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For the last few weeks I was not in the mood for books. I have at least two books sitting on my nightstand but I just have not been picking them up. (I’m starting Eco but I’m just not feeling it right now). I have been reading a little more Sandman “Endless Nights” and my National Geographic and fanfic but not actual books. So today I went to take a look at my shelf of books to read and I figured maybe picking up a non-fiction would work. And it did. I started “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, her memoir and I already read 50 pages. She recounts her childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia and other African and Middle Eastern counties and then her adulthood in the Western world. I do like autobiographies and especially about a complete different culture. This book is making me very grateful that I was born in the Western World (well, Eastern European World of Soviet Union and then USA when I was almost 13). Especially as a woman. Reading an account of her circumcision was very difficult. I’m looking forward to the rest of the book.

I like having the Olympics in the background and watching random events. I do wish they would show the full decathlon, not just the two Americans.
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Day 2 of the Olympics:

I watched the tiny bits of:

Judo – It looks very much like wrestling. I’m not sure what I thought it would be like. I just watched a little bit when I woke up.
Weightlifting – lifting more than double your weight is always impressive. I was watching the women to this.
Table tennis – just a few points to get the feel for it. I like playing table tennis but it is a little frantic to watch it.
Canoe/Kayak – kayak through rapids – slalom - that looks difficult. And fun. I liked this.
Women’s skeet shooting – target shooting – pretty fun – US won

The main focus of the day, though, was on archery, swimming and gymnastics.

Archery – Women’s team – some quarterfinals, etc. I’m really liking this – I can’t believe I never watched competition archery before. This is why online streaming is so worth it. I did catch the finals (parts of Russia/Japan and China/S. Korea) on TV – I don’t like the commentary though, I’d much rather just watch a straight feed.

NBC people who interview the athletes after they swim ask the stupidest questions. How does it feel to win? I don’t know, pretty good. How does it feel to lose? Not that great, I wager.

True Blood S5E8 )

July books and movies )
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Part 2: Movies, books and theater


On June 18, Bear and I went to Manhattan for the day since we had a meeting with rabbi and a priest in the evening to talk about our ceremony. So we decided to make a day of it and we went to see “Prometheus” in IMAX 3D and then walked around the city for a while. (If we were going to pay ridiculous amount of money for 3D in Manhattan – twice as much as in my local theater – we might as well add a few bucks and watch it in IMAX). This was the only movie I saw this June. (Well, tomorrow, Bear and I are going to see “Brave”, so that would be the second one.) I haven’t really watched many movies on Netflix either. I do want to rent “The Artist.” This year, I have been going to the movie theater more but I want to probably skip Batman since I wasn’t a fan of “Dark Knight.” I might catch it on DVD later. What I really want to see is “Magic Mike” because that movie is not very subtle (there might be a plot in that movie but I really don’t care. Go mostly naked boys.) Unfortunately, my local movie theater is not playing it- there are going in favor of “Ted,” which looks so stupid. So I might have to wait to see it.

Prometheus )


June was non-eventful book month. I mostly read fanfic lately or online books and I don’t have time for read actual books. I did finish Sandman Volumes 7 and 8 and I’m reading “Perks of being a Wallflower” and “Emma” right now when the mood strikes me.

Volume 7 of Sandman (“Brief Lives’) was not my favorite. It was fine and it had its moments but I like 8 more (“Worlds’ End”) since it is more firmly in the storytelling realm and not main Endless plot. Bear is the opposite. He prefers 7 to 6 or 8, because he like the main plot and he relates to Delirium lately. I just adored story within story within story within story format of 8. I do know the endgame of the series so I could pick up all the clues in 8, which I do like.

I am also enjoying “Emma” – I know all plot from the gazillion movies and mini-series – and it is not my favorite Austen story – but I’m really liking the book. I think it is because Austen’s sarcasm and snarkiness is in full force here. I am reading it a bit slowly.


As my birthday present, Bear got me tickets to Broadway for June 8 to see “Anything Goes.” I had the CD of it since New Years and it was so wonderful to see it in person. I wanted to see it since last year’s Tony Awards. Speaking of, I watched the Tony’s again this year (with the break for “True Blood” and I did catch up the next day). No show really stood out this time but it was fun to see so many SYTYCD alums in the cast of “Newsies”

“Anything Goes” Absolutely fabulous good time. Knowing all the songs make it even better but what this revival exceeds at was dancing. That 10 minute tap dancing number for “Anything Goes” song was so amazing to watch live – how do they have the energy? I’ve seen Joel Grey on stage before but he fabulous as Moonface Martin. Stephanie Block as Reno Sweeny stole the show for me – her voice and her dancing were so on point. She was just so amazing. I’m so happy that this show got extended and I got to see it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 10:00 pm
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I’m 32 today. I’m not being melancholy about it or anything but it just feels like an ordinary day. I had a very good day – the weather was great. It didn’t rain, it wasn’t hot but still very warm and I got to spend the day in Manhattan with my friends. I guess I just used to be more excited about birthdays. It is probably just a sign of getting older.

