Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From a land of ice and snow to a land and snow

Chechulin's High-rise (one of the Seven Sisters) on Kotel'nicheskaya Embankment. View from Kitai-gorod

With all luck I am on a jet plane to the homeland right now. Gooood. Gooood. Very goooood.

I don't know how much or what I might be writing on this blog while I'm home, this might be the last time we speak in the 2009 year.

If you get bored, head over to the blog of existential crises, Storm und Drunk, or check out something on the sidebar.

A final thought: An oft-quoted Mayakovsky poem is Lenin - zhil, Lenin - zhiviot, Lenin - budet zhit'. [Lenin lived, Lenin Lives, Lenin will lives]. Well, while Mayakovsky had Rodchenko as a photographer, I have Briullov - and I'm tempted to say Mayakovsky zhil, Mayakovsky zhiviot, Mayakovsky budet zhit'.


Meh. I don't know. Before I did the photo-combine it seemed like my picture was so angry. But compared to The Angry Futurist™ I look like a sunshiny day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where are the bears on unicycles?

I was told there would be bears on unicycles. Lies. All lies. I also must tell you that The Professor and his family were very tickled/offended by some comic they saw that depicted Moscow as Red Square, the Kremlin, and then forest. Remember, Moscow is a big city; a city of economic activity, crazy people, architectural fashion statements, and prostitutes. (That last is a lie, I didn't pay her anything.)

We went to Red Square! But there were no bears on unicycles.

Compulsory picture of St. Basil's (Russ: Pokrovsky sobor or Khram Vasiliia Blazhennogo)

And then we took pictures of ourselves! Thanks to Madame de Pompadour for the first set (they really are only awesome when we view them like comics panels). Look closely: guest appearance by The Mullet!

Then Madame came out from behind my camera. I honestly have no idea what caught Briullov's attention, or what we were saying to each other in the first set, but there you go.

Caption contest? The winner gets...something.

Click on any picture to expand.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Better than Bob's Furniture's Jingle

I wicked wanted sushi after the gym today. It was maybe half past four. I said hey! I want sushi. I can get pretty cheap sushi right here. Why not get sushi? I will get sushi!

I go down the street to the 24-hour joint on the corner. Not the highest quality shiz, but I have no palate anyway, so I was happy. I thought it tasted great.

Here’s the thing. I always feel like I’m ordering just a couple of things and I’m going to be hungry when I leave, but then when I get up I feel weird, in a sushi-has-made-me-drunk way, when I exit from whale mode. Is it the rice expanding in my stomach? Is it the miso soup, which is really crack-in-liquid-form? I don’t know.

Walking to the ‘tro from the sushi place I was singing a little song to myself:

Swim, swim, little fishies, swim!
Little fishies in my belly
Om nom, little fishies, nom nom nom.

It’ll work nicely as a sea shanty the next time you’re on a boat.

I still feel woozy, but I think it’s less from the sushi at this point and more from the FIVE KAJILLION cups of tea I’ve been drinking.

Because I’ve gone a little native I don’t want to drink cold water (it’ll make one have a sore throat) but I’m still very much crazy thirsty all the time. So I put a packet of tea (I’ve been working through a pack of Princess Nuri black with lemon, so good) in the cup, switch on the precious, and keep refilling with that same pack through the night. I’ve lost track on how many cups I’ve already drank. Om nom nom.

And this will have to be the end of this entry – I need to go to the bathroom.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Descendo minoratus!

Welcome to the funeral. Or, in the words of my favorite UNH Hockey pregame song:
The funeral is about to begin.
Tickets will cost $17.95, but you get in for free with a receipt verifying your purchase of Nabokov’s The Original of Laura.

I’ve mentioned this work in passing a couple of times. In fact my new quest item became an obsession after I read about how Nabokov wrote on index cards and I realized how helpful they would be if used correctly. And there are none in Moscow. This is a different story. The story of The Original of Laura:

As the story goes, Nabokov (Vladimir) had a pustoi rabochii stol [empty work desk] for the last years of his life, telling his wife and son that he had completed everything he wanted to, and it was only towards the end that the desk began to be cluttered, again, with new notes. He had plans for at least one novel, and I believe that he mentioned another work after The Original of Laura.

