Friday, August 29, 2008

Should I be Ashamed?

I like movies. I love movies, but in my own peculiar way.

I only go to see the movies with big stars in them. I go to the theater only if the movie had a considerable budget to spend on the special effects. Otherwise I wait until it's out on DVD, most of the time i don't even watch the movie I wanted to watch(For example Michael Clayton, No Country For Old man are still waiting somewhere, and there's a whole bunch of them I don't even remember of wanting to see). Of course, I have my rating for the movie and about 90% of them I skip based solely on the previews and ads available.

I bestow myself with a superpower of knowing when the movie is going to suck just by the description of it and a two-minute preview available. Ninety-five percent of the time I am not wrong.

But here is the problem. Am I lacking understanding of why a movie is appreciated? Some of the higher acclaimed ones:

1. Adaption - comedy? Boring, couldn't watch the 20 minutes of it.
2. Sideways - comedy? Don't even want to.
3. Napoleon Dynamite - comedy? Hah?

For whatever reason, Sundance Festival Winner, or Cannes Winner is like a red flag for me.

What do I lack in understanding "artsy" movies? I get the beauty of the shot, the story, and the flawlessness of the movie. But why do these things have to be in front of the "ENTERTAINMENT" factor.

Jason talks about "guilty pleasure." Well all of the movies that I love come from that category.

1. Reservouir Dogs
2. Pulp Fiction
3. Kill Bill
4. Star Wars The Original Trilogy (Part 4 is my favorite)
5. Lord Of The Rings
6. Fifth Element
7. Ace Ventura - Pet Detective
8. God Father (Part 1 is my favorite by the way)

Couple of movies that I liked that were destroyed by everybody else

1. Payback
2. Last Action Hero

I love these movies because I remember them ENTERTAINING me to no end.

What do I lack that I can't appreciate less pop-cultured movie-making?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Computer

After much deliberation and wondering (I can't believe i spend so much time on it, never before I had to spend so much time thinking about what computer to get) I have decided to build a computer myself, again.

I've looked at prebuild desktops by Dell and HP, i've looked at laptops, and I realized that they don't really give you enough of value for the amount you pay.

Sure, a lot of them look nice, and would be OK for the things I do, but I was never sure if it was enough.

Here are some of the thigns I need in a computer.

  • Good processing power - I play an occasional video-game and do a lot of graphic, 3D, and movie editing.
  • Quietness - I tend to leave the computer on for days, for downloads or renderings.
  • Small size - I am trying to take as little space now as possible.

While most of the desktops provided prebuild offer decent power and good RAM sizes the video cards in them SUCK!!! Big time.
For the laptops the same, plus for leaving the computer on and connecting it to a monitor you need docking station. This means that you would have to buy workstation type laptop. It usually adds additional $300 to the bill.

So, this is the computer i have settled on, and payed approximately $470, which is way less for the same configuration of prebuild computer

  • Intel Core 2 Duo - Last two computers I have switched from AMD to Intel. Whatever people say, Intel chips were always more stable for me.
  • A MicroATX MSI motherboard - I like MSI, and used them for the last 3 or 4 builds. The mobo will support future Core 2 Quad chips and 4G of RAM, so a good cheap upgrade in year or two.
  • 2G of no-name DDR2 RAM - never had a problem with no-name RAM brands(at least none that I would have noticed
  • Low-name Leadtek NVidia 8600 GT with 512 RAM - I though about going with Radeon this time, but for the price and functionality decided to stick with NVidia again.
  • A Compucase 14" x 14" Minitower - this should work for the little size part.
  • Non-stock 500W Apivia power-supply with dual fans and good quietness - reviews were mixed, but it seems they all agree on the quietness part.
  • 80 G SATA WD hardrive - I like to have 2 HD in my computer, one for data another for programs and OS. I will be taking the other from my old PC.
  • LG optical drive - same as for the HD

With so many options available it was really hard to choose a good build. I have also been out of the hardware loop for so long I don't know half of the technologies available.

I'll keep posting when the stuff comes-in and I will build it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My 4 year old is 4 today!

Happy Birthday little one!

I hope that your sunny disposition and ability to make friends instantly never goes away!

