Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Crazy drivers?

Last night my boyfriend and I were meaning to go to a concert. My best friend plays the violin in an (unprofessional) orchestra and they had a Christmas/New Year's concert. Unfortunately, we never got there. About 100 metres from where I live, we had a car accident.

It wasn't our fault, though. Some young driver was turning right (into a smaller street where our car was), but had evidently too much speed, because he never got to turn around the corner - instead he frontally crashed into our car. Admittedly, the road was beginning to freeze, but had he been more careful and lowered his speed more while turning, he would never have crashed into our car. Luckily, no one was hurt - there was little material damage - mainly due to the fact that our car was completely stationary at the time of the accident.

I am a very careful (should I say good as well?) driver, but every time I sit into a car to drive, I am terrified at the prospect of driving. Terrified that I might have an accident and even more terrified of the fact that I might (regardless of my carefulness) cause it. The last place where I want to die is in a car, as a victim of a completely careless, crazy driver who thinks (and acts) as though the road is his alone.

posted by Nadezhda | 14:44 | 0 comments

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A cathartic Christmas

What could be better than to have a cathartic Christmas?

Like every year, it began with a row. I guess this goes to prove that my family like any other - is normal. People who don't row don't feel much for each other. While rowing isn't my favourite bit of it all, I like the opportunity it gives - to forgive and forget and be friends again. Actually, I expected us to fall out, because it happens every year on Christmas. I don't know why exactly then but there it goes...

Anyway, once that was sorted out, my holidays were very fine. (This also being the reason why I didn't post during the weekend as promised.)

I went ice-skating on the evening of 24th and then spent the rest of the evening with my boyfriend. I slept over at his place and returned home the next day. 25th was spent relaxing and watching episodes of 'Allo 'Allo, a "newly" discovered funny material. I remember it being on television back in the 90s, but I never watched it then, though I cannot remember why. I saw a few episodes this year while on summer holidays but it took me this long to actually borrow the tapes and start watching them. It's one of the very few sit-coms I like. Now, naturally I have a problem: I can't stop watching it.

This year was special also because I got very nice presents, which is not always the case. My parents gave me thermal underwear (to keep me warm while running in winter) and a muffin pan, which I once had but (to general amazement) managed to lose. It's easy enough to lose a pair of socks, but to lose a pan, one has to be an expert.

My boyfriend gave me a lovely Marks and Spencer scarf and Harry Potter companion books: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander and Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp. My brother gave me the least expected (and therefore all the more precious) gift - a paperback Order of the Phoenix, which was the only book I didn't have from the Harry Potter saga. I'm currently re-reading it, hoping to come across some hints I overlooked the first time. I'm also toying with the idea to write an editorial for Mugglenet, but am for now undecided.

My boyfriend's parents gave me a HUGE mug (I think it must hold about half a liter of liquid) and two nice teas. They're both herbal teas because I can't drink (much) green tea anymore. (On this note - I think my iron level must be improving because my pulse is lower when I run and also I tire later - this is very good news for me.) Lately I've been drinking lots of herbal teas - I've discovered some old stocks of dried herbs, apparently my mother used to dry them herself but then forgot she had them in the first place. I've taken a liking to chamomile tea, which is just delicious with a tea spoon of honey.

I am so happy I got these nice presents this year - so happy actually that I had to write about this before I posted more about medical school. But I will keep my promise - later this week!

P.S. For your amusement - Allo Allo quotes!

posted by Nadezhda | 09:41 | 0 comments

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A sincere apology

I've been gigling and laughing for the last 10 minutes. What's amused me more than anthing in the last month was how unpredictable people are.

You have witnessed my ramblings about getting no comments over and over again. You have seen all the "me and my fellow reader - the Google bot" attempts at attracting people to click on the "comment" link. And all that time people have been posting comments only I never saw them because I enabled comment moderation on the site.

