Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend update (No relation to SNL)

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Well, the weekend was full of food. Lotsa food. I have gained 5 pounds, which will force me to go back on the diet again. Dad came over, and we've tried to entertain him to our best abilities, at the same time trying to cover some of the annual events we always go to. First we went to the Long Grove historical german village, for some light knick-knack shopping and apple turnovers. There were also ducks. Next was at the Botanic Gardens for some of these. They have a Winter Wonderland exhibitions every december. What happens is they take their regular train exhibition and put it inside. The create various Chicago landmarks, and make the trains go around them. They also have a nice lights displays. Next day we went to downtown to look at some of these. Annual Marshall Fields (Macys) Holiday window display. This year it was a bit surreal and not as interesting unfortunately. One of the things we haven't done in a while but decided to do is go to Ed Debevecks. If you want a nice 50's diner, with waiters being obnoxious to you, and entertaining your kids you've got to visit the place at least once. I was called "pops" at some point, which completely floored me. I though this post is going to be much longer, but the pictures took over.
video

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday blogging.

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I am enjoying the Holidays. Dad is with us. I'll post pictures soon.

Have a Great Thanksgiving everybody.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Eve

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Everyone around recently have been posting sunsets. I couldn't because the weather SUCKED!


As I was leaving work today, I've caught a glimpse of a big flock of geese flying in the general direction of Minnesota, with a nice sunset in the background.



Tuesday.

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It's Tuesday and it's got a little better. Time is a wondrous thing, especially when it moves in a single direction. Thank you, Mr. Einstein.

I have no school today, holiday week, and besides some light reading I don't really have anything to do. That's a good thing, since I need to complete a work related project by next week.

I also have, for the first time since I arrived to the US and became a citizen, a Jury Duty next week. I will attend and if asked I will certainly participate. I am not the kind of person who can truthfully say that I hate these or those, to get dismissed. I don't really hate anybody, and I couldn't live with myself for lying.

Anyway, that's all I have, boring as usual. Back to the coal mines.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rest In Peace.

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Well, this could have been one of the worst days od my life.

The medication did not help Bugsy that much. He's been getting shakes and tremors all last couple of days.

With the heaviest of hearts we've decided to give him the rest he deserved.

At 6pm, Nov 23 The Dog has been put to rest.

Rest in peace old buddy. We will miss you. I truly hope there is a heaven for dogs, with huge wheels of cheese, squirrels to bark at, and butts to sniff.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some looking back.

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I saw this meme at Jason's and then later on my my brother's blog. I have decided to follow suit, since I don't want to do anything else right now.

The first questions are about things I might have done.

1. Gone on a blind date.

Yes, with disastrous results, although I did not think that at the time.

2. Skipped school.

I'll say yes. Knowing myself I have probably attempted, and knowing myself even better
most probably succeeded (always a sneaky little bastard i was).

3. Watched someone die.

Not yet, but given recent news, maybe something I will have to experience soon unfortunately.

4. Been to Canada.

Shameful to say, but I haven't, not once!

5. Been to Mexico.

Cancun.

6. Been to Florida.

Disney, Miami, Sarasota.

7. Been to Africa.

Not yet.

8. Been on a plane.

Strange question, but yes, many times and I absolutely love flying.

9. Been lost.

When driving, more times than I am willing to admit. Although GPS unit has considerably cut on those number.


10. Gone to Washington, DC.

Again, shameful to admin, but no.

11. Swam in the ocean.

I think so, maybe not on the other hand. I am not much of a swimmer anyway so large bodies of water do not appeal to me. Is Cancun on the ocean side or the gulf side?

12. Broken a bone.

Cracked and dislocated, but no breaking.

13. Been in a traffic accident.

Yes, luckily for the most part everything worked out.

14. Cried yourself to sleep.

No, can't say that I did. In order for me to fall asleep I need to be in a completely peaceful state of mind. If that means pushing whatever grief I would have to the deepest recesses of my mind, than so be it. Again, given the recent events, I shall see how that works out.

