Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year in Review

It's that time again. Time for me to look back on my posts from the year and pull out those that were memorable or interesting. I don't have any illusions that you'll click through - I'm not that great a writer - but maybe these will jog some good memories. Unfortunately, they'll also jog some bad ones, which is why I'm dreading March. Anyway, here goes:


As you probably know, I was in Iraq on New Years Day 2008. It's tough to be away, especially on the holidays. I started the year off by Playing God and presenting a very interesting ethical dilemma regarding an Iraqi detainee with a tumor.

Channeling Spock showed two great things - that I'm a geek and that we had some problem soldiers out there.

I found out that my nanny crashed my car. Not something you want to hear when you are off fighting a war.

I dropped the Iraqi Hammer!

I made some predictions for 2008. Most didn't come true.

I found out The Wife was unfaithful. Yet one more thing you don't want to hear when you are overseas (but, in this case, it turned out okay).

A perfect way to end January - by recommending you read someone else! Two people in fact.


I started out by talking about some of the less glorious parts of my job. Still, it gave me a chuckle writing about balls.

I sent a note to my Valentine.

I wrote just the shell of a Mass Casualty situation I encountered. I've never told that full story. I might never.

This 3 line post sums up how hard it is to be away.

Most importantly, I talked about my War Buddies. They will always be with me.


I started off wishing my dad a happy birthday.

He was dead 3 days later, and it was time for transitions.

RIP Dad.

Shit. I can't write more right now. I'll post more later.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Numbers Geek

As if you needed more proof that I'm a geek...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wizard of Oz - Post 600

I was looking to do something monumental for my 600th post, but instead I'll just put up this video of bloopers from the Wizard of Oz. It's somehow appropriate. Don't think about it too hard. Just enjoy Judy's singing and remember the good feelings you had whenever this show came on the air - bloopers and all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Review - The Day the Earth Stood Still


Edit - I'd rather watch this 4 second video over and over again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays from the Chako Clan

Tonight is the 5th night of Hanukkah and it's also Christmas. Our wonderful Au Pair remarked that this is her 1st white Christmas (she's from Brazil). Tonight we dine on a wonderful turkey (with stuffing that includes liver - yum!) in a house that smells like you'd imagine a Norman Rockwell painting would smell.

Happy holidays to you and yours.

Monday, December 22, 2008


This will be remembered as the Epic Storm of 2008. It will even be recalled with capital letters.

I've never heard of an airline just shutting down, at least not in the Pac Northwest. Don't they realize it snows here? OK, I'll admit it's more known for the rain, but this is just nuts. I was supposed to be on-call at the hospital starting last night, but that's a bit difficult when you are standing on a 4-hour line at LAX waiting for the pushy Chinese guy in the VIP line to stop butting in front of everyone to ask if someone is going to get his bags. I'm rarely confrontational, but when he said to Carol, our overworked and overtired agent, "I've been waiting for 20 minutes!" I replied, "I've been waiting for 4 hours, so back off." I may have even squared up a little. Don't mess with The Doc when he has to pee.

After I calmed down (and got someone to take my call for me), I realized that being stranded means another couple of days at Disneyland with the family.

Things could be worse.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Memories are Fading...

Must write now.

