Archive | July, 2004
July 31, 2004

A few reasons why The Bourne Supremacy is awesome

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1) Matt Damon
2) Antagonist is Russian oilman (Helloooo Mikhail Khodorkovsky)
3) Awesome car chase through central Moscow

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Matt Damon walking around Moscow with a bottle of vodka

Anyways, go see this movie…pretty entertaining…and really, do you have anything better to do? Probably not…

July 28, 2004

Rejoice, for I have been offered housing at LSE!

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Woke up this morning to find an e-mail from LSE – an offer of accommodation at Bankside House, my first choice dormitory (well, after 10 Downing Street and Hugh Grant’s apartment).

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Bankside House is located on the South Bank of the Thames River near Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tate Gallery of modern art, which is ironic considering the fact that I am a fan of neither Shakespeare nor modern art (perhaps I’ll grow to love them). The dorm is a 25 minute walk to campus, which is nice because some of the other dorms are 40 minutes away from campus BY METRO.

The dorm also has a restaurant (I’m sure the food is just deeeeelicious…uh yeah) and a bar (WTF? A bar in a dorm? Nice!) Oh, and of course each room has ethernet…

Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to get all my stuff there.

July 25, 2004

Back from Oceanside

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…and now in the hell known as Palm Desert.

We spent Saturday at the beach. The weather was a bit gloomy, but it was a million times better than the 110 degree heat we left behind in PD. I didn’t take my surfboard since it wouldn’t fit in Kat’s car, but I had a good time body boarding (aka boogie boarding…yeah, being a damn “sponger”) and generally frolicking in the waves. Ah, Oceanside, how I love thee…

On the drive home to PD we stopped at the newly opened Krispy Kreme in Temecula. It was actually the opening day of that particular Krispy Kreme and it showed. We pulled up to the drive thru and ordered two donuts and a medium skim milk. The girl operating the drive thru window said they only have bottles of milk…and no skim, only 2%…ok, fine, we’ll take that but you might want to take the size and type of milk options off the menu. The girl then said “Your total is…ummm…we’ll tell you when you pull up to the window.” Haha, OK. So we pull up and the guy at the window says “Your total is $16.83.” What?? For two donuts?? Well, I guess you had to be there, but it was hilarious. All the workers were a bunch of kids…16 year olds and such, and this is probably their first job in customer service. I wish them well and welcome them to the wonderful world of customer service.

Kat and I have also decided that Temecula is really the perfect place to live. You have everything Palm Desert has, plus more, and it’s not 115 degrees outside. You are only a short drive from the beach, there is no congestion (well, compared to LA and San Diego), and the housing prices aren’t ridiculously high.

We stopped at Vista Point to take pictures of the Coachella Valley. Here is one:

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A view of Hell.

There was a German motorcycle gang at Vista Point when we arrived. Alright, so they weren’t a gang, but it was a group of German tourists that are touring the U.S. on motorcycles. Kind of odd…yeah, let’s drive motorcycles across the desert in the middle of the summer. Oh well…

While driving through PD on the way to my house, Kat spotted this:

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Ummm…yeah….welcome to Palm Desert.

Tomorrow I go back to Office Supply Hell. If you couldn’t tell from my previous post, I gave my two weeks notice to my asst. manager at Office Depot. Two weeks…10 workdays…at most, another 80 hours of hell.
And to all you lucky bastards that are at the Democratic convention in Boston, I hope you are having fun right now.

July 17, 2004

Your relations have tried to save you. They have failed and now we must shoot you.

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These were the last words heard by the Romanov family before they were brutally murdered by a group of Bolsheviks in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918.

