31 March 2008

In brief...

I have not made time to update my blog lately. Here are some pics which have accumulated over the past two weeks - with just brief snippets of description

Meeting the newest addition to the family during a trip to Utah over spring break (I think she likes me)

The best part of this picture are the looks on Trent's and my face. Don't I look jealous of Trent and his hoard? Can't you just hear what Trent is saying by the look on his face?

Lunch at Pace's with the crew - fun times!

The Suntrust National Half Marathon in D.C. - a group from the ward made the road trip for the race

Some of the group in front of the White House

It was a fun time to visit D.C. The cherry trees were all in blossom. It was impressive

Speaking of cherry blossoms... this petite cherry blossom got right in the way of our picture

Brent gazes ponderously from the Lincoln Memorial over the national landmarks

Kirsten and I by the Potomac River. George Washington's estate (Mount Vernon) is the hill in the background.

12 March 2008


This past weekend Brent Thurgood (my fellow Ute in New York) and I went on a little road trip. I anticipated this trip for some time due to what was awaiting us at our destination... yes, b.good burgers!!!

Our first stop upon arriving in Boston was the famed burger joint in Harvard Square. Since my last visit to Boston, the b.good founder and owner Jon Olinto had sent me several coupons for free burgers. We redeemed these coupons for two el guapos. With the first bite I was reminded once again of the supremacy of b.good burgers... absolutely incredible!

Brent Thurgood enjoying his first b.good (Brent Thurgood... b.good burgers- is there some connection there?)
As we were enjoying our heavenly meal I asked an employee if Jon was in - I wanted to meet the genius behind the burger. Jon came out from his office and immediately recognized me. It was great to meet him. We talked a bit about his company - how they started and where they are headed. He even gave us a tour of the place and showed us their secrets behind the magic - proprietary info... I feel privileged!

Me and Jon in front of the b.good grill; the rest of the tour was highly classified - no photos allowed (this was my rule, not Jon's)

Jon also treated us to two more complementary burgers, as well as two mango shakes. This gave me an opportunity to try two new burgers - the west side and the adopted luke. I will tell you what - the b.good folk sure do know how to take care of their customers!

When we finished dinner we headed out for our secondary - and of course much less spectacular - activity. We saw the Boston Celtics play the Chicago Bulls in the Garden.

This was the second sporting event I have attended in Boston (Trent and I went to a Red Sox game last April). Both experiences convinced me that Boston is the premier sports town in America. No other city can claim such tradition as the Boston Nation. Their fans are loyal, informed, and die-hard! They hold to their roots and relish the tradition of their sporting franchises.

My fellow New Yorkers may disown me for saying such a thing about their hated rival to the north. New York too is a great sports town. However, it is a city divided. In New York's quest to become bigger and better they created a situation which dilutes the passion of the fans. Yankees/Mets, Jets/Giants, Knicks/Nets... Who is your team? Bostonians are united. They all rally behind the Sox, the Celts, and the Pats. A camaraderie exists amongst the Boston faithful which is strikingly absent in the Big Apple. The multiple New York franchises and their respective fans clamor amongst themselves to be top dog only to look up and realize Beantown is now king.

Me and Brent at the Garden

Saturday morning included an enjoyable run through Cambridge. I explored much of Harvard I had not previously seen. If you are ever in town, be sure to see Harvard Stadium (it feels like a Roman coliseum - awesome!) and Harvard Business School (the most impressive area of Harvard's campus).

Cousin Shelly recommended a quaint restaurant for breakfast - Sound Bites. Great recommendation!!! I had a Belgian waffle with strawberries, mango, apples, blueberries, papaya, kiwi, oranges, and watermelon on top - all covered with whipped cream! Wow!

Check out the waffle!

After breakfast we saw some sights - Faneuil Hall, Quincey Market, Boston Commons, Fenway Park (moment of silence please). We were just biding our time until lunch came around.

We had to make somewhat of an early departure from Boston. But we made sure to make one last stop at b.good before hitting the road. As always, it was memorable!

As I sit here contemplating when I can make time for another road trip to Boston, I realize it will not be soon enough. I look forward to the day.

Thanks Jon for the Burgers!!!

(doesn't this picture make your mouth water?)

My compliments to Brent Thurgood for the photography

09 March 2008

Final update

Last Monday I received a phone call from the VA Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. They offered me the position I had been interviewing for over the past several weeks. I officially accepted their offer on Thursday.

I am on course to graduate in May. Then, come June, I will be moving to the midwest to begin my career!

The position I will assume is officially a two-year training program. I will spend the first year in St. Louis, then I will relocate for my second year of training. It is anticipated that my location during the second year will become a long-term situation.

St. Louis Cardinals... Busch Stadium... Gateway to the west... it will be a fun year.

6 March

I usually abstain from blog posts composed of just photographs. Rather, I prefer to fill the web page with my writing rather than my mug. However, I want to break from my regularity a bit.

Last Thursday Kirsten organized a dinner with a group from the ward. We met at a fun restaurant called Mama Mexico. Afterward we went back to her place where we enjoyed ice cream and her homemade chocolate cake. Thanks for the fun times!

Me and Kirsten

Left to right: Leslie S., Jason B., Me, Kirsten D., Michael M.

Left to right: Brent T. (a Utah Man!), Jamee R., Colin W., Oscar O.
Stephanie B. and Leslie S.
Rustin (always a favorite with the ladies!)

Mmm... Chocolate cake

02 March 2008

I am a NERD!!!

Yesterday I had an epiphany of what a nerd I am.

I went into my research lab to do some experiments and compile a presentation of my work for a seminar on Monday. I was watching some time lapse videos I have acquired as part of my research. Each of these videos only lasts approximately 2 seconds. I was trying to find which videos I wanted to include in my presentation. As I watched them, I found myself fascinated with the clips and I even thought to myself, "these are awesome!"

I suddenly realized how incredibly weird I am for finding such pleasure at watching cells move around.

Below are just three of the dozens of videos I have collected. Each shows something slightly different. Two are control groups, and the third is the experimental group. Allow me to give these a bit of context. These are images of cells enclosed a 3-dimensional gel. I have found a way to control the movement of these cells. Specifically, I can keep them balled up in a spherical form for a time (Video1 - the video looks like nothing is happening, which is what I want; see, I really am a geek - I am fascinated by a video in which nothing happens!). I can then apply a chemical which causes the cells to spread out and even migrate through the gel (Video2). If I want, I can then apply a different chemical to 'freeze' cell movement - that is, I can encage the cells to prevent further movement (Video3).

Now, as I mentioned each of the videos lasts only two seconds. But that is hardly indicative of the work and time invested to get these images. Each video is actually a time lapse of a three hour period. And each experiment consists of three of these three hour periods. On top of that, preparation of the gels for the experiment takes another 4-5 hours. So, as you watch the videos below (if you have any desire to) remember that somewhere between 12 and 15 hours is invested in those two second clips.