In the USSR, there was developed a table for observation testing
, named as the "Entertaining Table". You should find numbers from 1 to 90 in this table sequentially. If you complete this test in:
- 5-10 minutes, then you have an exceptional observation;
- 10-15 minutes - good
- 15-20 minutes - the average
- 20-25 min - satisfactory to poor.
Don't cheat yourself :) Check this picture to complete the test:
I've completed it in about 10 minutes.
December always appears a month with no big jobs involved or serious tasks completed. Christmas tremor and preparations for the New Year do not suppose anything else than that. Since I dislike the New Year celebrations, and rather do not perform the rich shopping (I also dislike big nervous crowds located here and there in the city), I've spent this time in quite relaxing mood, without supposing to expect from this month a lot, as usually.
I'm getting old. In December, there appears to be my birth date; I prefer to call it a birth "date", not a birth "day", because there is just one birth "day" in everyone's life. If we think deeper, there is no "birth day" at all, birth itself lasts for a few seconds and so it's just a moment of life, which is the only one and never repeats. Further celebrations mean "anniversary" of the birth date, but most of people celebrate them as a "birth day", which is a bit wrong and more calendar-related than to be true.
I personally dislike celebrations of my BD. Celebrating a birth date means making a notch on the road to nowhere. If we take life as the distance from the birth 'till death having a starting and the ending point, I'm more in 'memento mori' mood and each year watching how the slide is moving closely to the final point and honestly sometimes I'm not that happy about it at all... As I know, I'm not alone in such a perception.
As a gift for myself was that I finally sold my old-USSR-times garage, which I've got as part of a heritage. There is a truly bad situation on the Latvian property market; this garage was for sale for about a year, and by this time, I've lowered the price twice. The final price was EUR 1,300, the sum which I spent in about a month just for regular living. I'm wondering where in EU would be possible the same? In the bigger states, you could not even by a garden house for such amount, not speaking about bricks-based garage. Can I divide by zero in your country?
I've also helped with the deal's documents to the purchasing side, for this I've got something to buy something for a little celebration:
If you'd like to buy the cheap property in Latvia, you may pay attention to the former military USSR "ghost" town located under the former secret city, Skrunda - all because the December's auction for this town still not completed. Yes, you could buy some of Latvian cities during the auction. I believe, there should be done more of investments than profits; but anyway, this all could be bought for a very low price, like the new "Maserati" or even lower.
I'd like to mention, that about 80% properties in Latvia are about that type of buildings. Including the property where I'm currently residing. I'm not sure if Lettish government will ever go further than locating its people in more newer appartments. Most likely this is what Latvian people deserved for their lifes.
However, you could also invest into expensive properties in Latvia. Prices may start from about 1 mln. euro up to 5-6 mln. Below are just a few examples of what you could buy.
The mansion in Baltezers, 850,000 EUR:
The 3-floor house in Jurmala, 1,500,000 EUR:
The house in Pumpuri, 1,900,000 EUR:
The ville in Babite, 2,900,000 EUR:
I'm still not sure why would you need to own all this in Latvia, if you have such a lot of legal money...
While the builders had all the best intentions, what the user wants is a whole different story:
I'm wondering how many attempts these guys made, before achieving the final cut:
First I've thought I'm seeing quite a big and detailed pictures, but they are truly surrealistic art paintings, created by Zaria Forman. Her drawings are unique, because they are thoroughly created by... fingers. Places of inspiration include Antarctica, Maldives, Israel, Hawaii, Greenland and a few of other meaningful countries.
In opposite, you might think these pictures are drawnings, but they are photographic works by Carl Warner. He uses a lot of human food to bring something similar to the places all over the world. Discover fried and mashed potatoes, parsley, bread, chocolates, cucumbers, cauliflower and so on:
In August, I've described the story about the initial sign of Riga introducing the border of the city. This month, the story finally continued: after lots of claims from the "crystal clear" Lettish intelligence voices, the Riga council decided to bring back the original "lengthening" line above the "i" letter.
Speaking in advance, on January 11th 2015, a young 26-years old boy driving BMW, lost his control and crashed into this concrete sign - unfortunately, he was died. Bad sign!
