Thursday, February 16, 2006

Went to Ozio last night for a Tu Bish'Vat happy hour. Tu BiSh'vat is a Jewish celebration of trees. I can't understand how people make fun of Valentine's Day and yet no one says a word about the celebration of trees.

Tu BiSh'vat or the "New Year of the Trees" is Jewish Arbor Day. The holiday is observed on the fifteenth (tu) of Sh'vat. Scholars believe that Tu BiSh'vat was originally an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring. After the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.C.E. this holiday was a way for Jews to symbolically bind themselves to their former homeland by eating foods that could be found in Israel. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century Kabbalists created a ritual for Tu BiSh'vat similar to the Passover Seder. Today, Tu BiSh'vat has also become a tree planting festival in Israel, in which both Israelis and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of a loved one or friend.

Not really sure how my Coco Chanel Martini (vanilla vodka and white creme de cocoa) has anything to do with celebrating the planting of trees, but I guess any reason to celebrate is fine by me.

The happy hour was actually packed full of people looking to meet other people. I love those types of events, where everyone is really out looking to expand their social circles. I met a Ukraine-born Physicist. I pretended that I knew what he did. Since I've been living in DC, I've looked up more occupations than I ever even knew existed. Here's what a Physicist does.

A physicist is a scientist trained in physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena spanning all length scales: from the sub-atomic particles from which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole. There are numerous different branches of physics and each has its corresponding specialists, such as astrophysicists, geophysicists, or biophysicists. Employment as a professional physicist generally requires a doctoral degree. Physicists are employed by universities as professor(s,) lecturers, and researchers, and by laboratories in industry. Many people who are trained as physicists, however, use their skills in other parts of the economy, in particular in engineering, computing, and finance.

Uh, yeah. If you say so. Well, at least we know he's smart. I also ran into one of APK's friends who works in International Development. I didn't even pretend to know what that was, and I'm not even going to try looking it up. I've just now figured out what APK does. I don't want to cloud my brain with too much new information.

APK is the gum machine in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Here's the analogy he offered me:

The individual ingredients are produced by farmers all over the U.S.
-Businesses do business for the year-

The ingredients are sent to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
-Final numbers on profit, employees hired and fired, and other statistics are sent to the U.S. Census bureau-

The ingredients are put into a machine.
-APK and his team take all those number from websites and reports and such-

The machine combines everything together and pops out one single piece of edible gum.
-APK and team then report, "The recreation industry grew by 10% in 2005." Or something like that.-

I understand now. Don't you? Suppose I should stick with any guy who can get me to understand something like his job.


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