15. Been on TV.

Yes. A long time ago i a galaxy far-far-away called Manhattan, J&R Computer World I was asked a question for news (Ch 9 I think) about computers. 5 seconds of fame, I actually saw myself on TV that evening.

16. Stole traffic signs.

Certainly wanted to steal Men At Work sign and put it on my bathroom door.

17. Played cops and robbers.

In my wee years, definitely.

18. Recently colored with crayons.

I have a 4-year-old. Not only I colored with them recently, I occasionally find crayons in my car, jacket and pants pockets.

19. Sang Karaoke.

Once, but I am shy. I prefer shower, or while cooking, sing-a-long style.

20. Paid for a meal with coins only.

I would expect that to be very obnoxious, plus I rarely carry cash with me.

21. Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t.

Only couple of days ago, I told myself not to eat that chocolate munchkin. Oh, well.

22. Made prank phone calls.

I have what might be called phone-phobia. I don't like making phone calls, forget wasting time pranking someone.

23. Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose & elsewhere.

Out of elsewhere? How's that possible? But definitely snorked once of twice.

24. Caught a snowflake on your tongue.

I still do, and showed The Little One how to do it.

25. Danced in the rain.

Ran like hell for cover, yes, many a times. Dancing? Doubtful. Not even a jig.

26. Written a letter to Santa Claus.

Nope, I don't think I even believed in one (or Russian equivalent for that matter).

27. Been kissed under the mistletoe.

What is it with the herbs? No.

28. Watched the sunrise with someone.

Not very romantic, but definitely with some of my drinking buddies.

29. Blown bubbles.

Love it, and still do.

30. Gone ice-skating.

Yes I did, and recently too. We are trying to get The Little One to skate, and my Wife likes it. So I went occasionally with them. Didn't even fall, although the skill is definitely non-existent.

31. Been skinny dipping outdoors.

No. Not my cup of tea.

32. Gone to the movies.

That is a strange question.

33. Have a nickname.

I had a couple. In my school years I was called a Pot (Russian - Gorshok) because of a certain haircut I was getting for several year. There's an English equivalent, I just don't know it. But the the legend was, that in very old time they would put a pot on someone head, and cut the hair around the rim, a sort of buzz-cut mop-top mix.

Several years ago, because of my fairly boisterous nature when it came to work, about 8 years ago when dot-coms were the king, I was called "K-Money" for couple of years (a clear Swingers reference there).

34. Body piercings.

No, I am against mutalations.

More specific questions now:

* Favorite drink?

Alcoholic Bloody Mary, i can drink it anytime of the day. Non-Alcoholic Borjomi (Russian/Ossetian mineral water, always considered good for your Liver, get a hint here?)

* How much do you love your job?

I enjoy doing it, I think.

* Birthplace?

Rostov-on-Don, Russia. I'm just going to leave what my brother said here.

* Favorite vacation spot?

I don't have one. Really. I try to go different places on vocation.

* Ever eaten just cookies for dinner?

Maybe not for dinners, but for full meal yes. I can see myself doing that though.

* Favorite pie?

I don't like pies, I prefer cakes. But I like what is called Hachapuri (with Georgian feta cheese baked inside) .

* Favorite holiday?

I like my Birthday. Greedy person that I am I like getting gifts. I also like 4th of July, for fireworks and BBQ.

* Favorite food?

Many, but I like mushrooms of all forms, and Reuben Sandwich.

* Favorite smell?

The smell of new car.

* How do you relax?

Video-games or TV.

* How do you see yourself in 10 years?

I don't want to look that far ahead of fear of being disappointed. But hopefully somewhere warm, work-free and playing golf.

Well, that is it my friends. Damn, that's a long post.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sadness is part of life

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I am a happy person. I love life, I enjoy life, even when I am working. The downside of that is that I can't handle sadness very well. I avoid it, ignore it, to the point of sometimes seeming callous.

I can't avoid everything though. Writing and talking about it helps though a lot. I want to thank my Wife, who is my best friend, who keeps up with my whining. I also want to apologize to her, of not offering her the same support she gives me.

