Monthly Archives: February 2011

lampa mananca ziar, blanda si analfabeta.

“Om-vagon, bou-vagon, tren cu baloturi de sila si ura

Sint copilul din Dodeskaden, cu ziare aprinse in gura.”

(Dinescu, Dodeskaden, in Moartea citeste ziarul, ’90)

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a moment of sincerity in the newsroom. :D

Reporter commenting on the stories that get the highest web hits, coming up with the perfect news story: “A cute kid and his accomplice dog go on a crime spree while trafficking in pot — and in a blizzard.”

Photographer: “I come here for the intelligent conversation. I stay for the smut.”

Copy editor 1: “Redundancy is our enemy.” Copy editor 2: “You can say that again.”

Reporter: “Oh! You smell good, what perfume is that?” Editor: “I think it’s eau du Redbull.”

On approaching ice storm: “Hoping for the worst, fearing for the best.”

Mother to son: “Honey, I’m a journalist. I’m allowed to say words like shit; it’s part of our cred.”

City editor: “My problem is, I don’t get off early enough to get drunk.”

Managing Editor: “We need a little more text to fill this space. If only two more arrests had happened.” Editor-in-Chief: “All right, people. Let’s make this happen.”

Reporter 1: “If you can turn water into wine, I’m going to start bringing jugs when we hang out.” Reporter 2: “Thus far, I’m afraid I can only turn bullshit into articles.”

Reporter to another who was not drinking caffeine: “Maybe you shouldn’t see it as coffee. Maybe you should see it as a vaccine against being a bitch.”

Columnist: “It’d be nice to have some tradition in the newsroom.” Graphics Editor: “We do – hard news and unabashed love for boozing and schmoozing, apparently.”

Engaged reporter debating whether to change her name after getting married: “I’m concerned about what it will do to my SEO.”

Reporter, who had to interview difficult strip club owner: “I was going to take a lap dance for the team.”

Photographer, talking about a new building next door: “That used to be where we could see the sunset. Now there’s no sunset.” Reporter: “I feel like there’s a journalism metaphor in there somewhere.”

Reporter 1 complaining about the Internet’s growing influence: “It’s the worst invention ever. All it’s done is give a voice to every asshole out there.” Reporter 2: “Yeah, it used to be only we newspaper assholes who had a voice.”

“I ain’t writing shit till I get some caffeine.”

Reporter on local town turning road into sledding hill: “I hope they make it slick enough to make it dangerous.”

Copy editor 1: “We have to rerun the Licensed to Wed tomorrow because we ran them today under Divorces.” Copy editor 2: “Anticipation.”

Print reporter returning from assignment: “I’ve tweeted it. I have my video and B-roll. I even have a podcast. Now if only I could figure out what my story is.”

Reporter: “It’s either Christmas trees and children or blood and gore. I love the holidays.”

Editor: “Did you want to do this story on Justin Bie-” Reporter: “No.”

Source: (Overheard in the Newsroom)

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play or die.

More here.

Expl.: After writing this feature story I’ve become obsessed with street art. :D

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snap snap: street photography.

“Love is in the air everywhere I look around,

Love is in the air with every sight and every sound…” (J. P. Young)

Note: When I first saw these two it seemed to me like they were kissing. LOL.

“What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?…” (W. H. Davies)

Note: He was walking in front of me and stopped to stare at those stencils…

“I’m a genie in a cup of japanese tea, baby,

Come, come, come on in and let me out…” :- )))

Note: Fortunately, that dude didn’t notice I was photo-experimenting on him.

Of course, this last photo just HAD to ruin my post’s perfectly related title. :D

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The multiple uses of Schrodinger’s cat. :D

Cine-ar fi crezut ca paradoxul pisicii lui Schrodinger poate avea si alte intrebuintari, in afara celor standard, din mecanica cuantica? Mai mult, unele dintre aceste “noi” intrebuintari pot fi catalogate cu usurinta drept… originale. De ce spun asta?  Pai, folosirea pisicii lui Schrodinger in alte scopuri decat mecanica cuantica e, cu siguranta, pe cat de haioasa, pe atat de… originala. :D

In episodul de azi: “How to seduce a woman using Schrodinger’s cat.” Seducatorul de serviciu: Simon Campos (il stiti din Lost/Stapanul Inelelor). Contextul cinematografic: nici Lost, nici Stapanul Inelelor, ci FlashForward. Comentariile mele: Way tooooo funny! :D Sursa inspiratiei/filmuletului: aici.

