Category Archives: travel

My Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Austin Experience

I have only one regret with regards to my  Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Austin experience.

The President of SRA, Stephen T. Russell delivered a spectacular address:Stephen T Russel Urgency

The above photo depicts a key moment of his speech where he questioned who gets to define the evidence base, proven strategies and what is ready to communicate? The last point on the slide questions the boundaries between science and advocacy. Russell asked the audience to consider if scientists can and should be objective.

In other highlights:
SRA Poster, Kreniske and Ruck
 At my poster withProfessor Ruck

I met a number of engaging grad students, my poster was well received, and I reconnected with one of my former professors, Jeff Cookston, from San Francisco State University.

It was a great conference – especially for grad students or “emerging scholars” – like me – they even had a room for us with free coffee and tea!

Just a few blocks from the conference I stumbled upon a hint of what keeps  Austin weird as I perused this

                        funky art gallery…

monkey lovehummingbird printdali cereal


And then spent some quality time with my brother and sister in law!

My only regret?

Stubbs doesn’t open til 11am so I couldn’t pull a Frank Underwood and eat ribs for breakfast.

Stubbs BBQ AM
Stubbs BMQ AM


A Day Late and A Hundred Dollars Short: Photos From A Long Vacation Return

My wife and I were a couple of the travelers who were stranded by the blizzard coming home from holiday last Friday. In the time it took to get home  I read five New Yorkers- cover to cover, and my wife devoured Kevin Barry’s new book City of Bohane.

Here are some scenes  from our return journey (note -we used my Canon Powershot SD1000 from 2004 for all of these photos). It has less megapixels (7.1) than most phones these days – but I think the shots came out okay. Judge for yourself:

Part I – PR

Flying back from one of the little islands – to the considerably larger island of Puerto Rico. Photos from the Cessna:

IMG_1960(If you like piña coladas –  on the plane)

IMG_1962A private island – 5 minutes from San Juan as the plain flies.

Part II – Miami

It was Friday the 4th and we’d the weather was bad but American Airlines (AA) said if we didn’t take our flight the next chance to get home would be Tuesday, four days later! So despite the storm warnings we headed to the airport.

All seemed well, until about an hour from NYC the pilot announced that due to weather we were turning around and would land in Miami. I’ve flown a lot in my life and never has a plane turned around!

I don’t have any photos of the Miami airport – I basically stood in the rebooking line and talked on the phone with AA trying to find a way home. Again I was told the next flight to NYC was Tuesday! Two hours later – as we neared the front of the rebooking line – service to NY had resumed and flights were boarding – but of course they were all booked with standby lists above 200 people long. I never thought I’d say this but  why couldn’t we have just waited on the plane?

One family from PR was heading for a ski trip in Vermont. They opted to rent a car and drive. I wonder where they are now?

To my surprise, even after the booking agent told them there was little chance of getting a flight, many people in front and behind us accepted the Tuesday flight and chose to wait at the airport on standby to see if anything opened up sooner. A few people – like us found alternate routes.

Part III Dallas

So we stayed in the Miami airport all day, my wife neglected to take a photo of me busting out one of our new sleeping mats from my carryon bag and taking a 30 minute nap. Finally, we caught a sunset flight to Dallas:

sunset in Dallas

and arrived at our hotel around 9 pm.  At least there was a Whataburger within walking distance (I’d never been before and it’s a Texas establishment). My review? Whataburger is slightly inferior to In and Out Burger – but it’s a cut above the normal slop served at fast food joints.

I’d also like to note that the people at the DFW Comfort Inn South (there is also a North location – i’m sure they are nice too) were really friendly. In all the flight changes our bags got lost – so we only had the sweatshirts on our backs – no toothpaste, brushes, deodorant. The man at the concierge desk hooked us up with all of that, which I really appreciated and I’m sure the people crammed into those airplane seats next to us the following morning did too.

We caught a Dallas sunrise…at the airport.

Dallas sunrise


Part IV – NY at Last

Finally arriving in NYC around 1pm on Saturday, a day late and a dollar short (more like a hundred dollars: AA paid for nothing as it was weather related).

My wife got some great shots of the city as the plane descended:

statue of libertylower NYCIMG_1983 The Freedom Tower


Part V – Bags

I needed a couple  of days to ruminate and recoup before writing about this epic journey. Coincidentally, my buzzer just rang – it’s American Airlines dropping off our bags.