But then That One Who Makes the Totentanz Go ‘Round came to get him. Nabokov asked his wife to destroy the index cards (she didn’t) and for his son, Nabokov (Dmitrii), to ensure their destruction (he hasn’t). Allegedly, Nabokov (Dmitrii) was visited in a dream by his father (Vladimir), who told him that enough is enough and to just publish the index cards already, some thirty years after the author’s death.

This is essentially a long aside, a lot of backstory that will be involved in the program passed out at the doors of the adapted-for-the-stage version of this blogpost. We don’t have time or energy or desire to show it on stage. I know this is anathema, but I don’t particularly care for Nabokov’s writing, and I don’t want to discuss TOoL (what an amazing acronym for the piece) as a literary object. I just like the story behind its creation.

I originally wanted to compare this to the genius marketing behind Salinger’s refusal to publish for the past century, but I fear his crack squad of lawyers. I’ll take a different tact: there have been a lot of writers who have asked for their works to be destroyed. It is, especially in that constructed “Great Canon of Traditional Russian Literature,” quite a Big Thing™. I’ll just throw out two major posthumous works of which you might have heard: Gogol’s Mertvye Dushi [Dead Souls], Part II; Bulgakov’s Master i Margarita [The Master and Margarita].* Both of these, and TOoL as well, were subject to the author burning editions of the manuscript (rumor has it that Nabokov burnt the entirety of TOoL’s second tome, and we just have scattered notes to the first part).

* Don’t think this as a solely Russian tradition. Vergil’s dying request was for The Aeneid to burn.

Maybe I’m too much a cynic. Maybe. Probably. But I question how much of this is a genuine desire to see the work destroyed, and how much of it is an acknowledgement of what is accepted behavior for a belle-lettrist pri smerti [at the moment of death]. That is: are we not witnesses to a performance piece that ensures, even if the wish to destroy the work is fulfilled, the status of the author as a Creative Individual™?

If I start burning things, you’ll know why. And I’ll expect you all to start lobbying for Frozen Icarus to get a publication deal. Mwahaha.

But for real reals, speaking of my being a creative individual, Briullov and I have started an archive of pretentious thought. It’s gonna be A Thing™. It might wean some of the crazy out of this little guy, like poison from the wound. But then again it probably won’t.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cold cold cold

The weather the past couple days has dropped down to minus 20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).

This is upsetting for multiple reasons.

The most important is that I no longer have a fridge. Instead, I have a freezer of that ancient type we find in our basements, with the heavy steel doors that lock you in, where there are treats left over from a ginormous block party from 1973, forgotten, somewhere, molded onto the shelves, where ice has formed such mass that we can no longer tell where asbestos-laden plastic shelves end and methane-ice begins.

And my tvorog is like ice cream! (I suppose it is a poetic enough fate for it, as an idle business-venture of mine is to start a syrok company in America and market this new “Russian ice cream.” To briefly explain: tvorog is a byproduct of milk curds, high in protein and found in everything from pastries to oatmeal to salads to etc. etc. “Syrok” is the name for any number of products that supersaturate tvorog with sugar, chemical flavors, usually involving a coating of chocolate…you understand, in brief, why I am enamored of it. Syrok is my Dunkin Donuts substitute.)

The yogurt shake I had in there along with the tvorog is solid ice. I tried pouring some boiled water in there to shake it up, but the water just froze. Haha. I am inept at life. I am tempted to throw my iceberg into the Moscow-River in the path of one of the cruise ships and watch the Titanic sink again.

A final food note, as I am scrambling to come up with a breakfast alternative and munch on the peanuts I bought. I just eat it with the peel on. Am I going to die? I’m not so sure that it would be a bad thing.

See why tomorrow in Death of an Artist! Mwahaha. Marketing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Post to Save the World

I like saying my opinion. You, readers dear, might have realized this by now. I like saying my opinion, but I don't care for politics; it is always a philosophical crisis when I want to give my opinion on something, but it that something is political. But seeing as there is only one day left in Copenhagen and it is looking doubtful any substantial decisions will be reached, I think it an appropriate time to open my mouth.

