Friday, April 27, 2007

The trouble with Harry


Ever since the original art work for covers of the final HP book, Deathly Hallows, was released, I was bothered by the tiny image that originally appears on the spine of the book. It is also the image that appears in the centre of the Bloomsbury web page for HP. At first I thought it might not be important, but then I realized that Gaunt's ring was on the same spot (on the covert art work) for Half-blood Prince.

And Gaunt's ring proved to be immensely important. And why would they put it on the main page of the website if it was just a tiny detail?
So what is this? Is it some sort of door or passageway? Does the symbol have a meaning? Is any of the readers any wiser on the subject than I am?

P.S. I've already reserved my copy of Deathly Hallows. Have you?

Labels:

posted by Nadezhda | 14:53 | 10 comments | links to this post

Thursday, April 26, 2007

On with the show

I've just completed my first half hour of pilates and I must say that the stuff really works. It's not too difficult for me (having done ballet and floor barre), but I like the fact that it doesn't take up much space and I can do it in my tiny room.

I'm following a 25 minute video workout where a theraband/resistaband is used and the pace is really slow. Once I memorize all the combinations and exercises, I'll be doing everything twice in the same amount of time - it's that slow! But anyhow - I do feel my abdominals a bit now. Now on to 120 crunches&sit ups. (I feel a bit guilty and am making up for not having gone jogging yesterday as I had planned.)

Labels:

posted by Nadezhda | 14:44 | 5 comments | links to this post

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Finally!

I went running on Monday. I did half my usual track, so in total I ran 2,5 km. It took me 20 minutes and my pulse was 173, which is very good for me, taking into account that I haven't been jogging seriously for a year. I did begin three times - but every time something prevented me from keeping up with the plan. In the Summer I had pain in my foot and by the time it healed, I was busy doing other things. Then in January I had a bad cold just when I was already running for 2 weeks. And now in early April I began again only to catch a nasty viral infection of upper respiratory tract.

I'm now almost healed and will continue running. My plan is to keep running 2,5 km for about a week, then increase that to 3,75 and when I can - up that to 5 km, which was my usual track.

I had sore muscles and pain in my left knee yesterday (the muscle fever is worse today), so I'm going to skip jogging today, but I'm going back tomorrow for sure.

Labels:

posted by Nadezhda | 12:47 | 4 comments | links to this post

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Berem: Panika, napisala Desa Muck


Sorry, this post is going to be in Slovenian only, sicer I read the book in Slovenian. (As far as I'm aware, there are no translations for the time being.)

***

Desa Muck je zvezda stalnica na slovenski knjižni sceni. Njeno kariero zazanamuje neizbežnost nalepke "best-seller", ki se nesramežljivo prilepi na vsak njen izdelek ter velika zvestoba med bralstvom. Tistim, ki smo odraščali z njenimi mladinskimi romani, sedaj ponuja (prva izdaja l. 2003) roman za odrasle - njen prvi.

Ne glede na plazove pozitivnih kritik in ustoličenje Muckove kot ene najboljših slovenskih humorističnih pisateljic svobodne Slovenije, moji vtisi o Paniki niso tako enovito pozitvni. Morda temu botruje tudi dejstvo, da knjig "tipa Panika" ne berem prav pogosto, niti mi niso posebej ljube in da v mojem svetu na področju knjižnih romanc s humorističnim pridihom še vedno prepričljivo kraljuje Helen Fielding, avtorica legendarne Bridget Jones.

Menim, da Muckovi zagotovo uspe zvabiti vsaj nasmešek, a nizanje nenavadnih, prenapihnjenih asociacij ter pretiravanja pač ni nepresegljiv komični dosežek - niti svež pristop. Tako razen tipičnih komičnih situacij Muckova ne zmore nobenega presežka - zvezda stalnica je situacija (menda se pojavi v vsaki njeni knjigi in pri kateri me ima, da bi nekomu izpraskala oči), o ženski in vsem, kar bo naredila, da bi očarala prospektivnega ljubimca/moža, pri tem pa zanemarila svoja čustva in potrebe. (Kot da je to edini "tip" ženske!) Ne trdim, da ni smešno; vendar ta trend postaja že tragikomičen ali pa osupljivo podcenjevanje (intelektualnih sposobnosti) bralcev. Ob Viktorjih in podobnih prireditvah se Slovenci redno pritožujemo nad primitivnimi vici, ki nam jih servirajo na odru, v isti sapi pa knjigo, ki razmerje med moškim in žensko (tokrat sicer z dodatkom, da gre za od razmerij odvisno žensko) zbanalizira do zadnjega diha in servira že obrabljen humor, povzdignemo do naslova bestseller in jo masovno priporočamo vsem prijateljem.

