Internet, Life

it’s me doing

If you can’t resist the temptation to pat a dog on the street or cuddle a cat every time you see one, you just can’t miss the itsmedoing blog, where your favorite pets do exactly what you want them to do: they literally undertake your daily routine, thus making lives of their owners a bit brighter. After all, what could be cuter than an iguana on a kick-scooter? I reckon, only a tiger that hates being confined within his lonely cage.

And yes, if you find your pug imitating your gait or your cat cursing as it falls from the second floor, don’t hesitate to submit pictures and stories. Let’s make this world purrfect!

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this one says: it’s me getting ready for the party

 

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and this one is: it’s me trying to reach an equilibrium

 

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finally: it’s me before the finals week (and hey, finals are not that far away!)

 

Isn’t it amazing to see that animals do exact same things that we come across every single day of our lives? And how amazing, I bet, it is for them to see that humans, after all, haven’t gone that far ahead. Or have we?

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Life

Socio-political social networking. Ukraine.

Having lived in Russia, I simply can’t ignore Ukraine and the whole scandal revolving around it. Keeping away from the political discussion and predictions, I’d love to squeeze a few words in many that have been said before. Not about Kiev, not about Russians in Ukraine, I’d even leave an (ex-)president aside. All I care about is how media turned people against each other… Just in a couple of days.

There two kinds of people in the world (or at least there were): people who prefer the harsh truth (imagine a wistful of nuts), and people who take everything for granted — banana-mango smoothie. So far so good; nuts are nuts everywhere and smoothies… Hmm, they are smoothies, nothing more, nothing less. In the past years, however, the media has changed the world so much that one of the kinds — the first one — simply vanished and a new one was formed. The new kind of people could be called a new-age-old-tv-watcher, or simply a muesli yogurt. You chew it all right, occasionally crunching a nut or biting a raisin, but it is still a yogurt, one step away from a smoothie.

The main problem that in the past years this new kind of people have not only prevailed the post-Soviet Russia but dominated the minds of the younger generation, partly encouraging them to think and explore, yet pitting a stop sign right where periphery of the accepted and common began. At the moment there are numerous youngsters who can easily tell black from white, and at the same time fail to define the essential idea behind the b&w scheme. That’s what happened with Ukraine, when with a little help of the media people decided to challenge their critical thinking and take up the new hobby — political analysis.

Don’t mind the education, just tweet, criticize and make your statement clear. I am not sure, though, if the media should be blamed or accused of something more than its regular hassle we all got used to; but the truth is: media has become an incentive this time. And the funny thing happened: the skirmish has started and stayed primarily in Russia, rarely crossing the border, hence every detail about the Ukraine or Russia or the United States ever to appear in the news made numerous appearances on the Web later; more or less exaggerated, yet never undermined.

That skirmish, unfortunately, has become epidemic, but the enemy was still unclear. Thus people turned against each other. Having had their routine Internet life for years, they suddenly got exposed to the revolutionary air of burned tires, and that was quite a shock. What is more, various social networks slowly turned into battlefields, where everybody could have his minute — or rather a second — of glory.

On one hand we have a brand new Ukraine with a different mindset and goals, on the other we do, and I repeat WE DO have a bunch of idiots that are neither succeeding in criticizing (failing, to be frank) the new beginning nor in understanding the motives they have to do so. Sigh.

As for me, I am indifferent. Everybody (every country as well!) should have a right to identify themselves. I would chose to be a stone, a shiny pebble on the beach. Thus I could have avoided quarrels with my raged friends, taken their agression for mere ignorance and kept myself more or less tranquil.

Sadly, being a pebble is a great luck and a forbidden fruit nowadays. It gives you no ultimate knowledge, yet elevates you a few feet above the everlasting Ukraine-oriented discussions and gives you the supernatural hence supreme power — keeping silent as everybody else speaks out loud.

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Life

What happens to your facebook after you die?

