Sunday, October 29, 2006

Back to the Future?

What do these three things have in common. Well, the chain goes like this: We all saw the "Back to the Future" series with a fresh new young Michael J Fox in it, plus a handful of other comedy series starring him. I must admit I have been ignorant in the star gossip all my life, thus I didn't know about his Parkinson's disease, founded in 1991 and made public in 1988. But this week I found out. Along with the small scandal surrounding it.

The story is simple: Michael has Parkinson(1); (2) according to the experts this is the disease which would benefit the most out of the stem cell research; (3) republicans opposed the stem cell research from various reasons (that go beyond the scope of this informal briefing) thus (4) MJF is campaigning along the democrat candidate in the state of Missouri which yielded some "not-so-nice" comments (e.g. he's faking/acting/inflating his brownian movements to attract sympathy etc for the cause and the democrats). Probably MJF would really like now to be able to go back to the past. I am not so much interested in the political side of the story but the medical one; there is indeed a dilemma; however, things a lot worse have been and will still continue to take place in the world so I don't see what is the acrimony so big in this case. There is a link in the title to the full story on CNN.

Which one is better: FireFox 2 or IE 7?

The release of Firefox 2.0 this week, came after the big expected emergence of the new Internet Explorer 7, bigger and better, supposedly.

Although IE is still by far the biggest player in the browsers market (about 82% of the world is using it), its share is eroded steadily by the new Firefox who, although it's a free software, it appears to be better in all terms (according to the specialists and specialty magazines).Many of the new features of the new Internet Explorer are mimicking those seen in the previous and current releases of Firefox, such as an integrated search function which allows for internet search across the major search engines and popular websites, including Google, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay. However, the Fox is still ahead in the eyes of the public also and with the rise of new open-source systems with more friendly interfaces (e.g. Ubuntu, which I personally liked once I have tried it) could result in significant changes.
For a more comprehensive analysis of the two browsers check out this review:

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rock on Violin Strings

Ever wondered how AC/DC, Limp Bizkit, Enya or 2PAC would sound in a chamber music session? Well, here you go. The String Quartet Tribute is a series of string quartet covers released by Vitamin Records by serveral different groups of musicians. They focus on one band per record, and perform classical versions of their songs, note for note generally. They use a wide array of instruments but focus mainly on violins and cellos. Over the years, they have put out a staggering amount of albums (214), honoring both mainstream and indie groups alike. They've put a classical spin on practically every genre of music (rock, pop, punk, techno, hardcore, emo, country, metal and rap). -wiki-

I just listened to the tributes for Linking Park and 311 and I thought that sounded pretty cool. I plan to get the Garbage, RHCP and Coldplay too because I like their style and tracks. When you go to the Vitamin Records webpage you'll see that this is basically a cover-based-type of label records with genres like dub/lounge/etc offering specific "tributes" to consecrated bands from many other styles of music. I found that interesting, of course, as long as the quality of remixing is above the average. So far, I haven't had the chance to test that.
The list of String Quartet Tribute (long and nice) series is available also on wiki:
See if you like anything in particular.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Shocking footage

The Romanian TV station ProTV has registered record audiences by posting on their website a footage of a Chinese boder patrol shooting Tibetan pilgrims going to see the Dalai Lama in the neighboring India. Hard to believe it until you see it.

The middle-of-the-week movie

A masterpiece in some opinions (see the list of nominations and awards) a bunch of nonsense violent scenes, according to others, OLDBOY is a 2003 Korean movie that enjoyed some attention at numerous movie festivals while giving a good name to its director and writer, Chan-wook Park. I just rented this video out of my middle-of-the-week boredom state. And I liked it 90% of the time. The metaphoric interludes were interesting but just delays from the boiling action in my opinion and the whole set-up of the movie was clever but maybe a bit too complicated for those who prefer pure and straight entertainment over complicated mind puzzling situations. However, it is something more than "all right". I bet that if Tarantino have been directed this one, we would definitely notice a much bigger shower of prizes and $$ from movie theaters across the nation. Kill Bill has nothing on it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Romanian Soccer's Revival

After more than five years of decay, the Romanian soccer/footbal is gaining ground again in the last years mostly through their club teams. Last year, two teams (Steaua and Rapid, both from Bucharest) were opposed in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals (the only country with two teams in this stage of the competition) and afterwards Steaua loosing dramatically the semi-final in the company of the brits from Middlesbrough FC. Another team (CFR Cluj Napoca) also made it to the final stage of the third European competition (as value and money of the teams involved), the Intertoto Cup, which basically is a gate toward the UEFA cup. They've lost the final in two games (1-1 and 1-3) to the French from Racing Club Lens. This year, things are looking even better: 1 team (Steaua) in the groups of Champions League in a very select company (Real Madrid, Olympic Lyon and Dinamo Kyiv) and two other teams from Bucharest (Rapid and Dinamo) in the groups of UEFA Cup facing other famous teams such as Paris Saint Germain, Besiktas Instambul or Tottenham Hotspur from London. The only downside to it remains the national team who hasn't confirm yet the value of its components as a whole team and missed a victory against the Bulgarian team (main competitors for the second qualifying seat in the group) in the preliminaries for the European Soccer Championship 2008. But..there is still hope and need mostly, after missing the last major European and global competitions.

My 100th Post !

