miercuri, 30 decembrie 2009

"The" Country for Old Men

It has been a while…. Few days far from the office charged my thinking parts, so I am kicking again.

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A month ago, one evening at home, watching “In Bruges” on HBO quietly and visiting Bruges has been voted as our Xmas plan, by her (The voting process has been similar to the last presidential vote, lost by a narrow (!!) margin)…
A 2.5 hours flight throws you to Brussels from Bucharest and you may reach Bruges by a 1-hour drive mixing with a flow of French, Belgian, Dutch and German speed maniacs. The city, as also mentioned several times during the film, is the best conserved medieval town in Europe. Here “to conserve” has been utilized excessively, the city itself is a historical pickle.
Hotel Prinsenhof, on Prinsenhof Street, is a boutique hotel owned and managed by a local family. The luxury of reception hall and the stylish architecture of the building is turning into a sour smile, when you enter the room and see that the toilet is separate from the bathroom. It seems that during 1800’s Belgians didn’t need to turn on water to envelop undesirable sounds, or they even didn’t need to wash their hands after.
When the nature calls (and after 5 hours of driving, waiting, flying, waiting and driving, it definitely called), you have to enter a small cabinet, as big as a phone boot and once seated, your nose touches the door (I have a proportional and small nose, for your reference). The place might have been handy for Superman, but not comfortable for OrdinaryMan in need.
After unloading biologically processed Romanian food on Belgian soil and unpacking the luggage of 4 days filled personally with enough clothes to open up a store, we took the narrow roads in search for a restaurant.   
A line of 3-4 floor buildings, each looking like a colored and fresh cake, surrounds “The Markt”, the main square. We have chosen one of the places and entered; the greeting has been “Buna Ziua! Bine ati venit! (Good Morrow! Welcome!)”  by Virgil (from Certeze).. We were back at home…Virgil was kind of a supervisor, monitoring the waiters, talking to the guests and serving the bills; perfect job for the man of Balkans. Staying since 1993 in Belgium changed his accent towards French but he was very talkative.
While he was asking about Romania and current events, one of the waiters, a young, tall, blond, athletic type, left the menu on the table and turned to missus,
“Mademoiselle, I have very good muscles; you wanna try?”, smiling kinky.
I was caught unprepared by the approach of this local Adonis, looking desperately to Virgil for a sign of disapproval but he was also shaking his head in agreement and saying “yes, really good muscles, good muscles. Pleasure...”
OK, we arrived to the land of free minds… The final blow came from the missus herself, “Aaaaa, I really want to try, would you like to give it a shot also?”
I just wanted to cry loud, a romantic trip to Flanders turning into an orgy…
The question marks blinking on my face alerted the waiter, he rushed to the next table showing a full bowl of mussels…”YES! Yes!” I shouted, exhaling strongly, I wanted to eat mussels, we all wanted to eat mussels, no?
A quick charge of food helped with blood sugar, relieved and in peace we have decided to visit some points of interest of the city; Chocolate Museum, Fries Museum (yep, they have a museum for French fries), The Burg, Beer Market, Linen Market… The freaky thing about the city is that except tourists’ kids, you do not see much of children, teens or youngsters around; as if the population under 20 years is used as slave labor to produce beer, chocolate and linens  behind hidden doors… All café’s, restaurants, shops are filled with retirement age senior citizens, happily enjoying beer and fries. Even the cue in front of McDonalds stalls looks like a casting line for Benjamin Buttons (Can I have one Cardio Meal Menu please?)…
Too much fries and chocolate makes one hungry, so we entered another food-hole early evening. The place was fully packed and waiters were obviously tired. One of them threw two menu sheets to the table and passed by. Another one came to ask about the drinks but while we were searching the beverage section on the menu, she decided that beer is a fine choice for everyone. Once she left, a third waiter approached the table,
“We, Monsieur?”
You what? Again the missus saves the moment, the waiter was saying “Oui? (Yes?)”, as an indicative remark for us to order and to order fast… I wasn’t ready for this speed test and asked, “What do you recommend?”
“Maybe some poisons for you, Monsieur?”pushing his French accent on every English word.

Should each encounter with a waiter be a challenge here? I might be slow but not suicidal. But still, we are in a foreign country and I do not want to have anyone filing an aggression complaint against me, so I took it as a joke, polite and jolly “Haha, anything that would keep me alive until tomorrow morning?”
“Our portions are standard, but I can get two poisons at once for you”. The celebrity chef Harry Potter should be working in their kitchen.

In order to hide my anger, I looked down to the menu and saw a section of “Poisson”, catching the word “Tuna” I got the point. He was recommending fish (“Poisson” in French) … I had the fish, two fishes on a plate….
The first day in Bruges, marked by offers of sex and death by waiters, ended silently on the comfortable bed of Prinsenhof mansion…

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More to come about Bruges… watch the movie (In Bruges) and you will understand…

marți, 8 decembrie 2009

Waltz with Bashir

Romania has been the stage of a clash of two evils, where one tricked the other one better and beat to death. The only hope remaining for us is that the lesser of the 2 evils shall give way to a new Devils’ Board, as quickly as possible. Otherwise the ordinary people will feel more heartburn during 2010.

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Recently started hanging out with our champion guys, joining them for Thursday football and beer. The sorrow of current events probably led me to find a shelter among them, feeling back the team spirit and family atmosphere. While being cursed by several former colleagues, the guys still seem to enjoy my companion.

After only two training sessions, I was considered fit for the SuperCup game to be played against French Oysters last Friday. Actually I was only mentally fit to join the team but they were kind enough to show solidarity and insist on my presence.

The day before the big game, on Thursday, we were having another training session. Decided to equip myself as a real player and went to the Nike Store at Plaza Romania (13 installments with CardAvantaj, kidding?). Following a quick analysis of measures and curves, I have moved towards the shop assistant of my choice. She was surprisingly interested in promoting the products, providing minuscule details about each material and model.

