Saturday, July 26, 2008

Travel, fluddings & the global link

It seems like the weather is becoming more and more unstable each year. Still, not many think we should do something about it. Who, me..? Even if I want to, it wouldn't make a difference anyways.. that goes the usual saying. In the same week in which some French people experience for the first time a tornado, the north and north eastern part of Romania was confronted with massive rains and fluddings. I just left this region, thus, was able to escape most of it..but the question still remains: when it will all be sufficient to say "enough"? Just by looking at the gloomy Beijing Olympic skies one can definitely see there is something terribly wrong the way we threat the environment. Free riding is obviously not a good solution ..yet still, here we are.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Simian Mobile Disco - I believe

I wanted to have and post this video for a long time now. Both of which I've achieved right now. A great clip and song (too bad that the album doesn't live up to this standard), I believe gives (again, after Borat) the sour version of rural ROmania (close to Bucharest) where people drives Dacias with horses, do (some) agriculture and mainly survive from one day to the other. However, at the end of the day this is a better and more melodic version of the truth than the "manele"s present in their hit singles. the HI-Q version is worth the money.

Back home :(

A bit frustrating after reaching Bucharest, and so close to go to Greece but give up since it was too close to my planned hiking trip, which was canceled late and in a dissapointing manner only when I reached Cluj Napoca (no news on it until then). So, at the end of the day, I missed them all: Black Sea, mountains, Greece. I guess things aren't going always one wants, but this time they really did their best not to.:))... till next time...

Made in RO - The good motherlandish hoax

July 11th. Well, some things don't change at all. After some thinking I decided to join my cousins and some friends to see a (what should have been) nice DJ line-up in a concert in Bucharest, Arenele Romane. We got there aorund midnight and the colloseum was have empty but the best it would have been the whole night. And that's ok too. 30 RON (about 9 euros) for entrance, 4 euros a 0.33 beer and 2 & change for a coke was a bit too high for Romanian standards. Worse than that, two Romanian jockeys...Raul Russu, Alex Atari(nothing to do with a DJ) bored us to death until two am. It's a shame to put such performances in a show. At that point, we couldn't take it anymore and decided to go for a beer around and come back for the headline (Eric Prydz, Junkie XL). Then, surprise, nobody could get out and come back, regardless of your stupid pointless bracelet that was given at the entrance. Frustration is a gentle expression for what I was feeling. But hey, this is Romania, and Bucharest on top of that. Hesitating to leave yet, we came back and caught the dutch Sandern Van Dorn, who was the first guy that night to actually show some DJ-ing and feel the crowd. But it was too much too late. Around 3:30 was already cold and no signs of Prydz and XL so we headed home. Next day the hoax was revealed. Good worth for the money. I guess nothing really matters here. Godskitchen, Urban Waves all sucked in "organizing" and "managing" the event. Amazing things happen. Anyways..

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

CFR - Romanian Railways

To get to Bucharest from Sighet the best option is the train and sleeping car is mandatory. 13 hours are a long time to beat and I must confess I am not used anymore to do these kinds of travel like I use to. Nowdays, my confort limit is around 3-4 hours, significantly down from 14 (to go to Timisoara) or 6-7 (Cluj) usual destinations of mine 4-5 years ago. However, I am still waiting for the improvements (speed & comfort) needed to match the prices. Par example, an intercity (Cluj-Bucharest) takes the same amount of time (8 hrs approx) but obviously a lot more and the monopoly moves are all there: scarcity of trains in that direction or ridiculously departure and arrival times. I guess nothing good will ever come out since these railway companies are always holes in the budget and they never go private either, quietly or successfully.

New visa, same ways

Since my I-20 got cancelled by my school when I decided to take a year away from it, now I had to re-do all the procedure (SEVIS, fees, visa interview) and it is always a bugging thing to do. Besides the usual lines outside the embassy, one gets a lot more of them inside by moving strategically from one room to the other without a waiting number, just simply in line. All to reach that window where lie the hopes and dreams of many. Especially those asking for a visiting visa without showing strong links to Romania. Fortunately, I managed to successfully overcome all obstacles (including a ridiculous claim that you're not allowed in with a backpack, despite the fact that there are some small lockers in the hall to leave your personals) and get it again. After all, if you have a fellowship and you're one year away from completing your degree, there is nothing one can object to you. So, back again in the big blue-white-red country.

Monday, July 07, 2008

One epic Wimbledon battle

Federer and Nadal offered again an unbelievable spectacle on the Londonese grass at Wimbledon. Although, the Spaniard won easily the first two sets where Federer was unrecognizable both in spirit (lost the 2nd set from 4-1, in the end 6-4) and shots (amazing number of unforced errors and most of them even on Nadal's second serve!!). But somehow, with luck and some inspired decisive shots, he managed to climb back into the game with two won tie-breaks in the 3rd and 4th set. At this point I almost believed he could pool it out. But his disastrous game continued and although he put a nice fight, with some spectacular exchanges, it just didn't work (7-9 in the decisive set). I must admit that I haven't watched tennis in a while, but in this game Federer looked like a shadow of a former self with really bad shots and moments of no concentration, which I didn't see until now at the well-composed & oiled Swiss tennis machinery. A 4 hour and 16 minutes marathon, particularly frustrating when one cheers for him. Could it be the beginning of the end?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Oil money kills boredom

After the Palm Island in Dubai, the next big wave of oil money to support an artificial island creation would take place in the Black Sea: Soci town, where the Olympic Winter games 2014 are planned. The next Russian Monaco will have the same architect as the Dubai wonder (the dutch Van Egeraat) and this time will mimic (what else??) the Russian Federation up to the smallest detail.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Microsoft A.G. (After Gates)

Something that not many people saw it coming. Bill is leaving his wonderkid that made him the wealthiest (until recently) homo desktopus on Earth. The Economist notice that
"Microsoft is in transition. “The Road Ahead” will not be as straight or as smooth as it was on the cover of Mr Gates’s bestseller, written in 1995." The time for monopolies and mammoths should be over also in OS (Macs are piking up speed while Linux distributions are becoming more and more popular), and although this departure will probably mean nothing in this way, at least we are moving in the right direction. {I prefer the XP with a Vista theme than the other way}