with all the enforced cheer making everyone think their holidays and lives are substandard in comparison with what they are told they should be feeling. One of the most fun Christmas Eves I ever had was when I was Active Duty, stationed on Okinawa with the Marines. Being the only Jewish doctor in the bunch, I volunteered to cover Christmas Eve. All the sad and lonely drunks ended up in the clinic with no real medical issues other than being sad and lonely and drunk. We made popcorn, put on comic movies (using the then-high-technology VCR), and sat them all down together. They had comedy (treated the sad part), each others' company (treated the lonely part), and after sitting there for a couple of hours eating popcorn had sobered up (treated the drunk part). I regard that as holistic medicine. Also we had fun. Frankly, for most years, I fell into the "hated the holiday season, with all the enforced cheer making me think my holidays and live was substandard in comparison with what I was told I should be feeling" group. Now I largely don't care. Somehow, despite Nom's playing Christmas music, and my being (mostly) off for 2 weeks, it isn't registering as a "holiday time." It's neither good nor bad, just here.

Anyhow, Happy Holidays   Merry Christmas Stop-Telling-Me-What-Kind-Of-Day-To-Have, to all my Gentle Readers.

Tidbits

Dec. 9th, 2017 04:22 pm
warriorsavant: (Signpost Ft. Benning)
➢ Are sending out letters to patients telling them the new address. Should be moving the office in just over a month. For a few that I keep thinking, "maybe I won't send this one a letter…" Can't really do that, but for some people, I have to hold onto my professionalism with both hands.
➢ The weather teased us with a few nice days, now back to winter. Why don't I set up shop in the southern hemisphere for 6 months out of the year.
➢ In between those two is the fact that hard to determine if a lesion is hot to the touch if this is your first patient of the day, and you've just come in from outside. Gloves or no, hands are too cold to be sensitive. Had to tell her to wait until I saw anoth
➢ Dang it, stop wishing me "Happy Holidays," when (a) the phrase is "Merry Christmas" (even for we non-Christians), and (b) it's still November*. Gonna boil someone in their own plum pudding and bury them with a stake of holly through the heart.
➢ My accountant has his annual scotch tasting. Even bigger this year, with food. For him, it's a company-sponsored event (good will for employees and clients) which gives him a chance to hold court and drink scotch. He's quite sociable and great to talk with. For the invitees, it's a chance to… socialize (even I manage) and drink scotch.
➢ I'm secretly Sheldon Cooper. Well, Nom is. Well over a year ago, she ordered the kid's shower curtain. It displays the Periodic Table of the Elements (in lovely shades of brown, so even goes with the décor. Finally got it hung; it looks great. However, if I ever did shower in their, Tom Lehrer's Periodic Table of Elements would be running through my head**, not to mention C.J. & the PhD's Periodic Table of Elements.***



*Clearly jotted this one down a coupla weeks ago. I think I can start wishing people Merry Christmas by the middle of next week.
**Our neice was very proud of having memorized that, and was astounded that I'd heard of it.
***Not likely you'd heard of them. Probably all wanted to be Tom Lehrer when they grew up. I knew them in Virginia back when I was an Intern. They had originally formed the band as graduate student, singing humorous & satirical songs for beer money on the weekends (eg Nuke the Whales). By the time I heard them, they were only doing this for old time's sake, having all graduated and gone onto real jobs - well, except for one guy who had a little too much "fun" in the '60s and didn't have the brain power left.
warriorsavant: (Springtime in Canada)
It is a perfect (Northern Hemisphere) Christmas Day: not too cold, with snow falling gently and looking pretty. As noted before* I prefer wishing all a Merry Christmas, regardless of if one is Christian, Jewish, Thean, etc, so Merry Christmas to you, Gentle Reader.

