My Life According to Placebo

It’s no secret that I like Placebo. I first heard them when I was 12 I think, and I definitely didn’t like them. The Pure Morning video played on MTV Russia daily at a certain point in time.

I didn’t like it then; however two years later love appeared.

I found a year-old post with this meme. You pick a performer and answer the following questions using only their songs. Then see what happens.

Are you a male or female:
Slackerbitch

Your last relationship:
Meds

Your fear:
Scared of Girls

What is the best advice you have to give:

Ask for Answers

Thought for the Day:
Taste in Men

How I would like to die:
Haemoglobin (esp first line…)

My soul’s present condition:
Because I Want You

My motto:
Hang On To Your IQ

Describe Yourself:
Special K

How do you feel:
Bigmouth Strikes Again

Describe where you currently live:
Brick Shithouse

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:

Twenty Years

Your favorite food is:
Bubblegum

Your best friend is:
Lady of the Flowers

You and your best friends…
Every You and Every Me

What’s the weather like:
Battle for the Sun

Favorite time of day:

Pure Morning

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
Days Before You Came

What is life to you:
Running Up That Hill

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On Spontaneous Eloquence

“My vocabulary dwells deep in my mind and needs paper to wriggle out into the physical zone. Spontaneous eloquence seems to me a miracle.” – Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions

In May I spent more (than usual) time worried about the words I choose in everyday language. I became acutely aware of the differences in my written speech and my spoken one. I noticed that I had opted out for simple, quick words that popped into my mind like fireworks, instead of selecting the vivid and precise boulders of usually longer and mostly unpopular words. Words that communicated the meaning exceptionally, but words that also don’t spring into action at the slighted fancy of the brain. The words need mining. While I wanted to give them some spotlight, I ended up using the simplest normal words.

The more chipper, satisfied and energetic I was, the more my speech resembled a basic soap opera set. Exaggerating, I’ll even say, my speech was caveman-like! Sentence structure, all sorts of exclamations and exclamation marks. Well, the usual me, I guess, hehe.

Having learned English as a second language, I’ve always paid attention to my vocabulary, words I use, metaphors I create and more. Knowing more than one language makes you appreciate the variety of expressions that already exist and that could be created. Writing was not a problem. Writing allows for apt word selections and swollen metaphors because of the comforts of time and editing options, while speaking in person demands mental dexterity and immediate responses. I also couldn’t understand the incongruence between my written language and my spoken one. What the …!

So I entertained this worry until I ran across the aforementioned quote by Nabokov in Strong Opinions. That definitely relaxed me. Consulting with a couple of fellow lovers of words and letters, I found out it’s not an usual concern. Moreover, it made me consciously make an effort to give some air time to words we sometimes only see in print.

Progress! Yesterday for the first time I noticed that, while telling Meghann a story, I deliberately thought about colorful metaphors to employ. I took the time to summon a lengthier and sometimes even more pompous word where a simple one could suffice. I realized that ever since I consciously made an effort to decorate in-person parlance with more book-like words, I’ve been making some success. Now the only task is to continue to collect and use more of these epic words 😉

Fun Update: randomly searching the web, of course, yielded this paper: “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly” . I smirked. Tell that to the author himself!

I’d like to say that I believe there is a difference between literary, fiction-oriented writing and to-the-point writing style of the everyday (journalistic, business, too). I just like my goddamn language, so I will savor every word I can.

On the other hand, I, too, was annoyed when students mindlessly employed long words to add potential zest to papers. But never in my life have I discounted someone’s intelligence just because they used complex words. And knew when to use them. More often than not, their speech was also more entertaining, with puns and humor, jokes and various references.

Quotes, Words and Memory

I probably haven’t mentioned it in my official blog, that is, this one – albeit I posted about it on Twitter and via Facebook tumblr application, but anyway: Last fall I established a blog, a collection of verbal snippets. word quote machine, it is called (wtf, right?). Feel free to follow it for various quotes, interesting images [conjured by letters], curious words, sometimes definitions. So far I’ve managed to come up with 150+ posts which I consider above the average quote book. You know, none of those marginal uplifting or happy go lucky quotes favored by the Hallmark crowd. I tried to look beyond that and dove into deeper literature for what I amassed in my quote tumblr.

