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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Japanese Garden
Silviana and I decided we should have a Japanese Garden in our new apartment. You know, sand, stones, neatly designed models on the sand. The real deal.

It will however be a miniature garden, somewhat like the photo below. And it will probably also host my cactus, Kimmy, and her bamboos. Not quite traditional, I know, but there’s no other more appropriate place in the house for them.

Now, my room will be a mixture of Japanese culture, Turkish symbols, modern technology (my laptop), lots of light and whatever else I can put my mind to. Sounds just about right, don’t you think?

In other words, I am waiting for the sun to finally show up for work. The weather reports stated he should be in by now. But he's not. Has anyone seen him?

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posted by Alina @ 1:35 PM   7 comments
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Fun Time Again
For you to enjoy and for me to feel better :P



posted by Alina @ 2:22 PM   4 comments
A New Apartment
Silviana and I were really lucky yesterday. At 7 pm we reached the first apartment we were supposed to see. Before going up, the real estate agent called the owner. He was kind enough to tell he had already rented the apartment half an hour ago. Bummer!

We went to meet another agent and see another apartment. It was in a way better area than this one. We went in, talked to the owners and also fell in love with the place. We also closed the deal. We paid the agent last night and the owner today. We've got ourselves a nice little place! Not very expensive for what it offers (we have air conditioning, can you imagine what that will mean this summer?) and it's about 15 minutes from where I live now. All peachy!

We're moving on March 1st. A lot of packing and a lot of baggage carrying will follow. But starting next Monday, it will all be settled. As soon as I manage to arrange everything, I'll post some photos of the new place.

After agreeing to move there, I started to feel really sad. It is final, I am moving out from a place I really love and far from memories of many happy moments. Of course this was a great time to remember each smile and all the laughter the apartment was filled with. Luckily for me, Silviana stayed for a sleep over, so I felt a little better. Now that the melancholy has passed, I am thrilled we managed to get it all solved so quickly.

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posted by Alina @ 12:02 PM   0 comments
Monday, February 26, 2007
Romanian Real Estate Companies
There are plenty of those in Bucharest. More than you can imagine. However, that does not mean all of them have a clear idea that they make money from the commissions their customers pay. So rudely hanging up on a potential customer is not such a big deal for them. After all, who cares?

This attitude might shock you at first. But after you think for a few minutes, it is all quite clear. The demand for apartments (to rent or to buy) is almost inelastic. People need a place to live in and the prices are always growing. As living in the North Station or at a hotel are really not viable alternatives, customers depend on agencies to find an apartment for them. Or to find buyers or tenants.

For such an agency, both the owner and the buyer/future tenant have to pay a commission. The issue is that returning customers are a factor to consider. So, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll act nice. Tenants don’t stay forever, so you may gain customers that always come to you when they need to move. Maximize your profit, that’s the idea! Yes, customers are pretty much everywhere, but what if some other company manages to turn most of them into return customers?

Now, some more complaining: I hate calling hundreds of people for hundreds of ads! I hate that the ads are already obsolete on the day the ad paper is published, that very morning, not later in the day. OK, now I feel better. Back to my search!

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posted by Alina @ 2:09 PM   4 comments
My Visual DNA Report

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posted by Alina @ 8:46 AM   0 comments
Sunday, February 25, 2007
You have to love weekends!
It started Friday evening. I left the office quite late, again. And went to my place with Silviana with one purpose in mind. Change my hair color :) Two hours later, lots of pain and lots of laughs, it is done. As my hair was all wet and I kinda fell asleep instantly, I did not see the results. I saw a little something at about 2 am (don't ask what I was doing up at that time, cause I still don't get it). Then in the morning I met the Morticia/vampire person/etc in me :D Yeah, my hair is all dark brow (almost black) again. Photos - coming soon.

I now look more like my mom, I remember daily that I wanted to live with the Apaches because of a book called Winnetou, and that I really like myself with darker hair.

Oh, I also managed to see "Monty Python and the Holly Grail" after two attempts that ended up with my falling asleep at the exact same moment of the movie. It is quite funny though, in a very silly kind of way. An interesting comedy that I recommend to you all.

Later on Saturday night I met Cris V. Had not seen her in ages and we wanted to have some tea in Carturesti. Tough luck, they were preparing for a nice little concert there. So we went to a little cafe we both knew, had pizza and tea and talked a lot. I loved the way she seemed so glow. She looked great and I could feel a certain strength and determination in her that have been growing in the meanwhile. Good for her! Do stay childish as you are, you are so at the right moments :)

For some unknown reasons (all being crappy around me: cold weather, lots of stress, lots of work and me translating all weekend, no significant other, no fun ahead, looking for a new place to move in, school has started etc), I feel great lately. It all hit me at a certain point: I did forget myself for feelings I considered wrong at the time, for not doing everything I wanted. I've been feeling happy and free. I feel the world is at my feet and that it will all keep going from great to even better than that.

