Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sighet Winter Festival 2007-pics

set 1
set 2:

Superb music – Emancipator 2007

From bits and pieces I found out about this guy (Emancipator from NYC) that makes some of the best instrumental melodic downtempo music I heard ever. Resembling a bit to Bonobo’s style and arrangements, his music however convinces that there are some deeper roots than that. Beautiful samples, violins, guitars and beats are all present in one of the best LPs I have heard this year. A piece of advice: do not miss this one!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Latest Music - Nujabes and Kid Koala

I haven't written anything on music since...well...a long time ago. In the following I am going to attempt correction to this fact. A couple of things have delightfully enriched my existence over the last couple weeks.

Kid Koala - Some of My Best Friends Are DJs (2003)
My take on it: great and exquisite stuff.If you try it, you'll surely like it.
Professional review: Packaged with a 52-page, self-penned comic and a travel chess kit, Some of My Best Friends Are DJs offers less in the way of music, with the 35-minute running time meaning the restless sonic snippets wisely end before his humor has a chance to grate. Mixing sleazy whisky-bar vibes with adolescent antics, his second album never allows the listener to settle. Moments of playful mixing magic are at times followed by baffling inanity as "Skanky Panky"--with its wonderfully shattered Ska rhythm and frantic scratches--runs into "Flu Season", ostensibly a series of beat-accompanied coughs, sneezes, and sniffs. Blending blues, jazz, and funk with a myriad of bizarre samples, moments of pure eccentric genius such as "Robochacha" and "More Dance Music" make this a flawed yet fascinating slice of beat-driven bravura.

Nujabes - Metaphorical Music (2003)
My take on it: this is Nujabes' second album. It offers a combination of hip hop and jazz, and features artists like Shing02, Substantial, Five Deez, Cise Starr and others. Thanks to my Japanese friend and music lover (Akie) I picked up a couple of Nujabes releases and affiliated works. I recommend it to any instrumental/melodic hip-hopper fans. Excellent thinking to incorporate some flows on my future-to-be-website.
Professional review:Metaphorical Music: the melodic full length debut of Japanese born Hip Hop producer Nujabes. The soulful, rhythmic, often jazz-based style exerted through Nujabes' music has made this album a Diggin’ favorite since its release in 2003.(Diggin' Music blog)

Nujabes - Hydeout Productions 2nd Collection (2007)
Mellow instrumental stuff + hiphop tracks + jazz samples = same great receipe
It seems that any Nujabes release has the same great flavor. (so far at least)

Death of a Symbol

Benazir Bhutto was shot yesterday (after which the assassin blew himself up) leaving a Pakistan on the edge of chaos. The next few weeks will surely be critical for the nation's trajectory towards democracy/dictatorship or civil unrest while those approx 80 national nuclear warheads are enough to make people nevous.

Sighet Winter Festival

Being again in my hometown (Sighetu Marmatiei) around New Year's I couldn't pass the chance of seing again the Winter popular parade (haven't seen one for 10 years or so--too much crowding and brrr.. cold).
Ever since 1968, on the 27th of December of each year, a winter carnival is held in Sighet. The heart of the carnival is the parade: hundreds of costumed and masked people from all the villages on the valleys sourrounding Sighet (and other regions of Romania as well--but less), horses and carts sing carols, utter “ur─âturi” (good wishes for the year to come) and perform traditional winter plays with Capra (The Goat), Ursul (The Bear), and Viflaimul.

(a short movie --16mb about this event)

Testing one's addiction

Being home and all, I had the interesting opportunity to test my internet addiction since the provider(UPC) at home failed to insure the connection throughout the holidays period (with some exceptions). Though is not that least emailing should be an emergency service:). Naturally, the client service is barely existing and the "business as usual" type thing applies still.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Casual Casualties of Flights- a limpin’ suitcase

One is always disappointed in how the luggage is handled. I always wonder how could they have done it ? One time they broke my metal handle of a robust big luggage. The only way you could do that is probably to through it on its head from about 2-3 meters at least on a rough surface (preferably concrete). Then you go and check if they could have done that. Although the chances are quite slim, it is possible, trust me. Now I had another problem, but quite similar. A robust plastic leg from my American Tourister 26inch luggage got somehow dismantled. Again after the initial outburst of good thoughts to all those brave luggage handlers, I started to think how can one (phisically achieve that) and I came up with some scenarios (a bit like the CSI type thing). Still hard to achieve but somehow those wonderful guys always deliver. Amazing, isn’t? So, THANK you for all your efforts and care. And a wonderful limping Christmas to you too!

