Monday, December 31, 2012

Cum am devenit producator de ler

Pe cand eram student la Maryland am avut parte de o experienta foarte interesanta. ASTROM (Asociatia Studentilor Romani) era condusa de unul din colegii cu care locuiam in casa, asa ca am participat si eu la multe actiuni de-ale lor. Iar una din preocuparile constante ale ASTROM era organizarea de spectacole cu artisti romani care faceau turnee prin State (asa am ajuns sa ii vedem pe cei de la Divertis sau trupa teatrului Nottara, de exemplu). In acei ani inca nu era moda concertelor de sarbatori in Romanai, asa ca Hrusca, fiind stabilit de multi ani in Canada, facea in respectiva perioada spectacole pentru comunitatile de romani din Statele Unite si Canada. Intr-unul din ani s-a hotarat sa vina si in zona Washington DC si cautand oameni de contact in zona a ajuns la ASTROM. Cum nu prea erau oameni disponibili la acel sfarsit de an pana la urma m-am oferit eu sa ma ocup de organizarea acelui eveniment, adica sa fiu un fel de producator. Primul pas a fost sa cautam o sala, de obicei gaseam sali in campusul universitatii, dar atunci a fost o problema, asa ca a trebuit sa caut in alta parte. Pana la urma am ajuns sa inchiriem o biserica anglicana din zona. Am batut palma cu cei de acolo, am trimis emailuri la oameni cu data si ora spectacolului si acum credeam ca lucrurile sunt gata. Insa cu trei zile inainte de spectacol ne suna Hrusca sa ne spuna ca a ramas fara instalatie de sonorizare. In mod normal el isi aducea singur instalatia, dar de data asta la intrarea in State vamesilor li s-a parut suspect ca se cara cu asa ceva dupa el, desi nu declarase ca vine in scopuri comerciale (va dati seama ca toate spectacolele astea se faceau la negru, banii incasati nefiind declarati la fisc), asa ca nu l-au lasat sa intre cu aparatura respectiva. Iar noi fiind printre primele locuri unde avea sa vina ne-am trezit ca trebuie sa facem rost in doua zile de o instalatie de sonorizare. Pana la urma am gasit o firma care inchiria asa ceva, dar era nevoie sa o si transportam. Am gasit mai multe masini si am carat boxele alea cum am putut, am intins cabluri, testat microfoane, dar pana la urma total a fost gata la timp. Desi am "produs" si eu la ler in acel an, nu am aflat nici atunci mai multe despre ce e acest ler. "Leru-i ler" va intra in legenda definitiilor recursive alaturi de "GNU in not UNIX", asa ca mai bine urmez indemnul celor de la Kamikaze: ler it be :)

La Multi Ani! si tot ce va doriti in 2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why is Romania different?

Why is Romania different? is the title of the latest book by Lucian Boia. It is not a book about how Romanians are the chosen nation, au contraire. It explores the reasons why the Romanian society is behind other western and even eastern European societies. This is in fact a compared history of the institutions and social habits from Romania (or the former regions of Valachia, Moldavia and Transilvania) and other countries. The book already generated a lot of reactions in the media, two examples being those of Dan Tapalaga (here) who complains about the last chapter where the current political situation is analyzed and Alina Mungiu Pipidi (here) who argues that the whole Balkans region has the same characteristics. Since I liked all the books I read of Mr. Boia, starting with the one which shook the view of Romanians about their history 10 years ago (Istorie si mit in constiinta romaneasca), I highly recommend this one too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

An die Sonne

First snow of this winter in Bucharest and we are fast approaching the smallest day in the year. The candidate I endorsed didn't do well in the elections, he will not get a seat. It seems pork-barrel and not sound policies it's still the way to win the elections around here. So let's think about the sun for a moment, it gives us all our energy in the end, but it's up to us what we do with it.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A candidate to vote for

Another round of elections is approaching in Romania and I am among the fewer and fewer people that will go to vote again. Most of the people complain that all politicians are the same and none of them cares about their problems, but only to get rich. This is a dangerous point of view in my opinion, because the consequence is to ask why do we bother to organize elections if all politicians are the same? Since after each elections we end up with different laws and policies, there must be some difference between those who vote for one law or against it, isn't it?

