31 May 2005

Movie recommendations?

Does anyone have any recommendations for Russian movies? I'd like to watch a Russian movie that I may be able to understand a little bit of the dialog. Plus, if it's not too terribly boring, that would be an extra bonus.


25 May 2005

The inevitable has occurred

My Rosetta Stone software has gotten a scratch on the CD! You can't use the software without having the CD in the CD-ROM drive, so this is a problem. When I initially started using this software, I realized that I could scratch the CD and then be totally out of business. Therefore, I made a backup CD. Thank goodness!
So I pulled out my trusty backup CD this evening. I was back on track with lesson 1-5-6 when suddenly the audio and video started acting up. The audio kept repeating "vent" for each photo. The photos were solid blue squares.
I took a look at the next lesson and it seems to be fine. Maybe there is a little problem with lesson 1-5-6, but the rest will be OK.

But, about the content of this lesson... it was all about fire, burning things and hot weather. It was a very strange collection of sentences. Perhaps my computer didn't like it, so it sabotaged my lesson.


24 May 2005

Taxi driver, please take me to Red Square

Evidently, I don't really need to yearn for knowing how to say,"Taxi driver, please take me to Red Square," because monkeymittens says that's where you'll get robbed by hookers. Perhaps I should stick to inviting my colleagues to my hotel room for wine.


23 May 2005

Pimsleur is PG-13

In the last Pimsleur lesson, I learned how to wine and dine my colleague's spouse. In this lesson I have learned how to invite my colleague into MY HOTEL ROOM. Is it normal in Russia to invite your colleague to your hotel room? If so, I do not really want to go there.

Here is a typical Pimsleur conversation these days:
Pimsleur: Hello. Would you like to eat at a restaurant?
Me: No, thank you. I would like something to drink.
Pimsleur: Would you like some beer?
Me: No, thank you, but I would like some wine.
Pimsleur: Very well. Where is your husband?
Me: He is not here.
Pimsleur: What time would you like to go to the restaurant?
Me: I would not like to go to the restaurant.
Pimsleur: Are you going to the Hotel Intourist?
Me: Certainly.
Pimsleur: I would like to go to the Hotel Intourist on Tverskaya Street.
(scene change)

A knock at the door is heard.

Me: Please come in.
Pimsleur: Where is your husband?
Me: My husband is not here. Where is your wife?
Pimsleur: My wife is not here. Would you like some wine?
What is up with that? We haven't learned how to say, "Taxi driver, please take me to Red Square," but we have learned how to hit on people at the Intourist hotel. GRRRRRRREAT.


18 May 2005

Vocabulary building

Today's Rosetta Stone lesson, 1-5-5, was a vocabulary building lesson. I learned lots of new verbs today:
поднимается по ступенькам
Also, there were a few new nouns:
my favourite new noun of the day:
and a noun that is new to Rosetta Stone, but I already learned in Pimsleur:
two verbs for review:

It was a good lesson, despite my attention deficit. I am working through my current slump and I can sense that I am on the cusp of feeling truly motivated again.


16 May 2005

Lessons on cassette

Despite my recent, small achievement, I have not been doing my Pimsleur lesson. Why? Because the remainder of the lessons for Level 1 are on cassette. I do not have easy access to a cassette player. I have "12 days" worth of cassette lessons before I can return to the luxury of CD lessons, but I can't get into the cassette groove.


11 May 2005

I did it!! I DID IT!!

After my business dinner this evening, the driver picked up me and my colleague to take us back to the hotel.
While we were riding back, talking about our "action items," I heard the driver speaking on his cellphone. His words sounded Russian, although I couldn't understand them. Then, I heard him say the word, "слушаете ." I know this word from my Pimsleur lessons! It was the only word that I understood, but it was enough to alert me to the fact that

I have found one: a native speaker! The holy grail!

So, thank goodness, I had had a little bit to drink. Therefore, I had the courage to say,"Вы говорите по-русски?" I can't tell you how nervous I was. I sat there, hoping that, oh god, don't let me have just insulted this man... what if I incorrectly heard Russian coming from his mouth? What if it was Belarussian or something?

He turned around and looked at me... and smiled. He responded something like, yes I do.

We had reached the end of our destination at that point. He told me the fare was $30, so I clumsily took $40 out of my handbag and gave it to him, saying "Сорок долоров." He gave me a receipt and returned $5 to me. I told him no, but he pushed the $5 bill at me and asked me to keep it. I didn't know what to do, so I just took it back. Honestly, it is late and I feel a bit guilty that he had to pick us up so late.

Then he asked me, in English, if I spoke Russian. So I said, "немного" just as Pimsleur taught me. He smiled again.

I am so excited! I got to speak Russian in a real live situation and the other person understood me, at least a little! It's my first time! He was so much more friendly and forgiving than I had expected. I feel like I have made a big accomplishment; albeit a small conversation, I have officially spoken my Pimsleur phrases and been understood.

We'll need a driver again on Thursday to get to the airport. It will be early in the morning on Thursday, so I will have to start drinking quite early in order to have the courage to try another Russian conversation.


08 May 2005


Hello, my dear 300,000 regular readers. My postings will be sparse this week because I am in Seattle on business.
I arrived this evening and had previously arranged for Town Car Service (it's what people seem to do in Seattle instead of taxis). I had requested to have my "regular" driver, the Eastern European gentleman who usually drives me around when I am in Seattle; I call him Vladimir. I have been learning all sorts of taxi vocabulary so that I could talk to him in Russian, in case that he speaks Russian. He sounds like he has a Russian accent when he is speaking English, but of course, it could be Ukrainian or any number of other Eastern European language.... I was hoping that he spoke Russian so that I could practice my Russian with a real person for the first time. I haven't had the courage to use my Russian skills before and I have been building up to this, my Town Car driver conversation.

It turns out that he wasn't driving tonight. DOH! It was some guy from a Middle Eastern country. Oh well.

I need a driver tomorrow evening, so maybe Vladimir will pick me up then....


Postcards from Minsk: View of the city and of the Traetskaye Pradmescie

Від на горад і Траецкае прадмесце


03 May 2005

My new favorite Russian word...

I like the way it rolls off my tongue.

Funny discovery

In my Pimsleur lesson today, I learned that the Russian word for husband sounds like the French word for housefly. I like it!


02 May 2005

Trends in Pimsleur

I am trying to decide whether or not I am seeing a trend with my Pimsleur lessons. It seems like the lessons get progressively harder until I reach a lesson that I have to repeat several times because it is so difficult. Then, the next lesson is really simple. Initially I thought that maybe I was having good days and bad days, but now I am not so sure because it seems to be a trend.

Today's lesson was very simple. I think that I learned 3 new vocabulary words. It seemed like most of the lesson was a review. But yesterday's lesson had a lot of new vocabulary and much less review.

I think it's a trend. Regardless of what it is, this Pimsleur method really works.