Monday, July 19, 2010

Vardavar '10 photo exhibition at Lovers' Park

I'm now here to tell you about a very interesting photo exhibition that was launched today at the Lovers Park.

Ara Aslanyan, a talented photographer/designer/illustrator started a photo project called "Vardavar" in 2009, where he photographed his friends during the process of pouring a bucket of water on them :)
note: Vardavar is an interesting Armenian tradition.
Aro himself during Vardavar 2009 project
This year he developed the idea and together with another very talented photographer - Arnos Martirosyan, invited various celebrities to take part in the project. More than 20 show business stars agreed to be poured a bucket of water and be photographed.
the photography process (from
The results are astonishing. Drops of water solidified and looking like they have been forced to freeze in time and the process of human faces becoming wet were captured at a shutter speed 1/1000s of seconds. Charismatic face expressions and amazingly captured moments make the photos unique and definitely worth seeing (regardless of the fact you like those celebrities or not).
Images are printed in huge 2x2 meter size and arranged at the trees all over the park. Today, at the opening, many of the celebrities were there to check out and pose with their images.
Organization of a project and event like this is a tough job indeed and there have been numerous challenges (putting it mildly) along the way, but I'm happy for Aro and Arnos that they finally did it and it was really great!
Arnos, Aro and Kristine Pepelyan :) /sorry for my camera :D/
The photos will stay there for only about a week, so hurry up to watch!

Friday, July 16, 2010

the minimalist bug in me

I think i've caught a minimalist bug. Meaning, i have sort of an allergy to things /especially clothes/ that have a rich texture, lots of details and colors. I suddenly discovered that almost all of my clothes are single-colored, simple and do not have many details.

It became most obvious when I was shopping for summer dresses. In a wide collection of colorful and floral fabrics I had a hard time finding dresses i would like to wear. I was trying them on, and the most beautiful dresses just didn't fit on me as I saw it and I felt uncomfortable in them.

After discovering this, I forced myself to buy a scarf which was white with pink/violet circles as a pattern. It didn't come easily, I really made an effort. Sounds funny, huh?

I guess I'm having similar "disorders" from time to time. For instance, this winter I couldn't wear colors at all. My entire winter shopping consisted of black/beige/grey clothes. I couldn't make myself wear any color except for those and it was constantly being criticized by my mom, who hates wearing black.

Do you think it's some kind of a phobia? or is it a "normal" disorder? :)

p.s. while browsing for wallpapers, themes for various stuff, I always choose the "minimalist" category :D so it goes beyond the clothing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Exhibition of graphic design works of my friends in NPAK

Two of my very talented friends have an exhibition of their works going on in NPAK/ACCEA (Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art)
Lia and Tata
On Friday, July 9, the opening took place. It was attended mostly by some friends since the artists didn't advertise it much, but that's a pity!
Both of my friends were attending Graphic Design classes taught by Ali Ansari (a very talented artist! you'll see his works there too). The exhibition is a report of what they have done and learnt during the course (there are also some sketches and stuff they did during classes). There are also Ali's great cartoon works displayed. I loved them a lot.

Here's a couple words about Lia and Tata.

Tata Mkrtchyan
My classmate and a close friend for more than 10 years now! She's an artist and graphic designer by profession and has a very deep personality. She loves the color purple, cute rabbits and fashion.
On the pic she's wearing BW clothes to suit with her works (now you will be able to easily tell which works are whose there :D). Tata likes to hear what people think of her works, so your feedback to her will be appreciated!

Lia Mkhitaryan
One of my brightest friends ever. We know each other from AIESEC, working in the same team since 2006. Lia is a linguist and works in communications field, however she's a very creative and artistic person by her nature and inheritance. She likes film making and also cute earrings. Be sure to send her cheers and feedback on her works :)

Here's the event on FB. It's open till July 23, so hurry up! Young artists need some encouragement and feedback.

Some preview of what you will see there (will also help you avoiding going to a different hall with another exhibition :D)
my talented friends and me :)
Info on the event and photos on

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kindle, my review of the great e-book reader

i've put my favorite Salome
as a screensaver :)
My Kindle arrived! I wrote about gadgets in a recent post.
Many of my friends have been demanding a blog post about it ASAP, but I could actually start writing after a week of playing with it.

In case you don't know, Kindle is a book reader device from Amazon. It is a thin, lightweight, electronic reading device that you can take anywhere and download your favorite book, newspaper, or magazine right into it.

As for the technical details...

