Saturday, January 23, 2010

I love Swiss cheese!

Doesn't it look fantastic? It's called Vacherin. There are several different types (this one is Vacherin Mont D'Or) but in general it's a kind of soft cheese with a harder crust, usually kept in a pine box.

The best way to eat it is to make small holes in the crust with a fork/knife, add like a glass of white wine and tuck some little pieces of garlic under the crust and bake it for like 25 minutes (180 °C). Sooo delicious!

Don't forget to wrap it in tin foil before you start pouring the wine! ;) And as you can see you can also add your favorite spices -- as it has quite a distinctive taste due to the wooden box and the fermenting process, it takes quite a lot of spices but the result is just wonderful.

Try it! Enjoy! ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why write an MA thesis in Applied Linguistics?

Why not, some might say. They must be very weird people. But I do know some who are doing it and don't even have the smallest clue what their objectives are. I've always been quite sure I had good reasons to do so but till yesterday I'd never thought trough what they were exactly.

Yesterday a person asked me to help them do research on research. I filled out the questionnaire on writing an MA thesis in applied linguistics and surprised myself by being very enthusiastic about the purpose of my research. Of course I knew I liked the idea, I just didn't know I was unconsciously a research fan. Let me start at the beginning.

So why am I writing it in the first place? The day before yesterday I would have said because I want to finish my studies and start working. Now I know I'm doing it because this is what I actually enjoy. I love teaching. But that's like for a chef to be teaching people how to make pancakes. Delicious pancakes and they're really happy about it, and I'm happy about it, but still. I can teach people because I know how they learn, how their mind and feelings work and I can help them do their best. But what I really love doing is research.

So why an MA thesis? The day before yesterday I would have said because this is how to finish my studies. Now I feel it's more like a debut. It's not even a rehearsal, it's a premiere. I don't want to start writing big words, I just really feel that this is the first chance for the would-be researcher to show the world how good (s)he is. And it's actually a huge thing that the university offer courses etc. to help.

So that's what it is, a chance to demonstrate that I could do this in future, given the opportunity. And I think it's really important. That's why I'm doing my best, not just going for the mark but really doing my best. And obviously I'm enjoying it a lot. It's really very interesting and I can immerse in the topic for hours without realizing it. It's a bit like something being born. All those results showing up out of nowhere, taking form from a simple table and explaining lots of lots of stuff... It's really amazing.

I'll get back to work now. I feel I haven't said half of what I wanted to. Maybe next time. Now it's time to work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Favorite Boardgames (So Far)

As promised, I'll do a brief listing of all the boardgames I love and why I love them.
I spent the last day of 2009 and a couple of the first days of 2010 playing with my friends so I had a chance to compare these games one right after the other.

Let me start with my new fave, game of the year (2009) in France, Dixit.
This is sort of a party game (so different from the others) and can entertain 4-6 people so long as they're even a little bit creative. It's best played by 5 or 6 players and does not require a lot of tactics. A video review is out there so I won't go into the details but I have to say that this is the best party game I've ever played. And the only one I'm planning to buy. That is, if I can lay hands on one -- it's been sold out in Hungary as well as in neighboring France (neighboring Geneva that is).

After the newest comes the oldest, the game that led me into the (add adjectives) world of gamers.
Tigris & Euphrates.
It's not a party game at all and all the more enjoyable. I love how simple it is and how much strategy can be involved in playing such a clear cut game. It has a nice theme but definitely not overwhelming and the logic of the game is much more apparent than in the case of many games nowadays. I still enjoy it after so many years. Plays best at 3 or 4 players.

My recent baby is El Grande, an area control game. I used to play Attila, a similar game, but it just felt skewed somehow. There were "unfair" elements in the game. Now El Grande is perfect. I couldn't think of anything I don't like about it. Maybe that you cannot play it super tired. But that applies to most strategic games. Plays awesome at 2 or 4 or 5 although it's a totally different game if played in 2. I haven't tried in 3 but I think that's not enough intrigue to mess things up. :)

Dungeon Twister is my BF's favorite. I've only played it couple of times as I'm too impulsive for the game, which is really like chess with a super powerful theme. In fact, I love the theme. And the 2nd edition can be played alone. I guess its makers realized that not so many people are so clever. =D It's a great game, I just have to admit I'm not the thinking type. =) (Seriously, I love strategy but I don't like to concentrate so much.)

Carcassonne is also one of the games I've recently played with. Although generally regarded as a family game, it should definitely be tried with its extensions. Some (e.g. Traders and Builders) can really spice it up and give more food for thought.

Some of my friends really enjoy playing Citadels. It's a great game but sometimes I have the feeling my party's playing with cards face up. I guess it's only because I know them so well, which turns the game into a psychoanalytic mind-reading one I don't quite like. But definitely check out the game, it's not a party one!

OK, my personal fave ever is Race for the Galaxy. It's strategical enough and takes only 45 minutes when played by two players (can be played by up to 4). I simply love it!

Those are some of the boardgames I've been playing. If I have more time, I'll write a few lines about the rest as well.

I hope some have made your mouth water XD Check out BoardgameGeek for more information.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy 2010!

This is only a short note to thank all my friends. We spent New Year's Eve together -- and two more days after that -- playing boardgames and had an amazing time.

Thank you all for the fun and especially my friend Zsuzska for the "chalet" ;)!

I'm planning to write a bit about the games we played (El Grande, Race for the Galaxy, Agricola, Dixit, Halli Galli, Dungeon Twister) from my point of view. I really love some of them and could only recommend them.

As soon as I'm done with my last exam, I'll be back. I'll have a couple more days in Budapest and I'll be meeting friends before shooting off to Geneva. These few weeks have been really amazing. I had all the fun of being in Hungary loaded into a short period of time. This doesn't exactly help me go back to Geneva. I know I didn't use to enjoy it so much here and I love Switzerland. Still. Here everything seems so natural and easy and once I go back, every day's gonna be a struggle for some time. I know it's totally worth it and I know I'm gonna make it... but I'm still a bit afraid of it all.

But I guess it'll all be OK :) After all it is 2010 and a year that writes like this can only be fun :)

Happy 2010!