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I had the weirdest dream which involved Christian, Syed and, for some insane reason, Brittney Spears. My brain is weird sometimes.

Anatomy of Winter Break from PhD Comics. A true representation of a winter break.

I’ve been finally catching up on “Leverage” back season this week. There is not much on TV and it is amusing when I watch it even though it is not as interesting to me anymore. Still. I usually watch it onDemand since TNT doesn’t let me watch it for free on their website anymore. But onDemand was missing an episode (not to mention having many out of order). Luckily, YouTube to the rescue.

A few thought on Stephen Fry autobiography I'm reading right now – I love his tangents like the one on the meaning of celebrity: “We humans are naturally disposed to worship gods and heroes, to build our pantheons and valhallas. I would rather see that impulse directed into the adoration of daft singers, thico footballers and air-headed screen actors than into the veneration of dogmatic zealots, fanatical preachers, militant politicians and rabid cultural commentators” (284-5).
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I know that once the semester starts I would look back and wish I had all this time – although I do have things to do. Still, today was pretty quiet.

I am starting to think about a new cross stitching project. I spent five month last year doing the blanket and then I did the bib and I think I burned out a bit on cross stitching. Today I do out a kit I bought last year – it is not a big one but I am thinking of starting it.

I finally got to a few more episodes of “Leverage” despite some reluctance as it has not been exciting for me lately. But I did watch “Girls’ Night Out” and “Boys Night Out” - and I found them really cute, especially the Girls episode. I especially loved one woman just beating the guy up with a pan. She rocked. The only thing that made me roll my eyes is the explanation for Boys’ plan since that was ridiculously obvious without a detailed explanation.

But what I was really looking forward to was the premiere of “Downton Abbey” here in the States. I watched Season One on Netflix this fall in couple of days and just fell in love with it like so many others. And today, we finally got two new episodes at once. This show is like a nice comfy blanket in all its britishness. I was happy to have two episodes. I still would rather just watch it all at once. My parents watched the first hour with me and taped the second one – I got them to watch Season One before too.

I went for a walk and decided to go to a store since I needed shampoo and toothpaste. When I got home after the shopping and a little walk I discovered a hole in my plastic bag. It seems one of my toothpastes decided to run away. So I had to backtrack my footsteps in the dark for a few block before I found it. It didn’t escape far! But on this walk I’ve seen the most beautiful full moon. It was low in the sky and quite big and bright.
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Happy Solstice!

Mama put up our tree today and I insisted on helping. I usually unwrap the lights and hand her all the ornaments. I do love our little tree with color lights and many many ornaments. Some from my childhood that came over the ocean with us.

“Hobbit” trailer! So pretty. Since I just read the book it is extra exciting. And Martin Freeman is such a great pick.

13 minutes today on elliptical – Act II of “Dr. Horrible” - I think knowing when something ends is making it work too. My goal is to keep it up, especially in the winter months.

Finally got to some “Leverage” today – I missed all of fall episodes. On Demand actually just put two out of four that aired so far. It has not been that interesting this year but it is good for background viewing.
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Grimm S1E5-6 )

I’ve had a ridiculous amount of déjà vu today from teaching and music and conversations to story reading. Even stuff I know I never read before. This is really weird. Three, four times today at least.

Turns out there is a new edition of Expos book this year! Good thing it came to my attention today. I basically figured out my readings from next semester after I borrowed the department’s book. I need to make my way to the main campus next Friday and pick up a copy for myself. I think I will start with Carr article on how Google is making us stupid – something for students to respond to.

Since my writing students started their day one of two of their final exam, I just graded history papers at that time. I caught some plagiarism in one paragraph and borrowed an iPhone from one of the students. And it was Wikipedia. Sigh.

After office hours, I made my way to the other campus, got tea and a Boston crème donut and caught up on some TV on the computer. Why did TNT and USA no longer want me to watch either “Leverage” nor “Burn Notice” online? That just seems so wrong.