Feel free to follow and hopefully enjoy 🙂

Cities and Horcruxes

I was walking down the street (how Dickensian and utterly, typically boring), en route to home sweet home, and I thought about something. I tried to figure out where my home was. Because I love my parents, my dog and the lovely house where they all live, I want to say, “My home is in Vancouver!” and yet when I am there I feel like I am on an anything goes vacation. I also feel different, like an outsider and almost like the blast from the future. So no, not quite there.

Toronto is fantastic, it’s a home. But it’s a home which is solely powered by my passionate heart. I make it what it is. I am the fire that burns in your eyes. And is it really home when one person is behind it? Perhaps not.

“Home is where the heart is,” I hear. Oh, what a relief! But where is my heart?

I love Berlin, my heart got lost there. Ibiza’s wonderful and Spanish only, seafood-infiltrated beaches devoured a big chunk of my pumping muscle, too. So where? I betcha Rioja is dying to eat the rest of what I have hiding behind my left lung. And I haven’t been to Congo yet.

So I realized that every bits of my soul are all over the world. Then I thought about Harry Potter, lord Voldemort and horcruxes. When I heard Tom Riddle about splitting his soul and leaving it to various objects (places in my case), I saw myself leaving bits and pieces of me everywhere. I love the world, I love to travel, I belong in the airport and I am the explorer.

I can leave bits of my soul in many places, thus living on in many places at the same time, and living forever. In very big fat theory.

In theory, I would be living in all of the cities I visited, because they affected me so.

In reality, however, I will probably be only living forever in the minds of people I affected. I will live on as long as the memory of me lives on in the people that were close to me. Perhaps down the road, the memory can carry onto people that I have not known. By creating something, by giving life, finding, building, teaching, showing, making, explaining, illustrating something to someone else, I can hope to give a part of my soul to them, thus extending my life. Man wants to be remembered.

I have to live my life prudently, expressively, beautifully and independently. I have to go where my mind and heart tell me to. I will not trust witches, nor will I subscribe to pure paganism. I will be me, and I will keep on splitting my soul in as many cities, places and people, as possible.

I live forever already.

Frank O’Hara & A Photograph

Yes, Frank O’Hara was featured in the last episode of Mad Men, season 2, and that’s how I first heard about him. Recently I acquired “Meditations in an Emergency” collection of poems, and to my delight, found that he’s an exceptionally talented poet. He mixes nuggets of pop culture with vivid images and aptly coiling phrases that project sly, sticky pictures in your head. If you follow the link at the beginning of the post, you will learn a lot more about him, and perhaps, be surprised. Frank O’Hara is not an obscure name in American literature, it is I who’s been an obscure mind in the dark about him! Bonus: he also loved Mayakovsky, and even wrote a poem to him.

Since I’m on a movie bend this week (and generally, too), I’m sharing his “To the Film Industry in Crisis”, below:

Not you, lean quarterlies and swarthy periodicals
with your studious incursions toward the pomposity of ants,
nor you, experimental theatre in which Emotive Fruition
is wedding Poetic Insight perpetually, nor you,
promenading Grand Opera, obvious as an ear (though you
are close to my heart), but you, Motion Picture Industry,
it’s you I love!