Also, I would like to congratulate myself for reading as much as I had planned to during the first two months of 2007. The target I had set was of at least 3 books per moth. Up to now, I've been doing great, I will even receive bonus points for February :)

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posted by Alina @ 10:24 AM   4 comments
Friday, February 23, 2007
Selected Short Stories, Joseph Conrad
I hear of Joseph Conrad in a movie. Yes, you can find good tips on what to read next practically everywhere. So on my next trip to the Dalles (Noi) bookstore, I stopped at the English section and looked for something by him. This is how I found "Selected Short Stories".

They are stories speaking of inner daemons, of going crazy, of love, of peasants and aristocrats, of patriots and anarchists, of children and grown ups, of exotic places and strange people, and more often of life on great ships wandering on the seas and oceans of Earth.

Although everything is described in great detail, each shade, each feeling, each glance and word, Conrad's stories never seem to limit the extent to which one can use their own imaginations to build around the stories one is reading. The great waves seem to touch one's skin, the desperation and ultimate joy seem to make room into one's heart. And all the magical colors of distant lands seem to be brought to life.

Escapism. You are no longer in a train, crowded and with all the alarms of personal space invasions screaming in your head. You are traveling in a small boat on a great river, hunting crocodiles and talking to a fierce Malay whose beloved wife is about to die. You are walking free in a world of superstitions, in perfect cohabitation with new ideas. You have haunted friends, acquaintances who wear a daily mask of fortitude.

You see the weak, those fearing their own chances to a better life. And those accepting every challenge with an ironic smile on their face. Those denying nothing and those denying everything. A beautiful, mad world.

About the Author

Józef Teodor Conrad Korzeniowski was born on 3 December 1857 in the Russian occupied city of Berdyczów, Ukraine. He was the only child born to Evelina Bobrowska (1832–1865) and Apollo Korzeniowski, (1820–1869) patriot, writer, and translator of such authors’ works as Victor Hugo’s and William Shakespeare’s.

As a child he dreamed of a life at sea and of seeing the great Black Continent. He grew up to become a master mariner and at the same time a great writer. More on Joseph Conrad here.

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posted by Alina @ 9:16 AM   4 comments
Each morning...
...I wake up at 6 am and change my alarm to 6.30, allowing myself a little more lingering. I get up in 5 or 10 minutes and get on with my day. Get ready for work and go to the subway station. It is always crowded and my only concern is to have enough space to keep my book open. Sometimes, reading in such trains is quite a challenge.

What I did notice lately was more people reading books while taking the subway train. Less papers and just empty stares. People actually read. Different ages, different books, some really soapy. But people do read. There are still those giving me killer looks because I dare keep my book open in a crowded train. Or those giving me ironic looks, of people thinking I read just to seem cool. But their numbers are decreasing.

Today, I was rushing to my office, almost running. I was not even close to late. But it was severely windy. Then, an hour later, I looked outside the window. It's bright, surrounded by warm sunlight.

It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away

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posted by Alina @ 9:02 AM   2 comments
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Song of the Day
To the Child in me, to the True me, to the Wild me, to everything I am and I sometimes choose to forget. To my dreams, passions and wishes. To all my teachers and my guides. And to all those who told me not to change and to never allow myself to he tamed.

Hoobastank - The Reason

i'm not a perfect person. there are many things i wish i didnt do
but i continue learning. i never meant to do those things to you.
and so i have to say before i go, that i just want you to know

i've found a reason for me, to change who i used to be
a reason to start over new, and the reason is you

i'm sorry that i hurt you, its something i must live with everyday
and all the pain i put you through, i wish that i could take it all away
and be the one who catches all your tears, thats why i need you to hear

i'm not a perfect person, i never meant to do those things to you
and so i have to say before i go that i just want you to know

i've found a reason for me, to change who i used to be
a reason to start over new, and the reason is you
i've found a reason to show a side of me you didnt know
a reason for all that i do, and the reason is you
posted by Alina @ 6:30 PM   0 comments
A Little Fun, Pretty Early in the Morning
Click on the photos to enlarge.


posted by Alina @ 9:51 AM   2 comments
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Song of the Day
Another lost and found...

First I loved it because of you, then I loved it because of me...

Apart from Bolero, Seasons and other classics from my ballet lessons, along with Queen and other treasures played by my father, this is one of my earliest favorite songs. I discovered it when I was 10. It was the first song I fell in love with that was not played by my father or during my ballet classes.

