alexandral: (The Legend - Kiha and Ho Gae hands)
2029-12-31 12:00 am
Entry tags:

Sticky post: Korean dramas ratings list (now with comments)

Korean drama ratings list )

These are the dramas I have watched in full (there are quite few dramas I gave up on but I don't think it is quite fair for me to judge a drama without finishing it). I will appreciate any new drama recommendations.
alexandral: (Art - Alexander Rodchenko mother)
2012-01-07 03:37 pm
Entry tags:

Bunch of things

LJ: I am really pleased with the speed LJ is working. EVERYTHING IS FLYING. I can't stop commenting and writing because finally LJ IS WORKING FAST FOR ME. I might take all my annoyed ranting back and wait for LJ to fix the issues with default comment title and other things because my main problem with it (speed and reliability) is fixed. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I still can't believe it and almost want to pinch myself: "Is this real? LJ is working so fast! And I haven't had an error in the last 48 hours, not even one!"

I did log a support request re: default comment title and spellchecker, though. I saw a LJ news post saying these things will be fixed. We will see.

Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia: I loved the episode until the ending happened. spoiler ) I am still not pleased.

Walking Dead: I have finished all available episodes of the season 2 and I am having a terrible imaginary crush on Daryl. He is like a version of Sandor Clegane with a crossbow. My open plea to the creators of the show: "Dear creators of Walking Dead! Please do not kill off Daryl anytime soon".

Anime: I am watching tons of anime at the moment. I would appreciate any recommendations!
My anime favourites, just few of them:

Monster (I haven't expected so much depth in anime)
Shiki (so scary it is good)
Ergo proxy (mind-bending and gorgeous)
Hellsing (really REALLY loved it)
Blood+
Trinity Blood (my favourite anime song)
Trigun and Cowboy beebob - great old-school anime.

Suits: I have finished 12 episodes of "Suits" in one day. I am still off on holidays. I enjoyed watching, but I didn't feel any depth to be honest and the love triangle part (and the way the character of Rachel was developed in the show) didn't feel right for me at all ..

Warehouse 13 is still lovely. Now they even have a DOG (I love dogs).

Ojakgyo Brothers: I have also watched 38 episodes of "Ojakgyo Brothers" in two days and I am crushing so much on Joo Won it hurts. Also - Uee is such a surprise, I really like her character.

I should stop commenting and posting excessively and do something else. :D
alexandral: (Photos - Summer red)
2012-01-07 03:09 pm
Entry tags:

Merry Russian Christmas!

Today is the day Christmas is celebrated in Russia: I wish you all a wonderful year ahead, happiness, love and want to tell you how much I appreciate you! I don't know if I say this often enough, but your posts full of fun and information is something I would not imagine my life without!!



** big hugs **
alexandral: (Powerful opponents - hard day)
2012-01-05 06:29 pm
Entry tags:

Mockingjay: the end

"Hunger Games" is a big disappointment of 2011, something I expected to like following almost universal praise this series receive in Lj land.. This disappointment goes quite deep covering many different levels and I feel compelled to write this down while I remember, even though I am probably re-capping some of the things I said previously:



Hidden because this is may be too long and might contain spoilers, even though I tried to be vague and not disclose the ending )

Overall: Book 1: 8/10, book 2: 6/10, book 3: 4/10, on average: 6/10

PS: I always welcome a discussion, but please don’t comment with statements like "You read it all wrong". The way I read it is the way I read it, and although I respect opinions that differ from mine, and I am 100% sure that all opinions are valuable, I lived half of my life in a place where I was told what to think by other people, and unfortunately this made me quite sensitive to anyone’s attempts to tell me what to think. So – your opinion is yours, mine is mine and if you think that your opinion is somehow more valuable than mine we differ on a very fundamental level.

On the happier note: Lois McMaster Bujold! Vorkosigan Saga! HERE I COME! Cordelia and Miles and everyone else!!!!!!!!
alexandral: (Sita sings the blues - Wink)
2011-12-30 11:30 pm

Warehouse 13: I love it!

I am still mostly doing RL things: spending the time with the family, eating cakes, shopping and enjoying myself. Tomorrow is the New Year Eve, the biggest holiday of the year in Russia. This year we are not going to Russia for the New Year holidays, we will be going there this summer instead, hopefully in time for the mushroom picking season (I LOVE MUSHROOMS).

