Thursday, April 13, 2006

Первый Блин

Well, after minutes of trying to find the username that is not taken yet, I finally came up with some symbiont of my name and current location. But whatever ) Now just cheking if this works…
In: Life In General
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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Weddings

Mike and Marina's wedding.Looks like we’re in the wedding season. Just last Sunday me and Alena have taken a part (rather passive) in a wedding of Maruk’s brother. This was the first time when I actually witnessed 2 people getting married. And it was a 3rd wedding I’ve been to in my life. First one was a long long time ago, back in Tashkent – my cousin’s. Second was my friend Igor’s a couple of years ago.

This last wedding we went to had a lot of people. About 110 from what I remember. Many people had no idea who other people were – that’s how Wedding Crashers were able to operate. However the main point is that the groom and the bride seemed very happy, and I guess that’s the only thing that matters.

We also have an invitation to another wedding at the end of the summer. September 3rd, to be more exact. James is getting married, but we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to make it yet. September 3rd is a Sunday, and even though the 4th is a Labor Day and we all should be off, I might have to work – peak season for [Company Name]. The wedding will happen in a Lodge in Pennsylvania, so if we’re going to attend, we definitely need to spend the night there. We’ll see how all that will work out.

Anyhow, what I’m really hoping for is that me and Alena will be able to have a wedding of our own very soon. However we’re planning to keep at as small as possible.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Number Slevin and Times Square

Times SquareEnded up going to the movies today. We decided to see ‘Lucky Number Slevin’ – saw a trailer several weeks earlier, looked like a good movie. I guess nobody expected too much from it though. All of us ended up being very pleasantly surprised (Eldar, Alena, Maruk and me). The movie is one of the best that I’ve seen in quite some time, even though the ‘Inside Man’ was pretty good as well. I won’t say much more about Slevin, except for the fact that if you haven’t seen it, you really should.

After the movies, for the lack of any better ideas we decided to go to Times Squire and take some pictures. I mean it’s a shame to have a photography as a hobby, live in New York City for over 10 years, and not have a single picture of Times Squire at night. I tried using my new 50mm F1.8 lens, but the pictures didn’t come out too well. Overexposed on the signs and screens and too dark everywhere else. But for hand held shots they are OK.

As far as hobbies go, I’d place photography on the number 2 spot at the current moment, but more on the subject of hobbies later.
In: Life In General, Photography
Time: 01:07   Comments: 1 Comment   Post a Comment  
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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spring and Manti

SpringWe went for a walk to the ocean today. Weather is just beautiful and uplifting. )

Going to Daniel’s parents for some manti (манты) soon. Manti is traditional meal of Central Asia made form simple dough (flower and water) and filled with grounded or chopped lamb meat (Daniel’s mom uses ground beef and pork) and chopped onions. Manti are steamed in a special manti-maker (multi-leveled cylinder thingy ) ).
In: Life In General
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Sunday, April 16, 2006

More Manti!

MantiManti is one of my very favorite things out there, that my mom and even grandma used to make for as long as I can remember. The cooking process is quite a bit time consuming and therefore we don’t get to eat them very often.

I figured I was going to eat a bagel for my breakfast today, but then I started looking at the pictures I took yesterday. Luckily my mom gave us some to go, so I’m going to eat some of them for breakfast!

There is one interesting tradition with them. My mom fills up one of them with doug instead of the meat. It is considered to be the lucky one. The person who gets it is going to have luck coming their way. Every single time that Alena has been eating them with us I managed to put a lucky one on her plate, without really trying. But now that things in our life are finally starting to resolve we might share the luck with the rest of the family. Yesterday my dad grabbed the lucky one.

All right, time for my breakfast! Yum!
In: Food & Dining   Tags:
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Monday, April 17, 2006

Hobby No. 1: World of Warcraft

Ragnaros Killed by UGHThat time of the day again: hobby talk time. ‘World of Warcraft’ is currently leading all the other hobbies and is solidly ranked as a number one hobby of the year. Two past years to be exact. And maybe not a hobby, but an obsession. And an addiction. We’re way beyond healthy here.

It all started somewhere around November of 2004 when Eldar hooked me up with some beta testing access. I had the retail version on the first day it was released, and Alena crumbled under the WoW pressure soon after. We’ve been playing ever since. The time I spent playing this game greatly outweighs the sum of all the games I’ve played before. Diablo II kept me interested for maybe a month, not more.