So I leave you with the lyrics of "Wind of Change" - Scorpions

I follow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change
An August summer night
Soldiers passing by
Listening to the wind of change

The world closing in
Did you ever think
That we could be so close,like brothers
The future's in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change

Walking down the street
Distant memories
Are buried in the past forever

I fallow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change

The wind of change blows straight
Into the face of time
Like a stormwind that will ring
The freedom bell for peace of mind
Let your balalaika sing
What my guitar wants to say

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change

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posted by Alina @ 8:45 PM   2 comments
The Picture of Dorian Gray - a few thoughts

I started to read “The Picture of Dorian Gray” because I was curious. I knew a bit about the idea of the novel from school, which was then trivialized by a certain movie, but I thought I should really read the book, as I was sure it bore more meaning than a few details in a school book or a fugitive character in a Hollywood movie. And I was right.

The book reveals views (different, contradictory, innovating, challenging) on everything that matters: life, art, relationships, people, artists, sins, souls. And the quotes I chose open a window into the wonders of this book and will make you want to read it. At least I hope so.

What surprises me most about this book is that it is impossible to loathe or simply dislike Dorian. An innocent, impressionable young man, corrupted by too much flattery, strange ideas and yes, certain books. Subjected to a very cynical idea of life and how it should be lived, his dreamy mind and his pure soul end up loosing everything that is good, turning to way of life too dreadful to be described in detail.

The illusion of youth and beauty, the ability to go on unmarked by what you do and who you have become, all sustained by a society treasuring money and looks only, all of these give him the benefit of doubt.

There is another interesting question: who has corrupted Dorian Gray? The painter who worshiped him and made him think exterior beauty has a very high price? The lord who filled his mind with dangerous ideas and gave him poisoning books. Who also gave him the impression all that is good will not outlast his beauty and youth? Or was it Dorian Gray, because he never tried to filter the ideas or principles shown to him as relevant? His own calling to be shallow?

Or maybe all of them. As they are all punished somehow. And which is the biggest punishment? Death or living without your dear ones, with the burden of what you have done?

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posted by Alina @ 9:26 AM   6 comments
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Today's thought
In order to happen, each event needs a right time, a right place and the right circumstances. Trying to make it happen without these compulsory requirements leads to failure. Sooner or later, but failure nonetheless.

Of my needs and my goals: remember a certain Sonique song...

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posted by Alina @ 8:34 PM   7 comments
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Quotes
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray

there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

Intellect is in itself an exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face. The moment one sits down to think, one becomes all nose, or all forehead, or something horrid. Look at the successful men in any of the learned professions. How perfectly hideous they are! Except, of course, in the Church. But then in the Church they don’t think.

There is a fatality about all physicaland intellectual distinction, the sort of fatality that seems to dog through history the faltering steps of kings. It is better not to be different from one’s fellows. The ugly and the stupid have the best of
it in this world. They can sit quietly and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat. They live as we all should live, undisturbed, indifferent, and without disquiet. They neither bring ruin upon others nor ever receive it from alien hands.

You know how I love secrecy. It is the only thing that can make modern life wonderful or mysterious to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it.

the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception necessary for both parties.

every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is
not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the colored canvas,reveals himself.

A man can’t be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

If one puts forward an idea to a real Englishman,— always a rash thing to do,—he never dreams of considering whether the idea is right or wrong. The only thing he considers of any importance is whether one believes it one’s self.

the value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it. Indeed, the probabilities are that the more insincere the man is, the more purely intellectual will the idea be, as in that case it will not be colored by either his wants, his desires, or his prejudices.

There is nothing that art cannot express

The harmony of soul and body,—how much that is! We in our madness have separated the two, and have invented a realism that is bestial, an ideality that is void.

We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty.

Those who are faithful know only the pleasures of love: it is the faithless who know love’s tragedies.

‘There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral,—immoral from the scientific point of view.’
‘Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly,—that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals,the terror of God, which is the secret of religion,—these are the two things that govern us.

I believe that if one man were to live his life out fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream,—I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal,— to something finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man among us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of atemptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

People say sometimes that Beauty is only superficial. That may be so. But at least it is not so superficial as Thought. To me, Beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

Nowadays people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.

It is only the sacred things that are worth touching

People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves.

There were poisons so subtle that to know their properties one had to sicken of them. There were maladies so strange that one had to pass through them if one sought to understand their nature. And, yet, what a great reward one received! How wonderful the whole world became to one! To note the curious hard logic of passion, and the emotional colored life of the intellect,—to observe where they met, and where they separated, at what point they became one, and at what point they were at discord,—there was a delight in that! What matter what the cost was? One could never pay too high a price for any sensation.

Soul and body, body and soul—how mysterious they were! There was animalism in the soul, and the body had its moments of spirituality. The senses could refine, and the intellect could degrade. Who could say where the fleshly impulse ceased, or the psychical impulse began?

It was the passions about whose origin we deceived ourselves that tyrannized most strongly over us. Our weakest motives were those of whose nature we were conscious. It often happened that when we thought we were experimenting on others we were really experimenting on ourselves.

no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested. If you want to mar a nature, you have merely to reform it.

There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating,—people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.

There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.

The one charm of the past is that it is the past.

The past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial, or forgetfulness could do that. But the future was inevitable.