Having chosen a black pair of football boots, 2 pairs of socks, black shorts, a T-shirt and a zipper jacket, routed myself to the cashier and realized that I did not have my credit card with me. A big hit on the charisma, after showing off with a dark grey business suit and an air of a club-owner at the store, I had to count coins to pay. The cash in my pocket, RON 120, was only enough to buy a pair of light blue boots, which looked like I have earned them from Kinder Surprise.

When I appeared on the field of Calea Floreasca Hall next evening, wearing my new shiny sugar blue boots, with a revolutionary belly in the black jersey-set of our team, all the kids of my colleagues thought their parents brought Teddy Bear to entertain them during the game and circled me. It was embarrassing…never mind….

First half 3-0 and 2 more goals within the first 5 minutes of second half, the team was ready to bear the Teddy Bear Beckham (Victoria Bear was also watching the game). I was already tired from last night (and from last 36 years); besides, the warning of the referee to take off my glasses hasn’t been encouraging at all…The strong spotlights of the Hall, low battery warning in my brain, the crowd expecting to curse or to chant, with limited optic capacity I possessed, dried the last drops of self-confidence.

I was in the middle of the field, trying to catch a glimpse of the ball by following the tides of moving players. Only my neck was dynamically active, turning my head 180 degrees fast forward; I was looking like a paranoid intruder, looking left and right at 2 seconds intervals, asking “What? Where? Who? Why?”… At such an instance, when I found myself in front of the goal of the counterparts, the ball met my feet. With an inexplicable move that I would never be able to repeat, I passed by their goalkeeper and shoot the ball towards the empty 6 square meters from 1-meter distance… and missed it…asked myself out…

After the game, when the Cup was sitting in the middle of our table between beer bottles, one of the guys mentioned that I have “deviated” excellently bypassing the goalkeeper but hurried at the shot. What? Whatiated? I was just trying to balance myself, not to fall down while running and hoping the ball will pass through the goalkeeper itself. Maybe for some, the visual wave created by the bounces of my belly could be accepted as a deviation… I am not sure if I really wanted to shoot or just aimed at defending my feet from the unidentified flying object but the intercourse between the ball and my feet has been a peaceful event from my point of view.

We won 8-3, as a strong believer of fair play I would rather refrain from mentioning any further comments (especially the ones we made right after the game). Je suis désolée.

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Watch “Waltz with Bashir” or “Dead Fish” , you will not regret.

miercuri, 2 decembrie 2009

Romanian Rhapsody

In case we are not facebookies;


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There is a new bookstore, Anthony Frost, on Calea Victorie nr 45 (former Living Store). The shop is open even on Sunday but the entrepreneurs seem to be either shy to promote or greedy to give up the books. Both options did not suit me, so I have organized a guerilla attack and kidnapped some of the paperbacks (they have a decent comics section also). Drink one less Grande Latte and hydrate your brain with ink at the same expense.

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I am not in the mood to explain the story of the paper ships I destroyed. Really cannot bother myself to tell you in details the day when our newly built head office, state-of-art office space, has been flooded by the first autumn rains of 2002.

When I entered the building, ground floor, Main Branch, was already under siege. The cashiers were brushing water out from their cages with the help of solid aluminum digit-bars of exchange rates' indicator. Branch Manager was explaining to someone the benefits of plasticized banknotes. Few clients, looking like wet ducklings, lost in the ocean, holding invoices, cash, ID's in their hands were staring around confusedly, were trying to choose whether to help the staff or to cry out loud. As an educated economist, I decided to allocate the scarce resources of the bank, thus myself, to more efficient activities and moved on, ignoring the scene. Do I look like the financier descendant of Noah?

A security guard slid one of the wheeled office chairs towards me and offered me a dry lift of 6 meters until the stairs. King Julian..

Climbing to the first floor, I realized that our colleagues did not waste any time; the little lakes throughout the corridor were occupied by a few dozen samples of navigation origami of all sizes. It was too early for me to be able to process in my mind the possibility of a crowd, otherwise dead-meat in the morning, producing so many ships from paper, seating page5 beauty of Libertatea on the board and even coloring flags. All of the ships had names... They were waiting for this, they were ready for this, scary... We have had recruited 300 adults of both genders, from lost childhoods.

The entrance of my office was after two sharp left turns at the corridor. Nervous with the water dropping on my neck through the shirt and with the unnecessary productivity of staff, I took the first turn left fast and slid.. Caution, wet floor!!!! Step-dancing to balance myself, I managed to reach the second turn, with one foot up, the other one almost off the floor. I have seen two colleagues from my department kneeled down, right after the corner, occupying every possible point where I could put one foot, any foot, safely down.

The next second was the one that I regretted not joining the ballet class in the primary school, which could have granted a more artistic landing instead of crashing my bullocks and head simultaneously on the wet floor. I managed to splash big drops of water on the praying devils.

While I was checking my own pulse and ribs, two bastards stood up and left whining, "Bai, If he wouldn't spoil it, mine would have been first", "Huh, yours couldn't even move a bit, kidding?"...

I helped myself up, with a desire to whack them and with a pain to hinder any such aggressiveness. Patting my own back to clean, I have grabbed two flattened sheets of paper; one from my buttock, one from my shoulder. Their ships...Racing Arks... A third colleague, watching the event peacefully until then, stood up and started shouting "Gabi's boat was stuck on his shoulder, so he was ahead, he won!!".. A burst of joy and celebration... I did not exist....

At least they could have treated me with respect, as Godzilla....

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Spank you!

duminică, 29 noiembrie 2009

El Classico

Watching El Classico, the Barcelona-Real Madrid game, helps to understand how a simple game of 22 men could be an artistic and sportive show. After this kind of games, Spanish or British derbies, I don’t feel like watching Dinamo Bukkarezt or Gazsaray Izdanbul…

Romania is trying to choose between the lesser of two evils. Next Sunday will be not just an election day, but also a light Armageddon (or Armageddon Zero?), deciding the possible outcomes of 2010… The country is in crisis, jobless rate climbing, pensioners marching the streets; New Year preparations have a rather sad tone despite the glowing sun at the end of November.

