Sunday, June 28, 2009

Joyeuse 2eme Anniversaire, Sophie!

It's Sophie's 2nd Birthday today! Joyeuse Anniversaire, Sophie. Being the Deadbeat Dad (your choice of links: here or here) that I am, I wasn't there of course. But at least we Skyped at the end of the day so I could wish her a happy birthday sort-of in-person. Everybody will be back in the U.S. by this Thursday; I can't wait.

And if I didn't have a daughter to spend June 28th with, at least I had my sister, who came to visit me in Boston along with her friend Bruce. Here we are at the end of another Boston rainy day-bike ride, in front of our house.
We also checked out the Mother Church of Christian Scientists, a classic looking building shown here.
Cool old lanterns.
In case you're wondering, none of us were looking were looking to convert to Christian Scientistism (or whatever the appropriate term is). Rather, we were there to check out the tourist attraction that is THE MAPPARIUM. It's pretty cool--for $6 you can enter into a room that is essentially a sphere of stained glass that depicts a complete globe of the world, along with all the country names & borders as of 1935 (when it was built). Not only is it way cool, but there are some interesting acoustic effects as a result of being in an enclosed sphere of glass that enables you to hear on one end somebody whispering from the other end. A little like a schizophrenic hearing voices I guess.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What is the Best Web Site Ever?

I recently stumbled upon this outsanding website: Every Jeopardy question ever asked. And the answers. Since 1983. And you can play each game on your own. As somebody who once attempted to memorize every single Trivial Pursuit question in the entire Genus edition, this type of encyclopedic collection really appeals to me.

Plus I'll throw in a picture from a few weeks ago of the kiddos from before their French-Fried vacation...can't wait to see them again next week!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grocery Store Wars

Didn't your mom tell you not to play with your food?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Bike Ride

Happy Father's Day! Since I was unable to celebrate the day with either my own kids (in France) or my own Dad (in Indianapolis), I decided to spend the day on an epic bike ride. In the rain. Yeah, not so smart, I got absolutely soaked and muddy, but it was well worth it.

I began my journey in Boston's Chinatown, a twenty-minute or so ride from my place. Ironically, this was the only time I got lost on the entire trip.
I met some friends for dim sum, where I chowed down on enough calories for the bike ride. If you can judge a Chinese restaurant by the size of its waiting line (shown below), the one we ate at must be of high quality.
It was a foggy day in Boston, with at least a light drizzle for the entirety of my 4-hour trip.
Harvard buildings.
Henry Longfellow's house (a national historic site) is on the way.
Shortly after the Alewife station, I joined up with the MinuteMan Bikeway, a paved, 11-mile path which goes through Arlington, Lexington, and ends in Bedford, MA.

Nice old church in Lexington.
What do you think this sign means? Crab crossing? Alien life forms down this way?
Logo from old Boston & Maine railway car.
At last! The end of the line at Bedford Depot Park.
Nate is very wet.
Harvard Square on the way home.

Approximate route.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Skype Reunions

I'm a big fan of the "command-shift-4 screen-capture" feature on Macs--here are some pics of the fam in France during today's Webcam appointment.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random Hammer Dancing

What do I do in the absence of posting Sophie & Max Hellman videos?  Isn't the answer obvious?  Videos of random people showing up doing a mass MC Hammer Dance at an L.A. store. 

Gene Simmons Passes Kidney Stone and Sells It On EBay for 15 Grand

The title says it all, man.  I wonder what he could get for his severed frenulum?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bunker Hill Day Parade

My weekend? Not so exciting...I attended a Nephrology Review Course Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which basically consisted of consecutive, non-stop 45-minute lectures beginning at 8am and ending around 5:30pm. Needless to say, my head is spinning.

Fortunately, though the course was held about a 15 minute walk from my house...and I played hookey for about 2 hours in order to watch the annual Bunker Hill Parade, which commemorates the anniversary of the Revolutionary War's Battle of Bunker Hill. It goes right by my house and I watched the parade from an open window while eating lunch. Here are some pics.