In times of crisis, we must all decide again and again whom we love.
And give credit where it’s due: not to my starched nurse, who taught me
how to be bad and not bad rather than good (and has lately availed
herself of this information), not to the Catholic Church
which is at best an oversolemn introduction to cosmic entertainment,
not to the American Legion, which hates everybody, but to you,
glorious Silver Screen, tragic Technicolor, amorous Cinemascope,
stretching Vistavision and startling Stereophonic Sound, with all
your heavenly dimensions and reverberations and iconoclasms! To
Richard Barthelmess as the “tol’able” boy barefoot and in pants,
Jeanette MacDonald of the flaming hair and lips and long, long neck,
Sue Carroll as she sits for eternity on the damaged fender of a car
and smiles, Ginger Rogers with her pageboy bob like a sausage
on her shuffling shoulders, peach-melba-voiced Fred Astaire of the feet,
Eric von Stroheim, the seducer of mountain-climbers’ gasping spouses,
the Tarzans, each and every one of you (I cannot bring myself to prefer
Johnny Weissmuller to Lex Barker, I cannot!), Mae West in a furry sled,
her bordello radiance and bland remarks, Rudolph Valentino of the moon,
its crushing passions, and moonlike, too, the gentle Norma Shearer,
Miriam Hopkins dropping her champagne glass off Joel McCrea’s yacht,
and crying into the dappled sea, Clark Gable rescuing Gene Tierney
from Russia and Allan Jones rescuing Kitty Carlisle from Harpo Marx,
Cornel Wilde coughing blood on the piano keys while Merle Oberon berates,
Marilyn Monroe in her little spike heels reeling through Niagara Falls,
Joseph Cotten puzzling and Orson Welles puzzled and Dolores del Rio
eating orchids for lunch and breaking mirrors, Gloria Swanson reclining,
and Jean Harlow reclining and wiggling, and Alice Faye reclining
and wiggling and singing, Myrna Loy being calm and wise, William Powell
in his stunning urbanity, Elizabeth Taylor blossoming, yes, to you
and to all you others, the great, the near-great, the featured, the extras
who pass quickly and return in dreams saying your one or two lines,
my love!
Long may you illumine space with your marvellous appearances, delays
and enunciations, and may the money of the world glitteringly cover you
as you rest after a long day under the kleig lights with your faces
in packs for our edification, the way the clouds come often at night
but the heavens operate on the star system. It is a divine precedent
you perpetuate! Roll on, reels of celluloid, as the great earth rolls on!

 

 

And to start the week on a friendly foot, here is a September picture of me, taken by Slava:

On Learning


Originally uploaded by dreamtiger

When I was about 6 or 7 years younger when it was the time to choose some kind of a profession, I used to say: “If I could just learn for the rest of my life, and get paid for that, I’d do it.” And I suppose I can become an academic, but the second problem that occurred was the choice of the subject to become an expert on.
Eventually, I gave up that idea, but I still possess this hunger for learning. I’m lucky to have a job where my task is to actually seek out new knowledge and amazing content. Some of the greatest educational video blogs of priceless information are Fora TV and TED Talks. I recently found Change This, which is just full of amazing documents. And of course Wikipedia is there for up-to-date information.
But learning for me is not just about keeping up to date with the blogosphere and fads, it is also learning about music (that includes visits to the symphony orhestra), culture, language, film, scientific advances, fashion collections, dancing (see photo), literature of the past and present. The list can go on forever. I want to know everything there is to know about the world, and I want to learn as much as possible. Self-development ends on a deathbed.

Platja den Bossa


I really like this photo, which I took in Ibiza, on Platja den Bossa. I haven’t even noticed the great composition – look at the man and the woman! And then check out the couple in the distance – their heads are almost on the same level as the couple’s in the foreground. Yeah!

Playa d’en Bossa is the longest beach strip on the island (2 km). It’s full of beach cafes, bars, restaurants that often have famous DJs spin some tunes before performing at major clubs of the island (Space, Amnesia, Pacha, Privilege, Eden, did I forget something?).

We rode our scooter to the beach after spending most of the day in Eivissa town (where we scootered all the way to the top! See other photos), and relaxed. Be warned – numerous umbrellas beach chairs (is that what you call them?) that fill up the area have to be paid for. Watch out for the collector man.

You Sound Like Youre From East London

I just got a haircut from a man who’s been cutting hair for 28 years (including frou frou Kitsilano in Vancouver and 1985’s Spanish Harlem), and I realized than instead of going to hipstertown and seeking out the gayest, skinniest youngster with amazing hair, you should go to men of experience. Just make sure you explain your dreamcut really well. So yay to Islington’s Rough Cut!

I am currently sitting in Wellcome Collection, which is a unique mix of galleries, events and meeting, reading and eating places spread over six floors. Its goal is to engage public with health and well-being; it brings modern art, medicine and peoples ordinary lives to create and exciting place of interest. I am here, so should you when in London.

I went to Camden yesterday evening and had quite a good time. Besides picking up some flaming vintage pieces and trying Moroccan food (my next travel place of interest), I met some nice folks and managed to keep the happy hour prices in a bar way past the happy hour time. Camden is full of Italian daddy’s girls looking for bargains, handsome punks, prima donnas of the burlesque scene who will never see 30 again, skater boys, American Apparel sect members and random misplaced people. It’s heaps of fun, as my Australian friends would say!

