in case you doubted, here’s proof i’m crazy

date: 1117950598

mood: i can fly
listening to:hackers – stumble you might fall, moby – life me up

do you wanna hear something crazy?

something so outlandish that you would be sitting in stunned horror for days?

probably not, as it will be a waste of time, so i will not tell you anything that would force you to be so damn unproductive. procrastination is my prerogative!

however, i will entertain you with a story of what i did today.

i jumped.

out of an airplane.

which was just fine.

in one word, i went SKY DIVING!!

INDEED. i may be all soft and cuddly outside (and the long bath sure helps that – yay for pampering and being girly and having pink toenails! does anyone want to buy me revlon nail polish Twinkled Pink? cause i’m all up for more pink shades! i have sheer innocence (HA its number 13 in the hues!) which is awwwwesome), but i’m a hard gazing crazy dare devil inside.

way deep inside.

so deep that i didn’t even know until for some unknown reason i figured that i want to try skydiving. and instead of going tandem (strapped to another person, who happens to be a fully trained, certified, prepared instructor) and getting 60 seconds of free fall, i opted for the “serious” option of doing a 4 hour course on static line jumps.

what is static line and are you sure its not related to electricity? you might ask me.

and then you might not ask such strange questions.

but we both know you’re strange, so i’ll explain.

static line means that you’re a n00b who’s jumping off the airplane and instead of having to pull anything you just “arch” in order to practice handling yourself in the air (and other small things, like JUMPING OUT OF AN AIRPLANE AT 3000 FEET!), and the parachute is opened automatically by a static line. there is no free fall time (actually there are 5 seconds before the chute opens and its just the … well, we’ll get to feelings a bit later), but you jump away and land on your own.

upon arriving at the deathly hour of 9am (involved waking up at 6:30am , but then stalker woke up at 5:30, so i’m not the one to complain) to the “base”, i spent about an hour doing absolutely nothing except becoming more tense with some of my classmates. “just get it started already!” we said. as someone who didn’t jump before, there is a slight feeling of doubt regarding your own sanity. i kept questioning myself of “so, i’m going to jump OUT of an airplane IN flight today? am i crazy or what? and if i am crazy, that means all the people around me are faaar crazier, so let me get out of here!”. actually, its the reverse. when the class gets started, or when you talk to other people at the drop zone, you steadily get this feeling of sky diving being yet another sport – one that involves risk, but not more than say scuba diving, where you’re likely to meet some far more unpleasant personalities than the trainers at the course (which i must say were the opposite of unpleasant).

4 hours of class, lunch break, lots of training and stuff we had to memorize. there are short lists for everything, and its all very easy to remember and very difficult to do under the stress.

adrenaline hasn’t really worn off yet.

before we get started,

it was absolutely incredible

.

right after lunch, i met my instructor in flight, paul, who told me to drop all my personal stuff at the car (like a watch about which i completely forgot! it’d pretty suck to lose it somewhere up there. yay for great instructors!), and get into my jump suit. as you can see on the left, i looked quite smashing! what i’m DOING on the left is practicing the ARCH position – legs spread, arms open, hips forward for maximum stability in the air. this is the position you have to hold for 5 seconds after jumping out and its quite important to hold it properly as it gives you a simple, nice, “calm” (its difficult to call anything *BEFORE* the chute opening calm) chute opening. the backpack contains the parachute, which is prepacked for me by very smart, good, nice, safe people who do this kind of thing exceedingly well. it also contains a reserve chute, which i now know how to open properly and what exactly happens when it opens. also, a ground-to-air radio, which allows a “radio guy” talk to you from the ground and help you find the way to safe landing and the drop zone. there’s also a “rubber ducky”, a floatation device which is required cause there is a swamp in the vicinity.

throughout the series of buildings that are at the base, there are these wooden constructions which are demonstrated on the left. they imitate (fairly well, with one small exception) the exit of the cessna airplane off which we were jumping. i’m demonstrating fairly well a fairly poor stance for exit.

