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Posts Tagged ‘USA’

City 864

In city, photography on April 10, 2010 at 06:56

A view of Chicago

linandara.deviantart.com
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Old Painting. New print:

In blue, green, landscape, my artworks, pastel, purple, trees, yellow on March 17, 2010 at 08:35

added work to redbubble.com

I did this from our appartment window in Alexandria, in 2000 or 1999, looking towards Potomac river. Soft pastel on paper. The original painting is sold (the size was about A4).

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Ginkgo Alley in Autumn, Alexandria, VA

In autumn, city, my artworks, pastel, pen, pen and ink, pencil, purple, trees, watercolour, yellow on March 11, 2010 at 13:33

Ginkgo Alley in Autumn, Alexandria, VA by Alexandra Cook
Ginkgo Alley in Autumn, Alexandria, VA by Alexandra Cook

Sunlit golden falling leaves of ginkgo biloba, an alley, a bench, a part of a building, distant fountain. If I remember correctly, the place was near metro station. The original (pastel, pencils, pen & ink and watercolor) is for sale.  

An American Sketch

In pen and ink, sketch, spring, watercolour, winter on March 9, 2010 at 12:44

Done on the spot, 21.02.2000 in Alexandria, VA. Original. For Sale here.

Crime and Punishment

In books, moral issues, politics, religion on August 25, 2009 at 07:25

I hear around me lots of angry voices about alMeghari early release (e.g. look here:Lockerbie Bomber Treated Like a Hero)
Just want to write down few thoughts.

Sadly, whatever you do to this person (IF he committed the crime indeed) won’t return the victims from the dead. They don’t need any revenge. I do not really believe in Government’s compassion (sorry) so I realise that its just a political game. But I also think that compassion can’t be inappropriate.

People call for more punishment and I hear them (without realising this) begging for some medieval torture. Imprisonment is a mild torture too, but we need it, first – to show the criminal and everybody else that what he’s done, we think, IS a crime, and second, to prevent the criminal from re-offending and endangering more lives. Eight years in prison and terminal illness did that.

Also in any case we never can be sure for 100 per cent if we caught the right person (that’s one reason why death penalty is evil). The only possible punishment may be imposed by the persons own conscience.

Absolute justice (from a human hand) is impossible. If somebody killed many people we can’t kill him back many times. We only can help him realise what he has done and prevent him from doing this again. And if God would punish us for all our crimes: committed, dreamed or only possible in future… Who would be left?

And also there is another thought: have all mass-murderers been punished “properly”? What about Colonel Paul Tibbets who killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima? “Tibbets expressed no regret regarding the decision to drop the bomb. In a 1975 interview he said: “I sleep clearly every night.” You say he followed the orders? The same they say about that Libyan, I’m sure. And what about former terrorists from Northern Ireland?

I think the only way to battle evil is to live with love and compassion. Any anger, calls for revenge, torture and executions only make things worse (here I agree with “Surprised by Hope” by Tom Wright which I am reading at the moment).

Free speech myth

In legal issues, moral issues, politics, religion on December 4, 2008 at 20:30

I don’t think free speech exists. We hear from time to time, that it didn’t existed in the Soviet Union, or it doesn’t exist in modern China. Well it doesn’t exist anywhere. Its just a pretense. Lets be honest. If you forbid saying anything offending – that is it. Any strong opinion on important matter can offend the opposite side. So governments, organizations, etc forbid some allegedly “bad” groups of people or individuals to speak on their own behalf. And what does that do? It turns them into martyrs for indecisive people. It shows to those who didn’t make heir opinion yet – the government is afraid that if “baddies” speak, they will take over, that they may actually have Truth on their side. Its so easy to wave your sword at somebody who is not allowed to do so in our “civilized” society. For me its strange, how on Earth you can convince somebody what’s right and what’s wrong if you don’t let other side publicly defend itself?