Since 2008 we have a uni-nominal voting system and you actually vote for a person, not a party list. So, like four years ago, I decided to endorse a candidate that represents me best in these elections. His name is Gabriel Biris and he is a lawyer specialized in the tax code. What he promised in this campaign is not just something for his electoral college, but for the whole country: to push for a change in how labor is taxed. The truth is that labor is heavily taxed in Romania and this leads to people trying to declare their income in any other possible way than payroll in order to pay smaller taxes. Or not to declare it at wall and work on the black market. So only a small part of the population appears in the statistics as being an employee. This is unfair in two ways: first for the people who honestly declare their employment contract because they end up paying far more taxes then other people and secondly for the people that are forced on the black market due to these taxes because their are cut from social benefits in the future (like retirement benefits).
As a professional in this area Mr. Biris understands very well these problems and he wants to improve the tax code so that these huge discrepancies can be closed. Also, he is already rich and not from businesses involving the public sector, so probably he didn't enter politics just to get richer. His campaign also has a fresh style, including many town-hall meetings with the citizens from his electoral college, not just for shaking hands, but also for discussing their problems.

So if you have your residence in D3 electoral college from Bucharest I recommend you to look at this candidate and vote for him. If you are not in these college I still encourage you to take a look at the candidates in yours (you can easily find that here), see who is the best for you and the country from your point of view and go to vote. I have a strong opinion about an alliance that should not win in these elections, but even if you don't share my view, I think that informed and active citizens will lead in the end to better politics and policies.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tired of you

That's it, I'm going home. No computers until Monday :)



Saturday, November 24, 2012

I vote for N.A.D.

Is this a new political party or something? No, N.A.D. stands for National Anti-corruption Department and it's much better known by the Romanian acronym DNA. Eu votez DNA! (I vote for NAD!) is a book written by Cristian Ghinea, a social activist and contributor at the most prestigious Romanian weekly newspaper, Dilema Veche. Ten years ago Cristian Ghinea coordinated an issue of Dilema on anti-corruption and he remembers that there was not much to tell about it: Romania was a corrupted society, but without any corrupts. Police and judicial system were prosecuting only small cases, but no big fish was even questioned. In fact, although there are some legendary figures on making justice in our history, like Vlad the Impaler, in the modern history of Romania (since Cuza and king Carol I) no big fish was ever convicted for corruption charges, although there were many scandalous stories uncovered in that era too (you can read in Romanian about a few examples here and here). Politicians in Romania had de facto immunity from the judicial system, a better word being impunity. But in the last 8 years DNA became a feared enemy. They prosecuted members of the parliament and of the cabinet from all major political parties, mayors, judges and attorneys, police men, army generals and even soccer referees and club owners for fixing soccer games. And they also have an impressive success rate with about 90% convictions of the prosecuted cases. You can imagine that most of the politicians are not happy about this, biased media outlets constantly unleash attacks on this institution, so this book is even more remarkable for describing an inside story about DNA with interviews with some attorneys and other interesting commentaries.

In the end I should note that DNA was created at the request of the European Union during the accession negotiations between Romania and E.U. There are a couple of benefits for Romania from being an E.U. member country, including money received for various development projects, but I think the creation of this agency is the best thing that happened to Romania due to E.U. influence. That's why I also vote for N.A.D.!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Bourne trilogy

I liked the Bourne movies, so when I found out that they are based on some books I decided to read them. Usually the books have more details that are not present in a movie, but in this case I was really surprised: the action from the books barely resemble what happens in the movies. Apart from the names of the main characters and the basic plot (a secret agent suffers from amnesia and fights for his life and to find out who he is) the rest is totally different. Although it dates from the cold war era and the technology described in the novels is now obsolete, the story of all three novels is far more entertaining and the conflict between various characters is doubled by the geo-political conflicts of that era, from U.S. and Vietnam to the British Hong Kong and the Soviet Union.

