The Classical Fear of Being Scared

I remember as a child I was always terrified about one phrase mom used to say. The phrase was short We’ll talk when we get home but it almost never involved talking, and sometimes I didn’t even had to wait to get home. I was also scared of horror flicks – there was this show Twin Peaks that absolutely petrified me. And dare I even mention needles and doctors or dentist? Obviously – as we grow up we tend to be appalled of more refined things and situation. A good-old fashioned butt-kick does not look so bad compared to the freight I get when I look at the ghostly bills, blood-sucking debts and monstrous Monday mornings. But still – what does scare us nowadays? Here’s what really scares me:


To start with I am really scared of whatever starts with the letter M. Money, mnegative people, mhands washing, motivational speeches, mzero money, my mwife’s memory, mwaiting in lines, mgeopolitical issues, mtraffic, mideology (especially if it smells like msocialism or mneo-nazism), masks, mgoogle&mgates, mystical mistrust of mice, men* in generally (yeah – they really creep me out sometimes), mpseudo medicine and mpseudo science, mvegan food, media and mfake news, mairplane& mstockechange crushes, mreality shows, mbanks & minsurance companies, mosquitoes, maths, minternet, m5G, mretail discounts, mcar mechanics and last on the list (but by far not last as meaning) – the mighty mcovid!

Also I have a visceral fear of trust. It is a scary thing this trust – it makes you feel safe, secure; but in reality it’s a vicious monster, ready to rip you apart and devour you. You left your trust unattended, think you can put your faith in it; you believe it will not deceive you – but slam! it pops out from beneath a smile or under an apparently helping hand and it can utterly put you on your knees, leave you with no confidence in good deeds – and terribly fearing of putting your trust in someone else again. Trust can wear many disguises – and you can lose it one by one – be it in institution, organisation, neighbours or even in your local butcher. But obviously – nothing is scarier than I might be a disappointment, and make people (family/friends/colleagues) lose their trust in me… That is what makes me feel uneasy…

Besides, I fear the humans when they say you should believe in yourself. I am inclined to be afraid of this statement – not only because by myself it is quite difficult to achieve something; but I fear it because it is the ultimate remark of solitude. In an environment where we are slowly beginning to praise the immense benefits of distancing from one another, believing in yourself is synonym with a lone gunman cry, a call for avoiding social interaction – and immerse in our own praise and glorification. It’s seldom that we hear believe in friendship and loyalty – act for the better good of many individuals – surround yourself with kind, generous people! Oh – but what we hear is you are your best version of yourself, you can achieve everything, you can do it, you can lead and you make a change… With all these people that are such perfect specimen of mankind – we should live in a world full of powerful leaders in a top-notch self-achieving top-performing hi-quality bordered community, where every member is strictly isolated but overly self-sufficient.

Numbers also bring panic. I used to be a good friends of numbers, and even paired attention to the small ones – although I liked the thousands and tens of thousands. My life tends to be inexorably linked to numbers and their worth – the car is 20k, the apartment is 100k, distance to work is 3 km (aaa negligible), gas is 1.002 /l (what? that much?), working hours are 8 h/day and 5 days/wk (still?), distance to the Sun is 1504645068840 million mile, I need to eat 7000 calories/day to keep fit… But slowly numbers start to give me a serious fright. Adding up minutes after minutes and days after days – you end up adding years – and all of a sudden I find myself old! And I heard age should just be a number – but I tend to be afraid of this number!

This may come as a surprise, but I fear fruit. Any kind of fruit – not just a specific one. I deeply believe their plan is to conquer the world – and they actually succeed. Think about it – human race is their slave! Fruit are devious – they make us labour for them in the heat of the day, they make us care for them in lovely little orchards, they make us fight their battles against fungi and pests, they make us clean their leaves in autumn and trim their hair in spring, they make us feed them when they are hungry and quench their thirst when they need water, they make us carefully pick them (we don’t want to drop them by any cost!) and arrange them cautiously on their thrones, they make us pay for them enormous prices – while they sit and look at us from the height of the supermarket shelves. They are so deeply rooted into our minds – that even on winters we miss them so much that we have to have them close in jams or cans… We tend to worship fruit – not realizing that they have become our master – surrounding us from every corner of life – fruit cake, fruit ice-cream, fruit flavoured dish-washing detergent, fruit patterned clothes, fruity shaped toys – because they raise their slaves from kindergarten, don’t they?! Can’t you see what they are doing to us? And they make us think we owe them – but oh, how wrong we are! Fear, FEAR the fruit I tell you