you know that small exception i just mentioned about the “exit imitators” up there? its the fact that no one comes even close to describing the wind. they say “be aggressive”, “plant your foot” and you trust them (literally) with your life. however, that tiny, tiny airplane up there (and this is on the longer end of my lens! should be said here, all photographs are courtesy stalker!) is apparently surrounded by A LOT OF MOVING AIR. yes, i know it looks calm.

its not.

its scary.

its the scariest moment in the entire thing.

the flight up was interesting. i was humming “hackers – stumble you might fall”, and looking out the window, and feeling, well, smashing! simple lovely and fantastic, dahling, true!
upon thinking its my time to exit i put my hand on the door as we were taught and the door smashed on my hand.

OUCH!

pilot opened the door and i checked to see if i have my hand whole. i did and still do! nothing broken, just a really bad hit.
except in that point i wasn’t aware of that, i just knew it both hurt like a b…book. and at the same time my brain was entirely unconcerned with the pain in my hand. when the instructor asked if i’m feeling alright to go, my reply was “a little hurt finger isn’t going to stop me from jumping out of an airplane”.

up until the moment door opened for me, i didn’t feel really scared. i mean, i felt anxious to the maximum degree, maybe panicked a bit, maybe a bit worried, nervous.

but the moment that door opens, and you feel so tiny and so. high. up., and so… alone. i don’t mean in the “aww no one cares about me way”. that’s b/s compared to this feeling of being a speck of sand and earth so huge underneath you. the phrase “gravity always wins” comes to mind… only later. at that moment, nothing comes to mind except oh shit..

indeed, after the initial shock of seeing the earth, i aggressively thrust my left food forward (as you could see by one of the above photographs, that’s how its done), and equally aggressively the wind blew it away. on 2nd attempt, i got it. next step is grabbing the rail with your left hand.

i couldn’t do it. the wind was kicking my leg like its a bubble gum wrapper, not a material object composed of muscles and bone and connected to a wholly functional and willing human being. the instructor yelled in my ear “LEFT HAND” (not because he was angry, but because you can’t hear anything but the wind). i almost wanted to go “I KNOW!” but that’s wrong. so after trying to reach for the rail for about 3 times and literally chickening out, i just thought that i HAVE to go for it. i reached out and HELD on. apparently its feasible, as i wasn’t blown away by the wind right away – which is what i was fully expecting.

when i completed the set up the instructor went “GO” which means, that, well, i have to let go. and there is a cloud right next to us. and i freak out and think “I CANT GO INTO A CLOUD”. and he goes “GO!” again. i think i closed my eyes and let go and ARCHED.

arch thousand.

two thousand.


three thousand.

i feel a tug.

i look up.

that’s what i see.

a “mess”.

but its too early.

four thousand.

i keep looking up and arching and looking at the chute unraveling in front of my eyes, feeling the air and the wind and absolutely nothing holding me, and falling, falling, falling but it feels like flying.


five thousand.

the chute has opened.

its there.

there is a simple line twist that i easily kick out of.

i brake twice (pull down corners of the chute in order to fill it with air).


and the chute is perfect.

square.

i breathe.

life didn’t flash in front of my eyes.

but i’m typing this 9 hours later and it makes me shake to realize that i’ve been up there.

upon this point the radio instructor that i have mentioned chimes in. “great job number 2! do a 180 right please. now flare flare flare for me! excellent, you’re doing great, your chute [is doing great] (i can’t for life of me remember the exact wording). keep your heading.”


time both flies and stays still.

i calmed down right away. i was there, and i made it perfectly, with no bumps on the airplane wing (everyone said its impossible but i kept feeling otherwise), with a fairly well done jump (i mean, i arched! what more could they possibly want?), in the air, just me and earth.

if i could describe that feeling in words, you wouldn’t need to try that at least once.

a few [units of time which i cannot describe] later, paul, the instructor passed me by with this expert chute (faster, smaller, l33t in normal language). i yelled WOOOOHOOO because that’s what i could do, and kept on flying.


