Thursday, April 5, 2007

I Beat Google To It

Google's Own Map BuilderIt’s ironic that only about a week ago, I couldn’t find a tool I wanted, so I went ahead and made my own. Today Google announces MyMaps – a tool that allows users to create their own maps. I still don’t see a way to embed it easily into the blog, but you can do anything you want now through a nice, Google, interface.
In: Software
Time: 12:24   Comments: 2 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Metropolintan Museum

Metropolitan MuseumYesterday Tanya and I went to the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art. The gray sky was crying with icy tears all day long, but that didn’t stop us from doing what we’ve planned to. I’ve been to the Museum almost 5 years ago with Sergey’s daughter Anna. The Japanese Art section was probably the most memorable part of that experience.

This time I was greatly impressed by the paintings, especially those by Picasso and Van Gogh. I never really understood until yesterday why those painters are considered to be great artists. When I look at the reproductions of their works, they don’t seem that special. Yesterday I couldn’t take my eyes from the original drawings. They are full of raw energy, of life, of something very precious which I can’t quite put into words. Tanya really enjoyed some of the paintings as well. She also liked the Egyptian Section of the Museum.

I was a little surprised that the Museum was merely packed with people. Guess, the awful weather contributed to that. Nobody even checked our passes, so we could’ve gotten in there for free. Although, I don’t mind paying a moderate fee, because it helps to sustain the Museum.
In: Life In General
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Friday, April 6, 2007

Back to DC

Lincoln MemorialI’ve been to Washington, DC plenty of times before. However lately we’ve been going to places much farther then the capital. Last time I was here when I took Alena here back at the end of 2002. We’ve been going out for about 2 weeks at the time.

White HouseMore then 4 years later we’re here again. This time around we decided to come here to show Tania (Alena’s friend who’s staying with us) the city. We’ve been walking around for almost 3 hours, and covered a lot of the center today.

Lincoln Memorial.We visited the White House, Washington Memorial, WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and then took a couple of pictures at the statue of Einstein.

Alena, Tania & EinsteinNow we’re all pretty tired and are waiting for our reservation to come up at the local restaurant. Later on we plan to go and enjoy the pools. It’s not often that a hotel keep them open until midnight!
In: Travel   Tags:
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Alena & Cherry BlossomМне очень понравилась наша поездка в Вашингтон, ДиСи. Во-первых, хоть там и было холодно, было ошушение того, что попали в весну. Вашингтон знаменит цветушей сакурой, и мы застали часть этой красоты. Другие деревца тоже красовались лепестками разных оттенков и размеров, в основном, конечно, в бело-розовой гамме.

WWII MemorialДаня говорит, что центр города похож на один большой музей. Я с ним согласна: чистые линии зданий, просторные улицы, ухоженные клумбочки. Разнообразные мемориалы и знаменитые дома создают своеобразный торжественно-патриотичный настрой, который довольно явно читается на лицах многочисленных туристов. Вашингтон имеет свой особый характер, степенный и значительный; он порядком отличается от шумного и торопливого Нью-Йорка или от веселого и праздничного Вегаса.

On the Capitol HillОчень жаль, что мы не попали на экскурсию в Капитолий. Все билеты на день были розданны ранним утром в субботу; а по воскресеньям экскурсии не проводятся. После курса American Government меня намного больше интересуют стурктура власти и разнообразные политические институты этой страны. А, может, просто живу тут уже давно? А, может, просто взрослею?

ArlingtonЕше мы ездили на Arlington National Cemetery. Впервые я была на эксурсии на кладбище. Мне показался интересным факт, что оно находится на месте поместья, принадлежавшего когда-то жене генерала Роберта Ли. За небольшую плату мы купили пропуск на автобусы, которые развозили посетителей на наиболее знаменитые точки кладбиша: могилку президента Кеннеди, поместье генерала Ли, могилу неизвестного солдата.

Tomb of the UknownsМы стали свидетелями смены караула возле могилы неизвестного солдата (Tomb of the Unknowns). Эта церемония проходит каждые пол часа в соответствии со строгим ритуалом. Могила охраняется 24 часа в день, 365 дней в году специальным подразделением американкой армии – 3rd United States Infantry (The Old Guard). Меня поразила их походка. Она совсем не похожа на четкий маршевый шаг обычных войск. Напротив, солдаты словно крадутся куда-то.

Lenchik & TaniaВечером к нам присоединился Лёнчик. Мы все вместе ужинали в прикольном Тайском местечке.
In: Travel
Time: 23:11   Comments: 2 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Our First Rented Apartment

I’m sitting at work right now, fuming about some issues that keep coming up, this time about the closing. They are however very minor at this point, coming down to the fact that Alena probably will have to miss a day of school for us to sign the final papers. However at this moment I’m 99.999% sure that we’ll be done with everything by the end of April. Yesterday we finally have gotten an authorization to close from our bank, which means that now there is only 1 last formality left to be done.

All that means that we have only several weeks left at our current apartment, which was our home for the past 3 years. crycry mrgreen So above you will find a small video tour of our home. I’m sure it’s going to be interesting to watch 10 years from now, remembering the place where Alena and I lived together for the first time, the place that was our home when we got married.

I hope our new home will have as many good moments and memories as this place does. )
In: Home Sweet Home
Time: 18:35   Comments: No Comments   Post a Comment  

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

How To: Embed ‘Google My Maps’

Embedding Google My Maps MapGoogle did create a great tool for creating maps with a lot of different features. However there is one thing missing: an ability to easily embed the end result into your own blog or site.

