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22nd-Apr-2017 03:08 pm - [sticky post] Moving Day: On To Dreamwidth.
Sword & Microscope 1

Henceforth, I can be found at warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org (Yeah, keeping the 'warriorsavant' moniker. Partly because that's me, even if haven't been a warrior lately (and questionably if a savant), and partly because too busy to think of another clever name.) For the meanwhile, will crosspost to LJ, but comments only on DW.

Why am I moving? Mostly (as we say in the vernacular) Imma follow my peeps.

Why is everyone moving? If I understand correctly, LJ is owned by a Russian company, and has been for a number of years. Last December they finally moved the last of the servers to Russia, which means they are now obligated to follow Russian censorship laws. Russia is cracking down on political blogs, but also have pretty restrictive laws on LGBTQ content, etc. Technically anyone using LJ is bound by those Russian laws. For the new TOS (terms of service), the English translation is not legally binding but the Russian one is, which means non-Russian speakers (eg me and most people I know) accepted a TOS that we cannot read, which was the last straw for many. Let me point out that it is not unreasonable for a Russian site to say that the Russian-language TOS (which is a contract) is the legally binding one. I'm in Quebec, where the French language version of a law is what is legally binding. That is, if I thought I was following the law because I read a bad English translation (even if it was the official governement translation), and the original French language version was different, well, that's my problem. Same for any country. The "World" Wide Web isn't. A site hosted in a country, even a repressive one, has to follow the laws of that country.

Would that really effect LGBTQ posting on LJ? Probably not. However people are moving because everyone on various websites are up in arms about LJ is now a tool of the evil, anti-LGBTQ Russian gov’t or something. No, I don’t support that, but (a) this is not verified, (b) I have larger reasons to detest the Russian govt (conquering part of Ukraine; fomenting armed rebellion in other parts of Ukraine; supporting Assad and Kim, the two current world chaps for massacring their own people, one of who is using chemical warfare on them), (c) if I got righteously and wrathfully indignant over everything that every website insists I should be righteously and wrathfully indignant over, I’d have to clone myself 100 times and still not have enough hours in the day. So why am I considering moving? Partly because might be true (and all the other reasons to detest the Czarist Govt), plus everyone I know on LJ seems to be moving, so I don’t want to lose my vast, dedicated cadre of followers (either of you).

See you on Dreamwidth.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org Please comment there.
18th-Feb-2018 02:37 pm - chúc mừng năm mới
Signpost Ft. Benning
(That's supposed to read: chúc mừng năm mới. Seems to have changed when capitalized.)

Happy Vietnamese New Year to all my Gentle Readers. (Yes, same lunar new year as other Chinese and other Asian countries.) The festival is called Tết, which apparently just means "festival." I'm coming to realize that many terms in VN (and other languages) which sound so exotic to our ears have very prosaic meanings in those languages. For example, the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is located at a muddy estuary of the river. In Malay, it means "muddy estuary." And we think Western developers give our housing developments lame names.

Friday Nom took the kids to Temple, to get some modicum of their culture, and charm all the elders with how cute they are (he added, modestly).

Saturday night we went out with the immediate family for traditional food. We went to Snowden Deli. I said traditional food, I didn't say whose tradition. They loved the smoked meat. Less enthusiastic about the potato knish and cheese blintzes (the latter, to be honest, were not great). Hey, if N. American Jews can eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve, my VN relatives can have Jewish Deli for Tết. Maybe next year for Rosh Hashanah, we'll go out for VN.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org
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15th-Feb-2018 11:47 am - New Office - a few grumbles
Sword & Microscope 1
Before I forget, I hope everyone had a Happy Hallowe'en yesterday.

Anyhow, the new office is beautiful, but little things are annoying. The layout is such that everything is a step or two farther away than I'm used to. Not a big thing, and will probably get used to it, but just that tiny bit annoying. The basic layout of the exam rooms wasn't working they way I had it. Part of that was that I used to have all the small supplies (syringes, etc) in cabinet that pivoted on its base. Very compact, but a bit ugly (was from Idomo, who were trying to compete with Ikea but I think went backrupt). In my new office, I have shelves with little jars and cans on them to hold the supplies. Initially I didn't have the energy to move everything, so put the cabinets in the exam rooms also, which made the placement of the exam tables rather awkward. This past weekend, my BIL helped me move furniture, so now those old cabinets are in the back room and the exam rooms look much neater and are more functional, but still have a way to go. (Many thanks to the BIL, whose help cost me a can of beer ☺ , while the kids played with each other.)

