Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back in a NBA arena

Getting back to a bball arena was nice regardless of the quality of the game. Obviously, the Wizzards are not doing well for some number of seasons now (and they don't seem to have good rebounding perspectives either). On the other side, the Bulls are an up and rising team leaded by one of the best point guards in the game (D.Rose) and with some spectacular additions in the off-season (Boozer) that should give them the contender status desired. All in all, it was a good game; I was surprised that the Wizards stayed ahead for three quarters, considering Chicago's pretentions. However, they came on top at the beginning of the fourth and remained there until the end. Number 7 at the hosts (forgot his name) supposedly a center like player couldn't even dunk on a fast break (besides missing all types of shots) which makes me wonder why he's a starter in this team (now that they got Lewis and Carter?) but probably this will change soon. All in all, was a nice game, a lot of people around and a good atmosphere in the 4th quarter. I enjoyed it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Office 2011 versus Office 2008 my opinion there is no comparison.
Hated Entourage and the whole mess with migrating data from Outlook 07 to it (painful) now it is back to Outlook 07 format for mac as well. Plus all the Word Excel and Communicator (hmmm???) you want (the buffet is open gents). What I liked especially is that now the bright and yellow people at Microsoft actually made it easy to migrate data from Entourage to Outlook ( I am currently waiting for my 7,000+ gmail account to migrate there and all my other IMAP accounts are there already). Also, let's see if it actually works, and all the other stuff there (signatures, agenda, prefs etc)..Working now on syncing the Calendars (but dehh...that was cruel with I guess it cannot get worse, but will update if necessary). Other than that an awesome first look. However, if you need more info check this out.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Zeitgeist - a new tool from Google

Something that I have seen also on Euronews powered by Google: stats on what people search (within Europe/US/etc). While it makes little sense in analyzing the top 10 for our "collective" search conscience (I cannot really identify that much with the latest Lady Gaga fetish video perhaps?) if this can be customized in terms of searches and coverage would make an interesting tool for cultural comparisons that are so loved in the international business literature. So perhaps I should have posted this on my research blog not here. well, whatever, I just thought it might be interesting, and still have a long time to become professional on these things.:) Cheers.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cambodia Travel Guide - Siem Reap

What I did in two and a half days:

day one:
visit the rulous group
had dinner khmer traditional restaurant (chicken amok+ palmtree wine)
good nice hike intro to the temples

day two:
sunrise, small circuit bayon, tam prohm etc dinner with roy traditional khmer BBQ
lost driver

day three:
big circuit, angkor wat but no sunset

After a while the temples and ruins start to look the same even for the trained eye.
Angkor Wat - DOs and DONTs -- a short travel guide

- PACK LITE: you can get t-shirts and other crappy touristic stuff to wear for 2-3 $ a piece; you can wash clothes (no undies) for 1$-2$ a kilo/24 hrs return

- Search HOTELS: deals run from 3-4 $ to XXXX...but i am talking backpacking stuff and budget...for a whopping 13$-15$ you should get something decent clean and good service. i paid 16 and had to share it with a tiny gecko for a couple of hours until i successfully hunted it with my slipper.

- do not trust blindly your hotel reps, or tuktuk drivers; explore..while it might seem risky but there are many GOOD places where you can grab a bit to eat and a beer and for a fraction of the recommended places. Obviously it comes with the usual warning to do your homework and have a trained eye for such things. But for example, all the "recommended" places charged me 8-9-10 $ for a meal with a drink, while a traditional khmer kitchen meal (w kitchen) at a regular place should not surpass $5 probably, and I had dinner at one place with 2.5$ out of which 1$ was the Angkor beer. it even came with a tiny desert!!!! all was the same quality as the recommended places, for which probably the owners have agreements with hotels and tuktuks (btw social networks are far more advanced here than facebook, once you get there people know most things about you, they remember them and mulage themselves after it aka your behavior, typing schemes etc)

- do not go for the sunset at ....; it is a huge tourist trap with people climbing and getting down desperately the pyramid to see the sun set ...not even AW but the SR plains. So, still if you like type type of adventures/events... go there at least around 4:30 pm and leave before 6 so that you don't catch the rush hour on the steep steps of the pyramid. anyways, all your pics will have much more than the sunset and yourself in them so might as well think it through.