It's only been 3 days since we got back. The memories are becoming a little fuzzy, but there are a few I want to document for the ages.
  • Steel Panther - I could write 1000 words about this show alone, but I won't. It was clearly the 2nd best thing on this trip (the first being seeing all the bloggers). Hanging out with Dr. Jeff, BadBlood, Peaker, April, The Wife and (of course) StB was friggin' awesome. Steve, I didn't mean to dis you at dinner. You are NOT chopped liver, sir.
  • Sleep - At some point, I fell asleep during the rock concert. This IS NOT to be taken as a slight on the show. It's only my age showing. At some point, you should expect to see a picture of my sleeping ass with a happy bunch of degenerates posing and pointing at my sorry state.
  • Golf - the reason I fell asleep at the show is that, while most bloggers were fast asleep on Friday morning, Miami Don picked me up for a 9 am tee-time at Angel Park. Don - you are officially The Man. While many bloggers talked about playing, you and I were the only ones serious enough to follow through. You will forever be an A-lister for the effort.
  • Making Out - At one point, a very sexy and very non-Wife blogger came up to me when I was playing mixed games, grabbed me and proceeded to plant a serious one right on my mouth. I believe there was tongue. It. Was. Awesome. I must admit, the fact that The Wife was standing there watching made it even better.
  • Dinner - I have had tons more experience with the Fancy Food than this guy, but rarely have I had more fun at dinner. Thank you SO MUCH Princess, and congrats again on the tourney win. When most players tell me that their opponent "never had a chance," I know it's just bragging. In your case, it was a genuinely honest assessment. Well done.
  • Bloggers - I was fortunate to finally meet several more. I want to put all your names here, but I'm sure I'd miss a few and then you'd be upset and never read my stuff again. I would like to mention that it was a pleasure meeting Betty for the first time. You actually exist - who knew?!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

WPBT 2008 - Trip Report

Well, another epic blogger gathering is in the books. These faces I only see once or twice a year are now all familiar to me. I belong in this group. It's good to feel like you belong in a group like this. It took a while to feel this way, even though they accepted me long before I accepted them. That's not quite true, I guess. Let just say long before I allowed myself to accept them. Does that make any sense?

Not much to report in the tournament. I doubled through RecessRampage when my A8 turned two pair against his AK and he couldn't get away from it. I actually may have been the tournament leader at that point. I eventually got up to over $24,000 in the first level before my AA ran into a set of 8s and I fell in love with my hand. My bustout was pretty standard fare. My JJ got beat by A 10 and someone (sorry - too drunk to remember who) got a very nice coin that I brought back from Iraq.

Poker was awesome when playing against bloggers or blogger associates (sorry Dr. Jeff), but a bit of a bust in the non-blogger cash games. This time my money makers were playin short handed 2/5 NL with BadBlood and Dr. Jeff at Green Valley Ranch and playing mixed games at the IP and MGM. I own Badugi. Fear me. Seriously. Alas, I gave some back at the Venetian HORSE game and I think a 1/2 NL game. I was probably too drunk to be playing in that game, but at least I didn't rebuy.

So off I went to Rage Solo. How I ended up at O'Sheas shooting dice remains a mystery that will be lost for the ages, but it's good to know that my losing streak at craps is still intact. Seriously, it's 12 sessions in a row. I know it's a -EV game, but you'd think it would give me hope so that I might come back at some point. Oh wait. I come back anyway. Hmmm...

And now, the sun is up on Sunday morning and we're facing a rapid check out followed by some serious grub. Tomorrow, I hope to tell you about the Steel Panther show (do not miss it) and some more of these incredible people called bloggers. My kinda people.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Golf in Vegas - WPBT 2008

Well, we really screwed the pooch with this one. Golf will be played (oh yes it will), but it will unorganized. Gotta love bloggers.

I'd love to have at least 8 players, but I'll go by myself if I have to. I plan on playing Friday morning, preferably teeing off around 10 am. It will be very boring playing a skins game against myself (I'm easily beatable).

Who's with me? Right now I think CK, F-Train and Miami Don have expressed an interest. Drizz? Rooster? Bueller? Anyone?

Edit: Did I just say I beat myself?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Updating the Ol' Blogroll

Obviously, it's been a while since I updated the blogroll. I don't have obvious choices like BamBam. Some don't exist anymore like Seattle John. Some, for all intents and purposes, don't exist anymore, like Amy C (did you fall off the planet?).

Who else am I missing?

Friday, December 05, 2008

That Which is Left

In all my years of writing and blogging, I have only deleted one post - this morning. This is what's left.

