Friday, July 29, 2011

Plus One

Worst moment of the week:
It's no secret that Michael and I are unhappy here. Our classes are extraordinarily difficult, our living situation is hazardous to our health, and we are both in need of a solid vacation. We have been counting down our time left since we arrived here. This week I only managed to make it through because, after this week, I only had two weeks left! Wrong. Last night Michael and I reminded ourselves why we are history majors when we realized that the difference between the 19th of August and the 28th of July is not fourteen days, it is not two weeks. It's three. 

Best moment of the week: *SPOILERS*
I watched the final Harry Potter film and IT DIDN'T DISAPPOINT! I think that it is the best film since the first. The directors adhered very closely to the book, the special effects were very well done indeed, and the acting was the best of all the movies by far. Maggie Smith didn't fail to deliver (ha) what I think was one of the two best lines in the film when she admits to Julie Walters with a girlish giggle, "I've always wanted to use that spell!" The other was, to my surprise, from Emma Watson. When Harry, realizing that he must die in order to defeat Voldemort, is leaving for the forbidden forest, Hermione sobs "I'll go with you!" I've always considered Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson to be the weakest links in the acting chain. Although Emma has always seemed eager to provide a believable performance, it always felt forced, it was always apparent that she was trying to act. But in this movie, and most especially this line, I believed her. And I lost it. 

Funniest moment of the week:
In Russian this week we learned about cars: verbs of driving, steering, stopping, yielding; and nouns: hood, door, battery, engine, wheel. Each section of vocabulary is followed by discussion questions which helps us to learn to use these words in their necessary conjugated/declined forms. The first question asked "What do you put in the trunk?" Nearly the entire class (including our instructor) said "corpse." 

What have I been eating lately?
Various Safeway deli salads, Peanut M&Ms, and Yakisoba "ramen."
What have you been eating lately?

Whose style am I crushing on?
Alsu! I don't have any pictures, unfortunately, so I will have to use my words. Alsu is easily 5'8" without heals, a size 0, with flawless, creamy skin, bright blue eyes, and abundant black curls. She wears the same jewelry daily - a silver ring with a red stone and a beautiful butterfly necklace (I hate butterflies, but this is a stunning pendant). She almost always wears jeans, but sometimes she wears slacks. All are low-rise boot cut. Her tops are all fitted and flattering. Today she wore dark wash denim with whiskering on the front and a beautifully screened white shirt (the lettering was red and gold, very thin and cursive). She is undeniably hip, and with her figure, she always looks good. That is not to say that tall, slender people are the most beautiful, most especially because many of the tall, slender people we see in the media are not naturally so, and thus look unhealthy. But she is naturally dainty (albeit tall), and I have a soft spot for all things elegant. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Worst moment(s) of the week:
- The tub got completely clogged. As in, someone took a shower and the water remained in the tub for two days before Michael and I bailed it out. As in, if you turned on the water in the sink, it backed up directly into the tub. As in, Michael and I spent two hours plunging, bailing, plunging, bailing, and plunging, and all that resulted was removing all manner of filth and nastiness from the pipes and spattering it all over our persons.
- I really wanted spaghetti this week, but with our living situation as it is, I'll have to wait until I get home to Ellensburg to make some.
- I took my oral exam (first of two) yesterday. It was the worst thing I have ever done in my entire life. Every single thing I said was terrible. I was so embarrassed and depressed last night/this morning. I feel like all I've done since I started grad school was disappoint and mess up. 

Best moment(s) of the week:
- Our one decent roommate, Brian, called campus maintenance, who arrived and promptly snaked the entire line. The tub now drains properly.

It's only one of four tests so far, but it means that I'm making progress and learning. Or rather, learning how to study. The latter is, in my opinion, more important, but that's neither here nor there.
Yes, despite feeling like it was the worst thing I've ever done (I stand by that), I managed to get 86% on it. It's only worth 10% of my total grade, but still - that's DAMN GOOD! That's the best score I've gotten on any sort of "test" so far. 

My cousin Danny studied abroad this summer. It's the first time he's ever traveled abroad (except for when hew as a child and his family lived in Holland), and his experience was life-changing. He called me today while I was waiting for Michael and we had a fantastic conversation about the different places he went, what he and his friends did, and how he felt about it. In short, he wants us to go together some time, and he's planning to possibly go again next summer. I'd like to do it for sure, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it happen. But what the hell, it's something to think about, right?

Funniest moment of the week:
- Whilst watching World's Dumbest Criminals, I learned that a man once stole a check from his girlfriend's mother, forged it, and then tried to cash it. For $360,000,000,000.00. Count the zeds. 
- After describing the entertainment options on modern day cruise liners, Alsu's eyes nearly exploded out of her head as she exclaimed "Oh my GOD! It's like a tiny floating universe!"