She was a bit confused yesterday about when her birthday is, exactly. Is it today, or after she sleeps, or at night, or after her party which is a week and a half away.

Fun 15 minutes it was yesterday, when we layed that heavy information on her.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

YouTube Memories.

I am going to shamelessly steal my brothers (at least until he copyrights it) topic title and post some of the music clips I have always enjoyed.

This little number was sung by a russian group Agata Kristi(Agatha Christie), formed by borthers Samoylov, and it always instilled a sense of nostalgia in me. I have never, of course been, to Siberia or Tundra or Taiga, but something about this song almost makes me want to go there.

The video-clip itself involves the cast for an extremely popular Soviet music-comedy "Ivan Vasil'evich Menyaet Professiyu" (Ivan Vasil'evich's new Job) in their old age, and the clips from that movie.

I think that some of them have already passed on.


Monday, August 25, 2008

I am not old, but what gives?

There is a meme I came accross on Jason's website. The link gives you an option to see the number-one songs on your date of birth.

Here is my list.

THE 2000s

2008 ... "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
2007 ... "Irreplaceable" by Beyoncé
2006 ... "Don't Forget About Us" by Mariah Carey
2005 ... "Let Me Love You" by Mario
2004 ... "Hey Ya!" by OutKast
2003 ... "Lose Yourself" by Eminem
2002 ... "How You Remind Me" by Nickelback
2001 ... "Independent Women Part I" by Destiny's Child
2000 ... "Smooth" by Santana featuring Rob Thomas

THE 1990s

1999 ... "I'm Your Angel" by R. Kelly & Celine Dion
1998 ... "Something About the Way You Look Tonight/ Candle in the Wind 1997" by Elton John
1997 ... "Un-Break My Heart" by Toni Braxton
1996 ... "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
1995 ... "On Bended Knee" by Boyz II Men
1994 ... "Hero" by Mariah Carey
1993 ... "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston
1992 ... "Black or White" by Michael Jackson
1991 ... "Justify My Love" by Madonna
1990 ... "Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins

THE 1980s

1989 ... "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison
1988 ... "So Emotional" by Whitney Houston
1987 ... "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles
1986 ... "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie
1985 ... "Like a Virgin" by Madonna
1984 ... "Say, Say, Say" by Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
1983 ... "Maneater" by Daryl Hall & John Oates
1982 ... "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John
1981 ... "(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon
1980 ... "Please Don't Go" by K.C. & the Sunshine Band

THE 1970s

1979 ... "Too Much Heaven" by The Bee Gees
1978 ... "How Deep Is Your Love" by The Bee Gees
1977 ... "You Don't Have to Be a Star (to Be in My Show)" by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis
1976 ... "Convoy" by C.W. McCall

I know some of the songs and know some of the artists. The list is populated by mainstream pop r&b and hip-hop, none of the styles I usually listen to.

I might go and investigate some of the numbers listed here for the educational purposes. If you are curious though, my sentiment is very close to Jason's.

My birthday was not the best time for Music :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Karma Sucks!

Yesterday I've purchased a laptop after a long deliberation about the computer I need. Today, after even longer deliberation, I realized that I don't need a laptop. I have decided to return the one I purchased.

The store(store A) that I purchased it from is located at a location not very convenient for my daily drive. I called to the store(store B) that is closer to me. Much to my surprize they have an "older" system, and can not process the return.

I called A asking them, "What The Hell?" They tell me that B should not have a problem. Called B they said they can't do a full refund only store credit. I call A again asking, "WHAT THE HELL!" Couple more times back and forth, A told me that they will talk to B themselves and figure it out.

Here comes the Karma part.

My plans for the evening suddenly turned out, that I will make it to the A for a return.

I think I'll send my wife :)

This actually could be me.

Thanks to Ilyuha for this test.

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

NBPS - The Idealist

Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Shape

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

This could be me, always thinking about possibilities. Specifics-schmecifics, who gives a damn.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Looking for the GPS system for my mother-in-law. She is technologically challenged to the highest degree.

Trying either the same Magellan Maestro 4000 that I have or Garmin Nuvi 360.

