Tuesday, March 31, 2009

another funny quote from russian lessons

A: Which is more expensive? Milk or wine?
Me: Milk!
A: You are living in a fantasy world.


I prepare for a date the same way I prepare for a job interview, as far as makeup and what I decide to wear (OK, no, I usually wear a suit to a job interview and not to a date). I need to read some ladies' magazines and find out how to do it differently. Smoky eyes and things.

I'm excited for my eyelash extensions. I think I'm getting eyelash tint, too, which means no more mascara raccoon eyes. But I have to be careful not to become addicted to this stuff.

Monday, March 30, 2009

anything but to breathe

When you love somebody
Bite your tongue
All you get is a mouthful of blood
So Professor Who agreed with me that I was a weirdo, but in Donnie Darko style, it was meant as a compliment.

My love life is continuing apace. Virtually. I mean, online. I haven't actually had a date yet, but I will, and that's OK. I still have a hopeless crush, despite all distraction.

This Friday, I'm getting eyelash extensions. Weird, right?

Today I complained to my grandfather that I was always too busy (I've been trying for a week to get in touch with them when we're both free). And Paw said "Well, that's what life's for--filling up."
  • "When U Love Somebody," Fruit Bats

run! run to your chocolate huts!

Radio show went well, and I even feel rested. I also graded all the problem sets, which is completely, and wonderfully, awesome. AND I finished my applications to two different jobs, one of which I have an interview for tomorrow. AND an application for the statistics fellowship I hope to get for next semester, so I don't have to apply for those jobs right away, except for the summer ones. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

writing samples

A lot of my job applications require writing samples. I think it would be hilarious to send in some of my dream descriptions from my dream blog. What would they DO in a situation like that? Maybe I would include this dream about the whale, which I'd fogotten about, and was happy to remember. Even though it wasn't a happy dream.

I've been having pretty happy dreams lately. So that's nice.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

D&D in the Dark

Tonight at D&D, we played by candlelight for Earth Hour. After it was over, we didn't want to stop, it added to the mood so well. So, that was fun.

Friday, March 27, 2009

if i had a twitter account

  • 04:40 WTF? You are not 5am, you are 20 till.
  • 09:00 Hmmmm...have hit the snooze alarm 26 times. Time to go to my doctor's appointment.
  • 10:40 oh god oh god oh god. Hail!
  • 12:33 @RussianSpeaker Thanks for organizing this meetup! I'm sad that my Mongolian stalker is still there. LOL.
  • 12:34 It's not funny. Not at all.
  • 15:30 best. dream. evar.
  • 17:03 Thank you Depeche Mode for helping me clean my kitchen! Finally.
  • 19:48 Six minutes till burrito!
  • 19:52: Just called everyone I know. I guess they all have lives. Drinking the purple-carrot and blue-green algae stuff Ruth left me, instead of the vodka I brought from Russia. Drowning my sorrows hippy-style.
  • 20:04 It's now! It's right now!

latest methods (for getting rid of a crush)

Tonight I'm trying superimposing the personality of a loathable ex. It is especially helpful if the ex relationship started out as a big crush.

Also, cognitive techniques: say "STOP" out loud to myself (like Yoshi in Tetris Attack).

Speaking of cognitive, I just took a battery of tests for the CIA. I don't know how well I did, but I probably did OK, except for the one I ran out of time on.

words are very uncessary

listening to Depeche Mode on repeat.

Here we go 90's!

(don't be afraid, Jamie!)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


my hair looks like yoko ono's today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

lucky (pull me out of the aircrash)

cry cry cry. So much for that good feeling Monday. Except Ladybird came back, so that was good news. But nothing but bad news and stress since then. I'm so sick of it. It's only March, but I'm ready for May. I'm ready to be done, and to be a human again, not a student. You might wonder about my chances of applying for a PhD at this point, as do I. And my liklihood to follow up on the CIA application, as lucky as I was to get an email about it. I just want to take my road trip, and then do nothing at all. Maybe read some books, watch some TV. Good god do I want to catch up on BSG and the Dollhouse.

four bits of lucky.