The little cans and jars are a nice touch that I'd fantasized about for a long time. Not quite as nice as I'd thought it would be (what ever is?), but interesting. Instead of commercially-produced, boring, organizer trays, I have a large number of old tea tins, coffee cans, candy jars, and other odds-n-ends. Some are recent (eg Illy Coffee cans), some are old tobacco tins someone gave me (no idea how old), a few are old candy boxes (yes, candy used to come in tin boxes) that were in my parents' house when we were growing up. It makes a nice display and that slightly archaic, fantastical look I wanted, but I still have to juggle where I'm going to put each item to be the most efficient.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org
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11th-Feb-2018 03:23 am - On Call
Sword & Microscope 1
Am on call this weekend. Before you mock the idea of Dermatology on call ("What? Emergency Botox for an elopement?"), look up autoimmune blistering diseases, severe drug reactions, rapidly progressing infections, and erythroderma. For the squeamish, don't look at the pictures. (Have actually been on call for the past week and a half, but actually went in from home yesterday.) Don't usually have to go in, since have Residents taking first call. Usually just discuss with them by phone if there is anything from Emerg. However, this weekend, the Resident, although very sharp, is very junior. We had a bad call from Emerg (patient with known Pemphigus having a flare-up), and three very sick in-patients. They're stable, but hadn't actually laid eyes on them for a few days, and wanted to make sure they were okay over the weekend.

There's an odd quiet pleasure in being there on the weekend, like being on watch at night. It's quieter, and calmer, and there's a sense of camaraderie, and of purpose. Also had some intelligent discussion with the Resident, Attending Staff from another service, and looped in one of the Residents by email, which is stimulating. No doubt it would lose some of its charm if it were every night and more hectic, but I enjoyed it.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org
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3rd-Feb-2018 07:06 pm - Beetle Bailey vs Real Life
Infantry haircut
Mort Walker, the author of the comic strip "Beetle Bailey," just passed away. He had been writing the comic strip since 1950, the longest tenure of any cartoonist. I won't say it was an accurate depiction of military life, but it had its moments. In 1954 the Stars and Stripes military newspaper stopped carrying the comic strip because "it would encourage disrespect for officers"...as a result of which 100 more newspapers started carrying it. Our hero's sister, Lois, then became a character in the "Hy and Lois" comic strip, and Beetle occasionally “visited" his sister and her family.

Stripes is not longer run by the military, and more recently (during my time) carried “Private Murphy’s Law,” which wasn’t all that much positive about military life, although maybe less negative than Beetle Bailey. The cartoon that I remember most of Pvt Murphy was when he gets his annual “compare what you are earning to your civilian counterparts” info sheet. He raises his hand, “Uh, Sarge, how much does a rifleman make in civilian life?”

They did send those out, saying that although you make xxx, also consider your free health care is worth yyy, and your PX privileges are worth zzz, etc. Actually a worthwhile exercise, because the benies added up (eg I didn’t contribute any cash to the pension I’m now drawing) but it also depended on if you used the PX/Commissary frequently, and how often you got sick. Not to mention it is a bit hard to calculate how much a rifleman makes on the outside.

Hmm, come to think of it, when we were deployed in 2002-2003 (start of Iraqi Freedom), the gate guards were civilian contractors. Another of then SecDef Rumsfeld’s brilliant ideas to downsize the military to save money - by paying someone 6-figures to do the work of an Army private. Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org Please comment there.
27th-Jan-2018 07:44 pm - Firsts: Student, Bx, Cosmetics, Toes
Sword & Microscope 1
Friday was my 2nd day at the new office. (Thursday I was at St. Anne's which was fairly light. Just as well as I wasn't in the mood.) Patients overwhelmingly like the décor, which is very, very gratifying.

