Thursday, April 02, 2015

Why Whiskey Tastes So Good

From Andy Brunning at the Compound Interest blog (which is excellent by the way) - 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sorens First School Picture

Hard to believe Soren is 2 years and a couple months now - yet it is also hard to remember a time when he was not in our lives. Even though I breathe a small sigh of relief every night when he falls asleep easily and Aviva and I get some private time, by 7:30 the next morning I am aching to see him.

Anyway, Soren just got his first school picture taken - check it out, he is so cute :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Got the Grant!!!!

Hard to believe, and it has certainly taken a long tie and a lot of hard work - and not just by me, but from my amazing wife, my mentors, many of my friends and colleagues - but today I received my score on my latest R01 submission and I got an impact score of 20 in the 3rd percentile !!!! 

This means it is very likely that I am going to receive an R01 this coming summer, which in turn means that it will be a lot easier for me to find a professorship and start my own research program !!!!

This is fantastic news, one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me in science and certainly the most exciting thing to happen since ... well, probably since Soren was born. Its awesome.

I of course have some kind of stomach bug today, and Aviva is sick as well, so we will not be celebrating yet ... but soon it will be party time :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How was Soren ever this little?

People say your kids grow up too fast ... but when you have a little kid and a busy life, sometimes it seems that things are abhorrently slow - everyone with kids has been in that place where you need to go or stop or whatever and your kid is just taking forever to do something super simple and short ...

But in perspective, things do move too fast. Even with only the small amount of perspective we have now - I mean Soren is going to be 2 years old in just about 2 weeks - it is shocking how fast things go by ...

I mean I look at some of these photos, I see him almost fitting into one hand - and now he is ginormous, almost 35 pounds of wound up, wild and crazy baby, or more appropriately toddler because a) he toddles and b) he is really not a baby anymore, not when he tells us that pistachio shells are inedible or that the pinwheels are hibernating and that he cannot find the moon because it is playing hide and go seek with him. It is crazy to hear him articulate these concepts, because our entire experience with him has been of him wanting to express things and not be able to do it. Honestly, I cannot wait for more language because he is such an interesting little guy ... I cannot wait to hear what he thinks of next.

Still, I look at all of these pictures of him and just wonder how he could ever have been this small ...

Monday, December 08, 2014

When we had time because we were young and stupid

Yes, before children there was a period of time where we had huge amounts of time and we did essentially nothing with it, which seems pretty inconceivable now - although my friends with more than one kid tell me that when that happens the time I spend writing this blog (which lets be honest has not been all that much recently) will also seem like time I was wasting since I will really have no time at that point.

Anyway, to illustrate my point about doing nothing, I will return to one of my friends who makes periodic (yet memorable appearances) ....

Here is Neal, 15 or 16 years ago, with enough time on his hands to badly imitate Jesus .... I mean can you imagine having enough time and energy to create pontoon shoes out of old water bottles ...

Friday, December 05, 2014

Holiday Musings and Thanksgiving in Sharon

I get together with my family a couple of times of year, this last year it was Passover, 4th of July, Rosh Hashanah and now Thanksgiving ... and we will be getting together for Winterfest - a name of my own devising, it will be something like a combination of late Hanukkah and winter birthdays. During each of these holidays, we all stay together under one roof, be it in Cherry Hill, NJ, Sharon, MA or, now that we have a house, Eastchester, NY.

Its nice ... really, really, really nice. I can't say that I ever imagined I would like my family so much that I would want to spend this much time together ... but I gotta say, its pretty great. I mean, I can't say it is all stress free, but I can say that the stress is absolutely worth it.

Especially now that the cousins are all growing up, seeing them all play together is truly a magical thing. Thanksgiving, which we spent at Josh and Debbie's in Sharon, MA, was the first holiday we have been to since Soren was born where it really felt like he was old enough to interact with his cousins. Even though not everyone was there - Rachel, Larry, Dylan, Joey and Eli stayed in Philly and Marley is away at college - Soren had an absolute blast playing with Samara and Tal.

Then when we got back, we took Soren to see the annual train show at the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx with our friend Jen. Nathan is Soren's best friend and their interaction is so fantastic I do not have the adjectives, but believe me they are awesome together. 

Overall the holiday was great, and it was quieter and less chaotic than other have been, those not with us were definitely missed.

This was also the first holiday in a long time that I forgot my camera, but fortunately iPhones have excellent cameras ... here are a couple of the pictures and videos from Thanksgiving. I would have you all know that other things happened at this holiday aside from Soren playing with his cousins, Aviva and myself ... but frankly adults are so much less interesting to photograph ...

