17 Moments of Riga

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:47 pm
sabotabby: (lolmarx)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Just arrived in Riga, Latvia. Thought, hey, this hotel is teh cute!

Anya is like, "This hotel is familiar."

I realize that this is of interest to probably no one else reading this (sadly it would be if I were cross posting to LJ, where there is a teeny community for such things), but I'm staying in the hotel where they shot Seventeen Moments of Spring (as well as parts of the Soviet Sherlock Holmes.) And if you think I'm not geeking out like mad over this, you don't know me at all.

Fortunately, Anya is the person who introduced me to the series so she is also geeking out and is equally pleased that Stirlitz is watching over the beds in our room, judging whether or not we have adequately sacrificed and fought for the cause of anti-fascism:


Here's the view out the window:



(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here is my screenshot recap of Seventeen Moments after I watched it and decided that everyone needed to see it. Minus the image hosting, unfortunately; I'll need to fix that at some point.)

Odessa Opera House, Pt. 2

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:07 pm
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
[personal profile] sabotabby
So the performance sucked so hard we walked out. Like, possibly the worst thing either of us have ever seen, which is saying an awful lot. The tickets were suspiciously cheap, but tbh most things in the Ukraine are suspiciously cheap. But in this case I think it was because they knew it was terrible. We'd actually gone in to see if we could get a tour or just wander around the opera house, but the lady said that there was a show that night, so we decided to give it a shot.

She described the show as a sequel to The Nutcracker but also a crossover with War and Peace, and a musical. A "wonderful spectacle," in fact. I have to admit that we were basically morbidly curious, and it would get us inside those gorgeously ornate doors.

Anyway, we made it two songs in. The thing was in Ukrainian so we don't know what it was about but I don't think it would have made a lot of sense even if we did understand the language. It was kind of embarrassing to listen to.

But! It meant that we got to sneak out and take unobstructed photos of the glory that is the Odessa Opera House, and that was worth the ticket price alone. I hope you appreciate how hard it was to narrow these down. They don't half capture the actual, real spectacle that is this building, but I've given it my best.

pretty! )

The Opera House, Pt. 1

Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:17 pm
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
[personal profile] sabotabby
We went to the Odessa Opera House, one of the most famous and beautiful opera houses in the world.

behold! )

Perhaps my most touristy of posts

Jul. 22nd, 2017 11:13 pm
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
[personal profile] sabotabby
I did it! I got a picture of the unicorn.

click here )

22/7, and Happy Anniversary to me

Jul. 22nd, 2017 03:00 pm
fflo: (dork L)
[personal profile] fflo
Art Fair, cutting up watermelon, tomato & cheese sandwich, thunderstorm that interrupts muggy and leaves muggy behind.  Seeking air conditioning, or at least a fan, every so often.  Netflix & muggy.  Lotsa fuzzy water and no deep thinkin'.

Outside somewhere.  Overdue.  Maybe drugs later (for sleep).  Sleep sooooo good.

Worry not, dear one.  Or don't worry about worrying, worry, cuz you're gonna worry, but be empowered by me/you to feel less compelled to worry, when you really don't want to.  Cuz who wants to?

A mathematician I follow points out today:  22/7 is a better approximation of pi than Pi Day.

I remembered to get rid of the storage unit key before they realized I still had it.  I ordered an orange mailbox, cuz someone knocked mine off.    I don't have two cancers.  Among others.  

Inside I'm still whispering--- "Write to me."

Summertime, summertime:  sum sum summertime.


WTF: Ukraine Edition

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:09 pm
sabotabby: (coffee)
[personal profile] sabotabby
I feel like this needs to be a separate post from the OMG ODESSA IS SO PRETTY post. For one thing, these were taken on my shitty cell camera and not my iPad. But also they're pictures I've taken when I've seen something hella weird and immediately need to inform social media.

Let's just say there are some, uh, cultural differences between Ukraine and everywhere else I've ever been that take a bit of getting used to. FOR EXAMPLE:


What is this, some kinky sex thing? Maybe in that masochist bar that we didn't get into because your kink is okay but not my kink?


No! It is the café in the Lviv airport. Why do they have chairs like this? No one knows. But to answer a few questions:

1) Yes, we sat in them.
2) Yes, they are actually quite comfortable.
3) No, no one else seemed to think they were out of the ordinary in any way.