Monday, March 23, 2009


ladybird is back. the above are some pictures of xander that my housesitter took while i was away. so sweet!

all things go
i don't mind
if i was crying
it was for freedom

Today is beautiful. It's such a long story, but for almost exactly a year, my soul has been muted, and I keep thinking of the Rainbow Bright movie, when the little furballs have to cover the diamond planet with macrame (?). But now it's like that robot horse fetched Rainbow Bright and her crew, and they're helping cut through the rope.

It helps that I'm listening to Sufjan Stevens. And it's a nice day. And jetlag is working in my favor, for the most part. And my psyche isn't addicted to anything in particular right now.

all the glory that the lord has made
and the complications you could do without

What else, what else? I have a lot of problem sets to grade, and a lot of papers to write, and presentations to prepare. And I feel fine.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

petersburg, day 5

The last day in Petersburg, Christine and I wandered around the Russian State museum. This was after we slept in, checked out of the hotel, bought a phone card, and made a freaking-complicated pay phone call to Natalya, whose baby was sick and couldn't meet us. The woman at the Russian Museum who helped us was crazy nice. The Russian Museum was OK. There was only one picture that I remembered, maybe two. Oh, that barge-pullers on the Volga something or other, I recognized that from a propaganda poster.

I'm in Chicago now and the plane is getting ready to board, and my computer is about to die.

I went to see Ella and Sasha, my old host mom and her son. It was wonderful, but short-lived. She gave me sweets, as she remembered I loved them. Happy happy.

Then a slightly-worrisome taxi ride to the train station, and Christine and I got onto the train with a woman and her sullenly inquisitive teenage daughter.

Oh, but we're going now.

So I'll finish later, with more details.

Monday, March 16, 2009

petersburg, 4

It is late. It is cold.

So much could be said, but must not be. So instead, superfically, I will leave you with this conversation (broken Russian) between me and the Russian waiter we took "out" for drinks tonight.

Waiter: Why do you look so sad?
Me: Me? Oh, that's just my face.

We had company visits today--a belabored speech in English about branding in Russia, and a rather funny speech (with an overheated room) about the IT industry in Russia, before, during and after perestroika. Then it was home again, and eventually to the Vodka Museum for dinner, with Maya, Ana, Christine, and Edward. Then to the Sky Bar again, where we bought Sergey (the waiter we stole from the Vodka Museum) some espresso, and looked at his photographs (Nikon D90). Then we had the conversation. I guess I told this story backwards. But there's not much to it. I just started out with the most interesting part (that I can talk about on a blog anyway. the rest goes in the imaginary diary).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Petersburg, 3

The weather was amazing today! Warm and springy (not like a sponge, like the season). We went to the Hermitage, where all of our feet hurt. I was impressed with one guy from our group who reeked of alcohol, but who stood through the entire 3 hour tour (a 3 hour tour!).* There was serious attrition of the group. First off, about 5 people stayed home entirely, hungover, despite having paid 16 euros for the tour. Second of all, people got bored looking at pictures of the baby Jesus and wandered off to do their own thing. Christine was disappointed not to see more Russian art, but hopefully we will have time to go to the Russian State Museum on our last free day before the train.

*Yes, that was a reference to Gilligan's Island

Then we went to a Georgian restaurant with a huge group, which predictably (though we held out hope otherwise) took forever. The group asked me lots of questions about the menu, which I could not answer. Christine and I got a pretty good variety of veggie appetizers, and I had a glass of wine for some reason. She had some "Georgian vodka." It was called chub-chub or something. Wait, no, that was Andy's hamster that probably had diabetes. I guess this was called chacha.

I came home to work on my essays, but fell asleep for about 10 hours. I realize Christine has done me a wonderful service by being wide-eyed about all things Russia, and keeping me from taking naps in the afternoon. She did a better thing than I by taking advantage of the afternoon sunshine. But sometimes you just have to take a 10 hour nap, wake up at 2am, and work on your midterm that you somehow didn't get out of despite being in MFing RUSSIA!