Do you fear all these? (If not you should – especially the fruit!) It is only reasonable that we live our lives governed by fear – it is the one trait that keeps humanity going! What would have happened if we did not fear our fellow humans? Would we have ever developed nuclear weapons and sophisticated means of torture – were we not driven by fear? Fear it is the one thing that moves our civilization – featuring such a wide and overwhelming display of shapes and emotions… Let us benefit from and embrace the fear around us – let us fear going out of our homes and visiting our friends and relatives – let us fear social interaction. Why living in a boring and safe environment, when we can panic instead? Show no courage, allow no bravery and you will experience no failure. That is the true ladder to experiencing and spreading your inner fear. And don’t worry, there is no mask for that, you can seed fear from the safety of social distancing.

The 1st Year

Today marks exactly one year since I embarked on my expat journey: packed some stuff, took the family and moved to Austria. Thus it is only right that I make a list of the pros and cons – Austria vs Romania. Several topics, two goalposts. Who will win the battle? Who will rank better on my non-objective scale? WHO is really aware?!?

1-Food. When it comes to food – Austria is mediocre at best. Coming from a blessed country as ours, where we still enjoy buying fresh ingredients with full, rich taste – it’s not easy to settle with the poor variety of Austrian dishes. Romania 1 – Austria 0!

2-Infrastructure. Austria enjoys quite some nice roads – ranging from highways or high-alpine roads and over to national or local one-way lanes – all in good shape, clean, vignette quite cheap… everything that Romania hasn’t got. Romania 1 – Astria 1!

3-Driving. With such great roads one might believe that you can savour driving through such beautiful a country – and this is true to quite an extent. However, Austrian drivers are dilletants, most of them have yet to discover the usage of the signal lights; they speed in or outside town if they know there is no camera, can’t figure out the purpose of a roundabout and cannot take over anything bigger than a bike… Much like Romanian drivers! The difference here lies in the details however – you can hardly hear the horn; and definitely no swearing or middle fingers. Romania 1 – Austria 2!

4-Education. Schooling in Austria is not only affordable – but also made quite entertaining for the kids. A foreigner can easily fit in classes where they can learn german – no need to look for an expensive international institution. Schools itselves are neat – and subjects are slightly more applied than the Romania curriculum – with emphasis on sports!Romania 1 – Austria 3!

5-State administration. Though it’s starting to look like a lost fight – I am happy to say that the Austrian state employees are not really that far from the Romanian ones. Same bored faces and sour grins. However there are quite a fair number of documents you can submit online, which is not valid for Romania. And by the way – they say Austria is a beurocratic country – but let me tell you: they are amateurs! They should come to Romania, that’ll teach them beaurocracy! Anyways, Romania 1 – Austria 4!

6-Public transportation. In Austria everything needs to be on time – and this is valid for trains and buses. They come on time, they leave on time. And they are clean, and have space for the buggy or your bike, the services are quite cheap – and annoyingly relyable. Romania 1 – Austria 5!

7-Internet. Well I do miss the prices and services from my homeland… Internet in Autria is expensive and inferior. You must pay a lot to get some decent-caliber Internet, and the worst is – even if you pay a lot more, there are technical limits of the service providers that simply cannot be overrun. Romania 2 – Austria 5!

8-Family activities. I cannot even begin to understand how Austria is so focused on family-friendly activities to have in the outdoors. You can do virtually everything – from trekking to hiking and biking and camping and running and climbing and canoeing and swimming and… and… Romania 2 – Austria 6!

9-Medical care. Having a small child I need to visit doctors and hospitals more than I would like to – so I have come across a number of situations. The Austrian health care is everything the Romanian is not – clean, friendly, extremly affordable, very organised, top-notch services and technology… The only thing they seem to lack though is professional employees. With some rare exceptions, the really good doctors were Romanians (ta-daam!). Yes – Romanian doctors in Austrian hospitals, met more than one – and this leads me to: Romania 3 – Austria 6!

