On 27th of December my fiance and I flew to Russia for New Year. Let me tell you people, I don't know how it is for others, but in my case having an ex-military fiance who still has atavistic/irrational fears of KGB is pretty hilarious. As we were landing I mimed attaching electrodes to him and made "Bzzzt" sounds. It was childish. I loled a lot.
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From the Silk Road Folio:
"Younghusband used his extraordinary knowledge of the area on his return to India from Kashgar. At Bazai-Gumbaz in the Oxus valley, he encountered a Cossack party, including Colonel Yanov ..., a doctor and a surveyor ... . The Russians ('doubled up in very small tents') were amazed at Younghusband's 'field-officer's Kabul tent, about eight feet in length, breadth and height, and with a bath-room and double fly. I had, too, a bed, table and chair... it is much better to take a whole pony-load and make oneself comfortable, than to take half a load and be miserable.' The Russians' luggage priorities were apparently different because they offered Younghusband 'a dinner, which for its excellence astonished me quite as much as my camp arrangements had astonished the Russians. Russians always seem to be able to produce soups and stews of good, wholesome, satisfying nature, such as native servants from India never seem able to imitate. The Russians had vegetables, too - a luxury to me - and sauces and relishes, and besides vodka, two different kinds of wine and brandy."
Do I even have to say whose priorities I really like? XD
It's a pity Russian High Court ruled decided to extend the ban on death sentence indefinitely. Whoever is responsible for the bombing deserves it, in my opinion.
This has been gathering dust for a few days on my computer. It is a shameless rip-off the Victorian detective fiction with two "gentlemen of leisure" main characters (albeit set in modern day Russia), which was totally inspired by Bunny and Raffles. ^_^;; It's just the beginning of the story, maybe I will write more, maybe not, but well... here it is.
While on a break from further adventures of Marco and Cato (whom I'm gonna slash if it kills me), I amused myself by reading some Russian jokes translated into English. XD
A Communist died and since he was an honest man albeit atheist, he was sentenced to rotate spending one year in Hell and one year in Heaven. One year passed and Satan said to God : "Take this man as fast as possible, because he turned all my young demons into Young Pioneers, I have to restore some order." Another year passed, Satan meets God again and tells him : "Lord God, it's my turn now." God replied : "First of all, don't call me Lord God, but instead Comrade God; second, there is no God; and one more thing - don't distract me or I'll be late to the Party meeting."
It's weird how I hate Martha Fiennes's Onegin movie, but don't bat an eyelash when I see Onegin/Lensky slash. *sigh*
Quote of the day (translated from Russian):
1: Napoleon was defeated [in 1812] during a relatively warm time of the year: the temperature was rarely lower than -5 C.
2: - 5 C is lower than Napoleon's freezing point. You should really learn physics.
Ok, I officially admit that I slash Wellington and Nicholas I. Crazy, you say? Well, read this and weep! XD
From "Tsar Nicholas I" by Constantin De Grunwald:
"When he came back to Paris a year later it was still the same: his most vivid memory was always to be the famous review at the Champ de Vertus: there, before the whole of the Allied General Staff, he took a fall which the English thoroughbred Wellington gave him."
*weeps with joy*
"Quicksilver" has me chained and enslaved. I've been at it for almost five days now and have only about a third left to go. And I wonder how am I gonna do anything constructive in the next few days now that I found out that "Confusion" (the second book in the trilogy) and, I think, the third book have Peter the Great in them. I squeed out loud. :D Oh, God, I can't breathe from over-excitement. ^_^;;
Henry Kissinger on the Congress of Vienna (from his "Diplomacy" - the bible of my fourth year course :D)
"Paradoxically, this international order, which was created more explicitly in the name of the balance of power than any other before or since, relied the least on power to maintain itself. This unique state of affairs occured partly because the equilibrium was designed so well that it could only be overthrown by an effort of magnitude too difficult to mount. But the most important reason was that the Continental countries were knit together by a sense of shared values. There was not only a physical equilibrium, but a moral one. Power and justice were in substantial harmony. The balance of power reduces the opportunities for using force; a shared sense of justice reduces the desire to use force. An international order which is not considered just will be challenged sooner or later. But how a people perceives the fairness of a particular world order is determined as much by its domestic institutions as by judgements on tactical foreign-policy issues. For that reason, compatibility between domestic institutions is a reinforcement for peace. Ironic as it may seem, Metternich presaged Wilson, in the sense that he believe that a shared concept of justice was a prerequisite for international order, however diametrically opposed his idea of justice was to what Wilson sought to institutionalize in the twentieth century."