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I haven’t been out at a club for a while. During the week spoke to a few pals and agreed to meet at Brothelli on Saturday night.

The club is expected to be packed as stiff as a city tram during early morning hours; I have sent an SMS to D, as our participation ticket to table-lottery. In an hour or so, I received his reply, the table and thus our status at higher social ranks has been granted. We were going to watch down and be looked up.

Days spent home contributed to the diameter of my lower body so I am having difficulties in entering the black jeans I used to wear last year. With few jumps and swift pulls, the encounter has been accomplished- although I might not be able button up. Wearing nothing but the jeans, at a quick look at the dressing room mirror I met the Michelin man posing for Levi’s. Freeing myself from the jeans has taken more effort, I almost fainted.

Grabbed the last pair of jeans bought recently, fitted in and picked a black shirt. The supposedly black shirt lost its color and turned into a shiny grey; after serving as the training base of our cleaning lady for the World Armwrestling Series. Hoping that the dim light of the club will hide the rays of light I will be transmitting, I put it on. As long as I would not sit down, the shirt was still good. However any inclination forward or temptation for sitting may generate a belly vagina between two lower buttons of the shirt, just over the belt buckle…Still fine, slim fit, do not breathe…

Greasing my 1.5cm cut hair with hair gel (to hide the whites), getting into a pair of comfortable white sneakers and I am good to go. (While I was fighting with two pairs of jeans and a shirt, missus has taken shower, dried and reshaped her hair, dressed up, put on make-up, smoked two cigarettes and had a phone conversation with missus Sr.)

Reaching the crowded parking lot we are greeted by customs officers behind an iron bar. One of them leaned towards my window with a disproving gaze but recognized me and asked his mates to let us in; not only me but also my car has VIP treatment, having its own reserved place. Parked the car, walked past a cue of long legged species, guided by the welcoming faces of guards and we are in.

While I am following the waiter to our table I realized that the service personnel had white Nike’s, blue jeans and black shirts; the only difference between me and them was that they seemed comfortable in what they were wearing while I was breathing economically.

Two ladies are waving to me. I would enjoy the moment on my way to the toilets later in the evening but now I wasn’t alone. The girls seem to insist and even move to catch me; one of them shouts, “Could you please bring an ashtray?”

Landed at the table, meeting friends and their friends, ordering drinks. The music is a painful mixture of electronic house, alternative, rock, hip-hop and heavy metal. Adjusting our booty shaking and arm trembling according to the rhythm, occasionally smiling to indicate the joy we are having and the belly exercise I have been applying for the last hour or so create a prostatic pressure; the nature calls.

The walk to the toilets (“Men’s Room” sounds gay) is like swimming against the ocean waves; the crowd extends and dips in harmony but you can never find a straight route. Once seeing the lights of restrooms, you feel like the plane crash survivor regaining his confidence to move on.

With increased testosterone level pumped by the beverage consumption and visibly excessive female flesh, none of the guys aim at high precision targeting but they prefer long distance random shooting; so there is no dry spot around. I make my own contribution to the liquidity discharge and left the warzone, back to the table. On my way, took few orders of beer, cigarettes, was asked for the bill and a cocktail (She didn’t know which cocktail or what kind of alcohol but wanted to pose with one, one with many colors)

Another round of shaking, trembling and while leaving the place at around 3am in the morning, the crowd doesn’t seem to diminish at all.

We had fun, huh?

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I happen to travel a lot around the country and within Bucharest; entering streets and neighborhoods where many local friends wouldn’t deem necessary to go or even couldn’t dare to pass by.

There are several industrial parks randomly left to rot, everywhere. One can easily believe that Romania partially served as filming platform for Mad Max series. After the revolution, probably in a hurry to spell-check, the hub for “steel industry” has been understood as “steal thy industry” by the politicians and those giant work plants has become the scrap yards for Transformers…

And all we are interested in is whether a candidate hit a boy, 5 years ago, or not... Nobody mentions social/economic solutions and plans but a slap... C'mmon... I suppose we all need a good slap to make a step for the required change.

luni, 23 noiembrie 2009

H8 M8

An idiot, who deprived himself of a banking career due to own personal shortcomings, began writing about banks in his blog. From French Banking system to Romanian financial sector nothing stays on his way. His credit card application is rejected? Burn them… His friend’s company couldn’t get a loan? Kill some… He couldn’t pay his leasing and didn’t obtain rescheduling? Spit on those…

Throwing accusations and generating stories, he considers himself the Braveheart, but the only part he comes close to the story of Mark Wallace is the scene when MW taps his own ass…

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A friend of mine moved to Romania and rented an apartment in a building, just on the corner of Stefan Cel Mare Blv intersection with Calea Dorobanti (a.k.a. Perla).

One Thursday afternoon he received a call, urging him to rush to the airport, to catch the evening flight to Istanbul. On his way to the airport he sent me an SMS "O., I had a leakage at home, at my kitchen sink; left the keys to the driver, could you please go and check if there is any further problems?!? Sorry.”

2 hours later the driver came back with the keys, asking whether he should go to check, instead of me. The grin on his face created flashbacks of few dirty bastards having a party in the apartment, finishing all the available booze (and me not being invited); so I decided to pass on his kind offer and go to check myself.

There is a big parking lot in front of the building, facing Stefan Cel Mare Blv. From a distant look, it seemed to be filled with cars parked by a group of anti-symmetry propagandists or by philosophy students trying to disprove the existence of parallel universes (Just for the record, I do refrain from commenting about female parking habits). Actually the small hills of sand and cement, as accessories for a pavement reconstruction, were blocking the space and offering an off-road experience to the residents.

