To all my friends, near and far, real space or online, and to any accidental reader as well, have a very happy new year! By different measures, the upcoming 2010 will be the most boring and the most exciting year for us in a decade. I wish that your year leans more towards excitement. Let[…]
Sometimes, the most insignificant of memories lodge themselves in one’s brain… I must have been four or five when I overheard my Mom and her girlfriends discussing comparative qualities of foreign singers who appeared on the Soviet state TV. I cannot recall anything from that conversation except the consensus that nobody moved onstage quite like[…]
A few days ago, Natasha found a couple of small items that we thought were lost during the relocation move, stuffed into a decorative box that we did not think had anything inside. A souvenir small Russian wooden bowl, one of the hedgehogs from Becky’s collection, that type of stuff. We sort of gave up[…]
I freely admit that I’m not a cinema-going type. My misanthropic tendencies are acutely tested in the presence of inconsiderable louts with their cell phones, eating habits and inability to refrain from talking to one another during the showing. As a result, I rarely go to the movies, unless it is for some kid-oriented viewing with my children, or a personal can’t-wait-must-see-now target such as a new 007 movie.
Occasionally, though, a new release rises to a level of an event, and I make specific effort to go see it.
In my eyes, Avatar was clearly such an event. Everything I saw and heard in the weeks before it came out, suggested that this movie will open a whole new chapter in the history of cinema.
I was not disappointed.
Below the cut I try to explain what I liked about this movie and why it deserves in my book. If you are not afraid of a vague spoiler or two and interested in my musings, feel free to read on. Otherwise, just go and see the movie. In 3D, preferably.
The speed limit signs on Garden State Parkway advise the drivers every half a mile or so that the limit is 55mph with a disclaimer of “conditions permitting”. The heavy Saturday snow did enough to reduce the number of cars on the road, but the Parkway was well cleared, and absent traffic, not one car[…]
How I hate snow! How I miss London weather! (Although they say that it’s been quite heavily snowing in London as well these past several days.) Above is the view from our porch this morning. Two feet of snow – admittedly, not as much as what people in Alaska or elsewhere have to deal[…]
How the perspective changes with just a bit of time… Precisely two years ago, while describing my preparations for the driving test for a UK license, I noted my annoyance with the speed limits treatment in England. The absence of clearly posted limits on any road where the “national speed limit” was in effect required[…]
Burlaki.com finally got around to interviewing the youngest member of the family on her impressions and feelings regarding Europe and coming back to America. In the practically unedited words of a 9-year-old… Burlaki [back] on the Hudson: Are you happy to be back in America? Kimmy: Kind of… I miss London, but I’m also happy[…]
My eldest daughter reminded me that I promised to put her latest artistic achievement up on my blog. That promise is about two months overdue now, but I’m sure she’ll forgive me. Here is the school project by Becky and her friend.
Becky and Kimmy returned to the Old Bridge skating rink soon after we came back to the area. The rink traditionally stages a holiday skating show for all of the student skaters and their coaches. Our girls signed up for a number together, which I am happy to present to my audience. Get the[…]
The third annual largely-meaningless exercise of combining the first sentences posted herein each month of the year. As on previous occasions, not much coherency achieved. A couple of usual traveling undertones, clear relocation markers, a couple of obvious holiday notes… Interestingly, most of these sentences clearly suggested the topic of the posts that they introduced.[…]
I am starting to dislike Manhattan just a bit again. The main reason is this: The damn thing stands practically in front of the building where I work, and is surrounded by so many gawkers that it makes it a challenge to get through, especially at the end of day. And overall, during[…]
My tastes as far as Russian music is concerned more or less calcified at the point of my emigration. Whatever I liked then, I like now. New acts that sprouted in the last two decades – not so much. There is a show on Russian TV that purports to select the best of all of[…]
I’m walking towards my bus stop one morning, maybe four minutes into my fifteen-minute walk. It’s a crisp clear morning, so I don’t particularly mind the walk. A car pulls up next to me, the driver rolls down his window and asks: “Are you going to the bus stop? Can I give you a lift?”[…]
A small album of pictures taken during our recent Virginia/DC trip can be found via the links on the sidebar or directly here.
A fascinating – if, as usual with these types of compilations, arguably incomplete – list of the world’s most unique roads. Sadly, I’ve only driven one of these myself. Which makes it several more destinations that I’ve never been to and need to eventually visit. Via Instapundit..
Natasha realized the she forgot to mention one other thing she misses from England in her little essay. It is not an obvious point either: Charity shops. Where we lived in Southeast London, seemingly every other town had at least one of these, selling everything from second-hand clothes to souvenirs to books and CDs. What’s[…]
Some two years ago, I wrote a cost comparison entry for basic UK-vs-US costs. It was based on generalizations rather than some hard data, but I hope it was useful for someone.
Having now been back in the States for a few months, I am probably due an updated treatise on the subject. And, predictably, I find it hard to work up any sort of enthusiasm for an exercise of this kind. Fortunately, my lovely wife has come to my rescue, at least partially. She made quite a few references in these past months that she finds some foodstuff costs to be higher in the US compared to what we knew in the UK, and she graciously agreed to perform a sort of analysis, which I now present for my audience.
A few important notes. One, the comparison is between suburban New Jersey (Middlesex/Monmouth counties, to be precise) and outer edges of Greater London (Lewisham/Greenwich boroughs); it is more than likely than the prices will be different the closer you get to Central London or if you put New York City into the equation. Two, the exchange rate has been holding relatively steady between $1.6-1.7 per pound sterling; I am going to use 1.7 for the conversion. Three, as noted in comments to that old post, UK local salaries are generally numerically lower than respective US ones, which means that proportional outlay for any given product may actually be higher even when the absolute cost is lower; for the purposes of this highly scientific study, we will imagine ourselves receiving a US-based salary, as if we were on an expat package.