Thursday, April 30, 2009

Best 1st Round Series Ever?

Just finished watching the 3OT finish of the latest Celtics-Bulls 1st round series. Four out of six games in the series going into OT? Clutch shot after clutch shot? Game 7 in Boston coming up? This series has everything! Unbelievable. I have sincerely enjoyed watching these games and will undoubtedly look back on watching it with fondness in the future. I'm gunning for Boston to win but at the same time I wouldn't be upset if Chicago pulled it off--whoever wins will be at a severe disadvantage against the Cavs if they even make it that far.

This series has also really solidified my admiration of Celts' guard Rajon Rondo. The guy is averaging a triple-double for the series! In fact, why don't we use this opportunity to add Rajon to the newly-formed All-Nate Second Team All-Stars (click here for the All-Nate First Team All-Stars)--not necessarily the best players ever (though some of them, like Larry Bird, are certainly in the discussion) but ones I personally enjoyed watching and following. Note that Michael Jordan isn't on the list--I appreciate his basketball genius in retrospect, but back in the day I tended to root for the underdog team after Chicago had won its 1st championship.

G Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
G Ray Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
F Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
F Charles Barkley, Philadelphia 76ers
C Rik Smits, Indiana Pacers

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Few More Tricks

Here are a few more of Sophie's latest tricks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More from the Sophie N' Max Show

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Hampshire Reunion

New camera! Essentially the same one as our old one, got it for a good price off of Craig's list.

This Sunday we had a long-overdue reunion with one of my best friends growing up in Duluth, Joel Johnson, who it turns out lives only about an hour away in nearby New Hampshire. Here are some pics of the occasion.

The gang: Claire, Maxime, Sophie, Megan, Oliver & Joel on the Johnson front porch.
Sophie & Max on Nate's favorite quilt.
2 Dads and their sons take a stroll through Dover, NH.
Little Oliver likes playing with his feet.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Little Jewish Humor

Great clip from the Jimmy Kimmel Live show.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fulfilling My Civic Duty

I was summoned for jury duty today--even though I've only lived here for about a year and a half--and despite the temptation to pull a "Liz Lemon"-style Princess Leia impersonation in an attempt to get out of it, I fulfilled my civic today. I was almost disappointed that I was sent home at 1:30pm without being impaneled. Better luck in three years.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Florida Flashback

While we are waiting to figure out what to do about buying a new camera/fixing our current one, here are some Florida pictures from two weeks ago sent by my parents...various permutations & combinations of myself, my Dad, my Mom, Claire, Sophie, & Max.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Paramecium Dancing

Here's a video I recently took of a little paramecium dancing on the surface of a zebrafish embryo I was examining.  Pretty cool.  Unlike tissue culture, where it is essential to keep a sterile environment, for developing zebrafish embryos it's not a bad idea to have a few (but not too many) of these paramecia around...the embryos can use them for food, setting up a tiny little ecosystem inside your petri dish. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Billy Ripken '89 Fleer Card Story Finally Revealed

When I was a young lad collecting baseball cards, one of the truly coveted cards was the '89 Billy Ripken card.  Not because Billy was such a great player (he had a .247 lifetime average, nothing to write home about, and his career was way less impressive than his Hall-Of-Fame brother, Cal Ripken Jr), but because of the "adult"nature of the card.  The original version, shown on the left, showed Billy posing with a baseball bat which had written on the knob the word "FUCKFACE" which could easily be made out on close scrutiny.  

Obviously it did not take long for America's youth to gleefully discover the profanity, and to avoid further controversy the company (Fleer) hurriedly released a new edition of the card with the profanity blackened out (a website devoted to the different versions of the '89 Billy Ripken Fleer card--some of which are worth a fair amount of money--can be found here).  

At first Billy denied that he was responsible for the scandal--instead blaming his teammates of playing a practical joke on him.  However as a recent CNBC piece describes, Billy has recently 'fessed up to the fact that HE was the one to write "FUCKFACE" on the bat, though he denies that he intentionally posed with the bat for the baseball card photo shoot.  

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I was really looking forward to watching the Boston Celtics defend their NBA title, as the playoffs are scheduled to take place a few days from now. However, the new scoop out of Beantown is that the Celtics are not likely to have the services of Kevin Garnett, one of my all-time-faves, on account of some bad knees. In my opinion, this effectively ends Boston's hopes to win the title again, and also makes the NBA Finals matchup a relatively predictable one: it's hard to imagine anybody but the Cleveland Cavs coming out of the East, and hard to fathom anybody but the L.A. Lakers coming out of the West.

How did Nate's picks from the beginning of the year pan out? I predicted intially a Cleveland-New Orleans Final--which will probably turn out to be 50% correct. I also picked LeBron James to win his first MVP Award, which will likely turn out to be the case, though that wasn't too difficult a prediction to make. I called seven out of the eight playoff teams in the East (I missed Chicago Bulls) and six out of eight playoff teams in the West (I missed the Dallas Mavs & surprising Denver Nuggets).

