Dance Me to the End of Love

Tonight, Barclays Center sports arena is packed almost to limit of its seating capacity. 19,000 people came to hear Leonard Cohen. It is strange to see all these people quietly waiting for a performance to start. Barclays feels more like Lincoln Center than a sports arena.

cohen 1

The overhead lights dim and only cell phone screens glimmer in the darkness below me. The scene lights up in bordello red and blue and the band arrives. Seventy-eight-year old Leonard Cohen sprightly scampers across the scene, like a winner of the octogenarian Olympic Games. He starts the performance with ‘Dance me to the End of Love’. As his voice fills the stage, I am left to ponder on why I like him so much.

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Meet the Subway People

This is a stream of accidental images and encounters describing the people I see in the New York City subway. I will keep updating it.

Comments are welcome. Stories are even more welcome. Add them as comments and I’ll append them to the main file.

A 300 pound guy and a 100 pound girl are holding each other hands.
And gazing at each other tenderly. Good luck guys.

A plastic butterfly rides the black girl’s sunglasses.
Like Benigni in Night on Earth, driving a cab at night.
Nice boobs though.

Fashionable holes on fashionable jeans.
Mosquitoes’ favorite.

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Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Birthday


What does a woman want for her birthday? Flowers? Jewelry? Shoes? Dinner in a nice restaurant? An intellectual girl may like an interesting book. A musically inclined one would prefer a ticket to Metropolitan Opera. In spring, a romantically inclined girlfriend would want a trip to Paris.

But, what does a woman do if she has already tried all of this boring stuff and she is searching for something new and exotic, unique and different?

If the woman in question is Yvonne, she will ask her boyfriend (i.e. your humble servant) to accompany her to a four hour workshop on…


Honestly, I had no desire whatsoever to go there. My interest in mice = my interest in taxidermy = 0. My interest in mice wearing human-like costumes approaches absolute zero.

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Outdoor Clothing for Pregnant Men

I bought a gore-tex jacket from Patagonia online. It came in. I tried it. I shuddered. I wrote an email to Patagonia customer service. With pictures. Here it comes:

Dear all,

Recently I bought a Patagonia gore-tex jacket on the internet (M’s rain shadow 84470 LMA M). Over the years, I’ve worn a lot of Patagonia clothing and I’ve been quite happy. So, I didn’t expect any problems. The package came in, I tore the plastic apart impatiently, happily pulled the jacket out and inspected it. The jacket was quite good. The material was fine, pockets were nice, all the zippers were there, etc… Then I put the jacket on. And, I was in for quite a surprise. The jacket could comfortably clothe approximately 1.5 of me.

Hmm, I thought, maybe I got a wrong size. I looked at the jacket label and it said in plain English Men’s M. As in medium.  

Hmm, I said again, maybe I am not a medium size person anymore. Maybe, I suddenly lost lots of weight and shrank. I measured my weight and height – 160 pounds and 5’10”.

patagonia 1

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A Princess, a Pea, and a Sleeping Pad

Below is my letter exchange concerning the leaking sleeping pad from the Cascade Designs. I cc’d my letter to my girlfriend, Yvonne, hence her reply.

From: Boris Itin
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2012 2:38 PM
To: consumer@cascadedesigns.comCc: Yvonne Lin
Subject: RE: Cascade Designs Warranty/Repair Order Received

Dear Fellows,

With a great regret I have to inform you that the repairs by Cascade Designs worked exactly for 1 days. By the second day, my sleeping pad was flat again as we camped in Sierra Nevada. It slowly leaked as I was asleep. Somehow, without waking up, I kept crawling on top of my climbing partner – she was softer and warmer than the ground. To specify: she is not my sexual partner, in fact, she is my buddy’s girlfriend. My climbing partner expressed her unhappiness about the situation in a number of technical four letter terms.

So, for the rest of the week, I ended up spreading climbing rope and backpack under my 40F summer sleeping bag.

I am not by any means a princess, my climbing gear is not a pea and the flat sleeping pad is not twenty mattresses.

Still I remembered the corresponding folk tale by Hans Christian Anderson called “A princess and a pea” quite a few times on my last trip.

Oh, well, nothing lasts forever. I guess it’s the time to look for another sleeping pad.

Boris Itin


On Girls

It’s Sunday noon. It drizzled yesterday morning, then the temperature dropped. The thousand foot long ice patches on Stratton mountain ski trails glisten harshly and brightly in the sun.

I am watching my ski students with pride. By the end of the second day, the kids are smoothly sliding down a black diamond slope with “I-don’t-give-a-crap” attitude. The conditions, challenging even for Vermont, don’t bother them. The kids have learned how to handle ice; they love the speed.

They are siblings – a 12 year old girl and a 14 year old boy. Their dad trained them well on multi-day kayaking trips in Canada and Alaska. They are motivated, determined and easy to coach.

The kids live together, read the same books, go to the same school, solve the same math and physics problems (they are Russian), skate, ride horses and beat their friends in tae kwon do sessions.

They are so different; they could belong to separate species.

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