What have I been eating lately?
Spicy asian chicken, paprika garlic bread, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls.
What have you been eating lately?

The Russian word for blue, "голубой," is also slang for "homosexual." I don't know how offensive it is, though I suppose, as with "fag" in English, it depends on who is hearing it. My guess is that it's less offensive than fag or poof, less specific than "flaming" and is probably more akin to calling a gay man a "queen." Also, as with most words, it's not necessarily the word itself that offends, but the manner in which it is said. Regardless of your stance on political correctness, it's probably a good idea to play it safe and only use голубой when you are, in fact, describing an item that is голубой in color.

Whose style am I crushing on?
Why, it's retired Finnish race driver Mika Häkkinen!

This photo is a bit cheesy, reminds me of Kraftwerk, but I assure you, this fella's style is no joke. He always looks like a hot professor. With a sexy accent. Who can drive cars really fast around rally tracks and not crash. Mmmmmmmm.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Worst moment of the week:
I received my third consecutive F, on my third test. I won't be able to pass this class, unfortunately. But that means that next year when I retake it I should be able to get A's, which will anchor my overall GPA, and I'll be reunited with most of the students who were in first year with me. That makes me feel better about it!

Best moment of the week:
I got back in touch with my friend Kyle today. 

He left after winter quarter to move back here, so I am hoping that he will be able to meet up with Dinara, Super and I for lunch before I go back to Central. He's a great guy, and I felt cheated that I didn't have enough time to get to know him. I think everyone in class felt that way!

Strangest moment of the week:
Victoria Beckham named her daughter Harper Seven. I think this is pretty strange, because that's been one of my top names for years. Both names are reasonably popular (Harper in the main stream, and Seven in the offbeat community) but the combination is unique. So weird that she "stole" it!

Funniest moment of week:
During an exercise in Russian class, we were required to make up funny hypothetical excuses for missing class. One of my classmates didn't have much of an imagination, and the best she could do was "I missed class because I was sick." Alsu requested from us some "exotic" diseases with which this student could have been ill. I offered several, ("The Plague," "Rickets," "Consumption") and after each Alsu laughed harder than the last. Of course, no one laughed harder than I did myself. 

What have I been eating lately?
Rotisserie chicken and Oreos!

Whose style am I crushing on?
Reese Witherspoon. 

Reese Witherspoon Pregnant Baby Bump

She knows how to hide a pregnancy. OH SNAP!

I have a test on Monday and an oral exam on Wednesday. I am probably not going to pass either of them, but I am going to keep studying hard. I love the class, and I'm going to make the most of it, even if I fail. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

One Third

We are 1/3 of the way done with our classes here, and I am very excited about that. Yes, I still have about two months left, but that is okay, because I've completed three whole weeks. Russian is going much better, I am confident that I will actually pass the next test, so that's something to look forward to! 

Worst moment of the week:
Wednesday morning while I was in class I received news that the son of a family friend had died of an accidental overdose. This is the second person I've known who has died, and the second to have OD'd. I was not close to this person, but I've known him my whole life and we played together often as children. He was my first friend. It deeply saddens me that his family is living with so much grief. 

Best moment of the week:
It's ANOTHER tie!!
First: Discovering a Safeway on this end of town. Now, instead of walking two miles down a steep-ass hill and back up again we now have to walk only one mile to and from a Safeway that is NOT up nor down a steep-ass hill. This means we can carry more and go more often, and thus won't have to go hungry as often.
Second: My cousin Danny is traveling abroad at present, and was able to chat with me yesterday about how much fun he is having in the various countries he has been visiting with his peers. I love My Danny more than pretty much everyone in my life, so it makes me so happy that he still thinks of me even when he's having the most fun in his life.

Strangest moment of the week:
Whilst waiting for Michael on Wednesday, some missionaries from The World Mission Society Church of God decided I was a good candidate for their message. I spoke with them for about half an hour about gospel and religion, and repeated regularly that I was an atheist. I think the idea that someone could not care about a meaning of life or fear death was too foreign a concept to wrap their minds around, but fortunately Michael rescued me before I had to tell them to read a history book and study science. Also, I didn't want to point out that the newspaper article they were referencing as evidence that scientists believed that the end was nigh was itself referencing the bible when it mentioned the drying-up of the Euphrates river. English was not their native language, so it's no surprise that the sarcasm was lost in translation.

Funniest moment of the week:
Michael-the-fat-bigot compared fat people to pizzas, and described them as being "round-shaped." First of all, round is not a shape. Second of all, can you imagine if people WERE shaped like pizzas and just rolled around everywhere? I laughed for ten minutes.

