Sunday, June 29, 2008

Looking foward to some time off

But will it ever happen? If not now, then when? Some time ago I was looking fwd to the summer, now I don't know what to hope for.:) Papers, no-fun travel and things to do @ home, they all crowd out my options. Still, august, Ocean city. That will have to do. Definetely.

Viva el futbol

Yes, the better ones have indeed won. The team that scored 12 goals, was unbeaten in this tournament and gave the top scorer of the competition (Villa) really deserved to win it all but first of all, due to their quality and pleasant style of playing. On the other hand, a tranched Germany that hoped to pool the same defend and score strategy that worked so well with Portugal, managed only to shoot 4 times towards the goal and only once on target while its captain was mostly interested in protesting for free kicks and everything else for that matter, raising the chances of some red cards to appear. Overall, not perfect but at least a good final with pleasant and fluent soccer that ended those 44 years of waiting in Spain.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why Love Footbal

We see it these days. The unbeatable surprises. We love that.
Although I was definitely cheering for Netherlands to get closer to the European title, they have been out-played by far by a Russian team that has showed tremendous desire to play and score. So, it was a fair result and nobody can deny it.+ the Spectacle was great. Some Germans might claim that even their Manschaft did a great game against Portugal..well, not so sure here since the Portuguese basically didn't do their part (2-1, and 45 minutes to score, c'mon..!) but yes, Germans are very good at being pragmatic and that's fine too (especially @ this stage). Finally, one cannot omit the Turks, the luckiest team alive, with spectacular scores in the last minutes of (every) game (almost) and I hope they will remain on the same track. While Spain has to prove that is ready and willing against (another pragmatic) Italy, hopefully the show will prevail. However, it has been a crazy championship and I love it.:)

Continuos Adaptation

There is a certain optimal threshold for travel periods. and from my experience, that's about two weeks. After that adjustments occur, boredom and desire to move on emerge and a natural abdication starts to dominate the picture. Although it has only been a week so far, these tendencies start to manifest already in my case. Re-integration to my native Romanian environment:)...not that difficult after all, but I am just terrified of going to the US and re-adapt there, especially food- and weather-wise (humidity is such a mood killer). anyways, next week is "back 2 work" initiative, so these worries will become obsolete anyways.:))

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Music To Try Out

Today I am going to present a couple of nice albums I had to chance to browse and listen to during these agitated weeks/months.

Daniel Lanois - Here is what is (2007) (8 out of 10)
"Here Is What Is" is the fifth studio album by Canadian songwriter and record producer Daniel Lanois. It was first released in December 2007 as a high-quality download, and later released on CD on March 18 2008.Lanois has premiered a documentary entitled "Here Is What Is" at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9th, 2007. The film, co-produced by Adam Vollick, includes footage of the actual recording of the album bearing the same name. The film also shows Lanois' usual collaborators such as Emmylou Harris, Billy Bob Thornton, U2, Brian Eno and Brian Blade. There are also a guest appearances by Garth Hudson and Brady Blade Sr.
Excellent blend of jazzie, blues slow and instrumental music.

Portishead - Third (2008) (6 out of 10)
On October 2, 2007, Portishead stated that the new album, titled Third, had been mixed and was nearly complete, and was due for release in early April 2008. The release date was later pushed back to April 28. On December 8-9, 2007, the band participated the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Minehead, England. The festival featured their first full live sets in nearly 10 years.[10] They premiered five tracks from the new album; "Silence", "Hunter", "The Rip", "We Carry On" and "Machine Gun". On January 21, 2008, a European tour to support the album was announced.
Overall, typical Portishead release, mellow yet sad and probably with more electro influences than before. Good for fans especially.

Utah Saints - Freshtraxxx vol.3 (2008) (8 out of 10)
Some of the grandfathers of techo sampling and electronic music are back with a vengeance. Along Underworld or Prodigy, they were quite active in the early 1990s. I cannot remember their songs but Believe in Me was right by Out of Space on a tape I was listening back in '93:)). is a long time. Well the boys are back with a catchy video (Something Good '08) which can succeed again in the charts. Their mix album is also pretty good and doesn't fall into the usual trap of such releases (aka boredom) but ei, de gustibus also. PS I like the Hammer joke in the video:)

The Roots - Rising Down (2008) (8 out of 10)

This is the eighth studio album for the Philly based hip hop band. The official release was on the 29th of April and it is the second LP with Def Jam records after 2006's Game Theory. The sound is quite different from previous releases and while in some cases comes great, other times is hard to adjust to. Overall, interesting..and intriguing with at least 4-5 good tracks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A suicide in the Death Group: why should we care?

