One of the best Romanian journalists wrote, a few days ago, a very good article. He says a few things that I believe to be true for a long time already.

In just one phrase: the general situation is bad in Romania if we take a theoretical perspective, but has never been so relatively good in practice. That's the simple truth.

We like to compare Romania with the country as it was 70 or 80 years ago, forgetting that inter-war Romania never had the international position of 2010's Romania and failing to see the discrepancies between the income levels of then and now. To complete that, some of us remind about the Communist Romania and a few of them believe it was better than today, ignoring in good science the absurd level of social control imposed by the regime. And also the discrepancies mentioned above. On the other hand, I don't imply things are good - they are relatively good. I know a lot of people making huge sacrifices in order to have a apparently normal life, and generally they are indebted for long years.

By the way, there is a very interesting site I recommend you. It is called GapMinder and you can access it by the link available on my blog. You can see on that site the differences of income levels and health for a certain country in long periods of time. Check out what happened to Romania since 1800 and see where we are now.

We like to complain. We complain a lot about everything here and about things getting worse. While bad signs do exist, the culture of complaining is new. Its origins can be placed immediately after 1990, thus immediately after the things began changing for the good. But this is not the only thing. Complaining about the "disastrous" situation of Romania was also the main weapon used by socialist politicians during the presidential elections last year. Interesting enough, it was also one of the instruments of control used by the former communist intelligence agencies.

And if you watched some of the most unfortunately prominent Romanian TV stations in 2009, what you could see was just aggressive complaining about the existing state of things. With a very political conclusion: "Băsescu is guilty!". Truth be told, the president might be guilty in some measure, but the owners of these TV stations and those who payed them , rather Socialists of sort, are much more so. A few millions of Romanians left the country in the past 20 years. I seriously doubt the fact that the premises for their emigration were created since November 2004.

I want to remind you, my dear readers, that stranum53 gave up his television set in 1998. It is the very same in the present. He did it for a good and simple reason: the reality he saw with his own eyes did not match anymore the "reality" depicted on the TV screens. I invite you to watch life through your own eyes, not through the eyes of some TV station and/or politician, whatever his name might be.

I also invite you not to take my word for granted and to check out for yourself. Your comments are, needless to say, welcome.


How to use fire extinguishers - the Romanian way

I want you to take a short look at the photo below. A week ago, Saturday, 8pm, Calea Victoriei.

If you do not get what I want to say by the photo, let me explain: somebody decided to protect "his turf" - the sidewalk in front of a certain building - from unwanted intruders: from cars, that is.

Well, that would not be so bad, although, as far as I know, the sidewalk is a part of the public domain. But consider this: the guy used fire extinguishers. Five fire extinguishers, to be more precise. On Calea Victoriei, in a portion where the normal speed of a car is about 50 miles per hour. And now, my question: let's suppose that a driver loses control of his car, or simply turns a little to the left, and touches only one of the extinguishers in the photo. Is that going to make for a primo kaboom or what?

And a final question: is there an institution, in Romania, dealing with how the fire extinguishers are used by other institutions? Fire department or anything? Cause if so, I'd like to tell the guys over there that somewhere on Calea Victoriei fire extinguishers are used not in order of preventing fire from a building, but of preventing cars from the sidewalk.

Mature, right?



I generally don't like this artist. Or, to set it straight, I dislike this artist.

This being said, I must admit one of her songs played an important part to me a while ago. During and just after breaking up with a person I genuinely loved.

I still listen to the song occasionally, and I never skip it when my randomized play-list decides it is time for its audition :) However, its role has changed now - it's no longer an affective support, but a reminder of a still recent past not yet fully forgotten.

And I don't quite like the video. The song, though, is worthy for a listen.


Bucharest by day

In a few words: lots of lots of traffic (people here seem to love spending their lives in the traffic), narrow and rambling streets with lots of lots of cars, new buildings next to/replacing old houses ... and, from time to time, unexpected green spots. Which is why I prefer the city at night.

The pictures were taken on a sunny April day, in Piaţa Universităţii, Calea Victoriei + some neighboring streets, and the Cişmigiu Gardens.



This song is rather so-so. Nice, however still so-so.