- DO the sunrise at Angkor wat; although is crammed with tourists you should do it. it is a grreat view and totally worth your while getting up at 4 am. Also, do the Angkor Wat ( a bit) aftewards, although your guide / book tells you to come back in the afternoon. i did it (not enough) and it was my only chance to see it in the warm colors of the sun (the next day it was cloudy all day) and I regret not spending at least one hour over there.

- DO not get "instant" guides. poeple will glue to you and then ask a lot of money. i got two of these guys..students or not I felt that 10$ would be enough for their 30-40 min tour of AW but apparently they felt that only the police bribes would sum up to that, so although they took the money, not sure how happy were they. either way, that's how much i felt it was worth it (to get a full day guide is somewhere 27-30$, so you should do that if you must) myself I tend to move in my own pace..what i like i gave it 2-3 hrs...others I skimmed through. with a guide you will spend probably a decent amount of time in your visits.

- Tuktuks (15 a day max). Get a good map. Deal the tours if you can. They will again skip some temples, saying that they are closed, too far or who knows what. Be inquisitive. BTW, get the best english speaking driver if you can. Although Cambodians have a funky way of pronouncing English (i couldn't get 50% of what they were saying) you might get lucky. Guides on the other hand seemed great. Profi ones that is. I even saw Russian speaking ones (/??) damn..

- BETTER YET: have time? aka 5-7 days to roast it in SR? Go for the bike man..there are regular bikes (sometimes free from your hotel courtesy) or electrical ones (for people that have less than the required will to bike around for 20 km or so a day, which in Netherlands is next to nothing btw). Most temples are not as far as your trusted new friends let you know. you can easily do them.

- Another myth: heat. I had no problem walking around and climbing the temples in a scorching 30 C. to be honest I was expecting something more humid. But again, I went there in November yeah, might be very different in the season (April-July). Moreover, I didn't feel that I need to getaway at noon (do people actually do this?? you loose then an extra hour to get back and forth + the time to have your siesta or whatever...:):..)

- Fun: night market and pub street. both loud cowded with gringos and people trying to sell you stuff from t-shirts and other take-home-crap to fish massage (no happy ending there) and coke and meth (was offered many times during my short 3 hrs interlude on the pub street) --could be the can of mirinda i was holding in my hand :))??

- pack extra picture cards (SDs, CFs, etc) and AN EXTRA BATTERY. I will surely drain out, especially in the day you do the sunrise.

- bring an laptop or better yet, a smart phone or an Ipod. would be great to relax yourself on the flights and transfers etc. Moreover, would provide a light way for you to stay connected with your friends and family and let them know that ALL IS GOOD here in the Kingdom of Cambodia an that the KHMER ROUGE are no longer around. :) nothing to laugh at here, but the people's ignorance. But again, NOBODY has heard of, or meet a Romanian before, so it is a two-way street ("MANIA.., wat?? ROMANIA/// know...Hungary, Poland..etc..ROMANIA"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Long London (L)eekend

4 days in London feels like a lot, but really, time really flies out there. Between museums, parks, outdoors and pubs it just evaporates into thin air and you feel like you haven't really done anything. While this feeling justifies your next visit of the briton capital, it is not entirely true. Just remember those long long walks you took from Shepherd's Bush all the way to the other side of Thames.

And although you missed the guard change and many other touristic opportunities, still Big Ben, or Eye pics you have, you walk (at least with your eyesight now after they banned it) on the Ai Wey's ceramic flower seeds in the huge hall of Tate Modern, had breakfast on the Cork street watching the latest output of the local art galleries, glance over the myriad of portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, and even a BBQ on the banks of the RIver, etc etc. Camden, East London, Soho are up for review next time I am there. All in all, London reminded me so much of the US,a good US however, one similar with NYC or Boston, where disparity is not that great and the urban environment is quite good. Obviously, the double-deckers, European architecture and posh style of living can only add a drop of much needed flavor to this picture, bringing it closer to an ideal city to live in. So, let's just live it to that...drawbacks for another time.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Muzik in my playlist