I am just dropping by to post a happy ramble about "Warehouse 13". I tried the show last year, but for some reason the first season didn’t call to me immediately and I dropped it. This year my daughter wanted to watch the show together on holidays, and after dragging my feet a little bit I agreed! And how happy I am now that I did, especially after the two biggest let downs of this month: I mean the ending of "Hunger Games" book trilogy (I hopefully will tell you more once the good cheer period is over) and the ending of the season 3 of "Misfits". Now, the ending of the season 3 of Misfits was a Very Bad Ending of The Season, but really, I wasn’t too invested anyways.

But onto happier things! Unexpectedly, "Warehouse 13" is such a delight: gender balanced, funny, feel-good and stereotype-avoiding! Well, there was that one episode about Moscow, but I am going to forgive the show because otherwise this is like the good old times of good assembly cast shows! The abundance of fabulous and various female characters is particular nice. The abundance of characters that aren’t young and gorgeous, but are still interesting and engaging is very welcome too. Plus there are so many non-standard relationships in the show! Even women are having meaningful friendships! :D

This is exactly the kind of thing that makes my holidays perfect (we are already in the middle of the season 3) and makes me forget the disappointments of yesterday (Hunger Games, I mean you). All is not lost. If Sci Fi channel is continuing a show like this year after year – I have hope in the future of TV. :D And it is not as if there is anything particular special about "Warehouse 13" (apart from the gender balance which is indeed a rare thing).. It is .. just good fun!



PS: My daughter says that I am like Irene Frederic, and a little bit like Myka. :D And she sees herself as Claudia.
alexandral: (Sita sings the blues -  feet)
2011-12-25 09:35 am

Happy Holidays!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays of your choice to everyone! Personally, I am as confused as ever: Russian Christmas is celebrated on the January the 7th and the New Year day is the biggest holiday of the season in Russia. But this is not stopping me from enjoying the Holiday season, eating lots of nice food and watching a lot of Holiday things on TV. The only thing lacking is SNOW. I am a big fan of it.:D

This Christmas my friend is staying with us and we are doing all the Holiday Things together (hence, my disappearance from LJ). Yesterday all the family went to see “Sherlock Holmes and the Game of Shadows” and it was lovely, especially Shetland Pony, Noomi Rapace and Stephen Fry.. And what is the better way than to celebrate the Holidays with the pictures from “Sherlock Holmes and the Game of Shadows”?



The rest of pictures )

Happy Holidays Everyone: Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Yuletide! Peace, Happiness and Good will to you all!
alexandral: (Blade runner - No more sorrows)
2011-12-21 11:20 pm

Last rant of the year.

A Big Rant:

OH NO LJ YOU ARE IDIOTS. Idiots! Taking away Subject field and spell checker and all other good stuff. This is so bad that I feel like laughing. I guess I am in shock. This is such a huge fail. In the announcement post (here, in Russian, thank you to [livejournal.com profile] coffee_n_cocoa) the tone of the developers' words is absolutely abhorring. I don't know if this comes though in the translation (Translation, thank you to [livejournal.com profile] coffee_n_cocoa), but I have never seen anything as self-entitled, self-congratulating and self-everything. It is as if they are talking to someone beneath them.

Personally I think that this is a move against free Users and Communities. LJ doesn't want them.

But, I must tell you ladies and gentlemen that I don't think "this is the fault of Russians" . Russian LJ users also suffer en masse, complain using every strong Russian word they can find and ask to give them back their subject lines (in this post, thank you to [livejournal.com profile] coffee_n_cocoa for the links). Russians are your friends, not your enemies. :D The cold war is over.


Hmm, I feel a bit selfish, but at the same time I am glad that the Flexible Square problems are finally sorted and I can get back to my customised comments. I had this LJ layout for so many years that I have bonded with it and I was suffering during the period I had to use default comments (I never liked them).

Also, I am still staying on LJ and will be staying until I will leave completely and forever. I have roots here, and if LJ gets too bad, I will stop using it and move.. I don't where yet. Tumblr most likely.

And oh, DW? I don't like it. For me DW is Apple of blogging, too much of a cult. This has always been the main problem for me: I don't really see any alternative to LJ out there.

PS: Dear Idiotic LJ Developers, this is CHRISTMAS, for goodness' sake, not April Fools' day!

Edit: I have complained to the Customer Support. Disappearance of the old functionality counts as a bug, so I logged this as one. I know this is not much, but not much is better than nothing and I hope that if LJ receive a large amount of support requests something can be done. I am an optimist.
alexandral: (Star Wars - Leila fighting)
2011-12-19 02:13 pm
Entry tags:

Mockingjay: Please tell me this is going to get better.



I am through about 40% of "Mockingjay", and dear friends list, I am getting seriously annoyed. Katniss is undergoing what is probably the worst ever character development in the history of fiction.