Found a parkable place, landing my shiny black RR Supercharged through a cloud of dust. Waited a bit, until the dust was inhaled by cohabitants and jumped out of the car. Presenting the urban version of Swan Lake in the name of walking not to fall in a municipal-hole, I remembered about the bag I left in the car, the wallet in the bag and the cash & cards in the wallet. I even couldn’t recall locking the car. RR Supercharged is locked by an unusual sound of metal clinching, as a sign of prosperity of the guy holding the key (though you could push the remote button even in your pocket, the ritual of keeping it in the air makes you feel good). As I couldn’t remember any female attention for the last 2 minutes, I couldn’t have had locked the door, so I started rewinding my ballet course back to the car.

When I was approaching the car, from a distance of 15 meters, I realized that there was a guy climbing to the driver seat, holding a mobile phone on his ear and leaning towards the rear seats (where my bag was hiding as obvious as possible). The guy was dressed with Romanian National Football Team’s zipper and training trousers, the white sneakers and white baseball cap completing the car-smuggler uniform. I was, as in all panic situations, trying to process all information and possibilities without any real thinking. He could be a professional in his line of business, carrying a small cutter or knife. Also the taste for clothing indicated sportiveness which I never would trade for my belly.

I had to act fast… Like Bruce Lee…in a costume and tie…how was it? “Fly like a butterfly and bite like a bee”…Not Bruce Lee? Bruce Willis? Aha, Mohammed Ali...

I have held the half open door of the car, grabbed the dangerous criminal from his shoulder and pulled him down, out of the car, on to the sand bed. I caught him unprepared, unexpected and also he hit his head to the door while falling. That was my time for action; before he could take out any possible weapon he might be carrying. Threw consecutive punches on his face, neck and belly. Kicked his feet like a sewing machine.. Yiiieeehaaa, I am the Bruce Willis of Dorobanti (Brus de la Dorobanti?)

I grabbed his throat with a hand and showing a threatening punch with the other hand, heard him screeching. He sounded as if he just had an helium injection so decided to release my hand a bit. There were few spectators, none intending to save me from the criminal mind (his mind, not mine). Suddenly a group of shadows appeared behind me. I had to think that these dickheads never attack alone, but it was too late. My only option was to stand up, to seize the enemy and to run. Fast…

Slowly lifting myself from the patriotic thief, turned back to the group, trying to look cool. There was a guy in his 50’s, dressed in a better stitched costume as compared to mine, a similar aged-also neatly dressed lady holding his arm, and 2 more teenagers. I started shouting about catching the bastard while stealing from my car or even my car itself, attacking me and getting rid of the knife he was waving. The guy approached me and the thiefie, pulled him up. With a disproving look while cleaning his clothes by tapping with hands, he asked me “Why did you need to do this, Sir?”. His tone and words were too civilized for the mood I was in and I started shouting the story again.

Seeing his face, I also realized that the “thief” was an 15-16 years old, clean looking, baby faced, Dorobanti-type-teen guy. He was trembling and crying holding the elder lady’s arm, with his face having few fresh potatoes that I have recently cultivated .

The story turned sad; the older guy, his father, had also a black RR Supercharged, sent the guy to take the shopping bags from the car, the kiddo pushed the remote and by mistake entered my car, the car that I left open, instead of daddy-mobil while checking whether any girls are watching him.

I was sinking to zero from hero and he had a fight story to tell the next day to his friends. I still feel sorry.

And it really did happen…Thanks A., for reminding me to write it.

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Long before the webchats, we had the dealing screens in the Treasury Departments. Trying to act fast, to smack the counterpart immediately, we were using shortcuts, metaphors and amalgams of letters and numbers.

“M” and “8” stood for “Mate (Pal/Friend)"; the other one stands for you, my blogger-journalist-financial&social expert friend. Try to be someone but not everyone.

miercuri, 18 noiembrie 2009


Yesterday I heard from an old friend working at CitiGroup that Anan Dickshit is still with Citi but now riding bigger horses.. Glad for him, and for the crowds who might be meeting him, letting him introduce himself...

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From the "to-do"list, I didn't manage even to start any of the items yet but good intentions prevail

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Journal of the Broken Heart

I showed her clearly who is the boss around and said honestly my opinion about the way she does things. The fact that she couldn't understand and accept the reality is another proof of her inability to self-improve (I have told this also, honesty is the key in a relationship)

I should have taken a photo of her face when I was talking, to show to the guys tomorrow. Her eyes were blocked as if her brain was run by Windows Vista. I am done with her and she is sooooo done with any sign of further humanly life.

Driving home, checking the mobile if she has send any message of apology. She must be crying in agony with tears and couldn't sum herself up for texting.

Still no calls or messages. I check her Facebook page on my mobile, no status update (hope she didn't commit suicide)

I check her Facebook page again at home and saw the wall-messages from her friends, the sluts seem to be going out tonight. They were always a bad example for her any case.

I am afraid she will do something stupid for consolation and end up as the breakfast of a bastard.

She still didn't call for a decent apology. I call her to make sure that her phone is functional and she is alive. She answered but the wind blowing at the background makes it impossible to communicate. What? Hairdryer??? She is really going out...Bitch..

She should have called back already. Probably now at the make-up stage... Make up... we make it up......no?

I am ringing her again, to tell her that I do not understand how she could be ready that quickly to hit the night, while she has just been dumped... Dumped by me.
She answered, quite relaxed, asked why I am calling her every five minutes now, when I didn't even answer her calls during the day. Said that she has to find her boots and hang off. Boots? High Heels?

She was right, I didn't show her the attention she deserved lately. And now a two-days bearded Hulk will get her into his bed with a quick smart talk...

I should have been more attentive and I shouldn't have forgotten the reasons for which I was attracted to her. I loved her for who she was and who she is, why to change?

I want to call her and ask for an apology for the rude talk, it wasn't honesty but aggressiveness. She didn't deserve those groundless accusations.

and I love her. But tonight I am going to lose her, because of my stupid macho behavior. Decided to catch her and her lovely friends at the bar, started dressing up quickly. Huh, she likes that shirt.

