24 Jan 2008

ego moment

I am the proud owner of this brand new thing to certify i am crazy. Not the medical certificate yet, but apparently a strong proof i'm on the right path towards one.

21 Jan 2008

the sad truth about the new impreza

Last night, i was talking to an old friend (who is also a great Impreza fan) about how disappointed we both were by the looks of the new Subaru Impreza. We both felt it was a betrayal of the amazingly distinctive and sportsy looks that made us love Impreza far beyond its (equally amazing) performances. And, to my utmost (though sad) pleasure, Clarkson's most recent Top Gear feature perfectly points out what i think to be the feelings and thoughts of millions of Subaru fans. Enjoy !

17 Jan 2008

learn by doing

Five years ago, when i first become keen on cars, i took a Ford course named "how vehicles work - an introduction to automotive technology". it was very interesting and i learned a lot about the way cars are built, about their components and how they fit together, about engines and safety systems and design and so on. A very comprehensive course, developed in easy steps: how chemical energy of fuel is turned into rotation of the engine crankshaft, how big isn't necessarily best in terms of power, how an engine is supplied with the necessities of life, how the computer inside works, how the power gets from the crankshaft to the wheels, how automatic gearboxes and other developments work, how vehicles deal with bumps, how suspensions work, how vehicles change direction, how vehicles stop safely and quickly, how vehicles make, store and use electricity, how today's vehicles are built for safety, style and economy and so on. I had watched plenty of accompanying videos as well, so it wasn't plain theory. It was dreamlike for somebody like me, because it turned me from somebody who claimed to be a car lover because i knew designs and brands into somebody who loved brands and designs, but also had pretty much of a clue about how to evaluate what's under the beautiful design as well. I was very enthusiastic about all these things, i loved to talk about them and get as much information as possible. I ended up actually knowing how my car worked, as well as the differences between how my car worked and how the other cars worked.

Some time after, i met this fascinating guy, and at some point the car subject popped up in one of our conversations. It turned out he had been curious about the deep inside of a car as well, for which reason he had bought a second-hand car (a Scorpio, if i remember correctly :) ), and deconstructed it bit by bit, piece by piece. Whenever there was something he did not know or understand, he'd read about it and ask his father or mechanics. And that's how he started building his knowledge.

The difference between us turned to be quite simple: although we were both good at explaining and understanding mechanisms, he was able to identify a problem or replace some piece on the spot, while i needed time and i was completely unsure (as well as pretty much incapable) of replacing anything.

I know that's just a very basic example of learning by doing, but examples tend to have far more power when they come from personal experience. And while i was thinking about this example the other days, i realised yet another basic thing. Reading about interesting things is not enough, no matter how much knowledge i feel to be building. Cause real knowledge and know-how come from a lot of exercises and practice - and that's what building experience is all about. Just like simply knowing Math theorems does not necessarily turn you into a very good problem solver.

And i felt that to be true once again last week. I bought myself the hieroglyphic transcript and translation into English of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. As an Egyptology fan, i had read quite a lot on Egyptian history, hieroglyphs, art, mythology and so on. One of the books i've read was actually entitled "Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture". But having the Book of the Dead transcript in front of my eyes, i must admit i didn't do very well in understanding it. some parts vaguely seemed familiar, but i felt quite far from being able to translate it. Because i've never actually taken the trouble to "learn the language", i've just read about how it was used. So now i've started to actually learn the language from a great course that provides full explanations, as well as exercises. And things are already starting to get clearer and better systematized in my head.

Since it's late and i'm really sleepy, i have no idea whether this post made any sense. But what i was actually trying to say is that my most important resolution this year is to learn many great new things by doing. It's a great challenge for me, as well as a priceless source of insight. Cause, as some friend once told me: "you'll never know how it's like to be drunk, if you've never been drunk" :).

16 Jan 2008

articulate things through animation

A few weeks ago, i eventually watched The Nightmare before Christmas. I know that it's weird to have postponed the moment so much, and it was actually the only Burton related movie i hadn't watched, but well. I guess it's better later than never :). And what i also did a few weeks ago was to read Neil Gaiman's Coraline, the wonderful and terrifying adventure of a little girl who enters a parallel version of her own life. The connection between the two, apart from them both being very enticing stories ? Director Henry Selick, who had successfully directed Tim Burton's piece, and is currently working on the first 3D stop-motion animation movie based on Gaiman's tale. Reading more about Selick, i got more and more intrigued and, among other things, i found Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions - the animated short that attracted Burton's attention in the first place and basically obtained Selick the Nightmare before Christmas proposal. I particularly liked the use of cut-out animation.

yesterday's bads

sometimes you just don't do as much good as you'd want to with all your heart, but you do harm pretty much against your will.

