Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

The snow is falling outside on this, the last day of 2008. For whatever reasons, despite this being like any other day, its distinction as the last day of a year gives it special significance. It causes us to pause and be reflective of our achievements, our successes and failures.

We all no doubt have much to ponder. I hope you have some fun pondering tonight and that the new year, 2009, be another year of great personal growth.

Thanks for reading the blog and I hope to have more exciting stories to chronicle in 2009 about my journey.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Take It Easy

Abe Lincoln was a very wise man. A man with great foresight who helped reshape our nation. During this Christmas and holiday season, perhaps a little reminder from good ol' Abe would do us all some good.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Keeping Things In Perspective

There are many times when things that should not bother us, end up becoming big issues. Here is a video clip of Louis CK doing an appearance on the Conan O'brien show. Really puts things into perspective! Enjoy the rest of your wonderful Christmas weekend!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!!

The many faces of Hovig would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

and wait for the download - you won't be disappointed. Many thanks to my friend NK for making this one happen. You have too much time on your hands NK.

And on a side note, my very first Christmas eve EVER without family has been uneventful. I am going to sleep in order not to think about where I would rather be in Fresno.


Merry Christmas Eve

I hope and pray you all have a wonderful day as we celebrate with anticipation the birth and revelation of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Did You Know: PSA from NBC

This "Did You Know" has been brought to you by the cast of The Office on NBC - it is about wedding invitations. What, with all my friends getting married, I figured I would provide some assistance on the matter. And on a side note, thanks guys, for all waiting until I was in medical school and ABSOLUTELY CAN'T make it to weddings - you all rock and I'm so glad you chose this time. Anyway, in tribute to all of you, here is some "Did You Know" info on wedding invitations.

Now You Know!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Special Post: HI ROOM 15!!!

HELLO Room 15!!!

How are my favorite 3rd graders EVER doing?

I know the weather in Fresno is getting kind of cold but it is actually snowing here in New York City. I have no doubt that Asia will now raise her hand to tell the whole class a story about some time she was in the snow. Go ahead, Asia - I can wait for you to finish :)

I miss every single one of you! In case you didn't know, I can't sub for Mrs. A any more because I'm in New York continuing my own education. I'm in my third year of medical school. Without shouting out the answer, who knows why people go to medical school? What are they trying to become? 50 points for whichever group gets the right answer.

Have any of you been to New York City before? There are LOTS of cool things to see - if you go further down and to December 7, you can see some of my pictures from around town - New York really decorates the whole town for Christmas time! My favorite story is how I got to see the HUGE Christmas tree get lit up at Rockefeller Center. It was so beautiful and there were so many people. Sorry my pictures are not very clear - my cell phone camera isn't the greatest.

Keep studying hard! I want to hear from Mrs. A that you all are getting the best grades possible because I KNOW that each and every one of you can do it!

Have a VERY fun vacation and a wonderful Holiday Season!!!!
Miss you guys!
Mr. A

PS: Next time you see Mrs. Perez, I want you all to go up to her and say that Mr. A says "Hi Senora Perrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrez!!" 50 points to every group that does this!

NY Sites: More Christmas in the City

Time to share more sites and sounds of Christmas in the City!

1. Christmas Concert at St. Patrick
This was a truly divine concert that showcased some amazing talent. We heard the Long Island Choral Society, the Y Choral Society (a group of heavenly sounding young children and young adults), and the St. Patrick Choir. It was a great and festive way to hear some awesome Christmas music in a great venue for music - St. Patrick's Cathedral! We heard some very traditional and spiritual music as well as getting to sing along with some well-known classics. And at the end, they turned off all the lights and everyone in the Cathedral lit a candle as we sang Silent Night. It was a truly spiritual and moving concert that left us all in great spirits. And as a little Christmas gift for Dianne, an avid reader of this blog, there is a picture of the evening's program - JOY!