She hobbled across the road, not with purpose, and not even with direction. Half way across she began to deviate from the white-striped cross walk toward the front of my cab. That's how I got such a good look at her. At first I thought she was drunk. Couldn't blame her, really. Her skin was as dark as they come. She had very wide lips that were parted to allow puffs of cold breath to swirl amongst the exhaust fumes. Her coat was in tatters. Her cane drifted lazily in her left hand, only occasionally striking the pavement, but certainly not in any sort of helpful way. Her eyes darted to my cab, ostensibly to see if she was going to be run over. The red hand had stopped flashing and the horns followed right behind. It was her eyes that did this to me.

She was born around 1955, and had a lot of mileage on those wheels. How did she come to be crossing the street on a cold Chicago evening? Where was she headed? What was her purpose?

A better question. Did she need a purpose? Had she ever really thought about it? People are born, they live their lives and they pass on. What makes her different from me? Nothing, really. She is a mass of carbon and water. She is a conscious, self-aware, living entity with dreams and stories. In the end, she'll cease to exist. The universe will cease to exist, at least for her. Come to think of it, when your world ceases to exist, does it really matter if it continues for anyone else?

But there she went, weaving towards some destination in her world with some importance to her. And I went my way, cruising in my cab towards a warm scotch at the top of the Hancock building. Yet another stop along the path.

RSNA - How to Do it Better Next Time

This post is for me and my radiologist readers. It's boring. Move along. For those of you actual radiology folk, please feel free to add any additional suggestions in the comments.

Next time you come to Chicago for RSNA, plan a little better, please. This trip was okay, but you can do it better.
  • Book as far in advance as possible. If you wait to the last minute, you miss out on some good lectures.
  • Use the lecture schedule on the website to plan ahead. It's cumbersome, but useful.
  • Book the hotel by yourself if you can. The best places as far as I can tell are the Hyatt (attached to the McCormick Place, therefore no need for a taxi or bus), the Fairmont (where Mike stayed), the Peninsula, and Park Hyatt. Best Western is decent from what I could see from the outside. There is a really good Hilton on Michigan Ave.
  • Never EVER stay at the Congress Plaza Hotel.
  • If you stay on Michigan Ave, ask for a room with a view of Grant Park. Pay for the upgrade if necessary.
  • Before you book, ask if there is internet access in the room. Several hotels don't have it, believe it or not.
  • Call reps early and often in the weeks and months before RSNA. Remember to call Ron from Toshiba, Pam and Heidi from GE and Mandy from Bracco (even though she punched you in the arm. A lot.).
  • Only 1/2 of the doctors wore suits this time (as opposed to 1999 where every one did). Suits are never out of place, but by Thursday you can dress as casually as you want.
  • Even though the conference goes through Friday at noon, you should probably book your return flight for 3 pm on Thursday. The Friday lecture this morning was good, but probably not good enough to extend the trip another day.
  • Remember that the main building is the South Building. Lakeside is east. This is important if you are taking a taxi.
  • Buses are actually quite good, and they're free for RSNA attendees. Route 1B is the one that goes along Michigan Ave.
  • Lectures begin on Sunday, so depending on what time you arrive, you can actually get in a good lecture right away.
  • Start drinking alcohol at least 3 weeks before you come. Reps have expense accounts and you need to be prepared.
Anything else?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

360 Days of the Year I'm a Geek...

...but for 5 days in early December, I get to be a Rock Star.

RSNA 2008 is wrapping up. By this time tomorrow we'll be just about done. I met some great people here. I saw some good (and some not so good) lectures. I ate over $1000 of food (not an exaggeration) and paid for almost none of it. I made business contacts and I really feel like my small radiology corporation is going to take off because of things I've learned from this meeting.

