Monday, March 31, 2014

First quarter of 2014. Summary.

The last day of March closes the first quarter of the year and the third quarter of the first year of this blog, so it's a perfect time to discuss the results and plans. The first thing I would like to announce is that I am making this blog a periodical. Posts will be published weekly every Monday, highlighting the events of the previous week, and that is why this blog is called "Events". It is possible that posts will be published more often if I have chance, but every single Monday they will be published without fail.

I would like to conclude with my another publication on the urgent topic:

Have you ever mused upon the question which age can be the best for having children? Even if you think that this topic is not very important nowadays, when we have a lot of other social, economic and politic problems, I want to assume you that it is, and in this essay I will explain why. There is a big controversy: some people believe that parents should be young while others disagree by claiming that never should a person think about kids before he is settled and economically independent. Since the topic affects future generations, nothing can be more important. Let’s take a closer look on this problem.
I personally think that young people should have children as soon as possible especially in our times, and have some strong reasons for that. According to a 2003 National Vital Statistics Report, the average age at which women in the United States have their first child is 25.2 years old, which is historically high and can lead us to terrible, and somewhat irretrievable repercussion. Those who disagree, claim that youth have no experience in raising children, no money and more likely to separate in future. Let me try to explain why are they wrong and what are the terrible aftermaths which can lead from having a child at a later age.
There was an article in The Wall Street Journal from March 31, 2014 with a disappointing heading in big letters: “The Long (Long) Wait to Be A Grandparent”. My attention was enchained by a picture with a sad elderly couple sitting at the huge clock like at a round table. The man was holding a couple of small boots for baby in his hand, and a woman, almost crying, was hugging him. Its author, Ann Tergesen, writes about the unrepeatable connection between grandparents and grandchildren, which now is becoming slighter and slighter. She mentions a lot of documented benefits which a child receives having a grandparent. Financial support, highest quality of recreational time and nurture, engaging communication and educating a good behavior in a child are among them. But with age people lose this opportunity. Older grandparents are no longer able to spend time with their grandchildren, to teach them basics of life while parents are at work. More and more preference is given to nursery homes which makes child a boring, one-sided person. This two-page newspaper article ilustrates the situation in a wonderful way, providing a lot of sad interviews with to-be grandparents which stay with their “to-be” status for a decade or even more, and a lot of disappointing  graphs and statistics.
But that is not the main problem. In Babytalk’s article by Patty Onderko with additional reportings by Abigail Cuffey and Reena Vadehra, “Immature Brats versus Old Hags: What Is The Best Age To Have A Baby?”, it is stated that one of dozen babies in United states is born to such a “hag” from the age group of 35 or older. It is clearly seen that children with older parents become anti-socialized people with no proper attitude to life. Childhood, with spending the majority of time in nursery homes and parents who are always at work play its role. What is much worse, there are no spiritual connection between older parents and their children. While young moms and dads are still children themselves and always glad to share a minute with their child to play, older ones are statistically orientated to judge.
Another story by Laura Flynn Mccarthy, “Pregnancy at 20, 30, 40” illustrates the problem from the medical point of view. Here the author describes the experience of pregnancy and child-bearing at different age categories. I recommend this story because it describes in detail all the disadvantages of having a baby at an older age and, above it, all the risks that a child take. The chance of miscarriage and stillbirth doubles at the age of 35 and quarters at the age of 40. Much more miserably do symptoms like chromosomal abnormalities, Down syndrome or other problems sound. And in our everyday life it can be clearly seen: parents with defective children became a usual part of landscape. A father in his fifties with a seven-or-so-year-old son in a wheelchair with malformed body, a Balzac age mother, walking outside with her daughter, who seems normal until she starts barking like a dog. People try to find answers in strong electromagnetic radiation, in terrible ecology of the city and many other things. In their problems people always try to blame something or somebody but themselves.

