YouTube’d memories: Imagine

As a professed fan of The Beatles, I am actually quite lukewarm towards anything that the Fab Four produced in their solo careers after their break-up. Lennon’s Imagine is probably the closest a song by a former Beatle comes to being a favorite of mine. My most vivid memory associated with it is quite recent.[…]


A young Gandalf, that’s who I am!

Everybody in my blog feed aggregator seemingly has done one of these, so I will refrain from tipping hat to anyone in particular. I have not seen another member of my race, though. Your result for The What Middle Earth race do you belong to Test… Wizard You scored high in morality and intelligence, but[…]


Ilya annoys a stranger, chapter 376

I believe that I have established elsewhere in this blog that I hold very close relationship between verbs affront and confront. As in, when something affronts me, I am usually not very shy in confronting the perpetrator of the deed. Here is the latest example. (Those who don’t believe it is ever appropriate to speak your mind to a stranger can feel free not to look below the fold.)



On a European beach…

… you see exposed breasts of various colours, shapes and sizes.  From perfectly toned ones to amorphic sagging what-letter-in-the-alphabet cups.  And that’s just men’s. About one in five women, by my estimation, goes topless at the beach these days as well.  The Germans are at the forefront of the movement, having long branched out from[…]


Back to Costa Brava

Can you guess where I am?  Come on, you hardly need more than one try…  Yep, you got it!  I’m back on the beautiful Catalan coast of the Mediterranean. It was a bit of an impulse decision.  As the prospect of a lonely weekend in London loomed, I figured that, despite my usual adversity towards[…]


Back from Costa Brava

Spent the day in a bustling and vibrant Barcelona, went to sleep in the God-forsaken Mottingham… Fun life I lead sometimes! The big summer holiday took off splendidly, the long two-day trek from London to Costa Brava notwithstanding. We arrived to a beautiful setting, gorgeous weather and, most importantly, the company of friends whom we[…]


A Queen sighting

Our guests not only managed to visit several of the London sights that we thus far shunned; they also came by an audience with Her Majesty the Queen. Ok, not really. But we ourselves only see the reigning monarch on TV, despite living just a dozen miles away from the Buckingham Palace. Our friends, who[…]


About an old movie that I love

We were watching an old Soviet comedy with our friends last night, and I was reminded of an item that was sitting on my blogging back-burner for a while.

Natasha and I have a pretty large collection of movies on DVDs. Not as large as some, I am sure, but still quite extensive. A large part of the collection consists of Russian musicals, comedies – and musical comedies – from 70’s-80’s, but there are also a number of French movies that were very popular in our childhood and youth. A few weeks ago, on a night that we did not have any specific plans, we decided to watch Le Jouet, a movie that I probably have not seen in twenty years (even though the DVD was acquired a long time ago).


Le Jouet poster


And what do you know!? I loved it all over again!


The last busy weekend of the season

The weekend was spent in various activities involving our latest visitors, which explains the first non-travel two-day post gap since sometime last year. With our approaching long holiday, it should be the last active “home” weekend for a couple of months. Anyway, here is a brief re-cap.

On Saturday, we went to one of the last remaining “major” destinations in greater London not visited before – the Windsor castle. While overall very impressive, to say nothing of huge, it left us slightly underwhelmed. Possibly we’ve seen too much opulence at various palaces over the years. Or the absence of usually requisite vast surrounding grounds diminishes the impression.

At the Windsor castle



Pushkin, anyone?

This is just too hilarious. I have to post it, even though any non-Russian-speaking reader of mine may not get to fully appreciate the hilarity (not that you shouldn’t try – the flash-card text is a hoot all by itself). Thanks, Dad.


Map of Europe

Despite my self-sustained image of the world traveler, I have only been to 37% of European countries. Natasha is actually one up on me, in a way that I fear will keep forever, – she has been to Belarus as a child. The map below outlines the gaping chasm of Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Baltics, and[…]


YouTube’d Memories: Layla

Back to our regular light programming, here is one of my all-time favorites. For some reason, the strongest recollections of this song put me inside my Dad’s old Pontiac, driving the length of Ocean Parkway and loudly singing along. I believe they come from the time when Natasha worked cash register at a supermarket on[…]


Money in the street

Sometimes, the smallest stupid things get me worked up for no good reason whatsoever… John Scalzi gets his “stimulus package” check from the US Government. It’s for a stupid amount of money. Not stupid as in “stupendous”. Stupid as in “what’s-the-point-of-even-getting-this”. $6.10, to be precise. He rationalizes that there is very little useful he can[…]


Stupid spammer bots

Remember my post on spammers’ creativeness? Lately, I’ve been bombarded quite regularly with bot-produced comments that appear as “compliments” from accidental readers. The idea, of course, is that I’ll take them for genuine praise and allow them through my spam controls, opening the door for future deluge. This looks like a genuine praise from a[…]


Movie review: Kung Fu Panda

When I do get to see a new release at the cinema, it is usually something that my kids want to watch. We did not have any specific plans for this weekend, my Aunt went back home, and while Becky has a booming social life with almost daily events, Kimmy was a bit bored with the lack of exciting activities, so Natasha and I decided that a trip to the movies would be a perfect antidote.


Kung Fu Panda poster


We went to see Kung Fu Panda, which opened in the UK just a couple of days ago. Kimmy loved it, and I found it tremendously entertaining myself. The story of a lovable misfit, who suddenly finds himself thrown into the middle of events for which he is clearly ill-suited, but from which he emerges triumphant and with a sense of finding his place in the world, is as old as anything, and this animated take on it tells the story at a close-to-prefect pitch.


Happy 4th of July!

No, that’s not the view from our window. Would be nice, though… Becky sang Star-Spangled Banner and later went to the grocery shop wearing a T-shirt with a “Proud American” slogan on it, an American flag pin, an American flag necklace, and the letters “U. S. A.” written in a marker on her upper arm.[…]