luni, 18 august 2014

The unexpected connection between beer and the first date

Am citit din Newsfeed-ul meu un articol in TIME magazine despre discutiile care ar face ca dupa o prima intalnire sa urmeze si o a doua. Discutati calatorii nu filme, Aruncati mingea inapoi in terenul celuilalt, Impartasiti un secret, Preferati controversele lucrurilor monotone si... daca sperati sa fiti norocosi, preferati persoanele care prefera gustul berii :) Se pare ca exista o corelatie intre cei care iubesc gustul berii si cei care accepta sexul la prima intalnire.
Mi-am permis sa fac un sondaj printre prieteni ca sa ii gasesc pe cei carora le place gustul berii. Nu prea cred insa in calitatea statistica a corelatiei asa ca nu vom trage concluzii :)))


I was reading an article in Time magazine about what discussions on the first date should be about in order to be followed by a second one. Please read the full article at the link but the short list is: Talk travels, not movies, Bounce the ball back, Share a secret, Choose controversial over dull every time... and if you want to get lucky, choose people who like the taste of beer. It seems to be some sort of correlation between those who love the taste of beer and those who have sex on their first date. I dared to make a poll among my friends to find out who likes the taste of beer. But do not worry: I do not really buy into the quality of this statistics so I will not jump to conclusions! :)

duminică, 17 august 2014

Céret, art, tauromachia

Some friends recently encouraged me to write my posts in English or French. I guess I did not sistematically do it any earlier since Romanian is not only my language, but the language of most of my friends and my readers. However I decided I should give it a try from time to time... It might improve my English, stimulate the development of a style that would not  reveal to me in my mother language and give access to some international content to us all. Furthermore it will not let our brain fall asleep and it will delay the onset of Alzheimer disease too :))) So here I go...

I recently visited a small southern Mediterranean village called Céret. It's been a while since it was on my list mainly due to the fact that the town had been an artistic residence for several well known artists at the beginning of the XXth century. This summer, the Céret Museum of Modern Art hosts an exhibition about tauromachia - From Goya toBarcelo. I have dedicated a lot of time between the lines to the art of bullfighting: I read Death in the afternoon and several bullfighting articles as well as interviews with matadors, I tried to discover the basic moves and I wrote on this blog about Juan José Padilla. Whenever I think about it, I am amazed about my own interest in it as I find very few rational reasons to support it. Whenever I take a good look at us, the public, I see a frightening crowd in search of raw blood loss, in spite of all the laces, fans and ruffles we wear. There is something choreographic and empathetic in the show, it is true, as well as a sense of courage and sincerity, but could this peculiar mix be the entire explanation of us standing practically unmoved in the arena?

Whenever I can, I try to understand. The time will take its part in the process. The corridas, their underlying world of senses will slowly reveal themselves to me. But most of all I want to be able to understand what others see in it. From that point on, the exhibition in Céret was really helpful to me. 
Jean le Gac - La mort du torero

Michel Leiris (photo above) has one version of it. It is the second that kills one or saves one and that ability of glorifying the second has always marveled me. Pierre Alechinski has another version of it, extremely visual and intense: it is the encounter between an horizontal line - the bull - and a vertical line - the matador. Francis Bacon had long had a reductionist view: to him corrida was a pre-erotic show. Its only purpose was to make of the torero a more desirable man. The offer Leiris made him to illustrate a book about bullfighting opened a new perspective to Bacon: the matador is alone in the spotlight, face to face with the bull before death. It was Leiris himself who pretended that corrida was the exercise of sincerety since there is nothing that can be hidden from the public when man and bull are facing each other in the sand.

Eroticism is also part of the story. In our archetypes, the man stands the danger in order to conquer the woman. Matadors are part of past and present legends about desirability, eroticism and power. There is subjugation and spellbound. There is Eros and Thanatos (thank you again, Mr. Freud, for that image). Desire is not a stranger to death and fear of death. 

But I find there's also intense pleasure to see the suffering elsewhere. Why else would we keep on investigating  and playing again famous cornadas?

In the meantime, if you want to discover with you own eyes and you happen to be in the South of France, do not hesitate to go to Le peintre et l'arène - L'art de la tauromachie. Before that, just dare to leave me a comment about what you think there is in it... Thank you!

duminică, 10 august 2014

Prietenia dupa 30 de ani

A aparut la un moment dat in NY Times un articol care m-a intrigat si m-a facut sa reflectez: Why is it hard to make friends over 30?...