Other bads:
  • people who talk about what "the consumer" thinks and wants, although the only thing they ever do in order to find that out is to read the ppt developed by the research agency.
  • people who think that "the consumers" are a sort of weird creatures kept in bottles, and not human beings who are blatantly similar to them.
  • non-bloggers who are afraid of bloggers, because they never had the curiosity to at lest try to understand how the latter work
  • people who still ask if publishing something a post on a public blog means making that something public and available for everybody (?!?)
  • people who don't want to listen to any complaint about the brand they manage
  • people who don't understand what teamwork means and how that functions (by the way, it's very easy to spot people who've never done any competitive sport in their life from)
  • continuous lack of sleep

10 Jan 2008


Ever since i've read its title i've been determined to get my hands on a copy of Jacques Carelman's "Catalogue d'objets introuvables". But until i actually grab the book, i've obviously researched Carelman's work on the net, and found fascinating objects i really think of actually buildinf for decoration purposes. After all, if you're surrounded by things that create a pretty much upside-down world of themselves, you're very tempted to reinvent your own thinking, right ?

And this must be the ideal chair for balanced thinking:

saint nick as told by

i spent my holiday in seciu, a small village situated on a hill near Ploiesti. and it was a very relaxing holiday, mostly because it was filled with reading, watching movies, interacting with people who have a completely different lifestyle (also trying to adapt to their lifestyle) and exercising.

The main reason why i wanted to stay away from cities was the commercial holidays syndrome that drove me completely crazy. While i was really nostalgic about the nice recollections of cosy times of holidays beautifully spent together with my family and close friends, decorating, singing carols, being excited about the Xmas tree and Santa and all that. So i tried to recreate that holiday cheerful atmosphere.

And part of the attempt was reading this book called "The Autobiography of Santa Claus" and written by Jeff Guinn. I must admit i was completely fascinated by the contruction of the tale. The book combines lots of historical information with lots of fiction, and the result is a nice voyage through time, that explains each magical aspect related to Santa (that is, nearly all aspects that make his existance improbable) in a rational way. Well, kinda rational. In the sense in which you're willing to admit that Nicholas has used all opportunities history provided in order to team up with people such as Attila, Arthur, Leonardo da Vinci (in case you ever wondered who designed the flying sleigh) or Benjamin Franklin, with whom he now shares the North Pole headquarters. And that's just a glimpse of the story, which is obviously not delivered in a "theory of conspiration" manner, but rather in a "whatif" joyous manner. And since winter holidays have the gift of allowing imagination to drift as much as possible, this was a really relaxing read, especially accompanied by fresh orange tea and ginger biscuits :).

baldly go

Speaking of interesting, inspiring people, i met Cris when i was working at Imager. She was a copywriter there, as well as a sort of "enthusiasm maintainer", as Kreti would put it. And i must say that rarely have i met somebody with so much energy, courage and ambition. Ever since, she has been for quite some time in Ghana, doing branding and getting as much as possible from the African culture, she has been a great freelance illustrator (related blogging here and here) and now she's heading for another adventure, namely at least one year in Dubai, where she's going to deal with marketing for a very cool firm (while also doing something about her passion for design).
a series of unfortunate events prevented me from attending the farewell party last night, which makes me a horrid friend once again, but i just wanted to wish you "good luck and have fun" in this new challenge, although i'm sure you'll make the most of it anyway :).

8 Jan 2008

new year's resolutions

i've been very angry at myself lately, but i wasn't sure why until last night, when B made a lot of very good points (see ? sometimes i really listen to you :P). and she made me realise that the bad ways in which i felt i've changed lately are more visible than i had assumed.

Sometimes it just happens: you get into something, and you slowly drift away from yourself and what you're really passionate about, by complying with crappy places, crappy people, crappy situations. But it's crazy and stupid and against everything i believe in and stand for. Cause i cannot really change the world if i complain more and more and don't even change what's crappy around myself.

The truth is that if you don't do stuff, if you don't practice, whatever knowledge or skill you might have simply gets erroded and slowly fades away. You just get out of shape. Just like you forget a lot of things if you don't share them somehow. And "i don't have anybody to talk to about the lots of stuff i know about one topic or another" is no excuse - if i do something about it, i will surely get more favorable contexts.

This was just a very large introduction to answer to Bogdana's new year resolutions tag. Actually, what i want to do this year is to become the doer i was once again.

1. get my dear old passions back on track (which means reading, exploring, travelling, writing and all that) - games, philosophy, profiling, movies&directors, egiptology, cars&formula 1, anthropology, animations&movies, rock and many others
2. do a lot of sport - skating, swimming, ping-pong, badminton, running (i also need to get the nike+ipod kit for this), doesn't matter what as long as it keeps me in shape, both physically and mentally
3. graduate and make up my mind about the next steps
4. spend more time with the people who matter to me and inspire me
5. travel a lot - experience people and places and lifestyles and all that