Either way, we’ve gone from running solo-due through the levels to joining a big raiding guild, leaving it, making another pair of alts, leveling them to 60, putting together a union of the guilds known as The United Guilds of Hellscream, which we take a leader role in. Basically I founded the organization, and Eldar helped jump start the actual raiding process. He’s been doing the majority of the work ever since. And I stuck to developing the site and concentrating on some back end administration processes.

Anyhow, yesterday was a big day for UGH. We’ve downed Ragnaros – the big and scary boss of Molten Core. Now we can progress to BWL and AQ40. That’s pretty much it for now.

To sum it up: Ragnaros is dead, UGH rulez and I need some professional help.
In: Games & Sport, Software   Tags:
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Dnevnoi and Nochnoi DozorDaniel and Eldar are watching Night watch (Ночной дозор) right now, and later we’re planning to enjoy Day Watch (Дневной дозор) which we bought today. Movies are based on the homonymous novels by Sergey Lukyanenko (Сергей Лукьяненко).

Although imho those aren’t his best works (I read the whole trilogy — Night Watch, Day Watch, Dusk Watch), NW came out pretty nice. I watched it twice already. First time was frustrated – guess, my expectations were too high (worst thing that can screw up perception even of a great movie) and also the book was altered, adopted for big screen (which is normal in my understanding), but I remembered it too vividly and was annoyed a bit. My friends say that DW is even better. ) We’ll see…

In general Lukyanenko is one of my favourite SF&F writers. I read almost all his published works, greatly enjoyed about 90% of them and even reread some couple of times.

Ha, just did some research on google and found out that there is one more book in the series — Final Watch (Последний Дозор). Need to go to a Russian bookstore ) And another new novel which I didn’t read yet — Rough Draft (Черновик). Vah, want it now!!!!!

I’m reading pretty interesting fantasy book at the moment — Wizard’s first rule by Terry Goodkind. As far as I understand, that’s a first book in a series. Reminds me of J.K. Rolling and her Haryy Potter masterpieces (hehe, I’m not afraid of this word!) I call it light reading ) Relaxes me and makes everyday routine a bit less dull.
In: Life In General
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ojos De Brujo

AlenaLast couple of weeks I’m listening mostly to “Ojos De Brujo” . Their music is very passionate, energetic, rejuvenating. I’m not an expert in basically any kind of music, usually can just tell if I like it or not (hehe, musical school doesn’t change this situation even a tiny bit), so forgive me for quoting one of the reviews, which I found on internet:

Ojos de Brujo is a flamenco roots band based in Barcelona, Spain. The band caused a stir in international music circles in 2003-2004 with its mesmerizing hip hop flamenco. The group, whose name means “Eyes of the Wizard,” creates musical magic with its irresistible sound that blends flamenco with hip-hop, funk, samba, reggae and other world musics. One of Spain’s most popular live musical acts, the group is composed of musicians on flamenco guitar, bass, and percussion; a DJ, and a dancer, and features the compelling lead vocals of Marina Abad. Says Xavi Turull, the group’s percussionist: “We live in Barcelona and we live strong – always out in the streets, so we’ve always lived rumba catalana and flamenco puro really strongly. But when Marina came into the group, we became even more focused on the flamenco. Our roots got stronger and we became more confident when we experimented with other styles. We became more solid – more of a band.”

I greatly recomment this band to everybody, because it’s impossible not to be bewitched by those Eyes of the Wizard…
In: Life In General
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Thursday, April 27, 2006

One Day To Liftoff

Prada GlassesLast day in the office before the long awaited vacation! We take off tomorrow, at 6:30pm, going to the airport. This one was scheduled way ahead of the vacation itself, somewhere in the middle of the February. Usually we can’t plan that much ahead, and end up booking everything a week before. So we had a long 3 months wait to get through this time around. But finally the time has come (almost).

We have a fun trip planned. First we’re flying out to Denver, CO, where Eldar is going to meet us. Strangely enough though Eldar has been spending more time in NYC lately then in Colorado. He’s actually flying back to Denver one hour ahead of us. Although we’re going from JFK and he is going from LaGuardia. We’re going to spend the night in his family’s house in Boulder, and go to Estes Park the next day. Rocky Mountain National Park should have a lot of beautiful scenery, so I expect to take a lot of pictures. Estes Park is going to be a one day even.