Just few of the LPs that crowded my Itunes lately with a ranking attempt based on a 10 point system:

Tricky - Mixed Race (7.5 out of 10)
Ministry of Sound - Uncovered (9 out of 10)
Laroux- Sidetracked (6.5 out of 10)
Underworld - Barking (8 out of 10)
Sting - Simphonicities (8.5 out of 10)
Roykshopp - Senior (8.5 out of 10)
Linking Park - a 1,000 suns (8 out of 10)
Inception - OST (7.5 out of 10)
Guns n Roses - Family Tree (5 out of 10)
Evidence - the Layover (8 out of 10)
Dirt Nasty - Nasty as I wanna be (7 out of 10)

A different perspective of Bucharest

Despite my best intentions of coupling several administrative efforts (getting the Dutch MVV visa and other "required" paperwork) with participating to a Romanian R&D and Diaspora conference, obviously things did not worked out that (wonderful) way. Thus, I had to come back for the latter now, at the end of September; Still, I enjoyed it much more than my previous Romanian interlude. To be concise three reasons stand out: 1. weather (25 C and SUN felt heavenly after the stuff we get in the Netherlands) 2. beautiful women ("sweet Bucharest girls", as they are called in a famous Romanian song, all over the place, and despite not being in the market for such things, it just feels good to benefit from such geographic spillovers and 3.decently cheap and good food.) After putting together this ranking, i realized that basically I sound like a typical foreigner coming to Romania to stroll the country, get laid and eat well despite being bold and fat (as the majority of those tourists, later husbands --marriage tourism is quite large, I suppose-- are). Thank good that i don't fit at least from that perspective, girls still score me as 25-26 yrs of age, which always is flattering.:)) But getting back to the point, it was much nicer than before..and that because of one thing: i stopped carrying about it. And that's sad but relieving at the same time: on one side you kind of give up on the same stereotypes and deficiencies (complaints from all over the place --mostly justified but seldom just grievances for the sake of it) and take it as it is, just like being in Uganda or something like it. It is a bit cruel, but that's the reality. With all the crisis and the problems people have there it is hard to disconnect. But for a hybrid outsider like myself, it has just became easier. the whole big gloomy pictures (salary cuts, corruption, scandals, politicians that switch sides and fortunes all the time, protests, beggars, wandering dogs, gypsies and who-knows-what) they all blur away in a nice sunny late September in one of the central parks in Bucharest (Cismigiu).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Universally, bike

Today I had to buy a desk for my new apt. Surprinsingly, IKEA did not have more that 4-5 options for the lenght and width I was aiming for, so instead I opted for an almost mint white 2nd hand desk at a popular outlet here in Groningen. While finding it was exciting enough, bringing it back with one of the available cargo bikes at the store definitely topped that.These traditional bakfiets can (apparently) carry a lot of things and weight; while a bit hard to manouver, especially when taking a curve, breaking or accelerating, it felt great crusing the streets (almost like a truck).:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Recover deleted photos / Unformat card

Ever had a problem with deleting your photos by mistake. Not me. Until yesterday when I did the mistake of not respecting my usual routine: copy RAW files, convert them to JPGs, and then share them and format the CF card. This time around, I just wanted to show them to my gf, and at 1AM, i got carried out and just format the drive going with the loop in my brain. But, no drama!! there are plenty of programs for recovery outthere (I used Photo recovery Genius but I saw at least other ten). Moreover, keep in mind that this is a drive, hence all the tools for HDD recovery might work just fine, since usually are formatted as FAT. So, no worries, you will get throught; just keep trying, for any help post a questions here and I will do my best to guide you. Because after all, this can be a very stressful situation, especially when you card is full with precious memories. Just do not write anything on it (eg take more pics) once this accidental erase/format happens. Cheers.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Short Romanian interlude...looking for a glimpse of summer

Going back home becomes harder and harder every time. Perhaps is just that I am perceiving all those wonderful places I grew up as a stage that I shouldn't regress back to, perhaps it is just hard seeing your family and friends grow older and weaker and you also loose track of the new branches and offsprings emerging in your family; or perhaps it is just a sharp reminder of why you left in the first place. Anyways, a sweet and sour mix (more towards the sour) just like a good chinese westernized food.

