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http://thebalticcorrespondent.blogspot.com
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Monday, January 31, 2011
ah, what the hell, this blog has been on an everlasting hiatus since the first entry was written. However, now it seems to be the time to finally close the circle and cut writing this crap. I do not have the time it takes to write any quality content, and simply do not wish to continue this downward spiral with the blog.

Thus,
Viso gero
Friday, December 10, 2010
The above headline had brought most traffic to this weeble blog. Thus, I thought I should tell you what I have learnt about watches.

1) Yves Camani is real!
Yes, it is a watch. So are Königswerks, Calvaneos and all the possible eBay brands. I bet my ass they work just fine. Just remember, there may be some clocksmiths who do not want to touch these models - whether it is the poor quality or disrespect to eBay platform, I cannot tell.

2) Yves Camani is not real!
No, the brands are not "real" brands, as Rolex once used to be. They are constructed somewhere, assembled elsewhere and the hefty pricetag is there just to increase the image. They do not have any real history, except the story the owner of the brand has created. They are not worn by Hollywood nor any other rich or famous people.

3) Yves Camani is as real as you believe it is!
Why you want to know whether it is real or not? Buying a status item, but cannot afford a real handmade Swiss? Are you afraid it is a cheap bootleg? You buy it, you wear it, and believe in it. It looks just as good as you do!

Practically, these branding companies seem to just carve their names on watches of decent quality. If they look fine, they may even be fine. But, just keep in mind they do not have the history they are using in marketing. Hell, I can find a fashion house today, and brand it as "1662", and you may be fooled to think that is the year my anchestors began their operations if you feel like it.

I don't want to judge these eBay brands, as the products themselves may be just fine. I have a "branded" watch myself - Cerruti 1881. And I believe you all know this fashion house does not specialize in time pieces. It is assembled in India/Switzerland, has some gold somewhere and is heavy as hell.

I could have as well bought some Formula One sponsor brand (cannot just now remember which was the made-up brand), or taken a watch from any other wannabe -brand. I almost did, but the seller of Yves Camani never accepted my payment! Strangely, a German clocksmith was fine with the same card, selling me a Lacroix and this Cerruti piece. Perhaps they were not the season's newest models, but time is timeless, and so are stylish watches.
Ho-ho-hoe.
The winter solictice in coming and soon it is the time to escape the Krampus, eat herrings and drink Coke. Not much Christianity in the feast, but then again, it never was a Christian feast in the beginning.

When I was a kid, we always had chocolate calerdars to make the 24/25 days to feel even longer. Not only did you have to wait for the evening to unwrap the presents (where I am from, we did the party on 24th day), but for the coming morning to get a shitty German piece of chocolate. Those candies were horrible, but for a child they still had some brown and sugary magic in them. Perhaps like D'Angelo for women.

Yesterday, I turned the tv on, and saw a commercial for a boob-calendar, Vakaru Zinios Mergaiciu Kalendorius, or such. Lithuanian wannabe-celebrities posing in minimal clothing. BS.

To celebrate this tasteless season of shopping, I present something as plasticky and tasteless:

Famous Women from Baltics gone nude! Woo-hoo! Ok, it's lame, or even hella-lame as Cartman once put it.

First, there is Oksana Pikul. She is nothing more and nothing less than a member of a famous Lithuanian girl band. They are not famous because of their golden voices, but due to their sticky-icky-plasticky breast enchancements. Here, she is before her career as a singer wishing you all a merry Christmas!

Then, to add some more northern spice to our Glühwein of nude girls, there is the wife of Risto-Matti Ratia. That is about all she is famous for in Finland, but in Estonia, she is some sort of a media personality. Here, she is posing for Playboy for 365 bottles of champagne. I bet she'll get some local brand like Alita or Rigas instead.

Now, all it requires is an addition from the lands of Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolimitanorum. That is Latvia, wherefrom these joyful German knights were raping and pillaging tastefully the whole region. So who shall it be.. ? No idea. Just go here, and find the local edition of Hefner's most famous and pick your own candidate.

That's about it. If you want to see more Baltic women gone tastefully naked, try a strip bar in London. Or fly to Tallinn or Riga!
Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday night, it was said aloud in TV. What we all knew, what no one wanted to admit. Lithuania needs more immigrants, for the sake of immigrants. After the news came out, the people were given the vote. The message was as expected, and approx. 80% showed agreement upon that there is nothing the country would need less than immigrants. It sure is a pleasure to live here, feeling all needed and wanted and stuff...

They are all coming here, right?
source: liu.english.ucsb.edu

But lets forget the people, and focus to this piece of news. Why does Lithuania need immigrants? If you have ever played bullshit bingo, you know the answer. The keyword is the one that should help any Western nation to overcome and be the leading technology oriented and sustainable nation in the world. It is the godsent gift to the mankind. The Innovation.The make brief news short: more immigrants, more innovations.