The door bell rings. I do not have time for a neighbor or dropping by friend. Looking for the jeans she liked me to wear.

The doorbell is still ringing and I need to open the door to let myself out; so the encounter with the alien is inevitable.

Opened the door, forcing myself, aiming to rush and but met her. She passed me by, entering the living room she asked where I am heading to, as I was dressed with my Fratelli uniform. Speaking with a tone and a speed stopping me to interfere, mentioned that she is sorry that she didn't listen to what I said at the cafe, she was thinking about the girls going out tonight and she needed a reasonable excuse not to join but to spend the evening with me, she didn't want to piss me off but I shouldn't have left the table in such a girlish manner. She was ready to listen now carefully.
I started "Look, you are suffocating me, tonight we were supposed to spend with our friends...."

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Do not forget, Sunday we will be going to vote!!! no other plans!!!

vineri, 13 noiembrie 2009


Thanks to the new tech, we do everything by phone or Internet; talking, selling, shopping, getting aroused, learning and even sometimes listening to someone or something.

The door-to-door salesmen of 80’s become the young agents of call centers. Few kids with headsets know what we need, when we need and they even know our mother’s maiden name.

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A very hectic day in the office; 189 e-mails boldly waiting to be read; 2 mobiles and the office phone competing to ring; couple of meetings overlapping; few colleagues back from holidays and frequenting my office in need of reminding me about their existence; an angry client threatening to file complaints to Consumer Protection, parliament, authorities and even to send a letter to Mecca.

When I hang off the last phone, two more colleagues attempted to enter , each holding a white page but I stop them at the doorstep with a hand, like a talented traffic police, showing the ringing phone with the other hand. I am decided to have a looooong conversation with whoever is calling. The line of numbers starting with double zeros indicates an international call.

“Hello, is this Mister Teppich?” I am asked, by a velvet voice of a young girl. Under normal circumstances I would get angry and correct the spelling of my surname loud but now I need this conversation, to hide behind. Also her voice is so soft, I am ready to be her “carpet” (though I am sure she doesn’t mean or speak anything in German).

“Yeah, but I recently rebranded myself as Tetik, T-E-T-I-K, Darling!” I can’t stop myself.

“Aaash, Mr. Tea Tick, Sorry for my mistake, but my records indicates as Teppich”. I couldn’t dare to challenge your records and please you do not challenge my patience.

“Mr. Tea Tick, I am sixteen and I have an offer that you cannot refuse”.

Honey, I'm not sure whether to be honored that my reputation is beyond borders but you are 2 years below the legal age to offer me what I cannot refuse. Still I would rather check your local legislation and might ask for a photo before my final answer.

“Sorry?” I said, “What is your name, M’am?”

“I am sixteen, Mr. Tea Tick”

“Sure, I got it and I am 36. But, your name please? Where are you calling from?” I just wanted to add if her mother knows the international call she makes.

“No, Mr. Tea Tick, my name is S-I-S-T-I-N-E, Sistine; and I am calling you from Chamberlain & Wyman International ”

Upppsss, I did it again.

“So, Mr. Tea Tick, you are the Head of Treasury And Financial Institutions in your company?” Nope, I am the liver of retail banking and it is not my company, I just work here.

“No, Mademoiselle, I used to be… Until a few years ago”, regretting the days when I was bothered only by the beeps of dealing screens in trading room. No human touch, just graphs and numbers…

“Ooo, excuse me Mr. Tea Tick, I was referred to you by Mr. D. We have an exclusive event in September in Prague, for a limited number of 20 bankers, as regard to the effects of Global Warming on Commodity Prices and US dollar indexes. We have an unexpected availability only for one more attendant and we thought you would be the right person”

Yes, with 6 faces impatiently staring at me through the glass office walls, I am the right person for you to talk now, keep on explaining. And of course when remembering about Global Warming and Commodities, I am the 21st person coming to anyone’s mind.

Though, I am wondering the mimics I could activate on my boss’s face, by bringing a 5,000 EUR protocol expense request, only for the participation fee. I would at least feel a local warming, if not a global one.

I let her talk, about program, subjects, participants, sponsors, prices until everyone got pissed off and left my visibility. Once my horizon has been cleared, I cut her sales pitch “Thanks Honey, for all the information provided. When exactly would be the event? Which dates?”

“6-9 September, Mr. Tea Tick”

“Ahhh, now I am really sorry but exactly on those dates, I will be joining Al Gore at a Panda Hunt in Mexico. Unfortunately I am in a position to refuse your kind invitation”

When I am hanging off, I hear her asking about references to be called.

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I joined CitiBank Bourse Game in 1996 in Istanbul and my deskmate was a very kind & polite Indian, named Anan Dikshit. He was running the Call Center located in India, covering East Europe. The poor guy couldn't introduce himself to anyone during the courses without an explosion of laughter.

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Spending more time on the phone with friends, apologizing for not being able to call earlier instead of straightforward chatting with them. Once I finish the unread e-mails, I will call a friend.

miercuri, 11 noiembrie 2009

the bank job... b-job...

I was searching wikipedia for Romanian profanity. And found “a da la nutella”… I adore Nutella; at least adored it… For someone thinking that liquored chocolates are ultimate perversity, the meaning in English was disgusting… WTF “a da la nutella / to hit the nutella” means to have anal sex???????

One cannot have a decent breakfast these days…

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Year 2000 again; Y2K. The year that was supposed to crash all systems in the world but just did crash mine; I moved to Romania and started to blink syntax error….

End of May, less than 6 months in Romania; knew few places and few words. I had an abscess in my mouth, my dental presence being felt on each nerve. The dentist said that it was too late for me and I had to wait until the abscess was fully treated by itself (Yep, it was late because then I was considering “Stomatology” related to stomach and wondering why the Romanian population had such a wide-extent digestion issue)

I couldn’t eat anything for days as I couldn’t chew, with my face resembling the elephant man, having a pumped up left side. I had to feed myself, before the stomach attacked kidneys or liver in despair…

There is (or was) an unfashionably cousy Italian restaurant, vis-à-vis Opera House, named after the Opera House by the genius Italian patrons. They served semi-fresh soups and I was close to the place.