I can't believe I'll be home in a week. I can't believe I've been here a week. We've done so much in that week, I feel like.

In other non-Russia news, the CIA wrote me back about my job application, and I might have the option for a few fellowships. They might send me back to India, which I'm still very ambivalent about. I have also nearly finished my application for the fellowship I hope to get next Fall, which would allow me to put off the end of my schooling for one more semester. I am less ambivalent about this fellowship, though nervous about my chances of getting it, and nervous about my appropriateness if I do get it.

One thing about traveling in a group is you have about 10 pictures of you taken a day. Which means you should always look your best, which is annoying and difficult for me. Good thing I brought my makeup (I almost didn't). There are a lot of cute people on this trip, and I don't want to look too hideous next to them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Petersburg, 2

Today, went to Pushkin and the Idiot, two of my favorite places. But we didn't walk around the grounds at Pushkin, which is what I like about it. Instead we looked at two boring-ass palaces. I've seen enough palaces for a lifetime. I was very angry about this, even though I got a few good shots of the snow-covered grounds from the palace. FYI, the weather is somehow perfect even in winter.

But it is nearly spring.

At the Idiot, we were with Ricardo, Ana, Edward, Christine, and Michael. We were low-key and sober, though Christine and I split a bottle of champagne.

Also, today, we went and bought our train tickets, which was really taxing my Russian skills. But I managed, and feel very proud. Everyone was very nice to me after. It means no hotel that night, and we get back to Sergeev Posad pretty easily. Christine and I paid extra for a ladies wagon.

Then we went to the hotel's Sky Bar, which had a lovely view. Michael informed me that there was a fire in a trashcan outside the hotel, but didn't seem overly concerned about it, as he mentioned it halfway through a conversation. Once again, the conversation veered towards gossip, about which people we did and didn't like, and the latest reasons for said sentiments. Drama! Like you wouldn't believe! Email me for more details. I'll send you the canned version.

Tomorrow the Hermitage. Last night a very, very low-key evening with just me and Christine and Edward, talking about gymnastics, as he knew a lot about it, as he is on the UT team. He also has translated at a bunch of competitions (he is half Brazilian and half Thai) and has met most of the famous girls.

My one contactless eye (still scratched from India) keeps drooping, and I look a bit like Thom Yorke. That is my signal to go to bed. It is nearly midnight.

I can't wait to be asleep. It is my favorite.

Friday, March 13, 2009

st petersburg, 1

We got into the Moscovskaya station this morning after an overnight train (I slept as well as anyone ever has in their wool clothes). We took a city tour in the bus, but everyone was tired. The city is not hugely changed, so far as I can tell.

So anyways, Moscow was pretty fun the last night. I went out to dinner with Maya and Ana and Maya's dad, and they were really nice. We were very full, and warm from vodka shots, when we got back. Then Maya decided to rent a limo so we could go to Music Town, a music club we heard was cool. Unfortunately, on a Wednesday night at 1am, there was no one playing, and besides a Russian couple making out in the corner, our group of 15 (it was a loooong limo) were the only ones there.

BUT! They were playing Radiohead videos the whole time, and I bonded with the bartender Vanya by helping him with everyone's orders (if you think that was impressive, you should have seen me communicating with the limo driver about times--times of day are my weak point, but my lessons really have paid off), and by loving Radiohead. He very expressively explained to me that "Radio-khed--this is life." And I coglasenned. So I had a good night. The limo had laser lights and lights like stars all through, and like a disco ball, and Zak spins house music so he played club music in the limo as we drove all around Moscow. Even though I was very tired, this was all OK with me.

There is a picture of me and Vanya which I might upload. Or I might not. Michael finds it hilarious. I find it slightly mortifying, as you can tell from my facial expression in the picture.