2. Gingerb
read House Making
One of my friends invited me to attend a Gingerbread House Making Party. There was some crazy talent there! I'm including pictures of what I considered to be the top 2 structures. The clear winner is the picture on the right - a gingerbread house of the Louvre in Paris. In fairness, the Louvre was a group project!

3. Snowing!
I love the snow - it is so calming and purifying. Fresh fallen snow just gives you a feeling of renewal and rejuvenation that is unparalleled by any other natural weather occurrence. Of course, with the snow comes the cold and I'm still using my yellow jacket from California that is fine for California winters, but not so much for NY winters where the HIGH on some days is in the teens (and I've been warned that it will get even colder than that!) But for the moment, I'm enjoying watching the white falling from the sky and covering all the concrete and blacktop that is this city!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


"You just can't fix stupid."

When I was a teacher, I was good at it. Actually, I was REALLY AWESOME! But, I also had a slightly different style - one that was much more straight forward and less PC. My students appreciated it and it allowed me to be more "real". Therefore, I always used to tell my students: "I'm not going to lie to you: there IS such thing as a stupid question."

To prove my point, here are some real examples, heard in my classroom when I was a teacher and from some of my patients now that I play doctor during the day. Lord knows we will keep trying to bring the light of intelligence to the world, one student and one patient at at time. But, I must agree with Andrea - sometimes, you just gotta throw your hands in the air and just shake your head. Enjoy!

Example 1:
Teacher says: Put everything away now.
Student asks: Mr. A, when can we put our stuff away?

Example 2:
Teacher says: You may not talk right now because you should be listening.
Student asks: Maaaaaaaan, why can't we talk??!!??

Example 3 (no, really, this happened):
Patient asks: You mean, being overweight is not healthy?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Former Scholar Awarded in Maryland


One of my best (and favorite) Scholars when I taught 8th grade in Baltimore City Public Schools has been awarded a "Pride Maryland Public Schools Award" by the State of Maryland for her work over the summer. Her name is Indigo McMillian and the once young little middle schooler is now a wonderful young lady and a Junior now! And believe me when I say that this time next year we will be hearing about what top-notch University she decides to attend, no doubt on a full scholarship!

Congratulations Indigo! Continue to make your family and all of us proud and "show your brilliance!"

Below is the description of the award Indigo (and some of her friends from her high school) received, as posted on the Maryland Public Schools website!

Indigo Mcmillian

Christin Morris

LaKeisha Johnson

The Baltimore Talent Development High School

Baltimore City Public Schools

Nominated by Marcie Taylor-Thoma, MSDE

- Indigo Mcmillian, Christin Morris, and LaKeisha Johnson participated in the “O” Ambassadors Program, a joint project of Oprah’s Angel Network and Free the Children, by traveling to India to take part in a three-week international volunteer program. During their international education journey the girls learned about the culture of India, helped to build a school in a rural town there, and taught games to children. These students are making a tangible difference in the lives of their peers in the developing world, by working to find solutions to global challenges through active learning.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

NYC Sites: Christmas In New York City

New York City knows how to celebrate holidays. One of the great, perhaps unintended, consequences of the commercialization of Christmas when you live in the consumer capital of the USA (and world) is that stores go ALL OUT to decorate. As a result, everywhere you go in the city is decked out with Christmas stuff. There is Radio City Music Hall, with its big tree of lights caddy corner to 6th avenue and across the street from some giant red Christmas balls adorning the front of another office.

There is the giant Christmas tree in the MetLife building that is attached to Grand Central Terminal. If you are IN Grand Central there is a really cool light display all day long in the grand waiting gallery. There is also a giant Christmas Tree shaped light fixture that scales the front of the Macy's building, made famous for the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

And of course, perhaps most famous, is the giant Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Plaza. This tree is HUGE. I visited the sight the day before the actual "lighting" of the tree - it was gorgeous (and not crowded, so I was able to get really close to it!) Apparently, Britney Spears would be performing on the NBC Today show the next morning, so I saw her, also, doing a sound check for the cameras that were getting all set-up for the grand festivities to follow the next day.