New Year/Yuletide holiday meme )
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As usual on Fridays, I graded in morning from 7 to 9:30 and then had office hours. My students are actually showing up today because their last paper really counts. So it feels very productive. I’m very behind on their Paper 4 grading – I just can’t bring myself to do it except on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Well, I have exactly two weeks to finish everything.

I need to catch up on my TV – I made a list – at least 9 hours of TV I still didn’t watch like “Burn Notice”, “Dexter” and “Leverage” and the list keeps growing. Doesn’t help that “Burn Notice” still didn’t put some things online when I actually had time to watch. I did watch the third “Once Upon a Time” episode – it is still hit and miss for me but I do like it when it is on in front of me.
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I walked to the doctor’s office today to basically get the all clear. They don’t really know what is causing the symptoms so I will just not worry too much and keep doing what I’m doing.

Leverage S4E9 )
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Why do best writing ideas come to be in the shower? It is weird. Today I finally understood what my RS Games story is really about – before I knew when it will take place and where but today in the shower, the core of the story came to me. I need to actually start writing it now.

I went rollerblading for 45 minutes today – it was good, I didn’t feel tired at all.

Leverage )

I’m reading actual books again in the evenings – it is great to get back into it.
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Today I worked on “Early Rome and Law” lecture with the focus on the 12 Tables. The roman law is making me a bit nervous – it is the shakiest part of the class I will teach and I need to review it a bit. It really has been awhile. However, I actually like teaching subjects I’m shaky on since I get to learn it better myself.

As I went for the evening walk I got caught in the rain. I went to the supermarket for a croissant and sour cream and on the way back it started pouring. Not just little rain but buckets. I had my baseball hat on, at least, and it was pointless to run home so I just walked home in the pouring warm summer rain. It was fun actually.

I finished “Queer as Folk US.” The last episode of Season 5 came today. Overall, I give this show four out five. I didn’t fall in love with it like I did with the UK version but I ended up liking these characters (most of the time) once the storylines got out from imitating UK show. My favorite season was season 4 and my favorite character was Emmett.

Papa and I watched a “Leverage” episode onDemand. Leverage )
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Since Mark Watches started “Battlestar Galactica” and since it is on Netflix instant play – I have been rewatching episodes along with him. There are several shows I watched twice: “Buffy” “Farscape,” “Firefly” (usually with Papa while I introduced those shows to him) so it has been interesting to start this show at the beginning with full knowledge of what to come.

Torchwood S4E5 )

After Elton's Torchwood Episode 5 in ten minutes

'Leverage' managed another decent episode last week. Maybe this season can be salvaged.

The US credit rating just got downgraded . It is not a good thing obviously but part of me thinks Congress and its stupid ‘negotiations’ of the last few weeks deserve that for putting the interest of their own re-election ahead of actually thinking about people. The whole political shenanigans right now just make me want to shake my head.
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Leverage S4E5 )

Torchwood S4E4 )

For the last few weeks my upper right teeth have been bugging me. Not enough to cause too much pain to see a dentist right away but enough to be annoying. If this continues by Monday, I’d have to see a dentist which is not a favorite thing.

“Ghost Story” has arrived! Yay. I already skimmed it for main plot details. I really like the ending and where the story will go in the next book. Now I can settle in and slowly savor the book.
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Norway massacre is just horrible.

Deathly Hollows Part II reactions from someone who never read the books.

We had a few power outages today because of the heat - at 3:30 for a bit. . Then at 3:53 and from 5:50 to 6:19pm. But Internet takes longer to reset. I really hope everything will be restored by 10, since really don’t want to miss Torchwood today.

Dylan Thomas “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” I liked listening to it more than reading it since I don’t have patience for reading it – but it was a little abridged which is silly for a short story.

Finally, I got some tentative class schedule for the writing program. It is on a campus that is further away though, I’m hoping they would change it, but they probably won’t and I can’t really be too picky.

