Saturday Night Music: Schumann

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt today asks what we do on Saturday nights. Usually, most Saturday nights you will find me listening to music, either studying, reading, or writing. (Often, I do all three, though not all at once.)

Tonight I’m listening to the first movement of the Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor.

(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded video.)

Sometimes, I read Russian poetry on Saturday nights, though I haven’t done that in a while, now that I think about it.

The Blogs I Read

Faithful reader and commenter Anya (Anya, thanks for leaving me so many fabulous comments over the life of this blog!) asked me quite a while ago:

Don’t know what to suggest at this point, but I am really curious as to what you have on your reader!

I had asked readers for suggestions of blogs to read and promised to write about the blogs I read, but then I forgot. I just revamped my blogroll and remembered that I never wrote about the blogs I read.

If you want to know what blogs I follow in my RSS reader, look no further than my blogroll. They’re an eclectic collection of language learning (like Language Surfer), writing (like The Creative Penn and Nail Your Novel), Russia-related stuff (Russian Military Reform is very, very good), and random personal blogs (like Vicki Boykis’ eponymous blog).

Then there are the news sites. I am a huge admirer of Foreign Policy magazine (note: I currently have a free subscription, but that does not influence my opinion at all, as I’ve been reading it long before I was subscriber). The Economist is always interesting to read, especially since it provides an non-American point of view.

Then, I have the non-English websites. Those are mainly in Russian (though I read some in Ukrainian and Belarusian, too). I must point out how much I love Forbes Russia, a truly excellent publication.

I am always looking to expand my reading list, so suggestions are welcome! I especially want to start reading more about the oil and gas industry, so if there are any essential publications on that I ought to be reading, please let me know.

Internet Forums

Aren’t internet forums the greatest thing ever? I can’t even describe how much satisfaction I’ve derived from reading them. There are so many of them that no matter what your interests are, you can find at least one forum that caters to what you like.

I’ve read forums on grad school, language learning, classical music and violin playing, and other topics I’m probably forgetting.

(And yes, I realize that the plural of forum technically is fora, but forums has become the preferred plural in common English usage.)

Russia Amasses Troops on Ukrainian Border

I know this has been going on for a little while now, but this photo, found at this Economist article, is genuinely frightening.

That's a lot of fighter planes.

That’s a lot of fighter planes.

The article goes on to say that:

According to satellite pictures and military intelligence, some 50,000 Russian troops are massed along the border with Ukraine. The forces represent a substantial fraction of Russia’s 270,000-strong army, and they cannot indefinitely maintain the high state of readiness they have been in since early March, not least because it is now the time of year when conscripts at the end of their term have to be sent home, and new ones trained.

I’m not sure if Putin will engage in an outright invasion of Ukraine because he really doesn’t have to. Let’s face it, Russia de facto controls a very large part of eastern Ukraine, not just Crimea. (It controls Crimea both de facto and de jure.)

Then again, Putin has been showing an alarming sense of bad judgment recently. So maybe he will invade Ukraine and we will have a world war to look forward to.

I hate to leave you on such an ominous note, so let me just point out the moral of the post: using copious amounts of Latin almost always makes you look smarter.

Reading Recommendations

Readers, I need your help. I’ve found a field I want to learn more about: political economy. However, I don’t know where to even begin reading on this subject. That’s where you come in: if you’ve read something interesting—preferably a proper book or textbook—on political economy, help a sister out and leave a comment on this post so I can start learning.

Grad School Longings: GSPIA’s MPIA Degree

Wow, that’s a lot of acronyms in this blog post’s title. Allow me to explain my latest obsession. I haven’t even graduated from grad school yet and I’m already lusting over other programs. The object of my current obsession is from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh (GSPIA). It’s called MPIA: Master of Public & International Affairs.

It looks like such a fun degree. (As a random aside, I’ve had my eye on University of Pittsburgh ever since they hosted then-president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev back in 2009.) There are three tracks and I’d choose the international political economy track (though the security and intelligence track also looks great). The university also offers area studies certificates, so I’d obviously earn the Russian studies one.

The best thing about this degree is it could happen. I need a few years’ work experience anyway, so it’s not like I’m going to rush out and apply tomorrow. I have a lot of time to think about it.

And don’t worry, parents, I’ll be paying for this degree myself. Better yet, GSPIA may offer me a scholarship and a stipend (the internet says it’s happened before).

Told You So

Since about 2008 or so, I have predicted that Russia would one day retake Ukraine.

Never by any stretch of the imagination did I imagine it would happen so soon, or so quickly.