Things I will miss:
  • Obviously, I'll miss being treated like a Rock Star. By Saturday I'll be back to being just Dad and a regular ol' doctor.
  • I'll miss the food.
  • I'll miss the free drinks. I had Johnny Walker Blue for the first time (maybe a little better than average, but you won't find me spending $200 for a bottle anytime soon).
  • I'll miss the sun. Seriously. It's been sunny almost every day.
  • I'll miss the flirty booth babes. We met one at a bar last night and she introduced herself as Mandy. "Like the song!" I replied. She leaned in close and said, "You know. You came and you gave without taking." It was 10 minutes later that my buddy Mike said, "You know, I think she was hitting on you."
Things I will not miss:
  • Apparently, I insulted Mandy at some point. She told me her brother is in residency to be an ER doc. I may have called him an idiot (my apologies to your brother, Brad). She began striking me repeatedly. Honest, honey. These bruises on my arm are from a crazed booth babe.
  • I didn't need anyone to tell me that she was hitting on me this time.
  • I will not miss hearing the phrase "Deep Dive." As in, "If you want to get a deep dive into the inner workings of our new Dual-Phase detector, I'll have to call over our Physicist."
  • I'll will not miss the bitter cold.
  • Mostly, I will not miss this miserable hotel. The Congress Plaza should be demolished - preferably with the striking workers still under the building. We are right across from Grant Park (where Obama made his victory speech), but they didn't even give me a view. The shower randomly turns off - usually when you have soap in your eyes. They need to drill into the wall behind my headboard every morning at 8am. The strikers are fond of yelling, "Shame on you!" into your face with their bullhorn. And the heater cannot be controlled. Enough already! You get the point. If you come to Chicago, sleep on a park bench before staying here.
Okay, now I'm really starting to sound like an over-privileged rock star. I'm sure The Wife will have a few ideas about how to bring me back to Earth.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

November BR Challenge with MHG

Despite my taunting comments on his blog, the fact is that I got my ass kicked. $10 is on the way. I can transfer the funds in FT, buy you into the next Chako home game or pay you cash either here or in Vegas.

SNG's were my downfall. If I hit one or two, I win. Unfortunately, despite a couple small cashes, I couldn't bring back the old SNG mojo.

And so, with hat in hand, I'm forced to reveal this:

It was actually a great challenge and it really forced me to focus. I still played above my allotted BR a few times, but I also played a few multi-table SNG's and it cost me. My variance was huge. In November I fluctuated from a high of $120 to a low of $31. When I was winning, my moneymaker was .25/.50 and .50/1.00 Limit Razz.

Up for a rematch?

Monday, December 01, 2008


I arrived yesterday to a snowy greeting. I love seeing snow-covered trees. We don't get that in the Seattle area.

Some quick observations about Chicago.

  • People here LOVE honking their horns. I don't remember this much honking in New York, and I was just there two months ago.
  • Our shuttle driver cut off a cab. The cabbie laid on his horn for a full minute
  • When he finally got around us, he opened his window for what I was sure was going to be "the bird," but instead he made a very aggressive gesture with his open palm - all 5 fingers extended. It was almost as if he was saying to our driver, "If your face were closer, this hand would be pushing it, you stupid-head."
  • RSNA is every bit as big as I remember, but I also remember more people. Granted, the last time I was here was 1999, but there were actually places to sit in the lectures, even if you arrived a little late. I guess the economy effects radiologists, too.
  • RSNA, for those that don't know, is the Radiological Society of North America. Believe it or not, but it's one of the largest meetings in the world, rivaling car shows and Consumer Electronics.
  • There are individual booths here that cost over a million dollars to set up. All for me.
  • Radiologists are recognizable by their blue badges. If I walk into a group of vendors, they immediately single me out.
  • Radiology companies, like car companies, have "booth babes."
  • Radiology vendors have entertainment budgets! Unlike the old days where they could take you to a strip club (I'll tell that story in Vegas with little prompting), now they can only buy you dinner.
  • Morton's Steakhouse makes one helluva 3 1/2 pound lobster.
  • I've made it to every lecture and they're not half-bad.
I'd write more, but I'm off to another recruiting dinner.