Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rock Werchter substitute: B'ESTFEST 2009!

Everytime I look at my right wrist and I see the light blue bracelet from last year's fantastic Rock Werchter, I feel a pang of nostalgia and sadness that I won't go this year. I'm missing out on artists like Kings of Leon, Metallica, my old faves Placebo, Pendulum, The Prodigy, Bloc Party and the whole amazing atmosphere there :(

Buuuuuuut there is a substitute for that: B'ESTFEST! Between 1-4 July I will go to Bucharest to meet up with my dear friends from there and have an awesome time! The line-up so far is pretty OK:

Day Zero July 1

Snails: Moldavian indie band....haven't heard of them before
Patrice: quite cool raggae-sorta artist
White Lies: I love these guys!!!! young post-punk band with a very catchy debut album and I'm really looking forward to seeing them in concert
The Killers: of course, the headliners of the day :D i hope they'll play very few songs from their shitty new album "Day&Age" and delight us with tracks like "Mr. Brightside", "When You Were Young" and "Somebody Told Me"

Day 1 July 2

Polarkreis 18: no idea who these fellas are
Les Elephants Bizarres: some Romania indie band
Grimus: very nice band from Cluj :D
Ayo: soul-chick
Motorhead: old rockers...still undecided whether it's a good or not-so-good thing that they're gonna play
Moby: yes!! after not seeing him properly at Werchter I finally have the chance to see him again! Can't wait!

Day 2 July 3

Gabriela Cilmi: 'nothing sweet about me' :P
Alternosfera: very good Moldavian alternative band
AB4: another Romanian band that I like
Orbital: electronic music legends, not a massive fan of them though
Klaxons: Klaxons are a very entertaining band and I like most of their songs from their debut album
Franz Ferdinand: not much to say 'bout these lads....except that they're in my top 10 bands and I LOVE them!!!! This is going to be huuuuge!!

Day 3 July 4

By far the weakest day of the festival. Plenty of bands I've never heard of (Persona, Gravity Co., Looptroop Rockers), or that I don't give a crap about (The MOOOod, The Charlatans), and the 2 "headliners" of the day are The Ting Tings who are decent and Santana, who is a legend and blah blah, but really....I can name about 2-3 dozen bands I would trade him with.

There are two more months until this cool event and I really hope that they'll add some more bands to the line-up :D there are a few Romanian bands worthy of playing here.

Meanwhile, let's all enjoy the Champions' League semifinal :D Go Chelsea & Arsenal!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tag, you're it: 6 things that put a smile on my face

I got this one from Andreea and I'm not a spoilsport, so here it is :D

6 things that make me smile

1) link back to the person who tagged you.
2) post these rules on your blog.
3) share 6 things that put a smile on your face.
4) pass the tag along to other fabulous blogs.
5) let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

And here they are (in random order):

1) the song "Float On" by Modest Mouse (youtube's being a bitch at the mo and i can't find a link)
2) the upcoming B'Estfest
3) Marius and Sorana, university would suck without them
4) browsing through older photos
5) tennis
6) heavy snowfall :D

and noooooow I tag Sandra

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

S is for Spring, Sibiu, Safin...

Davis Cup Tie: Romania vs. Russia

After a long wait, the weekend of 6-8 March arrived with the beautiful promise of live tennis and heaps of fun. I hopped on the bus to Sibiu and met up with my friends from Bucharest (whom I hadn't seen in eons!) who miraculously managed to snatch some tickets to the DC tie (I must mention that the venue in Sibiu is minuscule! 2000 seats only, so you can imagine the whole fuss to get tickets)

We got to the Sala Transilvania after the first match began, so our seats were taken by some "gentlemen" so we resorted to the stairs to watch Marat Safin, Russia's number 1 player and my friends' favorite player, versus Romanian Victor Crivoi. In spite of Crivoi's decent display (it was actually quite remarkable for such a mediocre fella like him), Marat was clearly better and won in straight sets 7-6(5)6-4 6-4. No surprises here. The second match of the day put our no. 1 player *cringe* Victor Hanescu against Mikhail Youzhny and everyone expected an interesting encounter between players of close value, considering that Hanescu had beaten Misha in Doha earlier this year. The outcome was a bit surprising as Hanescu was totally crap (he is usually crap, but on Friday he was TOTALLY crap) and the Russian had no problems whatsoever, winning 6-4 6-2 6-4. The score was now 2-0 for Tarpischev's boys and we left the arena to have some fun around in Sibiu, ending Friday in a bar called Nadine.