  • Display: 6" diagonal E Ink® electronic paper display, 600 x 800 pixel resolution, 16-level gray scale (no color!)
  • Size: 203.2mm x 134.6mm x 9.1mm.
  • Weight: 289.2 grams.
  • Storage: 2GB internal (approx.1.4GB available for user content). It's said it can store approx. 1500 books.
  • Battery life: up to 2 weeks with wireless connection off.
  • Connectivity: 3G, works in many countries, but not in Armenia ;( check the map.
  • USB port: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) for connection to the Kindle U.S. power adapter or optionally to connect to a PC or Mac.
  • Audio: 3.5mm stereo audio jack, rear-mounted stereo speakers.
  • Content Formats Supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.

My impressions
iPad and Kindle, why compare?
It's the best e-reader of everything I've considered. It's certainly better than iPads as a book reader.. they are actually not comparable! My thoughts on Apple are here, and actually, i think that having multi-functional devices is not the best solution. To me, cellphone should be mostly for mobile conversations, a photocamera for photographing, e-reader for reading, PC or a good laptop for work, and netbook for browsing, working from home, writing etc... I can't find a good use for a tablet (especially iPad) so far :)

my netbook and Kindle. each of them has its place in my heart :-))
good for eyes
E-ink makes it so easy to read on... I've actually discovered that "weekend reading" thing can be real :) I've read an entire book on Kindle in just 1 weekend! And i was not just reading, but also going out occasionally :)

you know, you can make Kindle to read for you :)) Just plug the headphones and enjoy a male or female voice reading for you :)))) (you can choose also slower and faster speech)

you can put some music into the respective folder in Kindle and it can be played during reading. some instrumental music would be good to focus on reading and isolate from the ambient noise.

easy to transfer
when plugging the USB cable, the computer instantly recognizes a new device as a removable memory. there are folders for documents, audiobooks and music. just drag and drop the files.. no software needed for transfers.

cool features
Kindle has a Built-in Dictionary with Instant Lookup. In text format documents you can put the pointer to a word, and its definition will be instantly shown from the Oxford dictionary. Very useful! Also, it's possible to highlight quotes, make annotations on interesting parts, put bookmarks etc.. (that's what the qwerty keyboard is useful for).
Also, unlike a laptop or smartphone, Kindle never gets warm so you can comfortably read as long as you like.

file formats
while text formats are preferred, PDF files can be easily read on Kindle too. I noticed that it's better to convert PDFs into text format (like .prc) since the fonts will be scalable on Kindle and it will be possible to highlight interesting parts in text and make notes on it.

file converting
turns out the old good Mobipocket reader (the only e-reader app that worked on my symbian phone) has been acquired by Amazon and it converts PDFs to a favorable format.

reading on a beach :)
it's not touch screen. But the coolest is: Read in Sunlight with No Glare. Kindle's screen reflects light like ordinary paper and uses no backlighting, eliminating the glare associated with other electronic displays. As a result, Kindle can be read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room.
The screen has a sharp display with 16 shades of gray and is very unusual for someone not familiar with electronic ink technology. At first i had to persuade someone that it's not a sticker on the screen i didn't scratch, but the screen itself :D

The device has a 5-way controller (joystick) enables precise on-screen navigation for selecting text to highlight or looking up words. There are buttons for Menu, Home, Back, Next page and Previous page.

Jeff Bezos - the founder of
sleep mode
after 5 minutes of inactivity the device goes to the sleep mode thus saving the energy. the sleep mode is a nice graphic pic usually with some great author depicted or a page from an ancient book. After digging in some forums i found a way to put custom screensavers :)

it fully charges in 4 hours with its USB 2.0 cable, however it has also a power adapter included that can be connected via USB port.

it's possible to download audiobooks from (in its format) and listen them on Kindle, bookmarking in some parts, like in text.

books and other content
of course Amazon's benefit in Kindles is not just from selling the devices itself, but the books which are now available widely for the Kindle format and special price. On their website it's announced that The New York Times Bestsellers are only $9.99 in Kindle format. Some content is licensed for credit cards with billing address in the US only. This concerns all magazine and blog subscriptions (it wouldn't work here anyways, due to our non-inclusion in the Kindle global wireless / 'whispernet' service)

how to buy Kindle in Armenia
As you could guess, Kindle is not available in any tech store in Armenia (unlike iPads which are wide spread here now). The only way is to order it online on itself. The website is promising to deliver it here:
However, I'd highly suggest to do the traditional Armenian way of shipping stuff from the US -- finding someone coming from US to Armenia to actually bring it with him. It ships within 5-7 days in US for free.. faster shipping can be available at some cost, however if you haven't yet got the Amazon Prime account, you can get a 1-month trial for free and get things delivered faster, for free :) (if you forget to uncheck a certain button there before the trial expires, it will, however, charge you some $70 for the Prime account).