Friday, we only worked half a day, then told Bobbi Cratchett (a.k.a. Evil Secretary) that it was an excuse for picking a man's pocket of half-a-day's pay once every year, and I expected her to be in all the earlier on the morrow. Not really, I took the entire office staff out for lunch (that would be Evil Secretary), then we closed for two glorious weeks. Have tons of stuff that I have to do, but did nothing on that Friday. Went home, actually shut off my computer and phone, and chilled with the kids. Okay, with small children, not sure “chill” is ever le mot juste, but basically enjoy playing Mr. Family Guy. Probably after a few days, I‘ll be longing to go back to the peace and quiet of working with patients. Joking. Mostly.

Saturday night we celebrated the first night of Hannukkah, as much as I celebrate things. I didn't give the children the entire speech** but as we lit the candles I whispered to them that they must always bring the light back into the world.
Lighting the candles )

There is a tradtion in my tribe of going out for Chinese food for Christmas. Traditionally Christmas Eve, but this year will be Christmas Day luncheon, what with being married to an Asian, and they have a tradition of the family getting together for bad Chinese or Vietnamese food for holidays.

Documentation )


* http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/607965.html - paragraph 2 to be precise, and I do like to be precise when quoting)
** http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/555667.html and http://warriorsavant.livejournal.com/501898.html
warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
Sounds like the start of a joke: the Derm division at the Jewish General had our Christmas Party at an Arab Restaurant. This is so Montreal. In how much of the world would that statement even be conceivable, let alone actually happen? The food was good, as was the belly dancer.

Yes, we called it a Christmas Party. Personally, after years of being politically correct and wishing people Happy Holidays, I've gone back to saying Merry Christmas. As far as being a "holiday season," it is the Christmas season, regardless of what holiday you actually celebrate. I celebrate Hanukkah insofar as I celebrate anything. When I was a Commander, I carefully officially wished the troops "Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah,  Joyous Kwanzaa" - and everything else I could think of including Winter Solstice, Ramadan (if it came anywhere around now) and Chinese New Year (although I more go with Tet/Vietnamese New Year now). All that having been said, as a hoiday season, it is Christmas. The celebrations are largely secular and all the trappings and traditions of the season (besides the gross commercialism) are Christmas. Still not comfortable having a Christmas tree, although they are fun to trim. I remember from high school, all the Jewish kids loved going to their Christian friends' houses to help trim the trees, the latter, by HS age, being bored with tree-trimming.

For the Fahrenheit fans in my following, it was below zero the night of the party. Temperature is the last bit of the metric system I functionally mastered, whereas it is the one most Canadians do actually think in. They still think of their height, weight and distances driven, in Imperial units. They feel Celcius makes more sense with zero = water freezing. In some ways it does, but in my mind the freezing point of water is cold, whereas zero degrees is COLD. One disadvantage of having indoor parking is that I don't know what the temperature is unless I actually check the weather report, so wasn't aware the temperature had dropped suddenly that evening. I a light coat, ended up parked three blocks from the restaurant, and dang near froze my ears off walking there. "Yes, waiter, I'll have the lamb couscous, with a side-order of  fried ears… I brought my own." If Jesus had been born in Montreal, no shepards would have been watching over flocks by night in December, they'd have brought all the sheep indoors to stay warm. One tradition Canadians, even the most staunchly English Canadians, don't share with the UK, is a distaste for central heating. There are actually more cold injuries and deaths per capita in the UK than in Canada. Why? Because for all their perverse pride in their bad weather, it really isn't that cold in the UK, so people don't properly prepare for it. In Canada, you have warm clothing and central heating, or you die.

In parting, in case I don't get back posting in the next 8 days, let me wish all my Gentle Readers a warm and joyous Festivus.
warriorsavant: (Dr. Injecto)
That's “Merry Christmas” Gentle Readers. Have taken to saying that instead of “Happy Holidays,” since the former is traditional (and we know I was raised in the 19th century), whereas the latter is bland and lame. This particular holiday is called Christmas, regardless if individually one celebrates Hanukkah, Tet, Diwali, Kwanzaa, etc. When I was in an official capacity (Command), and to be very PC and not offend/leave anyone out. Now I'm a private citizen and can be sensible.

