Saturday, September 30, 2006

An Autumn Italian Sojourn

I have to say that during this summer I missed going to the classical concerts with the frquency that I did during the school year. But I got back into it with a easy-to-listen concert "An Italian Sojorn" by the Albany Symphony Orchestra led by David Allen Miller, a very energetic and funny young conductor. The program: Respighi - Gli Ucelli; Vivaldi - Autumn and Winter; Mendelssohn - Symphony No.4 "Italian" and a young italian composer (F. Antonioni) with a Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. This last piece and the two Vivaldi ones beneffited also from the participation of a talented violin player from Italy (Lorenza Borrani). It was a full house in Troy and the concert was in line with the expectations aka very good.
Funny perk: I recognized an aria from Mendelssohn's Symphony No.4 (II. Andande con Moto) in a collaboration piece between a romanian (Cheloo) and austrian (Texta) rap artists. To be seen if they really got there inspiration from this; it sounds though perfectly alike so I wouldn't be surprised.
However, Cheloo and Mendelssohn??:))

Friday, September 29, 2006

My first IMAX experience

IMAX is the ultimate movie experience. With crystal clear images up to eight stories high, and wrap-around digital surround sound, it literary takes you to places presented on the screen with its 3D technology and superior sound.

At MDSCI, the gave out an oldie but a goodie: SuperSpeedway. Released in March 1997 and seen by over 6.0 million people worldwide, this movie delves into the death-defying world of Indy Car racing and weaves together the stories of some of the masters of the highspeed track. SuperSpeedway puts audiences in the cockpit of an Indy car and catapults them into world championship auto racing at mind-bending speeds in excess of 230 miles per hour. Narrated by Paul Newman, the film was produced with the participation of the Newman-Haas racing team and the sponsorship of Texaco and Kmart. (source:

A tiny well deserved break

Last Wed I left for Maryland in a mini-break of 5 days till Monday. The primary reason is my girl's birthday on Sept 27th (and I had a big load of presents from all over the places that I've been this past summer for her) while a secondary one could be the fact that I haven't seen her in four months. Everything was great (the flight, the schedule, the weather) except the part when I went back home:)). The flight: again Southwest, this time 97 bucks round-trip (wow! The only downside to it seems to be the inherent delays from Baltimore Wash Int to Albany Int because the plane comes from another place). The schedule: free as a bird, we basically did whatever we felt like doing and that was neat; however I feel a bit bad because I didn't get the chance to visit again stuff in DC. However, Baltimore was nice; the Maryland Museum of science and the harbor area also. Besides that a visit to some friends and a walk on the beach were valuable also. The weather was exquisite; although not as worm as desired (the summer is gone, after all) there was plenty of sunshine making everything more attractive. Overall, a good breath of fresh oxygen.
I will post some pictures also but on a photoblog; now I am deciding which one to use since they don't seem so reliable.

Musical regression

I just got my hands on the debut album of The Cinematic Orchestra -Motion- released exactly 7 years ago. Seven tracks, great stuff, just in the purest TCO manner. The Japanese version has two more additional tracks basically two mixes from Hefner and Four Tet. I knew half of the tracks from other mixes or remixes of different Ninjas like DJ Food's Solid Steel turntable exercise. Still, an Excellent release!!
Released: 27 September 1999
Genre: Jazz/Electronica/Downtempo
Length: 51:09
Label: Ninja Tune
ZEN45 (LP)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Old school stuff

Another incursion in Liam's dark matter; reminded me a lot also of the Dirtchamber session LP. He goes back to the roots and shows a little of his favorites (which also come in Prodigy's tracks sampled or remixed sometimes, otherwise just as influences). A "De Gustibus!" (some will find it interestings; others will just hear a bunch of old records brought together in a debatable manner) mix of hip-hop, rock, punk, raggae and beats in Liam's well known style that starts with an original prodigy track (Wake ** up).


It is mandatory today to post a Happy Birthday! to a very special person (you know who you are!). May you enjoy this day and the ones to come even more that you did prior to this day; if that it possible, of course:)). Perhaps 26 is indeed a magical number..
Moreover, it seems that another thing was born on this day also. Google, the most popular search engine, is reaching the wonderful age of 8; a nice kid that likes to play and is a good child all the times. On top of that, I know another person celebrating her bday again, today, and that is interesting. At one point in time I also knew 3 others that were born on the same day as I was, but still, although I am a believer when it comes to the weekly/monthly/yearly horoscope (not so much the daily though!) they were pretty different from me. Again, maybe it will be interesting to run a regression using all the background variables and the DNA stock from the parents to tease out the true impact of the sign you are born under.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Stata Reloaded

Back doing the same things. I am trying now to take a crash course in Stata and applied econometrics at the same time and the hard thing is that I am doing that on my own. Still, I start to like it; however, the more you learn the more realize how ignorant you are in it; there are so many things to learn and so many questions to ask..