Ok, ok, n-am uitat regula de baza: chiar daca eu ador italiana, nu inseamna ca toata lumea simte aceeasi dragoste inflacarata. :D Prin urmare, sint generoasa:

Deci… E vie sau e moarta?

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a couple of shooting stars.

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies because we forget all the shooting stars. It dies because we forget how to build forts out of sheets. It dies because we forget all the dinkin’ sinkin’ inkin’ leather studded diamonds in a HD love chart. It dies of blindness and errors and decisions and distance. It dies of illness and wounds and distance; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing, of distance.” (Anaïs Nin)

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restrepo, another gestapo.

Take “The Hurt Locker” and make it real; there you have “Restrepo.” Never before has a documentary taken us so close to the war in Afghanistan. You’ll jump out of your seat as the mortars go off, the machine guns fire, and the platoon’s comrades fall under enemy attack. When the soldiers in the movie talk about their harrowing nightmares, they’re not just paying lip service. After you watch, you might just have those nightmares, too…

Restrepo, Directed by: Tim Hetherington & Sebastian Junger

Many fictional films attempt to recreate reality and make it into art, often asking us to project ourselves onto the characters.  When a filmmaker embarks on a documentary, they are essentially cutting out the middle man (the actors) and attempting to create art out of life as it is being lived. Restrepo, a war documentary of a new order, is an unassuming work of insightful journalism and people under stress.

Instead of analyzing the reasons behind the war in Afghanistan or the political implications of the war, the filmmakers (Hetherington and Junger) lived side-by-side with soldiers for a year in an attempt to intimately understand their experience. They accompanied a single platoon on a tour of duty in the dangerous Korangal valley, in which the soldiers – horribly exposed, and with a knowledge of the terrain so far inferior to the enemy’s that it was practically blindfold guesswork – had to build a forward outpost to establish their position. This they name Restrepo after one of their popular comrades, Private Juan “Doc” Restrepo, killed at the campaign’s outset. This defiant tribute springs from a need to impose their collective identity on this alien and menacing landscape.

In this context, it’s hard to imagine the courage it took to shoot the film armed with nothing but a camera as actual shots rang out around them.  The deaths and injuries in the film feel excruciatingly real, even those of the often overlooked Afghan civilians.  The death of “Doc” Restrepo reverberates through the film and haunts the rest of the soldiers.  They name their outpost in the valley after him, but its those home movies of him that bookend the film that shows how he is truly remembered.

Laughter in the dark … (Restrepo)

There is no criticism or political angle in “Restrepo”.  It is an exercise in visceral intimacy. And it isn’t an obviously political film. The whys and wherefores of the US presence aren’t discussed. The directors prefer to focus on the adrenalin and buzz of armed battle. Also, this is in no way an anti-war film, nor is it pushing any other sort of agenda. Restrepo just explores the human side of war – humanizing these soldiers is of the essence to hit home the directors’ point: these are people fighting our war.  A simple message, sure, but one that is most powerfully made by the actual people and not by actors. Being put right in the middle of one of the most violent war zones on Earth means that a shootout could happen at any moment, and it feels like it in this movie.  We watch the weary soldiers stalk through the mountains crouched and ready for battle, and it is consistently nerve-wracking.

Part of the intrigue of “Restrepo” is how familiar the soldiers are and how easy they are to identify with—each one seems like a friend’s brother or a student down the hall. They aren’t monsters but men in a high-pressure situation who, at times, display humor and camaraderie, as well as fear and vulnerability. Yet sometimes the soldiers might seem insensitive or crude, such as when they celebrate the shooting of an enemy plane and call their experiences under gunfire “the ultimate high.” Hetherington said in the discussion, “war is also very funny sometimes—that’s an awful thing to say.” Yet it rings true when one soldier says to another “hearts and minds,” and his friend jokes, “yeah, we’ll take their hearts and take their minds.”

