Monday, February 23, 2009

The Great Lent. I'm fasting

The Great Lent starts today. Since the recent weeks I was mostly at home and spent a lot of time sitting at a computer, a small weight loss will be only good. And thus, the Lent is a good occasion. Although I must admit - I'm doing it not because of religious beliefs (I'm not very religious), but to clean my organism. I have friends that had been fasting this period for some years and they were feeling really good after that, with a refreshed organism.

Armenian Apostolic Church declares the beginning of the Great Lent on February 23. It will last 48 days, until Easter on April 12. Fasting by Armenian religious traditions include abstaining from any kind of food not of vegetable origin. While during Catholic Lent eggs and dairy products are allowed, on ours (similar to Orthodox traditions), on the contrary, the meat, dairy products and eggs, seafood are forbidden.

This will be a tough job for me since meat is a frequent ingredient for dinners at our home (like in most Armenian families). And I'm not saying about cheese and other dairy products ! I cannot yet imagine my life without cheese :((

So I need to prepare my food myself which can include:
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Lentil
  • Haricot, pea and other beans
  • Mushrooms
  • All sorts of vegetables (hello, spring!)
  • Spinach and other greens
  • Oatmeal
  • Noodles (soya or rice)
  • Yeast baking 
  • Honey (luckily it's allowed)
  • Cereals
  • From the sweets - dried fruits
And from the following things i should abstain:
  • Milk, sour cream, butter
  • Cheese
  • Meat, chicken, fish
  • Eggs 
  • Cakes, pastry, donuts
  • Sandwiches, pizzas, most pastas...
  • Olive oil
  • Wine (! :( )
Arrivederci my dear pizza...

I concluded that i can make my beloved pizza with yeast dough, cover it with vegetables and tomato pasta (?), but somehow resist to put cheese. This could work :) And also I can make a wide range of salads with vegetables.

I cannot guarantee that I will resist and abstain from all the forbidden food, and so maybe I will sometimes become catholic :D (eating dairy products) but I will try my best to fast for the first time. In fact, I've never been on any kind of diets before.

Now, that I have written about my commitment in my blog, it became kind of an obligation, so I will keep it updated on the process.

Meet Max - his life, habits and an insight to his personality

Here are 30+ reasons why Max is the best dog in the world :)

Photos are clickable :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My wish bracelet's anniversary

Today the weather in Yerevan was like in Rotterdam exactly one year ago. And one year ago this day I decided to escape from it to sunny Italy for a weekend. That were the best 3 days of my entire 10 week of staying in Europe (mostly in The Netherlands) for an internship.
On Saturday, Feb. 23, I was meeting my Italian friend Roby in the Piazza Duomo. If I had read the wikitravel page on Milan carefully, I would know how to avoid scam there, which i didn't do. When we were walking together on the square, a black guy approached us and tied a thin colorful band on my left wrist, asking to make a wish. It was a wish (friendship *) bracelet. It's common for all over Europe. They approach, tie a bracelet, then ask for money, though at first, when you refuse to take it, they insist that it's completely free :) My friend had to give the guy couple of euro coins, but he was insisting on more and it was hard to escape from him.
He told me that i shouldn't tear it myself, it has to be worn out and fall off naturally. And the day it happens, my wish will come true.

I don't remember exactly what was my wish, but i'm waiting impatiently for it to wear out. Hey, it's been with me like a part of my body for already a year! Wherever i went, whatever i was wearing - swimsuit, fancy dress at a wedding, it was with me!
* Friendship bracelets are usually given to friends. According to indigenous tradition of Native Americans (where it came from), the recipient of a friendship bracelet must wear it until the cords wear out and fall off naturally. The idea is that the friend paid for it with the hard work and love that made it, and the recipient repays the friend by honoring the work. Removing the bracelet before it naturally falls off is a sign that the friendship has gone sour. Another variation of this tradition is that the recipient of a bracelet is entitled to a wish. After the bracelet wears out and falls off naturally, the wish will come true.
We call them "fenechki" here - the Russian way.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Astronomy hobby and the International Year of Astronomy