Razen nekaj kislih nasmehov tako od Panike ni nobenega veselja, celo sama izguba časa. Užitek od branju je majhen, ker s pojemajočim zanosom z vsako prebrano stranjo ugotavljaš, da je vse že videno, frišnega pa samo za vzorec - v obliki zasvojenosti z odnosi, ki v zadnjih letih postaja čedalje bolj popularna tema.

Vseeno je potrebno priznati, da prvo polovico še nekoliko pridržuješ dih v čakanju zanimivega razpleta, druga polovica knjige pa postaja čedalje bolj banalna in predvidljiva, pamet se upira, napol glasno tarnaš nad bedarijami, ki se dogajajo in nato, tik pred koncem knjigo zabrišeš v kot ter si prisežeš, da ne moreš pristati na branje knjige, ki je zmožna tako temeljito omalovževati in tipizirati ženske (da o moških ne govorimo) - čeprav je namen tega pristopa najbrž izvabiti smeh. Vseh dvesto strani romana ne premore nobenega svežega lika, niti enega karakterja, ki ga pri Desi še nismo videli; karakterja, ki bi stal na svojih dveh nogah, bi izstopal in nebi tako obupno poskušal biti stereotipen. Svežina in inovativnost pač nista (več) odliki Desinega pisanja.

Priporočam samo zelo zdolgočasenim za branje ob dnevih (tukaj je moč prebrati odlomek), ko nimajo početi nič drugega in pod pogojem, da se ne bodo zgražali nad stereotipnostjo romana. Če je to višek knjižnega humorja, ki ga premore Slovenija, nam gre res slabo. Nove knjige Muckove vsekakor ne bom brala.

Labels: ,

posted by Nadezhda | 15:11 | 11 comments | links to this post

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Today's lesson

Despite being a known ballet enthusiast, it's been ages since I've seen a ballet performed by Slovenian dancers. In short: I grew tired of waiting to see something that's worth my time and money. Compared to what I see in companies abroad, we're a billion light years behind.

When I see a Slovenian dancer perform something like this (see the video below) I might reconsider my position. Until then no Slovenian ballet company is getting any of my money. (And don't tell me technique isn't everything. You're right, it isn't. But it's the foundation for everything else.)

This coda (part of a pas de deux) is from Swan Lake, 3rd act. In this part a witch Odile (conspiring together with evil Rothbart) in her black costume is trying to persuade prince Siegfried that she is indeed the swan princess he fell in love with at the lake. To totally convince him, she does a series of tricks, including this series of 32 turns, called fouettes. The dancer, Gillian Murphy, does more as at times she does triple and quadruple turns instead of one.




This is a video of the last part of this pas de deux, a dance for two. Please note that towards the end, Siegfried (in white tights - hope you're enjoying yourself, Ambala :) wants to tell Odile that he loves her, but Rothbart (the funny looking guy in red) breaks him off and tells him he needs to swear to love Odile forever. As Siegfrid does so - he extends his arm and two fingers - he breaks the vow he gave earlier to the real swan princess Odette - in white, shown as a memory in the back. Odile and Rothbart - their mission accomplished - escape.

Labels:

posted by Nadezhda | 13:37 | 5 comments | links to this post

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ballet education

I noticed that some bloggers went to a ballet performance and - against all odds - enjoyed it. (Hip - hip - hooray!) But when I was reading their reviews of the performances, I felt like they were missing something. It is much better to watch ballet with someone who is knowledgeable about the performance. There are details in music, costumes, characters and plot that need to be explained. Such a companion can point out and explain the mime sequences. In short: you leave the theatre knowing something about the ballet besides the fact that it was nice and you enjoyed it. Such an explanation of the background of a certain ballet can deepen your understanding and appreciation for this art.

It was only today, while I was randomly clicking on YouTube, that I realised they have tons of ballet videos. And because it is my desire to spread the knowledge and appreciation for ballet, and most of all, because I think that being shown the good from the bad is important, I'm going to do a weekly post about ballet. I might explain a bit of history, but mostly I'll show you clips from famous ballets and give a short explanation.

But for today - something light and humorous. Men-only ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo do their own rendition of Swan Lake (second act) .



I'm very fond of Trocks, because they're exceptional dancers (which man would willingly do pointe work?!?) and make me laugh hard.

If you think this new segment is a good/bad idea, please let me know. I'm also willing to answer all your questions regarding a certain ballet/dancer etc. Just put your thoughts in the comments - feedback is greatly appreciated! :)

Labels:

posted by Nadezhda | 15:43 | 5 comments | links to this post

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And such a plan it was!

You're probably wondering what has happened since that fateful day when I announced my intention and a need to reorganize my life.

The answer is: not much. I caught a nasty virus later that week and it's been an ongoing battle since then. First I thought it was only a bad case of hay fever, although I never used to have pulmonary symptoms. Then, when it was getting worse and worse, I started to fear I might have tuberculosis (hey, this is only the girl who also thought there was a likely chance she might flunk her Matura exam!) and then I began thinking it might be a relapse of asthma.