Really, world? Really? Was there a one who honestly thought that there would be overwhelming consent among 200 nations to accept new environmental measures? Particularly - is there any particular reason why developing countries (like China, India, etc.) who are now enjoying extraordinary growth of their economies (record-breaking GDP growth, etc.) but are exempt under the Kyoto Protocols - is there any particular reason why such countries would say: "Yes, let's take these new measures! Let's hinder ourselves for the good of the whole world!"

This, when "developed First World" countries (I know of a Certain World Leader in the Western Hempisphere guilty of this...) themselves do not all uphold the Kyoto Protocols.

Of course not! Copenhagen, in my mind, is a (hopefully one of the last) holdover(s) of the Great White European Man driving history and politics. This Great White Man says: "Um. We've kind of messed up, what with the Industrial Revolution and all. Would you mind, Construct-of-a-Person-Shaded-by-Exotic-Orientalism, helping us out?" He phrases it as a question because that's how he's been raised, but his true position is: "Agree with me or I will start another Opium War."

The overriding factor that is undermining attempts to save the world through ecopolitics is this idea that we need all nations, at once, to sign on to the same measures. Understanding the rationale behind that need is the crux - we want everyone in the same frying pan because we perceive pursuing eco-friendly measures as economically detrimental.

This is stupid. This is tantamount to any politician, sincerely desiring climate change, shooting his or her own kneecap.

Instead, I've come up with two options. I address them to the two bipolar powers of the twentieth century, as these options might spur some much-needed competition (instead of 'helpful' colonialism that the Certain World Leader in the Western Hemisphere I mentioned earlier is practicing):

1. Dear Russia. I read in the newspaper today that you are stylizing yourself as a leader in geo- and ecopolitics. Beautiful. This is how you can market it: pour money into a major constructive effort that rapidly develops the key infrastructure surrounding Moscow -- say, in a radius roughly the size of the Golden Ring. Put all of your crack teams of possibly-illegal workers into this, use all of the latest technologies, and for once ensure that there's no corruption and that you're using good building materials and techniques. Talk to the professors at MARKhI if you need some help figuring out what either of those are.

All of a sudden you'll find that you'll have a substructure that, in and of itself, encourages green activity. The way you will need to sell it is that a) you are saving the beautiful Russian climate b) you are positioning Russia as a world power c) if this does not happen the foxes and minxes and baby seals etc. etc. will all die out and then where will Russian women get their fur coats? We will thus play into the "shchedrost'" [generosity] of the (mythic) Russian soul, pretensions at world power, and fashion. Combine and conquer.

2. Dear US of A. Remember all of those billions of bail-out program dollars that Congress signed off on? Why not for to pour all of it into research and development and construction of top-of-the-line ecologically-friendly structures and mechanisms. Instead of following our current m.o. - which is kind of like how the Russian Empire kept sending troop support of cavalry units to the front during the Great War (we remember that WWI was trench warfare and gas warfare and bomb warfare...) - we can change our strategy to what we pursued during WWII and come up with a new technology that is a lovely trump card.

Except this time let's not come up with something that's denounced by every scientist who ever theorized or worked on it, shall we? Let's.

Because the bottom line is that whatever country realizes that going completely green and develops a technology that allows them to do this will suddenly hold a bargaining chip in world poltics far more powerful than guns, germs, or steel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Without You, Mes Amis

I sit in my room.

I sit in my room, na krovati [on the bed -- there’s some good ROD for you later tonight YEAHHHH], laptop perched on one thunder thigh, thousands – nay – hundreds – nay, precisely ninety-five little strips of graph paper floating around everywhere else. Some are up my nose.

I make the strips into pretty piles. I make changes on the corresponding list on my computer.

I arrange new piles. More changes.

I try to collate piles. Remember the strips that have gone up nose. Retrieve said strips. Continue.

I have made a good list. I am pleased with the result.

I get up to make myself some tea with my previous quest item.

THERE IS A STRIP OF PAPER ON THE FLOOR. There should actually be ninety-six strips of paper!!!

In my mind I scream and kick and rage. I am good at bottling up emotions and saving them for a later time period, when I can express them in conducive ways to nature and society, through the widespread dissemination of the Frozen Icarus blog.