At the amazing childrens museum in Easton 

On a walk with Aviva and I, attempting to appreciate the tiny amount of snow

 With Tal and Samara

 Soren and Tal playing together.

 With his best friend Nathan at the train show at the San Diego Zoo on the Sunday after we got back.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Long time coming

I think that is about what I said in the last post too. Well, it is certainly true this time ... haven't posted for 8 months. There are reasons, but truthfully they probably don't matter because if you are reading this it is likely you already know them ..

But if by some chance you are reading this and you have not spoken to me recently, I have basically been tied up writing my first R01, buying a house and moving, and raising a kid.

The grant was submitted on May 7th, I found out in July that I didn't get it but that I got a pretty good score for my first try. I am already well into the resubmission, a lot of work but it should go in for January 7th if all goes well.

The house was purchased with much sturm and drang on June 13th, Wells Fargo be damned, and moving has been a process but the big stuff was done by later in June. Still, the adjustment to living in a new place and getting everything settled is really something else.

And the house is awesome, so I can't really complain.

The kid, well, he is a beast. I mean it, he is a giant kid - 35 pounds and in 4T pajamas but only 20 months old. I love the bejeezus out of him though.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


So that is what I have been ... MIA. I had a blog all set on Sorens 1st birthday, another on my cousins wedding (those are both from December) and then a couple more. Soren is walking now, and babbling and he is still fantastically adorable ... but I have not told any of you about it. Whats the deal?

Well, the deal is that we decided it was time to buy a new house. And that it was time for me to write an R01 (very large grant which will allow me to get a job as a professor ... we hope). And that it was time for Aviva to get her private practice rolling (it is doing quite well thanks).

So .... all that is happening. And will continue to be happening for the next two or three months, before things finally settle down. But come May, or June, when we are in our new house (fingers crossed) and the grant is done (fingers and toes crossed) and Aviva is settled in with a couple of clients and settled schedule (fingers, toes, legs and eyes crossed) ... then I will be back and writing.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

You know I could publish something and be legally barred from sharing it

The world of academic publishing is weird, and while I could try to explain it, I don't think I would do a good job. But to me, it often seems like a scam.

Basically, a bunch of companies who run academic journals receive articles from scientists like myself based on work we have performed, paid for and written up. Then the journals take the research article and send it out to other scientists, who read and review it for now cost, and then send it the journal. Then the journal publishes the work, copyrights the article and attached figures and charges money for people to access it.

There has actually been a large push for open-source publication - which I think is a fabulous idea - and many journals have begun to make their articles available on line for free. As I said, this is great.

But apparently there are companies who are actively fighting against this ... which I feel is kind of evil ... take a look at this article and see what you think.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I went to DC and Dan & Karla got hitched

So 2 weeks ago, I put Aviva and Soren on a plane to California, and then during the week I headed down to DC for the 12th annual International Symposium on Neurovirology. The impetus for this trip was Dan & Karla's wedding in Sacramento - we had all been waiting for this wedding for a while, and we weren't going to miss it. So we figured, get Soren another week with Bubbie and Zayde, get Aviva some help and avoid a 2 day trip to California with the baby.

After dropping Aviva off at the airport on Saturday afternoon - TSA was very nice to give me a gate pass so I could take Aviva and Soren up to the gate - I drove into to Brooklyn and went out for Koffmans birthday at a beer garden. I cannot drink beer like I used to. A single one liter stein gave me an almost instant hangover and a wicked headache.

Anyway, on Monday I headed down to DC with Cheo and Paul, one of his graduate students, and spent the night just across the river in the Crystal City area of Arlington. After a run near the monuments and dinner at McCormick & Schmidts, we got a good nights sleep and got up early to go for a ride around the monuments.

Nice ride, and DC really has a great bike share program and a beautiful set of bike paths. And the people there really seem to take advantage, there were lots and lots of people commuting to work by bike. The conference itself was great, got to meet a lot of new people, hear about some good science and had a pretty good poster session.

I also got to spend the evening with my friends Scott and Michele and their beautiful kids ... and I got to meet their newborn son Ridge for the first time.

And finally, I left the conference a bit early and flew out to California to meet up with Aviva and Soren for the wedding. Not seeing them for a week was really, really rough ... a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be, so I was really happy to see them. We stayed at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento, and due to Sorens early rising coupled with daylight savings time resulted in Soren and I taking long walking tours around town each morning. 

And Saturday night was the main event, a fantastic wedding. Great food from Magpie (the pork shoulder and pork sandwiches were delicious), excellent wine and of course there were the fabulous Golden Lion dancers. Overall, a great night and a great, if not incredibly fast weekend.