31 Aug 2006

the potter

one potter in Marginea i talked about in an earlier post

30 Aug 2006

beam me up, scotty

Following an older recommendation from W&K, i finally got my hands on and read "All i really need to know I learned from watching Star Trek", by creative Dave Marinaccio. A great read, which offered, as i expected, useful advice and, obviously, entertainment. I mostly appreciated the sharp power of observation that Dave Marinaccio proved to have, which made me quite envious (i'm not sure that's the word, but still), cause it would feel so great for me to work with such creatives.

And, most important, this book reminded me about why i started a blog in the first place: to have a place where i can store all sorts of quotations and bits of funny or intriguing news and stuff, in a safer manner than on my computer whose hard disk used to selfdestruct too frequently (and the motto was supposed to be Emerson's "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."). Of course, this initial intention was dilluted by the need to mumble my own stupidites. On the other hand, i started a brand new column on the right side of the page, which will add each new book that i read.

the following words particularly drew my attention (and i've already used some of them in presentations these days):
  • "the unknown is not to be feared, it is to be examined, understood and accepted."
  • "you can observe a lot, just by watching" - by the way, i tend to think that just like listening, watching is something "modern" people do less and less nowadays. and i don't mean watching as in gazing into the void, mind somewhere else, or watching tv as in zapping, i mean that sort of watching carefully, paying attention to details and trying to make something out of them. in fact, people nowadays seem don't even seem to "watch where they're going", damn it.
  • "in advertising, the last person you need to be is yourself. in fact, being a schizophrenic is a definite advantage."
  • "what is our greatest imperfection ? i think it is this. we are attracted to the very things that harm us the most."
  • "God grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, courage to change the things i can, and wisdom to know the difference." - i knew this one, but it's still nice to remember it once in a while.
  • "to say any episode of Star Trek was the best is to take away from the others."
  • "my mind tends to wander, but being a small mind, it never wanders very far."
  • "a person who understands a rule knows when to break it."
  • "when everyone is responsible, ultimately no one is responsible."
  • "great people talk about ideas. average people talk about things. small people talk about people."
  • "a gift that is useful in any age: it allows him to use technology without being subservient to it."
  • "when i look at digital clocks and push-button phones, i remember when the world was rounder. " - this inspired me the exact type of observations that i love in people.
And my personal favourites (also among my guiding principles :)) ):
  • "possessions are not the way to judge if a life is full. people don't need to fill their lives with things. What the humans on the Enterprise have are full lives, interesting lives."
  • "although i may not get to go where no man has gone before, i'll happily settle for going someplace where i've never gone before. and living a fuller and more interesting life."
  • "when faced with a no-win scenario, try something new. Reprogram the situation. Find a way out. Don't stop trying. And maybe, with original thinking, you too can win the no-win scenario."
  • "the more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play."
  • "never, ever, ever wear a red shirt - not under any circumstances. Don't do it."
  • "i read once that a hunter shot a cow because he mistook it for a squirrel. This is our species i'm talking about." - i think i'm going to use this as a motto for the target description section in each creative brief. and write it down and hang it somewhere around my desk.
  • "i'm beginning to believe i could cure a rainy day." - isn't this image simply brilliant?
But by far, one of the best points in the book is the one also discussed on "welcome to optimism", namely mission statements (and i'm sorry i repeat the quotes, but i just think they're so great). Marinaccio quotes the Enterprise mission statement as the best he's ever heard.

"These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Her five year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Suppose you are the dumbest person on the ship. How long do you think the mission will last? Five years? Very good. And suppose you encountered a strange new world? What should you do? Explore it, perhaps. There is even an emotion telling you how you should go about exploring it. Boldly.
Now try a simple test. Ask a number of colleagues at your place of work, 'What is the single most important thing our company is trying to accomplish?' I've done this myself. Chances are you will receive many different answers...Now ask yourself, if your company encounters a strange new opportunity? Without a basic philosophy even a business's smartest employees have to improvise when they meet a new or challenging situation. We could do worse than rewriting the Star Trek mission statement for whatever venture we are on. A simple statement. One that spells out who we are, what we are doing, and how we would like to go about doing it. Maybe even deal with the question of why we are doing it. Make the language exact, the goal specific, and even your worst employee will make you proud."

Now, you see, maybe these words wouldn't have appealed so much to me if this entire mission statement thing hadn't been bothering me for a long time now. cause i'm not sure about other agencies, but the place where i work is more than fuzzy when it comes to our goal. there are people in the agency who know that "we take advertising personally", cause that's what our website says we do. and there are people in the agency who know that they work for an advertising agency, thus they work in advertising and that's that - they don't have a clue when it comes to saying why they do it here of all agencies, or why this particular agency is different from others, or what are the goals of this particular agency. what's even worse (especially for a person like myself, who strongly believes in working harder and in things like "winners never quit, quitters never win") is that sometimes i have the feeling that some people here act according to some "we're only number 2, so why try harder?" weird mentality. But maybe it's just me, cause i've always had a strong thing about definitions and so on (ever since i've started learning about and for logics and philosophy). beam me up, scotty :D

29 Aug 2006

the holiday - one of those pathetic, silly posts

And i am back, after the most enjoyable long trip i've had in a very long time. I wasn't sure what to expect from this holiday. I took my mobile phone with me, but not the laptop, and i decided to break completely free from internet and related. Which under other circumstances would have made me feel totally disconnected from the world.