Spoilers )

PS: Shall I keep listening? There are 6.5 more hours of this! Or shall I give up, find the spoilers, and move on to some better books?
alexandral: (The Painted Veil - Kitty China Day)
2011-12-13 03:45 pm

Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

I am sailing fairly quickly through "Hunger Games" trilogy, mostly because I promised myself to listen to THE WHOLE OF "Vorkosigan Saga" next and all the books are ready and I can't wait!

I feel very apologetic because I know so many of you on my friends list love the trilogy, but "Catching Fire" (the second book of the trilogy) left me not very impressed. I AM SORRY. But I must tell you the truth. :D



The first book of "Hunger Games" trilogy ("Hunger Games") had a really good idea, even though this was something that Susanne Collins can't be given the full credit for (in my opinion) because even if you take "Battle Royale" out of the equation there is also "Running Man" and "1984". This idea worked really well in the first book, but the second book (Catching Fire) feels like rehashing of the same story. Inventing the way to send Katniss and Peeta back into the Arena felt contrived and unexciting.

Plus there were a couple of points I found particular problematic: )

Overall, after two books I rate this series 7/10, mostly because the first book was really good. I am giving the series some time and may be everything will be explained in the book 3 and the love triangle will be resolved soon.

But I definitely don't understand why so many people are so in love with this series (I would really appreciate any explanations). WHY??????????

For me, the series feel like a patchwork with the best bits taken from various sources (for example, Rue's death scene brings Ophelia painting to my mind, etc.).

PS: Somehow reading "Catching Fire" made me appreciate "Harry Potter" much more. I think Harry Potter is a much better series, especially in the worldbuilding sense. You might see me eating my hat and admitting that may be I have always been a bit unfair to "Harry Potter". :D
alexandral: (Blade Runner - Do androids)
2011-12-08 12:28 pm
Entry tags:

Five things about me!!!!

From [livejournal.com profile] sternflammenden: Five things associated with me:

Fantasy

I am more of a Science Fiction fan, but I also love Fantasy. There is something about the current decade: there isn't too much of new Science Fiction. Strange phenomena, but true. This decade seems to be The Decade of Fantasy Fiction. And I love it!

-House Greyjoy

I love an underdog in fiction. Take, for example, "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. I like Starks as much as any other person, but with Starks, there seems to be SO MANY people out there loving them, discussing every single aspect of their personalities in great detail. So by now I am, frankly speaking, a little bored.

The other problem with a popular House like Starks is that because it has so many followers, it inevitably eventually attracts the attention of two segments of fans whose opinions and posts I like the least of all : 1) posts trying to prove to me how various members of House of Starks are somehow morally superior to everyone else. 2) Posts describing to me in OTT graphic detail how the posters like to have sex with Robb Stark, with naming of the parts they feel the tingling in at the mentioning of his name. My sensibilities are too delicate for this. Plus Robb Stark is 14 in the books and 17-18 in the TV series.

Why am I talking about Starks? Off the high horse, and back to Greyjoys! What I notice is that I am always drawn to underdogs like Greyjoys in fiction, and particular, in fandom. For some reason, here in LJ , the fans of the House Greyjoy seem to be a jolly sane, non-judgmental, open-minded and happy bunch. And the same goes for Sansa/Sandor shippers, but this is definitely digressing. It must be the salt of Greyjoys. :D Back to Greyjoys, I love the opinions and the company of Greyjoy fans and this must add to my general interest in Greyjoys, the craziest (aka the most entertaining) House in "A Song of Ice and Fire" series.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that all posts of the House Stark fans are bad, it is just unfortunately in big fandom segments you are more likely to get someone who posts something crazy or OTT, and for some reason the fans that post crazy things seem to be the "loudest" (somehow the loudness seems to go hand-in-hand with craziness and OTT). But I do love my Starks too.

To show you all how serious I am about the House of Greyjoy, this is a sock I recently purchased for my Android phone:



Asian cinema

I have always been a fan of Asian cinema, but for someone who is not familiar with it I can say one thing of recommendation: Ladies and Gentlemen, Asian cinema is the place where everything is happening nowdays: new ideas, innovative graphics, fabulous actors. One statistical thing: I don't know a single re-make of a Western film in Asia (there must be some, but they are rare). On the other hand, there are so many remakes of Asian movies made in Hollywood that I can count you 10 without thinking hard. One of the re-makes, "The Departed", has even won an Oscar.

