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I woke up at 6:30 because of the time change so I just read for an hour before Bear woke up. I am glad to be at regular time which our bodies are used to. The whole Daylight Saving Time is just so useless. I did like having this extra time to read. So I finished “Hobbit.” I definitely enjoyed this book much more now as an adult than I ever did. Partly because I forgot most of the book so many plot points were brand new. Partly because I loved LotR movies and liked those books so I know the universe more. And I can appreciate long journeys and fantasy adventures a little more. But this was definitely fun. I don’t think I will reread “Lord of the Rings” since there are so many books I want to read but I look forward to Mark’s reviews.

After lunch, Bear and I went hiking. We spent two hours in the woods following the yellow and white trails (at least until the white trail path got too muddy and we headed home) and then we drove to the beach and walked there for an hour. I did like the exercise. And I do love the woods in the fall – all colorful with leaves on the ground. And the weather was nice and warm enough for extensive walking. Since I just read “The Hobbit” and that book was about a long traveling adventure I imagined I was Bilbo walking along forest paths. I was telling Bear the story, since he never read it and he was recapping Mark Twain to me since it has been awhile for me too. I love talking about books with him.

We got Chinese food and watched “Real Time with Bill Maher” for a bit and then he had to go home since I needed to write my lecture and make a Powerpoint for it. He really needs to find an apartment for us.
bearshorty: (Bearshorty Purple with Heart)
Today turned out such a low key day, it was very good. I am just mellow and relaxed now. Partly it was because of the rain and partly it was because Bear came over and we just had a nice afternoon/evening together. We were going to go to beach fair and fireworks next week but he just decided to come over this Saturday instead. We went for a long walk to a frozen yogurt store (I love mixing flavors and I like it tart) and had Thai for dinner (I really wanted the drunken noodles). And we watched “Real Time with Bill Maher” in the evening. It was just a real relaxing day – a true weekend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 11:00 pm
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Bitching to Amazon actually works; they checked our shipping option with no charge to get the book delivered sooner. Yay. I’ll get “Ghost Story” on Friday if it arrives at Papa’s work on time. With three people waiting to read this book we really were relying on it arriving on time.

SYTYCD Top 8 perform )

I really love “Real Time with Bill Maher” – the new rules really made me crack up tonight.
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“Step Up 3” Nice dancing, crappy plot. They couldn’t telegraph their plots better if they put a flaming arrow and spelled it out. Chunky dialogue and in general this movie begs for mockery. But these movies are not really about plot anyway. It is very clear what was meant to be 3D and it is distracting on regular screen. Last two movies at least attempted a decent plot. Definitely the worst one of the bunch, although it was nice to see SYTYCD dancers.

My laptop was acting up today. I was just reading on it and it began gasping for breath with its fan. Mouse and keyboard got sluggish too. I shut it down but it kept blinking. So I let it rest for a few hours. Then I took out the battery, dusted it a bit and put it back and that seemed to do the trick. I think I moved it and dislodged the battery somehow. I’m so dependent on my computer that I don’t want anything to happen to it.

"Real Time with Bill Maher" was really funny this week especially in reading Weiner Facebook conversation with Jane Lynch. That was hysterical.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday, May 15th, 2011 11:00 pm
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Doctor Who S6E4 )

Avatar: TLA S2E10 )

Today was rainy and a bit gray. We had plans to go to lower Manhattan in the afternoon but the parents ended up going to Brooklyn with Galina while I hung out with Olya at home. We chatted and then we watched some Bill Maher. It is even more fun to watch with someone else who likes his humor.

After dinner we had our own Bill Maher type panel with Papa as the lone Republican (he claims to be independent but he likes Fox news) and I and Galina on liberal side and Mama more moderate democratic. Olya was the audience. It was actually fun to debate my Dad especially to convince him that one reason Republican plans on taxes don’t make sense is because they have the idea of people’s ability to bring themselves up and American Dream and success being equal to what you put in. Both Galina and I are teachers so we actually could argue well that sometimes society doesn’t value all types of education and professions equally in terms of compensation and how it is not really feasible to always achieve ridiculous success. Papa pointed out examples of immigrants like him coming to America with nothing, but Galina made a great point that people like Papa actually came in with education and were able to learn things like computer programming in a year and retrain themselves because of that background too. Anyway, it was a good political discussion. I had a really good time with our guests this weekend.