Of course when reading a book you use your imagination to picture yourself the scenes described there, but a movie always adds a soundtrack, so I will finish this post with the cool theme song of the Bourne movies:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Me and my Monkey

It's a chilly, foggy morning outside, so "me and my monkey drove in search of the sun".



And by the way, Good Morning, Bucharest!, the newspaper about Bucharest is at the second edition. In case you don't meet me or any other people distributing it in the city you can read it online here (in Romanian).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blame it on the rackets

What do you do when you win a set?, you celebrate, isn't it? What about when losing one? It appears that you can always blame it on the racket as both Djokovic and Murray did it yesterday in the final of the Shanghai Master (see the video below). Or maybe they were just angry that no matter who would had won Federer would still be number one, for the 300th week. I hope that Head is happy now, they will just sell them two additional rackets :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Electoral debates

Here we are again with elections looming both in U.S. and Romania this fall. I guess most of you are bored and scared of what politicians can say or do (it's better than being like Inna anyway :) ), but in an interesting twist this year George Washington University organized a debate not between the two presidential candidates or their running mates, but between two media presenters that consistently side with one of the two main U.S. parties. The "republican" Bill O'Reilly from Fox News and the "democrat" John Stewart, the host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central. Here you can watch their debate and I can assure you that it's more lively than any official electoral debate you will ever watch. Because they don't have to lie to you or hide specific facts for fear of antagonizing a specific electoral category and the like.



Wouldn't be funny to have in Romania as well a debate between let's say Mihai Gadea and Robert Turcescu? :)

UPDATE: That video with Inna where she says "I'm scary" and "I'm boring" is no longar available on YouTube, but you can see a transcript here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

International Book Week

I keep seeing in the last few days statuses and posts about the International Book Week. According to Wikipedia, this is not a formally established event, but anyway let's play the game:

It’s international book week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence as your status. Don't mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your status.

"I take back my previous statement; he really is a terror."

P.S. It took me a while to join this movement because I actually didn't know how to go to a certain page on Kindle, as this device displays the percentage of the book that you read until now, not the actual page number. Luckily a fellow reader helped me with that, as it seems I'm a dumb e-book user, I just read and press next page until I finish the book, so far I didn't use any other functions of my Kindle. Also, I choose the post from the book I read at this moment, not just from the physically closest book around me. I really hope people read more books than just a random sentence once a year, I surely do.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Open

Open is much more than a book about tennis, it's rather a bildungsroman on how Agassi grew out of the tennis life that was forced upon him into a respectable person with lots of money and good understanding on how to use them in life. So if you want to know what it takes to succeed and how easily you can fail go ahead and read this book. Meanwhile I read an interview (here in Romanian) with Florin Mergea, the most talented Romanian junior in many years, who didn't manage to kick start his career as a professional tennis player, but not is having a come back.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Brands and marketing

The classic way to promote a brand is to associate it with other figures that people like and trust. So Uniqlo, a fashion retailer from Japan, chose the same strategy and got endorsements for their brand from two famous characters: Novak Djokovic, currently ranked number two tennis player in the world, and Maru, the cat with 175 millions visualizations on YouTube.

Here are the two endorsements:





Now I have a little bit of a dilemma: should I continue with my tennis lessons (especially since I recently bought a racket similar to the one used by Djokovic), or should I start posting videos with my cat on YouTube?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Did I really go to RHCP or something?

Yes, but I was just lazy to post about it until now :) It was not the perfect concert, but nevertheless I'm glad I had the opportunity to see such a great band live. I read on Wikipedia that when they first became famous the guitarist of the band was so overwhelmed that he left the band in the middle of a tour. Then he returned, but 2 years ago he left again tired of touring the world. Actually it can be seen that the band is not even now totally comfortably with the large crowds, they didn't even try to engage the people to sing along the chorus parts of any of their songs. This was the first concert on the new stadium from Bucharest (National Arena) and the bad news is that the acoustic of the stadium is not very good, having an annoying echo.