The story that follows is a TRUE story that is perhaps one of my best EVER!! This is the story of how I saw the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Plaza, despite being told that the area was full and there was "not a chance" of seeing it lit.

After work on Wednesday, I arrived home around 7pm. The tree gets lit around 9pm and I was debating whether I would actually go to see it. I figured it would be full and I wouldn't be able to see, but around 730pm I decided to go for it. The tree lights up at 855pm. God must have wanted me to make it because I caught my train immediately and the Express was waiting for me a few stops later! I got to 5th Ave and 53rd St around 815pm. I needed to be at 50th Street, but the Police had blocked off the area because it was full. They were telling people to just come back the next day to see the tree. Being a stubborn individual, I was not deterred. I waited by the barricade because I noticed that people with ID badges for the buildings nearby were being let through. As God would have it, a big group showed up and I basically just entered through with them. Come to find out, they were heading to the building directly next to the Plaza - the one across from St. Patrick's Cathedral with a big dude holding the world in front. I entered into the building with them, also! They went to the 5th Floor, to a brokerage firm that was having a Tree Lighting Holiday Party!! They had enough food and drink to feed a small state like Delaware. And best of all - they had an unobstructed, front row seat, full on view of the tree!!

POINT OF STORY: I got to see the tree lighting for the first time in my life - with front row seats, good food, a glass of wine, and lots of merry people who weren't freezing or all up on you (like the people outside at ground level were!) And it was dazzling. Indeed, the tree itself is just a big tree with lots of lights - not a big deal. But being there for the moment it lights up sent goose bumps up and down my body.

A must see (at least once in your life) when visiting New York City. And an amazing way to start the Christmas season!

Friday, December 5, 2008


"Ladies and Gentlemen, we do apologize for the delay. Upon leaving Miami airport we were informed that the St. Martin airport was out of jet fuel, therefore we had to return to Miami to add enough jet fuel for this return trip to the States. We do appreciate your patience."

"Only in St. Martin" became a familiar refrain whilst living on that beautiful rock. But alas, today's post is not about flying, but indeed about something I am thankful for, especially after experiencing two years of "Only in St. Martin's". Today's post is about energy and I recognize the moment I publish this post, something will happen. After all, not even America is perfect when it comes to keeping the electricity on - there are blips. But a BLIP is much different (and more acceptable) than a big friggin' smudge that never goes away!

There is a country song that says "No shoes, no shirt, no problem" - in reference, actually, to life on an island. That said, I finished my time on the island in April. Since April, I have lived in the comfort of America again. And since that time, I have never once approached a light switch with trepidation that it would flip up but cause no lights to turn on. I no longer poop in the restroom with fear that I will have to put a sign on the door that warns Nareg (my roommate on the island) not to enter the bathroom because, "Surprise!! The water is out...AGAIN!" And yes, it stopped being a "surprise!" to us around the 1,329th time water was cut.

See, when you visit the island as a tourist, you stay in the comfort of some resort that has generators and water tanks that clean the water and ensure that you never once experience an outage of water or power. For the rest of us yeomen who actually have to live on the island longer than a week, we are exposed to the lack of infrastructure planning that has resulted in an explosion of new high rise buildings without adequate build-up in water and electricity resources. The result: our last few semesters we experienced almost DAILY power outages and water stoppages. Indeed, some days were a double whammy: no lights, no water. What can you do? Smile, say no problem, and just keep trying to study with whatever power is left in your laptop battery.

Therefore, this Holiday season, I give much thanks to a power grid in the US that, while not flawless, provides bountiful electricity. And I give thanks for bountiful safe water resources, regardless of whatever it tastes like. I may no longer live by the ocean, but nothing beats knowing that a nice hot shower awaits you after a long, hard day.