The Dog finally came home after two MRI's. The prognosis is fairly grim. He has what is called Nerve Sheath Tumor. A malignant bastard that is invading his lower back spinal cord. The doctors told us, that operating would not help and most likely would make it even worse, paralyzing both of his hind legs. They also said that enough of the tumor has diffused with the spinal cord too much for them to be able to remove it completely and safely.

While he may still recover the use of the other hind leg, it's not for long.
The doctors gave us anywhere from a month to six months, before the tumor reaches the other side of the spine, and also moves forward. Unless by a miracle this can go into recession he would be fully paralyzed after a period of time.

We have decided to look after him for now, making his life as comfortable as we can and enjoying his company while we still can. The tumor luckily is not invading other internal organs, so with medications we can take the pain off, and build the strength in other leg.

One little bright spot in all of this, is how The Little One tries to comfort the dog, telling him that its just small booboo and he's going to get better. Although for us its heartbreaking.

Do you tell a 4 year old that all dogs go to heaven?

The Oldie but Goodie.

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As I was reading Roger Ebert's blog, I accidentally came upon a show that I have forgotten about. I used to love watching the Critic. Maybe the highlight of Jon Lovtiz's career.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Analysis of visits

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My google analytics wasn't analyticking anymore. I knnow I've had visitors, through your comments THANK YOU!, but I had at 0 visitations. The drop was a -42%, which saddens me greatly.

For those lurkers, from the places new a nd far, Welcome!

Couple of weekend thoughts.

Quantum of Solace review is below. The Little One absolutely loves the Puppet Theater and sings brand new Russian songs now, something that even makes me break out in a tune. I am one of those people that have a tune stuck in their head from the moment we wake up, unless its broken by an even more annoying tune.

On a sadder note, The Dog has suffered a professional sports injury with a torn ACL. Who was he trying to tackle i have no idea. We are taking him in for the second opionion tomorrow. The operation is expensive, and I don't want him to needlesly suffer from the whole procedure.

It seemed that at some point last year, he suffered the same injury, which coincided with general arthritis in his spine. The doctors didn't notice it, or maybe it was after it, we'll never know now, but he actually seemed to recover very well from this phantom one. Although a bit slowed down he was still running and jumping around, although not as much.

I am now practicing heavt lifting. The Animal weights currently 85 pounds, and refuses to sleep on a nice sofa in the living room, he would rather procrastinate close by us. So I resolved to carrying him up and down the six steps of stairs.

Poor guy, while I always complained about his somewhat loony disposition, you never really want your Labrador to slow down.

I've never placed a picture of him. So, everyone please welcome Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, of Labrador Retriever family, chocolate brand.

Quantum of what now?

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Warning, spoilers are lurking around.

Here's my little 2 pence on the latest Bond movie.

I like it, production values are awesome. Chases, action sequences, scenery all well done. I watched it on the big screen, as I always do movies of this caliber, and it was worth every shilling I payed for my ticket.

Here are the things I don't like. Me, I don't like the brooding Bond. He should be a womanizing, suave, snooty, smart-ass son-of-a-bitch, that's is the way we Americans love our Brits served. Some of the plot choices did not make sense, but it was an action full flick, with no time for an adequate plot line. But water in Bolivia. what the hell?

Anyways, the bond villain s not villainy enough. Dominic Greene is a bit weak for a villain name, even if there is an organization behind him.

Olga Kurylenko is great as a bond girl, although a bit underused in my opinion. either it's been cut a lot, or she hasn't been given enough. I hope she comes back again.


Three more beefs I have with this movie. No Money Penny. The interactions between her and Bond are priceless, too bad they got dropped. While touch tables, and the phones are great, Where are the car gadgets? What happened to Bond car? In the economy as it is right now, it's difficult to stock up on some oil slicks or rocket launchers?

The last thing. Daniel, work on those gun barrel sequences, they are weak!