Before my parents left on their vacation, they told me where they left their presents and I never peak beforehand because I really like waking up and opening presents.

Birthday loot:

National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States
“The Prague Cemetery” by Umberto Eco
“Endless Nights” by Neil Gaiman (Sandman)
Official USA 2012 Olympic T-shirt (which I wore today)
Two Ralph Lauren shirts and a nightshirt from my Mom
$100 gift card from the girls to the hair studio where I’m doing my wedding hair

I left about 10 am and got to Manhattan pretty fast. We weren’t meeting until noon (which meant I was there at 11:50 and everyone else came in the next hour at some point. But before getting there I had time to walk around the street fair on 3rd Ave. I got a few cheap bracelets – one red one for myself, a blue one with eyes to be in case of anxiety management and because my old one broke long ago and a one with beads of different colors with eyes for Mama’s friend Galina as a good luck charm while she is going through medical stuff.

Sushi lunch was wonderful. We were 9 people (Yeva, Marianna, Adama, Janna, Abena and her husband Kerim and Olia with her friend from Miami) plus baby Galya and we spend three and a half hours at that restaurant. I has miso soup, three types of rolls, including eel and mai tai. This time I didn’t get drunk like last time I had a cocktail at this restaurant.

After the restaurant, we stopped by across the street at frozen yogurt place where Marianna got me a mango cone and then spent a little time in Central Park. A very nice outing.

My parents came back from Europe today too, just in time to pull my ears (a Russian birthday thing). They brought me from Czech Republic – coins, postcards, a necklace, a nail file with fancy decoration, magnets and most importantly, Cadbury Chocolate. A gigantic Cadbury Chocolate made in the UK like the proper one.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 11:00 pm
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I’m done with Sandman Vol 6 “Fables and Reflections”- a book of stories – characters telling them and lots of historical stories too. I liked it a lot. Gaiman has this fascination with storytellers and I do many of his interpretations of gods and myths. But I do love his very careful and though historical accuracy in his historical stories. So many references.

In the evening I had the Jubilee Special with Katie Couric in the background. The Queen’s Coronation was on June 2, which is my bday, so I it always felt special to me. Plus, I do English history so I know all the history of the monarchy and it makes it fun.

A week ago, when Bear was here, we caught an interview with Roger Waters on TV and saw that he is on tour for “The Wall” again. He will be in New York in July so I asked Bear if he wanted to go as my birthday present to him since Bear’s birthday is a few weeks away. (He always takes me to Broadway for my birthday). He is not a big crowd person but “The Wall” was such an important album to him in high school. So I gave him a week to think about it. Usually I get stuff off his Amazon wishlist plus some of my own books or movies – we limit gift giving and don’t go overboard. So finally today he decided that the concert would be more of an experience so I bought concerts tickets today. Should be fun. I don’t usually go to concerts and never a huge one like this.

Yeva and Vito broke up again – I think it might stick this time. Argh.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday, May 24th, 2012 11:00 pm
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Not much is going on. My day is spent basically in pajamas.

Sandman Vol 6. I love historical stories like “Thermidor” and “August” and I did notice the whole July, August, September titles. Sandman keeps surprising me in going in all these different directions – but I’m loving it every time we get to a legend or history.

SYTYCD. Yes, it is back! I adore Cat Deeley – and she was on point in many segments tonight like telling a guy he had no chance in hell for criticizing the show. When this show starts, it just feels like summer. It very much represents summer for me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday, May 17th, 2012 11:00 pm
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I don’t know why but I just get too lazy lately to post on time and end up catching up a few weeks later. I need to get myself together more. May 31.

My parents left the country to go on vacation. I really like having the house to myself for two weeks. And I do appreciate having a kitchen to myself where I can go nuts.

I finished Sandman “A Game of You” this evening. It was my first time reading it and it made me cry. Spoilers. )

A few links:

1. If Avengers was 10 times shorter.

2. Religious history of marriage

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday, May 13th, 2012 11:00 pm
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Sandman: I finally finished Volume 4: “Season of Mists.” It was interesting but my brain is too tired I think so it was not holding my attention as well as it should have. Maybe because I’ve read it before, not that I remembered much. But now I will be in Sandman uncharted territory since I never read other volumes.

