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Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Discovering new ways
Well, guys, the past week and a half was quite amazing. Got back to serious reading, something like 100 pages a day (which is slightly more that the 20 pages per day I got to read in the metro before) walked a lot and started working out with K…

Let’s start with the working out. Each day I don’t start work or classes at 7 or 8, I wake up at 6.30, get wash up and get dressed in an instant and then we start jogging. Well it’s mostly walking at a fast pace cause we are both really out of shape. This happens for about an hour in our nearby park. Then we get home and do our abs, and then I get to shower first cause I’m the first to leave the house.

The reading part…Oh, well, finished Women in Love, finished Simone Beauvoir’s Beautiful Images and I am approaching the end of Memoirs of a Geisha. Long time without such an experience. It will end, cause the exam period is starting Monday.

The walking wasn’t walking only. Each day after work I took long walks with my colleagues and ended up having salads or a drink on a terrace. The drink was actually lemonade with honey which I find delicious and completely fit for this hot weather. The plan for today is for Cris and I to go shoe-shopping…

What important things I have learned:

1. When working out, you will see the most beautiful sceneries, animals, kids playing and stuff like these that require a camera in hand…

2. There still are girls that think like me, that have the same interest and they are fun to spend time with.

3. I really love lemonade if it has a lot of honey.

4. I knew this, but I was proven it is true one more time: The book is ALWAYS better than the movie.

posted by Alina @ 3:31 PM   8 comments
Monday, May 29, 2006
New Girls' Club
Sarah's problem just become our problem. A certain someone, probably bored of hacking into her blog, decided to delete Girls Out Loud...Well, that really pisses me off! Yet there is nothing I can do right now to prevent this....And either way, if the blog was deleted, we cannot really get it back, I think.

Therefore, I have created a new space here.

Drop by, tell me what you think, let me know what you want it to look like and, email me for the invitation. See you there soon.
posted by Alina @ 10:55 AM   14 comments
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Book Meme
Tagged by Ali, a long time ago....

3 most influential books in my life;

  • Cezar Petrescu, Fram, ursul polar (Fram, the Polar Bear) – the first book I have ever read, when I was 5 and something. Still think in awe of the tiger tamer who put her head in the most dangerous tiger’s mouth.
  • Karl May, Winnetou, it introduced me to the adventure readings of my class’ boys club, which then continued with Alexadre Dumas. It was also the first book that made me want to travel and fight the bad guys. I also wanted to be Winnetou’s “queen” and kick everyone’s ass, but that is just the childish part of it :)
  • Mircea Eliade, Maitreyi, the most beautiful love story I have ever read, all in the magnificent Indian background of poetry and philosophy

3 books I’ve read more than once:

I don’t really read books more than once. The only exceptions are the books I read and then had to re-read for school or university, to refresh the details.. As it is not something chosen by me, won’t mention them here.

3 great books I personally hated:

  • Boccaccio, The Decameron – found it quite boring
  • Sade, Justine – finished it out of curiosity, how much worse can a life get, still thought it was awful…
  • Ioan Slavici, Mara – really hated it, had to read it though…

3 pure pleasures:

  • Garcia Marquez, One hundred years of solitude
  • Mircea Cartarescu, Orbitor
  • DH Lawrence, Women in Love

3 great books I should have read but haven’t yet

  • Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
  • Mario Vargas Llosa, any book by him
  • Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

3 books I ordered, bought actually

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Sartre, Les Mots, La Nausee

Yeah, been pretty lazy on buying books as I received some great ones on my birthday :)

Will tag Bart, Alex, and who ever else is interested.

posted by Alina @ 8:35 PM   12 comments
First summer thoughts

Summer’s here. 30+ temperatures, heat, sun, green leaves everywhere…Just like last summer, the seaside feeling, thinking I’ll end up on a beach right around the next corner…Still busy, two more exams this week. Though it’s fun in a way…you see so many students at the same time in the same room! Amazing!

Yet there is still one thing I never appreciate about summer coming: the awareness you suddenly have of people leading a personal war against proper hygiene…

Discussions of a team building at work. Can’t wait to go and have fun, forget about everything for a short while…My colleagues are truly a wonderful, crazy, fun to be with, amazing bunch! I am quite sure that if or when I change companies, it will be harder than it has ever been for me…Almost a year here, full of events, laughs and sad stories, all bygones.

