Return to Cavnic

Oh yeah. Monday morning or noon, or whatever it is. I’m sitting in front of my computer trying to do some work, my joints hurt and there’s a nice blue spot on my left leg where the ski lift dragged me from… Just the usual symptoms showing that this weekend we spent some quality time on the slopes at Cavnic.

Saturday was a really event packed day: Ioana worked in the morning (til 12:30), a friend came and picked us up from Baia Mare, we made a short stop at my parent’s house in Baia Sprie to pick up our stuff, arrived to the slopes at 14:30, snowboarded our ass off, returned to Baia Sprie at around five o’clock, went to the birthday of my cousin’s kid, ate well, drank well, fought sleepiness, finally arrived back to Baia Mare at about 22:30, little detour to my place to manage those download jobs, then back to Ioana’s place and bed.

Sunday was much more straight forward but it started pretty sadly when I woke up and saw it was raining outside. I thoght it will be the same up on the slopes but Ioana insisted that we go and so we went. After all, we had a free ride and nothing to lose. To reach Cavnic from Baia Mare you have to go through Baia Sprie (where we made to usual stop to pick up our equipment) and three villages: Sisesti, Danesti and Surdesti. Well, somewhere after Surdesti we reached another world. The rain or rainy snow we experienced in Baia Mare and Baia Sprie was replaced by genuine snow and the surroundings slowly transformed to a real winter wonderland. The road was bad though and at the end of Cavnic we had to make a stop to equip the front wheels of the trusty Dacia with a pair of chains. We reached the slopes and had a really nice time with hot tea and some warm pie included. And a lot of snowboarding of course.

The only negative event of the weekend happened on our way back when because of the bad weather conditions we made a one-eighty with the car in one curve. Fortunately nothing really serious happened except losing the front bumper. Anyway we got pretty scared. For me it was the first “accident” like experience and I hope I’ll never experience something like this again.

Oh, I forgot the important stuff: yesterday Ioana managed to master the skilift. Hurray! :)

Google ads and even more spam

So here they are. On the individual posts page, right under the post text and above the comments. According to Google’s policies I can’t encourage people to click them so I’m not. ;) And yeah, I know the page flickers while loading in Firefox but I guess that’s a browser problem.

I decided to insert them because I seem to receive big numbers of visitors daily (over 200). Unfortunately I’m more than sure that most of these visitors (more than 50 percent) are spambots coming through various proxies. Thankfully Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist is doing a wonderful job, because at the time I’m writing this it blocked more than 1000 comment spams and as a plus nothing made it through to be shown on the site itself. Kudos for the great plug-in!

But my referer log is practically unusable after being flooded with viagra, cialis, poker, casinos and the alikes (here’s a sad screenshot of the top referers). It looks like after the measures Google and the major weblog software developers took against comment spamming, the spammers are getting back to good ol’ referer log spamming. Well, at least my stats are password protected so there’s no chance they’re getting pagerank from that. Hah!

If you want to see what a slimeball as the ones who are doing this has to say about his “job” read this interview on The Register. What can I say? Nice job…

Froogle sells my stuff without my consent

All this time I’ve been living in error! I thought I’m not selling anything through this site but there came Google to prove me wrong. It looks like they (as in they = Froogle’s algorithms) decided that you can buy my TMBase badge from 2003 for $20. And I’m not even bothering to understand what I’m selling on my page containing an entry about the mIRC registration page. It’s waaay too twisted…

Here’s a screenshot just in case the results vanish over the night. And no, I’m not selling that badge.

Birthday galore

It’s our favorite Romanian business blogger, Dragos Novac’s birthday in 2 days (January 31st). Anyone reading this can surprise him by going and voting for his weblog which is nominated in the Best Southeastern European Weblog category at the Satin Pijama Awards.

How do I know about his birthday? No, I’m not the date obsessed type, as I had a few classmates back in high school that knew everyone’s birthday and astral sign by heart. On the contrary, I could never memorize dates nor numbers and that’s one of the reasons I created a Birthday Alarm account back last summer. So, one of these days I was eyeing the e-mail notification that came from the service announcing that Ioana’s (as in Ioana, my girlfriend) birthday is right around the corner and I thought, hey what the heck, and sent out a mass message in Yahoo! Messenger asking everyone on my contact list to enter his or her birthday. The result was that in less than one minute my taskbar filled up twice with the responses coming in through Messenger and that I’ve got around 50 birthdays entered. So that evening I was busy studying the dates and concluded that the oldest two guys in my contact list are from ‘71 and the youngest gal is from the year of the Romanian revolution, 1989 and noted some coincidences, like birthdays on the same date. I guess this would be a golden opportunity for those who believe in astral signs to study who matches who and compare each personality with the person’s sign but I’m not that type.

And one more note: if you were among those that took that half minute and filled out the form expect at least a virtual card by the time your most loved / hated day of the year comes around.

I've been a good Secret Santa!

A note from Andy on the gift package

It all started with an entry in Gabriel Radic’s weblog that arrived in my feed reader sometime by the end of November. After reading the entry, a few clicks and some form filling I was part of Secret Santa 2004.

Some time passed and on December the 10th an e-mail arrived containing the name, e-mail, web address and a link to the wishlist of the person I was supposed to surprise with a Christmas present. Unfortunately back then I was really low on money (as I am now as a matter of fact) but I promised myself that I’m going to get Kevin something cool.

Fast forward four days and an e-mail arrives from a certain Andrew explaining me that he just ordered my gift and apologizing because Amazon estimated that it’ll only arrive around the 10th of January. Now that short mail not only made my day but probably my week and a lot more! I wrote back quickly sending lots of thanks and guiltilly thinking that I still had no money to get anything to the guy who I was supposed to surprise. And then I spent a few days looking at my Amazon wishlist hovering the button hiding the items that were already purchased and holding back my urge to click it just to keep the surprise factor. But finally my curiosity won and I gave in… And found out that a two disc DVD version of Snatch was on it’s way to my parent’s house in Baia Sprie. Now that was some awsome news!

A few days before Christmas I finally received some well earned money and as such I finally got around and ordered Kevin a Pixies CD. As he was from UK, amazon.co.uk estimated that the package will arrive just before Christmas. So, eventually everything was OK and I only had to sit around and wait for a few days, and voila! exactly a month after passing the order, on the 15th of January 2005 my package arrived! Nowadays I’m really busy watching all the special features the two discs are packed with.

Thank you Gabi for the link that got me into the game in the first place and thank you Andy for the fantastic gift!