BTW, did you know, that in 2014, Riga was the European Capital of Culture? And most of the EU judges agreed, the city played one of its best roles in this status. I couldn't remember any of notable cultural events happened in 2014, because they obviously passed me away; also, I'm not sure Riga is one of the best cities regarding spending Christmas events and buying NY gifts, regarding to the UK's Post Office. But definitely, most of prices are much lower here than in Britain, and you could catch some very special views, especially in the Old Riga:
or the Lido food center:
or even if you travel in the deep past:
At the very beginning of this year, I've mentioned it started with a unique optical phenomenon, called Halo. The end of the year surprisingly brought the similar heaven effects, which let me think this all was not a coincidence. Such experience has been watched through all of Latvia:
Besides of it, heaven were playing other kind of wicked games this month:
The state in some places, even experienced the Northern Lights!
On December 22th 2014, in the age of 70, the legendary voice has gone, belonging to Joe Cocker. During his career, he was rather performing great covers, and having only small amount of his very personal tracks. However noone could imagine the world of pop-music without his notable rusty voice. R.I.P., the Great Spasmodic Man.
The world in music: the most popular music video on YouTube in 2014 belongs to Katy Perry - Dark Horse. It gained more than 700,000,000 views in 2014 and I'm sure it will get doubled in the next year. I suppose it's all because of the great footage and millions of colors used in this "short documentary". As about the idea, it stricly reminded me "Remember The Time" of Michael Jackson, which is more than 20 years old by now, but which appears more soulful for me even by that time... and less counted on YouTube, of course.
The most popular video on YouTube is considered the "Spider-Dog" prank I already mentioned in August.
The top-2014 picture in Instagram - 2,5 mln likes and the most popular picture in Instagram of all times so far:
Hmm... the question is... WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
What is Instagram? Who was voting for this???
I hate so much the weddings ceremony, btw. For me, it's the most boring event which could ever happen. How could people being so naive rating such pictures?.. OMG, this world is going to its end!!!
Most of 2014 couldn't be skipped from the news about Ukraine. Many events were forgotten immediately, some in a few weeks. The right thing about it in the end of the year was, that the president of Ukraine, Mr.Poroshenko, in about 7 months for the first time reported about the peaceful situation, when no troopers were shot in the South-East part of Ukraine. This happened with the tough help of OSCE. Not sure if it would be the start for the bloody events calming down; but I suppose, not. Ukraine appears the most hot spot in Europe by now, and there will be possibly a lot of discussions, what do to with this giant part of the territory with more than 45 mln. inhabitants... the crisis just began there.
In February, the most exciting event were Olympic Games, and one of the remembered moments was an "unopened ring". Only in December, the director of the 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, Konstantin Ernst, explained the mass-media why it was happened so.
When we started to plan the ceremony, we strictly decided there will be no expected balalaikas, matryoshkas and bears
, but what we wanted to achieve, is an extreme hi-tech - the most unexpected thing from us. So, the ceremony included lots of very difficult tricks. In result, everyone was very tired, and I was not sleeping for about five days before the ceremony. And it seems, the specialists who were responsible for the rings, were tied as well and in the night, they dropped one of the rings, but knowing I'm too tired, they didn't tell me about it.
So, the story was about just being tired... This reminded me the short movie called "A Curious Conjunction of Coincidences" by the Netherlands director TJoost Reijmers.
Whatever was done because of insomnia coincidences, goes for good! :)
Regarding movies, in general, 2014 was rich of them. For me, the most notable was the public release for "The Wolf of Wall Street", which also became the most downloaded Torrents movie in 2014, following the "Variety" magazine ratings. I already mentioned "The Grand Budapest Hotel", which is #1 in the "Time" magazine best movie ratings for 2014, and I also mentioned, IMO, one of the best comedies of the year, named "A Million Ways to Die in the West", which is placed into the #2 position of the worst movies regarding the "Time" ratings. Also, it should be worth to mention the "Interview" movie, a truly dumb and unrealistic "comedy" about US journalists and Kim Jong-un; because of it, the releasing Sony company first even experienced an attack of hackers, who have stolen lots of insider's information, but all in all, Sony still released it to wide screens...