At the moment, there are little immigrants in Lithuania, who would wear a tie or a blazer. They are now desperately sought after. It has been understood, that these people innovate the innovations, create the creativity and know the unknowable.

not.

Hey, I have seen this before. It is one of the thousand and one fads a country desperate to change its course tries just to notice it does not have anything to attract the people. Someone, somewhere has again taken Florida's Creative Class from the shelf, got inspiration and forgot to read more than the cover. Nah, the bare amount of foreign people is no guarantee on any innovation, prosperity or creativity - they don't just come here and make the country a world leader in anything. If that would be the case, IBM would have branch offices in every refugee camp.

Surely, some time has passed since I last time read that book, but if I am not totally wrong, one needed different people to be gathered to a creative cluster. May be that I am mixing some Porter in here, but what the heck.

Still, that book may well have the key to the future of Lithuania. That is, gays. Gays were part of the creative class, and why would not they be - every politician from far right and priest has been telling us how the gay possess a twisted mind. In other words, they are different, and differences culture creativity, when we take a different approach to daily issues. Perhaps mom can be dad, food can be drink, water can be dry? If you do not even try to question the "facts", there is no chance to create anything new. Before judging gays, one should remember that innovating and creating is also against God - he is the only Creator, isn't he? And as we have already taken blasphemy as the national strategy, why we try to create double standards?

However, Lithuania just happens to be one of the more homofobic countries in the Europe - which also could be a perfect reason to take the gay as a solution. The nation must find itself and question its old values. Non-gay is not a Lithuanian value - the country of jolly horsemen - but a standard set by fear. Gays are not going to hurt anyone - surely, some of prefer women and some men, but why to focus on that? I mean, that parlament member raging over the sex habits of gay people perhaps gets laid once a month - is he being just jealous?* That could also explain the reactions from the church, who just lost their right to copulate with children (a very twisted form of Catholic birth control).

If Lithuania would become a gay friendly society by accepting a part of the creative class, also other parts could be easier persuated to move here. One possibility would be that the sexual minorities would move here first from the oppressive neighboring countries. That would leave Lithuania to a situation similar to the "good ol times" when Vytautas the Great was leading the country. Those times the country with little interest in religious affairs was home to many cultures and minorities - even the Lithuanians were a minority. The first accepted minorities would create space for the others, and perhaps the educated would follow. If the minorities will be accepted to be part of the society, they are given the tools to work with and resources to innovate, the future of this tiny nation could be very different from the direction where the current path is leading to.