Young soldiers are seeing troops being shot dead in front of their eyes. When Junger and Hetherington interview one of them about this experience, he breaks off mid-speech – and of course we, the audience, expect tears: it is a familiar moment in all types of documentary. But what is happening is more disturbing. The man has broken off in a kind of horror at remembering what he has clearly repressed until this moment. It is a flashback – that cinematic term widely applied to post-traumatic disorder.

“Yeah, we’ll take their hearts and take their minds…” (Restrepo)

The emphasis on objectivity and evasion of a clear political message is explained by the backgrounds of the film’s creators—journalist Junger and photojournalist Hetherington are both seasoned war correspondents. The two explained, “we wanted to relate the emotional terrain of war.” The film is almost entirely without music, except for a small handful scenes in which one private plays up-tempo yet mournful songs on the guitar that survives PFC Retrespo. Also, the nail-biting sequences are interspersed with interviews conducted after the event, which carry a concealed emotional charge. It is only from these that we can be certain which soldiers have survived. Yet one of the soldiers poignantly observes,  “I don’t want to not have these memories, because they’re the moments that make me appreciate all that I have.”

“Restrepo” is no “Fahrenheit 9/11” with hidden political devices and manipulations. It never even asks the men why they decided to join the army or what they think about the war. Neither is it a glorification of America’s military prowess. Hetherington’s theme of “exploration of young men and violence” helps contextualize the film. Restrepo is clearly a movie focused on the Americans’ fear and suffering, rather than the Afghans’, leaving the judgment up to us. The film is at its best when it shows the the soldiers taut with stress, and then the interviews that show their worn-down faces. Like the Best Picture winner before it, it succeeds because it doesn’t preach, but rather takes us to the edge of sanity and forces us to take a long look. It is a scary, moving and troubling film.

… and the final scene makes you break down not into tears, but into PURE ANGER. As for the title: “Restrepo, another Gestapo”… yes, by “Gestapo” I mean/I’m pointing out Sven Hassel’s novel.

Thanks to The Guardian, The Telegraph and The NY Times for nudging me into seeing this incredibly great documentary.

Have a look at the trailer for “Restrepo”:

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steppenwolf.

“Steppenwolf” is a poetical self-portrait of a man who felt himself to be half-human and half-wolf. This Faust-like and magical story is evidence of Hesse’s searching philosophy and extraordinary sense of humanity as he tells of the humanization of a middle-aged misanthrope. Yet, as the  back of my copy says, this novel can also be seen as a plea for rigorous self-examination and an indictment of the intellectual hypocrisy of the period. As Hesse himself remarked, “Of all my books Steppenwolf is the one that was more often and more violently misunderstood than any other.”

Keep in mind Hesse’s discontentment and let’s start with a little plot overview: Harry Haller is a reclusive intellectual for whom life holds no joy. He struggles to reconcile the wild primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises. His life changes dramatically when he meets a woman who is his opposite, the carefree and elusive Hermine. The tale of the Steppenwolf culminates in the surreal Magic Theater—For Madmen Only! And there the story comes to an end, a hallucinatory multi-layered climax, as Hermine introduces Harry to the Magic Theatre, which becomes an existential funhouse mirror through which Harry comes face to face with his predicament. Face to face with death. Face to face with the nature of the Steppenwolf.

Now: as you’ve already read in the first paragraph, Hesse believed the novel to be seriously misunderstood. Critic’s riled against the depravity and solemnity in it, where passages on drug-taking and sex where perceived as crude and unnecessary. However, clearly the novel was written in a very different vain. Take the introductory quote, which is taken from the Treatise. Critics fell into the same trap as the Steppenwolf; they disregarded the infinite depth of the character’s, indeed the novel’s, soul.

It is easy to see why the ideas contained in Herman Hesse’s novels had such an impact on Counter-Cultural Psychedelia (CCP.) Timothy Leary wrote of Hesse: “Few writers have chronicled with such dispassionate lucidity and fearless honesty the progress of the soul through states of life.” Indeed Leary saw the chronology of Hesse’s work as a meta-journey in themselves. But what is it in Steppenwolf that CCP owes so much to?

