Archers and Thermals

I went to two good rock shows this week past week. Deenah and Toby invited me to see Archers of Loaf last Sunday at Webster Hall and last night Nan and I went to see The Thermals at The Bell House, in Brooklyn, with Casey and Ragen. It was a good week for indie rock! Here are some of my signature "futurist" style (translation: blurry) live band pics.









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Retroactive Trip to Russia Blog: Day 2 (June 22)

Regarding Day 1, I forgot to say, before turning in, we went for a little walk around the neighborhood of where our hotel was. We came upon this cute little park that had a beautiful little pond where people would gather and talk. I learned later that it's called Patriarch's Pond

The traffic in Moscow is pretty intense. Instead of pesky pedestrian crossings some of the larger main roads have these creepy underground sidewalks that would take you from one side to the other.

Our car picked us up at 6 am for the ride to Vladimir. The first thing I noticed was how light it was already. I didn't realize that the proximity of Russia on the globe, longitudinally speaking,  put it at about the same place as Northern Canad and Alaska. Basically, this mean very little darkness in the summer. I was too jet lagged to notice that the sun hadn't started going down until about ten or eleven pm the night before. I didn't mind so much. There appeared to be this extended twilight period that I found kind of relaxing in a way.
The drive to Vladimir was about four hours. Our driver Dmitry spoke very little English. The Russian countryside reminded me a little bit of Kansas. It was relatively flat. There are a lot of these cute little houses that my sister called "ginger bread" houses. I didn't get any pics but they kind looked like this picture I found on the Internet, with slightly less trim.

We finally arrived at the adoption agency in Vladimir. We picked up Lulu's passport and a lady gave us a huge stack of documents. The ladies at the agency were very sweet but they all looked kind of tired. We spoke with the main director. She said they place nearly 100 babies a year, all around the world.
Finally, we were off to nearby Alexandria to pick up Lorelei. The drive to Alexandria was very bumpy. I almost felt like I was going to get car sick. There were a lot lavender by the side of the road. They made me feel a little better.
The orphanage was very quite. A sort of stern woman with thick glasses lead us into a room that had these cute little chairs that looked very Russian.
And then they brought her in. The first thing you notice about Lulu is that she is very engaged. She stares right at you with these big eyes and nice round cheeks.
After a couple of pics we changed her clothes and hit the road.
Lulu loves the car. She also loves looking at herself in the mirror. I guess when you're this cute, who could blame you.
She's not so crazy about socks. She likes to try and kick them off.
We got back to the hotel. It had been a long day and we were pretty tired. I didn't realized I was going to be such a proud uncle but whaddaya gonna do.
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Retroactive Trip to Russia Blog: Day 1 (Monday, June 20/21)

I met my sister at Kennedy airport. She was connecting there from Orlando. We had a sandwich at the airport. This was going to be the longest flight I'd ever been on. 10 hours. Luckily, we were in the front row of our section so we got lots of leg room. I was kind of bummed that they didn't have the individual movie players. I had to watch a very bad Adam Sandler movie and then an even worse one staring Vince Vaughn. When you think about everything involved in making a movie it must feel crummy to see them turn out so shitty. I guess the millions of dollars they make helps soften the blow.

The flight went quicker than I thought it would. Unfortunately, we arrived in Moscow around rush hour. So the drive to the hotel was a bit stressful. Traffic in Moscow is pretty crazy and people pretty much just floor it until the next time they have to stop.  I was surprised at how similar the airport and highway looks to things in the states. A guy named Michael, form the adoption agency,  picked us up and took us to the hotel. He reminded me a little of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers but we was actually a very sweet guy. The Hotel was called The Peking. It's an old Russian hotel that someone told me had Mafia ties at one time. It was very beautiful. Sherry hit the nail on the head when she said the halls reminded her of The Shining.
The Room was quite nice. The whole hotel had a kind of weight and atmosphere to it. It was hard to describe but cool. We were feeling pretty out of it at this point. I had made arrangements to meet up with Vera and Misha, some friends of Jack and Jeff Lewis, for dinner but I had to cancel because we fell asleep at 6pm and the next day we were picking up Lorelei at the orphanage. We had to leave very early at 6 am so we made new plans to meet them on Friday. The adoption agency that helped my sister was located in a town called Vladimir which was about 3 hours outside of Moscow. We had to go there first take care of some paper work and get Lulu's passport. The orphanage was actually in a very small town about an hour from Vladimir called Alexandria. We grabbed a couple of Czech beers from a little deli/store on the corner and passed out watching CNN, the only English speaking channel we could find on the TV. After a nearly 5 month process and 4 trips to Russia my sister was finally taking her baby girl home. I was proud of how collected she was.
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