Of course no viable government will allow open propaganda against itself on the prime time TV. Its understandable. Of course children should be protected from unappropriated content. But why not have a web site (or a radio station) easily accessible for all adults where absolutely anything could be said, any opinion discussed, and where any crazy lunatic could explain his or her point of view (and being praised or remotely”beaten” for that). And then, we WOULD have freedom of speech.

Greeting Cards

In about me, kids, religion, traditions on November 30, 2008 at 09:37

It bothers me, why on Earth people need to send or give greeting cards if they actually SEE the person they are sending them to at his or her Birthday, Anniversary or Christmas? And why people BUY cards with somebodies else message printed in them? It’s difficult to find a blank card in shops here. Anyway, now so many people have computers, cameras and printers, why not to do something original, from a heart? Even if it’s just a citation form a favorite poet, etc. Its all totally above me. I guess you have to be born in this culture to understand. Mind you, it starts to catch up in Russia too, unfortunately.

And why relatives and friends have to give kids mountains of toys on Birthdays and Christmas? I’ve seen so many times poor children crying for hours because of over excitement! And a piece of advice for toy-buyers: if there are more thanfour jigsaw puzzles for kids at home – they will get mixed up. Complex games will have irreplaceable pieces lost or broken. Expensive electronic toys will get unintentionally broken too. If you kids have too much toys it will became impossible to tidy them up properly neither for you nor for kids themselves (we are learning all this hard way). By the way, the best birthday present my daughter had for her eight birthday was a big Yamaha keyboard just for 34 pounds. It really helps her to learn to play good music. And my son does wonders with his K’nex construction kits. Also at eight they still don’t mind if the toys are second hand – save your money and enviroment!

I like traditions, but only when they came from a heart and generally good for you…

A Christmas video I stumbled upon while surfing:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqqj1v-ZBU&eurl=http://proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/

Current situation & frugal against my own will

In about me, car-free living, eco-friendly, good life, politics on November 16, 2008 at 06:08

I’ve read an interesting article by Dmitry Orlov

http://www.energybulletin.net/node/47157

It compares the collapse of the USSR (which I sort of experienced) with present economic situation. Frankly, I’ve already started to gradually increase amount of tinned and dry food in my storage, buying seeds of edible plants and reducing spending even more.

During the Soviet Union Collapse I was young and naive, lived with my mother and spent most time just dreaming. So I mostly missed it and I don’t feel sorry for that. Now I did criticize the consumer culture living in the USA and UK for the last eight years but I feel a bit upset I didn’t participated. We never went on a cheap holiday to a popular destination, visiting kids’ grandparents instead. We never had flown by a cheap airline (they don’t have flights between the destinations we need!). We never had a car. We were buying mostly second hand clothes. We never had thrown away something we didn’t need anymore but still useful. Instead we were trying to sell it in our Ebay shop – to earn few pounds. I’ve been to hairdressers maybe 3 or 4 times during this period because that would cost too much and personally I don’t like being interrogated about my life during my haircut. We never borrowed any money apart from mortgage which was unfortunately unavoidable. We had to switch heating on in our house only when it was really needed – to save money. We haven’t been buying perennial flowers in big boxes from a plant nursery just to throw them away next season as I’ve seen many people (and councils) do. I’ve been trying make my own compost as I couldn’t afford to buy some (once it did went really wrong :-). We didn’t went much to restaurants. I had nobody to chat for hours on the telephone, mobile or not. We haven’t been replacing old things with new unless we really had to. I’ve missed all that and it looks like its gone for good now…

That’s very good, somebody might say. Yes, but it wasn’t entirely my choice of lifestyle! Well I think all this happened because I didn’t went out to work but stayed at home with my kids and my paintings. That was my choice… although I’d still love to have a Landrover Defender or a motocaravan to visit beautiful and exotic places (Gypsy blood), to have nice organic clothes for the family and to start my own large orchard. Hope dies the last.

