Рыся The CatПару дней назад я увидела на кукинге замечательную ссылку на книгу про кошек (в дневнике Winny). Получила удовольствие и от стихов, и от рисунков, хотя, признаюсь честно, смотрела не очень внимательно.

Понравилась японская глава. Разрешите, процитирую:
На одеяле
нежная тяжесть кота.
Сонное утро.
***
Вмиг похудел
Под струей воды
Кот персидский
***
Кот не умеет
считать: все его друзья -
единственные
Но вообще-то, если честно, я собачница. ) Люблю я собак за преданность, за искреннюю любовь, за бурную радость от общения, за видные насквозь маленькие хитрости. Кошки мне кажутся слишком эгоистичными и холодными. Или, может, просто не встретила я еще правильную кошку? o.O

В дестве запало стихотворение в душу.
У меня есть собака,
Верней, у меня есть кусок души,
А не просто собака.
Я люблю ее и порой
Очень сочувствую ей:
Нет собаки у бедной собаки моей.
И вот, когда мне бывает грустно…
А знаешь ли ты, что значит собака,
Когда тебе грустно?
И вот, когда мне бывает грустно,
Я обнимаю ее за шею
И говорю ей: “Собака,
Хочешь я буду твоей собакой?”

- Хулио Сесар Сильвайн
Я его вычитала в сборнике про собак, что хранился на шкафу в нашей бывшей квартире на Бульваре Шевченко много-много лет. Не знаю, как эта книга туда попала, но и мама, и Люда любили некоторые стихотворения оттуда. Мамино любомое было про собачкины огорчения, написанное Борисом Заходером. Помню, она иногда цитировала к случаю: “Но дайте собачке
кусочек печенья и сразу oкончатся все огорченья”.

Не могу не упомянуть еще одно, любимое нами, стихотворение -
“Жалостную песенку про кошечек и собачечек”. Если интересно – я ее оставила в комментариях.
In: Life In General
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Папа и Алёна в паркеСегодня снова похолодало. А вчера была такая чудная погодка! Мы с Даней и его папой даже прогулялись по променаду в Bay Ridge. Люблю я такие прогулки – как-то веселее на душе становится. Хоть и нечасто мы отрываемся от компьютеров, да телевизоров. Мы – это молодое поколение. Папа очень любит гулять и часто шагает то вдоль океана, то по улочкам Манхеттена, то исследуя уже ставший родным Бруклин. Что меня в нём восхищает, так это внимание и интерес к разным мелочам. Например вчера он показал нам лиану, которая была похожа на удава; засохшую корягу – гепарда; грибы – паразиты на деревьях.

А вечером Данина мама позвала нас и Гуссейновых в гости. Наготовили они с Линкой как всегда очень много и очень вкусно. teeth Хорошо посидели, посмеялись. Жаль, что Эльдара не было. Мы с Данькой за последний месяц привыкли к тому, что он в Нью-Йорке, теперь надо отвыкать. crycry
In: Life In General
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Friday, March 9, 2007

Old Hobby Tribute

Caprice SSThose who know me probably still remember the auto-tunning craze that used to run through my blood several years ago. So much time and money went down that drain that it’s only right to mention it here: 1996 Chevrolet Caprice, or simply Caprice SS.

Base: 1996 Chevrolet Caprice; 9C1 (police package); 5.7 litter V8 LT1 engine (Corvette engine); 4 speed automatic transmission; limited slip differential; power windows, locks, seats and mirrors.

Caprice FrontExterior: HID head lights; Impala SS rear spoiler; Impala SS front grille w/ chrome Stull inserts; custom tail light black out; chrome delete; 17″ Impala SS rims.

Custom interior. Transmission work in progress.Interior: Bonneville 12 way power seats; custom red & black leather interior; Camaro analog speedometer and tachometer; Camaro floor console w/ red & black leather shifter boot; Astro Van roof console; Trans Am steering wheel w/ built-in audio controls.

Handling: F-Body front, and HO rear sway bars; 17 x 8.5″ Impala SS rims w/ 285-40-17 Kumho tires; Hotchkis rear lower control arms; Bilstein sport shocks; rear SS springs; front GW springs.

Performance: OBD1 conversion; SSRI stage 3 intake; American Thunder catback; CIA Tri-Y headers; Magnecore 8.5mm wires; 160 deg tstat; LT4 esc; PCM power programming; BBHP#79 (T56 6 speed manual transmission); Hurst Plus shifter.