Technology

I tend to rattle about this: my job is related to Technology. I am a Systems Analyst which is just another name for the mind-boggling profession of Computer Programmer, or according to Urban Dictionary "Computer Programmer: a) An organism capable of converting caffeine into code. b) Semi-sentient being who inexplicably survives an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. Usually found in confined spaces with low lighting, at a computer terminal. C) This makes attracting females difficult, which can easily be fixed by meeting women through an online service."

I am an atypical programmer, though, because I: a) don't drink too much coffee. I like it, but it makes me too hyper so I don't drink it often, and if I do, I only like "proper" coffee! To clarify, Starbucks coffee is NOT "proper" coffee, and I am not even talking about instant coffee varieties. b) I try to maintain a semi-healthy lifestyle, exercising 2 times a week and trying to eat well, c) I AM a female.

Consequently, I have a loving relationship with technology in general. I am quite lazy by nature which stops me from buying too many new gadgets, but I am never afraid of computers/gadgets/new things and seem to be always capable of harnessing them, given enough time. All these things are my friends, unless they are made by Apple (in which case they are instruments of brainwashing). The only things I am less of a friend with are mechanical devices like printers, they are just less trust-worthy.

To add, my most notable achievement is that my 12-year old daughter still thinks I am cool.

Daughters

Daughters are GREAT. To tell you the truth, I didn't really enjoy giving birth, and neither did I really enjoy the baby period. But now, when my daughter is 12 and we can talk as equals? I am loving it! She is fabulous and cute and I love her so much I definitely know I will do anything for her.

I am in a real worry at the moment because my daughter has her first boyfriend. He seems to be nice but you know, I WORRY! What if he ends up hurting her?
alexandral: (Winnie-the-Pooh - scratching his ear)
2011-12-05 03:10 pm
Entry tags:

Mostly about "Hunger Games"

I am living a pretty uninteresting life at the moment, much work is done and nothing else. Of interesting things, I have embarked on a full re-watch of "Jeeves and Wooster" with the family and so far this has been a great fun.



I am also listening to "Hunger Games" audiobooks. As expected, I love the series: it has lovely energetic writing, fabulous lead characters (especially Katniss), and is very comforting. After few months of "A Song of Ice and Fire" obsession it is nice to read something that is scarily realistic and tame at the same time. I am still in the middle of the first book of the series, but I have no fear. I am sure everything will be fine at the end, and Katniss and Peeta are going to get married and live happily ever after. I will be VERY surprised if this is not the case..

For the record, these are my predictions:
1. Katniss' sister and mother will die.
2. Gale will turn out to be evil
3. Katniss and Peeta will marry and have babies.

Among the interesting things in this series, I like the gender reversal with Peeta and Katniss where Katniss has traditionally more "male" role and Peeta has traditionally "female" role. Even the names sound in this way: if I didn't know who is who I would have thought Katniss is a boy name and Peeta is a girl name.

But!! (there is a BUT) From what I have heard of the series I was ready for something that heavily references "1984" and "The Running Man", but to add to this, the book seems to be very closely following Japanese novel "Battle Royale" (please see the picture below) . In fact, the resemblance is so noticeable that I had to Google the issue and to my disappointment discovered that Suzanne Collins maintains that she "had never heard of that book until [her] book was turned in,". Call me a cynic, I just can't believe it. "Battle Royale" was published in 1999, it has been adapted into a high-influence film ("Battle Royale") and manga of the same name, and Suzanne Collins (and her editors, etc.) have never heard of it?



PS: I am also finding out that there is a "Hunger Games" movie in making, with a 21-year old Blond actress playing Katniss. This sounds terrible!!!!!!!!
alexandral: (Default)
2011-11-29 04:15 pm

On the subject of pants

LJ is having PROBLEMS! Oh, I am getting a bit tired of this. I was ready to feel for them during the first (and even second) wave of DDoS attacks, but this is getting old pretty fast. LJ folks! T'is the time to do something, you had plenty of time already.

Forgive my old-school sensibilities , my younger friends, but this season seems to be the time for some of the ugliest fashions I have ever seen. Namely - girls wearing tights without wearing anything else (please see the illustration below). This look belongs (may be) in a gym or in a ballet performance, but NOT in a café, unless the aim is to cause gastrointestinal disturbances.



You might say that these are not tights but leggings, but how the casual onlooker is supposed to know? For the record, thin-ish leggings worn without a long top over them look as ugly as any tights. And matched with UGG boots (the ugliest foot wear invented) the look is terrible, even on the gorgeous ladies like Olivia Wilde:



I have shamelessly stolen the pictures from the Internet, but I see 5-10 examples of this "fashion" every morning I am walking to work, especially around the University area.