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dance Movies Series (# 5)

Anothe EMPAC event in the series of Dance Movies. The rain drove the projection inside Sage hall; however, I think (for the sound, maybe) that indoor it's better anyways. The quality was OK, more than half of the movies were excellent and original; the rest maybe too experimental for my taste:).
Keep it up, guys!

DANCE MOViES 5 program:
*Break, 2005, 14' (New Zealand). 2005
Written, directed and choreographed by Shona McCullagh
Performed by Ursula Robb, Thomas Kiwi and Arlo Gibson
Music by David Long
* The Art of Weightlessness: excerpt, 2003, 4' (USA)
Directed by DB Griffith
Performed by Bill Shannon

* Alt I Alt (All in All), 2005, 5' (Norway)
Directed by Torbjørn Skårild
Performed by Knut Eivind Reinertsen
Sound by Nina Skogtrø
* Tra La La, 2004, 3' (UK).
Choreographed, directed and animated by Magali Charrier
Performed by Allison Rees-Cummings, Barbara Lindenberg, Barbara Pallomina
Music and sound design by Jules Maxwell
* Montevideoaki, 2005, 5' (Uruguay).
Directed by Octavio Iturbe
Based on the solo While going on a Condition, created and performed by Hiroaki Umeda.
* Counter Phrases (2), 2000, 27' (Belgium).
Directed by Thierry de Mey
Choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
Based on the stage work "(But if a look should) April Me"
Performed by ROSAS (dance) and the Ictus Ensemble (music

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Re-Fried Dubwise Musical Lunch

The ultimate remixed collection from the Washington DC based duo features 18 dubbed-out versions of songs from The Doors, Sarah McLachan, Astrud Gilberto, Wax Poetic feat Norah Jones and many many others. It also includes a new original Thievery corporation track featuring the reggae legend Sister Nancy. Another perk is track #2 (Damien - Habanos Days) which has Romanian lyrics!!:) As the promo says: Another stellar addition to the ever expanding Thievery Corporation catalogue..
TRY IT with confidence! your doctor would agree.

Friday, September 08, 2006


I just got this new release from Four Tet (aka Kieran Hebden)and being totally ignorant of his music went on the website for a little cultivation. Although the DJ Kicks sounds fine, I was extremely pleased by the samples from the 2003 release "Rounds": extremely melodic and harmonious, resembling a lot with the sounds of Bonobo. " Rounds was released in May 2003. It was Hebden's most ambitious album to date, incorporating diverse samples such as the mandolin on "Spirit Fingers", and even a rubber duck on the closing track "Slow Jam". Three singles were released from the album: "She Moves She", "As Serious as Your Life", and "My Angel Rocks Back and Forth".

This last single was released as an EP featuring remixes by electronica duo Icarus and Isambard Khroustaliov along with additional Four Tet tracks "I've Got Viking in Me" and "All the Chimes". An accompanying DVD featured all of Four Tet's videos to date. In addition, the closing track "Slow Jam" was featured in a U.S. Nike commercial in 2001 and 2002; Hebden edited the track on the back of the bus with his laptop while on a tour with Fridge" (wikipedia)
It's worthwhile to listen and glance also at the webpage; although pretty simple it has an original appearance and some taste of 4Tet's music.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back in the US

So, yes I'm back in the US. Joyless as expected.:) the re-adjusting is not that easy after a couple of months spent in Europe..but we are getting there. Also, the work part is about to start (and overcome me?) thus no need to worry that much about anything...besides that of course.:)). Hopefully it will be a year as good as the last one or maybe (why not?) even better. It certainly could be; it's just harder to improve constantly.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Remembering the Croc Man

Shortly after 11:00 am local time on 4 September 2006, Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest by a short-tail stingray barb while diving in Batt Reef (part of the Great Barrier Reef), off the coast of Port Douglas in Queensland. The events were caught on camera and the footage is now in the possession of Queensland Police.Irwin was in the area filming his own documentary, to be called The Ocean's Deadliest, but weather had stalled filming. Irwin decided to take the opportunity to film some shallow water shots for a segment in the television program his daughter Bindi was hosting,when, according to his friend and colleague John Stainton, he swam too close to one of the animals. "He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart," said Stainton, who was on board Irwin's boat at the time.
After teasing hundreds of crocs, snakes and other wild killers it seems that Steve's lucky streak is over. An emblematic Australian and a huge consever of the nature, he will remain the closest thing to a Crocodile Dundee.