2009 was announced to be the International Year of Astronomy. 400 years ago Galileo Galilei was the first to use telescope for observing the sky.
In 1609, Galileo Galilei first turned one of his telescopes to the night sky and made astounding discoveries that changed mankind’s understanding of our position in the Universe: mountains and craters on the Moon, a plethora of stars invisible to the naked eye and moons around Jupiter. In the same year, Johannes Kepler published his work Astronomia nova – in which he described the fundamental laws of planetary motions. - Wikipedia

Space Expo and the diploma
I am a big astronomy fan since childhood. It started in February 1994, when I was in The Netherlands and was taken to the Noordwijk Space Expo.
It made a huge impression on me and after that I began watching the night sky with different eyes. I have an "Astronaut's diploma" from that space expo that is hanging on my wall for the recent years and sometimes when I watch it, it makes me think "Gosh, I have an Astronaut's diploma!!!!" :D
I was so much passionate about astronomy, reading and watching documentaries a lot, that one day at school i announced that i am going be the first woman on Mars :) Classmates laughed at first, then some of them asked for my autograph for future ;)

My first astronomy book
One day when I was 14, walking in Vernissage (flea market in Yerevan) with my mother, I saw a wonderful book on astronomy in Armenian. It was among some old books from old home libraries that people usually sell in Vernissage. It costed 2000 dram and my mother bought it for me without any hesitation. It was my first and best astronomy book ever. It was brand new and even published in the same year ! I haven't had any book of that quality before. Called "ASTRONOMY" from the "eyewitness guide" series, it turned to be an Armenian translation of the Dorling Kindersly edition. It was hard covered, high-quality publishing on a glossy paper with colorful illustrations that was published in Armenian with the help of Vatche & Tamar Manookian charitable fund. Taking into account the quality of books we were studying with at schools that years, this book was more than wonderful. It helped me not only to satisfy my curiosity, it meant a lot ! I felt it as it was sent to me from above.

That time and many years later I was carrying that book whenever i was going out of the city overnight, to watch the sky and tell my friends about the constellations and some interesting astronomy facts.

Byurakan observatory
I was always using the occasion to visit the famous Byurakan observatory. We were watching the Moon, Jupiter rings, Mars and some stars with the 3m telescope and asking questions to the astronomer that was guiding the excursion. I liked to ask more advanced questions to make them ask me if i wanted to work there :D But they never asked me :(

I don't know what events are planned to be organized in Armenia this year but I'll try to participate and restore and renew my hobby.

And I will try to find this film:
About the film and download links in Russian.
Website dedicated to the IYA2009

Greetings to my astronomer friends ;)

Mood: determined

There are scars on our bodies that remind us of different things - some good, some bad.
I have scars that remind me of some hot august days in my early childhood, when i fell down on a rock and injured my knee. I have a pigment scar on my belly that i hate, and that doesn't remind me anything else than embarassment when i weаr a swimsuit.
So i decided to make another scar, intentionally, that will remind me of my gold youth :) of how i was happy, careless (sometimes :D), and moreover, it will be a nice sign, looking sexy when i wear sandals :) I decided its preliminary design, an approximate date of doing it and know who can help me with making the final drawing that will appear on my foot :)

wohooo !

Saturday, February 7, 2009

нравится моей маме!

I haven't been a huge fun of Comedy Club, though I really like and respect these guys. Unlike my sister who is a Comedy Club addict :) They deserve huge respects at least for this video and song.

I love when lyrics make you feel yourself somewhere else, in someone else's shoes. I think i'd love it even if i didn't understand Russian.

Friday, February 6, 2009

spring is near... daydreaming :)

Only a week ago it was snowing.