10-Cost of living. Living in Austria is expensive – from products to services. Take clothes just as an example – if you are into sports and need to gear up, it would empty your monthly earnings in a glimpse. Sales season is however highly appreciated, and with a little bit of planning and patience you can find hi-quality brands at extremly low prices. The state finds it also reasonable to return part of your taxes if you have kids, and supports citizens in need. As a general rule – one does not necessary need higher education to enjoy a decent life in Austria. Romania 3 – Austria 7!

This would conclude the first leg – with a victory of Austria. Though I love Romania, I cannot say I made the wrong move. And I would definitely do it again.

The Big Answer to Impossible Questions

In the likely event that you were asking yourself deep, meaningful questions about the origin of the Univers and the meaning of life – but found no appropriate response – I am here with a practical guide to offer a relief.

The way we are going to do this is alternating Q and A’s. We shal begin our journey with a classic question, one that has been tormenting generations – and will puzzle many more to come:

Q: How come Luis Lane did not realize Clark Kent was actually Superman, just the variant with glasses and a different hair-do?

A: Because in fact Superman was shrewd and added a trick which he picked up on Krypton – he wore his underpants on the outside, thus rendering facial recognition impossible!

Q: Why is there evil on this Earth?

A: There is a great possibility that you are the cause of it, my friend. That which you call mean, evil, wicked, bad – call it whatever! if you can find in other beings or deeds other than yours – all whilst you are an unkind, unforgivul, insensitive person – or simply a selfish one – well, look further no more!

Q: Which came first – the chicken or the egg?

A: Yes indeed this one paradox is equally intriguing and old – but really very simple. In fact, first was Jamie Oliver! Only when you pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees you add the chicken. And you will then make your own pasta – just ad water, flour and eggs!

Q: Why am I always judged, overjudged, underjudged and misjudged by others?

A: There is no factual evidence of the precise ammount of judgemental thought a person actually displays. As human beings – we judge as a normal trait. We judge the shoes we’re wearing and the shoes they’re wearing. We judge the food, the coffee, the cars, the road quality, we judge our job – in fact we take it as a personal mission to judge as a job. So the real question is: why do you worry?

Q: Has the Covid crisis shown the solidarity and loving, harmonious consenus in people around the world?

A: Well, NOPE. No, it did not. The Covid crisis (whether exagerated or not) has yet again fully exhibited the main facet of human race. We are cold, hostile, irresponsible, filled with antagonism and hatred, desperately looking for alienation. In a world that is sinking and thinking only about how to make money – respect, love and support are just words. Actions are dictated by hostility, hatred and an acute hunger for immorality.

Q: Who is the greatest actor of all times?

A: Though there is no simple solution to this question, as everyone would have his/her own favourite (I love Jason Statham! Chuck Norris is the best! Leo di Caprio mary me!) – still I would provide an answer that is both satisfactory and fully conclusive: the best and greatest actor in the world is Paolo Villaggio.

I hope you enjoyed this first round. And remember – there are no stupid questions! But you could get a ton of dumb answers!

The Misterious Story of the Magical Country

This might come as a surprise to many – but Romania is a magical country. For half a century the magic of communism has surrounded us and we became immortal, invisible and insurmontably insignificant. It is not easy to explain unless you lived then and there – but I will try.

If you are born in Romania right after 1990, this might be new to you as well. Between august 1944 and december 1989, Romania was de facto ruled by the communists. Not some romantic Che Guevarra that would find his way on a rebelous teenager’s T-shirt; but the maniacal, killer kind, that would torture, destroy and impoverish his own fellow citizen in the blind belief of equality. This is what I want to talk about.

Today’s civilized Europe cannot begin to understand what communism meant for countries like Romania (or Bulgaria… or Czechoslovakia… or Yugoslavia… or… or even East Germany). But I will try to shed some light – at least on the one country I know about.

Communism meant you were not allowed to have your own ideas. It did not matter how poor the country was or how desperate were the living conditions. You were innoculated the idea that the Party leaders are right under no circumstances. And if you had a different opinion you faced jail. The brave keyboard knights of today, fearlesy swearing at the president, parliament and government altogether – would be sent to jail. For expressing their thoughts.

Communism meant that you could not buy as much food as you needed. Food was rationalised – every family could buy a fix ammount of bread, butter, milk and sugar. In the shops you could not find meat. Fancy a barbecue? You had the coal, the matches and the knife – but no meat. Chocolate? I remember as a kid there were only two types of chocolate on sale. And they both tasted the same – but to us the taste was divine. There were no fruit with the exception of apples. Today you can buy a banana in every shop – 30 years ago there were no bananas, no oranges, no kiwi… just apples. And sometimes cherries and peaches.

