.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


the colours in your head


Today I went to the Dosteovsky Museum, which was actually quite cool, especially since I'm reading The Idiot right now and it just got really good.

More importantly though, on the way back we stumbled upon a ginormous food market, and they sold caviar by the heap. By the heap!


kalinka, kalinka, kalinka moya

I just spent five hours doing homework for tomorrow and thursday, for a class that I'm just taking for kicks. Firstly, there was that little essay on D.S. Likhachov to read, which was all good and fine, but when you start throwing in words like "public figure" and other fun stuff into intermediate level, which is what we supposedly are, it becomes a massive headache. Yes, I know it's funny that I don't know how to say public figure, but.... GAH. We've been doing stuff like "I want to invite you to the party" and "I wsh you happiness on your birthday" and then she (she being darling, adorable Masha who I want to hug and become best friends with) is like "hah! read themes about ancient Russia!" And yes, it's far far FAR more interesting, not to mention more pertinent to what I want / need to know, but... some clarity in the switching? some going over of vocab before throwing us ten essay questions due the next day?

And then, in razgovor we're doing film and theatre. Which is SPLENDID. Too splendid, in fact. I realised I had all these questions to get done, a list of eighteen, and so I started in. Number one: which do you prefer, film or theatre? Why? Fine. Next: Are there some kinds of movies children should avoid? Why? OK. Moral questions here, but can be written off in about four sentences. Let's go further. Couple more like that, interesting, but dealable. then-- the killer one, for me at least. "Who is your favourite actor? Why? What films has he played in? And actress?"

Ok, you have to stop right here and comprehend the EVILNESS of this question. There are many who could just write that off and be done with it, but OH NO. Oh no oh no oh no. ALEX, little miss overacheiver, chooses to go into the comparative merits of Deniro versus Brando. With four months of Russian behind her. The result are such sparkling gems as: "Seichas, igrat' [Streetcar named Desire] v teatre ochen trudno, potomu chto mnogo liodi smotreli etot fil'm i dumali, chto rol Stanleya Koval'skiya bylo napisat' dlya Brando."

Translation: Now, to play "Streetcar named Desre" in the theatre is very hard, because many people saw the film and thought that the role of Stanley Kowalski was written for Brando.

Clumsy in English, even. ACK. I just want a magic fairy to descend and send me back in time to a Russian household. My father speaks Russian. Would it really have been SO hard for him to bring his daughter up speaking it?

Also, we have this fucking Finn in my class who a.) is an actor, or rather aktyorrrrrrr with a thunderrrrrous rrrrrrolling finnish Rrrrrrrrr so he has OPINIONS about theatre and stuff (as he is allowed, as he actually works in the business) but he NEVER SHUTS THE FUCK UP. And he has SO MUCH more vocabulary than ANYONE and SO MUCH better grammar and he should be in a higher class, but OH NO, when I asked him why he didn\'t move up, he smply shrugged and said that he was placed in the class, so it must be the right one. AGH. And he corrects everyone to their face and is always like "Mozhno sprosit?" and busts out some hideously technical thing while all of the rest of us sit there babbling like infants.

I think I'm also annoyed because we had to sing Kalinka in Fonetika today and as a result it\'s been stuck in my head ALL DAY. with full orchestral accompaniment. Not a bad song, but.... ack. Horrid.

Ok, I'm out of time. To give credit where it's due, this was originally an email to Liza. But I needed to re-rant. GAH.



The fact that we have similar tastes in books, music and movies does not necessarily mean that there will be contact of a sweaty rubbing naked nature between our bodies at any point within the forseeable future. Your penis will not approach me, except in a respectable, nicely-contained-within-your-pants manner.

If I choose to dance near you, that is not an invitation to grab at me. I like being grabbed at on occasion, but you are ugly, and the "good taste in books etc." needs some more time to work its magic before grabbing at can even begin to materialise as a feasible option.

If I am talking to you, but then I start going off and talking to the person next to you about the band name on their shirt, that means I'm trying to escape and am making desperate conversation. Nope, not hanging on your every word. Just trying to not OBVIOUSLY blow you off.

In short, my acknowledgement of your existence as a sentinent being does not mean that I wish to have sex with you.

In other news, my foot is bizarrely numb and has a really painful part to it. Did I manage to break it last night and not notice?