This is a hilarious chart I have stolen from [livejournal.com profile] lage_nom_ai: Am I wearing pants?. This chart needs to be spread all over the world, and I am going to help the good work. Young ladies and gentlemen! Please consult the chart before stepping outside!
alexandral: (Star Wars - Leia smiling)
2011-11-28 11:08 pm

Warrior

Just in case anyone wonders: the State of me:
I am still soooooooo busy at work I can barely think about anything else! My apologies for the less than scarce presence on LJ nowdays. I am alive and all is great, but the work is eating me up.

And today I had a HUGE disappointment : NO NEW EPISODE OF "THE GOOD WIFE" THIS WEEK. The Good Wife is probably the only show I am in serious love (and obsession) with at the moment. It took me a few rounds of thinking to realise that this is because of Thanksgiving. I must note: I do not approve of this habit of USA-based Network companies of not showing new episodes during USA holidays. I DO NOT APPROVE. Surely, this is the prime time for people to sit around the telly and watch their favourite shows? At least British networks understand this and do Christmas specials and such!

Few months ago I promised to myself that I am going to watch at least a film a week? I am still sticking to this, and I have seen some really good films I haven’t had a chance to post about, like Norwegian "The Bothersome Man". This was a great film!

But today is a "No New Episode of Alexandra’s favourite show" day, so I will tell you about "Warrior" instead.

Warrior: or A Clash of Tattoos



Having seen mostly "OMPH, this is awesome" reviews, at the beginning I was completely in a mood to love this film. And to tell the truth, there were some good emotional scenes between The Estranged Father (Nick Nolte) and his two sons in the first half. And there even was "Moby Dick" mentioned (although I still don’t understand why).

But it all went completely downhill in the second half. Let me tell you a little about the plot, especially about the point I found to be the most ridiculous. Brendon (late 30s, early 40-s) used to be an "Ultimate Fighting Championship" fighter. But now he is a teacher, with a beautiful wife and two daughters. He is behind his mortgage payments and about to lose his house. What does he do? He goes back to fighting, where he could be killed/injured/leave his family with nothing. Why? Because he doesn’t contemplate the thought of losing the house, the most important thing in his life. His wife objects at first, but later relents (as a good wifey should) and starts cheering for her hubby when he is smashing other people to a pulp in the Championship. Oh, and his brother Tommy (played by rather delectable Tom Hardy) is in the Championship too and the brothers eventually have a teary re-union..

There was, of course, an awful "Russian" character, the defending champion Koba (by the way, the name is of Georgian, not Russian origin).

Oh, and all the fighters were, of course, white, and the movie wouldn't have passed Bechdel Test. There was one guy of colour at the beginning but he has lost in the first round.

PS: I am especially miffed that the creators dared to use the song of one of my favourite Russian singers and songwriters, Vladimir Visotsky, as the background song for the awful character of monstrous Koba. Visotsky was the voice of freedom in the 80s Russia.. He died really early - conspiracy theories still abound, and to tell the truth his early death seemed terribly "convenient" for USSR government. I could not believe it when Visotsky’s song was used in this way. I am sure the director didn’t bother to check the lyrics, or the singer’s biography.
alexandral: (GoT - Asha Greyjoy picture)
2011-11-21 05:24 pm

Where I very loudly squee about the first video footage from Game of Thrones season 2!!!

OH I AM SO HAPPY AND RELIEVED. THIS POST IS A BIT TOO SQUEEFUL, I AM AFRAID.

Here is the first footage from the season 2 of Game of Thrones, in case you havent seen it yet )

It might have been something the show's creators said or it might have been the abundance of Robb/Jeyne related posts in [livejournal.com profile] ontd_asoiaf (just a note: I am all for freedom of shipping and freedom of fannish opinions! I have ranted about the matter many times already and I honestly won't today. Today is the day of happy news.I am just trying to explain as to where I got the idea from), but I got somehow very worried that The season 2 is going to be all about Robb and his doomed Twilight-like love story with Jeyne.

BUT!!!!!!!!!!! It seems that the first look into the season 2 might indicate that the season is going to pay rather big attention to the storyline I am personally interested in: Stannis, Davos, Melisandre, and the rest of Baratheons. Oh, hot and "mature" pair of Stannis and Davos! Oh, fabulously gorgeous Melisandre! Come to my screen and make me happy this season. Make all the Stannis haters into loving converts and show a thing or two to people who think that "Davos is boring".

