le cahier de kev

le cahier de kev

adventures fresh off the press

Movies & Other Happenings

I can't believe it's September already with the cooler autumn weather coming in.  One minute it's incredibly hot and the next minute we're all pulling out our light jackets.


I caught up on a few movies as the summer ended.  The first one that caught my attention was "Love & Other Drugs" with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.  I actually planned on watching it in the winter of 2010, but with Christmas shopping, celebrating with loved ones, and traveling I got caught up in the festivities and watching this movie slipped my mind.




Almost five years later, I finally sat down and got the chance to watch it again.  I enjoyed it.  I know a lot reviews and critiques mentioned issues regarding the sex, the schmoozing, and the apparent violations of patient confidentiality, but it's a movie so it's supposed to be unrealistic, right?  You wouldn't expect Jurassic World or Godzilla to be real (I hope!) because that would be insane if they did come true. haha 


Although it wasn't your typical romantic drama, Anne really played her role well as someone who was frustrated with her condition and having to navigate through her feelings and the healthcare system.  I liked that it wasn't your typical romantic movie where the characters are depicted as having perfect lives and ending with a match made in heaven (à la Hallmark Channel).  Instead, it does show the trials that people encounter in relationships especially when there are uncertainties involved.  There was a lot of anger, intense feelings, frustration, and confusion which showed that the characters were human and not perfect.


I did laugh at some of the scenes like when Jake's character was trying to market Viagra as if it was the "ambrosia of the gods."  It was funny.  Mind you, this movie was set in the late 90's when Viagra was first being introduced into the market.  You could also see them using the outdated mobile phones (in comparison to today's standards).


On a lighter note, I also watched "The Hundred-Foot Journey" since you all already know that I like food and cooking.  :)  It was quite the contrast from Love & Other Drugs.




It was very charming and just gives you "good feels" on the inside. They do speak French from time to time, but it won't detract from the story if you don't speak or understand the language.  I loved all of the characters from the Kadam family trying to open their own restaurant to Helen Mirren's stern portrayal of Madame Mallory.  Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon's characters were competitive, but playful.  I did enjoy the pacing of the story and the food made me hungry; however, it did seem rushed towards the end where the events eventually lead to a happy ending.  It did work out and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling seeing the ending though.


The film does change a few things from the novel, but I won't spoil them here.  One thing that comes to mind is that the novel version of Madame Mallory does something that was changed in the film (which I can see would make audiences uneasy).  I can see though why they decided to make the change. 


With many movies though, I do read what critics say, but in the end delve myself into my own experiences of the movie.  Unless a film is unbelievably bad or unbelievably good (which can be pretty subjective also), everyone experiences things differently.  What one person might nitpick, another person wouldn't really care.  My advice is if you want to go watch a movie, go for it.  In the end, whether you like the movie or not is your own experience. 


I know that there were a few movies I liked, but critics hated it (and vice versa).  I don't think I've hated any movie though (either that or can't think of any at the moment).  It's like what Professor Bower (see the previous entry on June 30, 2015) told our class before giving the exam.  "Even if you forgot the details of the artwork during the exam, just write something down like, "the painting depicts an ocean" or "it's a bronze sculpture of Buddha" to get some points instead of leaving it blank."  Similarly, if there was some effort involved, I will give the benefit of the doubt.


2016 is coming up and I'm completing my continuing education for renewal.  I can't believe it went by so quickly!  I remembered just writing about trying to get through my reading list and tackling information on new research developments back in 2014.  Research on cancer is continually updating so that's why there are always new bits of information that I learn about.


There's also a mandatory requirement on completing education on patient care and safety.  Prior to this, only pharmacy law and regulations were mandatory topics to cover.  Patient care and safety has been important in any situation so I was glad to see this implementation.


Published by Garland Science



I highly recommend The Biology of Cancer by Dr. Robert A Weinberg.  The book is quite an accessible and informative read, but it would certainly help if you had an introductory foundation in genetics and molecular and cell biology (usually covered in an undergraduate general biology course).


I enjoy reading and completing continuing education (if I didn't, graduate school would've been very painful haha).  One thing that I learned from my work and background in math and science is to always keep an open mind to different possibilities and see things from different angles.  When tackling application problems in mathematics, learning to visualize concepts really helps.  Much like a person's life is not one-dimensional, there are several factors that play a role when working with patients.  The diagnosis is just one aspect to consider, but there may be issues they want to discuss that are unrelated to their condition.