But it appeared to Dorian Gray that the true nature of the senses had never been understood, and that they had remained savage and animal merely because the world had sought to starve them into submission or to kill them by pain, instead of aiming at making them elements of a new spirituality, of which a fine instinct for beauty was to be the dominant characteristic.

As he looked back upon man moving through History, he was haunted by a feeling of loss. So much had been surrendered! and to such little purpose! There had been mad wilful rejections, monstrous forms of self-torture and self- denial, whose origin was fear, and whose result was a degradation infinitely more terrible than that fancied degradation from which, in their ignorance, they had sought to escape, Nature in herwonderful irony driving the anchorite out to herd with the wild animals of the desert and giving to the hermit the beasts of the field as his companions.

Society, civilized society at least, is never very ready to believe anything to the detriment of those who are both rich and charming. It feels instinctively that manners are of more importance than morals, and the highest respectability is of less value in its opinion than the possession of a good chef. And, after all, it is a very poor consolation to be told that the man who has given one a bad dinner, or poor wine, is irreproachable in his private life.

For the canons of good society are, or should be, the same as the canons of art. Form is absolutely essential to it. It should have the dignity of a ceremony, as well as its unreality, and should combine the insincere character of a romantic play with the wit and beauty that make such plays charming. Is insincerity such a terrible thing? I think not. It is merely a method by which we can multiply our personalities.

Each of us has Heaven and Hell in him

But youth smiles without any reason. It is one of its chiefest charms.

There were sins whose fascination was more in the memory than in the doing of them, strange triumphs that gratified the pride more than the passions, and gave to the intellect a quickened sense of joy, greater than any joy they brought, or could ever bring, to the senses.

There are only two ways, as you know, of becoming civilized. One is by being cultured, the other is by being corrupt.

Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.

The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.

Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly-built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe, and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of color in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings strange memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play,—I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.

There was a God who called upon men to tell their sins to earth as well as to heaven.

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posted by Alina @ 2:27 PM   4 comments
Monday, February 19, 2007
Team Building Weekend
The AXIGEN team had a three-day team building experience in Predeal, a beautiful mountain resort in Prahova Valley. So that explains my silence over the weekend. I was busy climbing Everest, aka Chomolungma. Yes, that is right, the name of our adventure was "Conquering Everest"!

We left Bucharest on Friday, with a bit of delay, but still, before 10 am. About 3 hours later we were in Predeal, checking in. The hotel's name was Eden. A good name I think, given the fact that you might reach the real Eden if you try climbing such a dangerous mountain. After lunch, we started making money for the trip. Divided into 7 teams of six, which then formed 3 larger teams, we spent about 5 hours outside, trying to get the sum we needed, about 3000 dollars.

Team names? Well, mine was called Undisclosed Recipients. The others were Highlanders, No Name, Faith, Nepal Death, AxiGentoo and Galactics. I loved them all!

Did I mention it was quite cold and that there was a lot of snow? Oh, and that it was, for most of us, the first real encounter with winter and its cold weather this year? Still we managed quite well. And pleasantly surprised myself with the courage and initiative I had to go running around Predeal to get crazy things like used train tickets or yesterday's paper. I was not alone in this. My team-mate Serban convinced a taxi driver to lend us his spare tire for about 5 minutes, while the rest of the gang collected insects (live ones), paintings, spoons, mirrors etc.

We then had dinner and a nice little party with music and lots of drinks. I had to say pass though because all that running around got me really tired and I hadn't had that much sleep before getting there.

The second day was dedicated to the actual ascension. Which happened indoors :) We had a map, our budgets (Undisclosed Recipients had 3070 dollars), a list of supplies we could buy, people we could hire and a nice little old man giving tips and tricks for a certain amount of time spent with him. and John Powers who was buying rocks from the top of the mountain, 10000 dollars a kilo.

The purpose of the game "Make as much money as possible". And the fun part started. No Name won (with about 200.000 dollars), Undisclosed Recipients was second, with 170310 dollars. And two teams died out there. What we really didn't understand was the actual purpose. Which did not mean a team should win as much as possible. No, it was all about the whole team of AXIGEN coming back with the largest amount possible.

Yes, we can all see it now, it was a genuine team building game. Designed to make you wonder a little, learn something and also have some fun. And we had lots of fun, that was the greatest achievement of the game, if you asked me.

The meals at the hotel were not that hot. But not half bad either. However, we went to "Taverna Sarbului" (Serbian's Den) on Saturday night and to "Cabana Schiorilor" on Sunday, both in Sinaia. And that my friends was pure pleasure.

There were no extreme sports this year. But the two trips to Sinaia compensated, they did so more than enough. Our huge bus drove on some roads I wasn't sure I would drive on with my tiny Little Mushroom. There were moments when we all stopped breathing. And the guys also had to move a car (lift it and move it to the left) .