Communism meant you could not have access to (correct) information. History itself was re-written to fit the communist ideal. You had no conections with the outer world. No possibility to learn something if not accepted by the propaganda. The most important thing everyone knew was that the imperialistic world is evil, and will eventually collapse; and communism will prevail. Everything that was even vaguely anti-communist was banned.

Communism meant there was scarcity and poverty in the whole country. You owned a car – but there was no petrol at the stations. You owned an appartment – but it looked just like the other thousands of apartments built by the new era: sad, gray, poorly lit, same furniture, same carpets, same oven… You owned a refrigerator, but it was empty. You owned a TV* – but you could only watch the communist triumphal news . Your house had lights and chandeliers, but two hours/evening, every evening, population had no electricity. You earned money but it was virtually impossible to spend them all, not because the salaries were high, but because there was nothing to shop for, except rubber gloves and prune jam.

Communism meant you were not allowed to leave the country. Members of the party could go outside Romanian borders and even spend their vacations in other countries – but this was not valid for the majority of the population.

And maybe worst of it, communism meant that the state police (the infamous securitate) had the right to put you to jail for almost any reason. Religion was a crime, not beliving the righteousness of the Great Leader was a crime, expressing your thoughts about the regime was a crime, reading a book of the forbidden list was a crime, expressing the desire to visit countries abroad was a crime, listening to a foreign radio programme was a crime, protesting was a crime, strikes were seen as crimes… all these things that nowadays seem normal, logical and common sense, sent real people to jail.

And real people were even executed for this kind of disreputable behaviour at the peak of the regime monstruosity. In Romania more than 800 000 (eight hundred thousand!) people were killed by the state authorities – not because they were commiting actual crimes, but because they had different beliefs and ideals.

Communism was in itself bleak, inhumane, atheistic, horrid and destructive; it crippeled a whole generation; it burried integrity and ethics, it killed, devoured and ravaged; a plague for the society, a distorted magic that turned everything it touched into dust.

*Black and white TV, obviously!

The Solidarity of Social Distancers

I look suspiciously at my wife as she is trying to hide a dubious cough. She might try to disguise it into a common type of cough – but I am no fool! Just minutes ago she came back from shopping! Maybe she was standing to close (perhaps under 1 kilometer!!!) to a covidian! Was she even wearing a mask last time I saw her? So many questions… so many fears…

I am not the right person to talk about the effects in the economy that the whole seclusion has brought about. (Although I am quite sure the risks had been evident when the decision was taken). But there are a number of psychological and collective consequences that will deeply impact comunities all round this cold-hearted earth; severe outcomes that will influence our social behaviour for a long time to come.

A new type of racism has slowly been seeded into our brains. We fear the white, the black, the brown and the yellow altogether – for who knows if they are not secret carriers of the Covid? If we see a fellow man on the opposite side of the street – we still don’t feel safe enough! We look at each other and hope they are not hiding a germ under their masked smiles. Walking within a close distance to a stranger brings sweaty palms; hearing a distant sneeze makes us shiver.

Greetings and salutations are entering a new era. We will probably find a good model in the old chivalry way – with bowing coming back into fashion as we drop hand-shake, hugs, kisses and hi-fives. And if we want to show real respect – we will get down on our knees and kiss the very ground one has stepped on.

Working from home will be the new buzz-word and trend. Bus drivers, agricultural workers, disposal men, janitors, assembly operators, butchers, shop sellers and shop-lifters, delivery drivers, car mechanics, window cleaners, sewage repair, doctors and nurses, teachers/students&parents duo, truck drivers…- literally everyone! The only people who would still have to go to office would be the always underprivileged CEO’s, politicians and the bankers – but life cannot be fair to everyone!

A new form of religious fervour will arise – as the on-line potential of worshiping, showing love and compassion as well as praying and living justly over YouTube has just been born. Chruches will become obsolete – what is the use of an ill congregation?

There will be no more poor vs rich – as everyone will give their life, honor, wealth and possesions to help the less fortunate. Every influencer will post on all possible media the benefits of staying at home – you cannot spend money, thus money itself is devalued. You cannot drive anywhere – thus oil is unesssential. You cannot show-off – thus fashion and jewlery is needless.

