Archive | April, 2007
April 26, 2007

Off to Coachella tomorrow

In a few hours, actually. My plane leaves DCA at 6 effin’ am. Layover in Houston, and then I should arrive in Palm Springs a little after 11am.

I will probably have a lot to write about when I return on Monday, and maybe even some photos. You know how much I love to take photos.

I need to get some sleep.

April 23, 2007

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

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Oh, Boris Nikolayevich, it seems as if your excessive vodka consumption and mad dancing skills have finally caught up with you. I wish I could write a thoughtful ode to your long and glorious career as Russia’s first democratically elected president, but unfortunately your shining moment atop that tank on a warm day in August has long been overshadowed by the bloody Chechen War, disastrous economic policies, and the rise of the oligarchs. To be fair, you were dealt a bad hand – it’s not often that a leader is faced with the monumental task of completely rebuilding the economic and political institutions of a country that has known only the iron-fisted rule of Tsars and Communist bureaucrats.

A big man with a ruddy face and white hair, he was full of peasant bluster — what the Russians call a real muzhik — and came to Moscow with a genuine warmth and concern for his countrymen.
During a visit to the United States in 1989 he became more convinced than ever that Russia had been ruinously damaged by its centralized, state-run economic system, where people stood in long lines to buy the most basic needs of life and more often than not found the shelves bare. He was overwhelmed by what he saw at a Houston supermarket, by the kaleidoscopic variety of meats and vegetables available to ordinary Americans.

Leon Aron, quoting a Yeltsin associate, wrote in his biography, “Yeltsin, A Revolutionary Life” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000): “For a long time, on the plane to Miami, he sat motionless, his head in his hands. ‘What have they done to our poor people?’ he said after a long silence.” He added, “On his return to Moscow, Yeltsin would confess the pain he had felt after the Houston excursion: the ‘pain for all of us, for our country so rich, so talented and so exhausted by incessant experiments.’ ”

He wrote that Mr. Yeltsin added, “I think we have committed a crime against our people by making their standard of living so incomparably lower than that of the Americans.” An aide, Lev Sukhanov was reported to have said that it was at that moment that “the last vestige of Bolshevism collapsed” inside his boss.

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“I want to ask for your forgiveness. For the fact that many of the dreams we shared did not come true. And for the fact that what seemed simple to us turned out to be tormentingly difficult. I ask forgiveness for not justifying some hopes of those people who believed that at one stroke, in one spurt, we could leap from the gray, stagnant, totalitarian past into the light, rich, civilized future. I myself believed in this, that we could overcome everything in one spurt. I turned out to be too naïve.” – Yeltsin’s resignation speech

April 18, 2007

Back to Eastern Europe this summer

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Just booked my ticket to Ukraine and Poland. Yes, I am once again vacationing in the former Communist Bloc. Does that really surprise you? I swear, one of these days I will make it to Asia or South America.
On July 1 I’m meeting up with Ryan, a friend I’ve known since high school, who is traveling around Russia and Ukraine for several weeks this summer. We’ll be in Kiev for a few days, then he’ll head down to the Crimea while I’ll fly to Krakow, Poland, spend the remainder of the week there, and return to DC on July 8.

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Looking forward to some classic Eastern European customer service, vodka, and quite possibly a bit of civil unrest.

I guess I should start brushing up on my Russian…

April 9, 2007

Lindsay wants!

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This was in my mailbox when I got home:

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If the lease on my apartment says no dogs or cats, does that mean I could have a pet polar bear, seeing as the polar bear is neither a cat nor dog? I could buy it one of those plastic kiddie pools and fill it with ice, but could possibly do without that, seeing as the house is always freezing in the winter (typical lackluster DC construction) and summer (air-conditioning…energy conservation WTF?)

I am not sure what the polar bear would eat, but it damn well better get used to shredded beef taquitos and shrimp tacos, which make up 90% of my diet.

I would also not mind a pet Leonardo DiCaprio.

April 8, 2007

Monotony, defined

I know I have been terribly lazy about updating this thing. It’s just that there is really nothing to write about. It is amazing how monotonous life has become since moving back to DC. For five days a week, you wake up, go to work, go to sleep, and then have a weekend. And this is what life is like for 40 YEARS UNTIL YOU RETIRE. WTF.

I think I am going to join the French Foreign Legion. Or maybe go back to the LSE for another useless degree. This time, though, I’ll go for a PhD so that I can be “Dr. Fincher”, Kremlinologist extraordinaire and frequent contributor to the History Channel.

April 1, 2007

In a battle between an XTerra and a fencepost, there are no clear winners

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This is due to about 75% of my own stupidity, but to make a long story short, I managed to have a run in with a random fencepost and construction rubble while trying to get out of my tight parking spot in the back of my house. Yeah, sucks. Got out of my car and was like “Oh @%$#%@!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s worth a plane ticket to China!” As you can see from the pic, a good chunk of paint was scraped off clear down to the steel. I am not too worried about the dent. Just look at the cars around this god-forsaken city and you’ll find that every other one has got some sort of body damage. I’ll probably get it fixed after I move away from this fetid swamp (hopefully in a year). My only concern is the effed up paint. With all the precipitation we get, the last thing I want is for rust to develop on this open spot. Nissan sells bottles of touch up paint. Can I just apply that to the metal section so that it will at least seal it and prevent rust until I can get this properly fixed?

Oh, and if anyone asks, I hit a boulder or something while offroading, OK?