Also, it seems that the wigs and costumes have undergone a bit of a change. Everyone looks much better, especially Renly and Loras. But this said - have I ever seen anything as ridiculous as Renly's crown? I don't think so. :D Not on my TV. THE CROWN IS FULL OF HORNS. MANY HORNS. And it sits ridiculously low. It makes Renly look like Prince John from Disney's Robin Hood. Please see the picture comparisons below. My apologies to any of Renly's fans on my friends list, but I think Renly is forever ruined for me. I won't be able to look at him again without giggling inside. I am going to call it The Crown of Horns.




Also, a fan of Sandor Clegane in me is very happy too. I have a big heart and I am fan of many characters, and Sandor is one of my favourites. I am so happy to report that I think Season 2 Sandor looks seriously hot. Has the actor lost some weight? Is it the new beard and the new hair? Anyways, you will have to bear with me this season because I will be doing all sorts of fan-lady things about Sandor.

Sandor in season 2: )

Misfits I have been watching the show, and it is fun. I am reporting a rather amusing thing: I have been told by my colleagues that I am somewhat like Kelly. Not in the crazy dress sense, in "I will not suffer nonsense gladly" sense. OH YES.

PS: These happy news have managed to tear me out of my "I am all about work" mood. EEEEEEEEEEEE!
alexandral: (Art - Rossetti - La Pia de'Tolomei - def)
2011-11-19 09:05 pm
Entry tags:

RL is a bit .. busy


RL has been a bit busy. I feel slightly stunned. I am sitting watching x - factor with family whilst simultaneously doing things on my android phone. I am loving the phone but android Lj app is not too exciting .

 

I hope everyone is well. Please let me know of any news!

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

alexandral: (World Cup 2010 - Italy Cannavaro)
2011-11-10 10:13 pm
Entry tags:

Where I rage about: Apple and LJ

I don’t get really angry very often. Not at all. This is probably the first time I am ANGRY on LJ pages.

I HATE APPLE: Apple!!!!!!!!!!! I never liked the brand in the first place, for principal reasons, but now I have a reason to HATE IT PERSONALLY. I will dedicate my life to campaigning against this evil bunch. Why? The story goes like this:

1. My daughter dropped her ipod touch. She is fairly small, so the fall was quite small, BUT! The front glass smashed completely! I must say this never happened to me before! I tend to drop my phones, laptops and other devices, I am just prone to drop things. THIS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE. Once I dropped my mobile down a flight of stairs and it bounced all the way down. Did it smash? No - I got away with a scratch!

2. I remember something about "1-year warranty", so I go to the Apple store. THE ONLY APPLE STORE existing in West Yorkshire (Leeds/Sheffield area). There I have to stand in a queue for 1 hour ten minutes, in the store that was literally stuffed with people with broken laptops and iPhones.

3. I get told by a too-cheery sales guy (Why were you so cheery, the Apple guy? Was looking at the shop stuffed full with idiots who buy the rubbish Apple stuff for large sums of money cheer-inducing?): because the ipod is under 1 year old APPLE WILL DO ME A FAVOUR AND "replace" it for 119 pounds. IT IS MY FAULT (well, my daughter’s) that she DROPPED THIS VERY FRAGILE DEVICE. But did it come with "fragile" warning? NO IT DID NOT.

4. I feel that I was used and I do not like the feeling AT ALL.

I HATE THEM ALL. I hope Steve Jobs is turning in his grave somewhere in a special place reserved for people who cheat other people out of their money by brainwashing (please do not lecture me about respect, I am too materialistic to feel any respect after spending 119 pounds on "replacement"). I WILL NEVER EVER BUY ANYTHING FROM APPLE AGAIN AND I WILL TELL MY STORY TO EVERYONE.

5. I bought the iPod against my better judgement (my daughter has a peer pressure at school :D) , but paying 250f for something that obviously doesn't cost as much to produce I expected a better customer service. And how mistaken was i!

LJ hate
And today LJ has UPGRADED SOMETHING AGAIN and my Flexible Squares LJ layout is all weird, cutting off the images that don’t fit in the "square". I had to switch off "Disable customized comment pages for your journal" for now, and I also am getting "Content error" all the time. OK LJ. STOP BEING IDIOTS. STOP IT. LJ people - I know you are not as rich as "the father founders" of Apple, but I still do not like you. You have to stop this idiocy already.

PS: Insert selective swearing of your choice in my thoughts about Apple and LJ. This is one of those rare moments when I wish I knew how to swear.

Positive thoughts: My new Android phone
I have bought myself an Android phone! It was cheaper than the ipod "replacement" was. AND I LOVE IT. I don’t know why I haven’t done this for ages. It is like having a little computer in your pocket and it can do practically anything you want it too. I LOVE IT. It syncs with my Google account and is looooooovely.
alexandral: (Rome - Pullo/Vorenus)
2011-11-07 03:47 pm
Entry tags:

Black Company book series

Listening to audiobooks is working GREAT for me. It has been literally decades since I did the same amount of reading! I finished 9 books of "Black Company" series by glen Cook in 2 months!! This is the answer to my less-than-perfect eyesight! It also seems to be the perfect answer to the boredom of commuting!