Parked the car in front of the restaurant, under the envying looks of neighborhood ladies (I had a brand new VW Bora, metallic pistachio green, huh) and entered the place.

The pain was controlling all my body and I was leaping instead of walking straight. With the new shape of my head and folded moves, I was the grandson of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The mixture of old-dirty foreign man and young-excessively painted ladies greeted me with estranged sights.

Seated by a waitress to a table in the corner and given the menu. No need to think, I ordered a chicken soup.

The soup, ready for the last 2 days and boiling, has been served immediately. I had to aromatize the taste, with some lemon juice, few drops.

Called the waitress but she didn’t hear. Called again waiving my hands as supporting indicators. She was still in chat with another waitress.

I shouted, “Could I have some lemon juice?” in Romanian. She turned while staring at me from a distance of 10 meters with an ultimate hate. I shouted again, “Juice, M’am”…

Few clients turned back to me also, throwing question marks. I had to use this chance of attention to tell again my wish; “Lemon, juice?”

Now all clients from all tables are looking at me, and sure they seem to be angry. Meanwhile one of the waitresses, an Oldie-but-Goldie, brought the small bottle of limejuice to my table, laughing hysterically and saying, “Maybe later Cutie, come after midnight”.

It took me few weeks to understand, while learning new words from colleagues.

With my mouth half open, lips squeezed and teeth closed in pain, what I asked sounded as if I was shouting for “Sugi (suck)?” instead of “suc (juice)” at first call. Moreover, I insisted politely on having “la mu.e (blowjob)” while trying to ask for “lamaie (lemon)”

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Do not try to speak a foreign language until you learn all of its slang and profanity. At least do not speak when you cannot control your teeth and lips for whatever is the reason.

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That’s not a story but a memory. One from the many again.

But still. your musical education is my main concern, so just click on the link


When you get the taste of lime from your life, just don't be lame. Suck it!

marți, 10 noiembrie 2009

missing in action

Too tired these days; didn't accomplish anything yet from "to-do" list. But managed to get 4 more kilo's during last Istanbul trip... now installing the new iLife and SnowLeopard, as the installer claims "less than 17 hours left to finish".

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Coming back tomorrow -hopefully- with a new story, for the moment "under construction"

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I am going to change my mobile number this weekend. So, if you can't reach me next week by mobile, please get my point :)

marți, 3 noiembrie 2009

Real Bucharest

I became comment-addicted. Checking the blog every hour to see if anyone posted a comment...
Few colleagues and friends insist on asking whether the stories are real, whether they are my memories. Mostly, yes. What is funnier than reality any case?
All of the following are true and I will try to exaggerate modestly;

- After a terrible 3 weeks in a room at Gastinitsya Mezhdunarodnaya (World Trade Center) in Moscow, I found my apartment. A shithole of 40 square meters on Kitai Gorod (China Town), at the first floor of a smelly, crowded 6 floor building (and just for 2,000 USD per month). The apartments on that block were modified from "kommunalkas", small living rooms for each family (converted into bedroom at night) sharing a common kitchen/bathroom for each 20-25 households. I was asked to pay 3 months' rent in advance, 1 month rent as deposit - for the damage I could do (there was nothing I could possible add further to the smell and misery) and a month's rent as agency commission. I had 10,000 USD in my bag, riding with a cab to my new residence. (The dollar cash in circulation in Russia is 3 times higher than of in United States)
When the car entered the street, I opened my bag to take out my wallet and the green shine of dollars at the bag pocket enlightened the face of the Azerbaijani driver. He grabbed my arm and said few words that I didn't understand but seemingly threatening. Opened the door with the free arm, hit his face to release the other arm and jumped out to run. The real estate agent girl and landlady were waiting outside on the street, they saw the scene and started running after the driver who was following my city marathon...The driver caught me, the ladies caught us. I was saved, he was beaten bad. Stayed 6 months at that apartment until moving to Noviy Arbat (New Labor) street, where my car was stolen happily 3 times, by the same guys.

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- The management of the bank rented a "business suit" at Gastinitsya Mezhdunarodnaya, a duplex apartment of which the upper floor was serving as a guest house for new arrivals like me, until they found an apartment. First floor was the "Head Office". I was staying together with my future manager, as we both arrived to Moscow on the same day and were searching for residence.
Each night, at around 10pm, the chain-action of door-to-door sales was starting. Few knocks at the door, opening it you would meet every kind of white meat, always in a combination of 2 pieces, with short skirts and excessive make-up, asking "Want?" and giggling. They were so used and torn, "Do not want"was the only human answer. It kept going on with 20 minutes frequency until 6am in the morning.
It is funny for the first 3 times of the first night but after few weeks of sleeping disorder, one would get nervous. So did my boss... He was a person of comfort, hardly affording the first impressions of Moscow. About to go to sleep, brushing his teeth, dressed only with his Calvin Klein boxer shorts, the 10th knock on the door acted as a sprint shot for him. He rushed downstairs to open the door; to swear at the ladies. He forgot the luggages on the hall and trembled over, went down a dozen stairs on his head. I ran downstairs in panic and found him with blood dripping from his forehead, toothpaste foaming off his mouth, but conscious and nervous. Opened the door to get rid of the Knocking Birds and to call for help. The ladies started shouting by the scene. In less that 30 seconds security guards arrived, picked my boss and me as criminals by the arms and brought to the closest police section (downstairs at the hotel's groundfloor). After few questions in Russian and our answers in English, Turkish or German, we were allowed to call the lawyer of the bank, who got us released early morning. Only after a year learned the version that bastard lawyer told to the rest of our colleagues; two horny Turks called in the girls but the dispute to share the girls resulted in a bloody fight, the guys were so aggressive and excited, their mouths were splashing off.
I wouldn't let my dog to screw those meatbags but had established a decent reputation by the staff...

