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Sounding Lines

I do not speak Russian, but I figure I would do well to sort out the alphabet so at least when someone tells me to go to a certain Metro station, I can read the signs showing me how to get there.

So I wiki’d the Russian alphabet.  I find the Russian alphabet to be a little like the Russian winter: intimidating.  I am pretty sure that about half way through the alphabet was where I dropped out of first semester college Russian.  Looking over the wikipedia chart, I felt like Salieri, thinking “there are too many sounds!”

A sampling of Russian alphabet

A small sample of characters in the Russian alphabet

There are symbols that don’t have their own sounds, they just tell you how to pronounce other letters around them.  Also, the handwritten letters are aggravatingly different from the printed letters, and inconveniently look like but don’t sound like letters in the Roman alphabet.  I’m sure English presents the same typographical challenges for a new reader, but I am in a hurry here and I want things to go easy.  Instead, even this superficial investigation has my lines all tangled in knots.

A much more gratifying exercise came in the form of Pavel Lysenkov’s bilingual twitter feed about hockey.  There are so many letters for the “sh” or “ch” sounds and variants thereof that I do not have the patience to sort it out, but using player names makes the exercise more palatable.  For example: the dread name “Ковальчук” = Kovalchuk,  and “Малкин”= Malkin, or “Овечкина”= Ovechkin.  Easy peasy.  What Sharks fan would not recognize the name “Набоков?”

I think I reserved a ticket for the CSKA-SKA game on the 27th, but I am not sure.  Using the ticket ordering site linked from the venue site, I proceeded to fill in the online form using google translate to guide me.  I assumed (always dangerous) that nothing would happen so long as I didn’t type in a credit card or payment number.  I was wrong.  Apparently the site only reserves the seat for you.  Then you have 48 hours to go pay for it and pick it up at a designated location in Moscow.

Unfortunately, I did this on Friday night so my deadline will be blown to smithereens by the time I can ask Dimitry for help.  It wouldn’t bug me, but if I understood the seating chart correctly, there were not all that many seats left unreserved.  My little fishing expedition has gone awry: my hook is caught on something that I cannot reach, and I am not ready to cut the line in case I actually want what’s on the other end.

Sigh.  I must have faith.  Also, that game was not on my “absolutely must see” list.

One of the above-mentioned bilingual tweets said that, in a charity game of some kind, Evgeni Malkin did not wear a helmet.  The explanation was that he had a white one but he was on the red team, and the red helmets were uncomfortable.  Hasn’t anyone heard of spray paint?  The fumes could not possibly do as much damage as having your brains bashed in!  I tweeted that this was madness, and Pavel suggested I tell it to Malkin.  I joked that I did not have his phone number.  It was a joke, sort of.  I think if I did have his phone number, I feel strongly enough about the subject that I might very well have called and told him so.

As long as I am over-estimating the value of my opinion, I’ll mention my distress that Owen Nolan doesn’t have a team to play with yet.  He can easily be accused of ignoring the rule about a bird in the hand, as he decided not to re-sign with the Minnesota Wild.  He apparently hoped to find a spot with the Sharks.  Considering the generally tepid response most players have to coming west, and in particular to San Jose, it is hard to fathom how the team could not fit him in.  On the other hand, even I know that the Sharks really really really need help in defense, and do not need another winger right now.  Couldn’t Nolan have come to the same conclusion?  Still it makes me feel really really sad, though I knew little or nothing about him before this bump in his professional path.  Dangle a story of someone being unlucky and out of sorts and I’m hooked.

It’s sort of like I don’t really care what Malkin does, I am just upset he would be so cavalier about the safety of his brain.  If he doesn’t have the sense to wear a helmet in a hockey game, he might not have much sense to spare and should be extra careful with what he has.

From Daveart.com

With helmets on the brain, I am reminded that Dan Ellis tweeted he has yet another new mask on the way, which he hinted has something to do with a fish man.   My guess is Aqua Man  or Poseidon, the latter being more consistent with his latest mask, featuring Zeus and Thor, but the former being consistent with recent comic book character revivals, and also the unaccountable popularity of that HBO show about the actors and agents.

I believe I have plumbed the insignificant depths today’s thoughts.  Surely Monday will see something noteworthy cast ashore, like a photo of Nabby’s new mask.  It’s probably out there for all to see, but I’m too tangled up in the Russian alphabet to go find it.

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