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Monday, December 26, 2005
Christmas story
My Christmas was way better than expected. On Christmas Eve, at about 6, I logged on to YIM (I had been sleeping all morning, as I had worked the night before) and I saw Sim online. She was finishing her shift at 11 and Sabina was on night shift. We decided we should have a little party there and keep her company for a while. So at about 10.30 we were there, celebrating. We had a little to eat, Cola to drink. Then Patrick, another colleague, joined Sim and I and we wandered through our immense office room, finding fun stuff to do. On one desk we found a ball (American football-like) and we started playing. Later we found the proper gear to play badminton and so we did :). It was mostly running around than actually playing as we were not very good.

I got home at about 2 am and instantly fell asleep as I was on a morning shift that was due to start at 7. Christmas Day at the office…It was interesting! There are people who have nothing better to do than solve their computer problems, but luckily, for them and us, not that many…We mostly laughed, played games and watched movies to pass the time.

I got home last night and prepared my baggage which is huge! I can barely carry it…Today, immediately after work, I’ll jump into a cab and start my trip! It should be a very interesting one, if I get into the right plane! So wish me luck!

To all those working on Christmas and on New Year’s Eve, I raise my glass to you and I wish you’d find a way to still enjoy yourself, wherever you are, just as we did here.
posted by Alina @ 8:43 AM   10 comments
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Computer viruses are sometimes quite useful!
A German pedophile has turned himself in after having his computer infected with the "Sober" virus. The above mentioned virus is spread via email, imitating police addresses or those of security institutions and warns the infected person that they are the subject of an ongoing investigation. Frightened by possible consequences, the young German went to the police and confessed. Story in Romanian here.
posted by Alina @ 2:16 AM   15 comments
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
You can't have it all...
I have never thought a few days without you would be so hard on me…You’ve been gone before, but it was never as hard as it is now. Every little corner of this house reminds me of you and hearing your voice on the phone for a few minutes is hardly enough. Got my ticket, got everything, and will soon join you, yet for the moment it is just horrible.

It is going to be a lonely Christmas this year’s…
I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true...
All I want for ChristmasIs you...

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas day
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you...
You baby

I won't ask for much this Christmas
I won't even wish for snow
I'm just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe
I won't make a list and send it
To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won't even stay awake to
Hear those magic reindeer click
'Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do
Baby all I want for Christmas is you
You...

All the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children's
Laughter fills the air
And everyone is singin
gI hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa won't you bring me the one I really need -
won't you please bring my baby to me...

Oh I don't want a lot for ChristmasT
his is all I'm asking for
I just want to see baby
Standing right outside my door
Oh I just want him for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby all I want for Christmas isYou...
All I want for Christmas is you baby...
posted by Alina @ 6:37 PM   9 comments
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Very tired
That's how I've been feeling lately, with no reason at all... I am seriously thinking of getting some energising vitamins for my present state. Other than that, am enjoying my weekend before returning to work and am trying to work as much as I can on my license paper.

It started snowing this week, a small reminder of the soon to come Christmas and New Year's. Yet the sky cleared up soon after the snow had fallen, exactly the next day, and here's the proof for it, the moon shining over Bucharest.

Speaking of winter, a traditional bear dance is described here. Enjoy!

posted by Alina @ 6:51 PM   25 comments
Friday, December 16, 2005
On loosing interest
My colleague Monica has recently started her own blog, as you all know from my previous post. Her first post made me really happy, someone in my class that used to be very close to me, maybe this will bring us closer again, even in a virtual way.

Yet she talked about the deception she had had with Journalism. Been there, done that! We all came at that university hoping to achieve great things, loving every minute of what we did! Yes, we loved the old cameras that would stop working when you needed them the most, we also loved the fact that we were expected to do an amazing job when filming, although we only touched the cameras once a year. We loved processing our first back and white pictures, although they really were not that great. We loved going to press conferences and wondering if they’d let us in and then striving to get something decent written. And then monitoring newspapers and magazines, making papers and projects, learning new things, some more important then others.

And at a certain point along the way, we lost interest in these whole journalistic dreams! Why? When exactly? What was it that made us give up on journalism and find something better to do? I can’t really tell…Maybe certain teachers that had no place being there, while the good ones war badly treated… Maybe the reality of the journalistic world in Romania. Something like that might happen to you when you work as an editor for a press monitoring agency and you see the amount of stupidity in newspapers or when you organize press conferences and see how journalists just copy the press release you translates and prepared in hours of hard work. What second source?