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Tsar Nicholas II and his family (Empress Alexandra, Tsarevich Aleksei, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia)

Nicholas, his arm still around Alexis, began to rise from his chair to protect his wife and son. He had just time to say “What .. .?” before Yurovsky pointed his revolver directly at the Tsar’s head and fired. Nicholas died instantly. Alexandra had time only to raise her hand and make the sign of the cross before she too was killed by a single bullet. Olga, Tatiana and Marie, standing behind their mother, were hit and died quickly. Botkin, Kharitonov and Trupp also fell in the hail of bullets. Demidova, the maid, survived the first volley, and rather than reload, the executioners took rifles from the next room and pursued her, stabbing with bayonets. Screaming, running back and forth along the wall like a trapped animal, she tried to fend them off with the cushion. At last she fell, pierced by bayonets more than thirty times. Jimmy the spaniel was killed when his head was crushed by a rifle butt.

The room, filled with the smoke and stench of gunpowder, became suddenly quiet. Blood was running in streams from the bodies on the floor. Then there was a movement and a low groan. Alexis, lying on the floor still in the arms of the Tsar, feebly moved his hand to clutch his father’s coat. Savagely, one of the executioners kicked the Tsarevich in the head with his heavy boot. Yurovsky stepped up and fired two shots into the boy’s ear. Just at that moment, Anastasia, who had only fainted, regained consciousness and screamed. With bayonets and rifle butts, the entire band turned on her. In a moment, she too lay still. It was ended. – Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra

If you are interested in learning more about Russia’s last Tsar, I highly recommend that you read Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie. Massie’s book was the catalyst for my interest in Russian history. In the summer of 2001 I randomly decided to take a world history class at my local community college (College of the Desert), and after sitting through a fascinating four hour lecture on the last days of the Romanovs, I ran down to Barnes & Noble to pick up a book so that I could learn more about Imperial Russia…I ended up with Nicholas and Alexandra and plowed through the book in a few days. I was hooked…enrolled in some Russian History and PoliSci classes at GW, eventually picked up a minor in Russian History, spent two summers in Russia, learned enough of the language to order blini and Baltika in a restoran, and am currently preparing to head off to the London School of Economics for graduate work in Russian Studies.

Kind of strange how one book could have such a large impact, eh?

Боже, Царя храни!
Сильный, державный,
Царствуй во славу,
Во славу нам!
Царствуй на страх врагам,
Царь православный,
Боже, Царя, Царя храни!
Царя храни!

– “God Save the Tsar”, national anthem of Imperial Russia

July 13, 2004

Glorified version of a pellet gun

The 10 day waiting period is over, and I have picked up my Mosin Nagant! Here it is:

In my opinion, the most interesting aspect of this rifle is the information located on the receiver, which is pictured below:

A quick glance at the receiver tells me that this rifle was produced in 1942, a year that is well known in WWII history due to the bloody fighting that occurred at Stalingrad. The lack of a smooth finish on the receiver also indicates that the arsenal was using various production shortcuts in order to get the rifles to the soldiers at the front as quickly as possible. At the bottom of the receiver is an imprint of an arrow inside a triangle. This indicates that the rifle was produced at the Izhevsk arsenal, which is situated in the foothills of the Ural mountains. The serial number of this rifle is “K3 4577.” The “3” is actually the Cyrillic character that is equivalent to the “Z” in the Latin alphabet, so the serial number can be translated as “KZ 4577.” At the top of the receiver is the Soviet hammer and sickle enclosed in a wreath. There are a few more marks on this rifle, but I’m not sure what they mean so I will have to research them further.

This rifle is truly a beautiful piece of history, and will look even better once I clean all the Soviet grease off of it. Now, if only this weapon could talk! Did it see action at Stalingrad, Kursk, or Kiev? Perhaps its previous owner participated in the capture of Berlin? Unfortunately, we’ll never know. In the future, I would like to purchase a few more Mosins…I really want one that was produced before the Revolution, and an M44 would be nice, too.

Also, I need to put my Mosin somewhere…it’s just sitting in the corner of my room. I would like to hang it on the wall, but my mom isn’t too keen on that idea. Oh well.

More photos of my Mosin here.