Monday, March 29, 2010

Bad Ass

You think you're a bad ass? You will never be THIS bad ass. (H/T to The Bloggess)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My First Cigar

I'm such a damned goody goody. I've never tried cigarettes or drugs. I never did anything seriously bad other than wreck my dad's car (a couple times). So why would I feel compelled to smoke a cigar for the first time at age 42?

Well, that's what you do when you celebrate (or so I'm told).

I'll have a "new job" post for you as soon as I sign the contract. As many of you know, the last time I posted here about my new job, things went busto. Instead, I want to tell you about this cigar thing.

As I tweeted, my simple review was, "I didn't throw up." That's the best thing I can say about the experience. The cigar was supplied by my new partner (I hope), and he's not one to buy a cheap cigar (or a cheap anything from what I can tell). It was from the Dominican Republic and I know I should have paid attention to the name for you aficionados out there, but I didn't. It may have started with the letter "T."

I had to ask for some basic instructions on how to light the thing. He told me to bite off the end and wet it. When I compared mine to his,* I may have bitten off more than I was supposed to, but not by much. He had this invisible jet lighter that sounded like a rocket engine, but I still had the darnedest time getting it lit. Then when it was lit, I couldn't keep it lit. I suppose it gave me more time to practice my lighting technique.

Even though I find second hand smoke somewhat nauseating, I can usually tolerate cigar smoke. The smell of this cigar was better than most. The taste was a bit surprising. I don't know what I expected, but this wasn't it. Thinking about it now, there were many different tastes - kind of like a good wine. There was an initial impression, a body section (which was very short since I didn't inhale) and some subtle changes with each exhale. I can see why some people get addicted. There is a lot to experience there.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I could get past several things. First, there was a sense that I was doing something very bad. My mom died of lung cancer and as a radiologist every day I see the horrible things that smoking does to your lungs. Also, there was very real nausea. There was also a vaguely unpleasant lightheadedness that made it difficult to hit my golf ball. Seriously, I had been playing well up until I lit the cigar. I accept that it could have been a general nervousness about the smoking act, but I've heard enough about first time smokers to know that it was probably from the cigar. After all was said and done, I only smoked about 1/4 of the thing.

Finally, here I am the next morning - almost 24 hours after my experience - and I still can't get the taste out of my mouth.

So, for all you cigar smokers out there, I get it. I really do. I just won't be counting myself amongst you.

*Wow - that almost sounds phallic. OMG...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two Things

I'm on a mandatory poker hiatus, so you'll have to bear with non-pokery awesomeness.

Number 1: If you've ever been to Rome, you likely stopped in the Sistine Chapel. Even for a Jew like me, it was chilling and awesome. Even if you haven't been there, you should check this out. Of course, you'll first want to zoom straight up, but spend some time and check out the far wall.

Number 2: I am off my rocker. This is no surprise to most of you, but let me make sure you are convinced. I've seen a UFO and a ghost. These events do not define who I am which is why you've probably never heard me talk about them. I also believe I can turn off streetlights just by driving by. Don't believe me? Check out this video I shot last night (yes, it's the same one I posted on Facebook):

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Wonder My Ego is So Big

As many of you know, I am in the process of finding a new job in California. If this were anywhere other than the bay area, I would have a job already. In fact, facilities in Texas, South Carolina (Greenville!) and even Minnesota are literally throwing money at me to get me to come. The bay area is different, so I'm forced to take a more formal approach. The first step was to humbly ask for a letter of recommendation from my colleagues. Many physicians are hesitant to give letters of rec because of a recent law suit where a well endorsed doc turned out to be a dud and they held the endorser accountable.

With hat in hand, I went to several of my workmates. Without hesitation, they all agreed to write me a letter. What follows is the letter from my boss, who I also consider a friend. As an aside, if you ever need to write someone a letter of recommendation, feel free to use this as a guide.


To Whom It May Concern,

Dr. Chako is interested in a position as a diagnostic radiologist at your facility and has asked me to write this letter on his behalf. As Chief of the Department of Radiology at _____ Medical Center, I have known and worked closely with Dr. Chako for 6 years. We collaborate regularly in the care of our patients, training of residents, and administration of the department. I believe I know him well enough to ably judge his suitability for employment and am very pleased to offer my fullest and most unqualified endorsement.

We were excited to receive Dr. Chako as a member of our clinical faculty in 2004 following his tour of duty at a small U.S. Army community hospital in Germany, where he served as Chief of Radiology and, for a time, Deputy Commander of Clinical Services. Since then he has earned a well-deserved reputation within our hospital as a well-rounded, reliable, and highly effective general radiologist. He served in numerous academic and administrative capacities, including Chief of Mammography, Chief of Thoracic Imaging, Chief of Cardiac Imaging and ultimately Chief of Diagnostic Services. As Diagnostic Services Chief, he oversaw efficient and effective clinical operations for a patient volume exceeding 13,000 examinations per month. I value his experience as a leader, and his ability to fill a variety of roles has been instrumental to our department’s success.