Several "firsts" at the new office (nothing earthshaking, but firsts for there).
First student. I like having students. At the hospital, since it's a teaching institution, the patient is basically stuck putting up with students and residents. I rarely have students in my private office, but sometimes, and the patient certain has the option to say "no," although few do. I had a student, which in this case was Evil Secretary's daughter. She had to do a project for High School, some part of which required shadowing someone at an interesting job. I almost calling her a medical student then catching myself just in time. "Mr/Mrs Patient, do you mind if our med… uh student joins us." I think Daughter of ES got something out of it.
First biopsy. Since skin is very accessible, skin bx are no big deal, unlike, say, a brain bx, or any other of those fiddly little internal organs. Reminds me of when I was a resident, and one of our patients needed a liver bx (was on methotrexate, and still did a lot of liver bx in those days for patients on MTX). Paged the Surgery resident to do it, and when he arrived, I asked if I could do it with his coaching me through it. He scoffed openly. A mere derm resident thinking he could do such a thing. That required the skilled hands of a Surgeon! Stand back, mortal, I shall do this wondrous thing!! Yeah. Then the bx came back as "normal lung tissue." Mr. "I'm a Surgeon" managed to miss the largest internal organ in the body. I still don't actually do liver bx (especially in my office, but I'm far less impressed by those who do.
First cosmetics. Got a peel, a botox (actually 2), and a filler. For me, the trifecta of cosmetic procedures. I have no intention of being a glorified cosmetician, but I do want to have all of Friday afternoons be my cosmetics time. I'm slowly working toward that. I hope having 4 procedures in one day is a harbinger of getting there, but probably just stacked up from my being away.
First toes. The advantages of now having my own kids, I'm better at dealing the kids-as-patients. This one, as so many, didn't like, and was frightened of, doctors. Which is often because the parents are frightened, and the kid picks up on it. Regardless, there are some tricks that help: take off the white coat, get down to their eye level, make faces. And, when all else fails, bite their toes. My Peds Derm colleagues scolded me today for having done that, but really, it worked. I was transformed from Frightening Monster to New Best Playmate.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org
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25th-Jan-2018 03:36 pm - Origin of "Kilt and Yalmulke Society"
Three Musketeers
First, a confession. It doesn't actually exist any more than the Sword and Microscope Society (see Profile Intro), which is to say it exists in my mind and sparsely elsewhere. This is really the story of how I started wearing a kilt. If I blogged about it before, apologies to older (well, more established) Gentle Readers for being redundant.

The US Gov't celebrates to varying degrees of actually-caring-about-it (mostly not) various ethnicities and other identities. Of course once you have an XXX day, week, or month, then XXX1 wants one, as does XXX2, as does, well everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame (or as it might be day, week, or month). These "observances" get posted in gov't offices and institutions, including military ones.

In my 2nd-to-last Commnand, my CSM (Command Sergeant Major), who became a close friend, was part Scottish, and did play the bagpipes. (He has been mentionned in my blog initially as CSM, then when he retired, as Pipes-Major.) One day, several months before his retirement, we were at our HHQ (Higher Headquarters) for something, and noticed signs up about Israeli Day and Scottish Week (or maybe Israeli Week and Scottish Day, I forget). I laughed and said as a joke, "Hey, that could be for us, we can show up dressed in kilts and yalmulkes." He looked at me and said, serious, "I have an Army kilt. All the services have their tartans. They can be worn with the dress uniform in the Commander allows it."

That started the ball rolling. My fantastical side couldn't resist, especially looking towards his retirement ceremony. Another friend, recently retired from the Army, who is also part Scottish, got involved. (He doesn't play the bagpipes. He plays the bugle. His neighbors love that on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. At my retirement, the two of them played their respective instruments (or is that "instruments") which was a hoot and very satisfying.) The three of us basically egged each other on to get kilts (well, the 2 of us who didn't yet have one) and show up at CSM's retirement party so clad. (The icon is from that party.) Other than initially freaking out my general (who thought I'd taken up cross-dressing), it was a rousing success.