Overall, though a thoroughly enjoyable one-time fare.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I don't know movies very well

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I named 10 best picture films in 5 minutes How many Best Picture films can you name in 5 minutes?


out of 80 or so, that sucked. Although after looking at the full list I wmacked myself on the forehead repeatedly with a DUH! exclamation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Name is Bond. James Bond.

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In Honor of the next Bond movie, here's a collection of gunbarrel sequences I have found on youTube. In no particular order:

Roger Moore



Sean Connery



Timothy Dalton



Pierce Brosnan



Daniel Craig




George Lazenby

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Movie meme? Yeah, baby! Yeah!

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A new shiny penny for Jason for tagging me on this.

A gotta find 5 people though.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter "A" and the word "The" do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under "R," not "S" as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with "S." Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under "R," not "I" as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the Lord of the Rings series belong under "L" and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under "C," as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under "T."

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type "alphabet meme" into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

A fish named WandaAnnapolis (although I didn't see it)
Big Lebowsky
Conair
Darkman
Escape from LA
Fear and loathing in Las Vegas
Gone with the wind
Hellboy
I heart Huckubees
Jumanji
Kiss the girls
Lord of the rings
Matrix
Neverending Story
Over the top
Pirates of the Carribean
Qunatum of solace
The Replacements
Silence of the lambs
That thing you do
Underworld
V for Vendetta
Wyatt Earp
XXX (or what the call the triple x with Vin Diesel, does that count?)
Young Frankenstein
Zack and Miri make a porno

The five lucky winners are (drum roll, i don't know 5 people apologies if somebody doesn't want to be here):

Nathan
Shawn
John

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lazy bloggin' Monday

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I don't like Mondays. Do you know why? Weekend procrastination catches up. You have to read in the sports commentaries that Bears suck, especially since you know it's true by watching the Sunday game (maybe that Mr. Obama is the president now he can declare Rex Grossman persona-non-grata in Illinois.) What else can go wrong on Sunday? Oh yes, you have to try to remember everything that you needed to do on Monday. Major headache.

Anywho. Our class-team, after little pushing from me, decided that our adopt-a-culture assignment would be about .... wait for it.... wait for it.... SURPRIZE! RUSSIA!

After getting an approval from our professor, he reasoned that me living in the States for the past 16 years would not have advantage over others (which really is the truth, old Russia and new Russia, are almost nothing alike).

I selected traditions and language topics as my parts of the assignment. Which is not really that hard, but there's a little caveat. A lot of the traditions and customs do not hold true anymore. Maybe they are, in some of the places, but Russia is big and wide, with the populations concentrated in highly developed areas.

If I am wrong, kick me.

We are preparing. I will also interview my big brother for another assignment. I am supposed to ask him questions about his dealings with the Brits as an American, and write about it, with deep analytical thoughts of course.

I wonder how far i can stretch and yap about it in the paper.

Another assignment for the next class is to bring something that is assuredly not American, but a substitution for what we as Americans take for granted. I have suggested to my team to bring a Turkish coffee pot (called Turka in Russian). Me and my lovely wife have been searching for it for a while. After finding it in an obscure Middle Eastern market we of course didn't use it once, instead settling on the good old Cuisineart for our daily coffee intake.


The little one was absolutely happy with the Grandma's visit. And now she can't wait for the Grandpa to show up. He schedule is actually easing up a bit, and instead of running around with crazy parents to all of her extra-curricular actives has plenty of time to pick up a stick a start picking holes in the ground. Of course as of today the ground is frozen. Winter has come to Chicago.

Hope your Monday is well.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Revolution.

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Few people remeber it anymore. Today is the 91st Anniversary of the Great Communist Revolution in th Russia.

Not exactly a holiday, but an event that has certainly affected the world with after-shocks still felt today.

Mom is here, came to visit. No more weekened writing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thew new president elect.

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Obama has won. I am happy for America, that we overcame one of the biggest barriers in history.

I am sad for America, because I believe the next couple of years will be the toughest.