Anyhow, I got to go through these emotions again this week. Lots of useless bureaucratic paperwork for my new job in the Netherlands draw my sorry bottom to Bucharest, Sighet and Baia Mare to receive a provisional visa, exchange my birth certificate to an international one, and get a "nice" apostile for the Groningen city hall (i just wonder why we need this in the first place, and how legal is a color printed HP {probably 300dp} apostile with a stamp that you can barely see, and in Romanian only/?/?). However, a man's gotta do what a man gotta go. Especially if the law abiding citizen status is something one cares of. So I did it. Lots of tiring travel and some stressful situations (a close call of a car crash that freaked me out a bit), hope all is taking care of by now, so I don't have to re-do anything.

Now, getting back to the sunny side of the rainbow, it was nice going back home, enjoying one day of summer in Bucharest (38 C) with a biking tour of Park Herastrau, and a good hike day in the Carpathians. It was very exilirating going back to see the "pearls" of Bucegi Mountains (the Sphinx and Babele) two stone formations believed to be carved by ancient civilization on a plateau of 2000+ meters. See the Caraiman cross and hike to Omu peak. Despite the lack of bravery (no time deh! so I took the cabin up & down) in terms of hiking, it was a good workout. But more than everything, a sweet and sour revisit all these places where I have been with my friends hiking, while in college, with all the time on our side. A bit of nostalgie and sorrow but still some nice places to revisit. The pictures below are just a sample of what I am talking about.

Now, riding back the train, I see again the gray side of Romania. Autumn arrived here as well, incidentally about the same time that I arrived. Should we hope for some Indian summer? I wouldn't keep my fingers crossed but if you feel like it, go ahead. This morning the temperature plummeted to 5 C in my home region, and it should be hard to imagine mid-20s again. But hey, climate change is like a roulette, so it might work indeed.

'Till next time, Romania!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Finally...a good movie - INCEPTION

I would go as far as to call it the closest thing to Matrix that I have ever seen. The consensus is there: a smart, innovative, and thrilling movie, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually, according to the Rotten Tomatoes. The box office figures confirm also this. Despite its 2:30 hours, time flies by fueled by some memorable performances from a carefully chosen cast led by Leonardo di Caprio.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ocean city

Getting back to OC was pretty fun as we haven't been here in a year. Definitely, this place puts the umm in the summer!! The private house and pool at Sunset Island, boardwalk buzz and plenty of waves and sun make it synonimus with summertime in many cases.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Day in DC

Yesterday we decided to explore some more of the treasures buried in our host nation's capital. Despite a rough start in dealing with the (extremely) unpleasant people at the DC Metro who don't know how to step up from a monosyllabic conversation (and this is not just based on one experience), the day proved to be quite fulfilling. Very hot though..98 in the air..but who knows how many were there on the ground. A good start with a revisiting of the Natural History Museum where I got the chance to explore some new exhibitions and turn myself digitally into a Homo Sapiens; a nice lunch with a concert at the Old Post Office; then, an aerial view of Washington from the tower above and a visit to the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where millions of dollar bills are printed continuously (see attached new $100 bill) Then, a bit of business, by grabbing the latest issues of some industry journals for my research at the Library of Congress. The evening ended with a concert by a Louisiana Big Band from the US Marine Corp. Excellent music on the steps of the Capitol. The 100 F day went seemingly fast and relatively sweet (except the walking around town parts). till the next time..