When looking for firmware update for mine unit found the following update.

> Coffee moved to top of POI list --- LOVE IT!!!

Why man never get depressed (something send to me by my wife)

These are the excerpts i like

Men know stuff about tanks! Yes I do, and I am very happy about it.
Man can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. Man can wear NO shirt to a water park.
The same hairstyle lasts for years .... maybe decades.
You can play with toys all your life. mmmmmm toys... drooling

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New 4-year-old-isms

When visiting a doctor's office my little one said "Mommy are we going to ride the alligator? (elevator)"

Before take-off in the airplane "Daddy when are we blastoffing?"

After a safari ride in Jersey, showing her a picture of an ostrich "That's a cactus!" (in Russian ostrich is straus, the -au- pronounced like 'ou' in house)

Back to work today, after a wonderfull stay in NY-NJ area for a week. No down time between vacation and work sucks though.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New York Part 3-4

I Am too bloody old.

On friday night my cousin has taken us on the romp across several Manhattan boroghs for a full nighter.

We've started at a nice Spanish restaurant called Casamono. Interesting food, fairly nice. After that we hopped on over to the bar, Solex, i think it was called. A great conversation accompanied by several shots of vine and conqac.

One of the great thing when bar hoppin with my cousing, is that his lovely wife understands wines. Very very useful :)

After that, we went over to NuBlu. This is a tight litle place, that indtroduces new bands to the public. Great music, very Brasilian scat salsa style. The only problem is, that there are a lot of people and they all talk, you can't hear the music.

The night was finished with artichoke pizza :) Yes! We have actually finished the very delisicous pizza, at about 2 o'clock midnight.

The nice gentleman at the hotel wished us a good morning when we got back.

I am too old.

Yesterday night was no better. We were able to get tickets for another broadway show. We had to stay in line for an hour, for one of those half-priced tickets box officeon Times Square. That was an experience all by itself.

After the show, we have decided to not go too far away from the scene and got on top of Mariott hotel for the rotating lounge. Beautiful view from the top, the whole city can be seen, and very enjoyable overall experience.

And that's it, i woke up today, after sleeping for about 5 hours and realized I WILL NOT DO THIS for another year or so, and better off for it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New York NY Part 2

So, here I am gazing out of the Millenium UN Plaza Hotel out to the Metlife building and the beautiful midtown below and thinking. I have lived in NY for about 8 years, but I have never visited it as a tourist. Oh, sure enough me and my brother visited a place or two and walked around a bit, museums and such, but I have never came back to Manhattan to look through a strangers eyes.

For example, I have never visited the Grand Central. Today, coming back from the broadway show, I have convinced my wife to take a stroll down the 44th from Broadway all the way to the 1st.

Grand Central is truly awe inspiring on the inside. We just stood there gazing on the ceiling.

I have never noticed that Manhattan is so dirty. Part of it was all of the garbage bags lying right there on the street. Thinking of why its not so obvious in Chicago, my wife helped me by reminding that all over the city there are back ways where all of the garbage is stored.

However, i have never seen so much cigarette butts and paper just lying there on the street.

Anyway, I guess it doesn't matter.

Spamalot was a wonderful show. Very funny. All of the great scene from the Quest For The Holy Grail were there. Although a bit modified. The addition of Bright Side Of Life was weird, but this being Eric Idle's blood child, understandable.

Sorry for the ramble.

New York NY

Today is the second day we are in Jersey. But later today we are moving into a Hotel in Midtown, for three days. What's in plan? I don't have a clue.

Today is theater night, as we are going to see Spamalot. We are planning to see afriend or two and a cousin.

Lots of walking around, and visiting museums.

Yesterday we went to a nice little safari in Jersey's Six Flags. Very nicely done, great animals (if a bit lazy). Very enjoyable for the little one, as well as the kids inside of most of the adults.

One question though. What's up will all the ostriches? They are like Canadian geese for us down in the mid-west.

I have to put a site up here for reading. A great book, written by Nathan.

No Crying In The War Room

Monday, August 11, 2008


I watched the opening ceremony over the weekend (after all these years i still rave about TiVo).