All in all, it was a great experience. I was really glad I could manage some real outdoor action. And learn some really interesting details on mount Everest.

The rest of the photos here!

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posted by Alina @ 10:02 AM   3 comments
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Global Worming Art - A New Way to Look at Environmental Problems

"Like all sciences, the study of climate change relies upon a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the data. It is the goal of Global Warming Art to make some of that data accessible to the public through a collection of figures and images that accurately highlight and describe key issues necessary to understanding our world's changing climate."

"Global Warming Art is the result of a dream that the public and educators should have easy access to the same data and results that have framed the scientific discussion of global warming and climate change."

You can learn more about Global Warming Art here. Also, take a look at the images posted and read carefully all the explanations. It might look pretty, but it's not. it's cruel reality. And a great way to create awareness, to my mind.

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posted by Alina @ 4:35 PM   9 comments
11 Reasons I love my Mom for
  1. She is one of my best friends.
  2. She knows me better than anyone, thus always gives me the best advice when I ask for it
  3. She cooks everything I like when I go visit her and I feel really royal-blooded due to how she treats me. I practically do nothing. Just enjoy and relax.
  4. She likes eating at McDonald's from time to time.
  5. When I am not allowed to eat something, she does not eat it herself, so that I am not tempted to eat it anyway.
  6. If we share something (an orange, a cake, whatever), she always makes sure I get the bigger "half". If I feel guilty about it, she accepts half and when I'm done eating mine she asks if I want more, cause she can't finish hers alone.
  7. The name "Mami" said in a really childish tone suits her perfectly.
  8. When I really enjoy something she had prepared for me, she has a glowing light in her eyes and in that specific moment, she still sees me as an innocent and funny two year old.
  9. Over the years, we adapted our taste to eachother's likes and dislikes, so when one of us buys something, our opinions always match.
  10. I sometimes feel how much I am like her when acting, thinking or smiling in a certain way.
  11. At certain moments she still calls me "Tandarica". Hard to explain, it is something like a little piece of some broken wooden object. It has to do with my impressive height of course

This list could go on forever!

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posted by Alina @ 11:22 AM   10 comments
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Fun Time Again
Looking for the perfect woman? Then search no more!

Click here!

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posted by Alina @ 9:47 PM   7 comments
Monday, February 12, 2007
Reamonn Concert in Bucharest
Yes, Reamonn will come and play in Bucharest this summer. To be more precise, the end of June or beginning of July. Photo and information from EVZ.

I can't wait to go. So I will keep my eyes on music stores selling concert tickets. I have to get mine as soon as possible! I really don't want to risk missing it, as it happened with the Depeche Mode concert last summer. Luckily I was blessed with tickets a day before the concert.

See you all there! Well, at least I hope to see you all there! Looks like it will be a summer full of great concerts!

P.S. For those of you who have no idea who these guys are, let me tell you their first hit was Supergirl. It was launched seven years ago and it's been my trade-mark song for about four. And I am pretty sure I have posted the lyrics here at least once.

If that was not enough to convince you, their latest hit it "Tonight". Lyrics follow:

She never took the train alone
She hated being on her own
She always took me by the hands
And say she needs me
She never wanted love to fail
She always hoped that it was real
She'd look me in the eyes
and said believe me.
And then the night becomes the day
And there’s nothing left to say
If there's nothing left to say
Then something’s wrong.

Oh tonight, you killed me with your smile.
So beautiful and wild, so beautiful.
Oh tonight, you killed me with your smile.
So beautiful and wild so beautiful and wild.

And as the hands would turn with time
She'd always say that she was mine
She'd turn and lend a smile,
To say that she's gone.
But in a whisper she'd arrive
And dance into my life.
Like a music melody,
Like a lovers song.

Oh tonight, you killed me with your smile.
So beautiful and wild, so beautiful.
Oh tonight, you killed me with your smile.
So beautiful and wild, so beautiful and wild.

Through the darkest night
Comes the brightest light.
And the light that shines
Is deep inside.
It's who you are.

Oh tonight, you killed me with your smile.
So beautiful and wild, so beautiful.
Oh tonight, you killed me with your smile.
So beautiful and wild so beautiful... beautiful!

Oh tonight, you killed me with your smile.
So beautiful and wild, so beautiful and wild.
So beautiful and wild.
So beautiful and wild.