But the video is great. And live. Enjoy!


Bucharest by night IV

These pictures were taken in the same place as the first ones posted, last week - the Titan Park. Gotta say this, the park is perhaps my favorite place in Bucharest. I like walking there after the dark, more than during daytime. If you do not know too many things about Bucharest, than have in mind this is not a central place in the city but rather a peripheral one, as most of the people walking through live in the nearby areas.

And a little announcement: I celebrate today the publishing of the 200th post on this blog. I hope many other worthy posts are still to follow.


Bucharest by night III

Before anything else, I want to express my deepest condolences and sorrow to the Polish people for the unbelievable and unique tragedy that happened today, as a good part of the Polish elite perished in a single plane crash.

I went to Poland last year, remember, and some of the posts of this blog are a proof for it. Poland is one of the countries where I felt like home, and that is a very important thing for me. I am convinced, however, that the nation will have the power to overcome this unheard of and terrifying tragedy.


Bucharest by night

Sometimes I feel music is better than words if you want to express something. Sometimes, a picture.





The Lord is risen from the dead.

My best wishes to believers and non-believers, Christians and non-Christians. The message of the Resurrection is universal.

From Bucharest, with love,


Relevance vs. visibility in blogging - blogging10

I found out last night, as I arrived home from work, that two very visible Romanian bloggers (I shan't name them) had a fight, a virtual conflict that is. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that one of them had just re-arranged his blogroll and the other one was not anymore a part of it. Perhaps not.

I don't know what is the situation regarding this in America. In Romania, virtual - blogging - relations are pretty unstable, much like in real life. My guess is part of it comes as a consequence to the fact that many Romanian bloggers like practicing link-exchange. It goes like this: you promote the blog of the other guy on your blog even if you don't consider his blog relevant, as long as he does the same with your blog and thus guarantees your blog a upper place in the blogging charts. Many Romanian bloggers exist only/mainly because of/for these blogging rankings and for the visibility presumably provided by these tools. If your blog is not located in the top 100, top 50, top 10, or - say, as a minimum - top 500, then - in their view - you don't exist as a blogger.

Is that really the case? In short, no. In a couple of phrases: in my beginning days as a blogger, visibility was not an issue in itself. I wrote - as I do now, actually - for myself, for personal reasons, and for this handful of people who visit this place once in a while. Later, I wanted to become more visible and I started placing my blog on what I like to call the blogging charts. There are a few of these in Romania: in the beginning it was Trafic, then WTA, but the most important was and is ZeList. And, while running for visibility, I began feeling that all my blogging had been reduced to nothing more than statistics, and was beginning to lose its soul. You get to the point where you have a lot of visitors, but you are not a real blogger anymore. The only statistics that I care about now, sort of, is the Google rank of my page, because it is all about relevance. And I repeat, sort of. By the way, speaking of visibility, very good tools are Twitter and Facebook. Why? See here.

So, let's go back and consider this again. Two visible Romanian bloggers had a virtual conflict. It happened a few days before the Easter, at a time when people should try to enter the spirit of this holiday. But let's put that aside. It is a proof of sheer immaturity to start swearing and cursing another blogger, on your very visible blog, even if he did something very bad.

In the end: life is much more important than minor blogging (like the one generally existing at this point in Romania and the western world, and meaning: blogging about every day details rather than about important questions). My sister spent the last three months in bed, as she is incapacitated. She will spend in that bed another month and a half. That is so much more important than the fact that another blogger erased the address of my blog from his blogroll.

So, guess what, guys. I am an insignificant blogger, I am low on the charts, the eyes of other fellow bloggers are not set daily on my posts here, I write only when I have my point and I write primarily for myself. If I link to other blogs and sites, it is because they are good and relevant, not because they are copies of myself and share the same ideas and opinions (and I hope that's not the case, btw). I think it is better like this. And episodes like the one I used as pretext for this post are part of the reasons which made me switch this place to English.


melum34. all that remains

I think a lot about oblivion and memory, these days. I even start to appreciate all the things retro, which was never the case before. Perhaps, me changing the prefix (it will happen so soon!) plays a part in that.

I hope you will forgive me for being that selfish. After all, the song is very nice.