This is what you reduce me to, Moscow! This is what comes of your discriminatory, anti-index card politics! Shenanigans! I claim shenanigans! Exclamation point!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm on a NEW Never-ending Quest

I’ve been compiling a list of what I call “modern vanities” – basic rules that govern the world. At least my world. I don’t know about yours. Take, for example, Modern Vanity™ No. 4: “There’s always a bigger fish.”

As in the cliché. There’s always a bigger, badder, more horriblerier boss in a video game, or bad guy in a comic book.

Or quest item in Moscow. Earlier I wrote about my quest and eventual success in finding a teapot.

Life continued for our hero in the land of the snow and troikas, until one day:

I want index cards! All I want. They are so ubiquitous in America that I’m suffering pretty horrible culture shock that there are NONE in the city. I’ve gone to different book stores, office supply stores, etc. Here’s what happens:

[/action: Frozen Icarus searches.

…You find nothing.


Frozen Icarus: Do you have any index cards? (Russ: kartotechnye kartochki)

Saleswoman: ???

Frozen Icarus: Kartotechnye kartochki.

Saleswoman: I understood. No. Why would you want them? Like a library? No.

[/show item: post-it notes


Frozen Icarus: Do you have any Post-its that don’t have adhesive? (Russ: bes kleia)

Saleswoman: …No. Everything we have is on display, here.

Frozen Icarus: Do you know –

Saleswoman: I have no idea where you could buy karty dlia kartoteki v gorode (cards for a card catalogue in this city).

I’ve never thought I’d say it – and Paddles, you should turn your eyes away, this will burn you** - I long for Staples.

(** - He worked for Staples and it his personal anti-Christ.)

Seriously! I can’t believe I have taken index cards for granted all these years of my life. All of those cards I wasted as flash cards…le sigh. Is ok. I will buy a couple thousand when I get to American shores in a week.

I’m surprised at how much Post-it notes have caught on here, comparatively. The display is like a rabbit cage of neon paper. Before my very eyes they propogate. POOF! (This is the noise of Post-its-women giving birth.) POOF! Green. POOF! Yellow. POOF! A-color-the-name-of-which-I-don’t-know. Is this puce?

The one good thing out of this situation is that I’ve finally solved the question: “Is Nabokov an American or a Russian author?” If you ever encounter this question in your life, readers dear, you need respond with just one statement to prove, once and for all, that he completely nationalized:

Nabokov wrote his novels on index cards.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Like the one in Central Perk

There’s been something not right (or in Russian: shto-to ne to - which I love for its literal translation: “what-that (is) not that”) in my life for the past couple of days.

I think. I ponder. I wonder.

I contemplate the snow. Picture everything that’s great about snow: how it hangs on tree branches, its great wide flakes caught upon your tongue, you frolick in it and play football that starts out as two-hand touch and quickly ends in “you’re not down until you’ve been tackled to the ground and had three-liquid-ounces-of-snow-down-your-shirt,” you go inside and have hot chocolate and wrap up in about fifty thousand wool blankets in front of a fireplace.

Ok, that last bit is just fantasy. Usually it’s in front of some Vh1 reality series rerun. If we’re lucky, we can switch to a Bravo Cirque or Top Chef marathon. And eat some Christmas cookies. Om nom nom nom.

Then I compare that ideal scenario to Moscow. I think about the general lack of trees in this industrial quarter of Moscow. But there are trees; I can get to parks very quickly. So that’s not what-that (is) not that.

I don’t really want to catch snowflakes on my tongue as…well. That’s usually a rare activity for me in America, too.

Football. This could actually be a promising candidate for that-what-not-that. I could also fix it if such were the case. I’m afraid, slightly, that those people I know who a) would be game b) are in Moscow are mostly like Jude and are about 135812397523 my size. And play sports semi-professionally. I can deal without the football, I guess.

And that leaves us with going inside and wrapping up in blankets. I have lovely warm blankets but they’re on my bed! And the bed is for sleeping and resting! Here we find the problem.

I need a couch. Yes. The couch. The couch is for sitting in warmth and heat and looking outside at the zombie rev—I mean snowfall.

I’ll ask some homeless people in the ‘tro today if they know where I can get a free couch.

Monday, December 14, 2009

SPEAKING of Demian...

