Friday, January 29, 2010

Just felt like writing

I'm frozen. It's the end of January and the winter has just arrived. I took my usual longest way to home from work in order to have a walk, but when i got home, i didn't feel my feet and fingers. Hate feeling cold!
I guess I have to limit my walks, despite the fact i badly need that time for organizing own thoughts, listening to music and checking the streets for "updates" in terms of stores and other news. Oh yea, i hate missing any important update in the city (well, and in general too).

The job
Since the holidays finished, I've been working like never before. I'm being quite productive, organized and even actually efficient. If before I was mainly just generating ideas and developing some of them up to a written project, these days I'm actually implementing the ideas and creating something measurable and complete.

I developed a workaholism of a certain level and didn't even notice how my job took over my entire life at the moment. My brain's CPU is 100% busy with job-related tasks, even if I'm taking a walk, having a shower or going to bed. I'm constantly making charts, organizing information into tables, creating task lists, reading stuff needed for specific projects. Although my super accessible netbook and the lovely MindManager are making my work more efficient and easy, i'm actually afraid that i will feel lost when i won't have them around. I also started to rely on an online task manager TeuxDeux, my daily planner (portable hard copy) and also a weekly planner that hangs out on my desk in the office. It may seem that i have to spend quite a while in synchronization between them, but actually I use all of them for different planning and so far it has made me considerably more productive.
So what, that I work on Saturdays and holidays and evenings and (shame on me) even Sundays (from home though)? To the people who wonder why I do this - I just wish them someday to have the amount of satisfaction, recognition and appreciation in the workplace that I do. I am never forced but driven by an intrinsic motivation.

Btw, a small and interesting e-book on motivating creative people for your reading.
I hope this energy boost won't decrease in the near future, however I will put some emphasis on my social life too.

The habits

I also advanced in terms of self-management, getting rid of some bad habits and working on improving my health. I mostly used to have a plain coffee in the mornings and then having some buns at the lunch time. I did realize that it's unhealthy but didn't have an idea on what I can manage to prepare for myself as a breakfast when I'm in a constant rush in the morning (that's the reason for not having a breakfast at all). [oh yeah, I am a long sentences' fan]
Also, I almost didn't eat any dairy product which was bad for my teeth and bones.
In the recent weeks I started to actually eat curds mixed with mashed apple. This mix is both easy, light and tasty. Thanks to my cousin for the tip!
After that I am having my coffee in the office and I'm actually being early in the office! что не может не радовать..(и не только шефа :)

The music

I'm very busy and I do a bunch of critical stuff. I can't allow myself to feel down or negative in any way. I didn't choose it intentionally, but I feel that the only TV channel I actually feel like watching/listening is the MTV Dance. I'm jumping, dancing, singing like a teenager. I completely overwrote my music playlist and no pixel of melancholy can be seen there. It really helps to keep my mood up high.

The death
A relative passed away last week. He didn't live only 2 weeks till his 50th anniversary. It was a lung cancer. The ironic thing was that the wife of that man who died, has been smoking extensively the following days, because she had to calm her nerves and nothing could be done about it. She had lost her son just the previous year. Nobody can even begin to imagine how she actually feels now. Cigarettes help to calm the nerves, but they often become the reason people suffer.
I can't help myself from being anxious, realizing that my dad won't even consider quitting or limiting his smoking.
I also discovered something rather shocking for me. It's that the relatives sometimes prefer to hide from the cancer patient the real reason of their illness. The man died without knowing what he was dying from. And I was being convinced that it's a right thing to do. I won't go into details now, but I strongly believe that it's very, very wrong. Not for everyone, however...

photo via Titania Aelita

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yoga in Armenia: what is yoga and how to get started?

One of my discoveries of the last year was certainly - yoga. Not that I learned about it just this year :) I just realized it this year that it's the perfect thing for me this period of my life and found the most amazing yoga studio in Yerevan. I had some friends who have been attending there for quite some time already, but never actually considered to enroll myself into a class too. I knew almost nothing about yoga but I was driven by curiosity and the promise of getting some peace after the hectic work days was convincing.
I had no problem deciding with the studio, since I only started yoga because of discovering Shoonch.

While this post will be about my perception and experience of yoga, it may also contain some voluntary advertisement of Shoonch yoga studio.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Armenian Winter Resort Tsakhkadzor aka Armenian Alps

I spent the weekend in the city of Tsakhkadzor (alternatively spelled as Tsaghkadzor) situated about 50km north from Yerevan.

The main attraction in Tsakhkadzor is the ropeway on the Teghenis mountain.
During Soviet times, the lifts and other sporting facilities were built to prepare Soviet athletes for the 1988 Winter Olympics. The town was further developed into a ski resort and later fully modernized with the old lifts being replaced. It has started to be rapidly developed during the presidency of Robert Kocharyan who is an avid skier.

