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June 2009



a nice way to spend a saturday in vladivostok

  • start with ice skating after lunch at the only indoor rink in the city.

  • head back downtown to the набришния (seaside boardwalk area) for food, drinks and great views of the water.

  • after some шашлик (meat kabobs) hop on a ferry for an hour long ride around the harbor

  • head back to the boardwalk and grab a coffee along the way

  • take in a movie at the "ocean" movie theater

  • grab a dinner at several of the resturants near by, as you wait for the nightclubbing to start

although it's still wet and overcast, everyone gets out when the weather does let the sun break out for a day.  the traffic is a slow crawl out of the city on friday night and even worse sunday night as everyone's coming back from vacations.  but as i've said before, there's plenty to do in the city.

i've been sticking around the city mainly since i enjoy several places to eat out and take in.  but i want to check out some of the other cities in russia, so i booked a flight to st. petersburg.  my girlfriend is leaving a couple weeks before me to visit friends, i'll miss her but i'll get to see her soon.

a bit of info for spammers

hey, if you haven't figured it out yet. this site does not post comments directly.  they go through me first.  and i delete anything that's objectionable.  

so email me directly with a valid email address if you have a problem instead of posting behind a pseudonym.  


mr. nice guy



alice cooper, the scorpions, rasmus and kingdom come stopped in vladivostok during the russian leg of their world tour.  the consulate invited mr. cooper, family and friends to an american bbq in his honor that kicked off last night.  (the scorpians were also invited, but we were frustrated by the miscommunication with the local promoter that never passed the word to them) 

there was a ton of consulate preparation to make it happen.   but of course all the best laid plans were hinging on one thing, ..the weather.  we've had 10 days of non-stop rain falling and expected the worst as the tuesday night event was getting ready to kick off.  and then the gods of rock shined down from the heavens and gave us sun light for the first time in almost 2 weeks. 

our guest of honor, mr. cooper arrived shortly after his entourage of crew and other friends from the tour. after a brief break of appetizers and chit chat, the consulate general kicked off the night with a few words about the tour and how it helps reconnect two diverse cultures with the the common ground of rock n roll.  i was a little too young to remember alice cooper when his band first started.  i think my first experience was blasting "school's out for the summer" on my brother's stereo.  i've always been a fan of his bizarre antics on stage.  It's easy to call him one of the great concert showmen of rock n roll history.

i think everyone had a chance to get a photo, autograph or chat with mr. cooper during the bbq.  crews for the bands and also the drummer from AC were there also to mingle with the consulate staff and invited guests.  in total, close to 100 people attended the event.

i had a few minutes myself to chat with mr. cooper and asked him about his golfing since he started playing the sport late in life, like my dad did.  he said he tried it and the first drive he took, he hit it right down the middle of the fairway.  he knew he was on to something after that. 

the russians were very impressed by the musicians approachable nature.  they were hesitant at first to talk to them, but loosened up pretty quickly.  i explained they are many stars that enjoy the notoriety while some don't like the constant attention they attract.  the guest of honor is an example of the former category.

by the end of the night, everyone had their fill of grilled chicken, shaslik, hot-dogs, pasta salad, taco salad, tons of appetizers, and homemade deserts ranging from brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cakes and more.  a comment to the master-organizer-of-the-event (who was also baker-of-the-brownies) could be heard as Mr. Cooper saying "these are not 1970's brownies, right?"  which the baker said, "Mr. Cooper, i stopped making 70's brownies in the 80's."

the band and crew said their goodbyes, and thanked everyone for the party.  I think they were amazed the event was prepared as well as it was and half expected it to be a handful of american's eating take-away pizza and warm beer.  they must have appreciated it since we received complimentary tickets to the concert the next night. awesomeness..


Wed night late addition post:

My girlfriend and i walked over to avangard stadium and met up with several other colleagues ready to hear the guitar thrash and drum-set thunder.  we got there about 15 minutes before alice cooper began his set.  he opened up with "no more mr. nice guy", "I'm eighteen" and "under my wheels".  and came a sudden downpour of rain.  but that didn't douse the spirits of the crowd.  he continued to play every one of the classic's i remembered, along with a few off his latest release and as the set progressed so did the stage theater he always likes to have as a theme.  his daughter danced and performed in several pieces which made it even more interesting as you watched the staged fight scenes between real life father and daughter. by the end of the explosive set, mr. cooper was put in a straight jacket and hung from a gallows. 

the scorpions were up next and rocked the house with their euro heavy metal sound.  i didn't realize they had so many hits, but started recognizing them as they belted out the vocals. the drummer had a nice solo while the rest of the band had a break midway through.  the night was getting colder by the end of their set, and i started regretting my choice of jeans and a polo with no umbrella or jacket.  but we survived and got to hear the 3 song encore which included, wind of change and rock you like a hurricane. i wish we could have meet the band during the bbq but sometimes things just don't work out they way you wished.  

after the concert some of us stopped by palau fish to get a late night meal and wind down.  i thought about a few differences between concerts here in vlad and in the states.  the biggest in vlad, was no alcohol.  i'm not saying just no alcohol in the stadium, but no alcohol outside the grandstand, none in the near by restaurants, and none in the grocery stores after 6pm.  you couldn't find a beer in a mile radius it seemed.  all of this was due to preventive measures by the police and stadium to ensure fans didn't get carried away with too much drinking and end up with a riot on their hands. another was the appearance of topless men dancing on chairs.  but that can happen occasionally in the states so i can't really say it a difference.  all in all, i'd love to see more events like this in vlad.  there's definitely a demand for it, but i don't know yet how cost prohibitive it is for a group to tour all the way over here.  i'm sure the promoters end up counting every penny and trying to cut every corner to make a buck.  so for now, i'll have to savor the memory of the event while waiting for the next big thing rolls into town.

"that he not busy being born is busy dying"

Bob-dylanthe way i figure it, i probably fall in the percent of the population that's never really listened to bob dylan.  like most people, i've heard "maggie's farm", "tangled up in blue", "subterrainean homesick blues" and his other popular songs over the years.  but recently, someone lent me dylan's "the basement tapes" and i found myself listening to it over and over while working around the house.  the man is a fantastic lyricist.  i'm ashamed it's taken me this long to get around to appreciating his body of work.  so now i'm buying "blonde on blonde", "highway 61 revisited" and "blood on the tracks" to catch up on what others have already discovered.

"You don't have it? That is perverse. Don't tell anybody you don't f%*ing own Blonde on Blonde. It's gonna be ok.."  - JB / High Fidelity

since i've been living abroad for the last 5 years, i've reconnected with my music collection as strongly as i did when i was out of college.  i believe it's the need to hear the familiarity of music that you grew up listening to.  there's always something about it.  songs take me back to days past, helping me remember who i was 10 or 20 years ago.  iTunes and other resources are a huge help in keeping me going when you start to feel a little bit off center as a minority in a foreign country. 

russian word of the day

"зонт" (pronounced 'zont') - umbrella. 

i like it because the word resembles the sound an umbrella makes when you open it.

(this is my effort to expand my vocabulary besides partaking in my usual my russian lessons.  i'll try to add more words, maybe not every day, but some.  you'll be able to search under the category of "порусски" (russian) if you want to see more in the future.)