30 декабря 2007 г.

Happy Holidays!

Warm wishes to all the readers of my blog!

The year of 2007 is about to end. This year I've made my last New Year's dream come true. When the clocks were beating the beginning of the new year, I thought that it would be great to celebrate my 20th birthday somewhere in America... In four months I would become the winner of UGRAD, and in eight months I would go to St. Louis. I wish that all your good dreams will be fulfilled as soon as possible. And I have to choose a new wish for this New Year...

The coming year is expected to be even more brighter and adventurous. I am going to travel to Washington, DC once again. In May, I will be heading back to Ukraine to revive the English Discussion Club and celebrate my 21st birthday. I will also meet new groupmates in my home institute studying at the other department since my discipline studies have moved there) and have the whole summer without camp practice or preparations to go abroad, just with the computer and books. However, I want to get to Youth CAN, per advice of my friends in Ukraine, so... I don't know, what surprises the year of 2008 will show me. I want it just to be good... It appeared that I am a great adventurer, always looking for new horizons. I will try to reveal as much of them as I will be able.

As I've told you, I will be meeting New Year at the First Night in St. Louis. From January 2nd till 5th I will be in Washington, D. C. on the mid-program workshop for all UGRADers from Eurasia. I hope to bring exciting reports (I will see my new adviser in person, at last) and winterish (or not so) photos of the U. S. capital.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Or, Season's Greetings!
See you in 2008!

Britannica is Now Free for Bloggers

Today I've received a new issue of the daily calendar in English and noticed a new feature of its links to Encyclopaedia Britannica Online were different - they linked to the full versions of the articles. Now every article in Britannica has the Share Full Article link, and people can view enhanced content by following those links. placed in blogs or somewhere else, without buying any Premium access.

I wonder what made Britannica to allow links for full articles? The have less subscribers? They want to draw more people? Or they are afraid of Wikipedia? The articles in Wikipedia are up to date, include all the topics you can imagine on every language. I am planning to contribute to it, when I have a spare time (especially to movies' articles, with all my DVDs and access to scholar databases through UMSL). But when I write a research paper, the Britannica is a more authoritative source, than Wikipedia. And I would use either its paper variant in the library or online resources. So wait for posts, which will allow me (and all the readers) to use all the Britannica texts via my own blog.

I suggest you seeing the full article about Christmas in Britannica. It's just high time to learn more about this holiday, just passed for Catholics and still coming to my native Ukraine where the Eastern Orthodox church celebrates it on January 7th (update: it's still invisible to me, even if I test the link on a remote machine after signing out from my Google account).

29 декабря 2007 г.

First Night 2008 in St. Louis

Today, I've already bought an admission button to the First Night 2008 in St. Louis as its price before the new Year's Eve was $2 less, so I've chosen this Friday as a trip day (to use the daily metro pass as much as possible before its end with the semester wrap-up) to go to the MetroRide Center in the downtown St. Louis.

The America Center was a big structure with long empty halls and small MetroRide section in the right corner, under the Explore Missouri title.

First I thought that the center would be in a skyscraper on the other side of the street. I entered large halls, filled with piano music (though nobody was seen playing a lonely piano) and after checking out first two floors it appeared to be One US Bank Plaza. Well, I have nothing to do with their ATMs, which looked very small in comparison with covered corridors and elegant (not for full people) elevators in the grand hall. Only then I figured out where the center I needed was located.

After purchasing the button (without any map, as the site promised), I decided to come back and read the Friday's issue of St. Louis Post-Dispatch on my ride back to the campus. Though I wanted a Thursday's edition (with movie pass quizzes), I have not found it in all the places (including those, where I saw a Thursday's issue on the Friday's evening the week before).

The MetroLink station in downtown St. Louis was more like a real metro, underground with fearful noises of approaching trains and separate east- and westbound entrances on different sides of the street. The smiling guard asked me to show the ticket, and I was to glad to show my daily pass (I don't like the days when nobody checks your fare, for one can ride several days on Metro without meeting controllers). And again, the station even with 
modern indicators and lights looked as it was fifty years old at least because of bricks it was made of). MetroLink was build only 14 years ago, but older station in my native Ukraine's capital city Kiev look more beautiful.

So, this New Year would be the first, which I will be meeting at street. The program offers dance collectives, comic shows, historical movies (interesting...) and two fireworks with the second one to celebrate the coming of the year 2008).

The festivities from the Grand Center district of St. Louis will be aired live on the local PBS affiliate, KETC, starting at 10 pm on December 31st, 2007.

18 декабря 2007 г.

Hulu, the New Way of Watching Videos

I've found a lot of stuff in today's USA Today newspaper to google and expand articles with related videos (such as ads or songs discussed in the issue), but in the second half of the day I received an email, that made me explore the other website for the rest of the day.

At last (after just some two months) I've received an invitation to the private beta testing of Hulu.com, a video service that allows to watch videos from Fox, NBC, and other networks online. Sorry, folks, there are no invites here, all you can do is to wait. I suggest going there right now to sign up for a list of beta testers.

A little history... I first learned about this new service during my professor's lecture in the introduction to mass media class. He wondered what the developers have been smoking while they were choosing the name for their startup... Actually, he mixed the name up with lulu (that name would be really fun as it means WC or a sexy baby).

Season's Greetings!

In US, not everyone celebrates Christmas holiday season these days. Africans have Kwanzaa, Jewish are happy with Hanukkah, etc. So how not to offend anybody? Politically correct Americans found the way to say it:

Gender Neutral Bathroom

Is this all about political correctness? The following picture is found in my dorm on the second floor's bathroom (for one person) in my dorm:

15 декабря 2007 г.

The Golden Compass

I could not wait to watch The Golden Compassa screen version of the first book (elsewhere named Northern Lights) from Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials. Now, after finally seeing it in the movies, I want to buy the whole book set as, to my mind, all the events in the movie happen too quick. Or, I should have not read the plot in the Wikipedia...

Christmas Tube

In today's issue of St. Louis Post-Dispatch there is an article about alternative videos for the Christmas found on YouTube. Many of them reveal American traditions of celebrating holidays, especially Christmas, which is celebrated here on December 25th. How the dog can spoil the shot: A skillful dog helps the family to get rid of holiday wrapping: The Christmas Tree is an obligatory element of the holiday...or the consumer culture? Some videos are hard to find (why didn't they embed player on the site or publish links?). I was lost amidst videos with similar titles while seeking for Let Me Out! (duration: 6:49) about the third-year-boy, whose head got stuck in the fence. Lazy Tuesday, I Love a Piano Style is a parody of "Chronicles of Narnia (Lazy Sunday)", staged on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" show, which spoofs American lifestyle: The trailer of "A Christmas Story" classic is recut into "A Christmas Gory" (Gory - involving bloodshed and killing): Is it possible to make the scenes from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" simultaneous with Outkast's song "Hey Ya!"? It appears that possible... And it is done perfectly! You don't love ads, don't you? Then check out this new year tree offer (beware of the language)... Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday (which they observe instead of Christmas). Now listen to some Christmas carols in an interesting performance: Santa is a...ninja? A tribute to political correctness: a song for all holidays in this time of the year.