Leverage S4E4 )

Torchwood S4E3 )

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 11:00 pm
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Today was very different. I woke up at 6:30 so that I could take a bus and a subway to make it to federal court at 8:30 because I had jury duty. Technically, it is two weeks service but you only come in when you are needed. I only did jury duty once before, seven years ago in county court and that just involved sitting in a room for two days since I was not even called up for selection process. But today was certainly a different story. I got picked to actually serve on a federal criminal case next week for 3 days.

I can’t talk about the case at all but I can talk about the process for it which was interesting. Read more... )

Across the hall from our courtroom today was a naturalization ceremony and thinking about becoming a citizen I dug out my old paper journals to see what I wrote about it (I kept a journal in college – not every day but enough for a few journal books). I have Byron poetry copied there and quotes I don’t remember reading. It was fun to read about dates with Bear in our young and innocent stage; I was a sappy 19 year old.

Leverage S4E2 )
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Internet guy came this morning – our speed was acting up for the last month. He changed one of the boxes, modem, I think.

I don’t know where the rest of the day went. I started QaF US Season 3 and then I watched the Season premiere of Leverage in the evening.

Leverage S4E1 )
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This morning, right before I woke up I had that sensation of holding an object in my hand while I knew my hand was empty. This time it was a phantom apple. My brain knew logically that I was still sort of sleeping and there wasn’t an apple but I felt I had one in my hand down to the curve of the top stem. Only when I flexed my hand that illusion faded, just like I knew it would. This happened before occasionally and that is always a weird illusion.

Leverage S3E14-16 )

Burn Notice S4E17-18 )

There were riots with police in Minsk today because of people protesting fraud in the latest election. Not that it would do any good. (Watching “Leverage” episode about elections and riots was a bit surreal.)
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This morning I had a fairy lazy morning. It is raining and with five hours of sleep it feels like a lazy Sunday. I made Bear oatmeal for breakfast. Then I downloaded pictures from the restaurant. We also got a professional picture done in the restaurant last night. Bear had to leave for work, by until eleven when he left we relaxed and read our books together. He read that new Harry Dresden story I picked up.

After Bear left, I caught up on the summer finale of “Leverage” online.
Leverage )

I spent the afternoon reading rough drafts and using a “Highlander” episode as a reward. Every five brain numbing papers that can’t use quotes or know what a topic sentences is and tell me how religion provides morality or, the opposite, that religion should stay out of science because science doesn’t need morals to do its job, I get some sort of a TV episode. Then I have enough sanity to point to logical flaws in their ‘arguments’ and to tell them to be less vague.

Highlander S5E17 )

Bit of Hugh and Laurie. S1E5. The teacher sketch where everything Hugh Laurie tries to teach about “Romeo and Juliet” is met by black stares was hilarious in its accuracy of what it sometimes feels like to be a teacher.

True Blood S3E12 )
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I watched “Leverage” episode “Roshomon” on YouTube today, instead of waiting a whole week for it to show up online. I just read about how much fun this episode is and it really was. Everyone’s selective memory and recognizing the characters in other actors was the best part. My favorite episode of the season, definitely.

“Invictus” Normally Clint Eastwood movies are either hit or miss for me, no in-between. This is no exception as I surprisingly really liked this movie. I know absolutely nothing about rugby but I really liked two main characters and both Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon did a wonderful job.

14 Av/25 July, 2010

Sunday, July 25th, 2010 11:00 pm
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Harry Potter Musical Sequel . Original was very creative.

Learning about some cons in “American Gods” really helps enjoy a similar “Leverage” con. I know I have to wait a week for TNT to put its episodes online, but I really like catching up on the shows later at my convenient time.

Highlander. “Prodigal Son” “Pharaoh’s Daughter”
I liked both of the episodes and especially Richie and Duncan reunion. Richie can always come to Mac for help and both are just glad to see each other. Both these episodes work pretty well.