Today I celebrate exactly a year since my first email sent to K. We were exchanging music, mp3 lists and movie lists…Had no idea of what will follow…Hope to see him today (awake that is) and remind him of it! He’s been so busy lately that I doubt it won’t be just something murmured with my eyes closed, few seconds before falling asleep again.

Falling asleep
Dreaming of you, angel…
(new Morandi song…Amazing how they launched a song about loosing one’s partner just when we’re facing the possibility of leaving in different cities…Well, I am not loosing him, I’ll just take very frequent trips in the near future :))

posted by Alina @ 11:39 AM   4 comments
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Are you proud to be a Romanian?
Most of the times I am not. It took a link sent via Yahoo IM to remind me I am actually part of a people that can sometimes give the world unique individuals who completely change the world and make it go round in a better way. Yeah, it took some Romanian words with and American-like twisted pronounciation and a intelligently funny way of putting facts into context to make me remember why I sometimes think this country was not at all a bad choice for a birth place :). Oh, and forget about the hidden beer advertisment, it can be ignored

Click here!

If you cannot watch it through this link, Raluca has also posted a version here.
posted by Alina @ 2:37 PM   7 comments
Want to read about travel & tourism?

Today I’m back at work. Thank God, I am having quite an easy Saturday. As I felt I was getting a little bit bored and was just wasting time, I started thinking what search I should run with Google. And as I thought one never knew where life would take one and thus I might end up actually mixing Journalism and Tourism, I thought I should take a look at some travel and tourism magazines, for starters.

I quickly got to a site having quite a list of travel magazines and started to check them out. After giving up on all the sites whose graphics I disliked, those too complicated to actually find the needed links and also those that only referred to area/country-based guides, I got to this interesting list:

Destination Elsewhere – the online travel & culture magazine

Go Nomad – The Alternative Way to Travel

National Geographic Traveler

Road Junky – For the Traveler Who Knows Where it’s at

Travel and Leisure

Travelmag – The Independent Spririt

What I found and did not quite like was a magazine called JourneyWoman – The Premier Travel Resource for Women. Well, the red they’ve used is quite ugly to me, I am very hard to please with red shade choices, it’s hard to access the different pages as the display is totally messed up and finally, what made me question this site, what do harts have to do with women traveling? It is mostly about travel, not romance, although it has a Love is in the Air section The idea of a dedicated magazine for women is quite good, but from that to calling your search engine “Her” is a long way to go, not in the right way, might I add…

What I did enjoy about the site was the Culturally Correct Clothing Advice. Well, yes, this mostly applies to women, men can wear pretty much whatever they want and no one would say much. But for women, this might turn into a serious issue.

posted by Alina @ 12:02 PM   2 comments
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Another step in finding the others
Are we alone? The question haunting some of us. New discovery reported by NY times seems to bring us a step closer to finding new acquaintances:

A team of European astronomers said yesterday that they had found one of the closest analogues yet to our solar system: three planets and an asteroid belt circling a pale Sun-like star about 42 light-years away in the constellation Puppis.

The third planet, about 18 times the mass of Earth, circles at a distance of about 60 million miles, within the star's so-called habitable zone, where the temperatures would allow the existence of liquid water, the authors said.

The planet is still too big to be considered Earth-like, and is probably shrouded in hydrogen like Neptune or Uranus, and so is an unlikely environment for life. "Nevertheless," Christophe Lovis, of the University of Geneva and lead author of the group, wrote in an e-mail message, "this discovery opens the way to the detection of even smaller planets in the near future."

More on the planet, the method used to discover it and the dangerous life possible inhabitants would have available here.

We've been obsessed with the idea of finding new life forms for a long time. But thinking of the still present issues of accepting different people, I wonder how would we react to an entire new life form? How would our prejudices act? Would we be completely judgmental, would we point our guns to them and keep them under close supervision until we find out which their intentions are (this instead of simply asking)? Would we be completely breathless and speechless when seeing what they know and how they live? Or would we simply dismiss them as not cool enough?