Social & classic media and the Internet alike have shown that their power has not been exhibited to the fullest. There is still much to display, and the mission of concealing the truth in a deep network of forgery and sham has barely begun.

Bragging about helping the needy whilst avoiding any specific action will see a turnaround. There will no longer be requested a particular measure – just by summoning the ever-powerful spirits of love and inner peace all things will become serene. No longer requested to help your neighbour – the neighbour better wear the mask and stay away from me!

As a form of conclusion – I might sound gloomy, but I fear these events have not popped out the solidarity of fellow humans, but rather our huge self and immense fear of social interraction…

A look on the media of 2220

Don’t you just wish you could travel in time, know what the future would bring, and be able to change your current set of actions – so that the times ahead will be better? Today I will do just that – offer you a sneak peak into the main newspaper headlights, 200 years from now, exactly on the date April 20, 2220.

Spoiler though! Do not read if you are easily offended and cannot take a joke!

Romania: Corruption strikes again! Another prime-minister under barrs! This will proudly bring the country to a new world record – the only nation having exclusively politicians in prison! The last 3 members of the parliament that are not arrested have gathered today to discuss the new budget but could not agree Paragraph 1.1, so they took a 6 months break.

Hungary: In a desperate attempt to revive the feeling of patriotism, a new statue of Orban shaking hands with Atilla has been unvieled in the center of Budapest. The statue features an emotional pose: boths statesmen are eating gulash and sipping palinka!

Serbia: The government will try again to define a series of measures that will help the country join the EU. If this attempt will not be successfull, Serbia will be the only country (with the exception of Azerbaidjan and Congo) that does not belong to the EU.

France: In the preparation of the launching of the new Peugeot 9008 (which will finally bring electric cars to the streets of Paris; and it will probably not be a cheap copy of a geman car) the government has offered free croissants and baguettes to all its citizens!

Germany: In a typical attempt of standardisation, the government has decided that everyone around the country will speak the same language. It will be a historical moment – marking the first time in the last 2000 years when people from lands such as Bavaria, Saxony and Wesphalia will understand each other using just Hoch Deutsch!

Italy: We have discovered yet another way to be proud of our country! It is internationally aknowledged: a profoundly italian word is the single most understood word in the whole world! From the most distant corners of the Greenland icebergs – to the heights of the Patagonia and the desert of Sahara, everybody knows how to order Mafia’s favourite food – PIZZA!

Austria: To avoid the common (yet annoying) mistake with Australia, the country has finally made the move. As of tomorrow the country will change its name to Neues Zeeland. The chancellor added that it is only a matter of time until the capital’s name (Wiener Schnitzel) will also be changed to Schwarzenegerburg.

Russia: The country salutes the 14th re-election as president of mr Vladimir Putin III, nephew of Vladimir Putin I (also known as the Vladimir the Greater). Invited as special guest to the coronation ceremony, ex-president John Iliesco of Romania, had a touching speech as he remebered the times he was holding little baby Vladimir in his lap and was teaching him the marxist theories!

United Kingdom: In just a matter of days the country is preparing for national scrutiny. If voted, the separation from Wales (or Wexit as it’s commonly known) will mean the UK will consist exclusively of the City of London and the Isle of Man.

United States of America: The last stages of the Mexico Wall are over! There will be no more means of emigration for the americans, leaving them without the jobs in Mexico as farmers and labourers. However, a spokesman of the White House ensures that the population will receive ladders and climbing equipement in exchange of a moderate life-long loan.

Spain: Justice has been made! Today marks a glorious day in the history of the Hispanic Kingdom. The spanish national holiday (also known as siesta) will be rightfully prolongued to 8 hours/day – bringing the total working time in Spain to an astronomical 7,3 minutes/week. And now – let’s Fiesta!

Bonus – Influencer news: Another life saved by the curageous intervention of a world-famous vlogger. By simply delivering a speech about the power of will – more than 100 people found the power to unsubscribe!

Despre cum am invatat eu matematica – si multe altele

Cosmarul meu cel mai mare din timpul scolii a fost cu siguranta matematica. Il uram pe x – nici bine nu aflam pe unde se ascundea ca pac! sarea pe mine alta problema, si din nou x era pierdut ca Elodia. Noa – afla-l Bogdane! Din nou si din nou… Astazi despre probleme pastisandu-l pe Creanga.

