The Unsettling Brilliance of Beau is Afraid - The Best Film I've Experienced in a while

Posted on 2023-05-09 by Dmitri Zdorov

beau is afraid

'Beau is Afraid' by Ari Aster (Все страхи Бо), an unexpectedly unique cinematic journey, captivates with its intense portrayal of human psychology and societal issues. The narrative is rife with profound madness, enigmatic dreams, and cryptic allegories. I anticipated a pull-back of the camera to reveal the objective reality, yet that moment never arrived. In this deliberate omission, the film's exquisite beauty unfolds.

Our protagonist navigates a metaphorical jungle teeming with life, a vivid reflection of his internal turmoil, entangled with the echoes of childhood trauma. This isn't just a journey through the wild; it's a deeply personal exploration of his inner psyche, a battlefield where he grapples with haunting memories and painful emotions.

The film boldly depicts the escalating chaos, an epidemic of lunacy and paranoia sweeping across parts of the United States. No matter how nightmarish the scenes appear, the film subtly emphasizes that the onscreen horrors may not be far removed from the chilling realities unfolding in various corners of the country.

It's challenging to categorically recommend 'Beau is Afraid.' It is a film that fascinated me, leaving me in deep awe and admiration. However, it certainly isn't a casual watch for everyone. Its potent themes and intense narrative might not sit well with those unaccustomed to such storytelling. Nonetheless, for those willing to delve into its depths, it promises an enriching cinematic experience unlike any other.

In summary, if you're yearning for a unique film that combines stark realism with psychological exploration, 'Beau is Afraid' could be a compelling choice. It's undoubtedly the best movie I've witnessed this year, leaving an indelible mark on my perception of contemporary cinema.

Death's End - A Breathtaking Finale to a Remarkable Trilogy

Posted on 2023-03-20 by Dmitri Zdorov

The Three-Body Problem Trilogy

Liu Cixin's Three-Body Problem Trilogy has been a transformative contribution to contemporary science fiction. Its final book, "Death's End", stands out as my personal favorite in the series. While the 2nd one dives into the explanation of the Fermi Paradox, this one deals with even bigger questions.

The trilogy as a whole is a remarkable exploration of the universe, human nature, and the ultimate destiny of civilization. The title of the first book, "The Three-Body Problem", refers to a problem in physics concerning the behavior of three celestial bodies moving under nothing but the influence of their mutual gravitation. No general solution to this problem exists, and it serves as a metaphor for the unpredictable complexities of life and the universe.

Starting with "The Three-Body Problem", we're introduced to a secret military project that makes first contact with an alien civilization on the brink of destruction. The second book, "The Dark Forest", dives into the cosmic sociology and introduces us to the chilling concept of the Dark Forest in the universe.

"Death's End", the third and final book, is an exceptional work of hard science fiction. It brings together the plot lines and concepts from the first two books and expands them into a dizzying portrayal of time, space, and reality. The storyline is awe-inspiring and provokes profound thoughts about humanity's place in the universe.

What strikes me the most about this concluding novel is Liu's ability to capture the sublime and terrifying beauty of the cosmos. The depth of imagination, the intricacies of plot, and the grand scale of its ideas make "Death's End" a truly spectacular read.

If you're a science fiction enthusiast and haven't dived into this trilogy yet, you're missing out on a truly extraordinary literary adventure. This is true hard Sci-fi

Death's End by Liu Cixin

My Observations After A Job Search

Posted on 2022-08-31 by Dmitri Zdorov

job search

Recently I had to go through a process of finding a new job, which included searching for positions, interviewing, and negotiating.

The skills and qualifications you use to do the job versus searching for that very job are quite different. It becomes obvious to anyone who has gone through this endeavor.

Because you don't do job hunting every day and that skill isn't sharpened, I thought I'd share a few key points I wish I had known from the beginning.

I was not any good at this task because I never had to do a cold job search for the entirety of my career. Every time I was invited to a job interview was through a friend or ex-colleague, or a client I already knew well, so it was a done deal. But this time around, I had to do the whole thing on my own.

I started by updating my LinkedIn profile, then my résumé. I set the process in motion after I posted the new shiny résumé on numerous job search websites.

My cold search approach consisted of three main directions:

  1. Applying to companies directly through their career pages
  2. Applying via LinkedIn and other job search sites
  3. Posting my résumé on several job search sites.

The Cold Outreach Phase Of The Job Search

Prepare a short and long résumé

How long should the résumé be? Short, one-page résumé often works better than a multi-page one, but prepare both. Each has its purpose.

Use the job posting as guidance

Your summary and skills bullet points should be tailored to the position you are applying for. I suggest you don’t make stuff up, but you’ll need to align the skills you already have with what they are looking for and do that with keywords that are used in the ad.

Create new dedicated methods to contact you

I strongly recommend creating a dedicated email address and, if you can, getting a separate phone number for this process.

You will be getting a lot of calls and messages. After you find a job, they will continue to contact you, thus, having designated contact info that you can switch off will eliminate future annoyances.