It can be concluded that with a new millennium of technologies which brought thousands of new opportunities to people, new problems also popped up. In my personal opinion, people should learn that being self-observed is a great mistake. People, especially women but men too, pay more and more attention on such things as education, work and career, in one word, on themselves and who they are. In recent times new words, such as feminism, civil rights, or equality became trendy. But a few people notice that those words are firstly connected with selfishness. Statistics which I gave above show that the majority do not understand that children are our (and their) future. Technology can give men and women an opportunity to become parents at older age, but technology can’t open their eyes on truth.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunrise, Blue Flowers, Shop Cat and a couple Mansions

Hooray! Release your stress and put on a funnier face, the winter is almost over! Well, I mean the real winter, not the official one. But that's even better! Despite the fact that a couple more cold days are about to come (if you will be naive enough to believe a weather broadcast (not me!), it thinks that today and tomorrow it will be cold in Boston  this disgusting part of the year is almost over, just like its first quarter, which was, frankly, not as bright and cheerful for me, so I am glad to death that the spring is finally coming to us. It visited us a couple times this month and now it is about to stay. So I'm recommending you to laugh and jump and scream in pleasure.
Okay guys, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have written that. I know, and I can't skip the part that Boston is currently mourning the two firemen who passed away valiantly giving their lives for serving their city and its people. I will have a special post about them, from April second to fourth depending on when all this crape madness will end or at least decrease. But anyways, those two died for us to live, and if you are not from those who can't speak about anything else, dropping fake tears from time to time, I am recommending you to enjoy, no matter what, just enjoy.
For example, watch something very beautiful, just like a sight from my bedroom window at six o'clock in the morning. When my alarm rang and, I sluggishly dropped my hand on it, I turned my face in the opposite direction from it to let Orpheus hug me again, and saw this:
It was Thursday morning and six hours before I had my Algebra exam. I especially love sunrises and this time of the day, its very beginning. Some people are sleepies, but I am an early bird and I love to wake up with the Sun and greet it.
When rushing to the exam, I glimpsed in a yard of a many-floor house. Long, dark corridor, with only a couple weak lamps, where the sound of each of my step echoed resoundingly, leaded me to a well with a square of a sky somewhere above. It was much worse then famous Saint Petersburg's stone bags. I'll try not to complain about the sight from my window anymore. Here is my window, by the way:
Talking about the exam, it was queerly easy for me, I wonder what the results will be. Also, an hour before it I was passing by Boson Public Garden and took another shot of this landscape, as you can see, my new favorite, now with spring background:
On Friday I was at Prudential center and saw a new hydrangea garden there. How beautiful it is! In Boston it is a popular flower for both indoor and outdoor keeping, but here in  Prudential I saw it for the first time a week ago.
Take a closer look. The color is magic, isn't it? Blue hydrangea is my favorite flower. I think a gardener who works there, together with florist and designer did a great job.

This cute creature was watching me from the window of the shop in front of Young Men Christian Association on Huntington avenue. Hopefully the kitty reassures people from buying soda.

This evening I happened to be in West Roxbury and also made several photos for my sketch.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sweetly frozen

