I just wanted to brag about how awesome my Spanish class is. So about every term we tend to have some movie that has LGB themes. For some reason, they tend to be movies instead of books, but I think that’s just because the movies are more modern than the books.
The first gay themed movie is “Fresa y Chocolate” (Strawberry and Chocolate, a reference to ice cream, and also a bit of gay slang referring to militant gay groups). It’s about young college student that encounters a middle-aged gay artist in Cuba, who shows him how society has changed under the dictatorship. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the movie is just really adorable. Although, it was pretty funny at how many gay movie tropes they managed to cram into it, given that it’s not a Logo Special. They had locker room scene, roommate drama, the spilled drink on shirt, love triangle, jealous best friend, straight crush, long walk together, watching the sunset together, and the list goes on and on.
My friends and I took this is an excuse to look up all the gay slang we could find for Spanish. I think the best word we picked up was a toss-up between “comehombres” literally man-eater, or “reina”, which literally translates to queen, but has a meaning much closer to diva.
The latest movie we watched, which reminded me about all of this, was “Soldados de Salamina”. It’s based on an eponymous book by Javier Cercas, who is a fantastic author. The book is an intellectual detective story and a historical investigation. The set-up and writing remind me a lot of Umberto Eco.**
If you have read the book, you would know the male protagonist, named completely coincidentally Cercas, is dating a girl named Conchi. Now, in the movie, the director replaced the male protagonist with a female one, also coincidentally with the last name Cercas. The director changes the relationship up between the two characters and makes it a more significant focus of the movie relative to the book. The characters do have real depth and realistic dates and such, and they are not merely one-dimensional fan-service objects. The treatment of their relationships was impressively realistic and occasionally hit a little too close to home.
**I definitely recommend all these movies. They’re so fantastic!
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.