Today in Fonetika we discussed clothes, among other things. My teacher noticed I was wearing a skirt and made me stand up in front of class to demonstrate what the word for it is. Upon noticing the rather abbreviated length of it, she went on a rant about the way the girls of today dress, and taught us how to say "You have to suffer to be beautiful." She then went on a ramble that somehow managed to touch upon AIDS and the Romanovs in the span of two sentences. She teared up when she spoke of the Romanovs. Apparently Russia was never so glorious as at that time. And then she declaimed Akmatova poems to us.

We rounded off the lesson by singing a folk song.

I think I may have to marry this woman. She's hilarious. She must be somewhere in her sixties, with librarian glasses and a penchant for floral prints gone bad. She's rather on the large side, but she carries herself with such utter utter grace that she somehow manages to flit, and then she teaches us words like "hunchback", in between wanderings off into monologues about the state of Russian culture.

In other news, I accidentally gave my sketchy Italian neighbour a black eye last night. More on him at a later date. He's truly a character. I think I may have to invent mental instability to get him off my back.


Jeans Hot Fiesta!

Today I had one of my most Russian of experiences and went to the movies. The film in question was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which my friend had lead me to under the lie that it was in English. It was, in fact, somewhat in English-- the original words on the soundtrack had not actually been removed, but rather had just been turned down in volume so that Russian could be spoken over them. The weirdness of this was amplified by the fact that the people in charge of dubbing had apparently decided that multiple actors were completely unneccessary to the humor value of the movie, so one poor soul had been selected to provide the voices for all the parts. He did rather well, switching around accents and intonations whenever he remembered that there were different characters. One problem, though-- the Knights who Say "Nee" were mysteriously translated to The Knights who Say "Reba". God only knows. In the end, battling heat, fatigue and the strain of trying to simultaneously listen to the English and understand the Russian overlay, I must confess that I briefly fell asleep. The audience seemed to like it, though.
Earlier in the day I went the full circle with my random speaking of languages when I encountered the mysterious Brazilian who I have been curious about for the past week, ever since he made his appearance into the elite circle of desperate smokers in the "Smolny Playground" during breaks between classes. He is very golden, in the way that only Brazilian boys can be-- curly blond hair, bronze skin and green green green eyes. Shades of his Aryan ancestry. He and his not attractive friend were talking to Freida and Charlota, my German friends, when I came over, and a bond was formed over an invite to the beach outside town tomorrow. Freida, Charlota and I are going on a picnic, and wouldn't it be nice if the boys accompanied us? They conferred briefly in Portuguese, I let on that I understood them, I was interrogated on my knowledge of the language, but it kept coming out Russian. On the bus, all the phrases came back. Ach.

It turns out that bronze beautiful boy knows Italian, as he backpacked around Italy for a few months, and we discussed the comparative highlights of Russia vs. Italy vs. Brazil. Lovely lovely. Only question that remains-- how in God's name can I think to appear on the beach in a bikini in front of Brazilians? I'm not slurring upon my own body, and I do on occasion get asked if I'm from there, but they come from the land of the beautiful women in excuses for thongs and my two-sizes too big Billabong suit isn't going to do much to hold up the Italian side. Ah well.

PS: Jeans Hot Fiesta!-- sign on a store that sells purses. I love Russia.


There's no place like home...

Somewhere, somehow, in the middle of the night, I was trampled by a herd of midgets, with the end result that every bone and tendon in my body is a conduit for throbbing dull pain.

I don't know what happened here.

Whinging aside, I am at long last free of the people from Kansas, which is actually a rather sad proposition. It had been my first contact with people from that most-overlooked of states, minus Michelle from high school, who they actually know. I like them, though, and managed to overcome all the mocking little thoughts in my head about The Wizard of Oz and just... hicks. I'm sorry. Kansans are cool. I'll never think snide thoughts about Middle America again.

And on that incoherent note, I go to answer an email I just discovered in my inbox from 4 months ago. I do dearly suck as a correspondant.


Alex likes to ramble when she's sleepy.

