Secret Santa

Last night I came home to find a package. From Romania. From somebody I never heard of. Inside there were gifts for me and Cindy (!) and a ton of chocolate, candy and snacks that I love. There was a note saying we’re been good kids and Santa is sending us those gifts… and no signature.

I suspected a couple of friends but they all denied it when confronted. I have another lead but I can’t verify it yet. But still, whoever you are, thank you.


The culprits have been found and promptly punished thanked.


Another year. Another big gap in my posts Smile The reasons are always the same – either busy or lazy – but this time I have something else added to the mix: less and less reasons to compel me to write.

See, I blog mostly for three reasons: to “record” my life, however dull, for future reading (it’s fun to go back a few years and see how different things were), to rant about things that annoy me (hello AT&T, MTA and Bank of America!) and finally, to incite some form of communication (= comments) with my far-away friends. Having someone write something – even if it’s a word – is very self-assuring that someone is reading what I write and that makes it worth it.

Lately I’ve been “outsourcing” all these reasons. I started using an iPhone app to record what’s going on daily: it reads my twitter, facebook posts and location check-ins and displays them chronologically, it lets me tag people, events and places. It even stores pictures, for each day. And it’s damn gorgeous.

Ranting happens on Twitter these days, since I found out that 140 characters are just enough to contain my anger with my “beloved” mobile carrier or the very “reliable” transportation authority. And let’s be honest, most of these things make sense only to Americans (New Yorkers, to be more precise) and last time I checked I only had one or two hits from these places (that actually know me and didn’t stumble on this blog by mistake).

The conversation part is mostly done over IM or Facebook. The former has the one-on-one intimacy that’s better suited for some discussions while the latter brings everyone and their friends into the conversation, with interesting results. Speaking of, I’m surprised of the low penetration of Twitter and Facebook among my friends in Romania. At the end of the day, past the privacy scares, they’re great socializing tools. Of course there’s some junk, but you can filter it out, and if you want, you can stay as low-key as possible.

BTW, did you know I also have a Tumblr? I use it for quick posts – a picture, a quote – since it’s faster than going through WordPress’ admin interface and I also like how easily you can like or reblog things you find interesting there (needs registration, ofc). But anyway, both Twitter and Tumblr have RSS feeds for any user, so you don’t need an account to actually follow someone. I use Twitter for a lot of things, like posting links I find interesting or participating in photography projects. Speaking of photos, I upload pics to SmugMug even if I don’t write on the blog about them (it also has a RSS feed) although in the near future I might experiment with a new service.

For longer ramblings, I might try a different approach, if time allows. Which considering the past, doesn’t look good Smile We’ll see. In the meanwhile, happy new year!

California Dreamin’

I’ve spent Christmas and New Year’s around Los Angeles, with Cindy’s family. It was my first time in that area (my only other West Coast experience was San Francisco in 2008) so we split our time between visiting relatives and exploring around. We went to Universal Studios and took the tour, Malibu and Santa Monica beaches, Getty Museum and Hollywood Boulevard (where the stars are), Rodeo Drive and Griffith Observatory with its beautiful views of the city, Queen Mary (an old cruiseliner turned into a museum) and – my favorite – Legoland. We walked around LA a bit too.

We had a great time and nice weather – at a time when New York City was buried under snow. And, on a personal achievement note, I drove on this (Wikipedia) Smile

Enjoy the pictures!