Somehow I have always dismissed the "end of the world" vision of the moment when aliens would decide to drop by and say hello.
posted by Alina @ 1:17 PM   0 comments
Volcano eruption in Indonesia

A country with 129 active volcanoes; what can safety mean there? Something a lot more easy to loose and worthy of treasuring.

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Red-hot lava began flowing from the crater of Indonesia's rumbling volcano Mount Merapi early Thursday as vulcanologists warned residents an eruption may be imminent.
It last erupted in 1994, sending out a searing cloud of gas that burned 60 people to death. More here.

Photo via GoogleNews
Earlier yesterday, farmers journeyed high up Merapi’s slopes collecting grass for cows and children kicked footballs - both within a six kilometre (3.7 mile) radius zone declared off-limits when the mountain was placed on its highest alert Saturday.

"There is nothing to worry about here," said Warkijho, a 55-year-old farmer who has refused to leave.
posted by Alina @ 1:05 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Reasons to travel
Shi has highlighted this weekend’s travel section of New York Times on his blog. A series of interesting articles about countries famous writers have visited and past or present urges to travel and the books that stimulate them.

I travel because I love it. I’ve always wanted to see new countries and meet new people. My passion for such adventures has been triggered by everything: magazines, books, movies, photographs, everything showing a new place of the world. I haven’t been to that many countries yet; my short list includes Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Italy (Rome and surrounding areas only) and Turkey (Istanbul only). But I still have plenty of time.

Which countries have you visited? Do you like traveling? And why exactly do you want to travel?
posted by Alina @ 2:35 PM   8 comments
Friday, May 12, 2006
Email that made me laugh early in the morning

SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows and you give one to your neighbour.

COMMUNISM:You have 2 cows; the Government takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM:You have 2 cows; the Government takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM:You have 2 cows.The Government takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM:You have 2 cowsthe Government takes both, shoots one, milks the other and throws the milk away...

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM:You have two cows.You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION:You have two cows.You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow dropped dead.

A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows.You go on strike because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION:You have two cows.You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called Cowkimon and market them World-Wide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION:You have two cows.You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION:You have two cowsBut you don't know where they are. You break for lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION:You have two cows.You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION:You have 5000 cowsNone of which belong to you. You charge others for storing them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION:You have two cows.You have 300 people milking them. You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported the numbers.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION:You have two cows.You worship them.

AN IRISH FARMER:You have two cows.You claim government subsidies for eight cows
posted by Alina @ 8:34 AM   8 comments
Thursday, May 11, 2006
It is not a problem, it is a feature of life

There is a Romanian saying that a problem never comes alone. Well, it is quite true, they have this habit of coming in groups, just like girls going together to the bathroom. Well, thank God only one of the issues is real, unsolvable and long lasting. The rest are just issues with I have with myself.

DeSales exam is gone. One down, a lot more to go. And this is my last day at work before 5 days off to have all the time in the world for my final paper. And I should be clear minded and think only of this. But there’s this dark cloud following me everywhere, a little like the one over the Adams’ residence (at least this is how I imagine it), drawing all my attention and thoughts.

At least I took a decision, the least harmful of all. And it will soon be a year. A year since you’ve been brought to me by this very blog…How time flies!

posted by Alina @ 8:08 AM   4 comments
Friday, May 05, 2006

At the office. Coffee nearby, one eye at the chat request window. The little beeping window that makes a sound I will never forget each time I get a new request. I have taken some dramatic decisions today. I often do, rarely keep them, but at times I do manage to get all my focusing, my determination, my brains and my patience together, “my game”, to accomplish amazing things. I am simply hoping it will also work this time.

