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January 2009

funicular pt II


"so what's a funicular?" somebody asked me.  (i had to look it up myself) 


  1. A particular type of rail transit system which ascends a steep urban or mountain incline, having usually two cars sharing a single track, with the cars linked by a cable and an arrangement of pulleys such that the descending car assists in the hoisting of the ascending car, i.e. the two cars serve as counterweights for each other.

the funicular building use to face a traffic circle much smaller than the one you see in the photo.  they've expanded the circle and now traffic is streamlined into directed lanes instead of a free for all that it was in the past.

(the funicular's building is just visible in the far right of the photo and covered up by the orange catwalk.)



living overseas can cause normal cravings to roll unchecked into addictive distractions.  case in point, i started thinking about cinnamon rolls last week.  the kind with the white glazed frosting and flaky bread that melts in your mouth.  the craving started making me think about how far away the nearest krispy cream or cinnibon shops are.  

last weekend, i set out to make some for the first time.  the first obstacle was finding powdered sugar.  i never saw it before at my regular grocery stores. another run to the shops ended in success as i discovered some packets hidden away in one of the aisles.  

everything was from scratch and my first time working with yeast.  seeing bread dough double in size is freaky enough, let alone seeing how much bigger everything gets while it's baking.  all in all, everything worked out well, but next time i'll improve it with less flour and a shorter baking time. 

- best served with ice cold milk, or hot chocolate if you can take the sugar rush.

subconsiously russian


it was a beautiful night tonight in vladivostok.  a light snow was falling and the air was crisp.  i took lucia out for her walk and left my earbuds out just to experience the nice crunchy sound of walking on the snow. i discovered i can see one of the outdoor skating rinks from the top of my hill.  as i crested the peak, i could hear music and looked down to see the rink bathed in light.  lucia was oblivious and on the move for scents that couldn't be covered up by the snow.  the skaters looked out of place from the regular traffic you see, as they glided around in circles.  i was tempted to walk to it, but than realized it would have taken an extra hour just to get to it.  we stuck with the original plan and headed to the park where lucia always gets to meet a new friend.  tonight was no different. i'm getting more use to casual interactions now.  so use to them that i chatted with a couple ladies out walking their pomeranian while trying to sms in russian to a friend. i don't think they realized i wasn't russian for several minutes.  a year ago, i would have been flustered and given up trying to chat or type at the same time.  

another example of remaining calm was this morning when i had a run in with the police.  i was on my way to a car wash and made a left turn out of my street.  today i discovered, with their help, that that is illegal.  the cop took my license and had me join him in his car.  i always hate that.  the police car is usually so small, i have to wedge my legs in the back seat and hope that the blood keeps circulating.  after i got in, i moved the traffic cones taking up the back seat and squeezed in for the lecture.

eventually, i had to call up a friend since this time i couldn't figure out what he was driving at.  turns out the cop wanted me to go to court for my illegal move.  wow, there wasn't a car on the road when i did the turn and it wasn't like i was arguing with him about it.  i said i didn't know about it and i won't do it again.  i got out of it i guess because he was just tired of arguing and sent me on my way with a warning.  i felt bad for him but with the horrible driving i see around here, i can imagine my turn causing the end of the world.  i wanted to ask him why people drive down the opposite side of the street just to get around traffic but figured i was pushing my luck.

a typical day in russia, even with a bad start you can always have a good finish with a dog walk in the snow.

how do you...

google has turned become the all knowing entity for many.  i myself fall back on it many times to see what sage advice can be sought for anything from trivia, home improvement projects, to making a major purchase.  now google has incorporated a psychic ability that predicts what your trying to type by you entering just a few words.

tonight i started off with a standard "how do you.." question and paused when the top most common "how do you" questions came up.  it makes me wonder whats going on when i usually see the results.  in this case, google visiters inquirying minds have these questions that they need to know.

googles top ten "how do you" entries-

  1. how do you know if your pregnant  (800,000+)
  2. how do you know if a guy likes you  (1 million results)
  3. how do you know if a girl likes you  (10million results)
  4. how do you solve a problem like maria (346,000)
  5. how do you get pink eye  (1.8million)
  6. how do you tie a tie (25million)
  7. how do you make a website (100+ million)
  8. how do you get pregnant  (1.9million)
  9. how do you know if you are pregnant (800,000+)
  10. how do you sleep lyrics (1million)

my informal hypothesis.

  • women want to know more about pregnancy than if a guy likes them.
  • as a collarlary to that, guys need to know if a girl likes them 10 times more than a girl needs to know if a guy likes them.
  • girls named maria are propabably sick of that song.
  • pink eye- #1 mystery disease.
  • parents slack off when it comes to proper tie techniques.
  • websites programmers - just remember no black background with dark fonts, no one likes it. if you wear maroon pants and yellow shirts than you have no sense of color.
  • how do you sleep - john lennon, i miss you