Amorphis - Tuonela

Amorphis – Summer’s End

I’m usually happy to hear what a few extra instruments can do to a metal song. It doesn’t matter if those instruments are physical or spawned from the digital innards of a synthesizer. What matters is how they are integrated with the rest of the orchestration. The solid riffing and drumming here is all laid upon a dreamy foundation, the perfect soundscape for the song’s eerie lyrics.

True to the roots of the group’s name, Amorphis has gone through quite a number of musical transformations. The band has become a successful example when it comes to incorporating other instruments into the traditional metal repertoire.

Ants Rescue Their Wounded

Ants Take Care of Their Wounded

It’s impressive how creatures with a (much) smaller brain than ours are capable of complex behaviors such as taking care of their wounded. Could it be that instinct is smarter than being smart?

This is evolution at its best. As the main author of instinctual behavior refinement, evolution has given these ants an edge. Because they take care of their wounded, they could very well prevail should they get into a contest with other (ant) species.

Michael Mayer - &

Michael Mayer – Mind Games (feat. Ed Macfarlane)

Welcome to a musically playful exploration of a mentally complex topic. I feel that the vocals are spot on given the way the topic is approached (Ed does a great job of communicating a feeling of “this must end”). And when it comes to Michael Mayer’s music, I can only say that the way this song is layered and architected is highly entertaining. It’s almost as if two melodies are playing with each other. They’re very much alike and yet, with the use of (mostly) three simple chords, so different.

The Three Gates

The Three Gates

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is it true?’ At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?’

This beautiful Sufi saying has been with me for several years now. I wanted to write a few words about it since quite some time ago. First of all, this is one of the best rules for life that I’ve ever encountered in any culture. I’d like to also paraphrase it as such:

Before you take any action, let your thoughts pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is it an honest action?’ At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?

Enigma - The Screen Behind The Mirror

Enigma – Gravity Of Love

From the mysterious whispers to the crashing choirs, from the delicate bells to the shattering strength of the vocal delivery, this is an amazing journey of a song. It’s not only a musical masterpiece, but a lyrical one as well. Few songs manage to convey a mystical experience as well as this one.

It comes with a pretty daring video too. In this day and age, such images can easily be called sexually objectifying (towards women), but given that this is almost 20 years ago, I choose to value it for its challenging, somewhat anti-Christian symbolism. To be clear, I am not against any religion, but I do consider that challenging established norms can result in constructive intellectual experiences.


My Wife Became a Mother in Sweden – Part 2 – Birthplan

Regarding the birth itself, Crina’s opinions changed quickly in Sweden. In our home country of Romania, C-sections are very popular. That is not surprising because C-sections are fast and can be scheduled at a doctor’s whim. There are even wealthy Romanian mothers and trend-setters who consider natural childbirth as something primitive. This is the society we came from and I’ll leave it at that.

Sweden is at the completely opposite end of the spectrum. Here, if a mother asks for a C-section, it is not uncommon for the midwife to recommend some therapy sessions with a psychologist in order to address fears and misconceptions about natural childbirth. Luckily, Crina didn’t need that. She had renounced her fear of natural childbirth after her first few years of life here.

Burning Host

Mentatul Switched to A2Hosting

After about 13 years with the same web hosting company (IX Web Hosting, over in the USA), it’s time to move on. IX has been purchased by the infamous EIG. I didn’t know exactly how infamous they are, but I did notice when the quality of service instantly decreased to a staggering degree. Not only was the migration of my websites handled in an unprofessional way, with stuff breaking all over the place, but support answering times had increased to more than 48 hours. Sometimes, I’ve waited for 4-5 days for them to answer my tickets.

This led me to document myself a bit about Site5, the company which presumably had acquired IX. Well, guess what… Site5 is just a cover for a larger entity called EIG. In the experienced webmaster’s world, EIG are known to be among the worst hosting providers. It’s not that the performance is bad, but it’s definitely sub-par with the prices they ask while the answering times, professionalism and support staff attitude is also way below the competition.

Free Bleeding

Free Bleeding (Menstruation)

Even though it’s obvious that such a practice exists, living with free bleeding in the “civilized” world (read: “taboo world” or “rigid culture world”) can be tricky. What is free menstruation you ask? Well, here’s an interesting read.

Do I have an opinion about the practice? No! But I do have an opinion about people who make a fuss out of this: oh yes!