as you get closer to the ground, world turns from a surreal thing which just annihilates you with joy and awe and amazement at life, to a fairly physical object that you will pretty soon have to deal with, preferably in a way that causes you no injuries.

thankfully, for n00bs like me, there is the radio! thumper, an excellent guy who made me feel at ease without even being able to hear my replies, guided me closer to the landing field. the trees begin to take on shapes, the fields begin to lose theirs, textures become bushes, and Xs become airplanes. you don’t see ants, but tiny people.

in other words, reality softly returns to your senses.


upon approach to the drop zone (i.e. where you, well, drop), you need to brake 6-10 feet above the ground, and which point, theoretically you should land on your feet. a lot of first timers didn’t – one girl did a little turn over as she pulled a bit late. some people got dragged on their butts.

i can understand why.

the ground, in someone’s immortal words, “was coming up hard and fast”.

radio called me to flare.

i did. and a few seconds later i felt the ground softly greet me – same as jumping off a chair. out of the sheer surprise of meeting the ground (i looked up, but too high up to see the ground),

i took a step forward.

and i didn’t fall.

i jumped out at 3000 feet, and landed on my feet.

i won something within me, and it makes me happy. it wasn’t easy, which makes it better. and i did it on my own. which makes it perfect.

its important to try new things

date: 1118520976

mood: sore
listening to:yahel & eyal barkhan – voyage (sunstacia remix), Zombie Nation-Whoa Oh Oh Oh

  • feeling sore: apparently despite being able to jump from 3000 feet and land on my feet, i can’t walk down my own street without tripping and falling flat on my face. i fell yesterday, tripped somehow, and fell flying forward, scraping my knees, taking a really bad hit on both of them, and hitting my hands really hard. for all of yhesterday it hurt to walk, go up and down stairs, and even sit with legs bent.
  • feeling sore, but good: i’m on my 2nd week of doing morning runs with shady – not daily, but almost daily (4-5 times a week). my endurance is noticeably up, and yesterday i even noticed improvement in my figure. its a pleasant thing to see and feel results! now i just gotta keep this up, which is easy as even this morning, despite the scrapped knees i was able to do a run with her.
  • trying new things: tonight, i’m going to a club to listen to infectedm ushrooms and christopher lawrence. i’ve never been to anything of that sort, neither in scale or style of music. its planned to go 1am-until wee hours of the morning. curiouser and curiouser! the last time i went out so late was in maastricht (aah, that was fun), but i get a definite feeling that going out here and there is a bit different.
  • omggiddy: LA is in less than a week! wednesday i’m getting a pedicure (woohoo), and i should also pack. some friends from high school invited me to go to a bbq on tuesday, but i think i won’t be able to carry that out. need to rest up plenty as thursday is going to be insane: 9-5 work, then subway to airport, then flight and arrive to LA at 10pm west coast time == 1am EST, and i’m usually deep asleep by that point. so, plenty of rest.
  • more pampering: i’m going to buy myself this perfume i wanted for the past year.

    do you set goals? do you have a goal for this summer? mine is to write an excellent linguistics paper and do a great presentation, do morning runs with shady, and make a newer, better portfolio.
    what are yours?

  • olya goes infected

    date: 1118639494

    mood: sore, doubleplushappy
    listening to:infected mushrooms – cities of the future

    warning, this entry might be a little buzzed, as, well, i’m a little buzzed. yay for kindzamaruli and cold moscato wine in the hot summer evenings!

    last night i went to the first concert that was entirely kick ass awesome.

    infected mushroom definitely know how to throw a party!

    it was crazy good. we left uptown around 12 and got downtown just in time to park in a nice, free spot and jet to the short line up for the guest list and run inside. the guy who was dj-ing before infected was tolerable but not exactly very dancing material. good to listen to though.

    drinks were expensive. i got 2 bottles of water over the span of the night, for 4 bucks a pop. insanity! but at the moment when i was buying water 4 dollars for a bottle seemed like a bargain, as it was steaming hot there.