In epoca recenta, pe cand capitalismu se facea in Romania de nu se vedea din el calu calare pe calaret – ma gaseam si eu elev de gimnaziu. Imi placea nespus de mult sa invat la dirigentie, la educatie fizica si la purtare. Cateodata la muzica si la desen. La aceste materii eram fruntasu clasei – 10 pe linie! La matematici insa… numa Gheba stie cat l-am pomenit.Nici nu stiu cu ce sa incep. Oare cu monstru ala cu sapte capete numit de  cunoscatori geometrie in spatiu? Va mai amintiti? Se dadea de fiecare data cate o piramida in interioru careia se desena o tangenta adiacenta cu isoscelu de vizavi cu paralela apotemei, si pica fix la 90°C mai sus de muchia bazei trunchiului de con din interioru cubului ce traversa linistit un romboedru hexagonal. Pe cand terminam de facut desenu – semana cu insemnele cabalistice din cartea Introducere la masonerie.

Nu mai vorbesc de aria cercului! Atunci am aflat eu prima data despre faimosu  π . Nu da pi bune oriunde te invarteai prin cerc dadeai de el. Raza cercului, aria cercului, volumul cercului, perimetrul cercului, diametrul si cuscrul cercului – toate, TOATE trebuie sa aibe de lucru cu  π . Si pe urma auzi traznaie: cica formula e pi ori raza la patrat! Pai de aia nu iesea mai crestini – ca ala era cerc, nu patrat!

Despre algebra nici nu indraznesc sa mai aduc aminte. Cand credeam eu ca am apucat pe ecuatie de-un picior, numa bine am descoperit inecuatiile si integralele! Ohoo, si daca asta nu v-ajunge, ia de serviti cosinus din radacina patrata de ridicol, si fractii si AxB totul la cub, unde a=cu suma deimpartitorului datorata de diferenta dintre produs, prefix si predicat! Poftim de descalceste Bogdane!

Si-apoi credeti ca nu veti folosi niciodata in viata matematica? Amarnic va puteti insela dragilor! Pai nu mai departe de fizica: pe cand ma framantam eu cu experimente stiintifice, scufundand pahare de turnesol in hartii cu Berzelius si aprinzand iscusit doua bucatele de pilitura de fier intr-o eprubeta de-a lu Mendeleeviu – iaca scoate dom profesor o problemuta din sertar! Si inca din aia cu schepsis: se facea odata ca Ampere statea la o barfa cu Ohm, si doedata rasare Watt de dupa colt si intreaba Nu l-ati vazut cumva pe Pavlov? La care urma demonstratia : stiind ca legea lui Ohm spune clar ca viteza ii egala cu autostrada/timp de constructie (deci e=mc2) rezulta => ca daca nu iti iei vignieta capeti amenda!

Ei, dar oricum ar fi,  am scapat nevatamat din lupta cu matematica. Infrant, da viu! Baiu e altul – acusi trece fiul meu intr-a 5-a; care e cam nivelu maxim de matematica la care am excelat. S-au dus frumoasele vremi cu probleme lejere gen intr-o ferma sunt 7 vaci ouatoare care dau 10 l lapte/zi. Stiind ca din jumate de cantitate se face unt – aflati de cate bidoane de 2 l are nevoie fermierul in fiecare saptamana. Alea erau simple, paream si eu destept in fata lu fi-meu! De-acum gata, vin timpuri grele, cu probleme de genu Un tren rapid cu regim de marfar pleaca din localitatea B cu viteza nominala de aproape 3 km/h (doar in pante si cu vant din spate) . Stiind ca dinspre localitatea A porneste in acelasi timp un biciclist care face live pe Fakebook – aflati la ce distanta se vor ciocni din neatentia mecanicului care se joaca un Candycrack. Acum e acum! Daca ma vedeti vreodata incruntat, puteti baga mana-n foc: ma ocup de teme!

10+ Fun Activities to Have in the Family

Quite a few days have passed since we are all experiencing a whole new life style. A totally different optic in life. And I believe it is only appropriate that we learn how to adapt. So here are my tips on how to work it out:

  • Learn a new skill! Hi-speed snack eating is really fashionable nowadays! You can even compete against your wife and kids in a game calle Shove that chocolate and see who can fit minimum a dozen twixies in your mouth!