Left to right:
Group of four on the very left: Wellington (Great Britain), Lobo (Portugal), Saldanha (Portugal), Lowenhielm (Sweden). Seated in front of them: (with the cloak on the back of the chair) Hardenberg (Prussia).
Group of six next to them and before the table. Four standing: Noailles (France), Metternich (Austria), Latour Dupin (France), Nesselrode (Russia); Two seated: Palmella (Portugal), Castlereagh (Great Britain).
The group of twelve around the table. Dalberg (France), Wessenberg (Austria). Two standing: Razumovsky (Russia), Stewart (Great Britain). Labrador (Spain), Clancarty (leaning)(?). Group of four standing: Wacken (Austria), Gentz (Austria), Humboldt (Prussia), Cathcart (Great Britain). Two seated in front of them: Talleyrand (France), Stackelberg (Russia).
The statue of Peter I commonly known as The Bronze Horseman is one of the most commonly used symbols of St.-Petersburg. The sculptor Etienne Maurice Falconet was recommended to Catherine II by Denis Diderot. The statue took 14 years to make and was finally unveiled in 1782. Its pedestal is a huge boulder known as Thunder Stone, shaped to represent a cliff. Peter's outstretched arm points towards the Neva river, and a snake writhes under the hooves of his horse, representing his enemies.
It stands on the Senate square, with Neva in front of it and St. Isaac's cathedral behind it. It was here that in December 1825 the Decembrist revolt took place.
One of St.-Petersburg legends says that during particularly heavy storms, Bronze Horseman gallops around the city. Another says that as long as Bronze Horseman stands in its place, St. - Petersburg will not fall into enemies hands. During the 900 day siege of St.-Petersburg (then Leningrad) during the WWII, the statue was not taken down, but instead covered with sandbags and a wooden shelter. Amazingly enough it survived the whole siege without being damaged by the bombing and artillery fire, and true to the legend, the enemy forces did not enter the city.
Second half of the night was spent mostly in hysterical laughter and some light Napoleonic Wars discussions. But the first half yet again showed me that I am an incurable slasher. x _ x
I was rewatching 'The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed', a Russian mini-series filmed in 1979, but set in the summer of 1945. The set-up of the story is enough to make any slasher's heart beat a little faster.
A young (and utterly handsome with incredible blue eyes) reconnaissance officer comes back from the fighting and is assigned to duty at Moscow CID. He is young, still idealistic, kind, doesn't know anything about the way the criminal world works and did I mention, incredibly cute? ^_^ His new boss is a tough, 'ends justify the means' guy, who is not that bad looking and certainly very charismatic. Of course they clash! With fireworks!
If that wasn't enough, let's just look at some things that happen in the series:
- In the very first episode they start living together, because OMG, the boss lives way too far from the office, and our young officer is sooo kind. ^^ (Later on during a fight, he tells his boss to get the hell out of his flat! Then he tells his girlfriend that he was unneccessarily harsh, ahd that he is worried, and the girlfriend just looks like she knows, if they don't yet. Of course, that night when he comes back home, his boss is there, asleep, with no intention of moving out and our young hero smiles adorably as he is told to switch off the lights and not make too much noise.)
- at a work celebration/event where most of the men came in their police/military formal uniforms, the young hero attracted immediate attention, because formal uniform = all the medals he got for his service in WWII. Let's just say he was packing A LOT of 'jewelery' and was very shy because of all the attention. Next comes the scene that is HEAVEN for any slasher. The young and much admired but shy hero turns around and sees his
And there is much much more, but I will stop here. XD