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.