Obama will be tested by others, thouroughly. His resolve is going to be tested by the likes of Ahmadinejad and Chaves. He has a very nice economical crisys on his hands, and by the looks and sounds of his campaign promises it will not be resolved quickly and painlessly.

Still, yesterday when he was announced the winner I FELT something. Something changed in the air and it was visible. People were crying, there was hope on their faces. That means something.

When listening to McCain's consession speech, I was moved as well. He HAS humility and descency. He is most assuredely a good MAN. What I didn't like is the booing coming from the Arizonian crowd. That was petty! Any honest defeat should be taken graciously, like John McCain did. But all I saw from the Arizonian crowd is grim resolve as if they were planning to revolt. Maybe they were.

I hope for America, I truly do. I hope that voting for change was not just for change's sake.

I hope that President Obama is going to THE PRESIDENT that will take this country out of the gutter.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted.

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I was a the booth a 6 o'clock. About twenty people stood in line. The whole process took about half an hour out of my morning.

My wife, went later and it took her about 10 minutes. I guess more people got scared of the long waits, but we live in the suburbs, it's more easy going.

How did I vote? I won't tell.

But i voted for the common sense not the words, and I know there is no such thing a common sense. I would like to believe that I understand a little about economy, and I understand that economy has very little to do with common sense. Sounds a bit stupid? Maybe.

I've made my choice, fully aware that it will not matter in the place where I live. I voted because i believe that no one is truly evil, I believe in second chances, and that vilifying people based on a single representative is wrong.

I guess I've given enough hints.

I voted for what I believed in. That's the important part.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Downgrade. And some attempt at humor.

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There is one proverb that I always liked. I even use it as my everyday motto:

"Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious".

I googled for it, and discovered a whole slueth of the things i liked and laughed to. Here's the list of sayings that I like, even if I don't agree with some of them.

"I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow's not looking good either." - typical for any IT involved person

"I love deadlines. I especially love the swooshing sound they make as they go flying by." - again i can use this almost every day

"Am I getting smart with you? How would you know?" - oh, Lordy! If i had 10 cents everytime i COULD say that.

"Someday we'll look back on this and plow into a parked car." - mmm, maybe not plow... but red light definitely.

"There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable application of high explosives."

"Tell me what you need, and I'll tell you how to get along without it."

"Accept that somedays you're the pigeon, and somedays you're the statue." - I actually perefer that dog - i prefer the dog and the fire hydrant analogy.

"I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem." - i'll just keep quiet on this one.

Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and
thought to myself - "Where the hell is the ceiling???"

"My reality check bounced." - every day

"On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key. "

"Don't meddle in the affairs of dragons, cuz, like, you're crunchy and taste good with ketchup."

"Everybody is somebody else's wierdo... " - true to the last period

"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you." - it could be offending to some, but i find this funny.

"Never clean your room while your plane ticket is in it." - again, very true.

"When ideas fail, words become very handy." - i've seen that at the office too many times.

"The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant." - is this the election year?

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - a rule to live by for any programmer.

"There is always one more imbecile than you counted on." - that's my other motto, and one of Murphy's Law derivatives.

"It's only premarital sex if you're going to get married." - good observation.

"Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm."

"The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes." - ding ding

"Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense." - YES!

Time is the best teacher; Unfortunately it kills all its students.

"Never put your finger where you wouldn't put your nose."

"There are two kinds of people in the world, those that think there are two kinds of people in the world, and those that know better." - sad really

"We occasionally stumble over the truth,
but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry on as if nothing happened."

"If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly."

"An agreeable person is someone who agrees with you." - the more people like that the better

"The wonder of a single snowflake outweighs the wisdom of a million meteorologists." - that should be posted on the cubicle of any weather-man/ woman in Chicago.

"When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

"You can't help the poor man by destroying the rich." - again somewhat related to the current elections.

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day drinking beer." - mmmmmmmmmmmm, beer.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks."

"Wise man make proverbs but fools repeat them." - YES, I AM IN THE CLUB

Do you know any other profound proverbs?

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Although i like the md-size sedans. Car of choice almost anytime.

Stolen from Jim