Audio: Alpine top-end head unit; Rockford Fosgate 4 channel amp; Sirius satellite radio; iPod input.

Caprice SSIn conclusion I want to say that it was a fun hobby and the result is a fun car, but I will never again spend as much money and time on something like this. However there are very few cars out there that can beat the uniqueness of what we got now.
In: Life In General   Tags: , , ,
Time: 18:06   Comments: 4 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Misha!

MishaToday is a birthday of our good friend, Misha. I’m really shamed to admit that we remembered it yesterday, and then realized that we didn’t call him and it’s 11pm already. o.O Since it is too late to call now, we decided that we must congratulate him through our blog. Even though he will see it only tomorrow, we want to wish him all the best today!

Misha, we wish you all the best at your new job, all the best in your personal life, all the best to your family, and everything else you would want to wish for yourself! Glad to have you as a friend!

- Alena & Daniel

P.S. It was almost impossible to find a picture of Mike where he is not blinking!!! Good thing we took about 2 thousand pictures during our wedding vacation in Las Vegas. 8O mrgreen
In: Life In General
Time: 23:50   Comments: 2 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Right Balance

Back to the topic that’s on our mind a lot lately: real-estate. I wanted to leave a couple of words about the current pricing range in the area that we were looking in, while it is still fresh on my mind.

When looking for an apartment there are several key factors that come into consideration (listed in no particular order): location, monthly maintenance, selling price and apartment condition. The trick is to find the right combination of the above and then hope that you can afford it / consider that it is worth it. First of all I want to say that we were looking for a two bedroom or a junior 4 apartment. Majority of the places were junior 4s, and they all have a very similar layout. The prices of the apartments that we have seen ranged anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000. We were aiming for something in the very middle of those 2 numbers.

Generally the apartments towards the lower edge were in a horrible condition, meaning that you will end up spending at least another $50,000 if not more to get it to a suitable for living condition. The problem with this approach is that you will have to have that much cash to use for a renovation, since the process of taking yet another loan for that is complicated and expensive, to say the least.

Apartments on the higher end of the price range were located dead in the center of the neighborhood and were freshly renovated. However the owners who did work were charging a sizable premium for the fact that the buyer will not have to do anything upon closing, but move in. Not the best option either.

And apartments in the middle of the price range were usually the places in an OK condition, in a normal neighborhood, but not in the very center, which as you will see costs, and generally ends up being not worth it.

To sum it up we excluded everything that was overpriced for one reason, or another, all the places in a horrible condition, and all the places with maintenance of $680 or higher. We also wanted to live in a location which would be close to the highway, close to some shopping center (supermarkets, Russian food stores, groceries), and close to subway.

On the map above A would be the very central neighborhood. It’s half a block from a multitude of small stores, 2 blocks away from subway, and 2 blocks away from the entrance to the highway. However it is practically impossible to find parking and the asking price for an apartment on the 4th floor in a very average condition was $275,000, even though the maintenance was one of the lowest.

As you start getting away from that particular spot, you have much more options and much more reasonable pricing. An apartment on Ocean Pkwy (B) can be gotten for around $220,000, but the condition will be average as well. All other parameters are pretty good, the price is very good, but we didn’t like this particular one for the fact at at stank of cigarette smoke and was very dark.

Another one we saw (C, scroll the map to see it) was an apartment quite a bit further away from highway (one of its biggest flaws) for around $239,000. The price is not bad at all, the condition was actually quite nice (not great, but good enough to move in right away). The place had no stores near by, pretty far from subway (about 25 minutes by foot), even farther from highway (and going anywhere in NYC traffic is not a fun thing). In addition, the small room windows were blocked off by stone walls at a distance of 2 meters on all 3 sides (looks pretty damn grim).

Apartment on the 6th FloorThe one that we’re trying to go for (things are nowhere near certain, but we’re hoping for the best) is an apartment (D) in the best condition that we have seen (fully renovated, and very well done), on the 6th (top) floor, with great views, very close to highway, but quite far from subway (25 minutes by foot). What won us over here is the fact that the price for the combination of all other factors was the best one we saw ($226,000). One of the main reasons for that was that the owner has already bought something and has to get this one of his hands as fast as possible.