To answer a question no one asked:

1) Yes, the Americanos in that café are quite good, especially by airport standards, would totally recommend. Though, granted, it was like 5 am and I would have drank lighter fluid if it would have woken me up.



Our hotel in Lviv, while cute, had no elevator--a problem, since our room was on the 5th floor. (I may be an obsessive step-counter who never goes on an escalator when there's the option of a staircase, but at the end of the day when you've been walking/carrying bags? Less fun.) We were relieved to see that this hotel does have one. In fact, it has all of the regular floors you would expect to see in a building, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, and crab.

1) Yes, I know what's on the crab floor.
2) No, you'll have to wait and see until tomorrow if it's any good.

Massive Odessa photo dump

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:33 pm
sabotabby: (magicians)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Sorry-not-sorry, but you will be getting a load of pictures of Odessa because it is fucking magical. My intention at the moment is to retire, sell my house, buy one of the dilapidated old buildings and restore it to its former glory, learn Russian (it's another city where most people speak Russian, not Ukrainian, much to our joy), and wander around the glorious streets at night in a fashionable dress, drinking an open bottle of champagne.

Life goals, amirite?

In all seriousness, though, not for nothing is Odessa called Paris on the Black Sea. It has all the architectural splendour and literary tradition you could hope for, it is cosmopolitan and fashionable, and it is lit. I have never been to Paris, granted, but from what I understand Odessa is much cheaper and not as crowded. In Kiev and Lviv, people are pretty much the same as anywhere else, except with a penchant for wearing poorly translated English t-shirts bearing inspirational but nonsensical slogans, expressions of general hatred towards anyone viewing the shirt, or just vague weirdness (my favourite so far was a picture of a cat made out of ramen noodles sitting in a bowl with the caption "Pet Food").

Here, though, everyone looks like a model. The women are all tall and thin and wear flowing striped dresses, and the children prance around in tutus at all hours of the night. The streets are alive with music and performers and what I'm pretty sure is a unicorn (i.e., incentive to look at the pictures under the cut).

plz appreciate how much I had to narrow these down )

With apologies to Sergei Eisenstein

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:58 pm
sabotabby: (lolmarx)
[personal profile] sabotabby
We're in Odessa, about a 10 min walk from the !!!!!!!! Potemkin Steps.

Expect incoming photos for every day I'm here.

Srsly, I didn't even like Battleship Potemkin but I don't think a movie needs to be enjoyable to be arguably the most important movie ever made, with which we would not have our current cinematic vocabulary. I mean. I teach film. So naturally the first thing I had to do (well, after we had lunch and coffee because we were up at 4 am to catch the flight from Lviv) was brave the 30°C weather to bring you the following:





Don't mind me, I'll be over here geeking out hard/memorizing the angles in the scene so that I can do horrible imitations of them amongst all the tourists.

Cambridge, MA, photos 2

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:51 pm
microbie: (Default)
[personal profile] microbie
This trip was a little unusual in that we spent the entire time in Cambridge, only passing through Boston to/from the airport.

On Saturday we walked around Cambridge with perpetual teen heartthrob VillageCharm, who endured my glacial eating speed with good humor. Our second stop was the Old Burial Ground, just across the street from Harvard. Charm dazzled us with his knowledge of gravestone trends, such as the skull and crossbones giving way to the winged skull:
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Eventually this was replaced by the more peaceful motif of an urn and a weeping willow.
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This is also a rare example of an intersection of mine and Charm's interest--a gravestone for someone with the surname Tupper.

The urn carved here looks like a magic lamp.
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There were many gravestones like this. I liked the optical illusion that made the letters appear to vibrate.
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Then we were off in search of records, books, and whatever else caught our eye, like this ibis weather vane:
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Our original plan was to walk from Harvard's square to MIT's, but I was having problems with my legs and couldn't walk the whole way, so we hopped on the T for the last leg. We had a fine meal at the medieval-sounding Meadhall (which only had four meads, all of them incredibly expensive), only letting Charm go home when he was in danger of falling asleep at the table.

I sorta wanna blame facebook.