What was misunderstood by critics but grasped by Leary was the potentiality of the protagonist Harry Haller; who in this respect represented a version of the “inner dialogue” that goes on within each and every one of us. We limit ourselves to a course self-definition, a duality in the case of Steppenwolf, when the potential of our being is instead limitless. For CCP this was the literary device of the psychedelic experience. It was the unveiling of our potential experience of existence that was, for Leary, so in tune with not only psychedelic drug use, but counter-culture mentality. Breaking free of the chains that is society’s pre-determined structure; it’s facade dualities. The self-chaining individual for Hesse was the self-chaining society for Leary and both expound the necessity for limitless growth in the individual.

On the back of my copy of Steppenwolf, the blurb says  it is a “plea for rigorous self-examination and an indictment of intellectual hypocrisy.” With Hesse being one of the literary fathers of CCP it comes as no surprise that these two observations are so easily transferred into socio-political psychedelic philosophy. Where an affirmation of the individual is so often linked to the obliteration of intellectual and social dogma.

Steppenwolf is considered to be a semi-autobiographical work, reflecting the psychological problems Hesse was experiencing at the time of writing. It certainly seems plausible that it is no coincidence they share the initials HH. Also, Steppenwolf is a story told from 3 different perspectives; the reports of a relative of Haller’s landlady, a strange book given to Haller and Haller’s own diaries. The whole story speaks to our duality, that part of us we call “human” and the part the novel describes as “wolf,” or the shadow side we try to hide. But, as the book suggests, we are more than these two limitations. This novel shows more than the importance of finding an equilibrium between the two parts of us, that is the “human” and the “shadow” within. This is a chance to enter and to get lost in a bizarre environment where you may find that other dimension of yourself. This is another opportunity to accept that the world we see isn’t the only reality. That blurring line between what we think we know and what we sense gets less clear. And that is the good news.

I’m not going to give anything away here – not that there are many “spoilers” to concoct out of this novel. Hesse injects a whirl of thoughts and feelings, sometimes painful and possibly autobiographic, from the necessary tragedy of Romanticism to the bewildering transcendence of Eastern mysticism. While the climax may be highly conceptual and perhaps too ambiguous for some, I must say that I ate this book as if it were my last dinner: reverently. To make it short: I found this book quite hard to read, very heavy in places but beautiful in others. It is well worth persevering as the ending is extremely good. Whilst I wouldn’t go so far as some, who claim that the book changed their life, it is is nevertheless a rewarding and important piece of modern literature.

Book-quote: “We have to play what is actually in demand, and we have to play it as well and as beautifully and as expressively as ever we can.” (Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse)

You can find an extended plot overview here.

And – for no particular reason at all – this book goes perfectly with this song.

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play your accordion naked!

Ayn a scris un post din care n-am putut sa nu extrag asta. Uhh, well said! :))))

Unii oameni cred in inocenta lor ca e de ajuns sa lasi tu loc de buna ziua ca sa ti se spuna efectiv un frumos si cordial buna ziua in momentul cand parasesti un loc. Nu e cazul meu. In primul rand pentru ca eu nu prea obisnuiesc sa spun buna ziua. Cel mult spun buna. Si dupa aceea urmeaza ziua… evident, nu din gura mea.” Altfel spus, declar sapt. asta drept “Saptamana Minoritatii Celor Care Nu Se Sfiesc Sa Cante La Acordeon In… Pantaloni Scurti Albi (I think)” :D

Consecintele politetii pot fi sesizate cu usurinta in imaginea de mai jos: :))) Asta raspunde , de altfel, si intrebarii: “De ce arata asa – zi de zi – ora de varf (si nu numai) pe strazile din Bucuresti?”.  Evident ca… din prea multa politete! :D

Nota: Acest post nu instiga la mai putina politete, ci la mai multa naturalete. (:

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back to the future.

Haha, reading about pervasive computing is…

… almost like taking a glimpse into the future.

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