Sunday, November 30, 2008

Call Space Revisited

I was fooling around with some video editing software today and posted this parody of the movie "Office Space" I helped make with some friends during my residency program at Penn. Internet fame is just around the corner, I can tell...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sophie's Audio Debut

Okay, so I'm biased, but how can anyone not think this clip of my daughter Sophie singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" with my parents is cute?

We had a great Thanksgiving with my parents. They left this morning and the role of Sophie/Max's grandma is currently being played by Claire's mom Christine, who flew in from France this evening.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Early Dialysis

Check out this old video of the first-ever home dialysis patient in England.

He has a permanent femoral (thigh) catheter, something which today would be done only in unusual circumstances due to an unacceptably high rate of infection.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008!

Happy Thanksgiving 2008 to everybody! Here are some pics...

Mom & Dad were here to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, check out the grandkids, and lend a much-welcomed helping hand.
My good friend Nir was in town as well.
Sophie and Mom fixed Thanksgiving dinner all by themselves.
Dad contributed by carving the bird...
...and displaying the wishbone in creative fashion.
Max got dressed up for the event.
Sophie enjoyed listening to Grandpa Rick play a tune on the banjo.
And Dad & I started working early on Sophie's cross-over dribble. It's going to be killer, on par with Allen Iverson, I can already tell.

Nate & his 2 kids in his new chair (a birthday gift).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Don't Forget About Sophie

Sophie was eager to remind us of the fact that we indeed have another child besides Baby she had a spectacular and highly unusual crying fit between 3am-4am last night. Needless to say, the young parents had kind of a rough first-night-as-a-complete-family, especially as Sophie & Max had evidently not received the memo to coordinate nighttime crying sessions as much as possible. Fortunately Mom is here (and Dad coming later tonight) to lend a hand. And we've been trying to play with Sophie as much as humanly possible...

Monday, November 24, 2008

To the MAX

Here are some more pictures from Max's first 24 hours of life...

Sophie meets Max for the first time.

So far, so good in terms of Sophie-Max interactions...

The whole fam damily.Mom & Max at home (we were discharged earlier today as everything is on target).
Max in Hercules pajamas--once worn by Sophie.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Introducing Maxime Hugo Hellman!

Say hello to Maxime (Max) Hugo Hellman, who joined the world yesterday, Nov. 22nd at 5:10pm.

He weighs in at an impressive 8 lbs, 13 oz with a length of 19 inches (that's 4.005 kg and 48 cm for you French-types). Mom & baby are doing well and say thanks to all of our friends and family who have been such wonderful supporters throughout the pregnancy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Check this out--somebody has created "nanobama", a drawing in which each tiny Obama head is comprised of approximately 150 million tiny carbon nanotubes. This picture was taken with an electron microscope, as the width of each head is only about 0.5 millimeters. A description of how nanobama was made can be found here.

Another fun link to check out is this "Famous Mustaches of Rock" site. I heartily agree with most of their selections, though I have to take issue with the fact that Spinal Tap's Derek Smalls didn't make the cut...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Unfortunately somebody in our lab, while he was for some reason gazing at zebrafish feces earlier today in a petri dish, noted some creepy-crawly worms playing in the dung.
This is bad news, as these are nematode worms, a parasite which can infect fish (as well as mammals).  So now we have to quarantine off a bunch of fishes (fortunately none of the ones that I have been using) and treat with antibiotics until the infection is eradicated.

Another example of a nematode worm is C. elegans, a very popular organism for studying development and genetics.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Last-Minute Preparations

The big day should be here soon. In the meantime we are getting the house prepared for Baby Boy Hellman. Sophie was eager to help me assemble his dresser last Sunday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sophie Eats Corn!!

In this ground-breaking Nate's Blog exclusive story, we detail the eating of corn-on-the-cob by wunderkind Sophie Hellman at dinner last Friday night.

I'm trying hard not to have my blog devolve into a chronicling of the life of Sophie (and soon-to-be Baby Boy Hellman). But dammit, these corn-eating pictures are just too good not to share.

Open up, ready to go.
So good you can almost taste it.
Mission accomplished!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Night Hoops Links

A few clips to end the weekend:

Here's my favorite scene from Spike Lee's "He Got Game"--Denzel Washington versus Ray Allen in a father-son game of 1-on-1. Apparently the script called for a 11-0 blowout by Ray-Ray, but Denzel pulled out some moves and made it an interesting game. Denzel's got game.

Here's a clip of Reggie Miller's famous "8 points in 9 seconds" versus his arch-rival, the New York Knicks.


Here's the classic Allen Iverson "Practice"-themed press conference during which he says the word "practice" like 30 times.

Clips from one of the silliest basketball-themed movies of all time: Teen Wolf.

Finally, I looked for a video of Sam Cassell's "Testicle Dance" (after hitting a big shot, he sometimes does this dance where he pantomimes what large cojones he has) but all I could find was this photo.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Things I Am Excited About

List of things Nate is currently excited about:

1. Pending birth of Baby Boy Hellman (name already picked out, will be revealed shortly).
2. Thanksgiving in Boston with parents, and my best friend Nir will be around as well.
3. Going back to France for Christmas--first time in a year and a half.
4. The Lost Premier scheduled for January 21st.
5. Results of large ciliary candidate screen in zebrafish (hopefully will be carried out before Christmas).
6. Switchover of presidents coming up soon, and long overdue!

Six things are enough to be excited about at one time. Let's keep the list at six for now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sophie's Spot

Sophie's favorite spot in our new house is the little nook next to the refrigerator where we typically store 24-packs of Diet Coke--which makes a nice chair. Here she is surveying the beer situation.

Baby Boy Hellman is not here yet but should be coming soon. Obviously we'll give updates when anything happens.