After a bleak performance in the opening game with France (0-0, no real chances of scoring, etc) in which the coach (piturca) defended heavily against a crippled and old France (??), Romania played very well against Italy in a spectacular neck2neck game that ended in an equitable draw (1-1) although Romanians wasted a penalty 10 minutes before the end of time. In the last game, Netherlans (already qualified with two wins) aligned a second-best team and played relaxed (perhaps hoping that Romania will join them in the next phase, since it will definetely be an easier adversary than Italy). However, the coach (piturca, again, with small caps, and not by mistake) adopted in his unknown stupidity a super-defensive tactic playing for another draw (???) which would have been beneficial only if Italy and France would have drew also. Even more surprising, at half time, when Italy had 1-0 and 1 extra men in the field, plus France lost its only good player (Ribbery) (THUS, NO WAY IN HELL TO DRAW!!), piturca remained in the same formation without introducing more forward players and without pushing the team to attack. The Romanian team seemed to play a friendly game in Netherlands with the objective of keeping the score down. While other teams that are far worse (like Austria) played their heart out on the field and even if they had no chance of advancing, fought a GOOD and DIGNIFYING game, we blew it again. The game was there, it was an easy win but instead we were COWARDS and NUMBED by the possibility of advancing further. Both the coach and the players should be blamed for such a shameful looks at other neighboring countries and sees a SPIRIT a sportive SPIRIT and a mentality of WINNER which matters much more than to DIE (again) with half-way-performances like "almost beating the world champions" etc.
SAD. but TRUE. again & again. It was just a pure suicide in a group in which we could have advance and write some history. Instead we CHOKED. Again. You people suck!:)) and please stop with the SELF_PATTING_ON_THE_BACK!

Back Home - the never ending haunting past

Yep. Once again back home. Good and bad things all always:)). Adjustment and reticence. Too much Romania can be bad for you.:)). The first thing that strikes you when you get off the flight is the myriad of (still) Dacias (old ones 1310, 1300 etc) that cruise towards the city (in this case, Cluj Napoca). The airport is extending...deh...looks awfully small and obviously stranded between two unfriendly pass checks and a 6 meter luggage belt, attempting to accommodate about 60 pasagers from a German Wings flight from Cologne. {Very cheap flight: 40euros Koln-Cluj; but the line at the 1-open-counter German Wings baggage check in give me plenty of emotions with 40 minutes before the flight}. Then, again, the hard way...bus no.8 to the city...since I really hate the "sharks" (private taxi drivers with supa-dupa-fly tariffs to the city...5 to 10 times more) that lurk for every foreign flight. The clouds kept their calm and I reached Mihai Viteazu Square in time and in mint condition. Except my luggage,again:)), with some minor damage...a blow-up wheel..but from Frankfurt not this last segment. Again, I am tired of criticism, this is just a remark. One reaches a sufficient level of numbness after a while, not to care or bother of such things, and one is happy to say that he's reached it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Death Group at Euro 2008

In the opening game today, Romania and France showed a very closed and tactic game with few opportunities to score in a white draw (0-0). In opposition, Netherlands provided the most spectacular game so far, beating Italy, the world champions, with a severe 3-0. It's going to be an interesting group.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

White Nights in Tampere, Finland

Finland is a very contrasting and intriguing country. A mixture between Western knife of technological advancements, American huge cars (old Caddies and JEEPs along the latest enormous SUVs are very popular), bikers and rockers (almost all young people are blackers with tattoos) etc. On the other hand a far better but still, socialist flava is hard to ignore: blocks like in Eastern Europe (but far nicer though), very cold and dull buildings. Tampere seems to have recovered from the surge and fall of the first industrial revolution; however, seems quite limited for its 250.000 people but looks to develop (even more industrially): new highways, industrial complexes and housing facilities are on the way. Although per capita consumption of alcohol and depression are among the highest in Europe, people still are found of their home country. And that's something, here where the day is 6hrs during Winter time, while cold and rainy most of the time. However, in the summer I bet things change entirely (just like Kiel, I guess) and the same sun-bathing in the parks phenomenon can been seen here as well (probably all Nordic countries do it). More similarities with Kiel; the greeting "Moin, moin" which can be heard there is the same in Finland. Although the prices are quite high for drinks (approx 5 € for a draft beer), the bars and clubs look always full. Parks as well...but hey, drinking in a park is pretty nice in the summer. The clubs were full on Saturday night and people look interesting...very intriguing hair and dressing style. A must for close observation. Lots of beer=>lots of fun, even cocktails from a pottie (if u really want). Dance and just forget. Mingle and just enjoy the differences. after that maybe look for a donner or a pizza joint to grab a bite. And then head home. The night is always confusing so,after checking up a couple of (more)clubs, you just follow the route back home wondering if you should sleep at all..

EURO 2008 - The King Football is back

After just few weeks since Champions league has ended with a banging final, football is back on the first stage. European orgolies, artists, scorers, defenders, fakers, materazzies and zinedines, all participating towards (hopefully) another good representation of soccer. May the best win!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Finland - R&D, Caddies and frugality

Between huge forrests and a myriad of lakes, there is this (quite big) country called Finland. Besides the Nokia phenomenon, there is still something so different with these people. Related to Hungarians and Estonians, Finish people still in their stubborness have managed to transform a logging country into one of the most watched models of economic growth and catch-up. How? Well...conjecture is everything. So...chinese people should pay attention to the general details before copying. But again...cannot hurt anyways.

Missed Flight

I had to happen once. Too bad (or not so bad) that it did today. And all that after just bragging yesterday about my flight "records" (arrivals with 15/30min before the departure for checking for domestic/US flights). But I mean it definitely had to be Lufthansa (usually kind of rigid) and Hamburg (always lose my luggage here). Too bad about missing the beauty of Stockholm and getting up at four to be at the airport at 6 and all for nothing. Set in line for 45minutes at the suggestion of the advising lufthansa person before and successfully denied boarding to the Stockholm flight around 6:45. At least I got a rather OK booking (via Copenhagen) with about 4hrs delay. should be good to get some early sleep after the prior white night. However...very disappointing.