By the way, I haven’t been updating a lot lately because I have been busy experiencing life here, but I have certainly been taking notes on what to post about. My autumn schedule will be busy, but calm busy, so expect posts very often!

random musings in a cafe in Barcelona

It’s interesting how people write a lot about their personal lives when they are younger. I used to write so much about my heart’s rollercoasting about 5-6 years ago, but now that seems like a gargantuan waste of time. Hearts are some of the most unstable things in the world that spending time on detailed archiving of their course becomes some of the worst ways to throw precious time out the window.

* * *

Dairy in Europe is much better than in N. America. Water is always in bottled form. I keep thinking about Dave’s environmental comments every time I ask for or buy water. I also think that is the reason I haven’t been drinking enough water on my trip, yikes.

We are driving to Valencia tomorrow to have some legendary paella (which is where it was invented anyway) and to partake in La Tomatina in Bunol. I still have to buy some cheap shoes and protective goggles to survive the famous tomato battle.

More to come later

On a return train

More observations include the fact that eggs come in 10- or 6-packs. Wherefore did the idea of a dozen disappeared to?

Wind power is pretty widespread here. Florian was saying that the government will pay you a lot of money to install one of the wind power-generating mills.

I tapped into the German popculture when I purchased an Ampelmann from Eastern Germany. Hehe. Pretty cool.

I didn’t manage to swim in the Baltic Sea due to horrid weather, but Florian did go for a quick swim and he fished out a pair of Baltic sea sunglasses in surprise dive (sentence structure?).

I got off at a wrong train stop, so am currently trying out all methods of trainsportation in Berlin in order to get back to Kreuzberg.

Taking Berlin

Well, well, well. I am in Germany! It is fantastic. Last night I went to Tresor night club, which is a former power plant, and now is a crazy techno club. Gritty place, complete with cold basement spilling over hard techno sounds and scary looking employees with t-shirts that proclaim “Tresor never sleeps”. Agreed. We escaped the full-on party around 5:30am, and that’s nevertheless early.

Tonight I am going to Rostock to rock out a bit there, eat some fish, and drink champagne with Florian.

I’ve had currywurst for the first time, and it was fabulous. I also noticed that cigarette packs have 17 units in them, which I find completely odd. There is no such thing as “last call”, which is the way it should be. People bike a lot in Berlin, and I am even thinking of renting one myself and cruise the city.

Humboldt Universitat sells awesome t-shirts: “Wilhelm & Alexander & ich”. I got one for myself.

I’m taking videos and photographs here, living in Berlin in a less touristy way and having a generally awesome time. Great company, great city, great weather, great memories.

Party in Style (N. America excluded)

While working on compiling Travel Packs for PlanetEye, I found some pretty interesting spots. Reading Forbes Travel makes me so much more excited about traveling in general. First of all, their writers are amazing. Second of all, they really do know what to select, especially if you have your AmEx ready to pay for the recommendations.

The story on Insomnia in Style a.k.a. after hours locations from Madrid to Hong Kong. What caught my eye is the fact that people start partying later, and go all the way to the morning, ending a night on town with breakfast. The place I wanna go to in London after hopping from place to place is “London’s first 24-hour upscale brassiere, Vingt-Quatre, is a cross-Channel import meant to fill the hungry stomachs of Chelsea’s party clique with staple French food.” Yeah! Yeah!

I’m not a big fan of extremely upscale venues, because usually the music is not so good and it becomes more about your designer outfit or a quid stack. Maybe I’m too young 😉 Oh yeah, since this post is about “partying in style”, London’s Intercontinental recently started to offer the “3am to 10am exclusive experience” priced at $7,000. It buys you one of the four Signature Suites at the Park Lane property and plenty of Belvedere vodka, mixers and soft beverages for you and 9 others.

Oh, also a while back when I had an issue with squirrels, I wanted to find out if any restaurants cook it. And what do you know, London’s St John Restaurant offered squirrel. Apparently it’s like tender rabbit, or a very gamey chicken or something like that. Point being, why not try that. Unfortunately, it seems that August is not the squirrel season, and I won’t get to try it. When I live there, then.

PS. Jebus Christ, I really do blog about food too much. Well, excuse me, fine food, company and conversation are some of the most important things for me. As are respect, productivity, health and trendhunting.