28 Apr 2006

audiovisual 04/ amanita design

Last night, Cristina and i went to the fourth edition of Audiovisual at the Czech Centre and we had a great time. The presentation included samples of flash games, animation and websites from Amanita Design, the main attraction being Samorost, the latest flash game developed by the artists. The guests who presented these works were the brilliant and modest designers from Amanita, Jakub Dvorsky and Vaclav Blin. And Jakub was really cute, funny and entertaining.
Samorost was Jakub's diploma work, and was not as appreciated by his professor (he got a B for it) as it was by lots and lots of people who played the game online and were truly captivated by it. Actually, it was peculiar for a student to present a flash game instead of a regular animation, but Jakub told that the idea came to him as natural since he has always liked simple computer games more than fairies and television and all that. What i liked the most was how he explained to have understood the success of his game: it's impossible to die in this game.
It turned out that Jakub also developed the Vince Carter flash game for Nike, and it was pleasant to find this out, since i knew and liked the game. And he also developed "The quest for the rest" for the Polyphonic Spree, despite admitting he didn't like their music.
Maybe the most interesting part, however, was in the end, when he explained his working mechanisms and showed several sketches, as well as the photos he takes and uses in order to develop the collages for the backgrounds of his animations. Cause, surprisingly as it may seem (or not), all those alien backgrouds are inspired from actual pictures from the routes. What can i say? i can hardly wait for the next edition.

Goodbye to you, my trusted friend

this post is going to sound pathetic. but hopefully, u will excuse me. I have always loved Connex. I don't exactly remember how the very strong emotional bonding between me and this brand started, or what caused it. Anyway, it was when i was in the sixth or seventh grade. But what i can say is that i've always been faithful to it, and it never let me down. I had lots of Myx - mobile wear clothes (and i still have some). I was sad when they closed the store. I still have and use my initial Connex Cent subscription. Which means that i still talk for 500 minutes during weekends with 1 cent/ minute. I have the same number, which i love, cause it's a very nice combination of digits, and i due this nice combination to Connex (and it was even nicer before, when it began with 093, instead of 0723).
Now i go to www.connex.ro and they say "Welcome to Vodafone Romania" and i see all that red, which i still am more inclined to associate with Zapp, rather than with Vodafone. And there is something which pisses me even more. I loved that warm shade of green which characterised Connex (ok, so call me crazy). Now that shade of green (or anyhow, a very similar shade) is to be associated with Cosmote. Which makes it all so fuzzy and confusing and annoying. (don't get me wrong, i am aware of vodafone's global brand identity and red and stuff, as well as Cosmote's green and stuff :) ). ah well...
And, in order to finish in an even more pathetic way, i would say that the first thing which came into my mind when i heard about Connex disappearing is Terry Jacks's "Seasons in the sun", which i listened to in the memory of this brand: "Goodbye my friend, it's hard to die,when all the birds are singing in the sky". Which is really appropriate if we take into consideration the new Vodafone commercial .
So, sincerely thinking that i've been fooling around enough, all left to say is "Farewell, Connex!"

23 Apr 2006


Nobody & Co designed the Bibliochaise, an armchair library for who likes to be immersed in deep reading. It contains 5 linear meters of books and thanks to a special fitting structure is easily disassembled.
I don't much appreciate the design, but the idea would probably save me from keeping the books i'm reading or am interested in at a certain time in piles on my room's floor. Though i'm not too sure it would actually change my habits. I would have liked it to be made of bamboo, and have while pillows and seem more personal and comfortable, despite the fact that red/black is my favourite combination of colours.

22 Apr 2006

cause i'm the easter bunny, hurrah

"Vrei nu vrei, de Paste toti prietenii asteapta mesaje si dedicatii de la tine. Scapa usor :)! Suna acum la *808 si surprinde-i cu mesaje si dedicatii de-a gata". This is the message i received yesterday from Connex-Vodafone. Roughly translated, it says something like: "Like it or not, all your friends are waiting for Easter messages from you. Get away with it easily. Call *808 and surprise them with pre-written messages." I do appreciate their composing these messages and offering this facility, but i strongly resent the way they put it. Like how am i supposed to surprise any of my friends with a pre-written message? First of all, no matter how personal they're trying to sound, pre-written messages of the sort are in general very recognisable for what they are (they even published some examples of such short messages in a newspaper some days ago, and i heard about it on the radio). Second, how am i supposed to surprise somebody if i use something which he's quite likely to have already received at least once?
Personally, i'd just be a little more careful with the verbs to use. Is it just me?

