Last thoughts on Euro 2008

As unpredictable as football can be, the football gods rarely insist on throwing their weight behind an illogical outcome, Greece’s triumph at the last championships notwithstanding. Today, we have a well-deserving champion. The Spanish team was not the only one that went through the tournament unbeaten (the unfortunate Croatians were knocked out in the quarterfinals[…]


Another active weekend

Lest anyone thinks that we long exhausted potential destinations in or around London, let me assure you that that is not true. Our target list has certainly dwindled down from several dozen point of interest to less than a dozen, but that less than a dozen remains.

Today, we used the arrival of our newest guest as a pretext for visiting Sissinghurst Castle Gardens. The very compact grounds consist of several thematic gardens, intimately separated from one another by hedges and old castle walls. The gardens are not showy, but that adds to the attraction – you get a feeling of authenticity, of what the quintessential English garden should be like.

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Kent, England



YouTube’d memories: It’s a Sin

And now, returning to our regular programming, here is another of the discotheque favorites in my high-school DJ’ing time. Can’t think of any specific memories associated with Pet Shop Boys, besides their popularity (for a short period of time) and the search for a perfect translation of their band name among those of us who[…]


About guns

Successful bloggers with sizable readerships tend to achieve prominence by picking up on “hot” topics and eloquently stating their strong opinions on them, along the way explaining to the masses why said opinions are the only correct ones. I figure, what the heck, I should do likewise once in a while. How else am I[…]


Euro 2008: After semifinals

Bookmakers are no slouches: We’ve got a Germany – Spain final. Spain pretty much pasted Russia in the second half, winning in more than convincing fashion. The Russians played as I expected them to play in the previous game, i.e. reasonably well but worse than the opponents. The first half actually ended up scoreless in[…]


London City airport note

We are in between visitors, for a few days anyway. My mother-in-law departed back to Russia this morning. Her trip’s first leg took her to Frankfurt from the London City airport, which again impressed us in terms of check-in and controls experience. You can literally be at the gate within 10 minutes of entering the[…]


June movie-watching roundup

I have watched a bunch of movies in the last few days, from PVR recordings made months and weeks ago. Where does he find the time? some may ask, what with tons of football games already on tap. Let’s just say that in the last few days of Natasha’s Mom’s visit to us, my presence was not much required for the family activities. I had some time to myself at the conclusion of each night’s game, as well as several hours over the weekend when I could no longer stand my PC and did not feel like going outside on my own. Not even to play golf!

Pathetic, ain’t it?

None of these films inspired me to write a full-size review, so here is a quick roundup.


Euro 2008: Before semifinals

After four quarterfinal games of Euro Championships, I suddenly feel that, although I considered myself reasonably knowledgeable about the Beautiful Game for all my life, I have, in fact, very little understanding of it.

Or some aspects of it, at least.

There were stunning reversals of form, dumb coaching decisions, plenty of missed of opportunities, and of the four group winners – who all, as you recall, won their respective groups with a game to spare and rested their first teams in the last group round – only one managed not to lose in the quarterfinal. Three games went to extra time, two of those were decided by penalty kicks, and the one game that ended after 90 minutes was actually the most evenly contested.



Watch your head!

A long overdue little glimpse into our living. The cupboards under our upper floor stairs leave enough of empty space for a person to step into when the traffic in the entrance hallway becomes too heavy. Some of our visitors may recall painfully banging their heads on the stairs as a result of such a[…]


Euro 2008: Before quarterfinals

A good live football match every night at a convenient viewing time. Heaven! I do not think I will ever have a chance like this again…

I have watched only a half of games after the first round of group play, but still, that’s all together 16 matches out of possible 24. Only 7 more left, which I am sure I will all see in live broadcast.

So, what does it look like at the quarterfinal stage?



Happy Birthday Kimmy!

Kimmy’s heart all but melted, as we woke her up early in the morning with a chorus of “Happy Birthday to You”, accompanied by a cake with requisite candle-blowing, followed by the exciting procedure of opening presents. Just as she requested last night, before going to bed. Happy birthday, Кузька! My two kids have reached[…]


On US Open

As I mentioned on a number of occasions, I am a horrible golfer. I am capable of adequate displays of skills – and I hope you all understand what I mean by adequate – but not for any length of time, which summarily produces double-par-or-worse outcomes in any given round of play. It’s a hard game to master even with regular practice (and I play too irregularly, unfortunately).

I also maintain a view that golf is the hardest individual sport to win at. Not to become good at (which I already admitted is hard in itself). But to win at. Golf may be comparatively not too demanding a sport from the athleticism perspective (as opposed to, say, tennis), but winning a golf tournament means outperforming a hundred of other people at the same time over the course of several days, without being able to affect their scores (in tennis, you have to be better than only 7 opponents one at a time while directly fighting each – I am not saying that it is easy, just that the magnitude of the opposition is on a different level).

Which makes Tiger’s continuing success all the more amazing.



Back from Antwerp and Gent

My loving children will forgive their old man for saying that it is infinitely nicer to travel without them. Our weekend getaway to Belgium was neither a dream trip nor even a particularly fascinating one, but it allowed Natasha and I, for the first time in ages, to spend time just as we wanted, not as our occasionally capricious offspring demand.

The weather gods decided to rain on our parade, quite literally, and while that managed to dampen some of our impressions, it also played a perfect foil to a well-deserved intermittent downtime for us kids, wink-wink…


Handschoenmarkt, Antwerp




YouTube’d memories: Come Together

Come Together does not break into my 30 Favorite Beatles’ songs, but it has the distinction of being the very first song by the group that I heard while being actively aware that I was listening to the Beatles. My uncle, who had a dual-deck tape recorder (a tremendous rarity in the days of my[…]