True Blood S5E6 )

2 Av/13 July, 2010

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 11:00 pm
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As I was talking to Medusa today, we ended up wondering about the cultural construction of a week (neither of us can keep the days straight when there is no formal structure) so I looked up “week” on Wikipedia. It is fun to discover that Romans had eight day week until they adopted seven day week. And seven day week is directly out Babylonian exile of the Jews. It is fun sometimes to think of concepts that we take for granted. I also realize that I know what day it is by reference to the TV schedule.

There is a writer test that is going around (I even saw an article about it on Entertainment Weekly website) - based on blog entries I write either like James Joyce or Stephen King. That is rather an odd combination.

“A Single Man” I finally saw this movie. I absolutely love the cinematography. I usually don’t pay much attention to this but the use of color, fadeouts of color and enhancements of color really work here. And so does the music and the narrative non-linear structure. And the acting. Colin Firth is magnificent in this. It is certainly not like any character he played before. He looked like an ordinary person, which I would think might be hard for a man as pretty as he. But as he prepares the whole day for his suicide, his emotion and grief is just so touching. This move makes me a bit sad. I kind of knew where the movie was headed and what the ending would be but it was still affective. Out of all award hyped movies, this was my favorite.

Before “The Single Man” there was a trailer for “The Pillars of the Earth,” a new upcoming miniseries on Starz, based on a book by Ken Follett about 12th century England. Apparently it will premiere on Friday, July 23. It looks movie-medieval and a bit weird but I might just check it out. When I first started teaching, I think when I was a TA still of a “Development of Europe I” class, one of my students gave me “Pillars of Earth” book at the end of the semester. He said that in his house they read books but didn’t keep them, which I found weird. Anyway, I never read the book but I did lend it to my Advisor for a few years. It is still sitting somewhere and I do mean to check it out sometimes. It is a historical fiction set in England but it is a really fat book and I need to be in the mood for it.

Leverage S3E5 )

Gorilla in the room . A fun test of observation.

One of our distant relatives died this past weekend. He was the one who prompted Mama to make a family tree website – which was certainly a fun endeavor. He also chatted with us on Skype often. He was 79 and he will be missed.
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Article on cracked.com about Seven classic Disney movies based on R rated stories. One of the examples here was “Tarzan” and its original, fairly non-happy ending.
I read "Tarzan" as a kid, all twenty something volumes that came out in Russian - I was obsessed with it at some point and I always knew how the first story ended. He only married Jane in the second book. I wonder how that book would read now as an adult. Instead of the adventure story I would probably just over-analyze the colonialism. Although, my favorite part of the book was in the beginning where it is just him learning to read from this hut he found. I might actually re-read it in English sometime.

Leverage )

Riverworld )
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“Princess and the Frog” I realize this is a fairy tale with fairy tale rules but why does she fall in love with him? Shared adventure? Well, that really won’t last. And they get married after five seconds, which is actually what was needed to break the spell since she is now a princess. And we supposed to forget that he is an ass and find it all romantic. And she, who has a dream of opening a restaurant, can forget it and be a frog as long as she is married to her jerk. Or is the message is that a girl can’t just dream of having a successful career – if she isn’t married too that is all a waste. At least in the end he helps her open her restaurant. And why did the prince have to be darker skinned too – he couldn’t have been white, after all he is from a fake-European sounding country? I guess, since there is a black princess, that would have been too scary for some. I really should stop over-analyzing children’s movies. I just always have issues with movies and fairy tales where people fall in love after two seconds. Maybe that’s why “Beauty and the Beast” was my favorite fairy tale as a kid – they actually get to know each other. Hand drawn animation does look nice and I did like the songs and art style.

TV Gods are torturing me with choices: tonight at 9pm is a new episode of "True Blood" and a two-hour season premiere of "Leverage." Why did they have to move "Leverage" from Wednesday? Both can be viewed later - "True Blood" onDemand and "Leverage" on TNT website or on tape (I don't think Netflix is showing Season 3). Still, decisions, decisions. I think "True Blood" wins in the end for me since it is such crack and deliciousness but this should be considered torture!

True Blood S3E2 )

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