The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts tagged “st petersburg

Living in a City I Once Backpacked Through, or Plants and Animals

Posted on January 14, 2013

The frame of mind needed for backpacking isn’t calibrated to place, but to time. When you’re not sleeping, you’re going, somewhere, anywhere that will have you. Consequently, the eyes of a backpacker are never quite the same as those people who carry purses or briefcases, people I enjoy calling Plants – rooted, sedentary people (these are not inherent lifelong traits, but rather a state of being. I’m a Plant right now in Washington DC, for example). Consequently, you see the world differently as a backpacker, as an Animal whose vision is so sporadic and fast-changing, constantly adjusting and focusing on ephemeral stimuli, that everywhere you go becomes one large and beautiful blur. It’s difficult to get the full picture when you’re on a steady,…


Posted on December 20, 2012


Mikhail toasts to my health, my happiness, our times together and those to come, just as Gemma the Wiener Dog bursts in through the door wearing a pair of my black lacy underwear on her head.

One adventure must end for another to begin. More on this later, more on Peter and Russia later, as I have vodka to drink and tears to shed.


Posted on December 10, 2012

“Have a good time. Don’t communicate or stand next to boys.” * * * When I decline tea: “Americans. So uncivilized.” * * * After failing to answer a simple addition problem: “I’m a philosopher, not a mathematician! Let’s drink.” * * * Mikhail: “What did you do last night?” Me: “I went clubbing with a few friends.” Mikhail: “What’s clubbing?” Me: “Dancing.” Mikhail: “Oh! What did you dance? Tango? Foxtrot? Waltz?” Me: “. . .” * * * Mikhail: “Do you want seconds?” Me: “No, thank you.” Mikhail: “I’m going to call your mother!!” * * * While I’m eating, Mikhail is on the phone with Larisa (his wife): “Larisa asks how is the food.” Me: “Delicious!” Mikhail to Larisa (smiling deviously): “She…

The Robot Reviews: Peter’s Mid-Range Dives

Posted on November 26, 2012

You may be wondering: “Why should I trust this stupid blog for dining recommendations? Or even a robot? Robots don’t have taste buds!!” I’ll tell you why. Because good food (and seeking out new food) is a priority in my life. And although the titles “food critic” and “food expert” are both self-proclaimed, just know that they’re well-deserved even though I’ve yet to receive any public or private recognition. Generally speaking, the restaurant scene in St. Petersburg reflects the city itself: quirky, atmosphere-oriented, catering to niche trends rather than subgroups or any urban notion of gastronomical diversity. The following six places are only a few of the restaurants I’ve sampled, but I’ve deemed them either favorites or most note-worthy. If you’re in Peter give…

Upcoming Adventures

Posted on October 31, 2012

Much to my surprise, it is very cold here. It’s a face-burning kind of cold. When I remove my glove to change my music, the wind stings my fingers and it feels like my blood is freezing. Then I put the glove on and I feel the ice-crystal blood fill my extremities once again. And then my hand swells with heat. The winter curse of a music lover. But I appreciate all of these things because it means I’m in Russia and snow is falling and winter is coming and it’s cold, but so what? How terrible it would be to not have any discomfort, no? The night and the snow shut the city up. Everything gets quiet, apart from the soothing sound of…

Photo Essay: City Peeping

Posted on October 28, 2012

City peeping¬†(v): to be in a city while observing curious subjects from curious angles. St. Petersburg, you should know, is a very peepable city. Not people-peepable, though, which explains the lack of people portraits. It’s a problem I’m actively working to fix. Petersburg is peepable in a different way. People peeping at the Peter and Paul Fortress!! There are these nuts who go swimming in the Neva in sub-zero temperatures. And then they sat in the sun and dried off, despite the fact that it was freezing with wind-chill and my cheeks were getting that tingling-numb sensation. Nuts, I say!! Window peeping!! A modest view from my bedroom. Landmark peeping!! So, like, there’s this church here. Not many people have heard of it. Car…