Another thing I wanted to say – thank you very much to everybody who sent me kind comments during last few days (sorry for my English by the way). Now that I know that somebody is actually reading what I write – I’m really scarred…

PS. There is a long list of labels (topics, subjects) on the left, so if you want to read say about oil pastels only you can do this. I also have a nasty habit of rewriting old posts or adding something to them – sorry

Xenophobic youngsters in Newtown

In kids, legal issues, moral issues, Nottingham, traditions, xenophobia on November 12, 2008 at 09:21

Right, me and my children were… I think its called “verbally abused” for two days in the row by a couple of local high school teenage girls. I almost didn’t noticed them yesterday. As we were passing them by on the way home from school they were asking each others in unnatural loud voices “How to say f… in Polish”. Not actually being Polish I just thought “what a sad life the local girls have” (me and my family, we don’t swear and are trying to keep the kids away from this).

Today in the morning, when we just have leaved our entrance door, they unmistakably shouted at us something like “Polish scum” & f. word (a lot). As I started taking pictures of them, they got scarred and walked quickly away towards the Hope Church. I should admit it was the first time I actually almost went to report somebody to the police. As I citizen of this country I feel responsible. People shouldn’t be abused based on their nationality, Polish or not (they probably heard me speaking Russian to my kids & I guess Poland is the only Eastern European country they know at their age of about 15-17 years). And I think, nobody should swear in public, especially with kids around. But I stopped just before the police doors. Lets give them another chance, I thought. They looked frighten enough when I pulled my camera from the handbag! But any other incident like this, and I’ll do it. As an artist I’ve got a good visual memory (and my kids too), I know they live on Treowen and go to the Newtown High School. My children immediately told everything to their teachers & friends, so, its looks like incident will be known in town.

I had a bit of a shake because all that – always happens to me in similar situations – part of being an INFJ, I suppose. I’m so easily deeply offended but after that I get to such heights of inspirations and revelations, so, thank you, girls, for that!

Well, I should admit, growing up in a major capital city, I’ve been a bit xenophobic myself. Sadly, its seems to be natural for human beings. Its more understandable, if immigrants misbehave or form some sort of mafia. As far as I know, its not the case here. Maybe the condition the two girls live in or a family situation are really bad and they just jealous, maybe they have been brought up with hatred, without a slightest idea about moral and legal norms. Maybe they have been offended by somebody from Poland and now think all foreign-born people are evil. If by any chance you, girls, read this, please came forward and explain your point of view!
When we lived in the USA one of our American friends told me: “Don’t move to Britain, they don’t like Russians there, but we do”… I have been wearing this Russian scarf for 4 years in Virginia and DC. Then, about five years ago, we moved to Long Eaton near Nottingham. I went to a charity shop as usual. It was winter and quite chilly, so I had my scarf on. Exiting the shop I’ve been asked by two boys about 12 years old “what’s the time”. I told them and went forwards. Suddenly they started shooting me from their DIY blow guns, passing by Christmas shoppers looking at this with empty eyes. I absolutely froze and couldn’t do anything. Well, I understood they had asked time to be absolutely sure that I had an accent. Maybe they even though I’m a Muslim, wearing scarf. Later at home my relatives instructed me that I had either get my telephone and (pretend) to call police, or take some photos of the offenders. So I am prepared now… 🙂 But I don’t risk wearing scarfs on the streets of Britain any more… I also probably should be much more careful speaking my native language (or speaking at all!) : -( Mind you, if people want to hate, they will find a reason for this anyway.
PS. Just can’t stop imagining. Years pass, times change, our rude girls are trying to earn some pennies in Poland and Polish teenagers mock them for not being local… Sorry. I’m just being taking myself too seriously. “Educated, sophisticated, but shouted at and hated by some absolute zeros just because I’ve got a wrong kind of an accent in this part of the word”. I really should learn to get ride of my pride… Sorry…

Nice speech

In computers, philosophy, religion on November 10, 2008 at 17:26

I’ve been sent a link to a speech by Steve Jobs
http://vbox7.com/play:2226528b
Its in English but from a Bulgarian site. Very mood lifting. Main ideas: Nobody knows what future brings, follow your heart & intuition, but remember about death.

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