Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Boston-Minnesota Sports Connection

Yet another Minnesota-to-Boston sports connection: today the Boston Celtics signed Stephon Marbury as a free agent, after Marbury burned so many bridges in New York that he had to look elsewhere to continue what's left of his NBA career.

It marks the reunion of Kevin Garnett (one of my all-time faves) with Marbury, who at one point in time were considered to be a lock to become one of the best 1-2 combos in NBA history as part of my beloved Minnesota Timberwolves. That never really materialized, in large part due to Marbury's ill-advised desire to play elsewhere, without KG. You always have to wonder what could've been if Marbury had been more motivated to be part of the team philosophy.

Also an interesting side note is that Marbury was originally drafted in 1996 by the Milwaukee Bucks, then traded to the T-Wolves on draft night for the rights to fellow draftee Ray Allen--another one of his new teammates on the Celtics.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Last weekend we shopping at Ikea--a bewildering experience I don't like to repeat more often than once every three years--and for the first time Claire & I experienced a moment of panic when we briefly lost track of Sophie. Turns out she was hiding in this red cabinet.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Fens

I never thought about it until I got to Boston, but the baseball field "Fenway Park"--home of the Boston Red Sox--is named after a local park: the Back Bay Fens. This natural marshland area was designed as a public park by Frederick Law Olmsted--the same guy who designed Central Park. It's located a few blocks away from Fenway Park and is a stone's throw from the Longwood Medical Center, where one of the hospitals at which I work (Brigham & Women's Hospital) is located. Here are some pictures of our walk around the Fens.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Frere et Soeur

A quiet weekend for the Hellmans...for once I don't have any dialysis shifts, moonlighting opportunities, scientific meetings, or grant deadlines. And I'm pretty happy about that as it should allow me to hang out with the Hellman kids most of the time. Here's some recent Max n' Sophie photos.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spider-Man + Science + Basketball + Lost = Good Day

My dream day was accomplished today:

1. Taught Sophie about Spider-Man in the morning before going to work. She now knows how to make appropriate web-slinging sound effects whenever I say the word "Spider-Man."

2. Was highly efficient in the morning experiments in the lab, and things worked.

3. Heard an interesting zebrafish-related talk.

4. Played pickup basketball for the first time in about 8 months and didn't embarrass myself too much. I will be sore in the morning, but all my ligaments are intact!

5. Watched an uber-bizarre episode of LOST in the evening.

6. Blogging in bed.

Does life get any better than this, I ask you?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Johnny Goodtimes Proposal

Congrats to my friend Matty O, who proposed to his girlfriend Katherine in true Philly-style by popping the question via a game of everybody's favorite bar trivia game, Quizzo. You can read about it here on Johnny Goodtime's Quizzo blog. I don't know what this really says about the inhabitants of the two cities, but in my experience the Quizzo in Philadelphia is a lot harder to win than Stump Trivia (the Boston equivalent) around these parts. Maybe it's just because all the Harvard & M.I.T. kids are too busy studying to go out at night and play trivia...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Playground Pics

The weather has been slightly more agreeable over the past week--most of the snow has melted (for the time being) though still obviously winter jacket weather--so we spent a lot of time at various Charlestown outdoor playgrounds this weekend. Here are some pics including a nice series of Sophie climbing through the tunnel and Maxime flashing his award-winning smile.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

NBA All-Star Predictions

NBA All-Star Weekend is here! Let's hope that the hospital isn't so busy that I can't steal a few moments and catch a few moments of the Slam Dunk Competition during my Internal Medicine shift coming up.

How about some predictions? We'll see how I do:

1. Slam Dunk Contest: Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trailblazers. I don't know much about the guy but I hear he can slam. Plus the contest tends to favor new blood, and there are two former winners (the Knicks' Nate Robinson and the Magic's Dwight Howard) participating within a field of of only 4.

2. 3-Point Shootout: Jason Kapono, Toronto Raptors. This one's easy. He's one twice before and is the best sharpshooter in the league. If I gambled, I'd be calling my bookie about now.