Despite of it all, I think, the most important movies in any December are about those ones the family watches during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. In post-USSR countries, which also include Latvia (by that time), the most watched movie during December 31th, is "The Irony Of Fate". However, I am so tired of it for about 30 years or even more, that I rather don't plug-in the TV during the celebrations.
In this country, TV programme for the NY celebrations usually include naphthalene pop-singers and nothing funny to watch. A good tradition for me is to prepare the list of the good and funny movies for the New Years' night, and watch them all night long. Also, as usually, I prefer to make kind of journey through the world withot leaving my sofa, that's why my choice usually includes movies filmed in all over the Earth. Here's one of the lists of movies I've prepared for 2014 watching; since I'm posting when the 2015 is already began, I'll review shortly each of them. The list is posted in a preferred sequence; funny but a bit sad movies first.
- Honig im Kopf (2014) - this one is about love and the optimism, which should be always kept, even one of the family members experiences Alzheimer disease or some other heavy illness, while the family itself is going to split. Since I've went through the similar events this year, the movie seemed very intimate and personal to me. The famous German director Til Schweiger achieved a unique effect of laughing, tears and fears; his daughter, Emma Schweiger, makes a perfect teenager appearance, and Dieter Hallervorden is outstanding. The movie was filmed in Germany, Italy and UK.
- The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (2013) - this story is about a 10-years boy, which lives in a family on a ranch in Montana, where each of the members has its own passion, and doesn't truly care about each own, until something extraordinary happens... T.S. has a secret and his own tragedy, but he tries to suppress it with his talents. With no doubts, it's an odd movie, filmed with a big attention to details, and if it wouldn't be directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, I'd say it belongs to Wes Anderson. But still, it's filmed mostly in Canada and besides the great story line behind, provides perfect views of this country.
- The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) - this movie actually teached me how "Michelin" is properly pronounced. Filmed mostly in France, it is about both French and Indian cuisine, and it's great to start the New Year celebration at the family chummage. The plot is actually the summary of the "Slumdog Millionaire" and "A Year in Provence" book by Peter Mayle, combined with elements of "Ratatouille"; a story about passion, love, and perspective of things. Yet another proof of the great Helen Mirren acting - hard to be British while playing a French!..
- Paddington (2014) - when visiting London, you definitely should stop at the Paddington Station and make a selfie. Just because this place is a start for this adventurous movie, which combines the elements of astonishing animation and live footage. In opposite to the depraved "Ted", "Paddington" is more for family viewing, and yet having lots of fun. Also, great London, and the other places in United Kingdom filmed for this picture, bring a special feeling of being teddy and reddy. Some scenes may be already considered as an instant classic!
- Bad Weddings (Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?) (2014) - this is a spectacular and very modern French comedy, which possibly could be named "a French comedy movie of the year". It has a different English translation; the original could be translated as "Why God Is So Angry With Us?"; I suppose, it's hard to be translated to various languages, because then it could have a very different meaning in each of them. The title is actually the phrase taken from the movie itself, which sometimes plays on the edge of being "ehtnically incorrect" or "non-tolerant"; but in result, it achieves the goal to show that Love has no borders, states and race differences. A very optimistic film to re-install the visions, and Christian Clavier is on top of his best!
I'm not truly sure, if the history begins its next spiral in 2015, but I'm definitely sure this year ends with the last page from the Jamie's 2014 Calendar:
In German, its motto means "December with a lot of rain is mild for blessed sowing" - well, definitely, it is more something about the middle-Europe climate. In our region, there's another saying, "December will ask what you have stored in the summer", meaning almost noone would work actively in December on lands... Again, there's something different from Riga, which looks in December like this:
But finally... there are coming big fireworks outside in the yard, and there's a time to take a piece from the fresh potato cheesecake with vegetables, like this:
This is the final month of the new hopes, new plans, and new events. Here, on miniBB forums, my blogging ends this month as well. It was a good time to experiment with myself as a writer; now it seems the right time to get onto more profitable, professional works, and possibly something else from scratch.
Welcome to 2015!
(a greeting card from the Road Traffic Safety Directorate of Latvia - I suppose, you never should drive like this, in any year! :)