To address that issue I decided to re-purpose my own little tool. After all, it does allow you to control all the main settings that you want on your embedded map: center point, zoom level, map type and final type. But now, in addition to the other items it allows you to grab a KML link of your My Map creation and overlay it onto your embedded map. So you get the benefits of these 2 tools combined.

Anyhow, if you end up using my embedding tool, please be sure to Digg! it. teeth The Digg! button is located right on the tool itself.
In: Software
Time: 13:08   Comments: 42 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Улетела

ТаняСегодня Таня улетела домой в Москву. Как-то даже опустела квартира. Привыкли мы к Таниному присутствию за 2 недели.

Вообще мне очень понравилось, как мы проводили время во время её визита. И дело вовсе не в музеях или прогулках, и даже не в поездке в Вашингтон. Скорее, секрет в ощущении теплоты и лёгкости от присутствия кото-то любимого (и я не побоюсь этого слова!) рядом.

В пятницу мы почти окунулись в прошлое. У меня был семинар по бух. учёту и учитель была не против того, чтобы Таня поприсутствовала на занятии. Почти как в старые студенческие времена. Разве что мы лет на 5 постарели, да язык изменился. ) Самое интересное, что Таня всё понимала – в России она ходила на курсы по ознакомлению с системой GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), которая лежит в основе бух. учёта в США.

Меня позабавила Танина любовь к сладкому. Уж насколько я сладкоежка, но она, на мой взгля, даже меня переплюнет в этом вопросе.

Думаю, это была не последняя наша встреча.
In: Life In General
Time: 21:01   Comments: 4 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Shredding Before The Move

ShredderMore good news regarding the apartment: we already know the official closing date. It’s happening on April 26th, 2007, 10:30am. That’s the moment when we finally get our keys.

We’re planning to move as soon as possible. The big days will be the day of the closing (Thursday) and then Friday that comes right after. We have a LOT of stuff to move. It’s amazing how much stuff we managed to accumulate during the past 3 years. I’m worried about the small stuff which we have a lot of, and Alena is worried about that big stuff, which is heavy.

We started to dig out all the stuff from our closets, and found a lot of old bills, letters and all other kind of crap, with a lot of personal information. To combat that we bought a nice small heavy duty shredder from Staples. It’s going to be useful later on anyhow, so we figured ‘why not’.

Less then 2 weeks left, and now new, more pleasant headaches to deal with.
In: Gadgets & Gear, Home Sweet Home
Time: 22:30   Comments: 3 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Movado Watch

Movado WatchSome long time ago I said that one day I’ll make a post about my watch, which I remembered today. There is really not much to say, except for the fact that I like it. Back during the summer of 2005 I wanted to buy a nice watch, and my parents decided to give it to me as my 25th birthday present.

What I picked was Movado Men’s Museum Valor Watch. I like the simplicity of design, and never liked anything with many dials and many details. I didn’t expect it to weight as much as it does, but it feels nice on the wrist.
In: Gadgets & Gear   Tags: , , ,
Time: 23:05   Comments: 2 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Packing

Даня in the BoxI’ve already started packing our stuff. We have LOTS of it! It is amazing, how many things a modest couple can acquire in 3 years.

Anyway, I wanted to pack my most valuable possession first. Now it’s done! Think I’m ready to move!!!
In: Home Sweet Home, Life In General
Time: 00:07   Comments: 6 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Saturday, April 21, 2007

War … Ehm … Move Zone

What Used To Be Our Pretty ApartmentAttention! Attention! The latest news from the very front of the war zone … that is our move. o.O I think one picture is worth more then a 1000 words.

P.S. Thank God for Alena – she’s been doing most of the packing, and building that awesome fort.

P.P.S. Song of the day: Loituma – Ieva’s Polka. We’re now on 132nd listening cycle (or somewhere around that). 8O Check out all the different variations on YouTube.
In: Home Sweet Home, Life In General
Time: 17:24   Comments: 2 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Sunday, April 29, 2007

New Home

Home OfficeBy now everyone probably knows, and those who don’t have probably guessed: the closing, on 26th, went as planned and we have gotten our keys for the apartment that we bought. Today is the end of Sunday, and the past 4 days have been the most fast moving and tiring ones that I can remember.

On Thursday morning Alena and I woke up very early, and started getting ready for the closing. Before going to Queens (that’s where the offices of our coop lawyers are located) we picked up Lenchik, and rented a U-Haul truck. By the time we were done with the document signing Lenchik and Ignat have already loaded most of the heavy things into the truck.

To make a long story short, we were pretty much done with moving all the stuff to the new place by 6pm, which was amazing. I don’t have the words to say how grateful we are to Lenchik and Ignat who managed to move EVERYTHING we had in one day. And I want to thank Misha who was going to take Friday off from work to help us, since we originally planned to do it in 2 days.

We still have a lot of things to do now, by arranging everything, unpacking and so on, but our office and our bedroom are pretty much ready by now. I took a picture of our home office with a wide angle lens to post here. Just wanted to note that both windows are exactly the same size, but because of the wide angle lens they are a bit skewed.

Either way, we’ll post more and more pictures later on as we keep getting through our unpacking process. Since the past 4 days have been so hectic I don’t even know how it feels to finally own our own place. But I’m sure things will clear up soon enough. )
In: Home Sweet Home
Time: 22:36   Comments: 5 Comments   Post a Comment  
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