Only now I vaguely remember thinking once that comment moderation wasn't so out of place and that maybe I should enable it on Random Ramblings as well. I don't actually remember clicking "enable" but I obviously must have done, because when I accidentally clicked on "Moderate comments" in the Blogger dashboard, a list of unmoderated comments appeared. I published them all and offer my sincere apologies to everybody who felt I was playing hide and seek with you.

I've been laughing these last 10 minutes because of two facts: my blog is getting feedback, which I appreciate and because no amount of education can prevent you from making a fool out of yourself. And the ability to laugh at your own mistakes (while learning from them) is a gift in itself.

Again - I apologize for this and promise I won't complain about the lack of comments anymore (at least not this month).

posted by Nadezhda | 14:13 | 0 comments

I want to be a doctor when I grow up...

...Well, I didn't.

(Thinking about what to write next on this blog it hit me that I never explained why I decided to study what I study. It's not a really fascinating story, but then I might not be as fascinating a person as I would perhaps like to be. And it doesn't matter, because more or less me and one Google bot alone read this blog.)

When I was very young (before I went to school) I wanted to be a teacher in the morning, a hair-dresser in the afternoon and a flight attendant at night. I guess you're born with some character traits, because how else could one explain this early manifestation of the "use your time well" me of the present? My reasoning was such: children go to school in the morning (at least I did) and you have nothing to do in the afternoon and evening if you're a teacher. People are at work in the morning and only have time to go to the hair dressers' in the afternoon. I knew that there were flights during the day, too but it only made sense to fly (and work as a flight attendant) at night, because I could then sleep on the plane as well. How exactly I would get back to the school where I was teaching the next morning (were I to take an evening flight to Paris) I never got to consider.

A while later (once I started school) I would settle for being only a teacher. This decision persevered with me all throughout grammar school and even during the first year of High school. In high school I soon discovered that not everyone likes to learn just as much as I do. I realized I would be forcing the children to be quiet and listen and co-operate when they had no intention of doing so. While I still maintain that a good teacher can make all the difference in the world, the substance to stimulate (supposedly natural?) curiosity in children and thus enhance the learning process is yet to be invented. Thus ended the "I want to be a teacher" part of my life.

Then I decided to study biology and choose "molecular biology" in my second year. It was when my mother accidentally remarked: "What about medicine?" Considering the fact that my uncle's a doctor it took me a while to consider this option. All right, I did have a brief period of "wanting to be a doctor" in 6th or 7th grade when thinking about being a female surgeon appealed to me immensly. But that wasn't at all serious. I was thinking how cool it'd be to be a surgeon, but I never considered this to be the path I'd actually take.

Anyway, I was torn between biology and medicine. The idea of studying medicine appealed to me because, however lame (and I'm-a-candidate-for-miss-world) it may sound I also wanted to do something in my life that would help people - perhaps not on a global scale, but at least I could help a few people and that would be enough for me. Also, if I studied medicine I could pursue the same professions I could with a degree in biology and more - the ones I couldn't with a degree in biology. The diversity of professions that a medical degree offered was what convinced me.

I filled out my aplication form, did well on my Matura exam and before I knew it I was a medical student.

(Being a med student is a wonderful experience and I will write about it in the future. Next entry should be expected at the weekend.)

posted by Nadezhda | 13:52 | 0 comments

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Recent updates and a whole lot of random ramblings (aka finally living up to my title)

I have recently updated the links section ("Blogs I read" in the sidebar), which was added to this blog rather uncautiously as I only wanted to have one, but (to tell the truth) didn't really know which blogs to link in it.

Now, after much consideration I decided to link three new blogs in it. La Poulette, because she's funny and has a real command of the language (contrary to the vast majority of other posters and probably myself included); and Slepo Črevo, because it's the only Slovenian blog I read. And the only one I find good enough to be worth the time I spend there.