Well, the thing is, we found a way to express ourselves in a blog; write, but not always in a journalistic way. Stay in touch with our skills! The passion and dream was never gone, we just keep it inside, as a dear memory that sometimes was the main purpose of our lives…

My dad once asked me why I wasn’t afraid I’d also loose interest in tourism. Well, I replied, easy answer. I came here because I was interested in tourism, but never expected too much of the university. I just wanted some tools to learn, not mentors!

I was standing in line to day, waiting to pay my second tax for this year (there are enormous queues to pay the tax, especially near the end of the tax payment period), and was listening to this girl in the 3rd year. She was very disappointed in our faculty, said she couldn’t wait to finish. She had been accepted by a state university in Timisoara (she was from Deva, a town much more closer to Timisoara than to Bucharest), but her father said she would have a better future in Bucharest. It was the capital city nonetheless. So she came with her hopes and dreams yet stated all she got from coming to Bucharest was a disappointing school and lots of work that was compulsory to pay the bills.

Another girl asked her to pay the tax for a group mate of hers. She said no! I was a bit surprised at first, but then she continued “We’re in the same group yet he never bothers to say hello to me! I might not have the money to wear clothes approved by the latest fashion judges, but that is really no reason not to say hello to me!” And then I thought she was right not to help him. I would do the same! I was never a fan of the latest trend, simply because I have seen it as the latest uniform…they all had it! So in the second and partially third year of high-school I made not wearing blue jeans my goal! I was never treated like that, but was it because they needed me as I was best (and second best when I was lazy) in the class? Or because I had such a personal style? Who cares…

That story this girl told made me think of something: the Journalism University was the place where you could find the least amount of prejudice! At least in my group! We all were a little crazy/funky at times! And quite open minded! This attitude I miss the most as it really isn’t there at my new school.
posted by Alina @ 5:10 PM   9 comments
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Bucharest, the English carols land!
Today, waiting the subway train to take me home after school, I heard something strange…They started playing carols in the stations, to greet the Christmas Spirit I guess. And because the traditional ROMANIAN carols wouldn’t have been enough, the chose to remind us all it’s Christmas in English! Yes, why not? Romanian carols are so last year’s fashion and not as merry as Jingle Bells!

On the other hand, a colleague of mine, future hotel manager or tour operator or other hot shot position in tourism, was complaining the other day that we had three European countries to learn about, besides some areas in Romania, for the tourism geography exam. “No employee of a travel agency knows anything about important sites in other countries, they know everything about Romania though!” So, such tour operators make plans for their clients’ trips abroad without knowing where exactly to send them? I doubt that…

The people involved in these two situations, if mixed, would probably reach better conclusions! So, would love some Romanian carols, maybe if we paid more attention to such issues I would have known there actually are Easter carols long before my second year of university! Yet our English teacher taught Jingle Bells to us in 3rd grade! Probably that’s why we loved her and hated the Religion teacher (maybe some carols would have also helped her!).

To change today’s criticizing note, here’s a testimonial I got on Hi5 from Mishu, a very dear friend of mine. It definitely made my day brighter:

“Super woman, a real/true specie of stubborn and ambitious Aries, intelligent and dreaming of grand things (that even come true at times). I am proud to be her ‘mother’!”

And the Romanian original version:
“Super femeie, o adevarata specie de berbec incapatanat si ambitios ;inteligent si visator la lucruri marete (care cateodata i se si indeplinesc). Sunt mandra ca ii sunt mama!”
posted by Alina @ 5:09 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Romanian Virgil Gligor Wins National Information Systems Security Award
ECE Professor Virgil Gligor, one of the country's pioneering figures in computer security, is the winner of the 2006 National Information Systems Security Award. The award, generally considered to be the most prestigious in the field of information security, will be presented by the National Security Agency (NSA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in a ceremony at the 26th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference in Tucson, Arizona on Dec. 6, 2005.

Gligor, who has been with the University of Maryland since 1976, has been a leader in computer security research and education for 30 years in a broad range of areas, including access control mechanisms, penetration analysis, denial-of-service protection, cryptographic protocols, and applied cryptography.

