December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays and a happy New Year!

Happy holidays everyone! I'm almost a little late with my Christmas blessings... Well, at least in Germany there are still holidays and I can still wish Merry Christmas!

I've come to see my parents but we don't have a tree... My parents stopped buying them because they got stolen a couple times, standing outside their restaurant. A couple of times, the tree was smashed over and all the decoration was on the floor... Such a mess. Totally understand, why they don't wanna buy any Christmas trees anymore.

Anyway, I also wish you a Happy New Year! I will spent my New Year's Eve in the Dominican Republic because we've found like the perfect flight. It's exactly what I wished for this year... The right thing after graduating and before starting a job. I hope I'll be able to send a couple applications before Saturday, that's when I'll fly :) Then, I might have an answer when I'm back ^.^ *fingers crossed*

December 15, 2012

Zumba Party with live Percussion

Since apparently Zumba is the big deal around the blogger scene now, I thought, you might enjoy if I share my boyfriend's second career as a Zumba percussionist with you.

Julio has done quite a couple live Zumba Percussions throughout the year. He plays Bongos, Güira, Tamboura, and some other percussion instruments I can't name.



It has all started with the hype of Zumba parties. They're everywhere - every dance school and gym not only offers classes but also parties. Essentially, the party lasts a lot longer than a normal Zumba class, several hours in the evening with a couple more guest teachers, loud music, and depending on the location it might be dark and there are disco lights all over the place, like in a club. Just as in this place...



It's quite a clever idea. A lot of people, mostly women come to these parties. Normally, Zumba clothes can be bought directly at the party, which are quite expensive because they are always limited edition, as I've heard. Depending on the school, you can even take a shower after the party :)



Since there are so many Zumba parties, they need to find ways how to stand out. So our friend Claudia who's an aerobic and Zumba teacher came up with the idea of live percussion. I'm not sure if she was the very first person who has thought of it but she was the first around our area. She asked Julio to come and try it out. He eventually did and now he's invited to play about every month. Different schools and locations but always the same concept...

So anyway, here's a video, we've made a couple months ago.





Even though I don't really like Zumba, I like Julio's percussion and I can imagine these parties to be lots of fun, especially if you like Zumba. Since I dance a lot of hip hop, salsa and lots of other things, I don't find it challenging. It's like warmup... But anyway, I do understand the appeal - fun music, easy steps, different sets of choreographies. It's like aerobic but more interesting. That's why it's probably going to last a while in the fitness community.



Cirque du Soleil: Immortal World Tour

Julio got 2 tickets for Cirque du Soleil from his Salsa class. These people are amazingly generous... Tickets were sold around 100€. Let me start off by telling you, it was incredible. I haven't seen anything like this before. Cirque du Soleil is supposed to be like that, thus our expectations were rather high and we were not disappointed.

Here are the two of us... Matching colors red and black ^.^ for Michael Jackson... I wore an all black outfit with black Buffalo pumps, a red clutch from H&M and Mac's Russian Red lipstick. Julio wore a red scarf to a black outfit as well...



The Immortal Tour is all about Michael Jackson. And they raised the bar. I'm pretty sure, Michael would have loved what they did. Even some of his musicians went on tour as well. Unlike most Cirque du Soleil events, there was a lot more dancing than acrobatics. I'm scared as hell, whenever I see people hanging on strings under the ceiling doing their tricks... But fortunately, everything went well, no tangling nor falling...

Dancing-wise we were most impressed by the pole dancer Felix Cane. The girl was hanging on her pole, 5 meters above the floor, only supported by her ankles - no hands - doing a split at the pole and rotating around it with her upper body perpendicular to the pole. This is way to artistic to only be shown in strip clubs. Felix is a true artist, she even choreographed the latest Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity, a very sensual show. Here's a link to a YouTube video of her...