I liked the jam sessions between the songs (at some point they told to one another to remember a piece they played that could lead to a new song) and the fact that they don't have a fixed setlist for the concert, so you can expect almost any song (expect for the songs from "One Hot Minute" which was the album they made after Frusciante left in 1992, but which I like very much being the first that I listened from RHCP) to come up. Just to get a feeling of the concert here is my all time favorite song from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Can't Stop live in Bucharest:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Notes from a Big Country

Notes from a Big Country is a book about various aspects of life in the US. The author is an American who moved to England and returns after 20 years with his wife and teenager kids. The mixture of American childhood and European adult life leads to an interesting perspective of how things are done there: from city development and transportation, the obsession for commodity (which may defeat the purpose as in the story about how it can take you more time to get food from McDrive than stepping out of the car and walking into the restaurant), the sheer magnitude of many things in US (like the forests from New Hampshire), the changes that can transform a country in 20-30 years. I found it a very interesting reading, especially that I resonate with some of the views of the author. And for sure you will not get bored by this book, the style is highly entertaining.

I started reading this book before my trip to US and I continued my reading after I returned, having fresh impressions from the big country. To illustrate that I added some photos of the busiest highway in California, US 101. At rush hour this four lane road can be gridlocked in many places.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Strange Man - Vinyl Playback Video

Easy like a summer vacation day. But don't watch the video too many times, it might make you dizzy (trust in me, just in me) :)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

A intrat in folclor

Sunt sigur ca ati auzit de expresia "a intra in folclor". Ei bine, iata ca Ponta a reusit lucrul acesta intr-un timp record. Deci se poate, tovarasi :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

RHCP approaching...

Less then a month left till the RHCP concert in Bucharest. I wrote a while ago that I would like to see Zdob si Zdub in the opening act. Well, it seems that the media partners of this concert, Rock FM, have organized a poll where you can vote which band you want to see in the opening of RHCP here. I voted for Zdob si Zdub, they are currently on the second place, behind Omul cu Sobolani(I posted about them here). The other band that have a chance to win is Vita de Vie. I posted below a live version of the most famous song from Vita de Vie, so you can compare them with the other two bands.



So go ahead and use the link above to vote. And don't forget to buy your ticket for August 31st, there are only 2000 left.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Games - High Bar Gym

What can be better than a cat picture? A cat video, isn't it? :)



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Skyfall

"Some men are coming to kill us. We're gonna kill them first." That's the spirit.



I heard that a known plagiator was in London yesterday, so Bond had to save the Queen at the Olympic Games opening ceremony :)



P.S. If you see an advertisement on this page that you know it does not represent my opinion, then click on it so that we take them the money ;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Despre copiat si alti demoni

Se vorbeste foarte mult in aceste zile despre copiat si plagiat. La bacalaureat s-au pus camere de supraveghere pentru al doilea an consecutiv si consecinta a fost si anul acesta o rata de promovabilitate sub 50% si mult sub cele de acum cativa ani. Asa ca o sa va povestesc acum despre experienta mea in domeniu, caci ar fi o minciuna sa spun ca nu am copiat niciodata. Da, recunosc deschis ca am copiat uneori sau am dat altora sa copieze dupa mine, dar per total am invatat niste lectii importante dupa cum veti vedea in continuare:

- prima intamplare vine din clasa a cincea cand la o lucrare de control la geografie mi-am scris niste date despre lectie pe sugativa (pe vremea aceea fiecare elev avea o sugativa mare cat foaia de caiet, caci se scria cu cerneala care se usca greu si te puteai murdari); totul a decurs conform planului, doar ca in pauza de dupa ora de geografie un coleg a venit si a vazut sugativa-fituica; a luat-o si a inceput sa strige indignat prin clasa cum ca Bogdan a copiat, si cum e posibil ca unul care ia premiul intai sa faca asa ceva; nu-i treaba ca si el copiase la acea lucrare ca si la multe altele, dar ce am invatat atunci e ca daca ai un anumit statut (in clasa atunci sau in societate in general) cresc si pretentiile de la tine (chestie pe care domnul Ponta nu o intelege nici azi);