What if I were to open an ice-cream parlor? Frankly speaking, this question caught me at unawares: that is probably a thing I would never think of. Some years ago, however, I came up with an idea of opening my own veterinarian clinic. I still have this dream, but I never thought about it seriously, in detail. This exercise is a good practical. I tried to explain what I would be going to do thoroughly, but at the same point keep the article as brief as possible.
So, I am opening an ice-cream parlor. Let us think that I got all the official resolutions and state permissions and attended some training and counseling services for beginners, we’ll miss this part. At this point, first of all I have to do is to choose a location of my future business site. This is probably the most difficult thing to do since even a tiny mistake can lead to bankruptcy. Let’s take a closer look at the problem: the place should be located at a very common area or at least where it’s not far from common areas (if I will make a good advertisement of my shop at a common area announcing that it’s right here, in a two steps behind the corner, people will come). However, all the places of common attraction are usually in the center of the city and their lease and, moreover, purchase, costs a lot. The only alternative is a transport hub. People, whether workers or students, usually spend most of their day in the city and live in the suburbs; all of them take transport to commute, the most popular of which are subway and buses. In Boston, the five most popular transport hubs, not counting the ones in Downtown, are located on the following subway stations: Malden center, Forest hills, Dudley square, Ashmont and Mattapah. From the listed above I would choose Ashmont, because it is the most distanced from the center, which lowers the prices a lot; but at the same time one of the busiest. What is more, the bus stopping is located not at the same place with subway lobby, but in several meters from it, so to change from subway to bus or vice versa, people should walk for a couple minutes from one place to another. There is also a peabody square, which is very convenient for a small shop-parlor, and the most important thing is that now there are no alternate ice-cream shops around, so I will benefit from the number of customers for sure.
The next stop will be taking a loan. Whether it’s a government backed loan, venture capital or grants, there is a lot of work to do. At the first row I will have to evaluate how much money exactly I need and explain to whoever I will take them from what am I going to spend them for. Let’s see:
  • For long-time business keeping it makes sense to buy a place, not to rent one. To do that, I will need up to $150000, which is a common price for that location for unprofitable time to start a business, so in regular time it would cost less and those money will definitely be enough. It’s important to note that in such a situation I won’t buy the property immediately at the moment of deciding to to so. It is always wise to wait until the business and its revenues have time to grow. Fees and taxes play a big role too.
  • The first thing to do is to make a renovation of the place. On average it costs about $20000 for workers employment, paint, floor, ceiling, central heating and other smaller spendings. It is important here to make a good design. The parlor should have colorful, sweet, dolly interior so the visitor will feel himself inside a gingerbread house.
  • Then I’ll have to buy an equipment. The cost, $13600, breaks down as following:
    • Two big refrigirating showcases for demonstrating types of ice-cream available, each for $1000
    • Two lamps and four sconces for $300 for all
    • Ice-cream making machine for $3000
    • Coffee machine for $1000
    • Five dining tables for $400 each
    • Ten tablecloths for $30 each 
    • Fifteen chairs for $60 each
    • Cash register for $200
    • Cashier’s table for $200
    • Two signboards for winter and summer, $600 each (summer announcing fresh ice-cream and the name of the parlor, “Sweetly Frozen” and winter one with more accent on coffee)
    • Air conditioner for $1000
    • Plus $500 for delivery of the supplies
    • Promotional spendings for printing brochures and advertisement in a newspaper - $1000
Any prices, of course, cannot be counted to a single penny accuracy. I looked up how much in average the equipment can cost, and indicated the expected prices for each purchase to find out which amount of money it would be wise to ask for. Hence, it is normal to ask for $150000 + $20000 + $13600 = $183600 for a startup.
Employment and hours of operation are the things which are much easier to decide. It makes sense to be opened during rush hours, which are from Monday to Friday eight to half past ten in the morning and half past five to eight in the evening, so my shop will remain opened five days a week for 12 hours, from 8 to 8. I will have to hire six persons: three will work for six hours in the morning from eight o’clock to two - one cashier, one cleaner and one cook, and three for six hours in the evening, from two o’clock to eight. To hire (and, possibly, fire at the first time) I will need my own common sense. To those who will make a good first impression on me (which is also an important skill for working with customers), I will give a chance. The satisfaction of the customers with the service will play a big role. Each worker should wear a badge with his or her name, so the customer will have an opportunity to leave a review, whether positive or negative, about the particular worker. Based on such a “rating” and, of course, checking the register every day and double-counting money in it, I will make my final decision about an employee. The salary for each will be approximately $10 per hour which will be less at the beginning and more during promotion and experience (depending on the efficiency of sales).
At this point another problem pops up: how soon will I start benefiting from my business? The monthly spendings can be counted as following:
- electricity bills - $700 (average for ice-cream shops - for refrigerators and light)
  • employee salary - $7920 (10 dollars an hour multiplied by six hours a day multiplied by 22 working days per month multiplied by six employees)
  • plastic cups, tea spoons, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, sugar, milk - $400
  • ice-cream itself - $500 (but its price, same as sales, depends on the time of year)
  • income tax (missed but should also be calculated)
TOTAL - $9520
Monthly income is even more hard to count, without mentioning annually. During the spring sales can raise dramatically while in the autumn the opposite happens. But in average somebody buys an ice-cream (let it cost $5 for the beginning) every ten minutes (i.e. every two minutes during rush hours and twice an hour all the rest of the time). By claiming that, next data can be calculated:
$5 multiplied by 6 times an hour multiplied by 12 hours multiplied by 30 days turns into $10800 a month multiplied by 12 months turns into $129600 a year. Therefore, every month the parlor will benefit about $10800 - $9520 = $1280, which is $15360 - rough, but realistic data.
The main goal of the business is to make client service better, so the more customer is satisfied, the more recommendations he will spread. With some practical experience it will be clear how to make the price of one ice-cream (which is an important detail) decrease to increase the demand and hence amount of ice-cream purchased by customers. To do that, the actual price of bought and the value of keeping the parlor should be calculated.
That is a basic outline for the beginning. As soon as I will start benefitting, I will make a program for improving the client service. Every visitor will have an opportunity to leave a comment in a book for reviews and suggestions, according to which the improvements will be made. More food will soon be introduced: fresh fruits, drinks, chocolate, yoghurts, toppings, ice-cream truck or anything on what the demand will be. On the other extra money the internet site will be started on which the review section will also be available.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dreamflash, Anime Boston festival, Tea versus Chay, Mint Donut and Secret Photography