There are quite a few Slovenian blogs in the Slovenian blogs section of si.blogs, but I rarely read any of them except for the above mentioned one. I used to read Big Whale's blog, but I found it boring. Not because it's not funny, because it is (at least more than me) but because there seem to be but three topics in his universe. His children (who look very sweet), his work & other geekish stuff I don't even pretend to understand and some random posts that make no sense (or are just late night-early morning attempts at being philosophical) - at least not to me.

I tried and quite liked Gaby's blog but the reason I rarely read hers these days is that she posts very rarely and I consider blog a medium where additions need to be made at least once a week (if it's a personal blog). Also, she only posts about her children and though I have a soft spot for children under 7 years of age, this is a bit too much for me. I understand that having children is a big change in your life and that it's something worth writing about, but all I seem to read in her blog are complaints. So yes, your children are not turning exactly the way you would like them to. So what? Does one have children just so they would be a replica of your wishes and current mood swings? Honestly, if I were one of the kids and reading that blog I'd feel it's all my fault and that I was a horrible child. Is that what she's trying to say? I don't think so. I know having and raising children is a big, big job and that it's exhausting and everything, but that comes in the package with the nice moments when you hear your children smile or see them laugh or feel them throw their tiny arms around your neck and say "I love you, mommy." And I don't get that feeling from Gaby's blog. What I mean is that just by reading her blog I get the feeling her children are these little beasts who never want to sleep and keep wreaking havoc and throwing tantrums all over the place. And I'm sure this is not the case. At least not always.

I read very few Slovenian blogs and out of the few that I did read none seem to be above average. They (and I guess other people could very rightly say that for my blog) seemed dull and lifeless. Some try to discuss very imporant existentialist questions in them - and fail utterly, the others try to confine to memory every random thing that's happened to them. (Come to think of it - is what I'm writing normal, is it even interesting? The Web counter says there are new visitors and also returning visitors, but I have a sinking feeling that the pompously called returning visitors are just Google bots making a mental note I've updated my blog.)

Among the English blogs I sometimes read Carniola (do I really need to link it? I think everybody already had this blog bookmarked anyway), but I don't find it very interesting, though it is superbly written. I don't know whether it's that I'm a Slovenian or what but I don't find all the statistics and the eternal Slovenia/Slovakia mixup interesting. Additionally, I don't care if all Americans think that the cook on the box of Choco Pops is pouring the milk into the bowl of cereals from his pelvic region because I pour my milk from a carton and couldn't care less how the cook does it.

Also, worthy of mention (and the one linked) is Ill-advised, but I have to confess that I don't necessarily posess the endurance to read all of his (rather lengthy) posts. Wonderful language, though. Actually, he's quite a role model for me in that respect. We don't seem to be reading the same kind of books (and that might be a loss) but if we did, I'm sure there'd be no stopping me posting comments on his blog in manner of: "So you definitely loved the Patient, then?"

Evidently, I'm not gifted with brevity (might be what repells people from actually reading the contents of this blog and replying ot them), as I only wanted to emphasize the fact that I updated links in the sidebar.

Mission (brevity) : failed.

posted by Nadezhda | 09:37 | 7 comments

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Classical music

Photo source: site/person_872.asp

I've been listening to classical music since I was about ten or eleven years old. At least that's when I figured out I don't really like what my school mates were listening to. Those where the days of the boy bands like Backstreet Boys, N'Sync and Caught in the Act. As you might imagine my friends spent one thousand (and more) hours obsessing about the best-looking singer and how in a few years' time they will marry and have children with this gorgeous sweetheart. I tend to praise myself that I was above such nonsense and sometimes I think that had I spent more time listening to them discussing tactics to get noticed by the singers on their next concert, I would have (unwillingly of course!) been assimilated.