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:30 am
fflo: (Default)
[personal profile] fflo
I don't get on facebook much any more, but I was on there yesterday, and here in the mammogram harem waiting lounge I ran out of phone game interest, and I looked again.  And there were a coupla nice things to see, but ugh to others.  The worst was the obit for a man made out to be a hero who was ongoingly raping his daughter for years, and had his hooks in her ever after, in multiple debilitating ways I don't know the half of.  So much of her difficulty in life seems tied to that soul-terrorizing monster-gaslight crap that he did.  And she has had tremendous difficulty.  It makes me nauseous, reading about---thinking of---his lauding, now that he's dead, like his lauding while he was alive.  She isn't the only victim of his I know about, either, and there were probably still others, gotta figure.  A charming and vile man who enjoyed himself and life and his self-importance and what he could take from others, regardless of the consequences for them, to the hilt.  Makes ya wish there were a hell for him.  Makes ya wish there had been a hell for him here.  His daughter is still in the hell he sent her to, built for her, consigned her to.

As I typed that last bit, the tech came to tell me I'm good to go, no need for biopsy, come back in a year (not even 6 months).  This is good.  I am grateful for this.

And that man was bad.  It's not facebook's fault.  But seeing him praised there came to me through that app/messenger, and isn't helping my sense of the bullshit and hostility and brutality and callous selfishness of humanity.

My new brown roof is on, and the gutters were about to be installed when I left for this appt.  My pets and I are basically well.  I got a good night's sleep.  My job is super-cool about me taking time off.  There may be a thunderstorm this afternoon.  Maybe I'll get a good night's sleep tonight, too.

This is me talking me down.


Cambridge, MA, photos 1

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:27 pm
microbie: (Default)
[personal profile] microbie
I took all of the photos over the weekend; it was cloudy Wednesday through Friday. I stayed at the cheapest hotel for the conference, a Hyatt that managed to be close to nothing yet still in a city.
IMG_1593

The exterior is neat, but inside it was the 1980s, still: dark brown carpet and upholstery and beige wallpaper.

The ~half-mile walk to the conference took me past MIT's athletic fields; I didn't even realize that MIT has athletics. Their mascot is the Engineer, which is represented by a surprisingly ominous cartoon of a beaver:
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At first I thought the cartoon was of a profile of a weirdly shaped baseball hat.
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One of the many cool buildings on campus. I think this is a dorm or residence hall; it's across the street from the athletic fields.
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This is also part of the athletic complex.
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An enormous brick building in pristine condition. I wonder what it's used for.
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The conference was held in the dome-shaped building behind the white tent (which was set up on the last day of the conference).
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This sculpture, not far from the conference site, was a popular place for photos
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I think this building houses the nuclear reactor.
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I'm not sure whether these buildings are owned by MIT; there's no clear border between campus and non. They're near the area where I'd usually get lunch.
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One of my co-workers said that MIT has a lot of modern architecture, but it wasn't as widespread as she had made it sound. This stretch of buildings was pretty cool.
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More sculpture
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I am a terrible person, because the idea of something for future children made me giggle.
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a doozy of a dream, and roof day

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:50 pm
fflo: (Lu face)
[personal profile] fflo
Why it was my folks, I dunno, but in my dream they were in a room with a beloved one who was lying on the bed and saying just terrible stuff, about them, about I don't even remember what.  Thing after thing.  Bullshit things.  And then later, I was saying something to her, still there, about how shitty that was.  Felt like the way I knew it wouldn't necessarily come across, but was clearly going to sort of do-her-the-courtesy-of explaining, or trying to, what was not okay about that, had something to say to me.  Woke up during that heavy sigh moment, or soon after. 

I had been so deeply asleep.

This morning the dog and I went around in the world a while, but I finally dropped her off at doggy daycare for a stretch, while I came in to the office.  It's hard not to want to watch the stream of her from the webcam there on my phone all day.  But I've been managing to do some relatively tedious author summary stuff.  And look in on her every once in a while.

