... step into my garden

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best Vehicle I drove This Year 2009

OK, I will admit it. This is my favorite award, and the hardest choice of them all. For the beginning let's meet our contenders. And the nominees are:

Fat Baboon 225

Driving it every day never gets old.

Little Donkey

I still can't swipe that smile off my face.

50cc ATV

Driving on the coast line with one of these is a truly memorable moment.

Excentric Buggy

Almost scraping the tarmac with our but was sooo much FUN.

Versatile Citroen C3 Pluriel

Almost convertible, absolutely fun.

Let's go that way Jeep Cherokee

Flip a coin, and let's be on our way.

Rev happy Clio RS 200

Going up to 8k revs is always fun.

Gravel eating Dacia Logan Cup

A true rally car.

Crazy 350hp SAAB(sorry no pic)

wheelspin at 120Km/h ... what the heck??? I want my mommy!

What can I say ... I've been paareetty busy this year. Each has an amazing story supporting them, so it is a very very tough choice, but we have a winner. And the winner is:

Ugliest Car Of The Year 2009

2009 will be a memorable year. It is the year when a car which is uglier than the car I used to consider the most ugliest possible car in the world was born. My all-time favorite was this:

This was the ugliest car I had ever seen until 2009. Not any more! A newcomer blew this little sucker into the water.

And the undisputed ugliest car I have ever seen is:

My Car Of Choice 2009

I love cars. I really do. Last year's choice was the KTM X-Bow, so I guess it's pretty easy to see what I'm aiming at over here. It must be fast. It must be powerful. It must be the best bang for buck you can have. And it must be on top in it's class.

And so, without further bla bla, the winner is:

Best Game I played This Year 2009

It's been a somewhat busy year for the gamer in me. I got the new PSP and a couple of games to go along. The PS3 received it's share, and so did the Wii. But still, this is a pretty easy pick. Although I must admit I was a bit underwhelmed by the game, it still has some EPIC moments that any gamer must experience.

And the winner is:

Worst Movie I've Seen This Year 2009

This year has marked a new experience for me. It was the first time I was literally unable to sit through the entire duration of a movie. I didn't even bother to blog about it, but it must get my real appreciation through this award. Yes, sure the movie won Oscars, but frankly I don't give a mouse butt.

The clear undisputed undefeated winner is:

Best Movie I've Seen This Year 2009

I'm so lucky to have this blog, since I have extremely poor memory. I was wondering what the heck movies I saw this year, and which one impressed me most. Looking through the movies posts made the choice much easier. Although there were a couple of surprises this year for me like Coco, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and even Fast and Furious, there is one movie that really impressed me.

And the winner is:

Best Travel Of The Year 2009

OK, no point in delaying this. It's pretty obvious where this goes.

It's been, again, a pretty busy year. We visited Vienna, Paris (yes, AGAIN), Zakynthos and Japan. Vienna wasn't THAT impressive, and although Paris is still my favorite place and Zakynthos was pretty amazing, the award will have to go to a place in Japan.

And the winner is:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Scullder's Awards 2009 !!!

Yes, my dear friends, it's that time of the year when i get to name my favorite toothpaste and stuff ...

Here's this year's categories:

... and since I like it:

Don't hesitate to check out ALL my awards for fun by clicking right here!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dinner in Space

When you think of Tokyo, you usually expect crazy neon lights, manga people, tall buildings and flying spaceships. Arriving back in Tokyo we realized that this is not so very far from the truth. The hotel where we stayed was located in West Shinjuku, a well knows business area, and we got a room at the twenty freaking second floor. Very small room, minuscule window with a curtain. Opening the curtain brought back memories of the WOW moment on Folegandros and it's breath taking cliff side.
Talk about a room with a view. We were literally inches away from the abyss, and yet it felt quite safe.

The building on the left is a government building that you can visit for free. It goes all the way up to the 45th floor, so, of course, we went there.

Tokyo, viewed from the top, is quite impressive. It is HUGE, spreading out as far as the eye can see and probably beyond. And if you like these photos check out the ones from New York which are just as impressive.

While returning from our short trip to the outer skirts of our atmosphere, we saw the very nice location of the restaurant on the top floor of our hotel. Wide window, top floor, no brainer.

M came to visit and say good bye and after that, as it was our last night in Japan, we though it would be very nice to have a romantic dinner, on top of Tokyo, and we did. The food was pretty good, but the best thing was the view.

With sake in our glasses and Tokyo at our feet, this was the perfect ending to an AMAZING trip.

I'm not sure how we are ever going to top off going to Japan. Maybe a trip to Saturn ... who knows?

Go see Japan!
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hachikō ...

OK, time to bring out those handkerchiefs.