Ex-President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan skiing.  © PanARMENIAN Photo / Davit Hakobyan

Currently it's the most popular winter holiday location in Armenia, which also attracts hundreds of ski and snowboard enthusiasts from around the world.

ALL of the guesthouses and hotels (despite of their prices being comparable to those of Alpine resorts) are fully booked for the new year holidays and first weeks of January even since October.

Tsakhkadzor is especially popular among Yerevan citizens this year due to the fact that there has been no snow in Yerevan so far and Tsakhkadzor is covered with a beautiful layer of white pleasure. Moreover, the weather these weeks is just perfect - sunny and warm.

Photographers of our photo agency PanARMENIAN Photo captured the beauty of the ski resort in the most favorable weather conditions. I have not heard of Ararat mountain being seen from the Teghenis mount before (probably because it has mostly been cloudy and foggy in this ski season). This time both Sevan lake and Ararat were perfectly visible from the 2nd lift of the ropeway on Teghenis.

So those magical images are by my favorite photographers ;) Vahan Stepanyan, Davit Hakobyan and Sedrak Mkrtchyan © PanARMENIAN Photo!

The last photos are by me (of course you can notice the difference between Canon Mark II and my poor BenQ). Even though those scenes weren't captured by our photographers, I thought they are worth posting :)

This is Ararat seen from Tsakhkadzor! © PanARMENIAN Photo / Davit Hakobyan

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2009 wrap-up: my year in photos

2009 was a year of changes. If i had to put a label on the year, it would be exactly like that - "Year of Changes" (I know it sounds pretty Obama-ish, can't help with that!)

  • On March 21, 2009 I got inked for the first time and, I guess, the shooting star on my foot will make me remember this year for quite a while :)
  • 2009 will be most remembered to me with the job that I started to do. I was welcomed in PanARMENIAN Media and since I feel there are some more years to come for me in that company, 2009 will definitely be remembered as the first one of many. And don't stare at me when I say I won't change it to anything else (especially now). 
  • This was the year when I became more clear about what I will be doing in the future. I tried a new profession and liked it. It was challenging and I have been trusted something pretty significant and serious. I discovered more of my potential and became more self-aware. 
  • I started to consider myself as a citizen journalist/blogger and decided to put emphasis on my blogging habits and writing in general.
  • For the first time I went to another country for a vacation. I traveled on an Armenian train (I used to love trains before that :D). So it was my first visit to Georgia and Batumi. 
  • I got even more obsessed with shopping and various pretty stuff in 2009. At first, I just needed to refresh my wardrobe, then it was the change of style, later it become an obsession with cute stuff. 
  • In 2009 I started seriously with yoga. I loved the 'science' of it and made some resolutions connected with it for 2010. I finally realized the importance of taking care of my body and health.
  • I lost some kilos, and changed my hair... well, I'm now kinda not-so-recognizable to old school-mates.
  • 2009 wasn't without losses either. It was probably the most painful year of mine in terms of losing people. Some people just left the country for a while, but some just left my life probably forever. 
  • However in 2009 I met someone who was meant to become my teacher and role model. Someone who just happened to be making me a better, both professionally and personally. Can't be enough thankful to 2009 for that. 
  • 2009 was a year when I fell in love, then out of love, then fell into depression and then, after some vitamin B injections and multivitamin pills, reinvented myself and came to the finish of the year holding my head up high and greeted 2010 with open arms. 
Here's my 2009 in photos:

Monday, January 4, 2010

January 3, 2010. Republic Square, Yerevan, Armenia

Due to some requests, I'm posting new photos from festive Yerevan. Today I was walking at the twilight and the sky was beautiful. Photos are taken with my old good BenQ camera.

As usual, you may click the images to view larger.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 1, 2010 in Yerevan

I love the first days of January in Yerevan. Especially mornings and afternoons. Most people are still asleep or at home, receiving guests, others prepare to visit relatives and friends. The streets are quite empty, traffic on the streets is minimal, the stores and cafes are closed and it's quiet even in the downtown. I like to take a long walk in the downtown to catch this mood.
In the evening the Republic Square is probably the most crowded spot in the city, it's being transformed into an amusement park. People bring their kids to play with the clowns, Santas and many kinds of attractions.

The first photo is not manipulated with Photoshop, it's just my camera that was trying to adjust to the cold (i guess:) and the white balance is incorrect. I forgot to mention the strange stripes :) (time to buy a new camera heh..) I could consider the shot as a failed one and delete forever, but instead I saw it as something rather interesting and decided to share with you :)

In the whole downtown I saw only two cafes operating. Pizza di Roma on Abovian street (it was very crowded) and Pizza Diamond next to di Roma, near the Republic Square (was also almost full).