Home Sweet Home

After taking the train from Wien to Timisoara, I decided to simply go home because I was too tired from all the travelling and meetings. Thus, I got off the train in Deva and with the (slow) help of two other regional ones I got to Cluj, the "capital" of Transylvania and from there I went farther north: home. Sighet is the informal capital of Maramures the northern part of Transylvania and thus Romania and it is at it northern end sourrounded by rivers (the name means island in Hungarian) and lots of mountains. Just a couple of pics below to see what I am talking about.

Besides that, I really like my hometown. Although it's quite constant (not a booming/expanding city) it seems to be steadily improving cosmetically especially and it is a clean, quite and neat place to visit. While last year I travelled all over the country, this vacation I stayed mostly at home with a couple of visits to Cluj and to my gradmother in Bucovina.

Trully an epic journey to the North-Eastern part of Romania,Bucovina is the upper part of historical Moldavia, a land full of beautiful landscapes and world-wide famous orthodox monasteries. For me, it was more of a personal jouney and a promise made to my 86-yr old gradma that I will surely go there in case I reach Romania this summer. So, here I am...a man of my word, as always:). Overall it was a good trip just the bad train connections are a fun-killer: on our way there my mom (a very risk averse person) decided upon the safest route but the one with the biggest layover too. For five hours I took a trip in a small ville from Bistrita, Beclean. However, some extreme pushes like this may do some mental good in the long run, hopefully:)). All this said, in the 2nd train I enjoyed again seeing teh beauty of the Oriental Carpathians around Vatra Dornei and Ilva Mica.

It was a nice quite time just to relax and enjoy the moment in a totally rural environment away at least from our everyday's electronic vices (computer, cable tv). I visited also the cities of Radauti and Suceava with monasteries (Bogdana, Sf. Ioan, Dragomirna etc) and historical sites which are proofs of Moldavian ascension in the 15th century. Among them, I saw a Church from 1447, in Patrauti which is included in UNESCO heritage and it isn't one of the main touristic attraction. I wasn't even aware of it and most of the people are in the same boat as me..but there are a lot of beautiful monasteries to visit all over Moldova painted with natural paints and glowing in vivid colours even after hundreds of years.

An afternoon in Wien

After the intense 5 days spent in Steyr at the ESD I headed back to Romania and my hometown, Sighet. On top of that, regardless of my fatigue, I decided to visit a bit Vienna...something that I knew I'll regret if I'll pass on. I have beeen there a couple of years back on another 6 or 7 hrs layover and visited some of the town but the October or November harsh weather and the rain stopped me from enjoying it completely. This time around all was well and sunny and I got to see another part of town, the nicer one with all the museums and old buildings. I walked the city with two other ESD participants (Christelle from SWE and Gregory from RUS) and it was (a lot more enjoyable) than the usual "solo mode" of visiting.

Walking through Wien I always feel like going through a huge museum where there is always a thing to see. Afterall, like other former emperial capitals, the city has a lot of history and culture to back up its fame. I just want more time to properly enjoy it.:(. Maybe next time...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

ESD 2006, Steyr - Austria

the European Science Days 2006 were held in Steyr, Austria under the common theme of Economics of Education and Science with a focus on European issues (and students). Well at the end of the day, I don't know how much of the focus was kept but most of the presentations were of course characterising the US (since the faculty were coming from there, obviously). Some people didn't enjoy that so much. However, I was pleased with the crowd (about 70 something students) all the best (I guess in my humble view) that Europe has with valuable additions from the top US universities (Harvard, Princeton, MIT etc). The faculty presented also an impressive line-up with top-notch professors from all over the world, some of them (Trajtenberg, Stern, Shankerman, Aghion etc) which I wanted to meet since my work touches upon there academic achievements.
Pluses: Impecable logistic organization, a very good academic environment, nice afterwards atmosphere, good food & beer. Minuses: little/no feedback on my poster (for which I worked so hard) :), overcrowding of faculty with people trying to attract attention and take advantage of all possible opportunities; time span too short => high concentration of presentations and speakers.

Steyr: a small town, beautiful, old; reminded me of a Romanian one (Sighisoara) which is quite similar. Here are a couple of views of it.

Old Town Gate

Really Old Gothic Church

Die Rathaus or City Hall

Final Recap of the Summer (short summary)

That's it. No more parts and pieces..this should be it and all of it.
Just got back from my native Romania and I have to skip a lot of things just for the sake of being concise about it now, due to the inherent laziness and busyness at the time when this should have been posted.

Ohh yeah, my laptop also was kaput for the last three weaks or so (hdd failure; unknown source since it has some phisical troubles too, but also you never know with these viruses). As a result lost all the data on C:/system drive and access to the hdd (funny enough between my IBM and an HP they didn't recognize each other when installing a fresh new WIN on a fresh new partition). The 40 to 44 pin adaptor that I have bought also failed to do the job (hmmmm?) so I was left in the dark with everything else..blogging included.
BUT I AM BACK...with a vengeance.:))
So here it goes..