This is the statue of Hachikō in front of the train station. (no tears yet?) It's the dog who waited in front of the train station for his master. (not there yet?) His master was long gone ... (small sigh?) And he kept waiting ... (big sigh?) Until he passed away waiting in the snow ... (don't lie I know those are tears)

The movie is famous over here. I will never forget my sister Miruna bursting into tears as the camera panned out ... Hachikō will never be forgoten...
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M & J

As we're closing in on the final post from the Japan series, I want to post about the two people who made Tokyo feel like a familiar place, M&J.

I really like this photo of them two very much.

You can see J all adventurous always climbing and exploring, and M always finding something to take pictures of, usually J... which of course he has to climb after to take the best photos.

I think M takes some of the best photos, you can check them out over here.

We had an amazing Mediterranean, Sushi, Mexican, Sake dinner one evening, prepared by the master chef J. I think my brain just exploded with delight just by thinking about it. It was really amazing. (did I already say that?)

Just like when we went to the states, it felt really good to have someone there when you're away from home. Thanks M&J, hope to see you again soon...
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Drift King

Yes ... it's time ... you cannot talk about Japan without mentioning the CARS. And I'm not talking about the boxy city car microvans. I'm talking about all the tuned up or stock crazy cars you would expect to find there. I was hoping to find some kind of proof that the night scene is as crazy as they say ... and I kinda did in the end. I saw some amazing GTRs, a few EVOs and STIs, and a few of what is maybe my favourite ... Silvia. And I don't mean the huge spoilers kind, I mean the slick tires, slick styling, racy exhaust, racy suspension kind. But let me start this up properly.

Japan is well known as being a major tuning market. It's common knowledge that people tune up their cars big time. What is not common knowledge is that most of the tuned up cars in Japan look like this:

Yeap, minivans. They tune minivans. They tune minivans like crazy. You see this kind of tuning everywhere.

Besides this, the JDM market has it's fare share of stock representation with EVOs, STIs and GTRs. They're not as common as tuned up minivans, but you get to see quite a few as well. I caught an STI in Shirakawa-go and took a couple of pretty pics.

If you really wait for it, you can get a glimpse into what is probably a very busy night time racing scene. I wasn't the automotive spy with my camera ready to catch each one of thse quite rare moments, but ... I did catch one which I'm really proud of:

Yes ... it's a Silvia. And I love it. This was inside a private parking, so I didn't want to take too many photos. If you will look closely you will see the details that give away the good habbits of the owner. Duck tape stiching near the rear tire, four ripped out (and I mean really ripped out) tires thrown behind the car, this is the closest I ever got to Japan's Drift King.

Close enough for me ...
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pillow LUV

Some time ago I read this article about a strange situation in Japan. The article was saying that there's a trend among young Japanese men to date ... well ... pillows. They go on trips, watch movies together, and I'm trying no to think too far regarding their activities. Apparently it's true love...

I must admit I was quite shocked when I actually got to meet the pillow face to face. She was abandoned and neglected, left all alone on the shelf, in dire need of a rescuer. She had a small boo boo which needed immediate attention and I could also tell she was too shy to actually ask out loud for help. Instead, she was looking at me with her puppy eyes, hoping I would notice ... hoping I would care ... and I ... took a pic and got the heck out of there!

Talk about barking at the wrong tree ...
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pachinko is the Work of Satan

There's no better way to put it ... I think that Pachinko is the work of the Bad Man Himself. I can't even begin to describe the level of chaos that can be found in there. What's most intriguing is that you can find people of ALL ages. They all sit there hypnotized by the brain washing satanic machine of ... PACHINKO!
Here's a vid I grabbed from youtube (not mine). Turn the volume UP (like, all the way UP, because it's freaking LOUD in there) and you get a sense of what it feels like to be there, but try adding some intense smoking choke (it's an all smoking joint), and add to that the intensity that a LIVE show gives you. It's PURE CHAOS!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

No more poop?

I went to see 2012 last night and although parts of it were not as bad as I was expecting, I ran out of that theater at the end of almost three exhausting hours faster than those people from the movie were running out of the exploding buildings. The movie's well paced but although there's much banging action on the screen  you rarely feel any suspense. The effects are poop-notch most of the time, so it feels more like watching cartoons rather than watching a live action movie.

I kept scratching my head all night trying to figure out which genre does this belong to. I finally figured out it's some kind of strange comedy, since watching 6 billion people die isn't really that funny, but the script is pushing for so many jokes that it can't be considered a serious movie either.

I loved the ending though ... the honesty in the little girl's voice ... "No more poop-ups"... I whish Hollywood could say the same.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Extreme Offroad = Extreme FUN

Well, apparently it's been a busy busy busy month for the petrolhead in me. Renault F1 Roadshow, Rally Day, and now ... caraazy offroad fun.

It all started when cousin Raducu invited us to go play with his little monster on the outskirts of Bucharest on a very nice offroad trial course. I've never been to offroad trials so I didn't have a very clear idea of what this means. It was shocking FUN, and I did get an adrenaline rush out of it.