But most importantly, Dr. Chako possesses outstanding personal character and integrity. He is trustworthy, reliable, and able to efficiently and effectively manage a busy service. His rapport with patients, clinicians, staff, and peers is exemplary, balancing a mild-mannered, relaxed demeanor with a fierce commitment to his patients and his profession. He is patient and nurturing, yet also possesses the moral courage and fortitude to stand up for what is right. He is direct and to-the-point, but tempers candor with the tact required to facilitate cooperation among individuals and clinical services. These qualities were most evident during late 2007 and 2008 when he deployed to Iraq: he excelled as a combat radiologist and returned as a recipient of the Bronze Star.

Dr. Chako is the complete package, and I know he will excel at your facility. His innate clinical expertise, passion and experience, and superior interpersonal skills make him exceptionally qualified. I recently learned of the unique employment opportunity afforded his wife in California; I very much regret his decision to leave us, but I understand the importance of family and support his efforts to seek employment near them. Select him without hesitation. Please feel free to contact me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx if I may be of further assistance.


Dr. Chako's Boss

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Silly Doctor

Mastodon Weekend grows in legend by the day. It was more fun, more ridiculous and more insane than those of you who weren't there can possibly understand.

It's also the weekend I almost died.

So far, no one else knows about this (hi, honey!), so I thought I'd break it on the blog. On Saturday morning, I woke up very early. I was still on west coast time, so 10 am seemed like 7 am and the sun (as well as those damn runners) caused my eyes to pop open. Right after noticing the sun and the noise, I reached for my phone to check the time. Hold the phone... the most intense and searing pain I've felt in many years gripped the outside of my left arm. It was so bad that I may have yelped a little. Not a girly yelp, but a manly aiiippp! like a wounded doberman. Or something like that.

I laid back down in the bed and tried to figure out what I did. I wasn't shooting wrong handed darts. I didn't arm wrestle lefty (or righty for that matter) and I didn't enter a shoulder punching contest. It must have been the heavenly bed - it was trying to kill me. That's the only explanation. Of course, the doctor in me was trying hard (and losing) to suppress the idea that this might be something bad. You've all seen enough movies to know that left arm pain can be the first sign of a heart attack. I did a quick inventory. Chest pain? Nope. Fast or thready pulse? Nope. Sweaty? Nope. The good news was that if I didn't move, the pain wasn't so bad. The bad news was that it didn't go away for most of the day.

I couldn't stop thinking about my dad. He had his first of several heart attacks at age 56. Most risk stratification tables say your chances of a heart attack increase if you have a primary relative who had a heart attack at age 55 or below. Whew - I'm safe!

I'll be damned if I'm going to die before I own a Ferrari. I know there are several things I could do to help. Baby aspirin. Statins (that's for you Bracelet). Diet. But first, I had to confirm what I already suspected. A quick EKG would show ST and T wave changes indicative of damaged heart muscle. I surreptitiously consulted a good friend who hooked up an EKG for John Doe (can't have anyone in the hospital know) and waited for the results.

What do you know? It was totally normal. I guess it really was the heavenly bed. Bring on the filet mignon. And the lobster. And the Ferrari!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Last of the Mastodon Pics

I just found a few more...

My other favorite pic from the weekend. The things some people will do to win a prop bet. All Drizz needs is a 70's porn 'stache and and some bow chicka wow wow music...

The Mark surveys his creation. And it was good.

BG (who's last blog post was July 2009) tweeted about a short walk to Mary Beth's for a limited, but really good breakfast menu. He was right. Goat cheese scrambled eggs FTW.

Dr. Chako's Mastodon Weekend

Here there were many, many words. Fawning praise. Drunken revelry. General lunacy. Then Otis had to go do his thing and render it all meaningless. Or meaningful. One of those.

Go read what he wrote. It's all you really need to know.

For my part, it was all worth it. Any chance I get to associate with this strange, eclectic group of friends is time well spent. Now enjoy some pics.

One of my favorite pics from the weekend. This terrible twosome was to my immediate right at the final table. Collusion!

A look at the scorecard from our fantastic round of golf. Notice that the girls had an incredible rush, winning 4 holes in a row. Thanks to my partner, we squeaked out a half with his killer putt on 18.

I may or may not have been staring at CK's butt during this shot. And every shot, actually. Dammit, the only reason I played golf over frolf was because she promised to wear a skirt and tights. Who could resist?!

Bad Blood strikes a pose after winning a T-shirt from the great folks at Bustout Poker. Thanks again for the swag and overlay. If you ever need a team physician, give me a call.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


I am back from the land of Mastodonia. I drank too much, partied too hard and only embarrassed myself a little.

All totaled, it was the perfect trip.*

I hope to have a more detailed trip report in the next couple of days. For now, I need sleep.

*Having The Wife there would have made it perfect, even though she would have spent all her time flirting with my fellow Neanderthals.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

New Motto

I read Scott Adams blog via Google reader. His post from today was funny because it's similar to discussions The Wife and I have. Even though we were both in the same place, we often have very different views on the event. He also talks about being a little nuts and hopefully fitting in, which lead to the final quote from his article. It's now my new motto (See above. For RSS readers, you may have to click through).

Speaking of The Wife, she's in Brazil (Or Chile. Or Argentina - it's hard to keep up some times. It's some place that's shaking a little). She's there on business and yes, she's traveling in style once again. I'm just hoping she gets back safe. I don't want to go to Mastodon Weekend with any guilt.*

*but I'd still go