21 Apr 2006

Sabrina Ward Harrison.

"The things I create come from found and forgotten stories and color, and spills and mistakes. and, sometimes from being tired, or sad, or feeling lost ...in this big world. The creating is in the little forts of alone time in my studio and in my dreams. My art is the beginnings of conversations,questions, and notes to myself,all the things I wanted to remember. This is my life in progress." Collages/drawings by Sabrina Ward Harrison.
via swissmiss.

20 Apr 2006

very illustrated lifestyle

when Grant McCracken was invited as a visiting professor to the APSotW and formulated his more than challenging assignment, whose task was to be build a lifestyle, the first thing i remembered and thought about was a very small neighbourhood, somewhere in Bucharest, close to the place where my grandparents used to live. As well as arguably one of my favourite relaxation spots in the city. The reason why the above-mentioned task made me think about this place is that i've always admired and wondered about the lifestyle of the people living there. I'm talking about a very small number of short streets, isolated between the normal Bucharest view, blocks and all that. The place slightly reminds me of the village in "The Prisoner" series, being an extremely quiet and peaceful environment, with small colourful houses which people keep opened (meaning they actually leave the door open), with plenty of small playgrounds for the children, as well as plenty of toys, with lots of flowers and birds singing, with garden tables and lots of old Dacias and so on. In other words, an atmosphere which seems taken from other times rather from the middle of a nasty, polluted big city of this century. People seem awfully relaxed, children awfully happy. In such a way that life itself seems really different there.

17 Apr 2006

starbucks gossip

sometimes i forget how useful it is to check out the lists of links on the websites/ blogs i visit and appreciate. This is how i came across Starbucks gossip, a blog which is "monitoring America's favourite drug dealer." I am not so much into gossip, but the blog offers quite a pertinent monitoring, which i appreciate, because Starbucks is soon expected in our country and i am getting more and more curious about this move, as well as the impact of this brand on our market.

14 Apr 2006

lost in translation

while walking

I loved this window, mostly because its message. The small note says: "Wanna buy books? Knock at this window and ask for the books you want. Literature only. Romanian and foreign writers. Classic, modern, contemporary. All literature genres. I don't buy books."

12 Apr 2006

if i fail as a planner...

Seth Godin links to a funny, yet insightful list of tips which is quite helpful for one presumably planning to become a Successful Evil Overlord. My favs are:
#12. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
#17. When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
#24. I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strength and weaknesses. Even though this takes some fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)
#29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
#46. If an advisor says to me "My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will reply "This." and kill the advisor.
#61. If my advisors ask "Why are you risking everything on such a mad scheme?" I will not proceed until I have a response that satisfies them.
#74. When I create a multimedia presentation of my plan designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the details, I will not label the disk "Project Overlord" and leave it lying on top of my desk.
#85. I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 stones of power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more alone the lines of "Push the button"
#100. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free, unlimited internet access.

11 Apr 2006

the excitement, oh, the excitement

via chestionabil, probably the surprise Costin Radu was talking about some time ago, Planning.ro, an actual Romanian site dedicated to planning. The news and the site got me so excited that i started reading/ re-reading all interviews, which was really good cause i came across the following quote from (thank God he exists) Russell Davies (who else?). And it sounded like a really good answer to Merry Baskin's nasty belief that "there is no such thing as a junior planner". Anyway, here's what Russell says:
"Some planners say that there is no such thing as a ‘junior’ planner. A planner must have years of experience in research before working as a planner. Do you agree with this view? Why?"
"I’ve never worked in research. You can decide for yourselves whether that’s important or not. Being a junior planner is difficult – so much of the job is down to experience, pattern recognition and gravitas. But you don’t have to get those skills from research. You can get them from being a client or an account person or a media person or anything. Even a junior planner. I have a lot of respect for junior planners, it’s a tough job, but if you can make yourself valuable in that job then you’re going to be really good with a few years under your belt."
Congratulations for the site and i can hardly wait to watch it grow !

dunkin' donuts. starring starbucks

gareth kay reopens the subject of the Dunkin' Donuts/Starbucks weird strategy due to a great post from John Moore. The essence of this strategy is described in a short paragraph taken from a Wall Street Journal article :
Dunkin' Donuts last year paid dozens of faithful customers in Phoenix, Chicago and Charlotte, N.C., $100 a week to buy coffee at Starbucks instead. At the same time, the no-frills coffee chain paid Starbucks customers to make the opposite switch.

