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Category: Miscellany

Oscar coincidence

For the second year in a row, I manage to see one single Oscar contender for the Best Picture award ahead of the annual ceremony. The movie wins the corresponding Golden Globe award and is generally regarded as a front-runner for the Academy award, but ends up losing both the…

iPad update

I am still listening to music on an iPod. I am still reading books on a Sony PRS-505. It is pretty clear to me that those habits are not going to change, as my preferences outlined here were not swayed by the capabilities of an iPad. However, I quickly found…

Unexpected tax return

I’ve been back in the States and off UK payroll for nearly a year and a half. But because of the quirks of the UK taxation calendar, I ended up having had worked part of the 2009-10 tax year in the UK, for which the returns were due this coming…

Small range

The trajectory of my blogging activity went from unenthusiastic to senile. In the last few weeks, there’s been a spike in electronic communications with my high-school friends. We go through these periods once in a while, when we realize that the last time we had any meaningful exchange was months…

Fail again

I’ve had this idea for a recurring blogging feature/angle ever since I knew that we were repatriating and my “expat observations” would be soon drying up. Which means, I’ve been considering it for roughly 18 months now. The concept was fairly simple: An essay about each place that I’ve become…

No reason to watch

OK, instead of Phillies vs Yankees World Series, it’s Giants vs Rangers. As disappointing as that is, at least I am not missing anything I care about due to the Cablevision/FOX dispute. I suspect World Series ratings will take a big hit in markets other than Northern Cal and Dallas-Ft…

No FOX 5

For the third time in about a year, Cablevision is in a dispute with a content provider that prevents us from watching channels that we like. First, it was HGTV and The Food Channel (no big problem for me, much bigger problem for Natasha) – “blackout” lasted for about a…

Kindle, too

I’ve become such a true convert to electronic book reading since I bought my Sony reader at the start of the year, that I for once managed to come up all on my own with a gift idea for my wife on her birthday. (Never mind that her birthday is…

NYC encounters: Bicycle vs pedestrian

In many European cities (not so much in London, though) bicycle riders are provided with enough dedicated riding space to make it appear to a fascinated visitor that practically everyone in the city rides a bike instead of a motorized vehicle. Amsterdam is an obvious and well-known example, but, say,…

Self-indulgent thought of the day

On balance, having a pool in your backyard is probably worth it. It costs ridiculous money – the exact total expense will be tallied later in the budget year, but I can already venture a fairly educated guess. It takes plenty of effort to maintain – hiring a pool guy…

Going to an NFL game

My first ever live NFL game turned out to be surprisingly more enjoyable than I expected. I am enough of a fan of the American football to enjoy the games in general. However, I fully recognize the static nature of the sport, where each subsequent play is separated from the…

London Bridge gets visitors

Apparently, if you type “London Bridge” into Google Images search, the very first picture of nine millions that come up is that of London’s Tower Bridge from my fairly old public service announcement, marking it as not the London Bridge. As a result, that particular post has been receiving a…

A regular pretender

Perusing my long-neglected blog aggregator, I came across Brian’s attempt to analyze his writing style via an online gadget (which, I believe, other people tried as well). I was, for a short moment, idle, so I figured I should try that. The results? Unlike Brian (who was consistently pegged to…

Veni, vidi, vici

Heh! The whole thing took me less than half a day to turn around, and a couple of hours were idly spent on waiting for DNS changes to propagate. I have one strange artifact in the Travelog, which I will have to look into at some later time. I also…

You will probably not even notice it

… but there will likely be an intermittent downtime at burlaki.com in the next couple of weeks. The reason for that is that I am moving the domain to a cheaper hosting platform. When I started the website about four years ago, I was not expecting that the main blog…

Mid-year movie roundup

With my continuing meager creative output, I figured I could for once fall back on an almost-forgotten recurring feature. After all, we did decide a couple of months ago to trade in cable movie channels – which, in the States, seem to never have the movies I want to watch…

Photobooks again: Picaboo vs Adoramapix

After my latest photobook review, in which I proclaimed Adoramapix my new favorite among the several services, the folks at Picaboo, which was my “winner” of an earlier review, got into action. I was contacted by a nice lady from Picaboo, who informed me of some of the new features…

Afghanistan

Reading up on the details of the McChrystal debacle and its implications to the Afghan war in The Economist, I had an often-recurring thought. I did not reach the draft age until after the Soviet troops had exited Afghanistan in the 80’s. Despite that, I can count the generation of…