Cross-stitching: all pink for pink balloon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 8th, 2011 11:20 pm
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In the morning, with Lady Gaga’s HBO concert playing in the background, I graded map quizzes for Section 2 of my history class. I still don’t understand how students who have all the places beforehand and blank maps and an Atlas can get less than an A on this. At least my two football players who did not do well on the last map quiz, actually studied for this one.

My cross stitching today while watching Bill Maher. I need to pick up my pace a bit.

I went for a walk in the late afternoon and as I was coming back from it I ran into my neighbor Laura and her kids and they invited me to go get frozen yogurt. I got pomegranate, raspberry and original tart flavors and it was very delicious. I didn’t even realize we has a frozen yogurt store close to us. The Kid wants to learn how to roller blade and she wants me to teach her, so I promised I’d do it. It will be fun.

Brothers and Sisters S5E22 Love letter to the show in case this was the last episode. )

Cross-stitch: more terra cotta. I like this color. I don’t get tired of it. Cross stitching is sometimes about colors for me.
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“Real Time” and “Who Do You Think You are” form a great break for a Saturday. I wish I had more time to cross stitch, though. This is a very busy semester.

Cross stitch: finished the bunny with pink and yellow and started on middle bear’s nose and giraffe’s ears.
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Having a house guest is always a little weird but due to Russian hospitality it also means lots and lots of nice food. The table has to be full and Mama made olivie salad and liver and lots of other deliciousness. And cake. And we had a little wine too (well, not my parents since they don’t drink anymore, mostly for medical reasons). Joseph, our guest, likes to tell jokes and unlike Papa watches Bill Maher and Jon Stewart. His youngest daughter just finished a master’s at Columbia so he came from Miami to get some of her stuff and get her sorted. He and his wife and daughter might stay with us again in May and maybe when my parents are on vacation, so it is was good to get to know him beforehand. And lots of delicious food!

I caught up on some Bill Maher today and cross stitched. I got so busy in the last month I barely had time for it but I know I need to find some time since I do have a deadline for my project.

Daylight Saving Time is tonight and it is the stupidest thing ever and why do we even bother with it. One hour less sleep. I suppose I should get to sleep early.

Cross stitch – light brown, brown and other similar colors to finish big bear’s paws.
Exercise: 45 minute walk
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I woke up at Yeva’s and made myself breakfast. Yeva was staying with her boyfriend at his place but she gave me a rundown of her fridge. Then I made my way to the bus and went home.

On the way I stopped by at a card story and finally bought Bear his Valentine’s Day card. The cards are so stupid. All the inane sayings inside. I bought the least offensive. Bear and I are postponing Valentine’s for a few weeks but we don’t generally do much, just exchange cards and he gets my one rose and we might go to dinner. We both feel this made up holiday is generally stupid. Well, at least I got amusement over some creepy stalkery type Valentine’s messages or messages were the sentiment is that what one most values in the other person is how happy the other person makes one feel about oneself. Yeah, very romantic.

Since I had a really busy week and did not have time to cross stitch I spent some significant time on it today while watching “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Who Do You Think You Are” on demand on my TV.

I also discovered that Netflix put the whole of “Grey’s Anatomy” on instant so I can have that in the background while doing other things.

Cross-stitch: blue and pale blue for the book the animals are reading.
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Some shows and TV is just perfect for cross stitching like “Real Time with Bill Maher” I liked the discussion on the situation in Egypt.

Bear came over today and we watched the last few episodes of “Community.” I like rewatching them and it is fun to watch them together.

When Mama was dropping me off at Local College on the way to work last week, she noticed an ice skating ring on the way. I looked it up on the internet and saw that it was open on Fridays and weekends. So today my family and Bear all went to check it out. Papa had to pretty much wait in the car since he can’t skate and you needed to pay for entrance even if you don’t skate, which is silly. But we had a good time. It was not the best ice. They don’t clean it that much and rented skates are not the sharpest but I got a hang of it and could go all right. I roller blade a lot in the summer so I did need to adjust a tiny bit to ice skating but it is similar enough. It actually got warm since it is a covered rink. And it is close enough to the house that I might go again sometimes.

Bear and I watched “Dragonheart” in the evening; the DVD has been sitting on my desk for three weeks. This movie has sentimental value to me since this was the first movie I saw in an American movie theater. (Tom and Jerry cartoon a summer camp took up too does not count!) Papa took me for my 16th birthday. Of course, it has been so long since I seen it that all I remembered was Sean Connery was the dragon and they were conning the villagers. I really couldn’t remember much more, so it was like a brand new movie. Once I started watching I did sort of remembered how it would end. It was fun to see both Lupin and Lucius Malfoy in it. And the dragon CGI still holds up great – I know this was very innovative at the time. I kept thinking I knew the music – I’m sure it was reused many times.