Know what position you’re applying for

At the beginning of the process, I was not sure exactly what position I was looking for, it complicated things. It’s better to concentrate on one, two, maybe three positions at most.

Initial Calls With Recruiters

Once you post your résumé online you will be bombarded with calls from recruiters and soon it will become overwhelming.

They all will be asking the same things:

  • Are you still on the market?
  • What are your salary expectations?

It might take you several days to get a sense of what most of them are willing to offer.

It’s different with direct applications, and oftentimes you do not negotiate compensation until the late stages of the interview process. Companies recruiting without external help can offer a higher salary, but your competition is tougher too.

Typical processes start with initial screening by HR or a recruiter (often, it’s the recruiter's manager who contacted you the first time).

Prepare a short story that explains who you are, what you’ve done, and what you are looking for. It's the most common snippet you'll repeat in almost every conversation. Make it relatively short, and be ready to say it in under a minute. You should not just prepare it in your mind but also write it out word for word and practice saying it out loud. You should update any wording if it sounds unnatural, and write it exactly as you speak.

When going into your employment history, it’s better to start with the older jobs and finish with the most recent one. Your last position should account for about half of what you say here.

Prepare to answer the usual question, “Why are you looking for a new job?”

Job Interviews

Once you pass the initial screening and if they like you, they will try to schedule a first real interview.

Try to find out who will be on the call and look them up on LinkedIn. It will help find common ground for a conversation. Some people can open up to you that way. You are half the way to success if they like you personally.

These days most of the interviews are done remotely, but sometimes you will be asked to come to their office. In either case, do not dress too casually.

If you get nervous, here's a trick to try if you don't mind drinking. 15-20 minutes before the call, drink a shot of hard alcohol. It will not be enough to get you wasted but you will feel more relaxed. Do not do that if you come in person. 😂

Take the first few interviews purely as training

Try recording audio of the calls and listen afterwards. This is a great tool to improve what you say and how.

There are typical questions for each profession, and you'll get them repeatedly. Prepare a bunch of short stories for most common questions. You can even try to memorize them. To appear prepared, you must speak smoothly and naturally.

Be Ready To Endure Discomfort

A good portion of the questions sounds fake and forced, any normal person won’t feel right answering them. They often are there to test how you can deal with that kind of pressure and tasks in a real life environment.

For example, they will ask you to describe your weaknesses or something you are not good at. This is a tricky request, so prepare for it, and have a short story that sounds realistic yet is not an impediment to doing your job.

Prepare To Interview Them

Usually, you will be asked if you have any questions for them. It is an important part, too, because you are often judged by what you ask them. Having knowledge of the company ahead of time will allow you to ask relevant questions.

Here’s a tip to see how you are doing. A good interview consists of two parts:

  • First, they try to understand if you are a good fit for them.
  • Then, if you pass, they will move to the part where they try to show that they are a good match for you. That’s when your prepared questions come in especially handy.

Don't get discouraged if some interviews are harder than others. Your journey will eventually lead to success, but the process might take longer than you think.

Negotiation an offer

It is very common for compensation negotiations to take place at the end of the process. Make sure you don't hold back on what you want. It is just as bad to ask for too little as it is to ask for way too much. Prepare ahead of time by researching the average salary for this position. Make sure you ask them about their benefits, vacation time, and other benefits. It can be both pleasant and frustrating at the same time.

I recommend prioritizing the jobs you think will be most interesting if you have multiple offers at hand. Often you would be a better match for them too, and thus receive a higher offer from them as well.

Don't assume you got an offer just because they liked you. They will first tell you that they are ready to make you an offer. This is good, but it isn't the offer yet. Until you get a formal written offer, your job hunt isn't over.

Good luck.

The Platform

Posted on 2022-08-21 by Dmitri Zdorov

The Platform

I watched the 2019 film El Hoyo - The Platform by Spanish director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. The plot is simple; there is a kind of "prison" tower with different floors, between which a platform with food rides from top to bottom. The farther it descends, the less food remains on it, and leftovers are getting worse and worse. There are two people on each floor, but once a month, they are somehow shuffled to another floor.

A powerful allegory. There are overlapping notes with Snowpiercer, showing a cross-section of society, but the dynamics are very different. And of course, as a really good film, it makes you think and many questions to speculate about for a long time.


Posted on 2022-08-14 by Dmitri Zdorov

Roadkill audio book

Dennis Taylor is one of the best contemporary fiction writers. And his new book Roadkill is out.

It's short, and it's only in audio format, (the narator, Ray Porter, is also quite good).

I won't spoil it, but there's a simple plot that starts with the main character accidentally hitting and killing an alien on the road.

I liked it, especially that it's all very contemporary and fits in well with current events.

I listened it as an audiobook in English
Roadkill by Dennis E. Taylor

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I started writing a blog on this site in 1999. It was called Dimka Daily. These days many of my updates go to various social media platforms and to the /blog here at this site, called just Blog. I left Daily as archive for posterity.