Saw my last patient pre-holidays (um, pre-Christmas). Finished the year with a Botox, which soothed my larcenous soul. I’ve slowly been building up that side of my practice. I never want to do too much; have no interest in being a glorified cosmetician, but I want to eventually have a full half-day per week of just that.

After the last patient, took Evil Secretary (and another member of our entourage) out for the traditional Christmas meal of sushi. Tonight, of course, will be the Jewish Christmas Eve tradition of Chinese food.

Read more... )

Am off for a week-and-a-half. Usually manage 2 full weeks, but where Christmas & New Years fell this year, works out to a bit less. No big plans, with the increased domestic entourage, traveling not so easy. Will do stuff with friends & Nom's family, get caught up on "stuff," and generally relax.
warriorsavant: (Cafe)
This is the good part of the holidays: the food and the cheer. Yesterday evening, there was a food tasting at the Atwater Market. For a small admission fee, half of which went to charity, you could taste the wares of the different merchants (I especially liked the deer & duck tourtiere). We took the tandem stroller, then let HF out to run around. Since that entails my following her so she doesn't get lost or stolen or strayed (or stepped on), Nom wheeled WS around, and got the goodies, which she shuttled back and forth to me. It wasn't boring minding HF, because (a) she's adorable, and (b) I got to people watch. This was what we think about a "Dickensian Christmas." No Santa Clauses, no tinsel, no canned music (there was a live duo), just people out with friends or family, eating, talking, and radiating good will.
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
Nom & I headed south to see family in glorious NYC. Many Canadians head south during the colder weather, although they usually mean Florida or Mexico instead of New York. Sometimes I've been in New York over Christmas and it was indeed a White Christmas. This year seemed to be monsoon season.

VIGNETTES:
MONDAY - trains, planes and automobiles. Well, mostly trains. )

TUESDAY - assorted )

Hedgefund & Dad )
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year, Winter Solstice, Tet, and anything else anyone celebrates around now.
Am visiting family now; update soon.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
We indulged in two bits of (minor) tradition yesterday.

The first was tradition in the more conventional sort. Nom's company had their children's Christmas party. Nom's still on Mat Leave, so it was a chance to see her co-workers, plus all the mom's on Mat Leave got to compare notes (eg have a gabfest) and show off their children. (Not that I'm averse to showing off my child, what with her being the cutest child there, in my entirely objective opinion.) We also did the traditional "take a picture on Santa's lap." Managed at least one before Hedgefund started crying. I think that was more for Nom than for Hedgefund, as latter is of an age where she won't remember it, and was scared by sitting with a strange person. The party was really better suited for older kids: the music was a bit loud, and Hedgefund is too small for slides and bouncy castles (and they refused to let me adults into those). What was fun for her was when I took her to the Zone bébés. She calmed down, and was staring around. I realized she likes being with, and looking at, other babies. Except for the part where Nom insisted that I dye and mousse my hair, I had an acceptable time.