Yesterday things really went from bad to worse. I had a coughing fit (really no other word to describe it) lasting three quarters of an hour. I thought I'm about to cough my lungs out, piece by piece. I also skipped a concert, because I feared I would have to spend much of it in the lobby, coughing. I wasn't wrong. Last night I was waking by the hour because I couldn't breathe and was coughing constantly. So today I relented and went to see a doctor. (I usually want to heal naturally and I haven't taken any antibiotics in five years.) I received a bronchodilator and a corticosteroid, but for the time being I'm only taking inhalations of the first one. If I can, I'm going to avoid taking any corticosteroids.

My immune system is really weak and I'm not doing anything to improve the situation by sleeping as little as 2-4 hours during the week. So definitely, there's a need to strengthen the immune system by exercise. So I'm going for a walk later today, just so I get my backside out or I might do a bit of pilates and some crunches or sit-ups.

Labels: ,

posted by Nadezhda | 11:27 | 5 comments | links to this post

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Pinch me, please

After a bit of clicking and reading two days ago I figured out that there's a "popular blogs" list on SloBlogi. The first few blogs - well, no surprizes there - but then on 44th place, all modesty and no false pretensions, was a baby I could as well call my own - the blog you're currently reading.

My initial reaction was: "Are you sure this isn't a rude April's Fools Day joke?" Especially considering that I am ahead of some really good blogs (which I enjoy reading) like Jinov svet and Vinci arhivi. This blog also beat (admittedly only by a few places) the several awards winning, blog-of-choice, blog of the year, several times most popular blog - My So-Called Blog. Now - everything is nice and dandy, but how is something like this even possible? Also taking into account the fact that this blog is only the fourth English language blog on the list.

Dear readers - as much as you're welcome, I have no honest idea as to why you keep coming here. I haven't been posting frequently for the last six months and it's been ages since I last wrote a very good, thoughtful post. In any case - thanks for voting for me. - AAAAAnnnd if you write a comment in the next 2 hours, you're also entitled to a very special offer - you get to ask me to write a post on a subject of your choice.

Labels: ,

posted by Nadezhda | 13:17 | 3 comments | links to this post

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pro versatility, pro choice

I've been sitting glued to my chair for an hour reading about the gooey mess that has been spreading in Slovenian blogging community for the last few days. I'm not going to link anything, because frankly (and please forgive the crude and rude imagery) when the shit hits the fan I don't want to be anywhere near. Although, admittedly the safest place is right under the fan itself. And that's part of the problem.

But in a nutshell: a person considers that (s)he is experienced and worldly-wise enough to be able to stand up and once and for all (in a loud voice) tell the good from the bad. And from that high and all-knowing position, this person considers him-/herself capable and (apparently) called for just such a task. This person considers his/her views to be correct and acceptable, whereas views of other people (should they differ from this person's views) are just plainly wrong.

Now - because I think Mahatma Ghandi had a few very good ideas, let me quote one of his better ones. Be the change you want to see in the world.

And from that follows I'm going to be the change I want to see in Slovenian blogosphere. So here I openly and warmly welcome to my blog people of different beliefs, different views, different ethnicity, different sexual orientation, career-driven women, who don't want to have children and men who do the dishes every day so their women can sit down and read Vogue. Welcome! I appreciate you just as you are, because the world would be a much duller place if everyone had children and thought that made you special or better in any way.

I think a few blog changes are in order... :)

Labels: ,

posted by Nadezhda | 14:18 | 0 comments | links to this post

Monday, April 02, 2007

Starting from scratch - again

Sometimes I look back at happy times in my life and think that at certain times I really had everything I could wish for. Then - inevitably - comes a time, when my life seems to be falling to pieces, when just trying to keep the pieces together seems to demand excessive effort on my part. This is how I felt for the last six months.

It's not that the wheels weren't moving forward - it's that they seemed not to be going in the desired direction - and I lacked the energy to push them in the right direction. But luckily, by now I have learnt to embrace failing to do as I should and not to fuss (too much) about it. Because that is just wasted energy.

And yet, the time has come, when I feel I must intervene, take active control of my life and get back on track. There are several things I want to accomplish.

1. Wake up early to reap the benefits of a long day. Make a plan of what I intend to do today.
2. Get moving. Start jogging four times a week.
3. Stop procrastinating with regard to studying.
4. Do pilates/stretching/abs toning exercises for half an hour each other day.
5. Find the time to read books and write blog each week.
6. Start working on the research.

I'll report about my success here. I find this a very effective way, because I'll feel guilty if I don't have anything to write about.

Labels: ,

posted by Nadezhda | 14:08 | 7 comments | links to this post