Other highlights were the b-boy Jean Sok who only had one leg, the flexible bookworm Baaska Enkhbaatar who turned the pages of an oversize book in the most unbelievable ways, the tango dancers who danced on strings up in the air, changing chairs and women within the blink of an eye, and the contemporary dancers who jumped as if they wanted to dive into the stage but used the momentum to get up from landing flat on their bellies... There were also lots of popping dancers. They were very in sync and even the main character Salah is a famous French popping dancer. He was very clean and stood out :) Also great were the break dancers and tricking people.

The stage was amazing - so huge and all the lights, the curtain, the electronics. A part of the floor could be lifted and turned into monitors, they also changed colors, when Salah stepped on them... Words could not describe how great everything fitted together. They even had indoor fireworks at the end. Very impressive!

So now to the things that weren't as great...

First, I was quite disappointed, I didn't see Les Twins. I was so looking forward to seeing them on stage and then, they quit... Their replacements weren't even half as good but anyway, they wouldn't be on top of the dance community if they could be replaced with anybody, right? Anyway, I think they are too big of a star to be dancing in Cirque du Soleil every day of the year. They have too many projects and I have wondered all along, how they could handle everything. As they seem to be all over YouTube every day...

The locking dances were weak. I can't understand how they put that on stage, if they're so perfect at every other point.

I didn't get why there were singers on stage. The main voice was Michael Jackson. Why the need for anyone else? I couldn't recognize their voices either...

Well, we also saw, it was the end of the tour because the normal dancers weren't really all that excited anymore. They danced well and in sync but not like they wanted to impress everybody. But that's maybe hard to maintain when you dance the same show every day of the year...



But in the end, it was still an amazing show. I haven't seen anything as big in my entire life! Their were a lot of highlights and those were really bright, still impressing us now.



December 11, 2012

Library App

I like to read books, even more now that I've got an iPad. But of course I would enjoy it just as much on any other tablet or ebook-reader... But I like the convenience of combining several books, papers and notebooks all in my iPad without any additional weight.

I've got a new app for borrowing German books online, called Skoobe. I think I read about it online, before I tried it out. I pay 9.99€ a month and can read as many books as I want. I can keep up to 5 books in my list which are available offline as well (offline available for 30 days). This special offer (Skoobe Premium Starter) is limited. When you get it, these special features are guaranteed for another year after they'll change their pricing model.


After some time, there won't be any 30-days offline reading for the basic offer, only 24 hours. And only three books can be borrowed at the same time. I saved 4 books right now but I only read one book at a time. For me, the feature is only useful for vacation when I have time to read and no wifi nearby.


For 14.99€, the Skoobe Plus, there will be 30-days offline reading available. And for the Skoobe Premium for 19.99€ there will be the possibility of borrowing 15 books at the same time to read offline.

It works on iPhone, iPad and Android products.

So far, I've only seen German books but maybe they'll have other languages one day. That would be awesome :-)

Since I can terminate the contract monthly, I feel it's a good offer... As long as I have time to read books, this is a great app.



December 10, 2012

PhD

Yay... It's done... I passed my exam recently. So here is my doctor's hat which my work mates made. As usual it contains parts of my work and is quite individual. It's even in my favorite color red.



The exam was quite overwhelming - 90 minutes of questions about anything in physics - from my subject to Schrödinger to Kirchhoff and Maxwell to Higgs. From medical physics to quantum physics to electrodynamics and superconducting. I'm glad it's over. It went better than expected but I had headaches for the whole night.

The past two weeks I've recovered and took some time off... It's my first Christmas without too much work, so there are no more excuses for not finding presents... ;-)

EDIT:

I forgot to tell you the story of the ladder...

I wasn't allowed to use PowerPoint, thus I presented my phd thesis on a blackboard. I was allowed to measure it beforehand and found out I was too small and needed a ladder to reach the top. This was important because I didn't want to clean the blackboard during my talk and wanted the professors to see all my results in their full beauty.

Wearing high heels almost made me fall of the ladder but thankfully, I balanced it out somehow... No bleeding for me, unlike my phd advisor. He blacked out in his bathroom a couple days before my phd defense and had some severe bruisings. You see... Physicists have a dangerous life... ;-)