Every time I go to the bathroom I meet people tweeting, updating their facebooks and even chatting with their loved ones while doing their business. Even though few years ago I would have been (at least) confused if I had seen anything like that, nowadays it’s typical. Sometime in the future, I guess, you’d be considered lunatic if you don’t Instagram your Starbucks coffee every morning.

But have you ever wondered what’s going to happen to your facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. when you die? I mean, they claim that there are about 30 million dead people on facebook and someday you might as well join the army. Of course, after your friends would find out, your wall would be filled with cute and tear-squeezing posts, memorable pictures and Bible quotes. But soon, after singling you out, life will go on… and your facebook page with 1000+ party pictures and some dirty posts would still be there. Maybe even forever?

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But no panic, few years ago facebook instituted a policy regarding how to deal with deceased individuals. After your family proves your death – a requirement to make any changes in your profile – your facebook account could be deleted or converted into memorable account. Basically, you’d be a dead friend, always on the bottom of somebody’s friend list. As for me, it sounds funny, especially if your younger brother (or sister) decides to go “online” from your account. Online zombie? Hm, why not!

Luckily, after you die only your facebook friends would be able to access your account; you (or, realistically, your online grave) would be excluded from the global search and prevented from trolls and ex-girlfriends.

Believe me or not, there are some ways to prepare your online life for death! Of course, you can write down an old-fashioned letter with log-ins and passwords, but it’s way too sentimental. Instead, try Legacy Letters, a service providing online messages delivered to designated recipients after your death. It will cost you 25$ annually or one-time fee of 300$. You can store all your private data on Legacy Letters server and leave all wishes regarding your online after-life. There are other companies that will store your personal information and release it after you die only.

 

Thinking about death is hard, but thinking about your online death is even harder. You never know when you time comes. So, maybe you should take some time to rethink your last-minute speech, include some passwords and log-ins, accept last friendship requests and – as an option – post a last selfie on your Instagram.

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Life

When we were young: Lou Reed died at 71

Lou Reed, a founder of The Velvet Underground, I would say, a legendary rock band, died at age of 71. Recently he undergone a liver transplant but, despite his praises for modern science, something went wrong. “I am bigger and stronger than stronger than ever”, he tweeted few days after the surgery.

Last tweet from his account, a tribute to the great musician was sent on 27th of October, simple read “The Door” and had this picture attached:

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Life

Line of Sight. A Bike Messenger Story

I ride my bike every day. It was fun to be in the traffic for the first time, but then it started to annoy me. Traffic is every major city’s pain in the ass. Here, in Bangkok the streets are always full of crazy (but friendly) taxi drivers, scooters and tuk-tuks, so you have to really pay attention to where you go. Of course, it’s like that everywhere and, I am sure, you know how it feels to be almost squeezed or – it’s even worse – cut on the road.

Few days ago I was coming back home and almost broke a mirror of a cute pink girl car (double parked on the main street, nobody inside), making my way through the massive jam. Yesterday I came across this documentary about New York messengers. Surprisingly for me, none of them ever paid any attention to the mess and confusion they make on the street. They hit one or two pedestrians, too. I mean… it’s a good movie for independent (and YET unknown) director, but don’t you think cyclist should care about traffic a little bit more? The movie link below:

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Life

Bangkok, The City of Life

Before writing the post I tried to collect all notes and memories from the last 2 months in Bangkok, Thailand. My first exhausting day here. First padthai (Thai fried noodles). First ride on the river boat in Bangkok. First longboard ride.  Even though my life hasn’t changed that much, everything is so completely different and new here that it feels like everything is happening for the first time. I never thought I would trade my favorite club sandwiches for extremely spicy spring rolls and fried rice. But I did.

When I saw the city traffic for the first time, I though I would never be able to cross the road. Apparently, 3 weeks after I found myself on the longboard, crossing six-lane road, tacking between thousands of cars, scooters and tuk-tuks (Thai 3-wheel taxi). Surprisingly, none of the drivers were angry at me for slowing down the traffic, some of them even tried to give me a high-five and say few words of appreciation.