Saturday! The second day of the tie brought the doubles match, but not before the official presentation of the two teams. First up was the visiting team starting with Marat Safin (crowd: regular applause; us: *fangirlish screaming and clapping :))*), Mikhail Youzhny, Dmitry Tursunov, Teimuraz Gabashvili and the captain Shamil Tarpischev. Then the Romanians with Victor Hanescu *yawn*, Victor Crivoi, Horia Tecau and Marius Copil, lead by the new captain Andrei Pavel (who got more applause than anyone, obviously :P). Next up was the match: Safin and Dmitry Tursunov paired up against Horia Tecau and 18 year-old Marius Copil. The Russians won the first two sets 6-4 7-6(2) after some signs of nervousness from debutant Copil and lack of concentration from Tecau. Loudly and loyally encouraged by the crowd (who even sang the anthem! awesome!), Marius and Horia managed to turn the match around claiming the next two sets in tiebreaks. They got a break in the third set and Copil served out the match with an ace. What a classy way to make your debut in such an important competition!

Unfortunately, our "no.1" managed to crap his pants and lose to Tursunov (who replaced Safin in this match) after leading with 2 sets to 0 and a break! So typical of him. If I were Pavel, I'd be really pissed at him. After all these years in which Hanescu pissed all over DC matches and Andrei had to clean up after him every time, now he chokes like the loser he is. Not that I expected Romania to win, because none of our second-choice players stood a chance against Youzhny, but Hanescu was very poor and it's sad to think that he's our best player at the moment. I had to leave after this match, but I'm sure that Gabashvili vs. Crivoi, the dead rubber, was not such an interesting match :P Ah yes, I almost forgot! Before Hanescu's display of helplessness, all the women and girls in the crowd got flowers from the Romanian players as it was March 8 :D We got flowers from Copil :D

All in all, I had an amazing time with my friends in this beautiful city (with EXTREMELY cheap taxis!) and had the opportunity to see live tennis and the Russian team, my third favorite non-Romanian DC team (after Spain and France).

Here are some photos from the tie. If you want to see all the 260 photos that I have uploaded on Picasa (out of the 600 that I took :P) go to my Picasa page (Non-tennis photos will follow in an upcoming post, so stay tuned)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Pink Ego Box Reloaded.

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy...
...says a dude called Edgar Bergen. I have to say, I am a lazy person by definition (a big flaw, I know, but soooo hard to overcome) which is the main reason for my unexpected and long hiatus from the blogging world. Everytime I planned to get writing, I would postpone it and so heaps of cool events have been robbed of a blog entry.

I don't want to bore you too much (in case anyone remembers this blog) so I'll summarize some of the autumn and winter's events.
1) I turned 20! Yep, in September I grew out of the teenage era into the third decade of life.
2) Champions League matches!!!! Romanian football champs CFR Cluj were drawn in group A along Chelsea, Roma and Girondins Bordeaux, so I was to attend three lovely Champions League matches (ok, 1 was not lovely at all, but still ;)). The first match with Chelsea was an overwhelming experience. I had never been to a football match before and I was fascinated with everything. The game was high-quality, but the ball stubbornly refused to enter Petr Cech's goal, so it ended as a blank draw. Next came the disaster with Bordeaux. They are such a crap team with crap attitude and crap players (the only good thing about it is the coach Laurent Blanc, but CFR totally choked both matches and screwed up the entire qualifying campaign. The last match was against Roma, on a bitter cold November evening, and despite CFR's loss and me not feeling my legs from the knees down, it was a nice ending to CFR's Champions League saga. [i'm never good at keeping my sport-related posts short ;), so bare with me]
3) University: Year 2 After succesfully finishing my first year as a Civil Engineering student, October came with a total bullshit uni schedule and with some 'awesome' subjects: PE and English again! (don't roll your eyes, these are serious subjects at UTCN, you should never underestimate them)and Numerical Analysis. Now that I'm in the second semester, the schedule is the same bullshit (we are the black sheep of this faculty; I guess it's because everyone tries so hard not to favour us -an already established myth, that us from the English group are favoured by the professors- that they come to do the opposite), the subjects seem a bit better, but I don't want to make any judgements until I see the profs and grasp the main idea of the subject. (Meanwhile, I should study for Numerical Analysis, as I have to resit my theory exam :( )