when i first turned on my Kindle, charged it and put some test files on it, i didn't find a way to sort books by types or other criteria. In the manual it kept saying about some collections and ease of ordering. I dug the internets and found out that the collections and some other features are available in the new software update that was out just couple of weeks ago :)

what's bad?
Ok, i know that you see that I'm quite happy with it, but there must be something that would make it not perfect :D one thing i would state is that the page flipping is a bit slow, however it's not annoying and easy to get used to.
another thing is that it doesn't support unicode... but! you can make PDF files with Russian/Armenian texts, in appropriate format and still read it on Kindle. Still, copying quotes and making annotations won't be possible if it's not a text file.

other Kindles?
Kindle was first launched in Nov. 2007 it was the 1st generation device and had a slightly different design from the current Kindles (launched Feb 2009).
In June 2009 Amazon released a bigger Kindle DX (close to A4 format) and in June 2010 Kindle DX Graphite (roughly black version and with 50% more contrast display).

the Kindle evolution

I was recommended by a Kindle owner (privet, Gaspar! ;) to buy a leather case unless i want to have the back of the device worn out.
So i ordered original Kindle's leather cover (orange) which was about $35, and, in reality, was kinda desaturated orange...
But what was most depressing... after few days of my purchase, it turned out that my favorite Moleskine has released a special Kindle cover with a small notebook in it! ;(
my Kindle and its orange cover
Moleskine Kindle cover
why Amazon rules
The next day I bought my Kindle and its cover and it was shipped, i am opening my Google reader just to read that... Amazon has reduced the price for the Kindle (from $259 to $189) to compete with other e-book readers (the day before that, practically, hours after i purchased it). And it's $70 difference!
I'm shocked, devastated.. accepting sympathy notes... writing a status on FB about how ugly Amazon is... and BAM! the power of social media comes for help :) actually it was a good friend of mine - Susan Meschian who gave a hint that Amazon should have some refund policy for these cases... I dug in help and FAQs, but didn't find a relevant info.. then i wrote to their customer service... (their reply could come in 12 hours) but i didn't resist and called them. I didn't have to explain much :) they said i'd be refunded $70 in 2 business days :) and I was!!! I also got the same reply to my email. So i'm just a happy Amazon and Kindle customer :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Goodness: How to live a better life. 10 tips

From time to time, I'll share some goodness I stumbled upon on the 'internets'. This is from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project.
I love reading other people's resolutions and their personal commandments, and I was very interested to read the daily decalogue of Pope John XXIII (a "decalogue" is a set of rules having authoritative weight). Pope John XXIII was pope from 1958-1963 and was known as "The Good Pope."
(Russian translation follows)
Here are ten tips from Pope John XXIII about how to live a better life, day to day:

  1. Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.
  2. Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.
  3. Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.
  4. Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.
  5. Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
  6. Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
  7. Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.
  8. Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.
  9. Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.
  10. Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.

-----------same in Russian-------------

10 правил счастья от Папы Блаженного Иоанна XXIII
  1. Только сегодня я постараюсь прожить этот день позитивно и не буду пытаться решить все проблемы наперед. 
  2. Только сегодня я буду вести себя вежливо по отношению к другим людям, не буду повышать на них голос, не буду осуждать никого или критиковать. 
  3. Только сегодня я буду счастлив просто от того, что пришел новый день и этот день изначально был создан для счастья. 
  4. Только сегодня я буду стараться подстраиватьcя под окружающий мир вместо того, чтобы требовать повиновения от мира. 
  5. Только сегодня я буду уделять хотя бы 10 минут для чтения приятных книг и новостей, буду наслаждаться едой и вспоминать светлые события из жизни. 
  6. Только сегодня я сделаю одно доброе дело и никому об этом не скажу. 
  7. Только сегодня я сделаю хотя бы одну вещь, которая мне неприятна. И если я буду испытывать дискомфорт, то сделаю так, чтоб никто из окружающих этого не заметил. 
  8. Только сегодня я составлю для себя список дел хотя бы на день. Даже если я не смогу выполнить его весь, я буду стараться. И я постараюсь не допустить двух вещей: поспешности и нерешительности. 
  9. Я верю в то, что Бог любит меня. 
  10. Только сегодня я буду в полную силу наслаждаться красотой и верить в существование добра. И даже если мои действия могут показаться мне ужасными, я все равно сделаю то, что считал нужным всю свою жизнь.