All is set, study leave, normal leave of absence, all set to give me time for my non-office projects. Books all around, all the materials I need, just waiting for me to start paying them all the needed attention. I am going home tomorrow morning. Have a ton of places to be in, also an important final exam in Microeconomics on Tuesday…The DeSales exam that will bring me a nice little Microeconomics certificate with the “USA” brand that we value so much here, still…

I am planning to take the train tomorrow, in order not to waste the road time. With the minibus I cannot read cause I get car sick if I try to. But with the train that does not happen. I am hoping to do more then just study for that exam. I have big plans. I have big plans for the next two and a half years. Plans on what to study and what exams to finally take, plans on how much money to save, plans for each detail of my life…

I am an extremely good planner. Keeping the promises I make to myself is harder. I wonder where exactly I got this laziness from? From my parents, most unlikely? From my own character and abilities? Most surely! I can study faster then others, I can write papers faster than others and this has always turned against me. I never take my time, I just leave it all for the last moment. Up to now it has worked, but I don’t want to use it anymore…I still have more time than I would need under the circumstances for all my exams. Maybe this time I will sleep late the day of the exam, not wake up at 5 to learn most of the things required.

I am 24 years old, I should have enough determination to change myself, to change my habits. Funny, when I plan it, it never seems so hard! :)

Anyway, today I feel guilty. A lot of guilt. I feel I have kept letting my mom, myself and all my teachers and professors down ever since finishing high-school. I only do the minimum, what is needed to get over it. Sometimes the minimum is above average, even a 10 grade (A as a correspondent). Yet it is not my very best….On so few occasions have people seen my very best!...It is such a waste!

I feel certain things have been given to me for a reason, to do something with them…Not necessarily to change the world, but to give as much as I was given to. To work at full capacity…I rarely do that…50% is more than enough, almost always…But I do want people to praise me for what I accomplish…It is a lot sometimes, but I need the praise because I feel it actually is so little…

posted by Alina @ 8:54 PM   9 comments
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
So we love our garbage…
Walking the streets of Bucharest and of a whole bunch of other cities/towns/communes/villages I have reached this conclusion: Romanians love their garbage so much that they have a hard time letting it go, so hard that they have to practically live in it every day.

We spit on our streets, we urinate on them or worse, we throw papers, food, cigarette ends, plastic bottles, other types of bottles, clothes, condoms, shoes, everything is good to throw in each corner. Each little amount of land that does not have building on it and round the clock guards is the new trendy garbage stashing place…

And it is in our blood already! If a girl is giving people flyers in the city centre, then on a 10 square meter area you will find differently folded versions of that particular flier thrown away. In a supermarket, if they give glasses or small plastic bottles of free drinks, you will then find them left lying around everywhere…

One would think this behavior is caused by the fact that we do not have enough garbage bins. Oh, we do…Lots of them. Well, half of them are destroyed by good-willing people and are constantly replaced (in high exposure areas) or not… So you might actually do the gesture of throwing something into a bin and find it will still get on the street…

So who cares that the air around you smells like expensive perfumes, both men’s wear and women’s wear…Just look down for a second and you will get a feeling of the real atmosphere, full of garbage, spreading a strong, disgusting smell.
posted by Alina @ 12:36 PM   8 comments
Monday, May 01, 2006
No download link???
As you all know, it hasn’t been that long since I got my camera. Hey, it’s only been about 5 months. Well, after five months I decided that simply point-and-shoot didn’t quite do it for me and I was interested in more professional pictures. As I hadn’t received a user guide with the camera because of the stupid shop employees, I did what I normally tried when I needed to download a user guide: went online.

The first site I tried was of course Canon’s very own. Hey, you couldn’t get a better place to download than the producer’s site! Well, actually that did not work as Canon did not have a download section for user guides…You’d expect to have that chance after having paid 500 euros on a camera. Think again!

Later on, after useless searches that only led to “purchase the guide” sites, K remembered he had downloaded a guide for his Canon camera. So we opened that page, K got the exact name of the guide and replaced the model, pressed search on Google and viola! A nice English version was then downloaded to a computer.

Now, I have been trying to get to the reason why Canon does not have downloadable user guides…Do they think non-customers would download them? Does it cost to much to have some links added to your site which would probably bring more visitors, given the large number of careless salespersons? Don’t they know that they often depend on people that will misplace the price covered manual to sell their products? Maybe it’s one of these. Still not a good enough reason for me, as a nice little customer.

So folks, here is how the possibility to download the user guide has suddenly become an important advantage offered by digital camera producers…
posted by Alina @ 9:40 AM   7 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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