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IMF will disburse the 3rd tranche, EUR 1.5 billion. They cannot afford to have a red dot in Europe, possibly causing a regional catastrophe. It is much easier to throw EUR 1.5 billion to Romania and keep the engine running, instead of spending EUR 20-30 billion to save Turkey, Hungary and Czech Republic affected by the negative sentiment after. However, the IMF officials are executing now an humanitarian effort, trying to straighten political life in Bucharest. "Money talks, bullshit walks".

luni, 2 noiembrie 2009

Breakfast in Budapest

Spring of 2001; two guys at late 20’s, feeling as Patrick Bateman & Co were packed to kill, on their way to Budapest. Me and my friend G were proud tourists of male pleasure, full of self-confidence and “in case of emergency” cash, boarding Malev flight from Bucharest. We both have been in Russia for 3 years before arriving to Romania in 1999 and had few terabytes of visual memories that we would never be able to share with our beloved ones or with our grandkids. (Our “World War LXIX” or to be more explicit, our “Call of Duty: Easterners on Flames” hasn’t been as sad as the stories we were told by the Oldies. We did not wait long queues for our daily share of Jack Daniels’ and Red Bull)

We were lucky that Malev does not charge for excess libido and quickly took our seats. The pleasant weather, very smooth flight and surprisingly delicious catering were all indicating a nice long-weekend.

G, already in the mood for a quick win, decided to fancy the stewardesses (now they are called “flight-attendants” and if you dare to call one as “stewardess” you risk to die of thirst during the flight). He pushed the red button to call one of the ladies and when she arrived to our row he asked, “Hi honey, how do you say “Thank you”?”

She squeezed her eyebrows and answered “Sank yu!” Probably she wasn’t delighted that her conduct of English being tested by two Gollum heads. But actually we were trying to learn saying “Köszönöm”. Sink-sank-sunk in the seats…

Easy landing, fast trip with a taxi to the hotel that we have arranged through an agency in Bucharest and considering what was supposed to be expecting us we have mentioned several times our choice of 2 rooms with French-beds.

The receptionist, a middle aged gentle male, announced us deliriously that they could offer us the Executive Suit, with a 3-meters by 3-meters waterbed instead of two separate rooms, also for the half of the total price. He was so excited about his own offer; we had to cut him short to request 2 separate rooms before he had an orgasm on the reception desk. Moved to the rooms, unpacked, quick shower and... Budapest, here we come…

When passing by the reception on our way out, the receptionist shouted a restaurant’s name for us to try out. It was already on the list we have gathered through internet, so decided to give it a shot. Arcade was one of the cousy looking but cool places where you normally couldn’t enter without a days-earlier reservation. Thick wood stools and tables, few mediaeval weapons hanging from the ceiling together with Starck design lamps, drinks served in geometry-forcing glasses. The emergency cash stack helped us to find a decent table on the spot. The waitresses were chosen from the remains of the last Victoria’s Secret show, each of them proving the existence of God. We were hardly talking but staring at the female aurora serving our food and drinks. Great food, great spirits and great sprits ended up with a bill below 100 EUR and we decided that it was the place to come again. I followed the girl who served our table while she was walking to the kitchen, she suddenly turned back at dazzling me “Very nice, can I have the phone number…” Before I was able to say “the phone number of the restaurant to make a reservation for another day?” she started shouting at me “Do you think that I needed to serve food to smocks like you if I dated each tourist coming to Budapest?” I presume they never had same client twice, thanks to her.

We left for a walk on the crowded streets. The streets were full of same gender competitors; probably the after-match crowd of a football derby had had caught us. Instead of forcing through the crowd, we entered a pub on our way. While sipping our drinks, a kiddo came, confusedly offering a red rose to one of us, he couldn’t decide to whom, we ignored and he left. Few minutes later a violinist came, with a large grin on his face, playing a futurist version of Love Story…The bar was also packed with a dozen guys, the only single girl was the barmaid and she seemed to belong to one of the bouncers, keeping an eye on him regularly. Decided to hit the road again, maybe the first night was just a warm-up curse.

I was running up the few stairs from the bar’s exit to the street, G remained behind checking the local tourist guides and brochures on the shelves. I was hoping that he could discover a decent club to go where another 100 EUR could make wonders but he started shouting as if a boa bit him,

“Shit!! Shit!!!, Shiiiiittt!!”

“What happened? What happened?” I was panicked thinking that his wallet or passport has been stolen.

He threw one of the booklets to me; I couldn’t grab it and skipped on the floor. On the cover there was toothpaste commercial, I was quite surprised that the dental hygiene concerned him so much and wanted to assure him that I am ready to lend my toothpaste. After 10 years of brotherhood…He was kicking the tiles, waving his head disapprovingly and showing me to turn the page. I did so and faced the soar truth. With large pink letters reading “Budapest Spring Gayfest-2001”… We had chosen the weekend for YMCA’s happy nation…

Rest of our trip? Hungarians do have very interesting movie channels on satellite.

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Patrick Bateman: I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip.

(Don’t watch the movie but do read “American Psycho”)

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Nouriel Roubini, the economist who forecasted the current crisis and thus being named as Dr Doom, has announced the second wave of the global crisis is on its way to our doorsteps and it will have deeper socio-economic impacts, even on the world peace. Don’t forget your umbrellas when leaving home then…

duminică, 1 noiembrie 2009

High... ways...

Jean Baptiste Say was a French economist with liberal views in favor free trade and fair competition. He is well known by the economics students with his doctrine of “Supply creates its own demand”. I am not sure if he simply meant the economic activity at the neighboring bordellos but I still consider he was misunderstood.

As Wikipedia quotes, Say's Law does not claim that supply automatically brings demand, but that the foundation for effective demand is constituted in a former source of supply. That it is always supply that we consume and that you cannot consume what does not exist.