Exercise: 40 min ice staking
Cross stitch: green and purple for cube
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We went to Brooklyn this morning for a little bit to visit my grandparents and then we went for a walk. We had to pick sidewalks and roads to avoid most of the snow so instead of our regular walk pattern we were zigzagging along three main streets we walk on.

I was cross stitching while watching ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’. I caught up on the last two episodes, since they were new and it was nice to listen to a good discussion of politics and current events. Although, having intelligent well spoken people actually say that they don’t believe in evolution is always very creepy to me. Why does belief in God precludes acceptance of science?

Egypt’ civil unrest is having a cultural impact – looters destroyed two mummies in Egypt museum. That is sad, really. I’ve been following online what is going on with their revolution. I hope that when Egypt settles on the government again it won’t be similar to 1979 Iranian revolution.

Doctor Who “Genesis of the Daleks” First episode. The production values were very low. The sets are so cheap! It is definitely 1974 and the acting is silly at times. It was sort of setting the story up, so not much happens until the end where we see Davros and the first Dalek. Having met Davros in Season 4 this was interesting – to see the origins here. And Sara Jane Smith – she was so young here! Harry seems resourceful. This should be an interesting old serial but the pacing is a bit slow.

Exercise: 40 minute walk
Cross stitch – pink to finish little bear’s blanket, multiple colors for book spine.
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Dexter S5E4 )

I finished the full stitch portion of my "Good Book" cross stitch project since it is not a big project. Now I just need to do backstitch. I do like cross stitching and having “Real Time with Bill Maher” in the background. At least I know the main political issues of the week.

In the afternoon I took a walk and I found myself paying attention to the trees and multicolored leaves. There was one tree with green, yellow and red leaves and I wish I had a camera with me. The neighborhood is just very pretty now with leaves changing color – I also liked this deep red color that was in the leaves on the ground. I also ended up taking a nap in the afternoon, which I haven’t done in a while. I guess I really needed to rest this weekend.

The new British “Sherlock Holmes” series finally made it to America on PBS for the next three weekends. I’ve heard things about it and PBS usually streams, so I’ll definitely will try to catch it online. PBS also has Patrick Stewart’s “Macbeth” set in 20th century. I wanted to see this when the play came to Brooklyn a few years ago, but the play has sold out. So I started watching it tonight and just caught up in it. I might have just watched the whole thing (I’m up to “Is this the dagger” portion) but my neighbor Laura called and invited me to dinner with her family and some guests so I went over there, instead. But I will try to watch more tomorrow.

It was a very delicious dinner, they made shish-kebabs. It was nice to just hang out and be social for a bit. There were five adults and four kids and it was good chaos.

Brothers and Sisters S5E5 )

Fun link of the day : Halloween costumes that should not exist. I was laughing so hard at these that tears came out.
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I woke up at 6 something again, my body is being weird. I don’t normally function on six hours of sleep but that seems to be the norm in the last week. So I did some editing since I was awake.

Today I went to see Neil Gaiman at the New Yorker Festival. I was looking forward to this for a while and I was really happy that it lived up to all my expectation. Really worth the $30. He is an awesome speaker. This was a conversational interview with Dana Goodyear, a staff writer of the New Yorker, and he was funny and intelligent as always. This is the first time I’ve seen him live, but I read his blog and I have seen interviews on line. It was, of course, much better live especially since I got there early enough to get a seat in the first row on the right side and it wasn’t a large theater. So he was right there. I was feeling off and depressed this week and the ninety minutes this afternoon listening to one of my favorite authors talk really just made me feel happy again.

Some highlights:

• Coraline - he talked about his daughter Holly being the inspiration behind this book because of the kind of stories Holly wanted to hear as a child and the kind of story she made up herself at age four. He also talked about the adventure of trying to actually publish this horror story for children and how it came about – a daughter of the publisher pretended not to be afraid of the story to hear the ending and the publisher thought it was safe for children. (Coraline was the first book of his that I actually read, right before reading the first Sandman volume.)

• Doctor Who – what he could reveal about his upcoming episode: some old character is wearing a new face and the episode will reference at least one classic episode. He also told a wonderful story to illustrate the importance of the show to British cultural consciousness and why for him a chance to write for the show was so awesome. One of his early memories as a three year old was taking a milk carton with a straw at lunch at pre-school-type place and pretending it was a Dalek. He made “exterminate” sounds.