The second was roast beef sandwiches at Magnan's. They are closing shortly, after having been in business, and therefore a minor local tradition, since 1932. It is a family-owned, old, working class tavern: all low ceilings and dark colors and cheap but good food. It was one of the last places in Montreal to admit women. (Sounds odd to modern ears, but for many generations, if not centuries, bars and taverns were reserved for men. When they changed the law 30-40(?) years ago to require "equal admission," any place that previously was unisex was grandfathered (and maybe grandmothered), and Magnan's was one of the last to change.) It is not far from me, just on the other side of the Lachine Canal, and were established when this area was very working class. The family also owns a gas station and building supply store just up the street, and the second-generation owner, Yves Magnan, was also a city councilman from the era when politicians were more likely to be saloonkeepers than lawyers. (They were just as likely to lie to you, but at least they would buy you a drink when they wanted your vote.) The area is changing, going upscale, and Magnan's traditional patrons have moved too far away. There are more and more eateries, which appeal to the upscale newcomers. Don't get me wrong, I like the new places too, but I like lowbrow fare also if it's well done. I'm a food snob, but about quality, not price. Magnan's has a fairly wide pub menu, but they are renowned for their roast beef sandwiches. The roast beef really does melt in your mouth. You can get them on fine bread, but they are best on the cheap white bread that almost isn't there, with a hint of mayo and a touch of spicy mustard. Nom had never had one of their divine sandwiches, and she needed to try one, and I needed to have one more before they closed for good.
warriorsavant: (Meh)
I have a love-hate relationship with holidays. Actually, it's more of a hate-dislike relationship. On the one hand, I want to enjoy them and celebrate and be all cheery. On the other hand, they basically suck. Nothing and no one lives up to the hype, so they end up being crashing disappointments. I have this secret feeling that someone, somewhere, is having a good time; the rational part of me knows it itsn't true, and most people are stressed out and depressed by holidays. The only real Christmas heros were Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch, but even they punked out at the end. Basically, I try to ignore holidays. This year I largely succeeded, barely noticed it was...uh...what's the name of that one that comes late December? Whatever. Come to think of it, this is basically how I feel about parties also.

Did do one traditional holiday thing. Nom and I went to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve. It's a Jewish tradition. Not the religious Jews who observe Kosher dietary laws (there are a few Kosher Chinese restaurants around, but they're generally pretty bad), but the secular ones, the ones who regard Jewish as an ethno-cultural group. There is a big arguement whether "Jewish" is a religion or ethnic group(s), but in fact, by ancient Jewish law, it is a matter of being born into the tribe (via the maternal line), which makes it tribal/ethnic. (Actually several ethno-cultural subgroups, which is a wayyyy long discussion. Like any group, it has divided and subdivided over time, and since Jews have been at the business of self-identy longer than anyone else in the world, we've managed to sub-divide more, despite having very few of us around.) Anyhow, there is this Chinese-restaurant-on-Christmas-Eve cultural thing. I wasn't aware of it growing up, only got introduced to the idea since moving to Montreal, but have since realized it is widespread in N. America.

Documentation )

Nom always enjoys partaking of my culture (even if I don't really care), so off to Peking Garden we went. When we walked in, noticed there were 2 tables of Asians and 19 of Jews (when we sat down, made that 2-1/2 and 19-1/2 tables of each). It was the end of the evening, the food was on its last legs (in fact sent back 2 dishes), but the tradition had been observed. Tradition....tradition! (cue "Fiddler on the Roof").

Christmas Day proper, we did have a big family midday dinner. Sort of. Her cousin was in town from Toronto (ptui), and that side of the family had a get-together at a Chinese buffet. Not sure why Chinese and not Vietnamese. Maybe there just aren't any VN buffets, or maybe they figure they eat VN every day at home, so want to do something different. Was really more of a Chinese-and-western-with-a-little-sushi-too buffet. Food neither great nor horrible, and I survived being sociable.

Today is Boxing Day in these parts. Might further observe (local) tradition by going shopping in over-crowded stores, or more likely observe (my) custom of hiding in the house and ignoring it until it is all over.
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)

[livejournal.com profile] ravensron came into NYC this past weekend. It’s so rare that the three of us get together that I didn’t want to miss the chance. Nom isn’t up for traveling these days, but she appreciates the importance of family (and probably enjoyed one of her last weekends of solitude ever) so gave me a hall passpacked me off with a kiss. Since it was the beginning of the Christmas break, [livejournal.com profile] oxymoron67 and the other usual suspects weren’t around, so was pure family trip for me, as well as a tropical vacation: snow up one’s armpits in Montreal, shirtsleeve weather in NYC. (Well, shirtsleeve for me, [livejournal.com profile] ravensron being in from LV was cold.)

