Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

SciBlings in NYC 2008

UN Millennium Hotel lobby flowers, NYC.

Image: GrrlScientist 2008. [larger view].

Now that I am recovering from a very painful pinched nerve in my neck (FINALLY!), I will tell you about the get-together that my colleagues and I enjoyed, thanks to Seed Media Group.

My colleagues who traveled to NYC stayed at the beautiful Millennium Hotel, where a lot of the visiting dignitaries stay when attending meetings at the United Nations, across the street. Unfortunately, I never saw the rooms, but I did take the opportunity to photograph the lobby, which was quite impressive to my eye;

UN Millennium Hotel lobby skylight, NYC.

Image: GrrlScientist 2008 [larger view].

The hotel had several dozen blooming bromeliads in the lobby as well. When I lived in Seattle, I kept a large collection of many dozen species of bromeliads, including some very rare ones, so these plants made me feel a little sad and homesick;

Blooming bromeliad, UN Millennium hotel lobby, NYC.

Image: GrrlScientist 2008 [larger view].

After everyone (except me!) checked in to their hotel rooms, we went to the Seed Media Group offices, where we started our evening of debauchery.

Seed Media Group office door.

Image: GrrlScientist 2008.

Seed Media Group had a table set up near the door for us. You can see our “swag bags,” which had some really nice computer things for us;

Inside the Seed Media Group offices.

Image: GrrlScientist 2008.

I was unable to convince my colleagues to cram themselves into the elevator — my colleagues were less fun this time than they were last year! Boo! Bad colleagues, bad!

But the Seed Media people made up for the lack of collegial wildness by feeding us well. Perhaps too well. This table filled with lots of wonderful food was a treat for me, since I subsist almost entirely on peanut butter and raspberry jam;

Beer Friday at Seed Media Group offices.

Image: GrrlScientist 2008.

By the way, those peanut butter cups in the lower right hand corner of the picture are handmade! YUM! I managed to eat a few dozen of them by myself after I took this picture.

After “prefunctioning” at the Seed offices, and hearing an inspirational speech by our fearless leader, Adam Bly, we went to dinner at the Korean fusion barbeque restaurant, Bonjoo, located in the East Village of NYC. This is a relatively new restaurant that the foodies love. The food was amazing (I had japchae as an appetizer followed by their specialty, Galbi — barbeque beef, as my main dish. I love seafood and almost had some fish, but the only offering that night was Chilean sea bass, an endangered species. I gave up eating endangered species a decade ago).

Dessert was Mochi ice cream, which is ice cream coated in Mochi (a soft, sweet dough made from rice flour) — amazing! (Mochi ice cream is a treat that I originally discovered and fell madly in love with when I went to Tokyo as a grad student).

After dinner, a group of us went to a karaoke club, Planet Rose. Unfortunately, my colleagues were not as wild as last year, so karaoke was not as entertaining as I’d hoped. I am not a karaoke fan, so the only reason I went was to witness my colleagues make fools of themselves, as they so generously did last year. But they disappointed me this year. Boo! Bad colleagues, bad!

The following morning, we ate brunch at the wonderful French restaurant, Brasserie Julien on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which was located fairly close to my preferred NYC neighborhood, the UWS. I had a steak (rare) for breakfast — another wonderful treat for peanut butter grrl — followed by a chocolate dessert that was .. astonishing! The chef described this dessert as a combination of fudge and mousse, with vanilla bean & pistachio sauce dribbled over the top. It is a nice description, but it was nowhere near as amazing as the actual dessert itself!

Oh, as you can see, Professor Steve Steve and Charles Darwin also accompanied us, but they only had coffee for breakfast;

Sorry, this isn’t the best picture, but Professor Steve Steve and Charles Darwin were feeling a little blurry that morning as they shared their coffee with GrrlScientist.

Image: GrrlScientist 2008.

After brunch, we went to the pub, Social, where we met our readers and the NYC Skeptics Club for a couple hours of chatting over beer. (I have some pictures, but either didn’t like them or the pics featured some of my colleagues who wish to remain anonymous, sorry).

After spending several hours at Social, a small group of us then went to the Horse exhibit at AMNH until the museum’s closing time (has anyone ever mentioned that AMNH closes too damned early??), followed by a private party where we tasted imbibed a tremendous number of fine wines and scotches generously supplied by my colleagues (most of the wines were imported), and I ate too much, once again. (If I am still fat when visiting London, this is the reason).

I was a party pooper this time since I left rather early (10pm) because the increasing pain from a pinched nerve in my neck had reached nearly intolerable levels despite my modest alcohol and analgesic infusion, and also because the NYC busses don’t run very consistently after midnight, and I was unwilling to pay for a crosstown cab ride.

Before we began to go our separate ways (sniffle, sniff, cry), we gathered together for some “class of 2008 in NYC” photographs. Here’s one that has been rendered safe for public consumption;

2008 SciBlings family portrait, courtesy of Sheril.

Back row left to right: Maria (Green Gabbro); Sheril (The Intersection); Jessica (Bioephemera); ghost person 1; ghost person 2; Suzanne (Thus Spake Zuska); ghost person 3; Janet (Adventures in Ethics and Science)
Front row left to right: Ed (Dispatches from the Culture Wars); Josh (Thoughts from Kansas); ghost person 4; Bora (A Blog Around the Clock); me; Jason (Evolution Blog); Jake (Pure Pedantry); Abel Pharmboy (Terra Sigillata).

The following day, Bora and his wife went to the Bronx Zoo (they specifically had invited me, too), which I missed, sadly, due to pain from that horrible pinched nerve in my neck. Needless to say, I can hardly wait for next year. Hopefully, I won’t be slowed down due to pain.

Comments

  1. #1 Coturnix
    August 15, 2008

    It was great spending time with you, Grrrrrl. Unfortunately, nobody made it to the Bronx Zoo – far too hungover! Also, the hotel internet went down for more than 24 hours (and they were utterly helpless about it) so communication was difficult to coordinate such an event.

  2. #2 Barn Owl
    August 15, 2008

    Professor Steve Steve is cute, but I really love the Charles Darwin doll. Where can I get one? I have an Albert Einstein puppet who needs scientific company.

  3. #3 nbmandel
    August 15, 2008

    Dear Grrlscientist, you could have stayed later (if the pain had let up); New York buses (by and large, though not in every case) run through the night. Your 79th St. crosstown, for example — it’s not frequent in the small hours, but it’s running.

  4. #4 Tziporah
    August 16, 2008

    GrrlScientist, I am glad that you are feeling better and I hope that the pain soon leaves you completely.

    SEED Magazine – Isn’t there something you can do to get GrrlScientist a writing job with benefits?

  5. #5 Bob O'H
    August 16, 2008

    SEED Magazine – Isn’t there something you can do to get GrrlScientist a writing job with benefits?

    I reckon we should threaten to boycott all their webpages until they do.

  6. #6 Bob O'H
    August 16, 2008

    Oh, hang on. Bad idea.

  7. #7 "GrrlScientist"
    August 16, 2008

    Barn Owl, you can get the Darwin doll here.

  8. #8 EyeNoU
    August 16, 2008

    Hope you feel better soon. Thanks for the pictures!

  9. #9 Barn Owl
    August 16, 2008

    SEED Magazine – Isn’t there something you can do to get GrrlScientist a writing job with benefits?

    Brilliant idea, Tziporah! Should we start a petition?

    Thanks for the link, Grrl- I’m ordering one for myself, and one for my sister.