Monday, June 21, 2010

Isight problems MacBook

My Isight just turns on at boot and the only way I can turn it off is to restart the computer (and even that doesn't take care of the problem). So far I haven't been able to find much info on this issue except this thread (link; link2) which doesn't prove to be much of a help anyways. Despite the fact that I am not employing the webcam almost at all, would be nice to have a functional one in case I decide to use Skype or something similar. Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Best Ipod Touch / Iphone Applications

I recently got an Ipod touch for my birthday and I started to use it and frantically look for the best available free APPS for it. While there is a lot of info on many websites, still I couldn't come up with a nice and independent review of the best "free" apps for apple devices. Below is a list of my findings in these 2 and a half weeks of my i-experience (not a ranking, but a list, so ignore the numbers):

1. Bump (Social Networking)
2. Speed test (wireless test from CISCO)
3. Dropbox (inter platform sharing)
4. OakTree (same thing)
5. Evernote (note sharing with online resources)
6. Textfree (sms chat style like with your own number)
7. Office plus (read and edit excel, PPT and word files)
8. Stanza (Ebook reader)
9. A note lite (nice interface notes)
10. Skype
11. Facebook
12. Files lite (online share and backup)
13.Y! Mess (comm)
14. Transit Maps (metro, rail and others you can upload)
15. Tetris (revival of my childhood games)
16. Glow snake (idem)
17 Vuvuzela (for the World Cup passionates).

Would be nice to discover some more and interesting apps (free if possible, otherwise still fine if they do a great job).

Cheers, S.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

MacBook facelift

Finally, the usual cracks in the top case of the white MacBook have caught up with me. Despite taking excellent care of my laptop, I guess that the crack-less 1 and a half year was as good as I could have streched it. Moreover, biking all the time with the thing on my back probably did not help either. Oh, well, everything turned out better, and whiter (exchange the keys also) after my visit to the Apple store in Annapolis.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bonsai-esque Sunday at the Arboretum

I wanted to get to the Arboretum in DC for some time now..finally we did it, and it was great.In a hellish heat (so humid also) we still enjoyed some of the dozens of Bonsais on display (three collections: Chinese, American and Japanese) both indoor (with flowers) and outdoor ones. I am really a big fan of Bonsais and seeing work from 1800s really impressed me. The Japanese ones were gracious and symmetric, Chinese strucked me as very different, more visual, with small statues, temples and many rocks/cliffs included in the scenery. Finally, the American collection shows that groups of trees and patches of green can also be replicated at the miniature level of a Bonsai world. Besides the miniature trees in these pavilions there are several whole worlds of trees (from Asian to European and American types of trees) that sprawl across 400 acres of land.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The King is Back - A full month of World Cup

Yes, despite being here in the US and watching the games with a cup of coffee instead of a more natural fitted choice (beer, do-oh!), I am still excited to see the Big Soccer Circus. Naturally, Romania freakked up again and is not in the tournament but this does not prevent me to watch and enjoy. On my way to the Netherlands and also being a big fan of their ever since Van Basten and Gullit were busting Soviet balls on the court, I decided to cheer for them, along with my favorite underdogs (Asian countries like South Korea and Japan). Now...I am just waiting for the good second round matches since all the games in the first were (too) prudent.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Back in Boston

Beantown is so nice in the summer. It just made me regret that we only had a day to capture its flavor, and this one proved to be swamped with T-storms. I did not end up close to Davis Square and where I use to live (Somerville) but downtown Boston was just as good. Strolling along the Charles river and the cute streets in the BackBay was a joy, and grabbing a bite in familiar places is just as good as visiting family. Moreover, I stepped in the great Boston public library and actually visited the Museum inside; same thing with riding the Duckies in the Boston Common (places that I have passed through many times but never visited when I was still living in Boston). We stayed at Berklee, because it was the best-bargain place I could find downtown for such a short stay. It wasn't cheap nor exceptional but the breakfast was awesome (where can you make your own waffle in the morning?) and that inclined the balance towards positives for me. Other than that it seems more and more strange to leave for Europe and be so far away from BOS, NYC or DC, places that I got accustomed to visit often. In some ways, I start to miss them already.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kesha Simpsons spoof