Adventures of urban daring-do )

warriorsavant: (Three Musketeers)
For someone who only has about 1.7 friends in real life, I'm being very sociable this week. Sunday had coffee with one of my colleagues and got to see his new house. Tonight am a bit tipsy, which I will blame on back pain and dermatology.The latter b/c we had our department monthly dinner (yes, there really is educational value), the former b/c alcohol is better than ibuprofen. (Really do make lots of mistakes when typing non-sober.) Tomorrow [livejournal.com profile] woodyatcyul is in town for 2 days between flight assignments, so will be going there for dinner. I suspect Scotch will be involved. Wednesday seeing Nom. Thursday is department Holiday Party. Friday is office holiday lunch (sushi with Evil Secretary and our favorite drug rep and one other person). On vacation after that.

Joy to the world, Gentle Readers, and hugs to you all.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)

Long weekend/mini-vacation

Thur - Leonard Cohen

Read more... )

Fri - NYC: Nobu, Dad, Heiress

Read more... )

Sat - NYC: Dad, Robert, MAD, Dead Accounts, Sardi's, Lights

Read more... )

Sun - NYC: Norma, Dad

Read more... )

Fabulous trip.  

warriorsavant: (Venice)
So, my fellow Derm staff at Jewish General were debating if, and where, we would have a holiday dinner. Our one Egyptian-born staff suggested we go to his new house. I thought that would be perfect: the staff from Jewish General would go to the house of the Moslem for Christmas  Eve. To make it perfect, we should then send out for Chinese food. Sadly, the others, although great guys in many ways, lack my vision.
warriorsavant: (Default)
When we were kids, did Hannukkah for the reasons every other secular Jew did - to keep up with the Jones (ie: kids want loot at holiday time). We did light the menorah, which, little pyro that I was, I really enjoyed. That was the only part I kept up at all in later life (although not that - pardon the pun - religiously). When I was married, we'd sometimes do it a little bit: presents (I'm not really big on presents, but she was), lighting the candles, and making latkes. We would sometimes celebrate Hannukkah, sometimes Christmas, sometimes Kwanzaa, sometimes the winter solstice. Mostly depended on what she felt like making, since cooking was a hobby of hers. The one tradition we definitely followed was going out for Chinese food on December 24th.
 


Now I don't really do anything. All that having been said, I've always enjoyed Christmas. Like everyone else (except retailers), I deplore the over-commercialization, but I like tasteful decorations (although not before mid-December), Christmas trees, and the more traditional carols. I also always go check out Ogilvy's window (local department store http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEW0trn_zpE). Not NY's Fifth Ave by any means, but a Montreal tradition, and they have hedgehogs. Not real ones of course, 'hogs don't stoop to such work, but manikins (hogikins?) to pay proper homage.
 
For ex-pat Americans, Thanksgiving seems to be the big holiday to celebrate, even more than July 4th/Independence Day. It's big in the US, but bigger for ex-pats. Got a text from Vinny (the guy I did the ride-along with) that he was working the parade. I asked if he were dressed as a cop or a Soldier, he said "Butterball Turkey." Thanksgiving Day in Canada happens much earlier than in the US (it is, after all, a harvest festival, and our growing season is about 15 minutes long), and contrary to what I said at the beginning of this paragraph (and in keeping with what I'll say in the last paragraph), I mostly ignore it. This year, what with the last Thursday in November not being a holiday here, and since the Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic team wanted to get together for dinner, and since that was organized by a middle-easterner… I had Persian food for dinner. Only three of us showed up, but really good chow. Lamb with some herbs I didn't recognize, saffron rice topped with some sort of Iranian berry that tastes a little like a cranberry. (Hey, cranberries - that's Thx-giving tradition. Guess I did keep the US holiday after all.)
 
I'm not big of celebrating stuff. I keep telling myself that I should, but its usually too much bother and generally a let down. A big part of me thinks that all holidays are conspiracy between the greeting card companies and makers of anti-depressant medications. Especially the holidays (Christmas, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus). Ebenezer Scrooge had the right idea about holidays, although even he punked out at the end.

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