For quite a long time (nearing about a year, now), the sound card on my computer has been fonky. Technical term, that. I read up the Nerd Forums that a google search of “dell laptop broken sound card” got me – turns out that it’s a relatively common problem when the external speakers go fonky, having to do with something about putting headphones in the jack and springs becoming too loose and blah blah blah.

I read it as: “You won’t be able to use external speakers until you man up and buy a new laptop because you’ve already tried to deal with Dell customer service and it is testamount to immediate entry to the seventh circle of hell (where they spit fireballs on you and everything).” Or maybe the sixth. I can’t remember. I think maybe the sixth is when you’ve committed suicide and have your treebranch limbs torn off by Harpies, but then again I think Dante was so high when he wrote l’Inferno that if he were alive today he wouldn’t be able to tell us clearly what each circle denoted.

In short, patience is a virtue. I had figured out that if I put a heavy, preferably musty-smelling book on top of the headphones, and the headphones were only partially in the jack, I could jigger the sound into coming out of the front speakers. Hurrah! I have, thus, lived in relative happiness for the past eight, nine, ten months.

But now I am perturbed. Today I jostled the computer and the headphones came out of the jack completely. And the Killers kept singing joyfully: Forget about what I said/The lights are gone and the party’s over/Forget about what I said/Forget about what I said

They were singing! On my external speakers!

This was not my initial reaction. My initial reaction was to throw my hands up into the air so I wouldn’t brush a single atom of the computer’s existence, and stare at it in equal measures of disbelief and distrust.

We shall see how long this new arrangement holds. I doubt it will survive the ‘tro ride over to the café for Interwebs.

BUT. I am now scared. This seems like one of the seals has broken. The apocalypse is nigh. (Read as: Death of this computer.) I’m knocking frantically on wood but it’s the polyfiber carbonate that is my work-food-stuff table. I don’t know how long that’ll last.
Forget about what I saidddddddddddddd
Note to self: buy a thousand more CDs from the 18 ruble CD person at the ‘tro so for to back up every file in existence.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I wonder what she thinks of ME, then

SO! I can’t remember if I told you, readers dear, just what it was that was keeping me away from the blog at the beginning of the month.

It was a presentation I gave on The New Superman: Modern American TV Detectives

And/or an excuse to talk about three of my favorite shows (Psych, The Closer, Dexter).

And/or an excuse to practice giving a presentation to a rather hostile hall of listeners who came expecting (primarily because I falsely advertised it as such) to see video clips of said shows, and instead had to hear an interpretation of the Sherlock Holmes tradition as an extension of Carlyle’s Great Man/Nietzsche’s Übermensch.

Don’t worry, I’m skipping over that part for you guys.

What is still funny to me is that after the talk this woman hobbles up to me (literally. She had a cane.) and says: “I think you spoke about a man named Shawn?”

I say: “Yeah, his name is Shawn Spencer, he’s the main character in Psych.”

She presses her lips together and shakes her head. “You should not call him Superman. I do not like – he has ugly face. He is a monster.”

I just need to pause on that logic. (You can google image Shawn Spencer [or the actor, James Roday, to see him in different roles].) Anyway. The logic: ugliness = monstrosity. I would assume its converse (beauty = valor/heroism) is also true? In any case, the woman didn’t have any problem with the pictures of Dexter I was showing, although he was spattered in blood in all of them. Meh. Not his fault. (For those playing along at home: Dexter is about a serial-killer-blood-spatter-analyst. It’s like he does all the things it seems that goth girl in NCIS would do.) But no, it’s not his fault; that’s his victim’s ugly blood, anyway. But Shawn – Shawn’s ugly. His fault. Monster.

I wish I could go on a rampage about this being a “Russian” phenomenon, about the pictures of Putin with his shirt taken off and my old friend, $500-Scarf, who had a huge crush on him.

But then I think about the cult of personality that surrounds Barack Obama. It’s not really all that Russian, this jump in logic, I don’t think. Pretty people are t3h pretty. And for some reason we click “genetic freak” = “leader!” in our Chomsky-switch-riddled brains.