N-am avut senzatia ca, odata cu viata de adult, ni se schimba fundamental modul de raportare la ceilalti. Dar nu este mai putin adevarat ca, de indata ce incerci sa creezi propriul nucleu de familie, el devine prioritar.

Cu toate acestea, nu stiu daca nu cumva ma raportez altfel la notiunea de prieten, mai degraba decat la relatia cu ceilalti 'adulti'. Tot ce a insemnat formare in viata mea de pana acum a fost foarte 'time consuming'. Exercitiul profesional este cronofag si acum, dat fiind ca in mod regulat petrecem minim 11 ore la spital.

N-am reusit niciodata sau poate prea rar sa fiu o prietena 'prezenta' in viata celorlalti. N-am avut niciodata intalniri regulate cu fetele, nici macar discutii regulate la telefon (cel putin nu ani de-a randul ca in filmele cu acest subiect). Sunt mai buna in scris decat la telefon :) si sunt mai capabila ca prietena intre patru ochi decat in grup. In plus, am avut adeseori mai multi prieteni baieti decat fete. Sunt mai priceputa pentru dilemele existentiale decat pentru alegerile vestimentare pentru ca sufletul imi capteaza mai mult atentia (chiar daca n-ati spune asta cand ma intalniti machiata zi de zi)... Cand stiu ca e nevoie de mine, ma mobilizez. Nu reusesc insa sa sustin un ritm constant pe perioada indelungata in orice alta parte in afara de munca si familie, orice as face... Si cred ca este pur si simplu o problema de aritmetica a orelor din zi.

Pentru mine, prietenii sunt aceia pe care pot sa ii revad sau carora pot sa le scriu dupa o pauza importanta si totul sa fie ca si cand discutia s-ar fi terminat in seara dinainte. Incerc sa nu ii incarc cu angoasele mele pentru ca stiu ca, de obicei, raspunsul este in mine, nu in ei dar uneori le vorbesc sau le scriu despre ele pentru ca e bine sa iti vezi ideile puse in ordine si e bine si sa schimbi perspectiva, sa te vezi prin ochii celor in care ai incredere. Prietenii sunt cei cu care am avut uneori momente de 'indragostire' in sensul ca as fi putut petrece timp nelimitat sorbindu-le ideile dar viata ne-a adus mai mereu pe calea pragmatismului. Pentru ca se termina vacanta, sau weekendul, sau pentru ca trebuia sa facem alegeri cu creierul care ne teleporteaza intr-o alta geografie. 

Nu confund relatiile sociale cu prietenii. Avem viata sociala dar ne lipim sufleteste de foarte putini dintre cei pe care ii intalnim. Si din cand in cand imi fac bilantul si imi amintesc de oamenii care au avut un impact important asupra vietii mele fie ei prieteni, mentori sau pur si simplu cunoscuti. Imi aduc aminte de oameni cu care au existat doar fulgeratoare (si poate efemere) momente de sinceritate... si atunci realizez de ce e greu sa iti faci prieteni dupa 30 de ani.

Pentru ca nu mai intram in casa lor cu sufletele proaspete si ferestrele deschise. Pentru ca uneori avem rani si purtam bandaje opace, un fel de ziduri tromp-oeil. Pentru ca vrem sa parem mai frumosi, mai inalti, mai importanti. Pentru ca ne intalnim unii cu altii ca sa ne creasca autostima si nu ca sa auzim ce avem fiecare de spus. Pentru ca pana si la miezul noptii ne e teama sa ne dezbracam armura si intram incaltati cu bocanci ce ne protejeaza vulnerabilul calcai.

Cateodata am instincte bune si atunci mai sar cate o etapa, doua. Cateodata sunt pur si simplu ascultatoare si urmez instinctele lor. Am senzatia ca, daca recunosti in celalalt persoana al carei suflet te intereseaza, lucrurile sunt in general reciproce si nici nu e nevoie de prea multe explicatii. Sigur, conventiile sociale, relatiile ierarhice, distanta impacteaza capacitatea noastra de imprietenire. 

Dar as spune ca la 30 de ani e cam la fel de greu sa iti faci prieteni noi precum este sa te potrivesti cu cei vechi atunci cand viata ti se schimba. Daca baza era exterioara, poate fi grav. Altfel, istoria prieteniei continua...

sâmbătă, 9 august 2014


E vara. Avem alt ritm. Avem alta poezie. Avem seri tarzii intre prieteni, ploi torentiale cu fulgere care iti fura inima, leandrii infloriti si pe Ella Fitzgerald cantand Summertime...