See the whole story in English here and a Romanian version from Ziua here.
posted by Alina @ 9:07 AM   1 comments
cIMec - gateway to the Romanian cultural heritage
Today I got an offline message from a friend containing a link that I thought I'd check. This is how I found the Cutural Memory Institute, a site containing books, research resources and articles on archeology, monuments, museums, books, history and other artistic manifestations. The portal also has an interesting English version, unfortunately not all works from the online library have been translated. You should really take a look!
posted by Alina @ 8:37 AM   0 comments
Sunday, December 11, 2005
A trip to Ploiesti

I took a short Ploiesti vacation from Friday to Saturday, so that I could see my family and get some official things done. It seems my city/town - it's not quite a city, yet not a town either, I call it city as I am not objective - had a plan to greet me properly and it gave me a bright and sunny Friday. I took the opportunity and took lots of pictures as taking my usual walk...See, I have this thing, whenever I go home, after arriving and dropping the baggage, I just walk around and then wait to meet my mom when she comes from work. I then help her with her shopping, and we go home together afterwards. Did I mention she always buys or has something good/sweet for me? Well, she does!

So, this is the first objective on the way, the rest can be seen here.
posted by Alina @ 8:01 AM   2 comments
New comer
I told you all about the little surprises Hi5 brougt. Well, here's another one: Monica, my ex-coleague from Journalism, has started her very own blog. You can all see her first post here. Enjoy!
posted by Alina @ 7:58 AM   0 comments
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Long awaited adventure

Every year the Bucharest City Hall has a mission: Christmas and New Year’s light decorations better than last year. This year, the lights were plugged in on December 1st, Romania’s National Day. As last week I had this terrible cold and the first three days of this week have been totally hectic and awful, it was only today that I have finally got my walk to see them.

I met Cris to get some reading material for the final exam and to catch up, as we hadn’t seen each other in a while. We also ran into another Uni colleague and I also had the surprise to bump into an ex high-school colleagues. She looked great, was happy to see me and filled me in on last weekend’s meeting with high-school colleagues (I was in Bucharest at the time, working) and she said there would definitely be a next time.

So I got to see the show, got some clumsy pictures of it :), see more of them here, and then got back in time to post this and go on with my license paper! Enjoy
posted by Alina @ 10:17 PM   2 comments
The missing blog
We all have our daily habits, starting with the morning cup of coffee, tea or milk or hot chocolate even, going on with how we get dressed and what we do before leaving the house. Then there are work/school habits, habits after working hours and habits before going to sleep. For some of us, among this daily habits, reading habits have a great importance. Getting captured by your book, newspaper or magazine on the way to or from work, reading your mail and offline messages and then of course, the blogosphere…Reading and replying comments on your own blog and then reading the blogs you read daily.

See, when reading the thoughts of a certain person of a certain person daily, a virtual bond with that persons appear. You feel good finding out what’s new in their horizon, if they’re happy or sad or have seen happy or sad events. If this virtual bond is taken away, you kind of miss that person, although you don’t really know him/her, although the only connection are your thoughts and perhaps mutual interests and opinions.

I first experienced that when Owzy’s daily stories and funny photos started to be posted only once in a while, with over a month pauses. Then it was Mo’s turn; he cut off the From Cairo, with love experience. Soon after him, Zoss left without saying a word. Then ma soeur virtuelle Boks decided to say goodbye and finally George decided it is time for a prolonged break. Well I will miss all of them, as weird as it might sound.

And now I wonder, would I ever abandon this blog? Would life actually get to be so hectic and me so bored of blogging that I would actually stop posting? Permanently? Which are the circumstances? I mean, I have been doing this several times a week and when I was forced to stay a while without posting I felt really weird. Would the need to keep posting thoughts here disappear after a while? Would I not miss the comment exchange with other bloggers?

Blogging has taught me a lot: about politics, lifestyles, people, books, events. Information and feelings, mixed and delivered by longer or shorter posts, photos and songs added to webpages. The blogosphere has its way of mesmerizing after you spend too much time in “the matrix” and it creates bonds with people oceans apart. I consider this experience relevant and quite irreplaceable.

I don’t think I am the only one thinking like this. So why do bloggers stop blogging? And most of all, how do they manage to stick to their decision?
posted by Alina @ 4:24 PM   13 comments
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Surprise, surprise!...
Do you know who St Nicholas is? He’s the nice guy leaving presents to nice kids in their boots on the night of 5th to 6th of December. We all know and love him, just as we love Santa. I must confess I haven’t received St. Nicholas presents in my boots since I was a kid, but this year it happened to me…

I thought I wouldn’t tell K anything about this tradition. I had already forced Christmas on him :D and thought that was enough. So imagine my surprise when, on Tuesday morning, I woke up to find a nice little present in my boot! It was a little teddy bear in a blue shoe, singing a lullaby and dancing as well…I felt deliriously happy and at the same time a little bad for not getting him anything…But the happiness part kind of won!