Here are some pics of the Republic Square giant tree and the one at the Place de France in front of the Opera House.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Useful tips for writing 2010 resolutions

Now is the time we try to make resolutions for the new year. I'm writing mine, and you?
If you lack ideas, this New Year Resolution Generator might be handy.

I would also like to share with you these "Tips for a better life" that I have saved in my computer long ago and forgot the source. upd: the author is Nithya Shanti.
  1. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. Sleep for 7 hours.
  4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
  5. Play more games.
  6. Read more books than you did the previous year.
  7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
  8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  9. Dream more while you are awake.
  10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  11. Drink plenty of water.
  12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  13. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
  14. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  15. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  16. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  17. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  18. Smile and laugh more.
  19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
  20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
  23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don't compare your partner with others.
  24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  25. Forgive everyone for everything.
  26. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  27. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  28. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  29. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  30. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  31. The best is yet to come.
  32. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  33. Do the right thing!
  34. Call your family often.
  35. Your inner most is always happy. So be happy.
  36. Each day give something good to others.
  37. Don't over do. Keep your limits.

2009 wrap-up: blogging :: overview of my most interesting posts

2009 was a good year for me, in terms of blogging. I think I managed to refine my direction and make it the way so the blog can be interesting to a wider range of people and not only for my friends.
Here I will briefly write about the most notable posts in my blog for 2009 and write my observations on the popularity of some of them and its reasons.

Armenian Way
Relatively popular were the postz describing Armenian habits (New Year Celebration, Weddings favors etc). Today I found that one of my friends was tagged in a profile pic uploaded by some girl as a New Year card and the pic was from my New Year Celebration post :)

How-To and Lifehacks
Not surprisingly, posts about some hacks and "how-to"s were popular too (About Last.FMHow I fixed my phone, Vacations in Adjara: Survival Guide, Software iRecommend).
My recent post on self-directed study was also quite popular and I'm happy hearing that it was handy for some people.

Concert, Movie and Book Reviews
One of my favorite types of posts is writing reviews about the concerts and movies I have attended. My post on Garou concert and pics were found by hundreds of Garou fans all over the world and pics were used in several of his fan websites :) I also wrote about Tigran Hamasyan's and Michel Legrand's concerts.
My review of Taxi Eli Lava movie was very popular in spring. I wrote a review of "Color of the Pink City" book in Armenian and it was also quite popular, and even the author liked it :)
I also wrote my impressions of BarCamp EVN 09.

Posts with own photos
I try to post with own photos, and I noticed that my photos are also quite appreciated :) Like in the posts about Yerevan 2791 CelebrationsCafesjian Center for the Arts opening and Trip to Sevan.

My Thoughts
I also tried to write my thoughts on several things, like "My thoughts on the attitude towards people and judging", and "About Girls Sitting Alone in a Cafe" and losing friends and also the shopaholism. I am particularly happy for the comments on these types of posts.

In September 2009 I completely redesigned my blog, making it more glamorous and interesting (i think :) I also finally wrote a small text about myself.

The biggest challenge this year has been the same procrastination and also the growing number of readers that forces me to write better, so I need more time and efforts for that.
My innocent and apolitical post about April 24 attracted a Turkish internet zombie (one of those who are searching posts about Armenian Genocide and then trying to flood them with bullshit, all from the same opera) who started to post nasty and irrelevant comments which made me turn the comment pre-moderation feature on.

Star tattoo beats all
The most popular post of the year was the one with my tattoo (far from being great) pic on it. I guess it had a terrific PageRank and all seekers of shooting star tattoos seem to have visited my blog :)

This year I started to read blogs on blogging (haha) and took some steps towards improving my writing skills (even took a training on that :) and I found some really useful information in the blog and the book "31 Days to Build a Better Blog".

I hope that my posts were interesting useful to my readers. I will work in the direction of writing more useful posts in 2010.

2009 wrap-up: music

Music is a good mean for bookmarking memories. When I come to listen to songs I was listening last year, I remember my feelings and experiences of that time. I usually attach lots of emotions and feelings to songs and everytime I hear the songs, I get them back.

One of the main sources for finding new music for me (apart from the popular ones), were the movies and TV shows. Also the bedtimetunes online radio with download option introduced me to some great music, plus some recommendations and similar artists.

I've been listening to music on my computer with Winamp and also with my XpressMusic phone player. Having a account and scrobbling almost all the music I have listened (including from the phone), I can now present my top music charts and tell about some songs that accompanied me month by month (see below). Maybe you will discover some nice music for yourself from my list :)

These are my top 15 artists for 2009

These are my top 15 tracks for 2009 (Loved track indicates that those are 'loved' songs)

Probably the best song of my year would be «Nothing in My Way» by Keane - happy one and the melancholic one is «Human» by Civil Twilight.