Of castles and bacon thieves

Jul. 19th, 2017 05:23 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Today we were incredibly productive. We hiked up to High Castle, which technically is neither a castle nor very high, but I am still proud of us, dammit. It's quite a view. Some of the original castle remains, but it's not particularly impressive compared to the sight of all of Lviv.

there are cats and other things )
spatch: [Don Music] (Don Music)
[personal profile] spatch
"Well, you walk around on two legs, that's wonderful."
"What's so wonderful? Your spine is made of rubber, that's wonderful."
"What's so wonderful? First you lick your own butt..."

"OH, THE DIVIDENDS ARE SWEETER FROM SOMEBODY ELSE'S TECH STOCKS--
OH, THE SAND IS ALWAYS NEATER IN SOMEBODY ELSE'S LITTER BOX"


exeunt, pursued by kander and ebb
fflo: (tongue)
[personal profile] fflo
That's probably true whatever kind of boobs are in the second half, given how much worse roofies already are than roof + boobies.

Seems my new roof may suddenly be going on tomorrow.  And the day after that I have a 2-hour re-screening and ultrasound appt for my right breast, which has a nodule that merits further investigation.

These two things are enough for this week, I think, and here declare.

I have a dinner invitation for tomorrow that I still hope to make it to, and plan to sing at Art Fair on Saturday, but let others take the personning of the info booth.

Just had that whole it's-not-cancer thing about my skin, and still healing there.  Oy.

Right now I'm gonna get some ice and then I'm gonna have fuzzy water with my afternoon galleys.  One thing at a time.  E.g., attend to the gutters and any tumors later.

In Lviv

Jul. 18th, 2017 07:13 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
This is a gorgeous city, maybe even more than Kiev. It's also very much a City Of Coffee, and I highly approve. There's a café where, if you go into the basement, you can "mine" for coffee in the walls, but besides that, when we asked the hotel guy where to get good coffee, he looked at us weirdly and said, "it's ALL good coffee." A random selection would suggest he's right.

We did a walking tour, saw various churches, the Catholic Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, all of which seem very close together by contemporary standards. Lviv has changed hands over its history, and the references to Galicia made me do a Google and feel like an idiot because Lviv was in the heart of what had been Galicia, and that's where my grandfather was from.

Anyway, here is the new friend we made:



more pictures )

Here, have some pictures of Lviv

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:03 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
We took the overnight train and got in at 6 am. Our hotel booking isn't until 2 pm, so we've just been wandering around and taking pictures of all the pretty architecture.

click to embiggen )

Some more pictures

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:02 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Our last day in Kiev until the end of our trip. Here's a few quick glimpses of things we've seen, as we walked and walked. This is going to be a bunch of tiny pictures 'cause I'm writing from a café before we get on a night train for Lviv.

click for larger versions )

Mezhyhirya

Jul. 16th, 2017 04:37 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Viktor Yanyukovitch was president of the Ukraine from 2010-2014, until he was fairly dramatically deposed and fled to Russia as he is currently wanted for treason here. By all accounts, he was incredibly corrupt, and acquired the massive Mezhyhirya estate with public funds. As wealth and corruption is no guarantee of taste, when asked which architectural style he wanted to build his massive palaces in, he must have replied, "fuckin' all of them," because when protestors walked in and took over the place in 2014, they were appalled not just at the excesses (which included a car museum, a zoo, a golf course, several tennis courts, and orchards), but at his alarming taste in decor.

It now belongs to the people and is a destination for Ukrainians to have weddings, bike around, and generally point and laugh. Also there are gigantic thrones and Greco-Roman ruins for no apparent reason.

pictures! )

Kiev, day 1

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:49 am
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
[personal profile] sabotabby
I admittedly did little but eating and sleeping, as everyone is exhausted. We're staying right behind Maidan Nezalezhnosti, though, and even the laziest traveller could not fail to be moved by its beauty.



Post-2014 demonstrations, it is plastered with photos and memorials to the dead. No one goes out in Kiev this time of year except at night, when the fountains explode like fireworks and street musicians busk and young couples laugh and dance in the streets.











We grabbed dinner at an adorable café that, shock of all shocks, had food I could eat: mushroom kasha and vareniki stuffed with sour cherry, and sour cherry infused vodka.







Then exhaustion got the better of us and I probably slept more than I have in months. Awake bright and early now to do proper exploring.

P.S. Sorry for the size and quality of the images; DW's image hosting + being on my iPad makes for an unfortunate combination.







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