* there was a Lithuanian MP, who was totally shocked on how he should explain two men having sex to his children. I also would be really, really shocked, if I would have to describe how he is having sex with his wife to my children. But in the end, I guess I as well as he, would be better off not going into the details. When you tell stories on things you are disgusted of, whether it is people of different sexual preferences or barrel grown short-sighted right wing populists, you tend to get carried away.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Haven't spent too much time in Lithuania recently, been busy exploring Russian tourists in Eqypt and the wonders of hostel life in Tampere. As there was little more than the all inclusive hotel that I saw in the country of sand and 1001 leathal fishes, I guess it would be a much better idea to brief you on the all exclusive Tampere trip.
It was a dark and a stormy night, when we landed to Tampere last Sunday. But little did we know how the weather would turn its back on us - perhaps the first snowstorm of the year began the moment we were waiting for our luggage to arrive. The destination was Hostel Sofia, the YWCA hostel of Tampere. Earlier, this hostel was notorious for having a tight curfiew - either you were inside before 22:00 or the Christians showed no love to you: you were not let in after the deadline.
These days, Sofia is a all exclusive hotel. Yes, I believe that is a better description than a hostel on the 2 person's room we booked. It was actually a flat divided into two rooms, and the prices were on a regular hotel level - of any other city in Finland, except Tampere and Helsinki - the 2 person room without a lunch and with a shared toilet/shower did cost 72 euros a night. Breakfast was 13 euros for 2, thus the actual price was 85 euros. Surely, living in Tampere did not look too good at that moment, given the wet shoes, disgusting weather and baffling price level.
Thus, it was the time to find cheap places to eat - and good beer too! Quite obviously, Finns like to eat kebabs. Almost every corner in the city had a pizza-kebab restaurant, and the price for a kebab was from 4,5 till 7 euros. Quite much higher than e.g. in Germany. Also, there are quite a few Chinese places. Of them, the first we visited was Lotus Garden. The menu outside had very attractive prices: take away meals were less than 6 euros. However, inside, the reality bote with its sharp teeth into the groin area: all meals were more than 11 euros if eaten indoors and the water did cost 1 euro a person.
On the other side of the main street (Hämeenkatu), there is a much more affordable place, where the prices range from 7 to 10 euros a portion. Also, the food was clearly better there plus the service faster. Lotus Garden did offer a more authentic looking Chinese restaurant, but when a person living with a Baltic budget looks for a place to eat, the curiosities do not really matter. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the more affordable place, but it is close to the "Surprise Me" - gadget shop, the number one place in Tampere to buy your rubber duck.
The next place we tried was La Mamma, located in the shopping centre Koskikeskus. This Italian style restaurant seems to be also run by Turks, but what was a very refreshing change was the menu, which contained only one food with kebab meat. The pasta did cost 6,5 euros and a steak 7,5 - the portions were so huge they would fill your tummy for the whole day - but there is the danger of becoming over filled. The food was of a standard gasoline-station level - the steak was dry and the salad was barely defrozen - but still the restaurant was truly bang for the buck. And the coke was 2 euros of 0,5 liters - I guess that is almost cheaper than in a shop.
Then, it was time to test real Italian food - we went to Pizzeria Napoli. Napoli is one of the oldest pizzerias in Tampere and boasts a menu with 100+ pizzas. It was terribly popular during the lunch time, but we managed to catch the last free table. For 7,5 euros, one could choose from pizza or pasta meal, which did include a rather standard salad table known from any kebab pizzeria, a free drink (milk, water or soda water) and a cup of coffee or tea. The food was fine, although the pasta was significantly smaller than the previous one - which also included free water and salad buffet.
Then it was time for something more extreme - we fetched from Kebab Pizzeria Koikkari (located 2 kms from the centre) the largest pizza of the town. This 30 euro and 70 cm monster was more than enough for a group of 6. It was the usual, freaking greasy Turkish style pizza, but really worth to see. It kept me wondering, how it could fit a pizza oven.
The last restaurant was a bit more classy than the previous ones. In Tampere, there operates a local brewery Koskipanimo, which operates a brewery restaurant called Plevna. Not only does the brewery offer the best stout and wheat beer in the country, the food is rather good too. The German style restaurant offers some quite traditional Finnish foods, but there is certain hint of Teutons in it, offering a rather good selection of German sausages. The food is above average in quality, and it is mostly stewed in beer.
But eating only fills your stomach, one needs also food for the soul and the brain. That is, beer and coffee. For beer, the most recommendable place of the whole town is Oluthuone, which quite simply is also the best. This traditional looking bar, offering mostly Koskipanimo's products and having its very own lager too, is open every day from 12 to 02.
Another quite fine place is Hemingway's Pub, located close to Tuomiokirkko. The small and cozy restaurant perhaps does not have such a selection to offer, nor is it the cheapest pub in Tampere, but the people there are perhaps a bit more classy than in the Finnish style drinkers (there must be an equivalent for a diner, I'll call it a drinker) Ale Pub and Ale Bar. Those two are the places to go, if you fancy the cheap pint and the company that also fancies to drink it cheap. But back to Hemingway's: it offers surprisingly good coffee, if it is fresh at the moment.
Then, closeby, there are two other famous cafes, of which other is recommendable. Vohvelikahvila is a cafe famous of its waffles. They cost from 4-7 euros a piece and are usually topped with spray-cream. The coffee was perhaps organic, but one never can truly tell on a cup made with an automat. Avoid, unless you want to go there for the athmossphere. Instead, I recommend Satukahvila, Fairytale Cafe, located almost next door. Here the coffee actually is good, although in comparison to Hemingway's it is nothing that special. Still, the rather nicely decorated cafe looks unique: the ceiling is breaking, windows look like from 1960's and it is fille - totally filled - with paintings.
Monday, September 6, 2010
