Showing posts from 2014

Jiya's first poem

My Little Cat, By Jiya Joshi (age 5 years, 11months)

My little cat is nice
My little cat eats mice
My little cat missed me
But when he came back he kissed me
And most of all
He loves me.

United Airlines Messes it Up. Again!

I have been a loyal United Airlines customer since my days in Chicago.  That would make it close to 22 years.  Since then I have stuck with them thru all my moves throughout the country some times fighting the corporate policies to fly United.  
But never have I experienced such poor service as I have this past few months.  Between delayed flights, lost reservations and messed up connections, I am just about fed up.  Today, as I fly Business First to Madrid, United tells me that I will have to pick up my bags in Frankfurt and recheck myself in for the connection to Madrid.  
Now, in the cabin they are telling me that they don't have a vegetarian meal for me.  Interestingly the flight attendants wouldn't believe that I had requested a vegetarian meal and repeatedly asked me if my profile has vegetarian option selected.  Now why would a lifelong vegetarians change his profile this year after 20 years, and the proceed to request a special meal on the flight?
So forgive me if I don&#…

Whoa, is the only way to describe this!

Preparing to welcome kids

I am prepping myself to have some fun with the kids doing some painting when they come here to San Diego in a few weeks.  But to teach the kids I had to know if I had any skill left in me!  So, I went to Home Depot and bought some boards and paint, and started to work on some ideas. 
Here is where I got a couple weekends ago and I wasn't sure if kids would be excited to learn painting from their dad!!

So over this weekend I decided to follow advice from my grade school teacher - "fill in all the white spaces with color" she used to say.  And I did just that and the result is what you see below.   

Finally, I thought, I have something I can actually show my kids.I doubt Madhu will be thrilled to see my art work, but at least the kids and I can have some fun!

Fresh Earth, Southern California

Ever since I moved to Southern California, I've been hearing nothing but bad news about the drought conditions.  County after county has been placing restrictions on water use for non essential activities and Gov Brown has even declared a state of emergency.  Fire season has started way early and already thousands of acres have burned.
But today marked a day of relief for the parched land.  Today we had a THUNDER SHOWER!!  
Neighborhood kids were out in the parking lot despite a sky full of dark clouds, thunder and lightning. Although the temperature didn't drop that much, it has become a bit more humid. 
This is of course very welcome relief for Californians who have been praying for rains.  If it's El Niño, then welcome El Niño!!  We've been waiting for you a long time!

Oklahoma City!

Never imagined I would have a reason to go to Oklahoma City but today I found myself in it.  I had to go and visit one of the investigators, Dr Shubham Pant, in the clinical trial Halozyme is running and it turned out to be an opportune time.  Today was the three year anniversary is this beautiful building, the Oklahoma Health Science Center. This building is a brand new cancer center the University has built to serve the community's cancer needs.  Not only does the center serve the local Oklahoma City community, Dr Pant says that the center serves patients from far flung places like Arkansas.  
Many of the Oncologists like Dr Pant who see and treat patients, are also interested in clinical trials and so the center has become a magnet for talent from around the country.  Dr Pant does phase 1 and 2 trials mainly in Pancreatic Cancer and other GI tumors and has transformed the center with his vision and energy.
It's quite amazing to see this sleepy town transform itself from an ag…

Breakthrough Designation For Aduro Biotech For Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer is certainly on the move!  Lots of interesting research happening in this cancer type which is still considered one of the toughest cancers to treat.  The latest bit of good news comes from Aduro Biotech based in San Francisco, which received the Breakthrough Designation from the FDA.

For a company to receive Breakthrough therapy designation, it needs to have clinical results that could be considered truly a breakthrough.  Aduro had earlier at ASCO 2014 announced the outcome of the Phase 2 randomized, open-label study testing the efficacy and immune response to GVAX pancreas vaccine alone vs GVAX followed by CRS-207 (modified listeria monocytogenes) in pancretic cancer patients who had either progressed on chemotherapy or refused chemotherapy.  

The outcome of the study was indeed quite impressive showing a median overall survival 6.1 months in the Listeria monocytogenes arm compared to 3.9 months for those receiving GVAX monotherapy (HR=0.59, one-sided p=0.0172).


Flying out of Oakland Airpot

When it comes to flying out of Bay Area, San Francisco airport is an obvious choice.  However, for people who live in east bay, flying out of Oakland airport is an additional option. I like flying out of Oakland as it saves me ~20 mins of drive time, and walking to the terminal is quick.  The real challenge is the security line.  Today I almost missed the flight due to an extra long security line.  But the folks on Southwest held the plane till I was able to get to the gate.  The other challenge is the choice of airlines - if you are not a Southwest or AirTran fan, number of choices is rather limited.  
For me, Oakland airport works out quite well as Southwest has regular flights to San Diego and many other destinations I tend to frequent.

A Biased View of India Through The Eyes of Gardiner Harris

This morning's email brought with it the regular list of sunday articles published in NY Times. And there he was again - Gardiner Harris, presenting a thoroughly biased view of India, an outlaw nation whose branches of government are out to persecute, rape and pillage it's citizenry. The title says it all ..."In remote corners of India, immunity for soldiers who kill and rape civilians". The article dredges old stories from the past to make a case that the Indian Government tries to hide the evil deeds of it's branches of government behind the facade of progress. I take issue with Gardiner's emphasis of focusing on problems of India, and with New York Times' willingness to publish such vitriol. If you doubt me, let's take a look at the articles written by Gardiner on India.

And this is just the first page!  Reading this list of articles one wouldn't come away with a view of India that the country is making progress.  One would not think Ind…

Finally some rain!!

California is in the midst of a 100 year drought and we have been dying for some rain.  Today, finally we have a few drops falling from the sky.  By now we should have had 10-12 inches, but perhaps we will have an inch or so today.

New Plants Germinating

It's been one week since I planted some seeds in little cups and already seedlings are beginning to germinate.  So far it's only cucumber, tomato and thyme but others should start sprouting soon.  
Also seeded some Chikoo and Custard apple seeds I brought from India but no sign of growth so far.