Well, this is it boys! We made it up to the first hundred.
Although I must say it, I never thought that this blog it will have a constant presence, I made the effort of writing up something as constant as possible. In these 13 or 14 months I think I managed to do that without too much effort. Indeed, the title is strange but wants to make the point that this is about everything else interesting and worth mentioning in my daily life (and even there is a lot about music:))..there are other things too). I will try to keep it simple, interesting and wider. See you at the 200th!!

A hard week

After a long and painful week with a blurry ending and lots of exogeneous tensions I am happy to see that I made it through..:-)..successfuly. From the piled up problems in my work and collaboration at school to a stochastic outburst of anger from my girlfriend, the skies sure looked cloudy these days. However, I kept it cool throughout the week and good things finally appeared. These days I am working on some papers, mostly on data collection and model formulation and it is quite demanding because I am doing a lot of things at once and there is no immediate visible result from it thus no real feeling of accomplishment. At that will probably continue as long as I am still putting the pieces together. It is great that I have so many ideas; not so great about the time and implementation (mastering econometrics). But I am confident that it will come out more than OK.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Great Romanians

A campaign, TV show and debate on Romanian public Television about the greatest Romanian personalities. Although in Romanian, the stuff might be interesting for othe people too to extend their knowledge on some of this people. But most of all, this is like a wake-up call for a national introspective and patriotic look at the history and famous figures that emerged from this country.

Can the Zeppelins make a comeback?

Well, I for one, I surely hope so. Besides the fact that they are environmentally friendly with the use of hydrogen, I just love the elegance and splendor of their design. I am curios how many people would be inclined to climb in one for a trip..
An exclusive German tradition and technology pushed towards perfection before the second WW, the airship tradition was abandoned in favor of the fastest and newest tech gimmick -the aircraft- and it never came back fueled also by the spectacular crash and terrible tragedy of the Hindenburg in 1937, the famous transoceanic German liner.

Fortunately, in the last years, there is some real hope materialized in a couple of firms, based in Germany and Switzerland, which offer the possibility of taking short/medium zeppelin tours.One such firm is the Zeppelin-Europe-Tours AG founded as Holding based in Zurich in June 2005 (
I guess that now one can fly if one really wants and has the necessary monetary endowments also :)After a moment of checking out the prices I came to the conclusion that it will have to wait, a few hundred euros for a half an hour doesn't quite measure up to my expectations.

Vadim, the DJ

These days I came across another Ninja Tunes artist, DJ Vadim, a prolific DJ and producer born in Russia but based now in London. The name sounds funny to any Romanian because of the obvious identification with a famous politician a nationalistic extremist but mostly on paper and in speeches (like all politicians afterall).I've listen to one of his albums (U.S.S.R. Life From The Other Side [Ninja Tune, September 1999]) and his latest project: the hip-hop group One Self with MCs Yarah Bravo (DJ Vadim's wife) and Blu Rum 13. The first One Self album, Children of Possibility was released September 20, 2005. Very good turntablism stuff while the latter has a lot of mellow funk influences which make it even more enjoyable and easy to listen. I like his website a lot too with all the Russian legacy presented there plus some free mp3.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Finally...up on the web

"I am online, therefore I exist."
In today's myriad of electronic resources, a personal website has become a must for every person that has even the slightest touch upon any other life than its own regardless of the formal affilation, opinions, race, IQ and all the other parameters defining a human being. However, I am a fan of design, mood and music rather than concentrated info and lots over lots of links. Viva le Flash and all those wonderful websites constructed with it; I hope to get one of those soon myself. Until then....

I finally posted my embrionic web-site up on the school's servers. Naturally I do not feel that the present job is final; however is more than enough for what I am proposing to do, which is just to show the world that I do exist. Doing a website resembles a lot with building a house from the ground up: the foundation, walls, structure etc are the easiest parts of the construction; the final touch and the details require most of your time. However I am content with the result and also hope it will impact positively my future endeavors.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My first Photo blog post

Finally I posted some pictures with my visit in Maryland. These ones are from Baltimore and the harbor area mainly. Next, I will put up some from North Beach and around home.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

More experimental stuff

Check this stuff out. A delighful blend of music with various influences ranging from regular electronic music and amalgamating it with familiar elements of funk, acid, jazz, hip-hop, drum and bass and IDM. An excellent release from Wagon Christ aka Luke Vibert. Bits of jazz, lounge, dance, R & B, spoken words, and orchestral music are intermingled freely to create coherent new creations. Easy to listen and accept as good stuff.:)

Again, Luke Vilbert, this time with a collection of library music by other artists. However, in this case the man behing plug or wagon christ is searching through archives of late 60's early 70's French commercial and tv show music archives. Basically a couple of composers fooling around with vintage synths and syncopation. a listen hard to compare, not always engaging, but essential nonetheless for music enthusiasts...the rest will get dissapointed quickly and surely.

Pleasantly musical madness

Another out-of-the-ordinary release coming from Ninja Tunes: Zero dB's Bongos, Bleeps and Basslines.A right royal mash-up of zero dB's influences to date, musical, life and other - everything from dark, poignant hip-hop, through down and gritty hip-swaying BraziLatino dancefloor bangers, to beats they broke themselves, out and into laidback sunshine jazz - all built from the basslines up. For a teasing taste of their release (about 11megs) go on their website.