What have I been eating lately?
Spaghetti Factory (did not disappoint - it was as overpriced and unexciting as expected), Cafe on The Ave (did not disappoint - it was as delicious and friendly-staffed as expected), Triscuit Thin Crisps and tuna.
What have you eaten lately?

Whose style am I crushing on?
Jessie! Lately gal-pal Jessica has been experimenting with various updos, and doing a phenomenal job! I tried this particular style, and though I didn't get mine nearly as neat as she did, it still looked really cute, was super easy to do, and was much cooler and more comfortable than my usual messy bun. You can check out more of her awesome style (fashion and otherwise) at her blog! (Link on left) (Seriously, click, 'tis funny).

What's up next? Michael wants Chipotle for lunch, so we're about to head out. Afterword we will be swinging by Safeway to get some more food. It'll be a good weekend, full of studying and The Office watching. What are our plans?

Friday, July 1, 2011


My second week of class was pretty rough, but it got better. Even though I desperately wanted to quit, I kept going and the result is that today went pretty well. I feel like I'm finally starting to catch up with the rest of the class. I was able to translate almost all of my homework Thursday night (the same assignment a week ago took me about 6 hours because I had to look up almost every word), and today in class I was able to actively participate in each task.

Worst moment of the week:
Yesterday I finally persuaded Michael to go downstairs by himself and switch loads of laundry. He's been pretty shy about leaving the room without me unless it's to go to the bathroom or leave the house. Unfortunately, he had a confrontation with a still-unidentified female. Apparently she thought that only I was living here, and snapped at him, telling him it wasn't allowed, etc. He's been depressed enough as it is, and that definitely didn't help. I think he's feeling a bit better today, but I'm still pissed at that girl (whoever the F*CK she was!) and I wish she'd show up again so that I could tell her where to go.

Best moment of the week:
It's a tie!
Yesterday in class Alsu made not one but TWO references to Harry Potter, the best of which was that she said that Putin looked like Dobby. Apparently the likeness became a legal issue a few years ago.
What do you think?

The second best moment was today in class, when I got to choose the name of my team during an in-class competition (which we won). The name? рейтузы - pantaloons.

Strangest moment of the week:
While waiting for Michael after class a young boy (about 13) approached me, followed by 6 - 7 more boys and an older woman with a camera. The young boy asked me if, for a photographic scavenger hunt, he and his team mates could serenade me. Naturally I agreed. The older woman recorded us while they sang Happy Birthday to me. Of course they forgot to ask for my name BEFORE the song, so there's a lengthy pause after "dear" as they looked awkwardly around at each other. Of course I loudly whispered my name to them under my breath. The best part: most of the boys didn't realize that the song was selected at random, and they wished me a happy birthday as they left. I wish I had access to the video!

Funniest moment of the week:
Me: (standing next to Michael) "You gonna play my butt like bongos?"
Michael: (lightly paddling my backside) "I don't know if I'm doing this right."
Me: "I wasn't expecting proper technique..."
Michael: "I didn't know if you wanted Tchaikovsky."
Me: "...Tchaikovsky didn't play bongos, dear."

What have I been eating lately?
Since I'm basically living in a dorm room, but without access to a meal plan, I've had to eat a lot of prepackaged foods and cold cuts. Most noteworthy are: PowerBar triple threat energy bars (SO GOOD!), Ruffles, fun-sized butter fingers, pickles, string cheese, and soft dinner rolls. Also: $5 footlongs from subway (Black Forest ham on white, with Pepper Jack cheese, all vegetables, and some mustard).

What have you eaten lately?

Fact of the day:
Infants can detect emotion in our voices when they are as young as three months old.

Whose style am I crushing on?
Kate Middleton's.
She's so beautiful, classy, and stylish! She has creamy fair skin, stunning bone structure, and I love her style. I feel like she conforms to the standard dress code for political dignitaries without looking like she's copying anyone. Michelle Obama, on the other hand - and please don't read this as "Michelle sucks!" cos I think she's a nice lady - just looks like her stylist wants her to be a black Jackie Kennedy. Hi, we can have MODERN fashion and still look modest and chic. I suppose in either case I'll have to give the credit to their respective stylists (though I read that Kate uses personal shoppers).

He's really good at layering his clothes, and they always fit him well. This is an old photo, but you get the point. I wish I would have taken a pic of his outfit the other day, because he looked so hip!

Honorable Mention:

Jessica Alba.
I'm not a huge fan (not that I dislike her or anything), but how pretty does she look here? The dress is pretty enough on its own, but I think she makes it look even better.

The Fourth!
I have no plans for the holiday weekend. I need to study for a test on Tuesday, and get started on my field bibliography. Michael and I will be making at least one trip to Safeway, but I'm also hoping to stop in at the local IHOP for some funnel cakes!  What are your plans?