It is also fun to see how different the life is. Big shopping centers and skyscrapers leaning over slums and crowded China town neighborhoods. But nobody minds. White-collars buy food from the street. Beggars sit near the entrance of the newest shopping centers.

And it happens every day. Smiles from the strangers on the street. Random high-fives. I have stayed here for 2 months already, and for the first time in my life the city actually welcomes me. I had been living in bitchy Moscow for two years before I realized that I do not belong here. It took me less than a month to fall in love with Bangkok (and Thailand altogether). Bangkok is not only a heart of Asia, it is also a part of my own heart.

Next time I will tell about things to do and see in Bangkok. In the spare time you can check my impressions of Cuba, Colombia and Israel.

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Life

The Roast of Religiosity

Religion is overrated. It has been like that from the very beginning, when man had found his first stone and praised it, until today. Although experiencing different religions, digging into them and talking to religious people brings up the question: “What had happened that religion and evolution went the opposite directions?”

I believe that there would be a lot of controversy here, so if you’re afraid that your religious feelings might be hurt, simply press the cross on the right hand side of your screen.

Back in 20th century (and even earlier) philosophers treated religion and philosophy equally for it was disputable: you could either accept one idea and make your mind up to fit it, or simply make an argument. Same thing with religion that – at some point – allowed a concept of critical thinking to mix with the whole theistic multiplicity. And it stayed that way for a while. Society, at the same time, has been developing rapidly and, having no answer to any of upcoming questions, had tried to find them somewhere.  Like…in the church or mosque or synagogue. And that was a moment when religion had turned back to its ancient times. Rome was founded by Romulus, and – the funny coincidence –  the last emperor’s name was Romulus as well; religion was, too, a man-made creation, so it was a man who flushed it down with his ignorance and stupidity. Don’t get me wrong, not one man, of course, but the whole bunch of them, we call them monks, priests, rabbis, etc.

Few months ago I was sitting in Tel Aviv on the beach, sharing thoughts with a good friend of mine. So, eventually, we started talking about religion (note, back then I was bachur yieshiva – religious college student) and after a while she shared the idea that made me re-think and re-read everything that I’d known before. Back in the ancient times people needed an example, a real world story or something else just so it make them believe in some kind of supernatural thing (or creature) above. And, as you might have guessed, Bible had served their needs flawlessly. Unfortunately, the world is way more complicated right now and sometimes connecting a particular need with a “real source” gets impossibly hard. Of course, we should have elevated high enough to get rid of ol’ day’s mentality and needs…but, oh well, what can we do.  So, for all of you, who have suffered from illogical and complex explanations from the Bible point of you, I’d like to confess: I would have been religious… only if they hadn’t spoiled it for me.

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When people start to over-think religion and forget that it is a belief and not a weapon, the bad things start to happen. Like praying for gay people (in hope that they turn right again) or saying prayers because your 14-year old son is masturbating, or writing AMEN under the Facebook pictures, or force people to believe, or bless them every time something important is coming. So, when you talk to any of these “believers” you start to feel a bit irritated simply because you are not accepting the rules of their game. Unfortunately, there are no winners in that game. And, the most important, there is a really strong barrier between believers and atheists and it will never be destroyed – the unquestionable faint in God which will not allow any religious person even start considering other side’s arguments. And that’s it.

The-Myth-of-Sisyphus-225x300Well, I strongly believe that 90% of so-called religious people are just scared for their life (or soul?) and, by practicing the religion, they’re just paying off their afterlife insurance. There are no atheists in the foxholes, they say. You better be prepared. As for me, though, I like to chose my own path. After reading Camus’s “The Myth of Sisyphus” I was simply fascinated by the image of Sisyphus Camus had pictured. A man who had made his own decisions throughout his life, a man who had fought with gods, a man who had built his own happiness carried his stone with a smile, dignity and respect. It was deadly heavy, but it worth it. His life was worth the punishment he was sentenced to.

Amen.

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