When it later debriefed the two groups, Dunkin' says it found them so polarized that company researchers dubbed them "tribes" -- each of whom loathed the very things that made the other tribe loyal to their coffee shop. Dunkin' fans viewed Starbucks as pretentious and trendy, while Starbucks loyalists saw Dunkin' as austere and unoriginal.

‘I don't get it,’ one Dunkin' regular told researchers after visiting Starbucks. ‘If I want to sit on a couch, I stay at home.
This gimmick is too well analysed by the two already quoted bloggers, following a common-sense-based, simple approach for me to start the discussion again. i am truly puzzled however by the fact that such strong brands embrace such clumsy, intricate strategies. i mean, if something is simple and successful, why do some have this tendency to think that complicating it neccesarily brings more success? and if you've already accomplished building quite a strong bond, why fight to extrapolate it in this manner?

10 Apr 2006

i know, i know

must be the weather...but i cannot help it; i would just walk for hours and hours and hours looking at things and taking pics. and i know i promissed i'd go back to something more serious than Bucharest walls, but some more pics for now...

help anybody?

well, admitting one needs help should be the first step towards getting it, so here's my problem. Among others, i'm deeply into psychology (i really would have liked to become a forensic profiler, no wonder i ended up in planning), and reading about all sorts of psychological or sociological experiments (should i have made this separation?) has always been of great help (maybe that's why i also adored "The tipping point" so much). And i've been trying to put together all kinds of data on such experiments, within a blog or site or something, but the problem is that it is really time-consuming and i don't seem to be able to do it all by myself. Is there anybody else who likes to dig for such things? And who is also willing to help me with this? Please :D? Space dear?

introducing marketing to children

i was reading Terra Obscura (spin-off comic book from Alan Moore's Tom Strong series) the other day and among other funny lines which attracted my attention, there was this (while characters were obviously discussing the cause of huge disaster threatening the world):
"Well, maybe you're right, but there are other possibilities..."
"Like what?"
"Aliens, mad scientists, unexplained natural phenomena, a Hollywood marketing gimmick."

9 Apr 2006

caution: contains lots of bad photos

ok, so i've taken a huge blogging pause and i deeply dislike it. mostly because i tend to start to forget what i've been doing lately and this is not right; makes me feel like i haven't done anything. which is not exactly true.
So...last week i've been to "Tigrisorul caruia ii placeau mult clatitele" (The tiger who loved pancakes), which was extremely enjoyable from the point of view of observing children, their behavior, their implication, and of course, their relationship with the parents. Oh, just to remember, i liked Calin Dan's exhibition a lot, especially, the Djambi series (fav - djambi(run)), Amsterdam bite, Jimijan, Iceland (home made) and Wilheminastrat. And, of course, pas (de deux), especially since it starred R Mazilu. Then, on friday i went to see "Carmen", the Ballet de Madrid version, which was probably the worst show i've ever been to, with no orchestra, mixed playback, misleading lights and so on. A dreadful disgrace. But happily, last night, i went to see "The fantastic symphony" at the Opera, a performace i will remember for quite a while. And it was not just because i'm so fond of basically any performance from Razvan Mazilu.
While walking on Academiei, i noticed this and absolutely adored it...i think i stayed fo some good minutes watching it. Whoever placed it there, made me day, so thanks!

Then, some random pics of various things which caught my attention:

And I've enjoyed spring a lot:

after this nonsense, i will go back to some posts on planning. that's a promise :).

7 Apr 2006

singing pig

this is the present i bought for Diana. until the piglet reaches her, you may watch this slightly embarassing video.

5 Apr 2006

silly pink bunnies

aka the artwork of jeremy fish, which appealed to the Tintin (fanatic) lover in me.

united visual artists

UVA's approach combines three disciplines: art direction, production design and software engineering. Our philosophy is to tightly integrate these elements to deliver real-time, immersive and responsive experiences.

We work equally with LED, traditional lighting and projection technologies as sculptural elements; our bespoke software approach allows us to use existing technologies in new and unusual ways.

We aim to work on a diverse and expanding range of projects, drawn from the commercial and non-commercial arenas, and to collaborate with a wide range of artists and companies.

scribe illustrations

Internet is back on track at work, which is absolutely fabulous. First, because we felt like being totally disconnected and excluded from the actual (virtual) world, which felt like a sort of psychological experiment and generated various states of mind and of relationships around. Second, because for some reason i guess i'm too lazy to post from home. While i'm catching up with blogging, here's some adorable illustrations, paintings, sculpture and walls from "Scribe". and i also enjoyed the website itself.

courtesy Marius.