But the recent couple of days were unexpectedly warm and pleasant. The ice has almost melt. At least in the downtown Yerevan. The pathways are dry and the Sun has started to look out from the clouds more often and bring warmth. My 25th spring seems to be one of the most anticipated ones. The spring is wonderful in Armenia.
Last year I missed its coming. I was in the Netherlands since January when it was really very cold and got back in April (it snowed and was unexpectedly cold in Netherlands). I cannot describe my feelings then :) The endorphins quantity in my blood was way increased and I was enjoying every step, every second and every breath for some months of my home coming. I noticed that in spring I'm having a huge productivity boost, loads of ideas and I'm becoming very energetic.

Now I'm daydreaming about March and April. Seems like I've planned 70% of my weekends in advance already! Some shopping (connected to my next salary), some changes in my appearance ;) some small events like organizing traditional pizza parties chez moi :) and other...
Revealing one of the weekend plans:
March 15, cascades, red sneakers, orange coat, spring breeze, xpress music, midday, yum filter coffee, Sun.

Today it rained for the first time this year, and it truly smelled like spring. I strolled a bit in the streets under the rain and on my way home a teenage boy approached me and gave flowers. My first spring flowers this year :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Music and the web. description for music-addicts.

Music has an important place in my daily routine and is in my top of motivational things' list.
I like to discover new artists and songs and challenge my musical taste. I like to be the first one to discover new songs and to share it with others :)

I never forget where i first heard the song and who helped me with the discovery.

Day 51: Tuesday
by archwaves

There are several means i use to discover new music.
  • Movies. I like soundtrack music and ending songs. When I hear some song in a movie, I look at its soundtrack page on and search for downloading. When i'm not sure which song is it, i just try to remember several words to google later.
  • Radio. I don't listen to radio much, but if i do (in a taxi or supermarket, or when my sister listens to it loudly at home) and i hear some nice tune I haven't heard before - i'm trying to remember some words and google to find it.
  • Charts. Sometimes when i see a new band/artist in a chart and hear about it sometimes in the news, read in blogs, I just open its page and listen the preview.
  • Similar artists. There's time when i'm being tired of all the music i'm listening to at the moment and want something new - new artist or new style. I use artist radio feature on (read about it below) or similar artists feature. For example i like Sigur Ros and wanted to listen to similar icelandic bands - I discovered Amiina and Mum that way.
Generally, is the best music resource on the web. If you live with music like me, you should definitely register there.

So what is is a music service that learns what you love... Every track you play will tell your profile something about what you like. It can connect you to other people who like what you like - and recommend songs from their music collections and yours too.
So how does it know what music do you listen and what do you like? has a small application that you download and install in your computer and that collects information about the music you listen on your players - Windows media player, Winamp, iTunes or other. It's called - scrobbling.

Here's how my client looks like:
On the left menu I have the stations - i can listen to music with this client. Like listening to artist stations (if i type Madonna, i will have a playlist with music similar to Madonna's. Or I can listen to recommendations station which has music recommended by based on my music taste. Below, there are my recently played tracks, ones that I loved (this is how you teach about your taste), hated, how I tagged the music... friends' and neighbours' music and history of radiostations I've listened to.