  • Cook less – barbecue more! Really now – all that peeling and chopping and stirring and frying and boiling and… You can bid it good-bye! Pile up a few woods in your balcony, lit them up and enjoy a nice sausage on the grill!
  • Avoid washing any part of your body (except the hands obviously)! See how many layers of health you can accumulate!
  • Practice working out! Spoon lifting, plate pushing, fork&knife streching – there is a world of exercise just waiting for you!
  • Ignore reading! It is a well-known fact that reading ruins your eyesight, which reduces immunity, which makes you cough! Watch for that frain vigour of yours!
  • Draw a pink dragon! The combined power of a dragon (ancient symbol of strenght and hunger) with the serenity and tranquillity of colour pink will boost your energy!
  • Time to forget about fears! Afraid of spiders, elevators, mice, vegans, height, frogs, Illuminati, germs, soap, smells, lice, dogs, bunnies? Now it’s the perfect time to get over your fear! Read a Fakebook article about it and it cannot do anything but help you!
  • And speaking of F/b – start polishing your grammar! This way, whenever you have nothing to comment just point out spelling mistakes! The only way to pass as a smart and cultured fellow!
  • Start a household repair! Use a hammer, a power drill and as many screws and planks you can get your hands on. And do it early in the morning – this way you will also entertain your neighbours!
  • Engage in clothes sorting affaires! Pick-up all of your slim outfits, and pack them away – you will not use them for a long while. Label them by color, size, type, usage frequency and material. And them pile them back in the closet!

Bonus activity: dust your Bible then hide it in a secret, concealed drawer. You do not need grace, you do not need belief, you must not ponder on your purpose on life – that is for the weak.

Transport Management – A Practical Guide

In the field of Industrial Logistics – there is a crucial element we need to consider if we want to be successful in our business. That element is Transportation – and it must be seen as an all-round job, as it affects both the input – material incoming; as well as the output – deliveries towards your client*. My post today is aimed to define the most critical aspects of Transport Management; as well as a few hands-on recommendations to improve it.


What is Transport Management? The simplest definition of Transportation is this: the moving of goods from point A to point B. Going forward, Transport Management is the integrated method to efficiently and timely moving of goods from A to B. For a Logistic professional Transport Management means technical information, planning, partnering and executing – and it involves a set of details which I intend to further dissect.

Back to school shall we? Let’s get the technical data straight. What kind of truck does your business require? Most of us know the standard trailers that we see every day on the roads – the big boxes on 3 axels, blocking our way, slowing us down… But there are so many out there: Jumbo, curtain siders, MEGA, tilt, moving floor, tipper, swan neck, open trailer, frigo trucks, containers, bulk, liquid, DGR and/or Waste license, oversized … My suggestion is learn the basic need of your specific business. The more details you know – the better. It will give you an edge in the business, you will know what to look for when organizing a tender, you will be able to measure to the full length your transportation needs.

The most common type of trucks (usually called curtainsiders or tautliners) in the EU have the capacity of carrying 24.5 Tonnes. The trailer width is 2.45 m; the length is 13.6 m. Height usually varies – from 2.60 to 2.80 m (or 3,05 m in the cases of MEGA type trucks). This allows to load 33 EURO-size pallets (120*80 cm) on the floor, with a capacity ranging from 90 to 100 cubic meters. The typical curtainsider can be loaded from the back, from lateral and from above (by crane).