Who better to kick off the parade than Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino?
Like living in a warzone.
Scale model of the U.S.S. Constitution.
The NBA Championship Trophy (from the 2008 NBA Champs Celtics), right outside my front door...don't know who the guy carrying it is, though.
No parade is complete without a Chewbacca costume.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Long Live Skype

Claire, Sophie & Max successfully made it to France, with both kids earning excellent conduct marks on their on-flight report card.  

We'll be keeping in touch using Skype--how cool is it that we are living in the Internet Age--I also feel that people in my age range are in a good place--old enough to not take the technology for granted since we can recall a computerless world--young enough to look forward to future advances.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Dragon Boat Festival in Cambridge

Well, Claire Sophie & Max have escaped from the U.S.A...that's right, 75% of the Hellman Family is spending the next three weeks in France. I'm stuck holding down the fort in Boston, and I already feel strange walking around a suddenly empty house.

On Sunday we went to the Dragon Boat Festival in Cambridge, after I had slept off the effects of another 7pm - 7am moonlighting shift at the hospital. The Dragon Boat Festival is basically a set of crew (rowing) races on the Charles River, only the boats are brightly decorated with Chinese dragons' heads on the helms. With a nice backdrop of classic Harvard buildings to boot. Here are some pictures of the day's events.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Touch A Truck Day

At a nearby parking lot in Charlestown yesterday we went to the "Touch A Truck" Day--basically, a child's idea of heaven. There were 30-some vehicles that kids could climb in and touch (and sometimes even blow the horn) ranging from semi trucks, police cars, fire trucks, tugboats, and city buses. Some pics from our day:

Sophie et Maman at the wheel.
Hopefully the only time I will ever see my daughter in the back of a police car.
Just to confirm, I do not actually consider myself a member of Red Sox Nation.
Coast Guard ship.
My personal favorite: The Nascar-themed UPS truck with flames.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sophie Goes Glass

Sophie's hoop skills are on mad display in this video--she shoots, she dribbles (okay, twice) and if you listen really closely, I think she calls backboard on the last shot...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Shepard Fairey Exhibit at Institute of Contemporary Arts

Yesterday we met some friends at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Arts, a modern art museum on the wharf which I had never before visited.  Thursday nights are free, so why not check it out?  There was an exhibit of the work of Shepard Fairey--a name with which I wasn't familiar, but I certainly recognized some of the many iconic media images he has created over the past several years.  He is perhaps most famous for the influential Obama "HOPE" images which you will undoubtedly recognize:

Interestingly, there is an ongoing legal battle between the Associated Press and Shepard Fairey regarding copyright infringement--I would tend to side with the artist on this one.  
Another familiar image Fairey is responsible for is the "Andre the Giant Has A Posse" campaign which he evidently created as an art student.  People would post these stickers all over street signs, newspaper distribution machines, etc; perhaps you've seen them around.

Sometimes the stickers just have a caricature of the gargantuan pro wrestler's face, with the slogan "OBEY" on it.  I believe this is a commentary on the use of certain images for propaganda purposes. 

In fact, the museum is presently decorated with an Andre the Giant face on its upper floors:
Finally, Shepard Fairey is also responsible for the cool "Walk the Line" movie posters for the Johnny Cash movie from a few years back.  All in all, a surprisingly worthwhile visit to the ICA, though it was certainly a challenge preventing a 2-year-old Sophie from doing any permanent damage to some of the more delicate modern sculpture pieces in the other exhibits.  

Thursday, June 04, 2009

2009 NBA Finals Begin Tonight

What a bizarre 2009 NBA Finals...the Orlando Magic (nobody expected them to come this far, myself included) versus the L.A. Lakers. I'll have trouble rooting for either team, as I'm still a little used to rooting against the Magic (who were playing my Celtics in the 2nd Round), and I've always had a dislike of the Lakers since I've been, like, nine years old. I'm going to pick the Lakers in 6, but think it will probably be close and I'll probably root for Orlando.

Plus a few pics from home: fist, Sophie helping out with one of Max's frequent feedings......and then a shot of Papa reading to Sophie from her current favorite book, Old Turtle.