Luckily, I didn't like the music much. Although they were catchy tunes and all I never seemed to get into the habit of listening to them every day. (Which I imagine took to become an obsessed fan.) What I did listen to every day was Tchaikovsky. I heard his Piano concerto Nr. 1 in a film and instantly feel in love with the Russian. I borrowed the CD from a friend and listened to the beginning of it so many times that the CD might as well have become damaged beyond repair. Those were the times when I found the Russian composers to be absolutely superior to anybody else - when Mozart was dull and Beethoven annoying. Also I had the patience to listen only the crescendo and very loud parts of the concerts. When - for example in the Tchaikovsky's Piano Concert the piano had a solo part, I would just rewind to a more "interesting" section.

Years later I went to my first concert and enjoyed the experience enormously. By that time I had begun to amass patience to listen to the "duller" parts of the concerts and actually begun to enjoy them. A year later I took a concert subscription with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. Then I slowly realized that there were other composers besides the Russians. That there actually were other superb composers besides the Russians.

I discovered Chopin last year and immediately liked him. Listening to his piano pieces seems like talking to a close friend, to someone who knows me and someone who is at the same time just like me. This year I took to listening to Mozart a great deal. His piano concertos are just so uplifting! And speaking of piano concertos I could not overlook Beethoven's - I've got a recording of Dubravka Tomsic Srebotnjak performing his 1st concert and it's just so perfect... I think my eyes have actually begun to water just by the reminiscences of this piece.

(I seem to prefer piano pieces to others, don't I?)

Anyway, I was listening to Mozart's Requiem yesterday and begun thinking that whereas the majority of people would only listen (and like) the Dies Irae (track Nr. 3), I would listen to the entire composition and love it. I think (and this cannot go without praising myself a little) that being able to see so much beauty in the world is a gift, after all. (And lots of learned patience - to give the composer the chance to show his best.)

Having written the above I realize that not having taken a concert subscription in two years is a minor sin. Must definitely be nicer in that respect next year. And if my intuition's got it right this is a first New Years' resolution. (A little early, but better than never!)

posted by Nadezhda | 19:28 | 0 comments

Sunday, December 11, 2005

How to be a failure as a blogger - part deux

So, you've decided to try your hand at blogging. Nice.

But do you think you've got what it takes to make a good blogger? I doubt it. Somehow, the people who really write good blogs are few and far between.

If you're a journalist, you probably know what I'm talking about. Everyone can write; however, expert mathematicians have realized a couple of years ago, that a certain bell curve usually applies to masses of people with one thing in common. That being said, it should come as no surprize, that the increasing quantity of people who blog, does not generally mean an increase in the quality of blogging. But should you wish to be a success as a blogger (and possibly earn some cash along the way, too) you should be an extreme - as I have demonstrated - they're very hard to come by.

1) You can be an intellectual. Like Einstein, but in the blogging business. An intellectual having a blog would imply that you deal with serious topics, you constantly seek and demonstrate new knowledge and consider it to be a mission of yours to educate people - to enable them to see light in the(ir) darkness. With the realization of your superiority come some side-effects, not all of them pleasant. Usually such subjects acquire an air of smugness and horribly obvious vanity along the way. Some people need not even be very smart or outstanding - if many people (perhaps out of curiosity) visit their blog, they consider it to be because they're sooo good - and it's God's way of making sure there's justice in the world. Also, they usually find it to be another one of their little missions - to educate people about writing a blog properly. (And as a side note - there's no wrong way to write a blog. Perhaps it's not wise to be abusive and malevolent, but it might just as well be a success.)

2) Or you could be stupid. Or pretend to be, which is even better. The news of your blog (and its contents) will spread like a viral infection, everybody will gather and gawk at your entries. Should you decide to go this way, be forewarned! - rude comments might spring up in no time. People are usually frustrated thinking that they're not smart enough. And when they see or meet a person who is so decidedly beneath their level, they've got to express it - let you know of their superiority. There's something to bring happiness to their lives again - everything is not so bad if there are people around you who are less intelligent, less beautiful and (above all) socially inept.

Because a blogger is a modern geek. Already there are T-shirts saying "I'm blogging this." or regular Blogger shirts. Let the world know who you are! A blogging celebrity.

