Sunday, November 29, 2015

PhD Nerds & Wine Night: A Fun House Party!

PhD Party Fun: (From left: Marina, Irene, Robby, Sapna, Sanders). We missed you, Eva!
Saturday night was a fun time at my place with a few of my PhD friends finally getting together for wine, appetizers, piano, geek speak and whiteboard doodles. Last year the program seemed quite lonely; the social aspect was lacking no matter how hard we tried to get people together. Finally - it's getting a little bit better; those of us who want to collaborate academically and socialize together are finding each other!  

Also, I had a great excuse to spend Saturday making a  few (mostly healthy) recipes I really like and a couple new ones from my favourite food blogs. Check them out -  they are so delicious and so easy to make! Easy Parmesan Mushrooms (I add basil and tomato), Greek Salad Layer Dip  (so delicious!!!) , Zucchini Hummous, Potato Nachos (I used diced tofu instead of bacon bits)  and Marscapone Brownies.

What I learned(What's a post about a nerds' night without some geeky bullet points?)
  • Robby can write Hindi script and understand the differences between the 3 (or 4?) th, k and d sounds that I never could. We had some fun on my whiteboard
  • We have some serious piano players in our PhD group - time to motivate each other to practice!!!
  • White wine makes for  a much worse hangover than red wine
  • I miss the days of being 25 and under and never getting hangovers ;)
  • Ensaimada is the name of a pastry in Spanish, but can also used be to describe cuddling up into a ball, like Kiara did on the sofa when she'd had enough puppy fun
  • Empanada is a Spanish pastry, but also means to "be out of it" - which some of us were this morning!
So, we need to get more of our PhD students out to the seminars that occur quite regularly. A few of us are actually hosting a seminar together on December 10th - Mendeley & Other Tricks of the Trade  - to help people come together and learn. We are hoping people show up!

 According to the list there are 31 of us currently in the same PhD program, plus a handful that have graduated in the last year! People tend to live 40 minutes or so away, do the program part-time, and/or not show up to seminars and workshops, so I think I've only met about 10, maybe 11 people in total. It's usually just 5 or 6 of us hanging out. I know many people are working a lot, but there must be a way to motivate people to hang out at least once every semester!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Copenhagen and Jeune & Jolie: Two Beautifully Different Films on Love, Sex & Humanity

 Two beautiful films - two beautifully different perspectives on love, sex and human emotions. Both are riveting stories with talented actors that were unknown to me -Gethin Antony & Frederikke Hansen in Copenhagen and Marine Vacth in Jeune & Jolie .  Though they were both seemingly simple in terms of plot, they were somehow gripping. Saturday night was a stay-at-home Netflix and pizza night, a much needed rest after a horrendously busy couple of weeks. That's the funny thing about doing a PhD - you are always busy, but never quite seem to be getting anywhere quickly; this led me to the best four hours of cinema I've seen in awhile.

Copenhagen is an independent Danish film  directed by Mark Raso. Released in 2014, it tells the story of a 28 year man whose best friend ditches him on a "guys trip" in which he had intended to find his grandfather, his last known living relative.  Jaded, the protagonist sets off on his own and meets an optimistic Danish girl who understands life with an absent father. Connecting on an emotional level, William and Effy develop a strong bond - that is, until William discovers that the beautiful girl he has fallen in love with is 14 years old. Asking the question - how relevant is age in love?- the film touches on a sensitive topic and leaves the viewer to develop their own opinion.

Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful) is a French film by François Ozon released in 2013 and has all the characteristic bizzareness of French cinema that I love  - including the surprise ending. Isabelle is a stunningly gorgeous 17 year old girl who loses her virginity to a random boy at the beach one summer and is bitterly disappointed and ruined by the experience. She turns to using her body to earn money - and with a few clicks, becomes a companion to older men who are unfaithful to their wives and taken by her beauty. From her own emotions, to her family's discovery of the truth to the event that finally makes her reconsider her actions, this poignant film portrays the drama of human emotions.