And with that I’m off to the gym.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

From Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

“…it’s necessary to see that part of the landscape, inseparable from it, which must be understood, is a figure in the middle of it, sorting sand into piles. To see the landscape without seeing this figure is not to see the landscape at all.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

I want to be a hand model on HSN

This is apparently turning into a music blog. I don’t want that to happen. I want this to be more a humanity blog - so I’ll bring it back around, soon enough.

Last week Susan Boyle’s debut CD pumped out over 700,000 copies, taking the cake by a wide margin. Apparently 80,000 of that number came from some home shopping network number she did. Genius.

Genius marketing, really, realizing that the majority of people who buy CDs these days are the same demographic as those people who would buy Susan Boyle are the same demographic as those people who watch home shopping.

But 700,000 copies! That’s the biggest female artist’s album debut in history! Perhaps if we weren’t so good at pirating music it wouldn’t be, but it is! Exclamation point!

I – like many many many – thought it was fascinating, really fascinating, quite interesting, really, how Boyle’s story was presented on Britain’s Got Talent: here’s a cat lady, a crazy bat, and we can laugh at her! Mwahaha. (Remember poor William Hung?) The audience was visibly hostile to her when she first came out on stage.

And then she opened her mouth, and they were all on their feet screaming her name by the end of the piece.

Once upon a time (this summer) I read the Wikipedia page (so I know it’s true) of Susan Boyle’s. The Wikipedia page had a quote (you can see it yourself, if you so desire) about how this type of talent show is a modern version of the Victorian freak show. We aren’t so much interested in pretty and talented people. We get enough of those from Hollywood. We’re more interested in the crazy people -- either because they’re crazy and don’t realize how poorly they sing, or because their physical appearance is nothing like their voice, or their skill at [insert instrument or talent here].

Which is really silly, isn’t it? Don’t lawyer me on this statistic, but it has to be over 95% of opera singers who are just. Plain. Butt. Ugly. Because it doesn’t matter what they look like! We’ve paid tickets to hear their voices, and they’re going to be in major costumes and pancaked on makeup anyway, so what’s it matter? What’s with the Victorian freak show?

I don’t know. And delo ne sovsem v tom (the thing’s not entirely in that). What I’m trying to talk about are 700,000 copies of a debut album in its first days of sale. This is a wildly successful figure for someone who has escaped the freak show. We already know what kind of voice she has, and what she looks like! And I think I saw somewhere that she might have gotten some kind of vague, matronly makeover – good for her!

So now she’s legit. And people are buying her records (or watching her on youtube, or finding her on some kind of torrenting site) because they want to hear her sing, regardless of looks. That makes me happy. Happy as a clam.

Or as the caviar I’m eating right now. Mwahahahahahahhaa.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Um, Kate? You Might Not Want to Go in There For a While

I have Made a Mix-Tape™.

Well. A Mix-CD™.

Well. A Mix-iTunes-playlist™, as I’ve currently not burnt any copies of it.

But I have a poignant-though-inspiring quote from Virginia Woolf to validate it. And I’ll give it a test-run in the car home from the airport in just over two weeks (hopefully. Depending on which car I am whisked away in from the airport, jet-lagged and inevitably-greasy-from-some-crazy-old-woman-next-to-me-inexplicably-making-my-entire-life-greasy head in one hand, CUP OF DUNKIN DONUTS ICED HAZELNUT in the other.) Maybe if Dad likes it I will make him one.

I have just realized that I’m not planning on bringing my laptop home, and thus will not be able to make Mix-iTunes-playlists™ become Mix-Cds™. I must stock up from the 18 ruble person by the ‘tro.

And then I will just have to find out who’ll be lucky enough to get my Virginia-Woolf-validated, coffee-stained, grease-covered mix-tapes. I mean –CDs™.

In other news, is that parenthetical about what I’ll have in my hands a misplaced modifier? I can’t tell if it’s ambiguous or not whether I’m talking about the I-getting-whisked-away or about the car when I describe the greasy hair and the cocaine-in-iced-hazelnut-liquid form. I think I did it correctly and it just sounds funny in an informal, passive register? Gahd. I suck at Russian AND at English.

Edited to add: Today is Thursday. Which means last night the finale of Top Chef aired. I will likely not be able to locate the episode illegally on youtube until tomorrow at the earliest, more likely on Saturday. I will massacre that one who spoils the winner to me in that individual's sleep. Just saying.