Dreamflash 2014
IMPORTANT: It is now known that Moscow's iconic event, popular tourist attraction and the most wonderful day of the Spring will be held this year on Sunday, May 18th at the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. The event will start at 14:30, as scheduled before. Please be aware that a lot of people will also be there and the place will be overcrowded and stuffed with a great concentration of love and joy.
NOTE: It was announced before that 2014's Dreamflash will be held at Maxim Gorkiy's Culture and Recreational Park, however for some reasons the place was recently changed to Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. Due to the fact that this caused some criticism, the place, date and time of the feast can be changed; however from the other sources it was evident that all the necessary arrangements with the local government have already been made by the organizers and is not a subject to change. Thence, it is recommended for you to schedule your third Sunday of May in advance and inform those who are still do not know that the event will take place at a stated time and place, but be au fait that it can be changed, which is not likely but still slightly possible.
For those who hear about the Dreamflash for the first time, here is a brief description of what it is. The Dreamflash, also commonly spelled as :Dreamflash, is a holiday outdoor event in a form of flashmob which is held once a year in Spring in different cities of the World, with the biggest and brightest one in Moscow, which recently became city's iconic and tourist attraction. Dreamflash is the biggest festival of  happy, free and joyful people and is perceived by them as a chance to release and share the excess of positive energy and attitude to life without claiming any slogans or pursuing any goals. Each year since 2006 when it was introduced, this holiday left the unforgettable imprint on those who were fortunate to attend it. Actively promoted and recommended by a lot, it is also good for people who suffer depression or negative attitude to life. The festival is famous for extraordinary costumes and bubble blowers. When attending it, you should wear anything bright and unusual. While choosing the clothes, never let your imagination stop soaring: your pajamas with dogface slippers, hair dyed in pink and green, costumes of different cartoon characters, crown, magic spell and golden shining nimbus over your head will be a great idea. Another distinctive feature of the participants are bubble blowers: while the costume is appreciated but optional, bubble blowers is a thing you must have. Please be aware to purchase them in advance: in the day they are usually too demanded to be easily got.
Anime Boston Festival
This weekend the largest anime festival in New England took place in its capital. All the main events were held in Hynes Convention Center. Here are some words on how it looked like.
Actually I started seeing the dressed-up a couple days before, around Wednesday. Those people in extraordinary costumes first appeared in Prudential center and then began crowding it. In general everything looked similar to Dreamflash, but indoors. I had no idea on what was going on.
A lot of people came, and it's not the word. I like watching people cosplaying somebody, and was about to look it up in the Internet what kind of fest were they having there, but did not due to extreme lack of time. I often go threw Prudential's shop galleries to make my way to Broad street campus shorter.
This event can be confidently called Boston's Dreamflash analogue. The only three disadvantages are - outside weather, which is cold and makes it hard to wear slight costumes; indoor atmosphere, which probably causes participants to be not-so-open-minded as they are on Dreamflash, forming groups and not willing to talk to, a fortiori not hugging each other; and the entrance payment, which varies from $50 to $65.
Yesterday I found out everything about the event from the people who were there. Of course I did not paid such a great price. I'm not sure if I did a right or wrong thing, maybe the price was worth it, but at least I could feel myself among the participants, the majority of which were chilling out in food court and on the first three floors of Sheraton hotel. Some of the costumes were great. Probably any characters you could find in anime and other cartoons were there. Kings and queens, victims and killers, creatures and breathers, fairies and princesses, beautiful and ugly, all came to Prudential center. Here is an example of not really beautiful ones:

But the very best costume I saw there had a person who was cosplaying a lighthouse. Imagine a two meters tall lighthouse which is just walking on its own and not disturbing anybody.
The common impression was great. Even though I did not attended any basic events because of the entrance cost, the organization was great. My highest recommendations. Regardless of the three negative parts of the event, the absence of which could have improved everything on much higher level, my grade is - excellent.
Can I have a cup of tea? Or, chay?
This afternoon I was standing in the line in local Dunkin' Donuts to buy something delicious. Afore me a woman in chador, possibly Arabic, was waiting for her turn. Finally the cashier screamed, "Next!". The woman slightly moved in the cashier's direction and in a shy but certain voice asked: "May I have a cup of chay?" The assistant misunderstood and after several woman's attempts to explain her what a chay was, the situation did not changed. I was in a rush and to speed the process I had to intervene. "She wants a cup of tea." - I clarified.
Here's some logical linguistic. That moment due to lack of time I could not realize everything, but afterwards I asked myself a question, how did I know that "chay" an Arabic woman asked the shop assistant was English "tea"? This is interesting, and since many of us could have probably came up with the same idea being on my place, how are these two words connected?
Feeling a great interest, after several researches I found out that chay, derived from Mandarin Chinese "cha", is Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bangla, Bulgarian, both Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Filipino, Georgian, Greek, Hindi, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Swahili, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese for "tea". In other languages this interesting word sounds similarly to "tea" with various differences which slightly lead us to "chay". How else can the wort travel from one language to another, and how interesting and almost impossible that travel can be? To illustrate, If I'll pronounce a sentence, "I suppose that after the latest events some bigger cataclysm will happen in the World.", do I have a positive or negative attitude about our Planet's future? If you are not phobic of long French words you'll understand what I mean, or do your own research. But if you are, calm down and have a cup of chay with a mint donut, or cataclysm will happen to your brain.
Mint Donut
From the story above you learnt that I visited Dunkin' Donuts today. Now let me tell you what exactly delicious did I purchase there. They recently introduced for our criticism something new. It is - oh wow - a new Oreo Mint Donut! Please feel free to take a closer look with the help of description below.
When I came closer to register and was asked what I was going to buy, I still did not made my choice and asked for a couple more minutes to thing, letting people behind me in the line to move forward. The showcase was not stuffed with bakery, as usual. And the big green donut which, however, was different from other products by its color and size, did not grabbed my attention at once. It was a price tag of the same color announcing a newly introduced product which pushed me to make a decision to buy it and taste. Originally I love mint and anything what contains it. The donut is not an exception. The cost for this particular one was $1.06 including all taxes and things like that - that was the price I paid. For a donut, I would say, not a bad one. It was wrapped carefully in a paper bag (not plastic!) with some napkins providently put inside. After placing myself on a chair at a table nearby, I had a chance to examine what I bought.
Only the upper part tastes as mint. In the inside the donut was hollow (I mean, there was no flavor - only the dough) and some chocolate strew.
All in all, I'm recommending it. Especially donut lovers and local police would love it. My grade - 5 of 5 for price, service, appearance, taste and impression made at first, which did not betrayed the following expectations.
P H O T O - F I N I S H
A new word in secret photography
To capture the moment - this is what a motto and inmost wish of every photographer is. Thanks to Joseph Nicephore Niepse, it is possible since 1826. I am personally super exited from the idea that I can easily catch the moment and not let it disappear in forgotten past, as all the times before. And I think that the majority will agree with me, except for those who still believe that while being photographed their soul is being stolen. However everybody have a completely different attitude about secret photography, which gives birth to many new arguments and disputes. I am taking a positive side.