Key facts and features:
  • It doesn't upload your music, it just sends the songs' information and if you want - downloads artist description and artwork so the traffic it consumes is not significant.
  • Taste-o-meter: a cool feature with helps you to find people who share the musical taste with you. You can open any profile on and see which artists you have in common and how high is your music compatibility.
  • In you have your music library that consists of the songs you have played.
  • Neighbours: Just like in real life - neighbours are ones who listen the music you are listening (if you have it enough loud :D). In, you can quickly find people with similar taste by clicking the Neighbours tab in your profile.
  • Charts: You have your weekly, monthly, 3-month, 6-month, yearly and overall stats of both artists and tracks.To be scrobbled, the tracks you listen must meet the following criteria: 1) be longer than 30 seconds, 2) have vaild meta information for both track and artist names, 3) track must have been listened to for more than 50% of its length. If the song you are listening isn't being scrobbled, it means that either the ID tag is missing, or your scrobbling is disabled.
  • You can recommend your good music discoveries to friends with the Recommendation feature.
  • Events: This feature helps to find concerts near you (you set your location) and you can confirm your attendance and meet other people that might be attending.
  •, as a social network has a an internal messaging system, wall in a profile, groups and journals too.
  • It's important to have your music tagged correctly - with the correct artist/track. Winamp has an auto-tag feature that helped me to entirely organize my collection. It's not 100% useful for all tracks (especially Armenian and Russian) but helps significantly!
  • Check your stats regularily and don't let your younger sister listen to backstreet boys or other music you wouldn't like to appear in your charts :-) Luckily you can setup different user accounts and switch between them in or just disable scrobbling. You can usually delete scrobbled tracks from your stats page for the last 2-3 days.
  • Paid subscription: Basically you get all the described features for free, but you can also become a subscriber that let's you have a sexy black square on your avatar :D (as describes it). But that's not just it! It costs just 3$ monthly, and the major benefits are:
    • No Ads: You won't see any ads on your and others' profile and other people won't see on yours,
    • Profile Visitors: You can see who visited your profile recently.
    • Personal playlists: You will be able to build unlimited personal playlists.
    • Loved tracks: You will have your loved tracks' radiostation.
  • Scrobble from your portable player! You can scrobble music from your iPod or phone player too !  When i'm outside, walking and listening to music, i want it also to be counted!  I wanted to have something like this for a long time and finally found it ! For s60 smartphones there's a nice client - Mobbler. You just install the application on your mobile and you can practically do everything you can do with the windows client - scrobble played songs, listen to radios, playlists etc... If you, like me, don't want to use phone's internet traffic, you can generate a log file with scrobbled songs information and later upload it to from PC using one of applications described here: I am using QTScrobbler, since it works with protocol 1.2 and scrobbles the songs from phone, even when i have listened and scrobbled other songs from PC after that (protocol 1.1. doesn't support it)
  • Widgets for websites and blogs: offers lots of cool widgets that help you to show off the music you listen - last tracks or overall top artists, tracks and so on.
    arpik's Profile Page

    If my post was useful to you, register there and add me as a friend :)
    Here's my profile:

    I like it's interface language - very fun and live :)

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009

    Her Morning Elegance and Oren Lavie

    I've been addicted to this video and song for some days, and finally i did some research on the author and the song and decided to post :)

    About Oren Lavie

    Oren Lavie is a songwriter of curly brown hair, whisperish voice, green eyes and suspiciously cold feet. He was born in 1976, two minutes behind schedule, and has been trying to catch up ever since. Oren Lavie is also a director, writer of funny books for sad children. Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He has long curly hair, green eyes, cold feet. Known to daydream on many an occasion.
    He has written and directed several plays in London’s Off-West End and NY off-Broadway.
    He likes to create dreamy visuals from realistic elements, he enjoys squeezing big worlds into small spaces.
    As a songwriter he produced his debut album ‘The Opposite Side of The Sea’ which he released in 2008 on his own label, being that nobody else was going to release it.
    He loves animation but can’t draw a straight line to save his life.
    This video is his first venture into the Moving Pictures.

    Video Facts
    • The video was shot all stills - roughly 3225 still photos for the entire video, using one camera, hanging from the ceiling for the main body of the movie.
    • It took 4 weeks before shooting to create an animated computer generated storyboard for the video, with 3d dummies for the characters.
    • It took only 2 days of shooting for the live actors on set to re-create the 3.5 minutes computer sequence, frame by frame.
    • Some of the bed sheets used in the video were taken from Oren’s own bedroom and are now considered collectors items, worth at the moment not very much and therefore used as bed sheets.