• American Gods – there are enough stories for another book. Which will happen eventually. He talked more about how the book was the reflection of his immigrant experience of coming to America.

• Sandman – they showed some covers and explained the collaborative work with the artist; many covers have Gaiman’s altered image on them. He really looks like Morpheus in person too. (I only read four out of eleven Sandman volumes, I need to save up and buy more.)

• We were also the audience for the American premiere of “Statuesque,” a Neil Gaiman directed short silent eight minute film starring Bill Nighy and Amanda Palmer that only aired in England. It was cute.

The Q&A section was great too – good questions. What really impressed me was how awesome he was at the end of the event. He simply got off the stage and just started sighing books (and a leather jacket of some guy with signatures on his jacket). He really didn’t have to since it wasn’t official signing, but he wanted to get as many things signed as he good before the theater kicked everyone out. I got my copy of “Fragile Things” signed since it is one of my favorite short story collections. It takes me a while to get to Manhattan but it was really worth it.

pictures of Neil Gaiman signing stuff )

Before I had to be at the Festival event, I stopped by to get some food at a café close to Carnegie Hall. They had brunch and I got eggs and toast and potatoes and it was very delicious.

I discover new things every time I go into the city. Today it was a new statue in Battery Park (where you can get on a boat to visit Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty) called “Immigrants.” I took some pictures; it was really interesting and beautiful.

Immigrants statue picture )


This morning, as I was traveling to the city, I read the National Geographic article on Jane Goodall. I still find it amusing that this comes out just as I’m finishing teaching an article by her in my class. I love the photo of just her seventy something face – she just looks beautiful and her face really shows a life well lived. She did stumble into her career quite by accident, although having a mentor like Louis Leakey does help in the long run. One of the pictures of the chimps in the article is a little explicit and would not be publishable if it were a human (I don’t think it is online).

Cross stitching works really well with watching “Real Time with Bill Maher” – I don’t have to actually watch the screen intensively to hear the conversations between guests.

Dexter S5E2 )

My grandmother Tanya died eleven years ago today, so I wanted to take some time and remember the most wonderful and amazing person I have ever met in my life. This was my blog entry a year ago.
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The day was gray and sleepy but I actually didn’t mind the weather. The morning was spent lazily; I don’t even know where it went. As I was reading a bit of October issue of National Geographic with breakfast, I saw that the photographer Wes Skiles for the Bahamas Blue Hole article that I just read this past August died while diving. That was very shocking to read since I have just seen his work. He was 52.

Bear came over around one and he brought me a present. He brought me a small summer bag with a nice colorful pattern that I can wear with a shoulder strap across my body. My cousin Vika got me a similar one nine years ago when she was visiting us which I loved and used a lot in the summers. It started wearing out on the strap. So Bear thought I might like a new one that sort of looked like the that one. The new one is a bit different. It has zippers.

After lunch and showing the latest “Community” episode to Bear (he prefers movies to TV but he watches some stuff when I show him with few complaints) we went to the beach to rollerblade. I couldn’t figure the weather out. It was a bit chilly in a t-shirt but it was too warm in a light jacket. I didn’t rollerblade too hard, my legs are still tired from all the walking yesterday. We did sit on the bench for a bit making future plans and all and just talking in general.

Then we went to the Halloween store. This is a seasonal store close to my house that sells masks and costumes and Halloween make-up and other stuff like that. We both love Halloween and we always love to look around and look at that stuff. He needs to find out if his work has a Halloween party this year, I feel like having a fun Halloween and carving pumpkins and going to a haunted house and other fun Halloween stuff.

After going to a few other stores, we had dinner while watching “Real time with Bill Maher.” And then we watched “Dexter” because there was no way I would miss a season premiere.

Dexter S5E1 )

Exercise – rollerblading for maybe 25 minutes and push-ups.
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Happy Birthday, Misha!

Papa bought the tastiest bagels this morning – very crispy.

I finished Stephen Fry’s autobiography. I really enjoyed it. Mostly because of his humor and because he actually tells of less than good stuff that he did as a teenager – he did spend a little time in jail over stealing a credit card. And I do enjoy reading about people’s childhoods. I’m actually looking forward to the next bit – ages 20 to 40 – that he is writing now. I need to get that when it will get published. Now, I think, I will get back to the biography of Catherine the Great or at least the next section of the book before I break with some fiction.

We went to Brooklyn for half a day. First, Papa and I went to visit my grandparents where I helped set up their emergency cell phone. Then we joined Mama on Brighton and walked around a bit on the boardwalk. It was such a sunny day with lovely blue skies. Mama was in a snit, though, so the walk was not as enjoyable as it could have been. We did have a nice lunch. I had a very delicious chicken with vegetables and tomato juice.