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posted by Alina @ 12:03 PM   5 comments
Summary of Weekend Activities
  • Took exam. French, if you are wondering. About 4 people copied everything I wrote, which was far from brilliant. I usually don't like people copying what others write, but given what our French classes looked like (a complete waste of time that is), I actually felt good knowing they would all pass.
  • Went to Carturesti. A bookstore and a tea house combined. I had a Japanese tea, sencha, cherry blossom. With a little honey. Simply delicious. It is the perfect place to shop for books, then read through them or simply read one you brought while having great tea and listening to beautiful music (it was jazz mostly when I went there with Silviana).
  • As none of my friends felt like going to a club, although we had been planning this for some time, we decided to go to the movies. We chose a really light one: the specifics were no need to think too much, funny, not complicated. So we saw Code Name: The Cleaner. Not even close to the best comedies I've seen, but the only one available on Saturday night. And it was quite fun to watch in the end.
  • As we were hungry, Silviana and I also had dinner before the movie. At a Lebanese place called Coltul Verde (Green Corner), conveniently placed on the same floor as the movie theater. Great food! Chicken with oranges and rice.
  • I eventually got to work on a translation on Sunday. Which was great, since it was kinda due this weekend. The not so great part is that I have not finished it yet.
  • Sunday night came and we went to Carmen. My first "live" opera, as the ones I've see were aired by the national TV channel years ago. It was a perfect way to end the weekend. A relaxing yet overwhelming experience. I have to do that again.

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posted by Alina @ 8:48 AM   5 comments
Friday, February 09, 2007
Ballet Night: Swan Lake
The Opera was simply full last night. No empty seats, no place to wander around during breaks, lots of people everywhere. They all came to see Swan Lake. A beautiful ballet. Moreover, the leading stars of the National Opera, Corina Dumitrescu and Ovidiu Matei Iancu, were Odette and Siegfried.

It was indeed a beautiful experience: beautiful costumes, exquisite music, and the ballet in itself, well I am speechless when it comes to praising it, as there are no proper words. This is one of the ballets they are always making a wonder of, unless others I have seen.
But! There is a but of course. They changed the prologue and the one I have seen 2 years ago seemed a bit better. Also, Swan Lake only highlighted the first-ballerina. Ovidiu Matei Iancu was there to make her look good most of the times. Not that there is something wrong with that, but I have seen them both at their best and it looks even more amazing.
It was great going there again and not being disappointed, as it happened last year. As for the photos, well, the opera does not have that many of the dancers, so, these are a few of what I found and liked online.

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posted by Alina @ 9:06 AM   5 comments
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Simply beautiful
Romania, of course!

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posted by Alina @ 5:09 PM   2 comments
HowTo: Use Fear of Terrorists to your Benefit
If you are sitting next to someone who irritates you on a plane or train or bus.............simply need more space around you......

1. Quietly and calmly open up your laptop case.
2. Remove your laptop.
3. Boot it.
4. Make sure the person who won't leave you alone can see the screen.
5. Open your email client to this message.
6. Close your eyes and tilt your head up to the sky.
7. Then hit this link:

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posted by Alina @ 3:28 PM   11 comments
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Romanians, threatened by smoking
"Smoking is a growing menace in Romania, as some 30% of Romania’s population smokes. World Health Organization estimates that there will be 10 million deaths occurring due to smoking , by 2030.

Most Romanians smoke because their friends smoke and because it is allowed everywhere. In the last years Romania witnessed an alarming growth in the number of smokers and most of them never consider the health hazards they expose themselves at." More details here.

I did smoke for quite a few years (with some breaks due to random decisions of quitting), and I must admit I did it because it was and interesting social gesture. Going out and meeting friends, smoking with them, it was something we shared. I then got over it and quit. About 2 and a half years ago.

Since then I've experienced some occasional mishaps, where I smoked a couple of cigarettes when going out, but mostly I kept it to a few cigarettes a year. I am convinced giving up smoking is not that hard. Then again, for some reason I was not addicted to the cigarette in itself, but to the habit of smoking when going out or meeting a friend at his/her place or mine. When I was alone, I hardly ever smoked.

Quitting is a good idea. And if health is not a good enough reason, others can be found. Experts can help and there are drugs that have some effect at least on a few. Trying is the first step and I am convinced more people should do it.

I look forward to smoking being banned in more areas and the law being strictly enforced. When it gets inconvenient, irritating instead of relaxing, I am sure smoking no longer seems so appealing. I wish my parents could quit. But as they said several times, the longer you smoke, the harder it gets to quit.

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posted by Alina @ 2:54 PM   8 comments
One in ten Bucharest citizens believe foreigners come to Romania for its beautiful women
"Citizens of Romanian capital Bucharest believe that Romania is attractive for foreign citizens due to its possibility to invest (35.3%), beautiful landscapes (15.9%), culture and traditions (10%) and the beautiful women here (9.7%), a new study shows.

Men named investment opportunities and the riches of the country in a larger proportion than women, while the latter leaned more to the quality of the Romanian people.

60% of those who named the beauty of Romanian women were male." Full story here.

Interesting findings, I might say. Beautiful landscapes and culture & traditions amount to about 25%. Maybe this will be a trigger, something to bring new ideas in what tourism is concerned. If Romanians are aware of the potential their country has, maybe they will also think of better ways to exploit it.

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posted by Alina @ 11:11 AM   3 comments
Monday, February 05, 2007

I hope not!