I'm focusing on the good parts of this trip, but it's far from perfect considering how much money I spent. The drama is unpleasant, and people are kind of gossipy (because there's a lot of gossip to go around). Others are very whiney. Others are always loud and drunk. But it doesn't matter. Tonight I'm going to go buy my train ticket, and then maybe going to the Idiot with Christine, Ana + some others. But I hope not too many others.

We are a block off Nevsky Prospekt. We are on the way to buy tickets. I hope peak hours on the metro are over with.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

dialogue with me and my roommate:

rm: do I look slutty?
Me: Yes, totally. It's awesome.
rm: fuck! Ok, really?
Me: Ummmm....kind of, yeah.
rm: OK, let's go.

Moscow, 3 and 4

Yesterday, despite the previous bachanalian night, nearly everyone was up for the 9am speakers we had on the current business climate in Russia. Some were interesting, some were not so interesting. I asked two questions, and managed to prevent ALL the blood from rushing to my face as I asked them.

In the afternoon, we did something I can't remember, and then Christine and I walked down Arbat (both new and old). Old was clearly superior (walking down New Arbat was like being inside a casino), and we had the nice experience of having very helpful folks give us directions. I also had the experience of getting that melted-candy-bar-like hot chocolate.

When we got back, it was about time to go to the ballet. The Bolshoi Ballet! To see Don Quixote! Only! I was sick! (sore throat that I arrived with) and tired (always), and left after the first act with Nihar (MBA). I got a good night's sleep for once. But felt bad about missing most of the ballet. I gave my ticket to an old lady, so at least someone enjoyed the ticket. Maya's dad had bought everyone those tickets! Which was amazingly generous of him. He bought tickets, transportation, and security for a hockey game for half the group tonight. And some of the rest of us he's taking out to dinner. AND he set up a business lunch with some vice presidents of BP in Russia for some of our practicum groups.

There's some high drama going on amongst some of the ladies of this group. That along with the irresponsible drinking makes me feel about 17 (or really, 14, and my first trip to Russia). Such silliness. Such silliness. What a rogue! Silence!

I feel like I'm already messing up some of this entry. Like, I think Christine and I did Arbat the day before yesterday, and then did the entire length of Tverskaya yesterday, looking for me a Russian-like coat (mine stands out too much for my taste, though it keeps me nice and warm). A black fur-collared thing would be perfect, and there are so many skidki (sales), I surely can find one, right?

The point is, even though I feel like I don't have as much in common with many of the MBAs as I hoped, I have a group of people who will be my BFFs on this trip--Maya, Christine, Michael, and maybe even Ana, who I don't know well enough. I'm looking forward to meeting Maya's generous dad at dinner tonight. And her stepmom and sister.

Tomorrow night we take the overnight train to St. Petersburg. I can't wait to be back there.

Monday, March 09, 2009

moscow, 1 and 2

The flight was practically empty (I got my two seats to myself--bet those trust fund kids that upgraded to first class felt like suckers!). Passport control was fast and trouble free. My bag was one of the first dozen off. We all gathered to get onto the bus, and I realized that about half this class (which has met for three hours every week for 6 weeks) looks completely unfamiliar to me. I know all the girls, none of the guys.

Maya (born in Azerbaijan, but came here when she was 2) is my rooomate. Her dad lives in Moscow and she's spending lots of time with him. She used to be a news anchor in Waco, and she's super nice. I'm lucky she's my roommate because she's one of my two favorite people on the trip (other being Christine). Maya and I are able to have secret conversations about people right in front of them because we both speak Russian.

There's this one guy who has been drunk the whole time so far. Which is incredible. And embarassing, because the whole bus smells like a frat party every time he belches.

Christine and I walked around, to Red Square yesterday. Then last night, we went to Turandot, an amazing baroque restaurant. We were treated to a variety of acts, including a string quartet consisting of supermodels and a background of techno/karaoke music. Then the a capella Russian Backstreet Boys. All as we ate one of those teensy-portioned rich-person-restaurant meals. But it was aesthetically pleasing, and isn't that what people really want in their food?