Am avut intotdeauana o legatura speciala cu vara poate si pentru ca este anotimpul meu. De-a lungul anilor probabil ca firul nostru de legatura a avut chipuri diferite. Macii au fost intotdeauna acolo dar si parfumurile - de iasomie, de lavanda, de regina noptii, de mare, de fan cosit si ... de ulei de plaja.

Printre altele vara este anotimpul lecturii. Acum citesc autobiografia lui Peggy Guggenheim si ma amuza fiecare moment al vietii ei, poate si pentru ca am trecut prin unele din locurile despre are povesteste, poate si pentru ca numele ei are de mult timp o rezonanta speciala pentru mine. Femeie calcand - pictura mea preferata din perioada albastra a lui Picasso - se afla in muzeul de la NY, in cladirea lui Frank Lloyd Wright. Cand am ajuns sa o vad 'face to face' prima data am avut una dintre senzatiile acelea ca lumea e a mea.

In aceeasi ordine de idei a raportarii la propriile experiente, ma amuz sa vad printre mondeni o campanie cu hashtagul #ilovemylife. E ceva atat de suficient in asta. Nu critic ideea in sine, cred ca trebuie sa ne iubim propria persoana si sa incercam sa facem din propria viata constructia cea mai reusita cu putinta. Insa nevoia de a demonstra asta celorlalti, "publicului" tau imi da mai degraba senzatia unei reprezentatii triste, a incercarii de a masca sau de a deturna privirile de la ceea ce conteaza cu adevarat.

Si interiorul conteaza... cel putin pentru mine. Asa ca astazi, intrand intr-o librarie, am cumparat hrana pentru interior. De citit, de pastrat si de daruit. Happy Saturday evening!

miercuri, 6 august 2014

Poemul de miercuri - Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

SONNET 18 - William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date: 
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; 
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st; 
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. 

Jocul orb: morning time, evening time, summer time, winter time, every time

My latest musical passion: Porgy and Bess - Gershwin's jazz opera

I just love Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong singing it...

Enjoy late night music on ... Jocul Orb.

luni, 4 august 2014


Am terminat de citit Paris ne finit jamais a lui Enrique Vila Matas si am avut senzatia ca am citit cartea care a stat la baza Midnight in Paris al lui Woody Allen. Nu este deloc acelasi subiect: Vila Matas relateaza un fel de poveste autobiografica a tineretii lui in Paris insa este acelasi context: Hemingway, Stern, cafenele literare, modul in care au influentat ele generatiile ulterioare de scriitori, tehnici de scris, surse de inspiratie, filmografia europeana a anilor 70.

Chiar mai mult, Enrique Vila Matas intinde o punte catre Allen citand o replica dintr-un film de-al lui. Citatul este inexact si face referire la scena reprodusa aici.

Exceptand discutiile despre ironie am avut permanent senzatia unui déjà-vu. Vi s-a intamplat vreodata cu vreo carte?

duminică, 3 august 2014

Inspiratie vizuala

Imi place cand apar noile colectii de moda si designerii incep sa enumere sursele lor de inspiratie. Uneori sunt expuse si moodboardurile lor si atunci deliciul de a descoperi drumul parcurs de imaginatie e mai mare. Ma gandeam mereu cat de frumos trebuie sa fie sa 'lucrezi' cautand inspiratie. Dar imi dau seama ca uneori sursele vin ele la tine, spontan, si nu trebuie decat sa le notezi pentru momentul in care vei avea de recurs la ceva vizual.

Mi se intampla, mai ales in vacanta sau in weekendurile cu adevarat relaxante, sa imi las mintea sa se imprime cu surse de inspiratie vizuala. Nu stiu cu adevarat la ce le-as putea utiliza. Sunt inca prea putin tehnica in rarele momente in care incerc sa ma joc cu acrilic pe panza... Modelele mele vizuale sunt prea indraznete pentru a fi folosite in prezentari stiintifice. Poate ele reies in asocierile din tinuta sau din decoratiunile de interior insa nimic nu vorbeste cu adevarat despre frumusetea lor initiala. Poate doar placerea de a le recunoaste ca surse in opera unor pictori talentati sa cantareasca mai greu...