There would be some other points worth mentioning like my trips with BEST, ice skating in Drobeta and horribly brusing my knees, the Night Of the AdEaters 2008, Christmas and all that but I think it's enough recapping for a post. (I don't plan to write any other recaps soon)

Excuse me if my writing's a bit rusty, but it's been such a long time since August and my mind is juggling Numerical Analysis, the upcoming Davis Cup tie in Sibiu which I plan to attend, the very promisingly-looking Bestfest (a substitute for last year's incredible Rock Werchter)and Jon Lee Anderson's biography of Che Guevara (which is as huge as a dictionary!).

And to conclude, I must urge you to read 1984 by George Orwell!!!! It's the best book ever! I've been doing some shameless pimping of this book lately but it really is the awesomest book! (ok, maybe not the best, but among the best)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sports Summer

After the great Euro 2008 in June, which ended with Spain's well-deserved victory, and the Olympic Games in Beijing, where Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt made history, this year's summer is slowly coming to an end. That means two things: US Open and new football season!!!!!!!!

The US Open is starting today but, unlike in the previous years, it isn't a prologue for live tennis action in Bucharest. It sucks a lot that I can't go but I have to get better grades at 2 of my exams and I also wanna be home for my 20th birthday. You can't always get what you want and this autumn will surely be poorer without the crazy days of the BCR Open with my friends :(

But football is starting! I rooted for CFR Cluj last year to get the championship so that they qualify automatically in the Champions League groups. And it happened, so we wll have 3 matches in Cluj! Of course I hope Real will be in the same group as CFR but it'll be OK even if they don't because another big team will come. I hope teams 2 and 3 will be interesting and I will finally get to see live UCL action! The draw is probably this Friday so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Speaking of Real...they won the Spanish Supercup against Valencia last night! And thanks to Arab TV channels I got to see a thorough summary to be able to draw my own conclusions. Valencia had an unexplainably disastrous season, finishing mid-table despite having players like David Villa, Vicente, Joaquin and Silva but managed to salvage some dignity by winning the Copa del Rey (King's Cup). In the first leg of the Supercup, at Mestalla, Real's coach Bernd Schuster made some bad starting 11 choices: he chose to play Robinho, who is involved in a transfer saga with Chelsea so his mind is clearly off the pitch, and picked Salgado on the right flank of the defence. With all the love and respect for Michel, his time has passed and he's a slow defender, not to mention that he attacks half as much as Sergio Ramos does. Schuster realized his mistakes and subbed Salgado for Sergio but it was rather late so Real lost 3-2.

This Sunday, Schuster started with Iker, Sergio, Pepe, Heinze and Miguel Torres in the defence, new signing Rafael van der Vaart, Guti, Diarra and Robben in the midfield and the classic attack formula, Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy. A very strong team which promised to come back from 1 goal down and take the trophy in front of their home crowd at Santiago Bernabeu. But things didn't go as planned: Silva scored with a shot from outside the box to extend Valencia's lead and a few minutes after, Van der Vaart was sent off for a brutal tackle on Juan Mata. So aafter the half-time whistle, the Merengues were not looking good at all. Soon after the second half started, Raul Albiol forgot what sport he was playing and handballed Ruud's header in the box. Obvious penalty for the home team and Ruud sent in a very confident shot to equalize. His delight lasted only 20 more minutes (meanwhile Royston Drenthe replaced Torres on the lft side of the defence) when he was sent off for two yellow cards. Despite Robben's noteworthy attempts to score, it was Sergio Ramos who scored the second goal, after Guti's corner kick was sent in the post by Diarra and rebounded to Sergio who shot it in. A short while after this goal, Guti and Raul were replaced by promising youngsters Gonzalo Higuain and Ruben de la Red. De la Red is a product of Madrid's youth system and played a few games for the first team two years ago before being loaned out last season. He was in Spain's squad for the Euro where he managed to score a goal, so it was high time he was given a chance to play for Real's first team again. And he impressed everyone with scoring the 3rd goal of Real with a magnificent shot from outside the box to make it 3-1 for the Blancos and to prove his huge talent and potential. Higauin extended the lead to 4-1 after he intercepted Alexis' rookie pass to the keeper, putting the ball past a disappointed Hildebrand. Morientes, Real's former player, reduced the difference but it was worthelss because the time had run out and Real won the Spanish Supercup!!!!! Great display of teamwork and ambition, I hope they keep on playing like this for the rest of the season!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rock Werchter Day 4 (06.07.2008)