Anyhow, there are still miles to go, and there are still many things that can go wrong, and we’ll be left where we started, which would be really sad. But if that happens, then it is the way it was meant to be. We’ve done everything we could, and things that we can’t control are not worth worrying about (or so I keep telling myself). Wish us luck!
In: Home Sweet Home
Time: 16:32   Comments: No Comments   Post a Comment  

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Board Approval

Our WindowsSome happy news: yesterday we had a board interview at 9pm in the evening. We thought that we missed the March window already, since we were told that board only meets once a month, and this month it was March 8th. However turns out that’s not the case.

We spent about 30 minutes there. It pretty much came down to them asking us a couple of questions about what we do and then mostly telling us the rules of the building, and how great it is. D

Today at 8:45am I got a call from the management, saying that we got approved and that our lawyer has been already notified! That means that we are one step closer to our goal and that now everything should be going relatively smoothly. If it all works out, we’ll be moving in a month.

P.S. The top 5 windows are the windows of our future home.
In: Home Sweet Home
Time: 12:42   Comments: 2 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Current Issues

СосулькаTime flies so fast!! I’m almost done with my midterms – just one test left tomorrow. I hope that I’ve done a good job with my exams.

I registered for the summer 2007 intersession. There are actually two of them – one from the beginning of June to the beginning of July, and the other one from the middle of July to the middle of August. The plan was to register for four classes – two for each small intersession, but unfortunately, that is not possible. As a woman in the registrat explained to me, they don’t want students to take too many summer courses. I could’ve registered for one more class, but it would have come out too expensive, and I would have to go to college during the second intersession 3 times a week just for one class.

I’m looking forward to my 10-day spring break, which starts on April 1st. My good friend Tanya Shust is coming from Moscow to visit us in less than 2 weeks. It’s very exciting! I hope that we’ll be able to go somewhere together – Florida, or Vegas, or something of a sort. The problem is that with the whole apartment deal we’re really, really short on money, so we need to find something inexpensive. Danya and Eldar were looking for hotels in different places, but so far haven’t found anything to our liking.

We’re having a hard time with our current apartment management – I think that both Danya and I lost a lot of nerve cells yesterday and today. They basically want us to sign the lease for another year or to get out of the apartment by the end of this month. They say that they’ll give us some release paper if we sign the new lease, but this whole thing doesn’t sound too kosher. All the people we spoke with, including 3 lawyers and my law 1101 teacher in Baruch, advise us not to sign anything. I just hope that this will not cost us a fortune in the long run.
In: Home Sweet Home, Life In General
Time: 16:21   Comments: 2 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Google Map Builder

Google Map BuilderLast time when I wanted to stick a map into our blog I didn’t find any tools that were simple, yet flexible enough to do what I wanted, without going through registrations or anything of the kind. So I created a small PHP script which would take several parameters and build me a map based on those. The script is very simple. User can define a center point, select the over size of the map, choose a type, and the would allow to add a list of markers.

Several people, after looking at it, told me that it’s a nice little tool, and they would like to use it for themselves as well. However there was no interface of any kind to create the list of parameters, which made it “not-so-easy” to use. In order to solve that issue I put together another simple script / interface which allows to control the creation of the map to embed with a few clicks.

If any of you wish to use it, feel free to do so. Just remember that there are no guarantees of any kind, meaning that if my server goes down, it goes down. If I decide to change the script, I change the script. If you’re OK with that, enjoy the Google Map Builder. teeth

If you have any ideas, suggestions or comments, you can leave them here and I’ll gladly read them.

P.S. Google did a great job with the API for the maps. It was a pretty interesting learning experience working with it.
In: Software
Time: 19:31   Comments: 6 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Квартирник у Сэга

Yesterday Sag invited us all to the last “concert” that Artem and him were planning to give for his neighbors as he was moving out. First order of business: we scared Artem, Maruk and Sag shitless, when we started banging on the door and Ignat started yelling in a weird voice about the noise and that we’re about to call the cops on them. You should have seen their faces. teeth

After that they played a bunch of songs, and when they ran out of songs, they started making stuff up. I didn’t have a chance to tape all of it, but I think we got 3 great pieces. However, yet again, you’ll have to excuse the horrible video quality and sound, as I had nothing better to use other then my cell phone.

In: Life In General
Time: 22:13   Comments: 1 Comment   Post a Comment  
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