When we walked in, a lady took a picture of me, Maya, and Christine (we had taken Maya's dad's car, while the rest of the group walked, like suckers!). The lady posed us in awkward ways, and we figured we were going to be sold photos at the end of the night. But it seems we in fact may be featured in some society page online. I doubt we'll make the cut. But that's the kind of place the restaurant was.

We also got roses and perfume bottles, because it's international women's day (March 8, plus the monday after in this case).

Today, we had a metro tour, and we saw the church of Christ the savior, which was (re) built in the 90's. So, it's brand new. We spent way too much time there than was necessary.

I skipped the afternoon Kremlin trip, ostensibly to do my take-home essay that's due, but in reality, to listen to hypnotism CDs and sleep for a couple of hours. I was doing so well about the jetlag (got up at 6:30 aned worked out this morning). Despite the fact that I woke up every hour on the hour last night, I was able to go back to sleep relatively quickly.

Christine and I walked to the Arbat streets, after asking directions from two people--one youth, and one very nice lady who followed us and made sure we got from New Arbat to Old Arbat. It was a nice walk down the pedestrian street, despite all the chain stores. I got some cough medicine, and I think she told me to disolve it in water and take it once per day, but I'm going to get Maya to help me read the label nonetheless. The conversation went something like

Me: I don't have the words for that which I need, but I have coughing {fake coughs}
Lady: Yes, I understand coughing. What do you need from me?
Me: Medicine.
Lady: Obviously. But, do you want {incomprehensible}
Me: Maybe. What's that?
Lady: {sighs, gets a box of medicine} Here. {gives instructions}

So, for all I know, she gave me strychine. Which I don't even know how to spell in English, what are my chances in Russian?

Speaking of dialogues, here is one from my Russian lessons:

Me: I read some of your cookies last night!
Tutor: {understands what I mean, but frowns gravely} You have made a big mistake.

Christine and I just got back from our walk, and are resting before going out with a guy who lives here in Moscow, but it applying to school at McCombs (the business school, which I'm traveling with), so is interested in getting to know some of the students. Christine and I get along because we are both hyper-aware of being in the group of Loud Americans. And mortified by the alcoholics on our trip.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Originally uploaded by syzygia8
little girl lost.

credit crunch, credit crunch, credit crunch

Have you guys heard about this financial crisis thing? I've had to become a news junkie for some of my classes, but I'm looking for particular bits of news. But it seems to me like it's the exact same news every day--"stock markets tumble amid fears," "so and so country impending collapse." Where do we go from here?

years ago, birds of a feather would arrive nightly

Another 3am show tonight. I don't know why I'm updating NOW, when I will probably have another pointless update soon, disjointed and dull and weary, from the station. It's a good deal for me because I traded with someone for while I'll be in Russia.

I'm at a coffee shop, doing last minute email planning for the trip. I should be doing homework as well, but I spent hours getting together a problem set solution guide, and am exhausted from all this thinkin'. I still didn't finish the problem set, not for lack of effort, but for lack of intelligence. I ended up sending it to Professor Who for help. There is a boy here at Epoch sharing our table, and he is doing calculus homework. It's amazing how little I remember of all the things I've learned in life. As I said, lack of intelligence. Professor Who disagreed, on the listserv no less, when I said "maybe it's because I'm not that bright, but..." and I felt bad, like he was trying to reassure the students that their TA was not in fact an idiot.

Anyway, I hope he fixes that problem set by tomorrow so I know what to teach in the tutorials. Oh, god.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

what is this?

Besides beauty incarnate?

last night's funniest moment for me

K: Are you chewing gum? Ooh, can I have some?
K's GF: Sorry it was my last piece!
K: Can I have that piece when you're done with it?
GF: Gross! No!
K: What's the big deal? We share a toothbrush! It's the same thing!
GF: [stops walking] We don't...share a toothbrush. [pause] K, we better not share a toothbrush!