Actually, that seems too peaceful. I would construct an elaborate death trap while you were sleeping (so you could not escape) and then wake you up (so you could experience it). Cf. Battle Royale, Saw, other "torture porn" movies.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Like a Bridge over Troubled Water

Most Bogdana Khmel'nitskogo (Krasnoluzhskii most) (2001)
The Bogdan Khmel'nitsky (pedestrian) bridge, built over the old Krasnoluzhsky Bridge of the Moscow Railway System (originally built 1905)
Author: E. G. Konantsev

I'm sure this won't be true for much longer: right now, this is what it's like when it snows. The skies become black as night, eternally at the mercy of the wind and the sea, and where the road meets the sea let her wait where the road meets the seeeeaaaa we can see the snow as distortions on the photograph-memory-image but nowhere else.

I fear the day when the snow will fall for real real.

Edit: I prepped this post on Sunday. Monday we had snow for real real. Le sigh.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Musics-made-of-glass in an Exhibition-Cafe

Part two.

I wonder how many “one-hit wonders” haven’t stuck with us as the wonders they were when once we wondered at them. Like “That Thing You Do.” Sometimes I sing that song and people give me weird “what song are you referencing” looks. Then I describe the scene where the guy’s jumping meters and breaks himself and they remember.

Weird, what things stick in our memories. Like this throwback to 1970:

“I Ain’t Got Time Anymore” by The Glass Bottle. Some readers of Frozen Icarus (like my mom and dad) might know the song I’m talking about. It was relatively popular, once upon a time, but it is not classic rock – with the strict definition of “classic/al” being “withstanding the test of time.”

Or has it? Thanks, Moscow, for introducing me to random American songs I’ve never heard before. The only unfortunate bit is that the version I hear in the café is a mystical cover version that inexplicably does not exist on the interwebs. How can this be?!

Is ok. The original is good, too.

It doesn’t deserve a separate post, but only vaguely related: a song I have “re”discovered is Sonny and Cher’s “A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done.” I have no idea why I like it. It seems like it would be everything I hate in the world, all rolled in to one 3 minute and 12 second clip – but it’s not!

What is this world coming to!?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Musics at an Exhibition-Cafe

This is part one of two-part suite dedicated to the sometimes jaw-droppingly-awesome, sometimes startlingly-horrible music in the coffee shops.

I have a moment of panic.

This moment is different from the flocking plethora of other panic-moments because I am writing about it right now, right here. Get thee to a super soaker, nonetheless.

This is my problem. The lovelies on the Sandbox talked about Adam Lambert’s CD release. I was all ignoring them, sipping my coffee, when they let slip: “And here’s a clip of Lambert singing a song written by the frontman of one of our favorite bands, ever: Muse. Here’s Soaked [with what!?]” (They are very intolerant.) (And now you recognize the triple entendre I’ve made with the “super soaker” link above.)

I write down “Soaked - Adam Lambert” in my “list of things to do when I have interwebs” document. (Yes, I have such a thing. And that is exactly what the file name is.)

I listen.

I enjoy.

Enter moment of panic, stage left.

It’s Adam Lambert, pop superstar divao (the “a” is silent. Or is it the “o”? I am also very intolerant, it seems.)

But it’s also Matthew Bellamy! And it sounds like Muse! It sounds…it sounds like Tina Turner and Matthew Bellamy had some bizarre cloned lovechild that sings power ballads.

Is it bad that I came up with “Tina Turner” as a singer with a similar style but lower voice than Bellamy? Tee hee.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Damien Effect

My sister and her husband, Galinda and Scientist™ Joe, are expecting twins.

This statement is very out of the ordinary for the blog, which is an egotistical extension of my ego (hence…egotistic…you get it.) and subjective reality (which is why I was a relatively horrible uncle and mentioned all of my nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays in one fell swoop), but I must make an exception.

Because that statement is important for the egotistical and subjective explanation that follows.