    people ranged from all types, faces and clothing styles – goth to raver. the biggest prominence was given to israeli fans, who carried a huge israeli flag and danced their heads and legs off in front of the stage. our group stuck essentially next to the stage the whole night, and the dj was kickassingly excellently leading the crowd.

    the songs had a lot of build up and a lot of explosions of drums and piano and voice and electric guitar (which was live, right there!) which just made you feel like you’re flying, with the crowd. the number of moments when the crowd would just explode at the wave of the guy’s hand cannot be counted – his connection with the crowd was mindblowingly good, quite in tune and knowing how to build up enough to make you want jump and yell and dance when the release finally came in forms of drums that you could feel revibrating throughout your whole being.

    we left around 5am, dropped off most people and then had some early morning, predawn tea and snacks, and then went off home to go sleep.

    we’ll see how i can handle waking up at 6am tomorrow given how i fell asleep by 6am yesterday!

    and then l.a., where i’ll have to shift my schedule again by 12 hours.

    FUNcrazygood.

    also, didn’t buy perfume today as the store didn’t have it.
    maybe i’ll gather the guts to order a good laptop sleeve tomorrow.
    my current good&expensive choices:
    $68.00
    40/50$
    what do you guys (who apparently buy only things of the best quality ;p) think?

    I never look back, darling. It distracts from the

    date: 1118812807

    mood: exauhsted
    listening to:the sound of my huge external fan cooling the computer! it finally doesn’t crash.

    today, i present a visual guide to my life.

    i saw

    yesterday.

    it was

    and then i finished watching

    this morning.

    i loved loved loved loved

    and was fascinated with the way

    moved.

    during lunch, i bought

    along other small pleasantries. i’m addicted to the smell. apparently it goes like this: “Fresh, crushed raspberry leaves, this innocent bouquet of freesia, jasmine, apple blossom, lily-of-the-valley and wild cyclamen rests on a medley of summer melons, drenched with cool morning dew. It is further enhanced by a final abundance of velvety amber and precious woods, entwined with transparent musk.” but i think the smell is just really really light, flowery and awesome and yeah. and the transparent plastic thingie outside is ridiculous. i thought i’m supposed to take it off! and the thing itself is for blondes. on the cover of the box it has a small sticker-booklet that has a stop sign with the words “stop and read” in it. what’s inside the booklet? 3 pictures warning of dangers of perfume. but no words. so, nothing to read.

    and then i emailed the owner of a canadian branch that sells laptop accessories and began the ordering process for:

    Edna: You need a new suit, that much is certain.
    Bob: A new suit? Well, where the heck am I gonna get a new suit?
    Edna: You can’t! It’s impossible! I’m far too busy, so ask me now before I again become sane.
    Bob: Wait? you want to make me a suit?
    Edna: You push too hard, darling! But I accept!

    and tomorrow i’m getting a and packing my

    back in good ol TO

    date: 1119340244

    mood: all mixed up – happy, missing, speely, excited, missing
    listening to:iggy pop – never met a girl like you before

    this is the place where i've been all sundayLA was kick ass.
    fully detailed entry coming up tomorrow.
    i’ll let you all know whats happening, but to summarize: the summit was kick ass, the people were freaking awesome, and the credit to making this THE best vacation trip i’ve ever taken goes fully and wholeheartedly to tim. i couldn’t imagine a better weekend.

    i have some cute photographs from the trip. nothing mindblowing, but its somewhat enjoyable. and a long blog entry on my laptop who is at 2% charge and with the charger being left in LA.

    but its coming. it allll is

    but right now i’m too tired to reply to messages and emails soooo just bear with me when i say i’ll be back tomorrow night in fuller swing.

    this song is freaking good. i heard it at the summit. yummy.

    is it bad to feel happy?

    date: 1119508583

    mood: falling asleep on my feet
    listening to:the principles of lust

    all my problems boil down to me feeling guilty when i feel happy. like… if you’re happy, that means you’re not working, which is worng.

