File under Geek Cool — the largest known prime number was just discovered by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (aka GIMPS)! For those who don’t know, anyone can participate in the GIMPS project by downloading a client program. The GIMPS master computers farm out to the clients the work-intensive math that’s needed to check whether or not a number is prime, and the clients use only the “idle time” of the computers (the time that computers aren’t doing anything else) in order to do the computation. It’s a cool use of distributed technology; as of the latest status report, there are over 68,000 computers participating in the hunt for primes.
What a nice Memorial Day! After being on call for since Friday night, yesterday evening we went over to help some of our friends enjoy the first back-porch grillout of the season. I slept until noon today (always a welcome event in this house), and then, sufficiently inspired by last night, I assembled a little 14” charcoal kettle grill that Shannon’s parents gave us when we moved up to Boston. We buzzed around the apartment cleaning stuff up, and I made a quick run to the grocery store to grab the essentials of Memorial Day grilling. Some other friends brought their twin almost three year-old boys over, our landlord came downstairs with his girlfriend, we grilled up some burgers, hot dogs, and Italian sausages, and we sat around enjoying each other’s company.
First year of fellowship is so much more frenetic than I could have ever predicted, but as the year comes to a close, it’s nice to reflect on the rare day of pure relaxation and see the prospect of many more to come. And now I have my own little grill, to use each and every time one of them rolls around!
As if the dreary Boston weather wasn’t making me miss New York enough, today two things pop onto my radar screen that make me ache to be back there this weekend (instead of being on call for all pediatric hematology and oncology here in Boston). First, there’s the news that Columbia Hot Bagels is closing. What a travesty, and moreso, what an unbelievable loss to all the Morningside Heights residents who will have to go get doughy, undercooked kaiser-rolls-cum-bagels at Nussbaum & Wu or walk the thirty blocks for the (still inferior) H&H Bagels. (Piece of trivia: if not still, for years the famous Zabars bought their bagels at Columbia Hot. How do I know? I brought three dozen bagels into work every Sunday morning during college, and I would get there early enough to see the carts of bagels being loaded into the Zabars vans.)
The second New York info that made me miss the city is the fact that today is a Manhattan equinox. The relative rigidity of the city’s grid is soothing compared to the randomness of any other American city (like, say, Boston!); the fact that the rigidity lends itself to cool things like this makes New York all the more interesting. Enjoy this evening, New Yorkers, and take a glance down Upper Broadway for me!
Yep, what Dave Walker said.
Seriously, I know I’m about the millionth person to link to it, but all the comments on this post, from people who legitimately think that they’re conversing with Maury Povich, make for an awesome read. Give yourself about 20 minutes to spend on this one; it’s worth it.
Holy crap — Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game last night! He’s the seventeenth to have done it in the majors, and at 40 years old, he’s also three years senior to the prior record holder for the oldest (Cy Young). Totally amazing.
I know, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I can’t explain other than to say that for some inexplicable reason, my life exploded a few weeks ago; work at the hospital has been completely out of control, weekends have been spent traveling up and down the East coast, and I’ve been challenged to fit working, sleeping, and eating into the same 24-hour blocks of time. So, in lieu of interesting pointers to things on the web, I’ll just provide a few examples of what’s been taking up my time.
First, there are two of the last three patients who have become mine in the world of pediatric oncology. One is an adolescent young woman who came in with a large pelvis mass about a month ago, and was found to have alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma which had spread to a few bones in her spinal column — a dismal diagnosis with a similarly dismal prognosis. We started her on treatment, but last week, back pain led to the discovery that her tumor had continued to grow in spite of her chemo. She ended up needing emergent radiation, a wholesale shift in our plan, and many discussions about how much more dismal things had become. The other patient is a school-age boy with an extremely unusual presentation of pediatric leukemia. The treatment to get him into remission was the same we’ve used, without failure, for four years now; last Friday we learned that he became the first failure of that treatment. He was readmitted and started on much more intensive chemo, and we had to tell the family that we’ve moved from an 80-85% chance of cure to a 15-20% chance of cure.
On a less depressing note, Shannon and I spent a weekend driving down to South Jersey to pick up the last remaining stuff she had in her parents’ basement. This last load included most of the furniture for Shannon’s study, and almost all of her books, and getting it up here made us both way happier than one would think reasonable. For her, it was the first step to completing her little hidey home in the back of the apartment (the den from which Her Knittress will never emerge); for me, it was something hanging over our head for the past eight months, and it was fantastic to get it done. Another good thing about the weekend was that we did the move in a rented Dodge Ram truck, which was more fun to drive than I would have thought possible.
And finally, my brother is getting married, and I had a blast this past weekend going down to NYC for his bachelor party. We exercised in the morning, caught the Yankees (in what were the best seats my ass has ever seen in the House that Ruth Built), ate a ton of red meat at Spark’s, watched the Spurs get kicked out of the playoffs, and then worked on a few Guinness beers until 5AM. And yesterday, I caught up with a few friends at my old magazine, and took a lot of shit for not keeping things up-to-date over here. While the weekend didn’t do much for my sleep deficit, it was a much-needed respite from the hospital, and perfect for catching up with my brother.
I have a few more weeks on the oncology consult service, so I can’t promise to turn over a whole new leaf between now and then, but I’ll do my best!