While I was writing my thesis(es) on standardization, I got quite much acquianted with the term vicious cycle. It was used in connection of dominant designs and how the choices on market actors tend to make one design de facto standard. These are all around from the ratio of your screen to the layout of your keyboard, but the cycle itself has hit my behavior when it comes to movies.
Once there was a time, when going to a cinema was a great experience. You could see the films 5-10 years before they came to television, the effects were great, and the screen was huge. It was back then.
These days, it takes 1-2 years for a movie to premiere in TV. Also, a 42" TV or a projector have a bit undermined the advantage of a theatre. Meanwhile, the incomes movies gain have gone quite much up, and the ticket prices too.
The lifecycle of a movie has got shorter, as effects look fresh only for a limited amount of time. Thus, the money has to be made faster, and thus, once you get a hit, you have to capitalize on it.
Yesterday, I ruined my weekend by watching the title Vampires Suck. The movie itself is horrible, sub par even to a Paris Hilton reality show. Still, I watched through the entire 1 hour and 20 minutes of mental rape that must likely caused me some severe brain damage.
The idea was to make money on the moneymaking vampire-movie series. The same characters were there, the scenery was similar, and the cast perhaps looked alike too. When it came to any added value, the movie rather subtracted it. Made Resident Evil movies look like Oscar laureates.
Did the movies become cheap while trying to reap again on their old harvest? Is it too big a risk to actually make a movie that would have a decent script and at least a bit of a plot? I guess it is. I actually did benefit on the advantages in technology to get this movie in my hands. It was crap, but I did not pay for it - thus I most certainly deserved all the shit that hit the fan, when I pressed the play button. Downloading should be the biggest threat to movies, which do not rely on effects, and which do rely on ticket income. Thus, Spidermans, Avatars and such should not be hit as hard as some smaller studio's plot driven well-scripted work. Then again, gaining access to alternative movies is very hard, as Universal, 20thCF and WB dominate the supply side with their big money flicks with milliondollar advertising budget. And I download it. Then, they produce another piece of shit, and I download that too. I get shit, they are paid shit, and the cycle goes on. In the meanwhile, some alternative studio produces a great movie, which just does not hit the screens. The distributors are too afraid to take the risk of another unknown movie that would be in H33T within hours. Instead, they vote for Spiderm4n or Mission Impossible XVII. And again, I download.
If I would stop downloading, would it mean the movies would become better? After changing to a 512 kbps internet, I hope really that's how it will work out. I don't even know how I ended up downloading movies (wait, perhaps it was that 10 Mbit internet and a scholarship to live with in Finland, where a ticket to cinema used to cost around 10 euros), but with the current ticket prices in Lithuania, I rather buy dvds - or when not available look the titles from the alternative markets. Not sure how it would work out, but perhaps the price for the ticket should be paid afterwards, depending on your conscience (or time spent in theater) - I'd be ready to pay for a good movie and if the movie would suck, I'd just leave the cinemas before the end, and pay for the proportion i saw. That way I think I'd be less choosy on what I will pick in the theathre.
Anyway, the verdict is still that if the movies are like Vampires Suck, noone should be required to pay to see them. That is just a 1,33h commercial for the other movie franchise. However, for The Expendables I am always willing to pay the pennies it takes. Jeez, they'd better take old Stallone/Schwarzenegger action flicks back to the cinema rather than make this vampire-crap.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Lithuania so far performing better than I expected. The games have been tough, but the team does not have its usual key players, and the earlier bench has to stand up. It's like a group of sixth men with Linas Kleiza.
Kleiza has been marvellous, and proving being worth every cent his current team in Greece pays him. Wierd expression? Well, I just simply forgot the name of the team - Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, or some other -os. I think they finished second in the Greek league this season.
But except Kleiza being the heart of the team, the formed Vytautas Magnus University trio of Jankunas, Maciulis and Kalnietis have done fairly well too. Of the rest of the team, Delininkaitis, Klimavicius and Gecevicius are worth a mention.
Sadly, Lithuania is a bit short of defensive effort, and a bit short generally this year. One can see surprisingly clearly that neither of the Lavranovic brothers are playing and that the SG place needs to be filled with a man capable of sinking 3 pointers with a constant performance. We can of course discuss, whether Maciulis os SG or SF, but anyway, this still leaves there the other of these two places empty. Also, Kalnietis may have issues with constant performance, as he sometimes can flash excellent game, but then from time to time performs very questionably. He has a small wannabe Jordan in himself, but either there is too much confidence or too little skill involved - being the university dunking champion does not yet make you a World Cup star.
For me, the biggest disappointment so far has been Simas Jasaitis. The man used to be one of the most consistent performers of the team, who just got better in a tight place. You may think what you want to, but I have a bad feeling the new celebrity girlfriend / singing pair of tits is giving a bit bad impact to him. Perhaps the head is not totally in the game having an ex-nude model as a bedroom partner?
Then there is this tall boy Andriuskevicius. Did not yet understand why he is needed in the team, as he has zero minutes on his belt, and there are no reports on injuries. Javtokas got his leg injured, but 218 cm tall Andriuskevicius would surely be needed in the team. Is there no effort from the players side, or is it the coach not giving a chance for the guy to show what he can do?
My expectations for the team? 3-2 record from the first round with losses to Spain and France and a victory from Lebanon. Then, a game against Turkey/Greece, which is not necessary a victory. Tactically seen, Lithuania's best chance is to become anything but third or first in the group. Spain is trying to secure 2nd place to avoid US, and Lithuania should thus beat Spain and lose to France for ruining the Spanish plans. Can the team really provide the scoring needed to a victory over Spaniards, and have the maturity to take a beating from France, which should be weaker as a team? Remains to be seen later today.

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