Another present I received was from Raluca (Raluca Cozma on my blogroll) who invited me to create my very own St. Nicholas ice-cream. With a cherry on top! Thank you again for the nice gesture! As for the little teddy, you will all be able to see him on Views of a Broken Mirror as soon as I get home!

Other surprises came from Hi5! I never took invitations from my friends seriously. But this time it was one from Cris, so I accepted it, got an account, bla-bla, clicked Continue and, OMG, sent emails to all my contacts…Very smart…Again, sorry for the spam. But people that I haven’t talked to in years, the best example is my ex university colleague Monica, accepted it and sent me messages. So it was a mistake that actually got me closer to people that at a certain point meant a lot for me. Again, a nice little St. Nicholas present.
posted by Alina @ 7:52 PM   12 comments
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Depeche Mode, soon to sing in Bucharest

Depeche Mode will come to Romania for a huge concert in Bucharest on June 23, 2006 on the Lia Manoliu stadium. The concert is part of a promotion tour for the band’s new album, “Playing the Angel”. The “Touring the Angel” series of concerts was launched in the US will end in August 2006. The band will perform in 18 US states and 25 countries.
For the Romanian readers, whole story from Ziua here.

Well, in case you did not know, I am a Depeche Mode fanatic. I love all their songs, some more than others, true, and I know a lot of lyrics by heart. So you can imagine I am planning to go to this concert, no matter what. Which means, I have to buy tickets as soon as possible, that meaning at least one month before the concert. I know I will love it and this time, I will have my camera with me!
posted by Alina @ 2:07 PM   10 comments
Monday, December 05, 2005
The Mighty Lord of the Rigs, our very own Romanian ancestor…
According to the newspaper Ziarul (for those who don’t know, that means “Newspaper”, so really dumb, never-choose-this-for-a-name option), the wars described in the well-known book/movie took place on our countries territory about 8,000 years ago. For the Romanian readers, see the story here. For the others, I will try an English summarized version.

The chronicles of the Antiquity called the wars “Titanomachia” and placed them on the territory of Dacia Hyperboreea. According to the article, this theory is based on archeological proof of this first armed conflict on the Romanian theory, old chronicles, some of the names and stories – the war against Titans – resembling the ancient Greek mythology and the fact that the names (used for people and places) or parts of them have a meaning in Romanian, also identified with the Elvish language in the movie.

Mount Doom is identified with the Omu and Varful cu Dor peeks, while the Shire (the hobbits’ home land) is identified with Hobita de Gorj, also birth place of the famous Romanian sculptor, Brancusi.

I don’t know how much of this story is true, but it somehow figures. Maybe this would explain the ongoing crave Empires (Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Russian) have had to take a piece of this land over the years. Yes, quite a few have longed to have this country’s riches, drawn to it time after time. Maybe it was the very same crave that could have started such a devastating war over 8,000 years ago.
posted by Alina @ 6:49 PM   4 comments
Friday, December 02, 2005
Reading update

Night said I should keep you guys updated with what I read. Well, I thought I should first show you a little treasure of mine, as part of my reading habits. This is a normal workbook, but one used for a completely different reason. I don’t write down appointments I use it to keep track of what I read. Since high-school, I’ve had this habit of writing down the quotes I most loved from each book I read. The first notebook I used for this is long finished (there were about 3-4 such notebooks). Then it got mixed with my diary and since I mixed them, this is the fourth workbook I’ve used.

It’s nice to then skim through, see the quotes I chose and the moods I described in my diary entries…Also the song lyrics I thought should be written down at very specific moments. Sometimes the book alters my diary entries, one of this cases being two entries written while I was reading Anais Nin’s “Incest”.

And now, the books I’ve finished but haven’t mentioned recently: Frank Herbert’s “God Emperor of Dune”, Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” and Thomas Hardy’s “Two on a tower”.
posted by Alina @ 6:37 PM   8 comments
A fashionable cold
You might be wondering why I wasn’t around all days. Well, I’ve been dealing with a very nasty cold. All I’ve been able to do was drag myself to work, then come back and lay in the bed for the rest of the day. School has been out of the question but I hope to get back on track next week.

I am not completely healed, actually some heal magic from Heroes would not hurt! But I am a bit better and so eager to get back to the things (large amounts of those) I need to do. So see you all with more detailed posts soon!
posted by Alina @ 6:34 PM   9 comments
About Me

Name: Alina
Home: Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
About Me: "This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts". It's also where I feel free and my preferred means of expression.
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