Monday, March 30, 2009

2009 Final Four Woes

Well, I did just terribly in this year's Final Four picks.  I went 0-for-4 in terms of picking the Final Four teams.  

I suppose I'll root for Villanova--the closest thing the Final Four has to an underdog, though a three seed making it this far is not that surprising.  Still, it brings back one of my earliest hoops memories:  watching Villanova stun the Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas in the 1985 NCAA final.  My family was on vacation in Washington, DC at the time and I distinctly remember watching the game on the T.V. in our hotel room.  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Holy Sheet

We got a good, quality half-hour of entertainment yesterday playing with a bed sheet with Sophie yesterday evening--just enough for Claire & I to successfully fold all the laundry without Sophie messing up the folded piles. She really enjoyed wrapping herself up in the sheet like a mummy and then dragging it all around the apartment. The only downside is now we will have to wash the sheet again. At this age, the best toys are often the least obvious (bedsheets, cardboard boxes, random pieces of styrofoam, etc).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Marblehead

We went exploring this Saturday--decided at the last minute to see what was cookin' in nearby Marblehead, Massachusetts, about a 45-minute drive north from Boston. It's claims to fame are allegedly being the birthplace of the U.S. Navy as well as being one of the premier yachting (read: rich) communities in the country. We saw several driveways with both a Jaguar as well as a sailboat being stored for the winter.


Nice view of the Marblehead town from Crocker Park. Cool castle-like building.
A hint of springtime flowers...
Nate, Sophie & Max enjoying the harbor view.
Official town seal.
The sign on the little house reads: "Beware of Killer Seagull."



Friday, March 27, 2009

Name Of the Year Voting


Don't forget to cast your votes, NCAA bracket-style, for the 2009 Name of the Year. My favorites from this most recent batch are Chuck Fugger, Bunkless Bovian, Barkevious Mingo, Willie Wham, and Shasta Kielbasa. These are real names, people. Max & Sophie can give thanks that I'm not into winning contests like this.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Best of the Rest

Here are some miscellaneous kid photos I swiped from my mother-in-law's camera--some are recent, others date back to her visit last December. Sophie has a new big girl bed; here she is after waking up from a nap.
Nate feeding Maxime in the Arnold Arboretum.
Claire reading to Sophie and Max.
Sophie with a very serious expression on her face as she watched youtube clips on the computer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Maximus Smilus

Here are some smilin' photos of little Max who is growing well...as a stranger on "T" remarked last week, "he seems like a baby who doesn't miss too many bottles."


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Utter Stupidity

We could all use a little stupidness every now and then.

I'll take a brief respite from the Sophie N' Max slideshow that my blog has inevitably evolved into and share this inane youtube clip of a man who tries to drink a full pint of beer before a stream of toilet paper crammed up his butthole lit on fire reaches his ass. Come on, you know you want to watch.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Day At the Aquarium

Our Sunday was spent at the Boston Aquarium--our first visit.  Here are some pics.  

Sophie pets a starfish (actually I found out they are now properly referred to as "sea stars" as they are not actually fish.
The jellyfish exhibit is always an important one.
Cool green anemones.
Riding the turtle.
Sophie sharing a laugh with a penguin.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Arboretum Again

Here are some pictures of today's Saturday afternoon visit to the Arnold Arboretum.



Sophie and her friend Louise take a rest.

Sophie & Nate like to practice their protesting skills.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Final Four & More

Well, it's another March Madness tournament, and with that, the 3rd Annual Hellman Invitational Final Four pool that I organize for my family. I've gotten off to a poor start as the poor commissioner (yours truly) is in last place (the yellow-highlighted team at the bottom) amongst the standings...let's hope things pick up. At least none of my Final Four picks has yet lost.

Saw another movie tonight (babysitting courtesy of my mother-in-law): Slumdog Millionaire. I loved it! So happy it won Best Picture. Go see this movie, there's a lot to like about it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How To Make Lab Coats Look Even More Dorky

One of my fellow lab coworkers entered a contest sponsored by Sigma Chemicals in which an individual had to design a logo for a lab coat which embodied their field of research. She ended up WINNING, not only a free trip to St. Louis for a special scientific course, but also FREE LAB COATS WITH THE WINNING LOGO for everybody in the lab!! The winning design--depicting zebrafish swimming around a mammalian kidney--is shown below. It even includes little squiggly lines around the perimeter of the logo which are supposed to represent cilia--the tiny, rhythmically-beating structures I have shown before on this blog. Pretty cool.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Few Extra Pics

Sophie plays with papa's gloves.
Sophie & Max lying down together on their new rug.
Sophie plays some hockey at the park.
Nate & Max take a quick nap on the "T".
Nate, Max, Mamie Christine.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Webslinger

video

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

There are still several Boston-based attractions that I haven't yet been to...though I can now check off the "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum" box, as we all went to see it yesterday. No pictures of my own, since cameras are not allowed, but I've pulled a few off the internet.