Am I the only one who is intimidated by the sheer amount of human power involved in the theatrics? I was impressed and a little scared at the same time.

Paranoia kicking-in.

Did they do that on purpose, to show how much cheap labor they can employ, to pull almost anything off?

How to Spend a Weekend

I don't really remember Saturday, but we took our friends to a playground with our 3-year-olds. Good lazy day.

On Sunday we went to Chicago Botanic Gardens, and accidentely caught a Kite Festival. The things that those guys do with their kites are amazing. I've made a video but it would have to wait until I get to that tape.

Then in the evening we went to catch RATT. I am not uploading the video, it's too big

But the real reason we went to that concert were these guys. The concert was absolutely awesome.

I apologize for the quality, but my camera can only store three minutes of higher quality video. I opted for longer recording time to quality. It's enough to see who they were and what they were doing.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Much Needed Rest Is Coming

The classes are over till the 25th of August. The next one is online course in Stats. The School calls it Quantative Analysis.

I actually remember doing really REALY bad in statistics and probability analysis in my undergraduate years. I was embarrassed to no end, considering the fact that my dad was a math professor.

Both of the classes were excellent workshops. My writing has improved. I am a much better presenter now. I have proof. We taped each presentation in class, and I can see improvement in my movement, opening statements, and general structure.

I think practice does make better.

What's next? Nothing much. A weekend with the family. I don't usually write on the weekend. Hell, I don't even touch the computer on the weekend.

Next week, we fly to Jersey, with a stay in the City for couple of days.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Favre Goes To The Jets.

I don't really have anything more to say.

I am glad he's not going to the Vikings this season. The Packs gave him up under very strict conditions. Jets would loose all sorts of important picks next draft if they sell him. And there's also a limit to the amount of games he can play, again affecting the picks.

Very drakonian of the Packs.

Oh, well. We'll see.

The season starts in a month. I wonder if that's going to be enough for Brett to adjust to the new gamebook.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sad Crazy People

I love dogs. I am big dog person. I have a dog, and I love my dog.

But this story makes me sad. It also makes me want to come to that woman's house and yell, "ARE YOU F^&*NG CRAZY! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

To sell a house, and pay for five cloned dogs $50,000. Has anybody explained to that stupid stupid old lady, that despite the genetic makeup, IT'S NOT THE SAME DOG! IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME DOG!

God, almighty. There are so many dogs in the world that need a shelter, and a loving owner. But no, we can not have the usual tried and true, we need to have a sensation.

I can understand growing dogs with selective genetic makeup, we've been selecting plants and animals for their traits since the caves. Building a dog for its likeness to the pooch you used to have, is wrong. Find a breeder, there must be plenty of similar pooches ready for a new home.

Or maybe it was a scam. Or a joke. I hope this was a joke.

Pardon the rant.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I love this

Thanks to Nathan for a great link!


This is the one I loved the most.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I hope it's not an alien life form.


Every year my backyard is visited by one! of these little guys. I see it grow from about about 1cm long to about 1 inch long every year. But I've never seen the adult form.

I think it's a grasshopper. Any insectologists out there?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Advanced presentation techniques.

Yesterday was one of the more interesting sessions in the class.

The assignment was

  • Take a topic that you feel strongly about

  • Prepare a 4 minute presentation, proving you point of view on the topic

  • Twist: decide with your partner, which point of view is more important, and present the opposite point

There are not that many topics that I feel strongly about. Global Warming is one, but I’ve milked that one dry already.

We've settled on Violence on TV and Video Games topic. Again, I don't feel strongly about it, I believe that it's parents’ responsibility to control what children see, but that's about it.

My partner had more or less the same stance. We've decided to play on the stereotype that me being a man I would not be against violence on TV and she would be. We switched.

I got compliments on my part, making it very believable, yelling several times. Although in my opinion I completely screwed up the closing.

Oh well, we'll see. I think overall we were the most memorable presentation of the night.

Interesting enough, people who give presentations to hundreds of strangers, are very uptight in front of the class. We've been trying to figure it out for four weeks now.

I think the cause is the immediate verbal feedback we get right after we present in class. It's not diluted among a throng of people.


A first for me. I used a spelling and grammar checker before posting.