Aerial View of Сhernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Just what your Monday needs!

Abandoned cities, which were humming with life in the past, enchant with their specific romance and the mesmerizing power of time! Welcome the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone from a bird’s eye view! Watch the spectacle of an urban apocalypse and the nature revival accompanied by dramatic ambient music and the soft patter of rain. The cities of Chernobyl and Pripyat look lost in the woods and get more and more absorbed by nature, which is rapidly dominating the hand-made creations that have fallen out of use. The overcast weather and stunning scarlet sunset give the scenic drone footage a special flavor.

Building A Vostok Wristwatch

Fascinating and informative.

This is a fascinating and informative demonstration of Vostok Komandirskie watches, from how the wristwatches are built, the basics of mechanical timekeeping, to the specific aspects of Vostok wristwatches. Includes a tour and of the Vostok facility and step-by-step explanation of how the wristwatches work and are built. The segment was produced by Russian television. This is an exceptionally well made segment on Vostok in specific, Russian watches in general and the macro of all watch functions. Covers the Komanderskie and Amphibia models. Also gives great demonstrations on how reliable and sturdy the Vostok watch is.

Another Fucking Watch

This time I fell for the Vostok Amphibia, a ridiculously affordable Russian diver. Watch the video for a little history – it’s fascinating stuff. There seem to be hundreds of styles to choose from on this site. Here’s mine.

Oh! For you trivia-obsessed bastards, this is the watch that Steve Zissou’s crew wore in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, only it was this dial …

And There’s A Podcast

Two episodes in to HBO’s new miniseries and I’m hooked. Thanks for the recommendation, Droog!

The attention to detail is amazing, all the way down to the slightly fucked up font used in the credits. There’s a great interview with writer/producer Craig Mazin on Vice regarding his motivation to get it right.

Chernobyl accomplishes this, in part, by adhering as closely as it can to historical fact. Every major character save one—a nuclear physicist played by Emily Watson—has a real-life counterpart, from the scientist in charge of cleanup efforts (Valery Legasov, played by Jared Harris), to the wife of a firefighter at the scene of the explosion (Lyudmilla Ignatenko, played by Jessie Buckley). The clothing Chernobyl’s characters wear, the cars they drive, the cigarettes they smoke, the glassware they drink from, the wallpaper in their homes—all of it is staggeringly accurate, a product of more than two and a half years of research.

So anyway, podcast. It provides additional information for each episode in the five-part series, so watch an episode and then give the podcast a listen.

Get Out Your Geiger Counters

Chernobyl started this week on HBO. I’ve always been fascinated by this disaster, and the abandonment of Pripyat. The first episode was fantastic, I thought. Who’s watching with me?

Little Shafts Of Light

A bastard classic! From Letters of Note

At the height of World War II on April 6th, 1943, the British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, wrote a letter to Foreign Office minister Lord Reginald Pembroke in an effort to simply brighten up his day–a letter which has since become a classic piece of correspondence for reasons that will soon become obvious. The letter is indeed hilarious, and proof, if it were needed, that name­-based punnery and mild xenophobia did a roaring trade long before the Internet was fired up.

In this photo, Kerr is fourth from left in the pinstripe suit.