Say's law says, “The supply (sale) of X creates the demand (purchase) of Y”. This law can be shown by business-cycle statistics. When downturns start, production is always first to decline, ahead of demand. When the economy recovers, production recovers ahead of demand.

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Being a fresh but devoted citizen, I have decided to contribute to the discussions of liberalization of prostitution & natural drugs and had a weekend trip to Amsterdam to analyze the benefits.

Considering the main problems of Romania, such as poor educational system, poor health care and poor infrastructure; there are enormous advantages we could obtain from the ingenious proposal of the 28-year-old leader.

First of all, the excessive use of drugs will put stupid smiles on our faces increasing the level of urban politeness and diminishing the performance diminutive effects of stress. Without stress we all be more productive and efficient… or it will seem so…

People on the street would not dream about biting a piece of simple bread but they would start painting their own bread on canvas.

In order to ship larger quantities of weed at faster speed, we would all go to Bricostore, grab few tools and start building our own highways... There should be many ways to be high…

Liberalization of prostitution will also have positive effects on the economy. We will stop spending money on luxury goods, fancy cars and designer brand clothing to get laid but just pay for it straightforward. (While generating taxable incomes.) Diminishing consumer spending and increasing fiscal revenues; as IMF dictates to us, huh?

The circulation of STDs will help us to get rid of the unhealthy population without any cost; so the healthy population percentages will skyrocket.

If we would also offer weed wrapping lectures and courtesan guidelines at the schools, we will be solving the lack of educational materials.

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It was a nice weekend but with a sour pain in the stomach; Amsterdam residents are selling the concept of their way of living through tulips, cacophony of music, coffee-shops, Red-Light district, open winter terraces, waffles, Van Gogh, bicycles, water channels and boat trips… Clean dressed, smiling, attentive, literate peple from all ages are walking, running and cycling without disturbing each other, without discriminating or criticizing each other. Could we become them just by inhaling weed?

joi, 29 octombrie 2009

She banks, she banks...

“ Hi O, how are you maaaaan?” Why do we think that we become friendlier if we pronounce the gender in a gayish manner each time?

“I am fine” was my reply, holding the mobile phone close enough to hear but also distant enough to ignore him. Last time we met, at a fancy restaurant, he didn’t dare to stand up to shake my hand, but waved his head to indicate his recognition about my presence. He was surrounded by few celebrities then. (Most of the “celebrities” showing off at that place on a daily basis are just tabloid puppets and they earn as much as a bus driver, limiting their glamour to the dress they are in). He didn’t know, he was feeling important… Talking loud about the article he read on Walk (?) Street Journal.

“Hey maaan, long time no see; you are OK? The bank is well?”

Nope dumpy, I was just about to call you, to save me and the bank from the boredom we suffer.

“Yes, yes; the bank is fine”. And actually I enjoyed that "long time" with “no see”.

“You know O, I wanted to call you earlier, about.. eehhmm… about…”

“About what?”

“I have this friend of mine, a very good friend, like a brother to me. A perfect gentleman, an important businessman with good contacts.”

And he wants to marry me?

“He is a very reliable person, trustworthy and a good potential as a client for you”. Yes, sure, almost all prophets have accounts with us, just he was missing. We offer sins in installments.

“And he is looking where to deposit his money?” I am mocking at him.

“No man, you know the situation these days, very difficult to find a business oriented banker, a reasonable financial specialist”. So I was worth to be found. Please wipe after licking, I prefer my seating parts dry…

“He, my friend, has a well thought business plan, already settled to start. But he needs a bank to support him”

Ahhh my friend, my maaan friend, so he needs a bank to screw? Thanks for flying with us.

Cannot bear similar conversations anymore, I want to cut it short and interrupt “How much he needs? For how long? What is the business?”

“You know, it is just EUR 300.000, for the beginning of course. He wants to pay it back immediately, in a year or so, but you better arrange it for 15 years, you know. And starting with the second year he may need an additional EUR 500.000, also for short term” Another short 15 years, the time passes like a lightning when you are a banker.

Also he gave some brief details about the “business”: it sounded like selling palm leaves to cover the rooftops of the coffee-shops' terraces, which will be built adjacent to the suspended highways, future highways…export-import, you know… Good contacts at the Ministry of…You know…

I already have my script ready for this act “What kind of collateral could he bring?”

“Yeah, that’s the issue man, he had some trouble in the recent past. His partners fooled him and he lost almost everything to a bank” Nope, the bank has recovered part of the loans granted, with the assets financed by this or another loan.

“I see, if he applies as an individual client and if he has the necessary incomes to pay the monthly installments, we may arrange something’

“I am not sure if he could apply himself as an individual. You know, he had some headache in the 90’s”

“What kind of headaches?” I feel like the cashier lady at SensiBlu, do you have a fidelity card? Algocalmin?

“Aaghh, he was helping some Swiss families to adopt kids, poor kids without families, from Romania. Everybody was better-off, kids were fine but not the police, man.”

“Did he do also drugs?” , I was just kidding.

“Just for fun, few times. They were wrong when he was caught with the load of his friends, claiming that he is a dealer, huh. You know the media here. He is clean, man.” He wasn’t kidding..

“What about his family”

“They are no use, man. They were upset when he gave the parents’ house as collateral to some gypsy. The bastard threw them out"

"His wife? Is he married?"

"Sure he is, he is a family man, but right now his wife is also not in good waters with him, after catching him with this TV moderator - a fantastic woman, you know”

“His wife?”

“No, man, the TV puss…whatever…”

“Ok, so he’s like a brother to you, so you don’t mind being guarantor and giving us some promissory notes signed by you, no?”

“C’mon, maaan. I cannot do this. Why to risk my reputation?”

You just did my friend. Probably you ruined your reputation when you were a glimpse in your father’s eye; but with me, you did now.

I said, “Give him my number and ask him to call me”, I will answer just for the first time, once, and then save the number to block it.

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I said already, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!! This is the third trophy of our team at the Bankers’ Cup. I have my own medal, given by a player-colleague of mine, for being the loudest supporter.

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