Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the Alex awards, part eight

Favorite Russians

#10 - Isaac Asimov. Science fiction writer. I didn't know I liked science fiction until I read some of his stuff in high school.

#9 - Anna Karenina. Yes, I know she's a fictional character, but I always felt bad for her. And she's been immortalized by so many great actresses, including Greta Garbo, Vivien Leigh, and Sophie Marceau.

#8 - Ayn Rand. Novelist and creator of philosophical objectivism. The books are The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and I highly recommend them.

#7 - Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Classical composer of the romantic era. Does anyone not know The Nutcracker, Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty? I grew up with that stuff. It might have been my first introduction to classical music.

#6 - Wassily Kandinsky. Abstract artist. My introduction to him was in a humanities class in college, and later in art classes. I learned to really appreciate his paintings.

#5 - Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, AKA Natalie Wood. Actress, from Miracle on 34th Street to West Side Story. I never knew she was Russian, until I did a little research. She was born in the US, but her parents were immigrants. I used to be quite fascinated by her.

#4 - Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. I was always intrigued by her story, as dramatized by several Hollywood productions. The one I saw first was a mini-series, Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, starring Amy Irving. They finally disproved her supposed survival of her family's assassination in 2008. So disappointing. I always wanted the story to be true.

#3 - Sergei Prokofiev. Another classical composer. When I was very young I had this record of Peter and the Wolf. I listened to it all the time. Very good memories associated with that music.

#2 - Anton Chekhov. Writer and father of the modern short story. I wish I could read in Russian, and not just translations. He was also quite nice looking as a young man.

And finally, #1 - Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina, of t.A.T.u. I know, after all of that culture, I choose two little pop music stars as my number one. I just love the music. Even in Russian.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I have this friend that sends me text messages sometimes. She's this friend. She’s still making an effort, and I’m not sure why. Sometimes, when I get such messages, I want to respond with something like, “Leave me alone! Don’t you realize you’re teasing me? I really like you. I really want you to like me back, but I know you can’t give me the kind of time I want, so I don’t want to invest and be frustrated. It’s way too hard to be casual with you and pretend you’re not a big deal, because I would like it if you were. Or at least part of me does.”

Before she left town to spend Christmas with her family, she sent me a text asking what my plans were for the holiday. After some back and forth, I asked her what she asked Santa Claus for. She answered, “More time with my friend Alex.” Such a tease! What do I do with her? She says all the right things and does none of them. She is a conundrum.