I am currently brain numbingly, mouth-filling-with-drool tired. If someone were to draw me right now, I would probably look like some crushed soul being sucked down into the void of hell. Why am I online, you ask? I had meant to see if the boyfriend was online so I could talk to him and try not to be a snappy bitch to him for once, but alas, he was not. I don't really do the online conversation thing very well-- I'm always looking at 27 other windows, so I'm already distracted, and when that is combined with my sarky comments and my habit of becoming horrendously defensive / attacking people for really unjustified things if I happen to be in less than the peachiest of moods, the conversations don't exactly tend to be overly condusive to romance of any sort. Not that virtual conversation brings up any particular desires to be lovey dovey anyway. In me at least. Power to people who can do that kind of stuff, but emoting into a screen is insanely hard. I suppose I am doing this in a way here, but it's not really emoting in a sense that involves another person, beyond the faceless audience. When it's someone I know and want to interact with, then I just end up being bored or feeling slightly fake when trying to really pretend an interest in what it is that is being said to me in the little blinking box. I've had some great online conversations, and I'm not going to stop doing it, really, but it certainly is not my favourite means of communication. As I think I have iterated 37 times in this train of thought.

Why so tired, you ask?

Well, here in Russia, American Independance Day means nothing. They speet on the stupeed Americans with all their fireworks and merriment and carousing. Not that Russians don't carouse-- on the contrary, Prom Night (yes yes, I will eventually explain what that is) definitely shows that they know how to get down. As does every night, pretty much. The group here from Kansas, however, definitely decided they wanted to have their fab 4th celebration, even if it had to be on the third. Off to the beach they trooped, and as an Offical Hanger-Oner, I got a free train ticket and was taken along.

Problem was, yesterday was a Big Day. Or rather, it was supposed to be a very chill day that somehow became ridiculous, as has been most of this weekend, once again, starting Thursday. My friend Dave had his birthday at some point, which turned into a three day celebration somehow, starting Thursday night at City Bar, where they give you a liter of beer for 70 rubles (about $2.50, I think... rather overpriced, if I do say so myself.) That was a good time for a while-- there was merriment and spastic dancing and lots of inappropriate language on the part of this random 17 year old who decided he was a big kid, as seen by his drunkeness and his surreptitious smoking of all my cigarettes (And yes... he doesn't smoke. By the way, "social smokers", it's really just not cool when you do that. They cost money. A couple every once in a while I will grant you without a hint of protest, but when you start matching me chainsmoke for chainsmoke over the course of the night, just buy your own bloody pack. Or buy me a drink, so I'm not so angry when I run out and have to buy overpriced ones at the bar.) Unfortunately, the night ended with vomit on the floor of the bar (not mine, thank heavens... not even close) which made me realise that it's just not normal that American college students think it's perfectly ok to drink to the point where you can't even casually sneak off to the bathroom if the need arises to violently empty your guts. As I took off and sprinted to Nevsky, more prodded by the fact of the metro closing at 12:30 (!) than the puddle on the floor, I felt the top of my bag flapping. "This could be a bad thing," I thought to myself. "Perhaps, something might fall out. Something important."
"Nope," said my inner idiot. "Couldn't happen. I lead a charmed existence." I ran into the metro, took out the token from my pocket, rode to Primorskaya, and, on attaining the dorm and hearing the doors lock behind me, I discovered that I had no wallet.

Contents: 500 rubles (17 dollars?), my ISIC card with the only good picture of me ever to be found on a piece of documentation (boo), assorted crap, and my ATM/credit card.

That's the one that really sucks to lose. I don't know if I'll be able to get into my bank account before September, and... it's fourth of July weekend in the US. Frantic emails to the 'rents ensue, and all should be taken care of.

Pain in the ass though.

So anyway, Friday rolls around and Alex is most definitely not in the sassiest of moods. Not that I often am in any sort of mood resembling sassy.

--[By the way, it's really embarassing when you have to contort yourself strangely to crack your back and then you notice that the cute boy sitting next to you is looking at you like you are an exhibit from the Kunstkamer.]--

In class we bid farewell to our two mildmannered Canadian classmates, who are bound for Toronto and Irkutsk respectively. Pierre was a great loss-- his Quebecois accent brought many a supressed laugh to my shoulders. Marc-- was nice. Most guys named Marc tend to be. The final c gives them a softer edge. Later, I went to the ballet, which was ok, and then out to town with the Kansans, post a break wherein I was accidentally quite bitchy to my boyfriend over AIM. We found ourselves at the Ego Cafe. I celebrated my financial problems with an appropriately overpriced mimosa. The sleazy German who ran the place rubbed his hands together with glee when he estimated how much more he could squeeze out of us poor students, luring us in with chill ambiance and such. Another Metro sprint home, this time clutching my purse like it was the One Ring. Precioussss...

Saturday was what I was originally planning on talking about, but... the KGB lady again. Do zavtra.