A day after that we’re driving out to Vail, CO. I’m not sure what we’re going to do there yet, but again, the drive itself and the town should have some very nice views. Even thought there are predictions of rain, that trip will be fun. We have a room booked in a nice resort, so sitting in a hot jacuzzi during right might actually be nice. We’re scheduled to spend one night there, after which we’re going back to Boulder.

The next day (Tuesday) we have a flight to Las Vegas. Vegas seems to be our favorite vacation spot. This will be the 5th or even 6th time that we’re going to visit this place. There is just so much to do for us every time, that it doesn’t seem to get boring. Time for some expensive fun!

I’m planning to actually make posts of our daily (or not so daily) adventures throughout the next week, with pictures of course.

And while I’m on the topic of Las Vegas and expensive stuff, I’m going to throw in a couple of words about the last addition: Prada sunglasses. Since all of my sunglasses were stolen when our car got broken in to (including my old Brooks Brothers and my new Armani glasses) we bought the new ones, so I could drive to work. At first I figured I’d wait until Vegas again, to buy a new pair, but my eyes are so sun sensitive that I couldn’t take it any longer. We paid a bit more then $300 for them. Some time later I’ll throw in a paragraph about my watch as well.
In: Life In General, Travel   Tags: , ,
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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Vacation. Day 0

Lenchik in JFKOur vacation has officially started! )

Danya is still sleeping (it’s 9:38 am Mountain time and 2 hours more in NYC), Eldar is taking a shower.

We arrived at Denver airport late last night. Lenchik gave us a ride to JFK. He is always ready to help us to get in and out of an airport and Danya never hesitates to ask him ) Lucky us to have Lenchik!!

Eldar had to wait for us in the airport for about 3 hours ( Then we took his car(he paid $126!!! for the parking at the airport for a week) and off we went ) Gussein (Eldar’s father) did a very nice job with the house. It seems bigger and lighter and definitely looks better (one of the things he did is change the carpets for wooden floors).
In: Travel
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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Estes Park, CO

Chipmunks at Estest ParkToday was our first full day in Colorado. Estes Park was the destination of the day. I’ve had a bunch of “first time ever” experiences, and of course we took pictures. The most fun ones were about us interacting with some wild and not so wild life of Estes Park.

First encounter was with a bunch of funny little chipmunks (or at least we think they were chipmunks). At first when we stopped on this scenic overlook there was not a single one of these to be found. However the non-stop tourists have trained them well. Within the first minute the chipmunks started popping up from everywhere, running not away from us, but towards us! They don’t seem to be afraid of people, and know well that people mean some free food. We had some sunflower seeds with us, and none of them hesitate to grab those right from the palms of our hands.

Two of them were exceptionally funny. One was very greedy. When his “comrades” would take a bit of seeds and run to hide them somewhere this little guy was intent on taking all our supplies at once. The size of his head has probably doubled in the process, yet he wouldn’t stop trying to stick more of the seeds into his mouth. Eventually I had to stick a camera so close into his little face that he ran off.

The other one was not any less greedy, but much more confused one. Apparently when we found him he has found some good supply of some weird cotton, and his mouth was full of that stuff. Then he saw sunflower seeds. It was a hard choice to make – leave the cotton, and get the seeds, or keep the cotton and skip on the feeds. I guess he figured he can do both. It was hilarious watching this little guy taking all the cotton out of his mouth, trying to fit in some seeds, seeing that it doesn’t work, stick the cotton back into his mouth and repeat. I think he decided to stick with the cotton after all.

Horseback Riding at Estest ParkAfter that we went onto a ranch to take a horse back ride up the mountains. This was the “biggest” new thing for me. The ride took about an hour and the experience was interesting. Sometimes it would get scary when my horse wouldn’t handle the way I expected it would handle. When I wanted it to go straight it would stop, when I wanted it to stop it would turn left, and so on. But we managed to get back alive, and that’s good enough for me! I can’t say that I loved the ride, but it was something new, and was definitely worth experiencing. Now I can say that I’ve done that.

Elk at Estes ParkAnd closer towards the end of the day we’ve run into a big heard of elk. We took a bunch of pictures of them as well. They seem to be in some transition winter to summer stage, so they don’t look their best, but they still do look funny. All in all it was a great fun day.
In: Travel
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