- tot in clasa a cincea, dar de data asta la matematica am avut o experienta la fel de dura; Craciunescu, proful de mate, ne muta tot timpul pe patru dintre noi care eram mai buni la mate in primele doua banci si ne dadea de lucru separat; la una din lectii el tocmai asculta pe cineva la tabla, cand a batut cineva la usa si l-a intrerupt; a iesit sa vorbeasca cu persoana respectiva, iar eu observand ca solutia colegului meu era gresita i-am zis ce sa corecteze; cand s-a intors a vazut ca tipul de la tabla isi modificase solutia si s-a prins imediat ca cineva ii suflase; asa ca a zis ca el nu continua ora pana nu zicem cine a suflat; in clasa s-a lasat o liniste mormantala, iar dupa cateva secunde sau minute care au fost foarte, foarte lungi m-am ridicat in picioare si am recunoscut ca eu ii suflasem colegului meu; nu am patit nimic concret in urma acestor evenimente, dar se pare totusi ca acea clasa a cincea a fost foarte grea pentru mine, nu-i asa? :)

- trecem acum la clasa a noua, unde la fizica am avut un prof cu adevarat revolutionar: caci la nivelul anului 1991 el ne dadea lucrari de control cu cartile pe banca si chiar ne incuraja sa ne facem fituici, caci el zicea ca macar trecem o data prin materie; si iata-ne la una din primele lucrari de control cu toata lumea din clasa stresata de problemele grele pe care ni le servise Bararu; a venit si pauza si toata lumea a insistat in cor sa ne mai lase 5 minute, caci nimeni nu terminase; la care profu si-a luat catalogul si ne-a zis ca el se duce in cancelarie si ii aducem noi lucrarile cand suntem gata; cum a plecat proful am inceput sa discutam intre noi problema cea mai grea; eram vreo trei-patru care ne contraziceam pe doua solutii alternative, plus inca altii care ne asteptau pe noi sa ne hotaram care ar fi solutia corecta; pana la urma i-am convins ca solutia mea e corecta si toata lumea a scris ca mine; am dat noi lucrarile, iar in urmatoarea ora (caci aveam doua ore legate) proful ne-a prezentat solutiile corecte; iar solutia corecta era cealalta, drept care multi dintre colegi s-au jurat sa nu mai copieze dupa mine la fizica :)

- in final ne oprim in facultate, la un examen de bazele informaticii unde printre altele am avut o problema cu masini Turing; imi rezolv eu subiectele, iar doi colegi de langa mine ma abordeaza sa le zic cum am rezolvat acea problema; le-am zis ideea in doua vorbe si mi-am vazut de treaba; cand intru la oral il vad pe asistent ca ma ia la bani marunti: sa ii zic definitii, sa ii explic in detaliu ce am scris si tot asa; acuma eram si eu mirat, caci ma intelegeam bine cu asistentul respectiv, chiar jucam si bridge impreuna uneori; dupa ce ma freaca asta bine, iar proful imi da si el cea mai grea teorema din curs sa i-o demonstrez, ajung ei la concluzia ca stiu despre ce e vorba la materia aia si imi dau 9 (aveam 8 la laborator, asa ca oricum nu aveam cum sa iau 10); iar la sfarsit ma intreaba in fata cine a rezolvat de fapt problema respectiva, caci din toata grupa toti facusera solutia standard, mai putin 3 oameni care dadusera o alta solutie;

Concluzia: ma bucur inca o data ca am avut niste profesori foarte buni, care m-au invatat mult mai mult decat matematica, fizica sau informatica, iar din punctul meu de vedere pana la urma copiatul asta nu renteaza nici cand esti destinatia, nici cand esti sursa. Caci in ambele cazuri poti foarte usor sa ajungi in situatii nasoale.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On

Just a day after my previous post I found on a blog an entry about the story of the slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On". So here it is, watch this movie about how to behave in life, whatever hardships are brought upon you:

Friday, July 06, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Driving in the countryside

Prea bun, prea ca la tara (i.e. too good, feels like countryside):



The name of this song translates as "village after village" and the song evokes driving in the countryside.