In the afternoon, I finally started a new cross stitch project called “An Interesting Book,” which is a small cross stitch of a bear sitting on a toilet with blue underpants around his ankles and wearing pink slippers and reading a book. Hee. Hee. I bought it in June at a book market in Minsk. It really amuses me. I’m not ready for a big project yet, I’ve been doing smaller ones for a year and a half now.

I also went rollerblading for 45 minutes today, which makes me feel good. I need to make more effort to work out even if I don’t get to the beach to rollerblade. I do have an exercise machine in my room, maybe I should use it. I did break out my little free weights and did some stuff while watching “Real Time with Bill Maher.” I didn’t even realize that the show premiered on Friday. Usually I watch it a week later with weekend breakfast but I caught it today. I think because the media gives so much coverage to the tea party, it seems like the country gone insane. But I do hold hope that most people are actually sane and the minority is just loud.

Laura just came over because she needed her nursing paper proofed. It is much easier to edit someone who at least has intelligent points to make. She was looking at my cross-stitches and thinking of trying something like it. And getting the Kid into that too. That would be cool.

I need to get some grading done tonight. I think I will start with a paper that I know will fail. I usually pick up speed and desire to grade the more grading I do. Like a snowball.
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Mama wanted to go to Washington DC to look at the cherry blossoms. The blooming was maybe a week ago but they figured they could still see something, so my parents are away this weekend. They found a nice deal on a hotel. I get to have a house to myself. Well, and Bear, since I invited him over this weekend. (And my parents like knowing that I won’t be alone in the house).

I slept so soundly in the morning that I didn’t even hear my parents leave. That usually doesn’t happen with me. But I guess I needed the sleep. I had a nice leisurely breakfast, watched “Real Time with Bill Maher” and marinated the chicken. They I spend a lot of time just reading my new Dresden Files book. Having an afternoon to read was just nice (Bear wasn’t coming over until almost dinner time, since he had work and then wanted to work out after).

I did discover that I had to go to the library around 3pm since I couldn’t renew the book of essays about Jane Austen online – it was on hold for someone. I haven’t read the book yet but that’s fine. I skimmed it and read some essays on the way to the library. Considering that it was a really nice and summery and warm day, the long walk to the library was actually good for me. I know I need to exercise more, or at least walk. I need better habits.

I cooked my rice pilaf and mango ginger chutney chicken. The rice came out really well and chicken was ok. It was good chicken but I’m not really a fan of the sauce. The level of sweetness was a bit off. But it was still a good dinner and Bear ate it all.

We had cake late at night as we resumed out Alien movie watch with “Alien 3.” I’ve never seen Alien 3 before so I was looking forward to that. Maybe because it was pretty late when we watched it and I was sleepy, but I wasn’t that thrilled with the movie. It was good as a horror flick but there were some sequences like trying to corner the alien in the tunnel that made no logical sense to me. Ripley was a good character as usual but she was now really the only woman in the movie that emphasized that but having all other men be criminals who haven’t seen a woman in ages. There were racial stereotypes too that were a bit off putting. But I did have fun eating the raspberry cake and watching the movie with Bear.
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I think this was the most hysterical New Rules ever for ‘Real Time with Bill Maher”. Usually I watch his show on HBO OnDemand about a week later than the show airs with my weekend breakfast, but the new episode from two nights ago was on while I was eating dinner, so I saw it tonight. This time there were no conservatives on the panel (usually there is at least one) which Bill Maher acknowledged. There was the head of Teacher’s Union which drew interesting conversation and general sense of happiness from Democrats getting their shit together.

“The Pacific” Part 3. This is my favorite episode so far, because it was not about battles but a sort of break in Melbourne. And lots of hooking up. It is a bit awkward to watch love scenes with my parents in the room, especially as Mama began to comment on how the characters just met so it was inappropriate of them to act that way. I do like all the little humor here and there too.

I slept in again today and it took me a long time to just get up and eat breakfast and shower. Finally after eleven I was all ready to get out of the house and go to the store with Papa since I needed to buy my ingredients for Passover Seder tomorrow. I make a potato kugel every year – this will be the fifth year. I actually make two in the last few years – one for our family Seder and one for the Seder my friends and I hold on a convenient Saturday during Passover week. I’m also in charge of making a Seder plate at home since I’m the one that cares about some ceremonial detail so I needed ingredients for haroset. Papa came along to help me carry the groceries.

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