    i just need sleep.


    toronto, yesterday ~6pm

    mood swings

    date: 1119568531

    mood: time * %moodcoefficient
    listening to:me gustas tu


    same old place, shiny new camera (err, d70, not shiny and new but its a reshoot)

    i’m sure my dad is very happy with his very legal downloads blazing fast, while i’m suffering at 1.6K/s here. arrrrgh.

    that last one, negative space is like a flower.

    i found affinity for swiss chocolate. WTF? since when do i enjoy candy? thankfully i’ll be eating sushi today to attempt and stop that bad habit.

    i’ve been angry, worried, concerned, relaxed, sleepy, curious, impatient, disappointed, expectant, relieved and happy today. how’s that for 12 hours of awakeness?

    damnit, why fun has to be so exauhsting

    date: 1119842157

    mood: doing good does more good
    listening to:garbage – push it

    so, yeah, saturday day was spent in linguistics (2pm – 10pm). saturday night to my surprise (and we’re talking 11pm here) i went out – oleg and i jumped downtown to check out the toronto jazz festival. this 14 year old kid, jommy bowskill was playing – and it was so awesome we ended up staying until 2am without realizing it. damnit!

    why damnit? cause next morning i managed to oversleep an 10am wake up call for skydiving. which was supposed to be a quick hop to barry, skip and jump out of an airplane, but instead turned into a 4 hour wait until 6pm to actually get to an airplane. the jump was fantastic, but i ended up getting home by 9.

    my room is a freaking mess, its dusty, i wanted to vacuum. my parents are renovating the basement and its junk everywhere and a lot of it gets dropped off in my room as “stuff that you gotta deal with”, and i would if i only had the time. we’re moving my bed downstairs so i gotta figure out what to replace it with. i have about 3 hours of linguistics to do before tomorrow, cause tomorrow i’m meeting christina and the prof. and then i have to figure out certain important school/travel documents, which also has to be done tomorrow.

    there is paul who i haven’t emailed to in forever and not because i don’t want to.

    there is my cousin in voronezh who sent me a hearttouching email 3 weeks ago that i still didn’t reply to.

    there is my half cousin in moscow that keeps sending me cute, adorable, friendly messages over deviantart.

    there is my cousin here in canada who asked me to post some news on devart for him.

    there is richard and diny from devart who sent me awesome emails and to whom i should really get back.

    there is the issue of me not even getting to call about ordering the laptop sleeve.

    there steve, the graphical designer for whom i sometimes freelance that is waiting on a ~3 week email as well.

    there are at least 3 4×6 people that are looking for information from me about the summit.

    i promised paul and diny their birthday cards. they’re lying my table, half complete.

    there are posters around my room which need to be hung up. have i really spent all that time at the airport for naught?

    on that note, some of you still want me to post how my trip went. my laptop is at 3%, charger is in LA, i keep forgetting to charge it with my mom’s (i have to keep running upstairs to steal it, so its not in front of my eyes), so getting the information from laptop to here is a pause.

    there are photographs from the summit, from today’s skydiving that i should post.

    there is the organizer at lacus, waiting on a payment for my residence there – in US check and no other method (“Payment must be in the form of a check or money order, drawn in US dollars, payable to “Dartmouth College”. You cannot pay cash. You cannot pay by credit card. You cannot use PayPal. You cannot use gold bullion or offer up your first-born child in payment. Shame on you for even thinking of that last possibility.”) – meaning i need to make a dedicated trip to the bank about that. and on that note, gotta call the bank and open an internet managing account.

    as afore mentioned but still reasonably seperate note, i need to be spending all of my waking time writing a certain linguistics paper/presentation which is creeping up.

    and there’s 9-5 work, at which i can’t fall asleep, and which has seriously kicked up lately, making me busy the whole day.

    so, yeah.

    i’m having fun, but damnit, this weekend was anything but relaxing, and unless you happen to have the last name of smith, its probably a wise idea to not bug me, unless i bug you.

    update
    mmm okay. i’ve been pleasantly bugged, so now i’m going to either fall asleep or try working, still not sure.

    skydiving was awesome.