for some reason the capture is reversed..still funny enough

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Surfing in Santa Cruz

The weekend started already yesterday with the showing of a famous Romanian movie (that I haven't seen yet) called "California Dreamin" by one of the best Romanian directors (Cristian Nemescu), who left this world a bit too soon. (
Today was a great day, when I got the chance to surf for the first time in my life, courtesy to Glenn and Marius. It was a perfect day for surfing, with some nice waves, not too windy and not to cold. The wetsuit gives you a lot of protection from the freezing waters and after some time I managed to stand on my knee..However, couldn't stand up...never had enough I took whatever I could. Santa Cruz is a lovely beach at the Bay that has its own microclimate, an interesting mix of low-temperatures and low-winds, which makes it a good spot to hit when the heat becomes insurmountable. I don't remember now the name of the spot we went to (very close to the Pier) but there are at least 5-6 good surfin' places there, and I even got to see the real deal surfers riding nice barrel waves (5-6 feet) at the lighthouse.The evening also gave me the chance to sample some nice grilling from several nations (Greeks, Turks, Iranian, Romanian and Argentinean) at Stanford. Great stuff, lots of meat and beer and wine provided by Germans and Belgians. Unfortunately, my stomach did not allow me to taste much (a fried calamari on the pier gave me the shivers (never, no more!), and I could not eat almost anything). Still couldn't pass a chance to sample some.. Argentinean steak, especially after almost one hour in line. And it was pretty good..

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bitter sweet end

For LeBron James this could be the end of his careers with the Cleveland Cavaliers. I was happy for the Boston Celtics, because I usually cheer for the underdogs and the old "Big Three" in Beantown deserve another shot at the title. However, I still like the Lakers to win it all. However, today there was no wining spirit in the Cavs, especially in the second half; they even looked ridiculous in the last 4 minutes, when they were down 9 but nobody was making a fault or trying agressively to corner the man with the ball. I felt bad for them, but on the other hand, I don't remember a bigger mental flop in the playoffs than the Cavs showed. From "New York Knicks" chants to James, to several 3 pointers made by Rasheen Wallace who had an awful performance this season, the Cavs had it going in every aspect. Congrats and look forward to a nice Eastern conference finals against the Magic. My bet: Magic in 6.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Playoffs' magic

Finally, the Celtics came out blazing in a must win game in Boston; as a result, the series with LeBron's Cavaliers are now even at 2 a piece. Good for the show, and the overall sympathy with the underdogs. Stellar for Rondo who put up all star stats, Tony Allen and Big Baby Davis, who finally showed some guts coming of he bench; not so good for Pierce and KG, who looked tired and old. However, there is still hope for the Celts; with a bit of luck and some extra effort from their big three they could pull a surprise in the Eastern conference semis.

Biking in San Francisco

Today I went back to San Francisco a couple of years after that 2008 January when the ASSA conference was hosted here. And for all it's worth, I decided to take my bike; however, I was not sure if that would be wise or not, considering all the hills around. To my relief, biking around proved to be quite fascinating, either crossing the Golden Gate or just gliding through cars and buses downtown. Riding the Caltrain between Menlo Park and San Fran was also nice, it reminded me a lot of Europe. Biking from the train station was nice although I hit a lot of traffic and huge crowds of pedestrians (tourists) that were walking in the bike lane. Fisherman's Warf was my first stop and memories started to come back. Bought some souvenirs, streched my legs and went onward towards the Golden Gate. The wind was getting stronger and I started to regret my precarious clothing and lack of warmer stuff. The climb to the bridge was OK but the wind on it was terrible. Especially around the main pylons it was extremely strong and almost tossed me over a couple of times. Sausalito (the other side of GG) was nice with hills (no vegetation, a la Cluj) and I climbed all the way to the viewpoint. Took some shots there, had a sandwich and head back, since the wind factor was too much for me already (my hands literally frozed-up on the camera). On my way back took a couple of nice shots of kids playing soccer and some canine friends, and decided to head to Market Street and downtown. Here it was nice to see some restaurants where I had some nice dinners with my gf and our former hotel. All, very much the way I remembered them.Biking my way on the 4th street to the Caltrain station was a bit interesting since there was no bike lane but a highway exit; however, I made it just fine (next time I will go around, using Embarcadero). Great ride and nice experience. SF is very vibrant and one of the nicer cities that I've experienced in the US.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Getting around Stanford