Also, this post is important for two reasons.
1. Lady Ashley’s already yelled at me because I was a horrible horrible “BFF” and didn’t tell her as soon as I knew. Mea culpa, on that one. You can take this anonymous blogpost, anonymous readers dear, as me personally telling you, each and every one, now, that Fred and George Weasley will soon appear on this green earth. K. No more yelling at me for being a bad gossip (because in actuality I am a fantastic gossip. Tell me your secrets.)

2. There’s something about twins that’s always given me the heebie-jeebies that I need to get off my chest before my nephews are actually people and can take offense at it.

…There are so many things wrong with the rationale behind the previous sentence that I’m not even going to touch it, but just move on.
This is the thing. It’s nothing like old superstitions about twins – I believe they’re both going to have a full soul, I don’t think there’s anything creepy about mirror images (they can be a dual aerial act in Varekai!), and I look forward to seeing how they make their older sister run for her money.

But I get creeped out by THE DAMIEN EFFECT™.

For those of you, readers dear, who aren’t familiar with The Omen or its 6/6/06 remake (where the scariest part is Julia’s acting, blah blah blah, I’ve already referenced it multiple times) the premise is this: the anti-Christ is a little British (though technically American – though technically a citizen of Hell, and I’m not sure if they give dual citizenships there) boy who is the son of the American ambassador. Except he’s really the son of a jackal, and the babies were switched in the nursery where he was born. (For a more uplifting version of these events, cf. Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, available in your nearest bookstore.)

You see, this isn’t a question of whether Galinda and Joe are going to love one twin more than the other (categorically that answer is: yes – Grant is always going to lose in affection to Tecumseh) – but a question of which twin gets to be Grant and which gets to be Tecumseh. Let’s say that Baby #1 is born. This is Grant. Baby #2 is born. This is Tecumseh. Of the three children, Tecumseh is thus the “babyest,” and pampered, and loved. Ok.

But then the babies are switched in the nursery where they are born (perhaps multiple times?) and Tecumseh is now Grant! And Grant is Tecumseh! And their little eight-month-and-three-week bodies will have already experienced so many DNA transcriptions that there are bound to be some small osobennosti (see the ROD), but they haven’t grown up enough for a) us to tell them apart b) to understand which personality is their own.

For some reason I really need to have a one-name-one-ideal-one-physicality trinity. Maybe I need to think of it like the uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics (although Einstein himself didn’t like that. GOD DOES NOT THROW DICE! …But the Devil throws babies into nurseries?)

Besides, maybe some time when they’re three or four months old it’ll turn out that “Grant” is happy-go-lucky and “Tecumseh” is colicky. All Galinda has to do is change the outfits Scientist Joe saw them in earlier that day and POOF! Tecumseh’s become so much better behaved, hasn’t he? There’s a reason he’s our favorite child…


osobennost’ (pl. osobennosti) - specialties, exceptions. When the trainer administering our entrance physical exam to the gym announced that Briullov, Jude, and I ALL had scoliosis she admitted “Well, it’s really just a minor osobennost’ of your spine, but I’m going to mark it down as scolios anyway.”

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I is BACK. Mwahahaha!

I just got an email from the Gingerbread Man, an old (both physically, and how long we've known each other, but mostly physically. heh heh) friend of mine, in which the G.M. says:
Icarus needs to stop his woe is me was his own fault he flew too close to the sun. He was like Curious George, but with wings. Curiosity killed the cat, yadda yadda yadda… he flew too close to the sun, got burned, died, now he was to live with it. Stupid Icarus.
Touche. I'm very excited about the Curious George reference, as well, because I LOVE CURIOUS GEORGE.

There are many things I could teach Curious George about how not to live life from the dorm, but here's just one lesson: George, food goes in the fridge, not the windowsill!

Unless you don't have a fridge. Then you can be creative. It stays at the cool temperature of 32, 33 Fahrenheit!

You can also see my plastic tablecloth-curtains and the "view" aka "reason why I usually keep the shades closed."


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Sorry for neglecting the blog a bit. I have been busy. It doesn't make sense, but I'm actually more busy while The Professor is in Italy (I am trying to finish four different books before his return.)

I also just gave a presentation at the American Center (which is different from American Embassy 2.0) on American TV Detectives. So. Sorry for denying you your daily dose of Frozen Icarus. The drought'll continue for just a couple days more, I promise, and then we'll be back to normal.

For now,