But what actually happens is this. Internet is an amazing place to get in touch with amazing people whom you are pretty unlikely to meet in everyday life by chance, since they are so many and most of them live so far away. However, everyday life is also an amazing place to get in touch with amazing people who barely know (if at all) anything about the Internet. What i'm actually trying to say is that i had the great opportunity of meeting and listening to and talking to a bunch of absolutely impressive people, for whom actual work, as well as living doesn't leave them time for too much virtual implication. Interesting, passionate people who really do have stories to tell.

Such as a policeman in Campulung Moldovenesc with a very intense passion for animals (and please take this literally) and his dream, ever since he was a little boy, was to have his very own Zoo. Little by little, he started collecting all sorts of birds and animals, exchanging them with more peculiar specimens from abroad and so on. The guy is currently actually slowly developing his very own zoo (some of the pics with animals are taken right there) and can tell you everything about each specimen in his exhibition.
Such as a nun in Humor Monastery, who taught me so incredibly much about history and iconography and the beauties of our very country and religion and art and so on in such a short time. Such as waiters with whom one could discuss about french movies and inn managers who are masters of local real-life storytelling, if i can use such a syntagm. Such as a potter in famous village Marginea, who's been modelling gorgeous thing all his life. Or a museologist in Ruginoasa who spent his life trying to identify as many objects which had belonged to Cuza as possible in order to manage to reproduce the original atmosphere of the palace in Ruginoasa. Or an archaeologist, and who's also working for the museum of history of Bucovina. And many others. I mean that kind of special people who taught me lessons of life. It might sound redundant, silly, or something of the kind, but it was not. It was an experience which left me tones of information and food for thought. As somebody stated on a forum somewhere: "i talked to the locals, and it was worth 10 history books".

I visited churches and monasteries such as: Agapia, Varatec, Neamt, Vovedania, Petru-voda, Sihastrie, Secu, Sihla, Rasca, Dragomirna, Putna, Voronet, Moldovita, Sucevita, Gura Humorului, Arbore, Trei ierarhi. And i will resist the temptation to write about them. Whoever is interested in my impressions will have to see me in person (and listen :)) ). I visited Neamt and Suceava fortresses (or is it citadels ? blimey), revisited Ruginoasa and Humulesti and all sorts of sights and museums in Iasi and Suceava, then beautiful pieces of nature such as The Muddy Volcanoes near Buzau, the fantastic Bicaz area, Lacu Rosu, Durau, Ceahlau national park, the salt mine in Cacica, the splendid ure ox reservation in Neamt

I discovered and rediscovered very nice music, since i am a road-lover (road-movie-lover, also) and i have this tendency to be always in search of and overwhelmed by the perfect combination between landscape and music. I only ate traditional food and i started learning how to cook. I bought a huge bunch of books (some of which i have already read) and traditional objects.

In other words, i had a great time, and i am surely going to keep on discovering new places and people this way (even if just during weekends the following period). And i'm also planning a multiday walk.

8 Aug 2006


i will not be in town until August 20th, so no new posts for a while. i do hope however to start blogging more intensely once again, as soon as i get back.

1 Aug 2006

a second chance

i had a very nice (let's call it) "brand experience" yesterday with Cinema Pro and it got me excited enough to write about it. The thing is Cinema Pro used to be my second favourite cinema after Multiplex, but i had stopped going there because the staff was nasty several times, and i pretty much resent that. I mean i am aware of the fact that the ones selling tickets can't always smile, can't even treat you nicely all the time (although i frankly see no reason why they don't, especially since i'm absolutely always trying to be nice with people, but we're human, and i understand bad days in anybody), but i go to the cinema extremely frequently, and i had bad luck with the treatment each time during the last months, so i decided to stick to Multiplex (of course, except for Eforie, Union and Elvira Popescu - which are for other kinds of movies :) ).
However, yesterday i visited Cinema Pro's website to discover that they also have one of those regular movie-invitation tickets. Which they offer to those who complete a feed-back questionnaire and fill in an empty box with the most interesting "observations, likes/dislikes, suggestiones". Curious to see whether they actually give a damn about people writing to them, i filled in the questionnaire, complaining about the staff, but also appreciating their seeming so open. I received a very nice reply several hours later (and the two free tiockets :D), from somebody who had read for sure what i had written, and seemed willing enough to find out more details about my bad experiences. Maybe i get excited too easily, but this made me feel that my opinion actually matters. The whole idea of having their little contest organized this way seemed really smart and engaging to me. Like they actually give a damn about me being there, in their cinema, having the best experience, which is not something too common in this city. And i think that they could actually get some really cool feedback and ideas, which they might implement and which would surely show the personal touch of the people who came into contact with their cinema. All in all, it was pleasant, and i am now very willing to give them a second chance (to see how much they take into account those words, i guess :)) ).