But how to be one if you're neither stunningly smart and refuse to act stupidly? They key to becoming well known and popular is to have many visitors. And force visitors to leave comments. Because as we might have all guessed - blogging is all about getting feedback. It's easy for journalists to be such vain people, because hardly any criticism ever reaches their ears. But with blogs that isn't so. And the more there is to criticize, the more comments you will get and the more well known your blog will become.

At least that's how I think about my blog - because it's perfect it doesn't need any comments. Or is that because it's so boring? And me so obivously lacking the ability to make people laugh?

Either way - a lesson learned - one must also be funny. Forget seriousness and politeness! Bring out your best jokes and tricks, because we all know that what people want these days is to be entertained. The feeling they have to strain their brain to understand your blog won't add much to your popularity.

(More about making your blog popular coming next week. As the amount of comments and my web counter show, I'm experienced in making every blog a success. Actually, I'm starting to think I shouldn't be so good at it - you know - give others a chance, too, so they don't feel like failures at blogging.)

posted by Nadezhda | 09:58 | 0 comments

Sunday, December 04, 2005

How to be a failure as a blogger

I used to think that having "0 comments" means I'm a failure as a blogger. Then I realized zero is actually very close to 5 (comments) and - that all is relative. I thought perhaps people don't post comments on my blog, because I make perfect sense to them, because I do justice to every topic I tackle or because my views, though at times revolutional, are of understanding. That leaves the readers of this blog without much to actually comment. So everybody who is intelligent enough to understand the contents of this blog is at the same time careful not to appear as an attention-seeker who only replies by writing: "I agree with you most heartily."

Still, something seemed wrong. I thought that even while nobody felt quite up to the standard required for posting a comment, somebody would link to me. Somebody, surely, will recognize the worth of my words, the depth of my reflections, the seriousness of my tone and manner. Somebody will like what I write about and will (rest assured) try to share it with others.

It was then that I discovered Technorati's web links counter. I decided to try it immediately (still certain I'm about to find out how immensly popular I am), because I felt there surely must be someone who liked me even though I wasn't informed of anybody linking to my blog. Somebody likes me, yes, they do that. I am a likeable person. I thought if anything, this feels like winning.

While I waited for the server to process my url I crossed my fingers and whispered under my breath "It's not as bad as it seems - not really. You'll see." And even before I managed to utter the "you'll see" part, the next page appeared, which politely informed me that no (also equals zero in certain parts of the world) people link to me. There's not one link. Not a single one.

This is the end of the world. This means despair...

"Surely, there has to be a mistake." See, now, this is optimism. What a keen reader can learn from reading Bridget Jones. That and how to make a fool of yourself, but that's another story.

Getting your hopes up that anybody actually reads your blog is a hopeless business.. Even before I (again) entered the url to check how much money my blog was worth, I knew the sum would be small - around a dollar, perhaps - at most, five. But as already said, being an optimist can be detrimental to your health. I found out my blog was worth exactly $ 0,00. In other words: zero dollars. Not even a cent.

Having spent hours (that would by now perhaps amount to days) of my life working on this blog, I wouldn't earn anything if I decided to sell it now. Had I turned to begging and spent the same amount of time on the streets, I would surely have earned more than a dollar.

Only now did it dawn on me that all this didn't mean I was a failue as a blogger. It all, and I mean ALL, pointed to the fact that I was misunderstood. Seriously misunderstood and underappreciated. But - weren't all the greatest artists undervalued in their time? Van Gogh considered to be mental, Beethoven just a deaf fool, Newton seriously lacking social skills and the ability to smile? And look at what an integral part of our culture and science they're now. So, all is not too grim. I must focus on the positive aspects. At least there's a bright future for me.

And, incidentally, I would give up the life of material comfort (I know you wondered about this, so here it is - black on white) so my life's work and my name would go down in history as the woman who kept her blog, wrote a great deal, but didn't say much.

(More coming next week.)

posted by Nadezhda | 01:53 | 4 comments