This is a small museum just a few blocks away from the massive Boston Museum of Fine Arts, in the Fenway neighborhood, and it has an interesting history. It was founded in 1904 by a wealthy patron of the arts (Isabella Gardner) who had the building made from scratch, but incorporating various antique architectural objects of art she had accumulated throughout her world travels. For example, there is a beautiful section in which original medievil French stain glass windows and church pews are exhibited.

The centerpiece of the museum is this large courtyard on the first floor. It is enclosed by a greenhouse roof and due to the tropical plants that grow there, the temperature in the museum is fairly toasty.

The collection is not large, but impressive. For instance, I distinctly recognized the painting "Europa" by Titian from my "Introduction to Art History" course I took in college. It's in the center of this picture from the "Venitian Room" on the 3rd floor.

A few other interesting factoids about the museum:

-anybody with the first name "Isabella" is admitted for free.

-in 1990 the museum was victim of the largest art theft in history: over 500 million dollars in art--including paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and items once belonging to Napoleon--was stolen by thieves dressed up as police officers! The identity of the thieves has never been determined.

-Isabella Gardner stipulated that the museum be displayed EXACTLY as she intended it--e.g., all the paintings and exhibits arranged as originally by herself--or the museum will be donated to Harvard University.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mamie Christine Visiting

My mother-in-law is here for about 2 weeks & her grandkids are really excited! Pics from the past few days of Mamie Christine interacting with Sophie & Max...




Claire and I are also excited for another, more selfish reason...instant babysitter! We went to see a movie in the theater (the first in many months), The Watchmen.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pacman Fish Movies

I was screwing around using the high-speed camera in our lab yesterday and took this fun movies of a Pac-Man-like heart valve from one of our zebrafish embryos.  Yummy.
video
Then, I treated the exact same embryo with a drug called 2,3-butanedione monoxime (BDM) which inhibits actin, a critical protein of the cell's internal skeleton which is necessary for the heart to beat, as you can see from this markedly sluggish zebrafish heart valve. 

video

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Boundless Energy

Sometimes Sophie will blow off steam by repeatedly running laps around the support joining the living room & kitchen. Wish I had that much energy...

video

Monday, March 09, 2009

March Icicles

This weekend, from a weather standpoint, was absolutely phenomenal. It was up into the 50s, all the snow from last week's "snow emergency" melted, and it was basically shorts & T-shirt weather for many.

This morning I awoke to several more inches of wet, messy snow & rain. Looks like we're not finished with winter yet.

Here is a picture of an icicle hanging down from the gaslight in our "backyard" (I put quotations around that since it's not much more than an alleyway.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mystery Piece of Furniture

What is this mystery piece of furniture newly added to Nate & Claire's bedroom? Answer below...
Answer: Comic Books! I recently invested in a BCW comic book storage system, which consists of a series of stackable, cardboard file cabinet-like containers. At my wife's request, I attempted to conceal the true nature of my comic book vice by draping the containers with some maroon drapes and orange tapestry, then a bunch of family photos. But just pull back the drapes and, voila! Comic books. How many? (250 comic books per box) x (12 boxes) = about 3000 comic books. Roughly one-half are from my initial junior high/high school comic book collecting phase (roughly 1986-1992) and the other half is from my more recent med school & beyond phase (roughly 2002 - present).

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Locks

I discovered something recently about 10 minutes away from my house which is highly valuable--a traffic-free route across the Charles River to the North End & downtown Boston! This is like discovering the Northwest Passage in your background. There's a winding route of walkways that crosses the Charles River over a series of locks, which are opened & closed in a regulated fashion to control fish migration. Anyways, it was a rare, nice & sunny day in Boston this Saturday, so I introduced Claire & the kids to the locks as we took a walk into Boston this morning.

The entrance to the locks is tucked behind Paul Revere playground. In the background you can see the funky Bunker Hill Bridge and the Boston Garden, home of the Celtics & Bruins.
Down by the locks.
Big gear.
Facing the harbor.
Carrying Sophie and Max most of the way = good workout for Nate.