In the meantime, enjoy this impressive LeBron James nearly-taking-off-from-the-free-throw-line dunk:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zebrafish Development Caught on Film

Here's a sweet time-lapse movie of a developing zebrafish embryo.  It's not mine; I found it on Youtube.  The first panel is a fertilized zebrafish egg consisting of only 2 cells (the 2 "lumps" on top of the large sphere, which is termed the yolk sac.  The cells divide to the 4 cell-stage, then the 8-cell stage, the 16-cell stage, etc and over the course of 24 hours develops a very recognizable head, tail and eye.  Towards the end of the movie the zebrafish flips over and you can't see it's head, unfortunately--guess he/she was camera-shy.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

ASN 2008

Here's some pics from our Philadelphia trip to the American Society of Nephrology meeting.

The meeting was something of a family affair: my Dad is also a nephrologist, and here he is introducing Sophie to riding the escalator, which to her was the equivalent to an amusement park ride.

They have a whole section at the meeting which is different pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers. This bizarre, futuristic scene is from the Baxter booth, one of the big manufacturers of dialysis machines and related equipment. When I first saw these cool pods, I thought perhaps they were some new-wave dialysis machine which isolates the patient from their unpleasant environment. However, it turns out they were simply "isolation pods"--a place where weary convention-goers could relax and take a load of their feet. While subliminal Baxter messages playing in the background, no doubt. I decided not to try this out for fear of the "Clockwork Orange"-style brainwashing which might ensue.
Also weird was this large Amgen-sponsored cube advertising their slick new drug sensipar, which acts on the parathyroid glands, which help regulate the body's calcium levels. It turns out that dialysis patients have major perturbations with the parathyroid gland, so this drug is particularly useful.
The inside of the cube was modeled to look like the insideof a parathyroid gland cell. You can see vitamin D & its receptor floating around if you look carefully.
One of the best things about the meeting being in Philly was the ability to catch up with old friends. Here's HUP Men's Club Alum Matt Ortman pushing Sophie on the swingset. He would have preferred to have played with her on the tape-cul (see-saw) but unfortunately there was none available.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Thoughts on Philadelphia

Just got home from a grueling journey home from Philadelphia. A few thoughts on my former city after having been gone for one year:

1. The city definitely seems to be in a good mood with (a) the recent and well-deserved World Series victory by the Philadelphia Phillies, and (b) the election of President Obama. There are still signs up celebrating both victories, I'm told that in both instances there were people cheering in the streets, and it's nice to see the town energized.

2. New buildings: since I lived there there's a cool new skyscraper (The Comcast Center, tallest building on the left) and also apparently a new superskycraper proposed (The American Commerce Center, below--which if built would be the 3rd-largest building in the U.S.) which are helping to transform the skyline into a pretty impressive & modern-looking one.

3. Very nice city to live in. I was there for 3 years (2003-2006) and I don't think I realized how much the city grew on me until relatively recently. It has its issues (bad parking, a little grungy in some areas, and starting to get a little more expensive) but seems to be a city on the rise. Hopefully Philly will weather the current economic climate and continue its ascent.

More photos from our trip to follow!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

So I heard about this pretty sweet deal here at the American Society of Nephrology meeting which I just might take advantage of one of these's called "Dialysis At Sea", and it's a program which offers to take dialysis patients on cruises. Dialysis patients are somewhat limited in terms of their vacation plans, as their 3-times-a-week dialysis schedule requires them to plan well in advance the need to dialyze at a center close to their destination. The "Dialysis at Sea" cruises allow dialysis patients and their families to take a cruise vacation to popular destinations as there are dialysis machines aboard the ship!

Not only do they have dialysis machines, but they also have dialysis nurses and nephrologists, who apparently get to come along on the cruise for free along with their families. I've never been on a cruise before, but maybe I"ll give this a shot one of these days...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Today's been a weird schedule for me:

-woke up at 5:30 am so as to cover the Kidney Transplant service at Brigham & Women's Hospital for a day--one of the first-year clinical nephrology fellows is out for a family emergency, so I was helping out.

-went to vote at 1pm (no lines!) followed by my scheduled every-6-months haircut.

-stayed at home with Sophie so that Claire could run an errand.

-now I'm in the lab, starting my "lab day" at 7:15pm.
-when I finally get done (which will be whenever my zebrafish embryos decide to complete their in situ hybridization staining) it's home to pack: tomorrow morning, Claire, Sophie & I depart for Philadelphia for 5 days, where I'll be attending the American Society of Nephrology meeting!  I'll be blogging from Philly as time & internet connections allow...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Day Before The Election Videos

Don't let this happen to you! These news reports notwithstanding, I am eagerly looking forward to casting my vote for Obama tomorrow at the Charlestown school near our house.

In addition here's a clip from last weekend expanding on Sophie's monkey-like antics while walking with maman et papa (for the record: I am officially "papa", rather than "daddy". Not sure how this happened, but I'm okay with it).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Savage Dragon Endorses Barack Obama

This could be one of the biggest presidential endorsements of the 2008 campaign:  Erik Larsen-created superhero The Savage Dragon recently endorsed Barack Obama on the cover his monthly comic book!  

I don't usually read this comic book but bought the 3rd printing issue since it's one of those c
omic book which may have historic appeal in the future.  And any friend of Barack's political intentions is a friend of mine...

The U.S. President has been a relatively common guest star in numerous comic books, as demonstrated below:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Zebrafish Tail Blood Flow

In honor of having my zebrafish lab over for dinner tonight, here's another movie I took of a bunch of red blood cells zooming through the zebrafish tail.  The fact that this organism is completely transparent and you can do this kind of live imaging still blows me away.