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posted by Alina @ 5:19 PM   10 comments
Sunday, February 04, 2007
On Secret Loves

Most of us fell in love with someone that never knew we existed. Someone we watched from afar, daydreaming and making plans based on what we thought of that person. The drama and pain of it, the pleasure and hope of it, the humiliation of it, these are all common places.

Inspired by Cristian’s story, I thought of writing mine, the story that started in 96. Of the first such love in my life. I was in the seventh grade, secondary school, I was 13 going on 14 and I was one of the kids running on the hallways of the I.L. Caragiale High-School (later changed to National College, although it was still a high-school mainly). It was a new custom among high-schools then to also have about 2 secondary school classes (intensive English and intensive French in our case), to form them in the Caragiale way. Admission was based on taking an exam in English, Maths and Romanian Literature and Grammer (it was the only time I was first on an admission results list).

So, I was facing the wonders of the high-school world, not from within and not quite from the outside, with the elitist feeling you get after being good enough to be accepted. We knew nothing of love and relationships, but we knew how to make fun of people kissing from our classroom's open windows. A pair doing so outside, during the break. Nothing weird, just that it was non-stop and we started to make fun. “Let her breathe” and “She already washed her teeth for the day, leave it be” were commonly used. I was on top of the game, screaming my lungs out. Then the guy turned around to say something not that nice to us. And then it was all over for me, I could say nothing…

He looked perfect. Tall, dark, long hair, like Ocean Summers of Trade Winds, if anyone saw that soapy short series. Of course, I saw the movie after falling in love, so it was actually the actor playing Ocean Summers who looked like him…

My habits changed: breaks meant chasing him around the school yard or on the hallways. Before that, I used to read during breaks, but afterward, going out (on sunny, snowy, rainy days, whatever…) in the yard just to see him was much better.

I even found out his name. By mistake. As someone called him and he said “yeah, what do you want?”. It was Edy. From Eduard, of course (yes, Romanian form of Edward). No name sounded better to me. I also found out what class he was in (followed him again), 12A, informatics.

My imagination and the stories and novels I wrote at the time were all going in circles around him. I was not in any kind of pain right then, I was just enjoying each moment when I could talk about him. Because of course I wasn’t the only girl in my class in love with an older student. We could all talk of our feelings freely.

On of them befriended his girlfriend and eventually met Edy (officially). She had nothing better to do then tell him I was in love with him. His reply was something that still brings thoughts of revenge to my mind. I was so upset! He was not supposed to know! Especially when it came to finding out like that! My dreams and hopes and stories were revealed, when I was trying so hard to keep them in a circle of secrecy, among a few going through similar experiences. I felt ultimately humiliated and deprived of what was mine and mine alone.

Anyway, the great adventure of happily watching and chasing him from afar could not last for ever. And the pain did come. Not because he had a girlfriend, she was really pretty and nice anyway. Not because he found out, as he forgot all about it almost instantly. Not because he was considered to be a ladies man and cheated on his girlfriend either. That was reality and had no connection with my image of him. The problem was summer came. And 12th grade also means the last year of high-school. You cannot imagine the amount of crying you could hear in our classroom in the last two weeks of school! I did my crying at home mostly, but still, I was always upset.

I saw him one more that summer, when I dragged my mom after me to see where he was going. She said nothing, she just got me a book I really wanted. I do love my mom for being so great with such a crazy daughter. The long summer without him (the sight of him actually) was not difficult. But when school started and I had to go back there and walk on the same hallways and not see him, that was the real tragedy of it all.

About 4 years later, I saw him again. Changed, but still gorgeous. He walked by me and it took a while for me to gather my thoughts and react somehow. I turned around, dragging my friend Diana with me, wanting to chase him again on the streets, wherever. Then I stopped and thought about it for a while, asking my self why would I give in to old impulses. So I just carried on with what I was supposed to be doing. It did not matter anymore, it was all gone...

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posted by Alina @ 3:22 PM   8 comments
Friday, February 02, 2007
In the Mood for Books
This article is old. But I happened to get a quote from it today, via YIM from Ryan. I got pissed off immediately. Well, I am not here to question Nintendo consoles or if they are a great pass-time or not. But I have to say the author has no idea how a book lover thinks or acts. So he should either pick a lot of books and read them until it feels natural, or simply never touch the subject again.

If you give me a good book and a Nintendo gadget and ask me to pick, I will surely pick the book. No other game playing device will make me change my mood so suddenly as the author states. I won't loose my interest in books just to win some bonus points and extra lives. Not everyone becomes a gamer when a game is in reach. Or they do, for a short while, then it dies out.

Tags: Books, Games, Nintendo

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posted by Alina @ 5:28 PM   3 comments
Hunting Manor in Miclosoara?

Every once in a while I amaze myself with how much I don’t know about my country. What is even more amazing is that some truly appealing travel destinations are never promoted. Thus, lots of Romanians don’t know about them. So it took a visit to CNN’s Travel Section to see this:

“There is only one count in this remote Transylvanian village of 512 souls nestled in the wilds of the Carpathian Mountains -- and it isn't Count Dracula.