Monday, June 25, 2012

An education. Which one?

In the domain which I studied and I practice now, computer science, there are four universities that are constantly ranked (often with an equal score) the best in the world: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California - Berkeley and Stanford University. Last week I was in Silicon Valley, on a business trip to Oracle head quarters and I took this opportunity to visit the campus of Stanford University which is nearby.
Let me give you a few facts about the Computer Science Department at Stanford:
  •  one of the emeritus professors they have is Donald Knuth, the author of one of the most influential books in this field, "The Art of Computer Programming"; on the cover of one of the editions of this book there is this quote from Bill Gates: “If you think you're a really good programmer… read (Knuth's) Art of Computer Programming… You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing."; 
  • here studied the founders of Google and got the idea of the page ranking algorithm that transformed the on-line world in the last 10 years; you can read their paper here
  • a team from this department build the first self driving car (which I think it will transform our lives in the future) and won a contest organized by the US army research labs (DARPA); watch a presentation of the concept here
  • on the other hand this department is taking part in an experiment of distributed high quality education by offering to anyone in the world who is interested free on-line classes on various topics, like this one which I attended a few months ago, or these listed here
Bellow are a few pictures from campus where you can notice that all this is made possible partly by the donations of people and companies who truly believe in the value of education.
Campus entrance on Palm Drive:

Computer Science Department's building named after the biggest donor who helped to its building, Bill Gates:

The list of people and companies that donated for the new building of the Computer Science Department:

Now I'm back in Romania and here are some other facts that you might know about if you are around:
  •  two months ago a person nominated for the Romanian Ministry of Education was forced to skip the nomination after it was discovered that she lied about having a degree from Stanford University (the name of the university was actually miss-spelled as Standford in her CV); 
  • the next nominee, with a degree in computer engineering, was forced to resign after proofs of plagiarism in at least three of his published papers; 
  •  last week the prime minister of Romania was also accused of plagiarism in his Ph.D. thesis where he copied more than 100 pages from other books and papers; 
You should ask yourself in what kind of society do you want you and your children to live: one in which education is valued and can lead to advances in science and a better life for all of us, or one in which education is just mocked? And if you care you should act every time you can.

As for myself, I know what I stand for.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Would the real good people please stand up?

This is a song called The Streets from a Romanian TV series Good Boys about mafia boys (the good ones) and the police (the bad boys):



Here is an approximate translation of some of the lyrics:

This is a place where you wouldn't dare to go
You may possibly win, but you will probably loose
So many slicks like here you can see only in Vegas
And you wouldn't believe how some turn into whores
This is Romania's capital, this is Bucharest...

Now don't get sacred, that was just a movie and Bucharest is a peaceful place, but it still has its problems (like corrupt and populist politicians), so this is my question (inspired by Eminem) for you for the coming elections: would the real good people please stand up?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Changing Skins - Baby

Well, spring is that time of the year when many animals change their skin, so I found something suitable for this season. They are a Romanian band with a very nice sound in my opinion.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A few pictures from Maldive Islands

I spent many hours under this coconut tree 


Various banana types at the local market in Male


Ocean view beach


The orchid garden


Pool - the cocktail bar is behind ;)