Black Company is a fantasy series by Glen Cook. I used to be very fond of the series when I was younger, but haven't finished it back then. This is a dark fantasy with some elements of military fiction. The series has very specific writing style, which I think one will love or hate: it is direct, choppy, gritty and no-nonsense. The story follows a military unit, "Black Company" and it's adventures in service to the various magic powers of that World.

What has always been my favourite thing about the series is the main "idea": "Nothing is Black and White. Everything is some shade of grey, and a person always has a choice." I also really like the writing style, which is somewhat unique and the main character, and the narrator of the first 4 books (and the last one), Croaker. He is not a good guy,and he is not a hero. His main appeal is that he never takes himself or others seriously and also his sarcastic attitude. His wit is extremely entertaining. As one of the other characters, the wizard called One Eye, commented : "Life wouldn't be half fun without you in it, Croaker. Watching you bumble through is an education in itself". And Croaker's unrequited love (well, things are more complicated than this) for the all-powerful sorceress named Lady, the ruler of that part of the World? Adorable.

The series have four narrators:

1. First 4 books ("The Black Company", "Shadows Linger", "The White Rose", "Shadow games"): Croaker, the Annalist and the Doctor, later the Captain of the Company.

Croaker , hands down, is my favourite narrator. He is witty, sarcastic, he doesn't tend to rattle about himself as much as the other narrators do, he is entertaining and philosophical. And the events of his books (happening first in the North, then in the South) seem to be the most interesting ones: some fabulous battles, some larger-than-life characters, all developed with good pace.

2. Book 5 ("Dreams of Steel") - Lady , The Captain of The Company

This book was a very interesting change of perspective, written by Lady, a powerful and very old sorceress. It made me chuckle and it made me cry. Lady is awesome and .. insane.

3. Books 6 and 7 ("Bleak Seasons" and "Soldiers sleep")- Murgen, the Annalist and the Standarbearer

I wish Murgen's books were never written. They are boring. Instead of the interesting things that are happening next to him he tends to go on and on about himself and his fiancée and their "epic" love. I never liked either of the two. Murgen is just boring and his books are long and confusing, plus the book 6 tells us about the events of the book 5 from a different perspective, which is a waste of time. The "love of his life" Sahra is too good to be true and uninteresting.
I wish Bleak Seasons" and "Soldiers sleep" were combined into one, much shorter book, or omitted completely.

4. Book 8 ("Water Sleeps") - Sleepy, The Captain of The Company (female)

I loved Sleepy. As far as leadership, planning and achieving success are concerned, she is the best Captain that we had in the series (4 Captains overall). She is efficient and strong, and a very non-cliché female character to the boot. I wish the writing of "Water Sleeps" was a bit tighter, but overall, I loved the book.

Book 9 ("Soldiers Live") - back to Croaker.

This is very strong ending to the series. Everything is explained, and all un-tied ends are secured. And Croaker is back as narrator! And Sleepy is one of the main characters!

Because I am more visual than wordy, I have collected some of the illustrations to "The Black Company":

One of my favourite illustration of Croaker, and something that conveys the spirit of the series. Croker in his "Widowmaker" costume, fighting:



Illustrations galore )
alexandral: (Art - Vrubel - Demon seating)
2011-11-03 04:46 pm
Entry tags:

Personality test!!

We had a "team building" event at work, doing Myers-Briggs Personality tests. This was rather interesting and surprising!

My test came as:

ENTP, which stands for:

Extrovert - "I like getting my energy from active involvement in events and having a lot of different activities. I’m excited when I’m around people and I like to energize other people. I like moving into action and making things happen. I generally feel at home in the world. I often understand a problem better when I can talk out loud about it and hear what others have to say.

THIS WAS A SURPRISE (even though I didn't score too high here). I always though of myself as an introvert! And then all my work colleges started saying that I indeed a total extrovert, and I was "OH?? REALLY??" and still not being at all convinced. The trainer, who knows me a bit from the previous courses I had with him also said "Yep. I think you are an extrovert". THIS MADE ME THINK. Learning something new about yourself at my age? Interesting!

Intuitive - Preference for taking in information through a "sixth sense" and noticing what might be (as opposed to concentrating of facts and figures): Ideas, Big picture, Imaginative, Abstract and Theoretical.