I also completed topics such as NSAID use and renal physiology as well as the pathophysiology, etiology, and epidemiology of influenza (which reminds me, flu season is coming up ahh!).  The flu affects a lot of people especially when you are in urban environments and you can be exposed easily as a result of crowded, high density environments.  On the other hand, I'm getting through the handouts for my websites.  I got great feedback and look forward to updating a lot more.


I wanted to share a song with you.  I wrote about Steven Universe a few entries ago and I'm still in love with the story and soundtrack.  The music is very catchy and really captures the essence of each episode.  You can see the development in areas such as parents coming to terms with their children growing up as well as interjecting appropriate light heartedness and humor to random situations.



Haven't You Noticed (I'm a Star)

from Steven Universe

Music by Rebecca Sugar, Aivi & Surasshu


The cover is from the episode "Sadie's Song." She's engulfed by teddy bears and other stuffed animals because her mother still sees her as a little girl.  In the episode, we saw that she always gives her a new one after coming home from work.


You can listen to more songs from the Steven Universe soundtrack here: Aivi & Surasshu's Soundcloud Page


Their music has a very warm vibe to it.  Rebecca Sugar, her team, and the composers are incredibly talented and it shows through their work.  I highly recommend the songs "Stronger Than You" and "Giant Woman" since they are a few of my favorites.  Steven Universe does tackle many serious issues which is why it's been one of my top favorites.  The music is the cherry on top which packages the episodes so well.  It's not just randomized singing, but rather, it captures the heart and theme of the character's emotions.


Stronger Than You

sung by the talented Estelle



You all already know that some type of food topic will usually come up in each of my entries and this one is no exception!  I made two Asian inspired dishes: American Chinese styled beef and peppers and Philippine Ube Halaya (a purple yam dessert combined with condensed milk, butter, and another type of milk such as coconut or evaporated milk).


Beef and Peppers with Brown Rice


The beef and peppers was a simple dish to make.  I sliced the red and green bell peppers into thin strips and sliced the onions into crescent shape cross sections.  I mixed the beef slices with soy sauce, a bit of oyster sauce, pepper, grated garlic, ginger powder, and sesame oil.  I thickened it with a bit of cornstarch and let it marinade for 2 hours.


After they marinated I tossed them into the pot with sesame oil and lightly cooked them for 2 minutes.  I took them out of the pot, added sesame oil, and sauteed the vegetables.  I added some peach brandy and chicken stock to meld the flavors.  After the vegetables cooked, I added the beef back into the pot and tossed a bit of chicken stock and brandy.  The sauce was reduced and thickened from the cornstarch.  It was delicious and comforting together with the brown rice!  The touch of peach brandy gave it sweetness instead of using sugar.  I thought that it would give the "umph" to balance the savory flavors of the soy and oyster sauces.



Ube Halaya


The ube halaya was pretty fun to make.  I didn't have evaporated milk so what I did was reduce 2 cups of regular milk down to around 1 cup.  Some people prefer to use powdered milk, but reducing it gives it a more pronounced nutty flavor.  It took a long time though and I had to keep stirring the milk on low heat for almost 30-40 minutes.  If milk overheats, it curdles and becomes grainy.  Believe me, it happened to me a few times before when I was hungry and rushed making macaroni and cheese!  I told myself, "Not this time!"


It worked out and the milk (as shown in the picture) was smooth.  The flavor was bold and delicious!  (I should add that to my coffee instead haha)  It really did enhance the flavor of the ube halaya.  I already had the grated purple yam prepackaged from the store (since it was easier) and combined it with melted butter, condensed milk, and the evaporated milk in a nonstick pot.  I kept the heat low to prevent it from sticking or burning and continually stirred.  I would take a small piece from time to time to taste the flavor and added condensed milk and the evaporated milk accordingly.  I cooled it down and then put it in the fridge.  For me it always tastes better when it is cold.  If you look at the picture on the upper right, you can see a small square piece that I cut out.  I just couldn't help myself!


As the daylight gets shorter and the pumpkin spice aroma rolls around, we are now greeted with the move towards the holiday season.  October through January gets very eventful in the New York City area so I would love to see what this autumn and winter season brings.  In any case, I do look forward to what's to come.

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