Baby shark


Sting-ray having dinner at the sting-ray feeding show


Sunset on the Sun Island


Tuna fish at home


Monday, April 02, 2012

A walk and a run in the city

This week-end I took a walk and the run in Bucharest. The walk was on Saturday was organized by Urban Ideas, a blog dedicated to urbanism and hot it should be applied in Bucharest. The walk was in the Unirii and Mircea Voda areas and the talk was about the new civic center build in the eighties under the direct supervision of Nicolae Ceausescu and what was the impact of this development on the city. You will see city plans and pictures from XIX-th and early XX-th century, what were the plans for city development back then and how the communist era changed everything. How entire neighborhoods where demolished including churches and how some churches were saved by being moved so that they will not be visible from People's House or the main boulevard. There were two interesting hours, followed by one more hour of discussions on urbanism in a coffee shop nearby. Apart from this tour they organize two more, one in Foisorul de Foc (Fire Lookout Tower) area and one in Mihai Bravu - Baba Novac area. 
On Sunday I went to a 4km fun-run race on the route Piata Charles de Gaulle, Arcul de Triumf, Piata Victoriei and back. The organization was not good and the weather was rainy, but in the end we ran and it was fun :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Millennium Trilogy

I didn't see the movie The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo yet, but I decided to read the book instead. In fact, this is only the first book from a trilogy, now I'm actually at the third book and it gets better and better. If the first novel is about an old family mystery, the second and the third are getting into police investigations and secrete police activity, but keeping the main characters from the initial novel. Highly entertaining for a vacation on a tropical island :)


Monday, March 12, 2012

A Veces

Back to work... a veces :)



I've seen this song on Nat Geo Music which I didn't know it even exists until a few days ago.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Return to the twenty first century

I first heard about Ioana Parvulescu for her books about the old Bucharest from 19th century and the period between the two world wars. So now I read her latest book, Return to the Twenty First Century, which is collection of journal notes and columns from the magazine of Romanian writers union (Romania Literara). The book describes the life in Romania at the beginning of this century with the good, the bad and the ugly. Many stories are about books, their authors and their readers and how they constantly interfere with our life in the most unexpected ways. Overall, it is an enjoyable read from the land of dragons, as this is how Romania is portrayed in one of the Harry Potter novels :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Simon's cat in his very own book

The ones that spend time on the internet and sometimes "catch" viral videos probably know about the Simon's cat who makes poor author's life miserable at time, but highly entertaining for the rest of us. Here is the first video with the cat trying to wake up his owner:

And another one which is more appropriate to the current season in Bucharest, snow business:
 The reason I write about this famous cat is that I recently got from a colleague two of the comic books which continue the career of the YouTube cat: "Simon's Cat in his very own book" and "Beyond the Fence". They are funny to read and I can testify that at least some of the chapters are real, like the ones on the cat and the vacuum cleaner and on how to put the cat into a cage :)

Friday, February 03, 2012

This could be spectacular

As usual, taken from an advertisement :)
This time it's about a legal online music site which is about to be launched in Romania: Zonga. It seems I'm in the target audience for this service, ain't I?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rock, alternative rock

Since Santa already granted my wish and I already got my tickets for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert in Bucharest, I have one more wish for the organizers of this concert: to open it with a performance of Zdob si Zdub, which is probably the best alternative rock band in Romania (they are actually from Basarabia aka Republic of Moldovia) in the last 20 years. I know they opened the RHCP concert in Moscow in 1999, so I think we deserve them too. Meanwhile here it is one of their songs having the unmistakable combination of rock and traditional music.

Extreme wedding song:

Monday, January 02, 2012

On the Beautiful Blue Danube

Every year I try to watch the New Year Concert of Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which is a unique type of celebration of the new year, classical music and even more. The concert has many waltzes and polkas mainly from Strauss family of composers, but what stays the same is the ending with the An der schönen blauen Donau waltz and Radetzky March. Well, Danube is a very special river, at least for me cause every time I cross it at Cernavoda (Cernavoda actually means "black water" so it seems people there had a different view of the color of Danube) on my way to Constanta I feel I'm getting home, so I'm glad there is such a beautiful waltz dedicated to it. Here are the two pieces mentioned above from this year's concert:

On the Beautiful Blue Danube



and Radetzky March