Thinking - Preference for organising and structuring information to decide in a logical, objective way (as opposed to a personal, value-based way): Focus on cause and effect, logic, task.

Perceiving - Preference for living a spontaneous and flexible life (as opposed to planned and organised life).

Although I am still not sure about the Extroversion part, the rest is SO ME:

Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.
alexandral: (Paranoid?)
2011-11-01 03:50 pm
Entry tags:

Where I don't really understand Halloween

I didn't want to spoil anyone's fun yesterday with grumpy entries, but I do not understand Halloween. Mostly likely because I grew up in USSR where we never had this holiday. It fact, round about this time of year USSR used to have one of their biggest holidays of the year, "The October revolution day", celebrating the anniversary of the revolution in 1917. This was one of the biggest holidays, but not one of the favourite ones. Usually the fun consisted of big parades and demonstrations (in mostly freezing weather you get in Russia at this season) and lots of Lenin films shown on TV. The favourite time of the year it was not, at least not mine.
Tangentially, when the similarity between the date of "The October revolution day" and "All Hallows' Eve" was discovered in 90s, this produced much speculation and conspiracy theories about the "demonic" nature of the October Revolution of 1917. Seriously. :D

The other aspect of Halloween-underappreciation for me is the fact that I don't see why my kid or I should get dressed as a skeleton or a zombie or any other evil thing. I am quite literal and for me evil things are .. well.. evil. As I understand, in the USA people get dressed in all manner of fun costumes and this sounds like something that can potentially be fun. But here in the UK the costumes we get seem to be witch/ghoul/zombie/pumpkin. I have no desire to dress as any of those.

Also I don't think it is at all that safe for kids to be wondering dark streets alone, demanding sweets from strangers. Usually the little ones are accompanied by an adult, but I have seen several groups of 9-10-11-12 year olds wondering the streets unattended. Yes, I am paranoid, but I still don't think this is safe at all.

And the last thing, although may be this is the main thing, is that I do not like ANY of commercial holidays. I have a sneaky suspicion that they all are invented by "evil multinational corporations" that want to sell more of cheap sweets, cheap zombie masks and other stuff that we don't really need.

Just for fun: the old card with the battleship Aurora literally translates: "Glory to the Great October!"

alexandral: (GoT - anim Drogo come at me bro)
2011-10-31 05:53 pm

Am back to the land of living

I have done many very nice things on my holiday break. I went out to eat every day of the last week. :D I do like eating out. I can cook, but for me cooking is like programming: you put things in, you get the food out. The only non-programming thing about it is the mess afterwards.

When I cook for guests, I usually use one of my mother's or my friends' recipes I brought with me from Russia. Oh, and I have a nice Indian recipe from a co-worker. When I cook for everyday, I usually cook something "healthy" and fast at the same time (i.e mushrooms + sweet peppers + onions + pesto + penne I am cooking tonight) . I abhor pre-packed meals and I don't like to slave away. Food is just food, after all.

My daughter and I caught up on a lot of TV whilst on holidays:

Haven: It left me fairly lukewarm. I guess I am not fond of "special person" stories. I loved Audrey Parker when she had a promise to be "a normal girl in abnormal circumstances" with some female friends as well as with a couple of male admirers. But it seems that all the other female characters either died or disappeared from Haven and all we have left is a "special" Audrey, a man-magnet with whom everyone is in love with.

Also - Reverend Driscoll is such a "straw Christian".

Merlin: I am still loving my way through the season 4, especially appreciating the fact that something is finally happening in this story. After 3 years, the story is finally moving! There was even a baby dragon hatched by Merlin last week! I loved Merlin to bits for his "I want all dragons to be FREE" speech.

Supernatural season 6: My guilty pleasure of the day. My brain switches off, my eyes sparkle with "Dean! Pretty! Castiel! Awesome!". That is all.

Vampire diaries: I am giving up on this. It just seems to be the same the same the same. Life is too short! It could have been a good guilty pleasure show if not for the fact that Stefan is boring and ugly and Damon seems to be wiggling his eyebrows a little too often.

Endgame: We finished this short-lived show about a Russian chess master with agoraphobia who is solving various crimes from his hotel room. This show did have some potential and Alcina is probably my favourite female character of last year's. I need some gifs from this show, of both Arkady and Alcina.

I have forgotten! Today is Halloween! Getting into the spirit of things, my favourite EVER Halloween-y film is "The Addams family".

MAMUSHKA!!!!!


Halloween! Enjoy yourselves!!!! Eat a lot of chocolate but look after your teeth (I am eating Dark Chocolate Cherry Liqueurs as we speak)!!