3. H-O-R-S-E: This is the first year that the NBA is going to do a H-O-R-S-E competition!!! It's about time. The three contestants will be O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies), Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks), and Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder--in pic above). I'm tempted to take O.J. (he's got a great name) but this could be a Kevin Durant Weekend-To-Remember: he already put up a record 46 points in the Sophomore-Rookie Game. I'll go with Durant.

4. Rookie vrs. Sophomore Game: In all honesty, I was going to pick the Rooks this year to finally beat the Sophs--the Rookie Class is just so great this year. However Kevin Durant (the best player nobody is talking about due to his being "exiled" to Oklahoma City) singlehandedly won the game for the Sophs and avoided a potentially embarrassing loss. Perhaps he was inspired by Sophomore Coach's Dwyane Wade (left) slick bowtie-containing outfit.

5. All-Star Game: I'm going to go with an East victory this year, despite the fact that the game is in Phoenix. Why? I think this is the Year of LeBron James, and I predict he'll pour in a ton of points, rebounds and assists to win the MVP Award. The other compelling storyline which could potentially go down would be if hometowner Shaq O'Neil (now a Phoenix Sun) is able to reach back to a classic performance and lead the West to a victory.

Finally, here's a You Tube clip rating the Top 10 Dunks of All Time to get everybody in the mood.

Lab Pics

View from the window next to my lab bench: city of Boston off in the distance.

I can often see big freighters passing through as our building is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
This is where the magic happens. Our mini zebrafish facility (there is a much bigger one on another floor that we also use).

Danio rerio aka zebrafish!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Strange Life

When I was living in St. Louis for seven years, I was enrolled in the "Medical Scientist Training Program"--during the course of this time, I earned both my Ph.D. (in Molecular & Cell Biology) and my M.D. (in Medicine, duh). However, the time spent doing my Ph.D. was doing pretty much 100% science, whereas my training for the M.D. was 100% medicine: the worlds were segregated, and it was sometimes difficult to see how the two pieces of training were related.

During my residency in Philadelphia, and during my first year of Nephrology fellowship in Boston, I spent a combined four years so busy in the hospital seeing patients that I barely had time to eat & sleep--much less think about science.

Now, finally, I feel like I'm beginning to merge the two pieces of my career together, and it's satisfying.

If I had to put a figure on it, it's probably about 85% research & 15% clinical right now. I spend Monday evenings covering the Dialysis Unit, Thursday mornings seeing kidney patients in clinic, catch a few Nephrology talks here and there, and once to twice a month I moonlight on the Internal Medicine service seeing patients sick enough to get admitted to the hospital with a variety of ailments. The remainder of the time I'm doing experiments on fish kidneys in the lab. It's fun and more than a little bizarre. Today, as I was biking to M.I.T. to pick up some mutant fish from another lab, I thought to myself how bizarre this life might sound to somebody on the outside.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Still Here

Yes, I'm still here, despite my relative hiatus from this blog.

I finished writing my grant--now I get to go back to doing some real work (that is, actual experiments instead of just thinking & writing--lots more fun to actually do the experiments, in my opinion.)

If anything, I have actually been more active on the blogosphere than usual...only I have been devoting my efforts to my Nephrology blog (closing in on 200 hits/day! Not bad considering my target audience of nephrologists is a relatively limited one) and another molecular biology blog I am starting up. Clearly, I am addicted to blogging.

Pictures of the Sophie who has recently been enjoying hiding and crawling behind furniture in her room:

And the ever-smilin' Max.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sophie N' Max

The latest in Hellman children photos...only on Nate's Blog!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Great Game!

Just got back from watching a very exciting Super Bowl 43.

I hadn't gone into the game with a plan to root for either team...I was mostly hoping to catch a good, close game. Which is certainly what I got! The only problem is that I somehow got sucked in to rooting for the Cardinals--perhaps due to good memories of Kurt Warner as a St. Louis Ram, the last really good Super Bowl I watched (last year's was close, but for some reason wasn't as fun to watch). In any case, congrats to the Steelers, they had the big plays when they mattered most.