Cateva exemple la intamplare:
- pestii exotici
 - picturile rupestre de la Altamira si Lascaux despre care Picasso spunea ca tot ce a urmat e decadenta

- scoarta olteneasca si ia buciumaneasca

 - azulejos portugheze

- portelanul Wedgwood
- pasarile cerului

- florile pamantului
-mozaicurile bizantine

Ma opresc dar numai de teama ca imi consum tot spatiul de stocare pentru blog...

sâmbătă, 2 august 2014

A story of courage, determination and delightful foolishness

After a longlasting love and hate story with corrida, I decided to share its astonishing effect with a foreign friend. My husband and I took him to a Fiesta at the Roman Arena in Nimes. I was wearing white with a touch of red, simulating the aficionado I actually was not and I had foreseen white napkins to award orejas to the skillful toreros. In the event's brochure, we read some quick facts about each torero. Thus I discovered that the oldest of the three (he had almost 20 years more than the youngest of them) had had 37 bullfighting wounds!!! So I made this loud self-sufficient comment:
- Oh my God, this one must be a totally irresponsible, immature guy!

One hour later, I was watching some sort of amazing ballet that an one-eyed pirate-looking torero-dressed-like man was doing with the raging bull. I  was under the spell and felt like I had never seen this before. He was looking into the bull's eyes, they were moving like one, with only the cape between them in an incredible round up of lunges, charges and complete stops. The guy, named Juan José Padilla, was crazy: he was kneeling in front of the bull, he was inserting the banderillas himself with his slender look and panther-like agility, he was even caressing the horns in the blink of an eye. I was happy to award the oreja at the end of his first bull and I was disappointed for him at the end of the second bull as I could not raise my white handkerchief since the bull had not been killed by only one quick hit.

At the end of the corrida, we all discussed a bit, nothing much... since my friend was a bit appalled by the cruelty of the show.


Two months later, I happened to be in Santander at the time of the fiesta. I saw Padilla's name on the poster and I told my husband that I thought we should go. The show would be there for granted...

It's just that this time I would not be unprepared...So I started to read about the crazy man I was beginning to like and eagerly shared the info with my husband who, I think, appreciated the man's courage just as much as I admired his obvious love for bulls and his incredible empathy with them. Because a torero and a toro cannot act like one unless this empathy exists... Altogether, my intuitions were confirmed in this lovely piece from GQ.

I hope you read it but if you do not, here's what you will miss beyond great writing:

Juan José Padilla is the eldest of three sons of a Jerez baker. As he was also the bravest, his father used to take him for the weekends to the closest ganaderia and train him with small cows. Juan José became a baker apprentice in his teens but he never quit his passion for toros as he kept on training himself. It's just that he met a girl, Lidia, and they started to go out... As the relationship between them evolved, he warned Lidia he would become a bullfighter... Lidia agreed with one condition: he would never ask her to be present during his corridas.

Padilla's dream came true. He became a novillero (a junior matador), then he got confirmed as a real matador... He spent several years among group C toreros (the least valuable) until he entered group B and then, eventually, he made it to group A. He had 37 bullfighting wounds among which one triple wound in his neck, failing to cut his carotid artery. He also had a happy mariage with Lidia, two wonderful children and two accomplished parents who watched over him.

Until one day...

On the 7th of October 2011, a television  crew was at his parents' house in order to tape a video about how the families perceive risky professions of their loved ones. That day the corrida of Zaragoza, where Juan José was fighting, was broadcasted. The camera was turned on when, during the insertion of the banderillas, Juan José was severely gored by a toro bravo, and his left eye popped out. Yep, popped out... The bravest of you can watch the cornada here. Beside the eye, the facial nerve was sectioned and a part of his mandibula crushed. A seven-hour surgery was performed as quickly as possible but results were far from promising for Padilla's further career. He was never to regain sight again to his left eye and he was doomed to lose hearing of his left ear and mobility of the left part of his face. Everybody was skeptical about him bullfighting again as bilateral sight is crucial in correctly estimating  bull's position. For months, specialists did not give him much hope until one day he saw Garcia Perla, a neurosurgeon in Seville who dared to coordinate a complex team in order to reconstruct Padilla's facial nerve.

Months of intensive training and recuperation therapies followed. Eventually, before the following year's Christmas, Padilla dared to enter the arena again as his facial pain diminished and mobility slightly improved. He was performing only for some family and friends among which the doctor who dared for him, Garcia Perla... He did it! Then he started doing it again and again, every time better, in arenas all over the world. He returned even more skillful than before surgery, he lost a bit of weight, he became more athletic, he was enhancing his performance during the faenas and, most of all, he did not lose his love for the bulls.