Ready for FUN!

It's not VERY muddy out here...

You want to go THAT way??
I will embed the playlist from youtube. I saved the BEST for last so it is really worth watching throughout all the videos (... we did go THAT way).

Yes, that's a couple hundred euros fuel pump regulator something next to the mustard jar cover. The point is to get the job done ... and it does!

I am wondering what was more fun ... Rally Day or this ... it's close ...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tokyo Basics

OK, time to get down and dirty with TOKYO. Surprisingly few people know it is the most humongous metropolis in the world with 30 million inhabitants. That's like ... a lot ... I think. Here are a few facts I can say about Tokyo:

* Tokyo is CLEAN
* Tokyo is SAFE
* Tokyo is FUN
* Tokyo is full of caarazy people, on a "cool scale" from 1 to 10 these guys go to 100...
* Tokyo has the best infrastructure I've ever seen in any of my journeys
*Getting around Tokyo should be done with a one day pass (1000Y) which gives you access to all means of transportation
* The Harajuku girls are real
* There is no "city center", all Tokyo areas need to be seen and have lots to offer
* For fun go to Shibuya
* For shopping go to Shibuya, Shinjuku (east - in the pic on the left), Harajuku(- in the pic above)
* If you want your brain to implode take a tour of the shops in Electric City

That's a small summary ...our adventure continues next ...
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rally Day Movies

I finally got the movies from rally day. It was tons of fun, although the movies may not look like it. What really surprised and impressed me was the car ... The Dacia Logan Cup is an amazing little slugger. I've had the real pleasure of sitting in the passenger seat with G. Grigorescu driving. In the hands of a professional it turns into a true breathtaking rally machine.

I'm not the rally legend and I was throwing the car around way too much at some points so please indulge me :). So, without further blah blah, here are the movies:

I think I'll start up a donation plan to start my rally career :P.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hollywood meets Prince of Persia

I'm having trouble even asking this question, BUT ... can it be possible that after decades of producing one humongous pile of pooh after another, Hollywood has finally produced a movie based on a video game that is not a complete waste of time and money? Could it be?

Well wrap me up in tar and feathers and call me chicken, but I can sense a tiny possibility here ...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cristina Vicky Barcelona

I got to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona the other day, and I really enjoyed it, and not only because it has Penélope Cruz in it. Uhm, what I meant is that it's not so great just because Penélope Cruz makes out with Scarlett Johansson somewhere along the line. Hmm, I think I'm thouroughly failing at making my point. It's because of the funny threesome relationship between them two and that painter guy played by Javier Bardem ... and the fourth girl played by Rebecca Hall...

Oh, darn it ... there I did it again ... It's a comedy, darn it, A COMEDY! And it's quite a good one. I particularly loved the ending... talk about falling out of love ..

Must see from me.

Big Budha, LOTS of Deer

Our trip to Nara was full of surprises. We've heard that there is a deer reservation there, but we thought it's just like a small zoo with a couple of deer. So, first time it was something like this ...

Whoa? What was that?

Oh ... how cuuute ...

She likes you ...

And skipping a few steps in the process ...

They ALL like you!!(Yes, that's another group of "may I speak to you?" children)

Soon enough it was SWARMING with deer. They were going up to people with food, even stealing from picnics. It was quite funny...

But, this is not why we came here ... we came here for this:

Not dor the temple itself, but for what is inside it ... and because you can't really see from the inside pictures just how humongous it is, look at how big the temple is, and that's just how BIG this is:

This very impressive Budha statue was going all the way up to the ceiling, flanked by two other smaller golden guys.

It was quite shocking going inside the temple to see the statue is really this big. Japan didn't seem to want to stop with it's amazing moments ...

This was our final pitstop before heading back to Tokyo ... and there, into chaos, we shall go next ...
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This is Amazing

I went last night to see THIS IS IT, and I must say from the start that I was very deeply impressed. I am not Michael's number 1 fan, but I respected and admired him as an artist. Starting from last night I can't really think of him as just an artist any more ... the man was a genius ... the connection he had with the music and the rhythm is something that nobody else has ... had ... or will ever have.  I also liked the movie in itself a lot, mostly because it doesn't try to do anything else except show you the footage. There is no emotional effort involved in the film making. All the emotion comes from what really actually happenned there. Michael's performance is simply jaw-dropping and all this while he was not pushing for it... I don't really care what the stupid press says, he was in amazing shape for a fifty years old. His moves and his voice are at the same level as they were twenty or thirty years ago, and I think we all know just how good those were back then.

I was blown away by this man ... he had so much more to give ... go watch this movie and see what I mean.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Walking on the Moon

Giant steps are what you take,

 Walking on the moon.

I hope my legs don't break,
Walking on the moon.

We could walk for ever...

Walking on the moon.

We could live together,

Walking on...

on the Moon.

The Black Sea was just beautiful this weekend...