My abridged predictions for the playoffs now that the matchups are set:
1st Round:
(1) Cleveland def (8) Detroit 4-0: hard to imagine Cleveland having any trouble with Detroit's aging lineup.
(2) Boston def (7) Chicago 4-2: even without KG, the Celtics are a much better team than Chicago, who will probably steal a game or two with their youthful enthusiasm.
(3) Orlando def (6) Philadelphia 4-1: the Magic's core of Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu, if they are healthy, should have their way with the 76ers.
(5) Miami def (4) Atlanta 4-3: this could be a great series, but I'm going with the Heat because of Dwyane Wade's awesome postseason history--he cannot be stopped.

2nd Round:
(1) Cleveland def (5) Miami 4-2: expect at least one epic scoring duel between LeBron and Dwyane to define what could be a memorable 2nd round matchup.
(3) Orlando def (2) Boston 4-2: I would love to pick the Celtics here, but I'm afraid they'll be too skimpy on size without KG to contain Dwight Howard.

Eastern Finals:
(1) Cleveland def (3) Orlando 4-2: Who on Orlando will be able to prevent LeBron from dominating?

1st Round:
(1) LA Lakers def (8) Utah 4-2: the Jazz have played the Lakers pretty well this year, but don't expect LA to be in any real danger of losing the series.
(7) New Orleans def (2) Denver 4-3: I don't know why, but I just haven't been convinced by the Nuggets' strong regular season all year. I'm also a big Chris Paul fan, so I'm going with the 1st-round upset here.
(3) San Antonio def (6) Dallas 4-2: Though Dallas has had a surge and San Antonio just found out it will be without Manu Ginobili for the remainder of the playoffs, I still think that the Spurs' playoff experience will be enough to squeak out a first round victory.
(4) Portland def (5) Houston 4-3: Both Portland and Houston are fun teams to watch; Portland seems to have more potential given its abundance of youth so I'll pick them.

2nd Round:
(1) LA Lakers def (4) Portland 4-1: The Lakers are just too experienced to allow the Blazers to make this a real series.
(7) New Orleans def (3) San Antonio 4-2: a matchup of two of the fastest point guards in the NBA (Chris Paul, Tony Parker) would be a treat to watch.

Western Finals:
(1) LA Lakers def (7) New Orleans 4-1: None of the Western teams appear to be peaking going into the playoffs--therefore I don't see the Lakers as experiencing too many real problems until...

NBA Finals:
(1) Cleveland def (1) LA Lakers 4-2. If LeBron wins this one, watch out: he may be winning several more. There just seems to be a better team vibe & chemistry with the Cleveland group--I think it may be their year.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Florida Pics

Forested boardwalk at Macarthur Beach State Park.
Grandma Pat & Maxime beneath said boardwalk.
Resorts off in the distance of the dunes.
3 Generations of Hellman firstborns checking out the Atlantic Ocean.
Aunt Susie and Max.
More smilin' Max.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

La Boheme

Hello!  This morning biking to work felt a few degrees colder than large part because we spent the last 3 days in Palm Beach, Florida with my family.  Palm Beach:  sunny, warm, 80-degree, sunscreen-requiring weather.  Boston: better put on your hat & gloves before going to work or your fingers will be numb.  

The main reason for our trip to Florida was to see my sister Susie's performance in the Palm Beach Opera's production of La Boheme.  It was spectacular!  She played the lead female role of Mimi--which was a little weird in that I watched my little sister die onstage in the final act.  It's always amazing to listen to Susie belt out the tunes in her amazing opera voice just a few hours after I was having an ordinary conversation with her in her normal, everyday voice.  She did a great job and I'm very proud of my little sister for nailing this great opportunity of a role!
More pictures to follow.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Links

It's been a busy week...I would be looking forward to sleeping in this weekend, but unfortunately I have to cover the dialysis unit Saturday morning (6:30am) and catch an early morning flight to Florida Sunday morning (6am).

I leave you with a few random and interesting links:

Those crazy robots are at it again. Pretty soon they'll be taking my job.

Will Ferrell is going to be in the remake of one of my favorite childhood shows.

I wonder if Sean Penn will win another Oscar for his portrayal of Larry in the upcoming Three Stooges movie? Benicio del Toro (Moe) and Jim Carrey (Curly) are the other two stars.

I've been checking out some podcasts lately, listening to them when I have to do some mindless lab work...some of my favorites thus far are the B.S. Report (sports), the Adam Carolla podcast (recently #1 downloaded in the U.S.), This American Life (always interesting, but you have to pay to get to archived episodes), and How Stuff Works.