Since then, have worn the kilt only rarely, but do like to when occasion presents.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org
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24th-Jan-2018 10:18 pm - Interesting first day
First day at the new office.
It is gorgeous. Everyone from Evil Secretary to my grumpier patients to my cheerier patients commented. ES had seen it in past week while we were unpacking and contractors still working on last details, so it was beautiful in her eyes to see it as the patients see it. Still a few details have to be finished, plus things needing to be sorted out and put away, plus inevitable changes later. All that having been said, I love it. Probably cost me a month's worth of patients to give it that elegant and slightly magical look (pix eventually), but worth it to me to not be working in what looks like a 2nd hand bus terminal, which is what half the doctors' offices around here look like. Although not as full-on magical-looking as I'd like, there is still an air of Hogwarts School of Dermatology and Witchcraft.
Of course, couldn't start off entirely smoothly, what with the ice storm yesterday and the walkway not properly salted. No one broke anything, which is a good thing. Booked fairly lightly until we get the hang of things. It's all the little things that feel wrong: where did I put this? Why is this 2 steps further away than I'm used to? (Doesn't sound like much, but 20+ years of muscle-memory makes things like that fell just slightly off.)

First day back at the hospital in a bit. Have been on-and-off between the Christmas Holidays and the move, but ramped up full time. First patient was easy: rectal melanoma. You read that correctly. What is usually a skin cancer, highly correlated to UV exposure, manifesting inside someone's rectum. Super rare. Had already been diagnosed and half-worked up, but she landed on my doorstep because she'd been shuffled around, didn't really know who to trust, or where to go. I told her frankly that I was not the person who would be able to treat her condition, but I would take charge of getting her to the best place and quickly.
A couple of other patients had odd cases of "who has been treating your case of xxx as yyy for how long?" Not grossly wrong, but the sort of thing that sometimes gets passed down as diagnosis xxx from one doctor to another, made sense initially, but nobody rechecked the facts when it didn't seem to be behaving as it should. Sometimes all I do is get people routed to the correct place. That can be a big thing by itself.

Came home, salted the walkway in front of the house, then had kids climb all over me (that's what is referred to as rearing children). Very tired, but life is good.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org
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Three Musketeers
Following my revelation that Robbie Burns was actually Jewish, went to Moishe's Steakhouse the next night. We were celebrating two birthdays, neither of which actually fell on that night, but seemed a good compromise date. Moishe's is an old, very traditional steak house in Montreal, with great service and greater food. The prices usually reflect that, but we're firm believers in "cheap chic" and went for the Sunday special. (Before we had kids, also did the late night specials, but these days we're basket cases by then). After sleeping all day, Nom was feeling better, and the bambini were reasonably well behaved and had a chance to see their cousins.

Steak for the main course for me, of course. Although Nom had lamb chops, which I think were even better. (SIL had fish. What was she thinking?) For appetizers, I had chopped liver for the first time in ages. Very heavy, but yummy. Everything at Moishe's is very heavy but yummy. Not the place if you are on a diet, especially low cholesterol diet. The cole slaw, pickles, and rye bread that served before the meal were absolutely perfect. Deliciously stuffed by the end of the meal, ended up taking dessert home.

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org
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21st-Jan-2018 04:00 pm - Scots, Jews, and Poetry
Three Musketeers
Well, mostly Scots - or rather Scotch - and poetry. It was my friends' annual Burns Night party. "And so we've had another night of poetry and poses." Okay that line is from a rather grim poem, which doesn’t really go with such a great and fun evening, but I do like the line, so using it. (So there, nyah.)*

Unfortunately, went solo, as Nom was feeling under the weather, and we weren't sure about bringing the kids. Next year though, we're going en famille.

It was a chance to socialize, which I don't do often, a chance to drink Scotch, which I don't do often enough, and a chance to wear my kilt, which I don't more than about once/year. Met some nice people. Also met a nice Scotch last night, called Edradour. Supposedly the smallest distillery in Scotland. Nice, slightly smokey taste.

Found out an interesting fact. Seems Robbie Burns was actually Jewish. Before revisionist historians anglicized (scotized?) the name, he was really Rabbi Bernstein, and later in life owned a deli, where the sandwiches were so generous, you could actually see the pastrami coming thru the rye.

Mar sin leat, Gentle Readers

*Last Call by Dave Van Ronk

Crossposted from %%https://warriorsavant.dreamwidth.org Please comment there.
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