    …and once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. — Leonardo de Vinci

    At 13.000 feet nothing else matters. (Bumper Sticker) – okay i went at 4, 000 – it still is like that

    Life sucks, and then you fly. — Bill Purdin

    Plain and simple, skydiving is all about controlled terror, and I love it.
    — Lewis B. Sanborn

    i went at 4k feet, did a perfect (i think) jump. landed on my feet. it was incredibly scary going into it, knowing how it will be. wind was eaiser to beat this time… and i bumped my head (with helmet) on the airplane wing/door, not sure which. i saw the airplane fall away from me. i saw the faces of those whowere watching me fall away. i saw my chute open (very quickly). kicked out line twists. found drop zone easily. it was smoooooooth.

    just 3 more days till the weekend

    date: 1120023838

    mood: i want another 8 hours in the day just for sleep
    listening to:

    	M	T	W	R	F
    9					
    10					NMC329H
    11					NMC329H
    12		HPS306H		HPS306H	
    13	PHL285H		PHL285H		
    14	PHL285H		PHL285H		
    15				SLA314H	
    16	FAH290H			SLA314H	
    17	FAH290H				
    18		RLG375H		PSY370H	
    19		RLG375H		PSY370H	
    20				PSY370H	
    21					
    				
    

    i can’t wait till the weekend is here. i want a clean room and energy.
    no linguistics tomorrow. yay!

    RLG375H1 F Buddhist Thought L5101 Tuesday 6-8 26Lectures
    An introduction to philosophical thought in the Buddhist traditions of India and Tibet.
    reallyreallyREALLY want but apparently requires permission if i’m missing 3 RLG courses – which of course i am. damn. calling tomorrow

    PSY370H1 F Thinking & Reasoning L5101 P R6-9 J. Vervaeke
    definitely taking – prof awesome and required for degree

    NMC329H1 F Dead Sea Scrolls L0101 F10-12
    An examination of the political context in which these scrolls were produced and preserved.; different theories of who produced
    these texts, e.g., Sadduccees, Zadokite Priests or Essenes; the way the scrolls use earlier biblical traditions. No
    Hebrew/Aramaic required; students with background in these languages will have opportunities to use them.
    Possibly to brush up on hebrew, and sounds cool

    SLA314H1 F Dostoevsky L0101 R3-5
    Got really good rating. 90%+ retake, excellent prof, and, well, interesting.

    also neat but don’t make schedule as nice (i.e. 2 days off – mon and wed)
    PHL285H1 F Aesthetics L0101 MW1:30-3 39L
    An historical and systematic introduction to the main questions in the philosophy of art and beauty from Plato to the present.
    These include the relation between art and beauty, the nature of aesthetic experience, definitions and theories of art, the
    criteria of excellence in the arts, and the function of art criticism.

    FAH290H1 F Asian Art L0101 P M4-6
    Major themes of eastern art drawn from the rich legacy of Ancient Near Eastern, Islamic, Indian, Chinese and Japanese
    civilizations from prehistory to the recent past. Emphasis on appreciation within cultural context; museum visits.

    HIS295H1 F African History L5101 W6- 8

    NEW303H1 F The Unconscious L0101 M4-7 A. Yeoman
    Current discussions of the hypothesis, especially Jung’s collective unconscious; critical examination through retrospective
    analysis of the evolution and development of the concept in works from philosophy, psychology, poetry, ethnology, science and
    popular culture that anticipated, influenced or were influenced by the work of Freud and Jung, post-Freudians and post-
    Jungians.

    HPS306H1 F Technology & War L0101 TR12 B. Hall
    An examination of the tools of war in the Western world from the Middle Ages to World War II, including not only weapons but
    science and technology.

    i need to pick 4-5 of these by tomorrow morning and psy370 must go there

    i still gotta get approval for RLG375. grrrr. its so awesome. i want. grrr.