Flying Pink over Europe

Started at 6:40am in Kiel to Hamburg flughafen via the Kielius bus. Then flew Swiss Air to Zurich. Pretty smooth until the landing where from some not so obvious reason we had to circle for about 25 minutes looking at the background of the Black Forrest Mountains. Finally it all came to an end but the airport was very crowded and with huge lines at the scanning area plus immigration (why do we need this?). Somehow I made through all of that with various objects (laptop, ticket,pass or wallet) under my armpits, in my hands or wherever I could stick them. The flight to Budapest with Helvetica (1st pink) was again OK, while in Hungary I had to change terminals (Ferihegy2-->Ferihegy1) and "enjoy" the Xmass crowd for about another 6hrs. Naturally, at the flight to Cluj (Wizzair-the low cost pink carrier), the Romanian and low cost heritage collided into a three line check-in and basically people rushing for the plane. Which was a big boy indeed (for such a short distance) an Airbus A320. Nice but a bit scary since I knew the incredible small airport & landing strip in Cluj. However, we made it ok, although the plane had to break a lot and for 7 seconds I was with my knees in the chair in front of me. From here the saga with the "sharks" (taxi cab drivers looking to strip you off your money) started. I always "enjoy" this stuff, especially when, I cannot get a regular cab, it's 11pm and I am stuck outside the airport (7km or so outside the city) on a -10C “sunny weather”. But that's another story...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Finally, a break

Tomorrow really early I am heading back to Romania and I can't wait to take a break and a change of landscape from Kiel to Romania. Should be fun...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bali turnaround?

There is an old Romanian saying: "a small tree-stump topples the big cart". Can it be the case in the Bali meeting with Papua New Guinee slapping the US?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - Razor (2007)

If you are a fan of the series, Razor seems like a good 1h 43 min way to remember the last season (3) of the Battlestar Galactica. However, objectively, the movie doesn't posses many strong points. Basically, it introduces the evolution of the second battlestar in the series (the Pegasus) through the eyes of Kendra Shaw from the Cylon holocaust to its death. Overall, a good way to sweet the waiting time to Season 4, which should air in March 2008.

How readable is this blog?

It seems that both my blogs (this one - personal and the 2nd one-research track) are doing really well. You do not have to be a genius (dohhhh!) but obviously they are not at the end of the pack either. The new economist blog finds it takes a lot of genial readers as well and concludes:
"So how do other popular econoblogs compare? Many are almost as unreadable as mine: try Dani Rodrick (college postgrad), Greg Mankiw (college undergrad), the Economist's Free Exchange (college postgrad) and George Borjas (college postgrad) for starters.

But many econobloggers' writing is more accessible. Alex and Tyler at Marginal Revolution, Mark Thoma, Brad DeLong, Brad Setser, Andrew Leigh, Dean Baker, Angry Bear, Newmark's Door, Tim Harford's FT blog and Megan McArdle's blog at The Atlantic were all assessed as having a high school reading level, while William Polley's blog was at junior high school readability.

And the only other blogs writing at genius-level I could find? John Quiggin and the Becker-Posner blog. I'm honoured to be in such company, though I have neither a beard nor a Nobel prize.

But maybe I'm just too obscure and high-falutin? Should I de-fog my posts? Feedback welcome."

You got my vote anytime. It is truly a nice and interesting economic blog.
To be even meaner, let's look at the nations' representatives. In fact, we don't have to; Christine Chen did it already for us. And the results are hillaryous.:)

"What about the readability level of some other popular Web sites out there? New York Times (junior high school), Washington Post (high school), Financial Times (genius), Economist (genius), Arms Control Wonk (college undergrad), Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish (high school), Daniel Drezner's blog (high school), the State Department's Dipnote (high school), and the Huffington Post (junior high school).

And the readability of the home pages of presidential candidates? Here are a few: Hillary Clinton (elementary school), Rudy Giuliani (genius), Barack Obama (genius), Mitt Romney (elementary school), John Edwards (genius! His blog, however, is at junior high-school level), John McCain (junior high school). "

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Beautiful Sites - Colosseum

I have just posted some pics I took around the Colosseum. Great Stuff.