What I am really enjoying is reading Walter Miller’s “Canticle for Leibowitz” That is one fabulous book. It is technically science fiction since it takes place in the future, centuries after a nuclear war set the civilization back. But it is set in a monastery which is pretty much the only keeper and preserver of old knowledge, waiting for civilization to be ready for it again. So it feels like it is set in medieval world. And all the fabulous church latin just makes it more fun for me. And preserving books and knowledge, and looking at artifacts and not understanding them! Also there is a lot of humor in this book and it is just a very enjoyable read. It hits so many of my buttons. I only read the third of the book so far but I already want to highly recommend it to everyone.

Today was such a fabulous and warm day that I sat on the balcony off the kitchen, just reading my Kindle and then I moved on to the back yard. I think I got a sunburn on my arms but it was so worth.

I went rollerblading too.

And for the first time in almost a year (with the exception of little owl in the summer) I did some cross stitching. I sorted the colors on the little “hang in there” project. A mouse is hanging of the branch with the cat lying under it waiting with words ‘hang in there’ – very cute. I think it is time to pick my hobby back up.

Late in the evening I ended up watching “One Day” since it was on HBO onDemand. (I really don’t miss Netflix DVDs coming to the house and I haven’t watched that many movies lately).movie spoilers )
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Last week was Janna’s birthday, so today a few of us got together for a nice brunch in West Village in Manhattan to celebrate it.

The day was all rainy but I actually liked it. It was the kind of rain that set the mood for a nice melancholy day but it was really soothing. And it wasn’t raining too hard when I was walking around in the morning getting the gift card and finding the place.

And on the bus on the way to the city (trains weren’t running today so it was bus for me), I actually managed to read. I get motion sickness usually on the bus or in the car if I try to read anything but this time it was all right. Maybe because I was reading a graphic novel, not an actual book – but that was fun. I actually finished the second volume of Sandman today – I think I read half of it.

Brunch itself was delicious. It was in this tiny little place with twelve tables and one waiter. I had a salad and an omelet with mushrooms and a crepe. And mimosa. There was just Janna, myself, Yeva and Vito and it was very cozy. I got a ride back halfway and scouted out some bakeries too.

And when I got home I even put together my Cold War class for tomorrow – the last lecture for the Global class.

So overall, a very good day.
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I’m working through the Sandman at a faster pace than MarkReads, and I’m getting into it again. It is a little funny – I read the first four volumes before so a lot of it is like reading a brand new story – but as I read it is coming back to me. I think I can appreciate it more now, especially since I’ve read much more Gaiman.

Thursday is a grading day so I pretty much just did that.

“Community” was a little weird today with an Abed episode.
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“Stardust” by Neil Gaiman. This book I read quickly. Mostly because it is fun and easy and written for kids (but like anything by Gaiman, for adults too). I did see the movie a while ago so I forgot most of the plot until I came upon it. I did like the book more (the movie cliffhanger battle scene was added for drama purposes and I like how the book resolves the situation.)

Since I’m going to start Sandman in two weeks (I only read the first 4 volumes before and now I’m going to read the whole thing along with MarkReads) and I barely have time to read because of work, I’m starting “Hound of Baskerville” from my book list, since it is short and easy and I haven’t read it since I was maybe nine.

My fifteen minute nap amongst grading turned into two hour nap – I think because of the weather and I was probably needed to catch up on sleep.

“Bridesmaids” premiered on HBO last night so I watched it with my parents. Not the most comfortable arrangement because of some sex scenes in the beginning. But it was fine. I don’t think I would ever rewatch it, since I don’t really like that kind of humor but the main storyline was good and some stuff was funny. Not really best comedy ever as most were claiming.
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Yep, I have a cold. Mostly a terrible sore throat. It is not very comfortable. Which is probably why I woke up at 7:30 even when I couldn’t fall asleep last night until pretty late. Lots of tea and throat candy for me. I hope that I can actually handle 4 and a half hours of class on Monday and my voice won’t go to hell.

On a better note the new Leonard Cohen CD came and the two Sandman comics. Leonard Cohen CD is so good. So good. And the booklet has lyrics – such poetry. His songs gain more meaning the more one listens to them. I have a feeling this CD will be on my rotation over and over for a while.

Question: does anyone know how I can take a PDF of a book (one of Google e-books) and make a PDF of only the first 43 pages? I tried converting to Mobi format through Calibre but the conversion didn’t work well.

Grimm S1E10 )


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