Time flies when you're having fun and that statement was very accurate to describe my feeling on Sunday morning. It was already the last festival day and it was going to be more laidback than the previous one. We agreed to go spend our last food and drink tickets before The Raconteurs show so that we could start our "assault" for front row spots. The weather was again nice, with periods of sun and clouds but no rain, just like on Friday, so we set out to find the Oxfam cow and get photos with her. I also bought an Oxfam button with the image of the cow.

We ignored The Kooks (dude! Luke Pritchard looks like a rat! What do girls see in him?!) and then took a seat to watch the Raconteurs.

1. The Raconteurs

First of all, I don't dig Jack White's current haircut. Ugh. He looks like his hairdresser wanted to humiliate him. His hair aside, he was pretty good along with Brendan and the rest of the gang. Despite his mike sucking big time and Brendan screwing it up with "Hello, Brussels!" much to the shock of the crowd, they entertained their fans with songs from both their old album and their new one. I'm not a fan of them, but I did enjoy the good ol' "Steady As She Goes".

Stand-out songs: Steady As She Goes, Blue Veins
Rating: 3/5

2. Kaiser Chiefs

The Kaisers are a band that can really, really get the crowd going. Ricky distinguishes himself from other frontmen of British guitar indie bands with a huge amount of energy and plenty of on-stage charisma. He made us all jump and clap and sing along to "Ruby", "I Predict A Riot", "Everything Is Average Nowadays", "Na Na Na Na Naaa" and "Oh My God", delivering an awesome show! He is as much of a livewire as Howlin' Pelle Almqvist of the Hives (though much less cockier) crowdsurfing and climbing on the structures around the screens. You don't have to be a fan of them to enjoy their show, it's 100% fun.

Stand-out songs: Ruby (in the video), Oh My God, I Predict A Riot, Na Na Na Na Naaa
Rating: 5/5 *show of the day*

3. Beck
I never bothered to listen to Beck, therefore I only knew "Loser", "Devil's Haircut" and "E-Pro", but Beck really surprised me with a solid show. Very good instruments (the guitarist was particulalrly impressive) and good vocals = surpsisingly good show. It's not like I'll start getting his discography but he didn't more like Ben Harper did on Saturday.

Stand-out songs: Loser (in the video), Devil's Haircut, E-Pro
Rating: 4/5

4. dEUS

This year's edition of this wonderful festival was to be ended by Belgium's finest band, dEUS. The group, led by Tom Barman, came on stage much to the delight of the crowd and started talking Flemish (bah! thank you very much!). They played a lot of songs from their latest album "Vanishing Point", inluding my personal favorite "The Architect". The sound was a bit too loud and my ears started hurting so I put the one earplug I had left and enjoyed this lovely band as they sang older songs like "Sun Ra" or the very beautiful "Nothing Really Ends". On "Popular Culture" they were accompanied by a choir of kids (obviously excited by this occasion), who came back on stage to dance and jump on the festival-ending song, "Suds&Soda". That, apart from being my favorite dEUS song, was the track I had imagined to be the last song of Werchter and so it was! The violin riff, the shouting, the easy-to-remember chorus, the guitars, the enthralled crowd made it the perfect ending for this fabulous festival Rock Werchter 2008!!!!!!

Stand-out songs: Nothing Really Ends, For The Roses, Suds and Soda (in the video)
Rating: 5/5