Meet Count Tibor Kalnoky, a dashing 40-year-old entrepreneur and son of Transylvania descended from a noble family which settled in these misty lands in the 13th century and lived there until communism forced the family to flee.

Kalnoky's manor, which opened in 2001, lies deep in southern Transylvania, an area where myth and reality are loosely entwined. But you'll hardly hear a word here about Dracula, the Romanian warlord Vlad the Impaler or Bram Stoker's novels.

Instead Kalnoky lures guests with the old world of Transylvanian customs.

Many visitors come from Britain and the United States to feast on tasty fare of pork or chicken stew, mashed potato tinged pink by paprika pepper, home-baked cakes served by women dressed in traditional costume.

Dinner is washed down with red Romanian wine and guests are warmed by a roaring log fire in the wine cellar before snuggling into decades-old goose eiderdowns in rooms decorated faithfully in the style of the Szeklers -- the ethnic Hungarian minority to which Kalnoky belongs.

(Photo from here)

Take a hike in the hills and you may come across bears and wolves. Bird lovers can look out for eagles, black storks and woodpeckers. You can also travel in a horse and cart for a mountain picnic, cycle to nearby Transylvanian towns or visit the Kalnoky family hunting lodge. Just north of Miclosoara, there is the cave where the legendary Pied Piper lured the children of Hamelin.

When visitors return to the manor at sundown for dinner they are serenaded by Szekler music in the soft green drawing room, with antique furniture and dark wooden floors. It's low-key and relaxing.”

I wanted to learn more about Miclosoara and the manor, so I did a little research. Not much to find on Romanian sites though. But I did find this presentation of the Kalnoky hotel. Take a peak, it’s all fascinating. And a 49 Euro price for bed and breakfast is really cheap by Romanian standards, given there is no real competition in the area.

So, my immediate plan is to get there sometime soon. And then keep recommending it to Romanian and foreign tourists.

The CNN article is also mentioned on Core Target.

Labels: Tourism, Travel Destinations, Kalnoky Hotel, Miclosoara, Romania

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posted by Alina @ 1:26 PM   4 comments
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Is the Eternal Feminine at Bay?
Yesterday I came across another online magazine for women. I browsed through it, as I usually do with such magazines, and then I never return. Unless I am really bored and there is nothing else to do.

Their attitude does annoy me. Even if they are aimed at career women, the attitude is a bit wrong. They still promote diets. None focuses more on careers, on experiences, on real accounts on everything. They still all make a purpose of discovering what’s behind the masculine mind. Well I don’t care about that when reading such a magazine. I want to read about women. How they handle stuff. Not a psychologist’s opinion on how men think.

Anyway, back to the respective magazine. I loved the slogan: for women who successfully combine their career and family life. Great! I need some advice on that. Then I saw the sections. Career is fourth, after Home, Family and Beauty??? And the square in front of it has the ugliest, least attractive colors of all: a gray of some sort.

Then I read this article in the Lifestyle section. About successful business women in a man’s world. OK, enough of that. I am tired of people talking about how women become more and more like men when they handle important affairs. How the eternal feminine might be lost on the way to prove their independence, their leadership abilities etc.

Just because women want to do what men do does not mean they won’t bring in their own style. Yes, they might experience lack of time and everything, but as Cris said at a certain point, they still have similar issues when it comes to relationships and life in general. They won’t turn into copies of men in their field. Not all of them anyway. Some might!

So maybe a HowTo on how to stay a woman when doing a man’s job? That would be an interesting subject for me. Or maybe an extensive article about day care (or the lack of it) in Romanian companies? Or more statistics or employed women vs housewives. Or women’s salaries vs men’s salaries. Or Queen Bees in Romania. Do they exist? Single women and single mothers. How to handle all life’s responsibility on your own when clearly the stay at home option is not available? Maybe we should focus on that more and less on pathological fights within a relationship.

Tags: Women, Career Women, Family, Lifestyle, Garbo, Women's Magazines, Journalism

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posted by Alina @ 3:02 PM   9 comments
Song of the Day
Sting, Desert Rose, of the Lost and Found category

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of fire
Those dreams that tie two hearts that will never die
And near the flames
The shadows play in the shape of the mans desire

This desert rose
Whose shadow bears the secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume that would torture you more than this

And now she turns
This way she moves in the logic of all my dreams
This fire burns
I realize that nothings as it seems

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of rain
I lift my gaze to empty skies above
I close my eyes
The rare perfume is the sweet intoxication of love

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

Sweet desert rose
Whose shadow bears the secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume that would torture you more than this

Sweet desert rose
This memory of hidden hearts and souls
This desert flower
This rare perfurme is the sweet intoxication of love

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posted by Alina @ 11:02 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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