Let me not start another endless discussion on moral issue of such a topic. I, and personally I suppose that since I am not going to blackmail those who are on the photo, and in the mostly all cases I have absolutely no idea who am I photographing, I am finishing it. I'd rather tell you a couple secrets about the technique of this wonderful opportunity of modern times.
Hiding camera in a bag, putting it in pockets, making its size smaller is great and gives good results, that's out of doubt. But there is one problem - you feel yourself uncomfortable. Any moment somebody from around can notice how strangely you hold your bag, how unusual you turn to a particular object with only one of your sides (obviously, the side where you hid your camera) and so on. But there is such a thing as smartphone. Yes, invented just recently (well, from historical point of view recently) this wonderful thing is a dream of any secret photographer. Frankly speaking, this was a reason number one for me to buy one (after the opportunity to replace an .mp3 player and listen to music while walking somewhere outside and GPS). Its camera gives a great panoramic image with fantastically high definition. To illustrate, imagine yourself walking on the sidewalk. You see a beautiful house and you want to take its picture. If you have a usual camera, you will have to cross the road, because only from its opposite side you'll be able to take a picture of the whole building, not only the front door. But the smartphone expands the boundaries of the possible and lets the imagination soar. Only imagine what can it be when you are photographing something secretly! First of all nobody can tell if you are doing that or just working with your smartphone. And secondly, even if they will know, let them think that you are taking picture of, say, that building I was talking about, while you are really interested in the person who is standing near the next one. So, on the photo the object of your interest will be in the lower angle. But remember that you can always magnify, and the quality of magnified image will outdo your expectations. I'll try to explain what I mean on the example of the image above. The magnification is crazy. While I was photographing a spacious hall with some not very beautiful girls (or guys) wearing costumes of fairytale princesses, who were grabbing all the attention, those two on the sofa were left far aside. Yes, it is exactly the same image from the article about Anime Boston Festival, but cropped and magnified differently.In addition to that, I was holding the smartphone in the direction of the floor, so the exposition was in the upper half of the picture I got, so I bet everybody around were thinking that I was just texting with somebody or doing some stupid staff like that.
The last thing I would like to add is - make several attempts. You don't know which moment will be the best, so you'd better choose it on your own afterwards. The best option here could be filming a video and then choosing a frame from it, but the problem is that it takes a lot of memory of the camera, and one particular frame of the film usually has a lower quality than a photo.
There are a lot of tricks with secret photography, but the basics are easy to understand and use. Experiment. Imagine. Give it a try.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Coming of Spring

In our latitude, winter is the most dreary and long season, during which the nature sleeps expecting for the first warm rays of the Sun. Forests and parks are still; only squirrels run here and there searching for food and sedentary birds please stranger’s ear with their songs beg for some seeds or dry corn. Everything is silent but old trees, which creak bended by severe frosty wind.
March. This special, unforgettable, full of magic and blossom period is one of my favorite months. I love it because during this third month of calendar year nature awakens from its long winter sleep, preparing itself for the following season, full of life and energy. Alike people in big cities, creatures of the old forest become active, cheerful, and it seems a good mood overflows them. Alternatively to November but in reverse, this time of year makes noiseless, morose, covered with white shroud forest into a living space, in which every single organism makes some movement, some sound. More or less, everything around adds life to this spectacular scenery.

How beautiful are places of New Hampshire, Massachusetts or Connecticut this time of year!