Whats in Store

So, over the past few days, I have finally recieved a qualifier topic. I don't want to talk a whole lot about it here but its pretty cool and in another incarnation could lead to a grant for the research to actually be done. For those who are not familiar, part of getting a PhD in this country is the passage of a qualifying exam. This is typically a written document of some sort, in my case a proposal for original research, that one must defend in front of a large public audience and then in a smaller closed door exam. It is the first major milestone on the road to completing a degree and entitles one to be called a "PhD candidate". Thus, after Oct. 15h...you can all refer to me as such or maybe just "The Candidate." Whatever you feel would be best. Anyways, its also marking the beggining of a fairly stressful part of the process because in the event one doesn't pass their qualifier they are invited back to try once more and if that does not satisfy then they are asked to leave the program (essentially empty handed). I'm not particularly worried about that whole prospect but I do want to make sure I get it right the first time around. I know I promised a movie review and so here it is. Last saturday and part of Sunday, I watched "The Last King of Scotland." It the story of a doctor in Uganda and a brutally honest biopic of Idi Amin. Forest Whitaker is downright scary in his portrayal of Amin and the rest of the cast does almost as well. The movie slowly moves from hinting at Amin's brutality to an eventual visualize climax resulting from one of the more graphic and violent scenes I have ever encountered. The movie is totally worth a watch but it is far from mindless and should be given its own time for viewing. It will not leave you happy or optimistic on the human condition but will be eye opening to the effects of power in the hands of those not fit to weild it. That is all. Patrick OUT!!!

Are you ready?

Well, the rest of last week was fairly uneventful. Hung out with Elsa and Marie on Friday night after going to Jillians with the guys from the lab. Jillians was kind of a strange place...half sports bar and half Chuck E Cheese. If nothing else, the clientele was in the same age range as us. This could not be said for the Northworks grille around the corner that is clearly aiming for a more "seasoned" customer. I'm not sure I would go back to jillians again but the beer was OK and they have huge TVs tuned to nothing but sports so I could probably get used to that. Saturday morning, Elsa Marie and I went to IHOP for some pancakes and eggs. I got corn cake pancakes again that were as heavenly as ever. After that I went home and helped my dad hook up some of the stereo set-up for the new media room. It necessitated us taking a trip to the mall. This was something of a frightening experience at first. What had always been the natick mall is now the *ahem* Natick Collection. The architecture inside is really amazing to look at. Very open and full of light with some faux folliage thrown in for good measure. With a Tiffany's, Louis Vuitton, and an Apple Store...it is a shrine to conspicous consumption like you have never seen. We really only had to go to Sears and radio shack so we didn't exactly look our Sunday best but the nice thing was that we didn't look out of place. One might think with such high-brow drastically overpriced retailers you would see more ritzy clientelle. Alas not, the same crop of slovenly american shoppers persists even amongst the $300 hoodies. The highlight was the older gentleman in the white bermuda shorts, white undershirt, and black socks to his knees...at that point, in comparison, I could have been Cary Grant on the red carpet. Sunday, of course, was filled with FOOTBALL. Patriots played at 1 and they demolished the Jets. My fantasy team also did well, amassing the most points of any team in the league. That being said, Sunday was the most unproductive day I've had in quite some time...it was great. More to come on those fronts and a movie review for tomorrow. Patrick OUT!

At Last

So its been a while since I updated which is I guess somewhat indicative of my lack of time to do such things. This past weekend was pretty good. My parents and sister went to a soccer tournament in Agawam and I saw Elsa for quite a bit. We did a few things around the house and eventually found ourselves in a hobby shop. We bought a model plane to build that was a "level 2" Box said it was for ages 12+ which should be about right for the two of us. With all the painting and cutting a glueing it ended up easily taking 8 hours to complete spread out over two days. We also went to Wild Willies in Watertown to get some truly delectable burgers and hand cut fries. If you haven't been there, I would highly recommend it. There is one just off the pike in watertown and then another in York, Maine. Both are quite good and worth the drive from wherever you are. On Monday, we got up early (like 5:30 am early) and drove out to Agawam to see my sisters first playoff game. They didn't win but put up a good fight none-the-less. After that, Elsa and I drove back to worcester so i could get some work done and she could try and tackle her thesis writing. I did a few experiments and we were on our way. We stopped by Uncle Cheungs in Framingham for a quick Chinese lunch before returning home for the night. The food was good but much more noteworthy was the first time that I found myself eavesdropping on a chinese conversation. I have picked up enough mandarin at this point to almost figure out what people are talking about. Elsa taught me a few new phrases that I, of course, can't remember now and made the waiter laugh at us a bit. Yesterday ws Marie's birthday so some of the old crew went out to dinner and had a marvelous time. We went to the Naked Fish and I had what amounted to steak au poivre but with tuna in stead of beef. It was fairly good but a bit overdone. I like my tune closer to sushi than canned white chunk. After dinner the table began to reminisce a bit about the old college days which was nice but also a little melancholy at times. Most of the conversation revolved around the general debauchery of 18 Sunrise Ave. For those that are familiar I will give the highlights of times remembered
Thadeus is living in the basement?
Jen tricks us into thinking she went to bed
Artie slides down the stairs one at a time and punches the wall
Sarah you can not sleep here
The porch collapses
Kimmy and Ever...in the bathroom???
Hiding Greg's Vodka
Utah Stephanie and Seagrams 7
Kimmy cries over her scrapbook...twice
Sarah...its for you (sarah answers the phone).
DP Dough drinks a gargleblaster
Puke on the flowers
Jillian and butch...in the basement

and finally...Marie: " Remember when you had huge parties 5 weekends in a row?"

Amazingly, I do and happily I think a lot of others do too. Patrick OUT!