Coming Home

Still working away at my proposal…

However, I can see the light. I’m looking forward to wrapping this semester up – so I can hang with my siblings, who both currently live abroad. My sister arrives from Denmark today, and my brother from Israel next week.

J & H
J & H

What better way to welcome them back than to share this incredible post my brother wrote about his first few weeks in med school? The post was so good – it earned him an interview with Lonely Planet! So here it is:

Repost from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Medical School for International Health Blog,

What Matters Most

by Jonah Kreniske

      A gentle breeze wafts in from the balcony, sliding through my open door and bringing a welcome chill. I step out and rest my hands on the iron banister. In the distance I can make out the hills of Ramot, barely lit by a low, rust colored moon.  My neighborhood, Gimmel, winds out below me. Undulating Hebrew and Arabic beats from nearby apartment complexes mix with the usual classic rock standards from Coca bar up the street.  If it were daytime, you would hear the Ethiopian children across the street playing in the yard of the New Immigrant Absorption Center. But it is almost one in the morning, and they are sleeping now. I should probably be sleeping too. Instead, I’m standing here, breathing in the city. From my balcony I can see Soroka Hospital. A shining invitation to the unwell of the desert night, it is a slice of sleek modernity in the dusty streets.

      The past month, in that hospital, has been a whirlwind introduction to our new lives as physicians in training. We have met our classmates and together we have absorbed myriad lectures, and trudged through hours of intensive Ulpan. Now, in this rare moment of relative calm, I look across at the maternity clinic, and I wonder if someone is being born behind those walls. It’s comforting to remember that life begins here. On Monday, walking past the ER to my first class, a weeping woman swept past me. Glancing towards the ER doors she had burst out of, I saw another woman writhing on the floor. An ambulance had just arrived. Never have I heard so much pain in the voice of another human being as I heard in the cries of that woman outside the ER, on my way to 8am class.  At Soroka we see what we might push to the back of our minds in another context. We see illness and death, birth and health, side-by side, tipping weights on a human scale.

     “Good medicine is not about killing microbes, it is about keeping human bodies in balance,” one professor reminded us. On the hospital campus, in the tireless work of the physicians and nurses who pace its halls, and in the aspiring faces of my classmates, I see the will to maintain that balance. In the struggle to provide care, I see the physical manifestation of the compassionate instinct that I would like to believe is somewhere in all of us. As I step back into my room for the night, I know another long day of classes awaits us in the mounting heat of the morning, but I also know that this day will be another small drop on the side of the scale that matters most. – Jonah Kreniske, September blogger of the month


Upper West Side Sturgeon, not at Barney Greengrass, It’s in the Hudson!

Riding down Riverside with Manfrank, Marsky and Sanderson on a lovely sunny day.

While locking up our bikes near the Pier i Cafe on 72nd (I just learned this place had a name). Some tourists were exclaiming about the stench of the Hudson, or so I thought.

As a I peered over the boardwalk’s steel railing that divides the human and the marine I noticed that what stunk was not only the Hudson, but an enormous fish. Some claimed it was a barracuda, though the short nose and seemingly bottom feeding mouth made me think otherwise.

sturgeon cropped

Mankfrank, an accomplished fisherman in his own right, subsequently identified the fish as a sturgeon (shortnose? atlantic perhaps?). Who knew the Hudson was still home to this caliber of fish?

In fact the sturgeon is the Hudson River Estuary’s logo, though I’d never seen one outside this blue and white image posted on the highways and byways running along its shore.

hudson estuary sturgeon

And though it was dead after all, seeing evidence of large life in the Hudson could be a heartening sign of the river’s health.


A sentence or two for the conference, one sentence for the city:

I know it sounds dry, but I went to the session on ‘New IRB Policies and the Ethical Conduct of Child and Adolescent Research’, and it was exciting and terrifying to hear that the experts were somewhat unsure about the IRB protocols for research using social technologies like Facebook, Twiiter, and blogs. I also had some good conversations about my poster and am somewhat inspired to rewrite my paper and finally find it a home.

Though wet as expected, Seattle surprised me with some delectable eats, like fresh oysters and juicy salmon burgers at the Pike Place Market.
pike street market

At AERA Michael Olivas gave an engaging speech titled Immigrant DREAMS Deferred, and the professional development session, Narrative Inquiry in Education, delivered by Colette Daiute and myself went well too.

It was wonderful to see all my old friends in San Francisco, and it was even sunny for a couple days to boot!