I had mixed feelings about going to Stanford and about how the university will appeal to me. The "Farm", e.g. the big green campus of Stanford, that looks indeed like a farm, would surely mean something very different from the MIT (tall, rather ugly/communist buildings) or Harvard (nice and classy, rather small) campus and I wasn't sure what to expect. Bikeless in Stanford is indeed terrifying, the distances are fairly long and no matter how much of a walker I am (and I truly am), I still ended up paniching after a couple of days to get my hands on a second hand pair of wheels to move me around. Other than that I really loved it there. The Farm gives you a sense of freedom and biking back and forth to my home in Menlo Park was a blessing in disguise that I have enjoyed. A lot of fields (soccer, football, baseball) and gyms all over the place, Californian style buildings with lighter colors and odd shapes (to my standards) give a special charm to the place, but the green and trees just took the cake. I just loved it!! Moreover, my hosting institution, SIEPR, just got the newest and coolest building on campus, and that just addedd thrills to my everyday commuting to work routine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Burn-a-Mac tale

Only today I got to finally burned a DVD on my MacBook after about a year and a half of usage. Deh, a 1 TB external HDD comes in handy and I do not watch many movies on the computer these days. I just wanted to hear some music on my loudspeakers instead, so I went for it. Two things: 1. burning a DVD/CD on a MAC is way easier than Win (dummies, welcome!) 2. again, there are some software/hardware issues in this Nexus, since the last time I tried burning some stuff on my external writer (a NEC 3550) I was not able to. Later I checked the specs and indeed, it seemed that it was unable to write DVD-R 16X, so I was dissappointed that I haven't checked that before buying a whole stack of 50 DVD R-'s. Today, I was able to write the same DVDRs at 16X without much dvd player chocked a bit (but it is an old one anyways) but took it in the end. Thus, it seems that there is something in the soft (Mac Burner versus Nero or whatever I was using under Win) that gives Macs another reason to glitter..Getting back to the issue, easy is an understatement: 1. make a new folder on your desktop (right click and choose Burn Folder) 2. drag and drop whatever you need to burn 3. hit the burn button (upper right) 4. done. Great.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Emancipator- New Album

Great NEW stuff from EMANCIPATOR.
You will like this..I guarantee it.

Emancipator - Safe in the Steep Cliffs (2010)


01. greenland
02. black lake
03. jet stream
04. kamakura
05 all through the night
06. old devil
07. nevergreen
08. ares
09. rattlesnakes
10. bury them bones
11. vines
12. hill sighed
13. siren
14. safe in the steep cliffs

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My first NBA Game

After some heroic battles with my reluctant self, I managed to pull through and finally attend a NBA game. There were a couple of failed attempts back when I was in Troy to go to some NETS games (back then Vince Carter was still on their roaster and they almost had championship a pedigree) but for some reason or another, I still ended up on the couch. So now, in Boston, I had to go and check it out. And what better way to start an NBA experience that watching the Celtics? Garnett, Pierce, Allen and Rondo are (use to be?) one of the better teams in the East (League?) and hope to get a second championship in Beantown after the '08 success. However, this night was definetely one of the worse ones for the Celts, getting blown up by Memphis Grizzlies (111-91) in all compartments. Still, a very nice experience..

Friday, March 05, 2010

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

You all remember Gorillaz, that virtual project of Damon Albarn (Blur) that involved over time famous third parties such as Del tha Funkee Homosapien or Mos Def. The had a couple of great runs back in the early 2000s ("Gorillaz" and "Damon Days"). Now they (he) are (is) back with a new release called "Plastic Beach". Guest performances by Snoop Dogg, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Kano, Bashy, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Gruff Rhys, De La Soul, Little Dragon, Mark E. Smith, Lou Reed, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, sinfonia ViVA and The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music, all are indicative of the quality and diversity of the material, marked by the usual "Gorillaz"-style.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Endless Winter

After all the bad weather I encountered in DC, Atlanta and finally in Europe, two things are obvious: the love/joy of cold weather diminishes significantly with age, and secondly, I need to make more north-south trips rather than going back and forth on the east-west axis. Moreover, it is pretty clear also that climate change is quite real, weather shifts have become something common (I remember those early December days when there was a sudden 30 F drop in the temperature, similarly the snow flakes in October, and some of the weird temps we had last June)