Juan José is always dressed in bright colours like pink, violet, white or light blue, all blended with gold, the way 19th century matadors were dressed. He was initially called The cyclone of Jerez. He is sometimes waiting for the bull  in a daringly kneeling position. Some other times, he kneels and he turns the pink cape around his own head. He repeatedly says during his bullfights: "Toro, toro, hehehe"... He promises to get orejas for his kids (bulls' ears are given as trophies for courage and skill). He does not drink alcohol and he does not usually go parting after corridas. He fights 70-80 corridas per year being the leader of group A (group A matadors are forced to fight in at least 48 corridas/year). He is the first to help the other matadors when they are wounded (he placed a compressive tourniquet in front of us in Santander).  Last but not least for the future of his profession, he fills the arenas in a time when Spain is going through recession and corrida tickets are pretty expensive.

In Santander, many kids were there just to support him. They had pirate flags, they were throwing him their t-shirts at the end of the fight and they were shouting: "Padilla! Padilla maravilla" (Padilla the Marvel)

They were also waiting for him on his way out. We happened to be at the tendido next to his door out so he passed next to us surrounded by his team. They all had the smell of the bulls in their suits and they were silent although the day had been triumphant.

Money make the world go round

Independenta financiara este uneori dificil de gestionat. In presa internationala se vorbeste adeseori despre generatia noastra, the millenials, si dificultatile pe care ea le-a intampinat in ceea ce priveste autonomia financiara, mai ales din cauza schimbarilor de pe piata muncii si... din cauza crizei.

Uneori faptul ca banii invart totul se poate sesiza si in cazul concret al oraselor... Iar diferentele de evolutie financiara pot rastalmaci chiar si trecutul. Sa luam exemplul a doua orase din Spania, situate la o distanta de aproximativ 200km: Zaragoza si Bilbao.

Basilica del Pilar - Zaragoza
Zaragoza detine bijuterii culturale pastrate din timpuri vechi: Aljaferia - palatul mudéjar aflat in Patrimoniul UNESCO, purtand insemne ale artei islamice initiale, ale trecerii lui Pedro IV, ale regilor Catolici, ale Inchizitiei si ale garnizoanelor cazate aici si fundalul livretului pentru Trubadur lui Verdi; Basilica Del Pilar si Catedrala La Seu cu a sa colectie impresionanta de covoare medievale, putand rivaliza cu Doamna cu Unicornul si exponatele de la Le Cluny. Doar ca, dupa o perioada economica aparent infloritoare, Zaragoza a inregistrat recent o perioada critica cu somaj de 75% si crize sociale. Asa ca peste bijuterii s-a asternut praful si orasul are acum culoarea calcaroasa a Ebro-ului. Magazinele seamana cu consignatiile postrevolutionare si doar cateva zone amintesc de valoarea culturala a monumentelor de aici. Altfel iti trebuie determinare si buna informare ca sa razbati strazile in cautarea tezaurului, nimic neprevestind frumusetea de sub stratul de praf. 

Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao

Bilbao este exact opusul. Poate ca n-a adus prea multe cu el din Renastere dar acum economia este infloritoare. In Tara Bascilor ea se afla cu 10 puncte peste media nationala. Forta economica a atras arhitecti celebri: Frank O'Gehry pentru muzeul Guggenheim, Santiago Calatrava pentru Zubi Zuri (Podul Alb), Norman Foster pentru statiile de metrou supranumite astazi Fosteritos (am adorat diminutivul acesta) sau Philip Stark pentru unul din spatiile interactive din centru. Poate ca nici cladirile Moderniste nu sunt de ignorat dar orasul a capatat un suflu nou odata cu arhitectura contemporana. Si se simte din fiecare pulsatie. Exista culoare in peisaj si oameni cu venituri interesante pe strazi care la randul lor 'consuma', generand aprioric impresia ca exista tezaure de descoperit. 

Independenta financiara, a fi #pebarbata, sunt obiceiuri greu de deprins, iata, chiar si pentru ... orase. Spun asta pentru ca lectia urbana poate fi foarte folositoare oricarui tanar care trece prin aceasta incercare. La inceput, cand veniturile sunt mici, este interesant sa reflectezi la cum le-ai putea transforma intr-o investitie. Pentru ca ce cu adevarat talentati/vizionari in ceea ce priveste jocurile Bursei sunt putini, investitie poate sa insemne un curs, o carte, o schimbare de imagine care sa aiba un impact favorabil asupra planurilor tale pe termen lung.

Voiam sa va povestesc toate acestea pe Jocul Orb dar ocazia s-a ivit mai repede decat credeam..
În această vară, Philips lansează provocarea „Fii pe barba ta!”, prin gama de produse Click & Style, două modele de aparate de îngrijire versatile, pentru orice stil. Mai multe detalii găsiţi pe site şi pe Facebook.