And speaking of pallets – an efficient transportation starts from a very basic (and sometimes neglected) factor: packaging. In an old post I spoke about the importance of using packing units that are suited to your production process – now let’s focus on the transportation side. What you need is sturdy packaging (preferably re-usable; but obviously it depends on the industry) – the type of packaging that can fit on standard-size pallet (be it EURO or Gallia, or…). Bear in mind that the packaging needs to be solid enough to withstand stacking – what you want is to efficiently use the space in the truck. (Obviously there are also heavy industries where if you load 5 steel sheets, 12 m long and 50mm thick – max weight is already attained and even if there is space left you cannot use it! But this does not mean that packaging is not important! Even in such industries you need to bear in mind loading and unloading – packaging does not mean only boxes and pallets!). So always consider when you design packaging that it must comply with these rules : (i) protect the goods, (ii) suitable for transport and (iii) easy to handle. If all these criteria are met – you are good to load!
I want to add one more thing: In today’s world it’s an ever deeper fight for cost cuts and price reduction; thus often we overlook packaging and choose to invest in poor quality boxes/pallets/crates/cartons etc. But the truth is actually the cost is higher if (a) your goods are damaged during transport and (b) you are not able to fully load a truck because of poor packaging. And (c) – let’s also pause and think about environment! Trucks (safely!) loaded to the fullest would not only mean less money on transportation – but also less physical trucks on the road – hence less pollution!**
Next phase is planning – or traffic scheduling. And the biggest question in everyone’s mind is how can I plan something I have absolutely no control over? And in fact now you understand why packaging is critical – it gives you the first information – how much space do I require on the truck and what is the weight. Once you gather the whole information and you know what means of transport you require – the rest is really easy so long as you have good partners (i.e. Logistic Service Provider). And by good partner I mean there is a good number of criteria that have to be met:

Ideally your Logistic Service Provider will have his own fleet. That is not obviously possible every time – but important is to consider partnering with those traders that have strong, direct connections with carriers. In the world of Logistics it often happens that a load is passed on from one trader to another (often 3-4 times); so to keep your business interest scan carefully your provider and make sure they would only pass the load directly to carrier (I repeat – owned fleet or contracted).

The best Logistic Provider can ensure more than just one service. Your business can require different type of trucks; you may need to ship out 3*FTL’s, 2*LTL’s (different destination); ten parcels and one expedited pallet – all in one day***. And in the very same day you require some x-docking services, customs clearance support and a consolidation warehouse. Well let me tell you, such providers that can do everything do exist – but I do not recommend it. Do not expect that your Logistic Provider will excel at everything or that there is nothing they cannot perform. It’s impossible. Rather analyse the possibility of relying on 2-3 players, each with its own field of expertise.

Do not forget that you are choosing a business partner – not a mind reader. Planning is just as important for them as it is for you. Issues will always arise and you will every now and then require a fast car that needs to be here in one hour, load – and arrive at the client (1500 km away) in 8 hours or we stop their production (have I been playing the automotive game for too long?!?). But these situations are not the rule – you should communicate timely your requirements in terms of numbers of loads required, frequency, day of the week that need to be loaded and/or unloaded, etc.

Build a trust relation, and allow for enough time in case you delays. Do not just presume your will shipment arrive on the required hour each and every time; unless you have a consolidation warehouse in the close vicinity, JIT will never work! Drivers are human beings, and traffic nowadays is impossible to predict, so when you receive an updated ETA, it should not mess up your entire production plan. And this obviously goes both ways – what you want is have a partner that does not hide any delays, but timely and proactively informs you of every step.
Do not await for disaster to hit – rather build a contingency plan. Don’t forget that trucks operate on roads, and even if we are talking about a small distance an incident can unfortunately occur! Either something really bad which would completely wreck all your goods – or a partial loss (or theft! or malfunction! or…); in either way be prepared. Your provider should be able to compensate you in the limit of the CMR insurance law – or you can opt for an additional insurance if the value of the goods is high. In such regretful occurrence you must be able to rely on a reputable partner that is able both to offer an alternative solution and to make sure you will be able to recover as much as humanly possible of the loss.

Still I can hear your whisper once I had done all of this (packing and partner), how do I then ensure my plan is executed the way I want? After all I cannot be held accountable of what happens on the road! Oh but there are just a few things you can still do to ease the process, and make certain everything goes smooth. Key here is communication with your designated dispatcher (the assumption is that your partner is a professional, as just described). Here are a few useful tips:

a. Make sure you have the correct infrastructure. If your lorry docks are jammed, if there is an issue with the loading equipment, if your best forklift driver on that shift is missing, if… if you indeed have an issue that needs time fixing – make sure you communicate.

b. Make sure you have the goods packed, labelled and with all the required documents ready! Truck scheduling is not wishful thinking! Planning trucks is the resulting action after you had planned production and/or agreed with your supplier. If the goods are not completely ready – do not call the truck in.

c. As much as possible plan your loadings in the morning. Issues tend to happen in the afternoon, when everybody left home – so planning in the morning is advisable. And also – avoid that the loading starts on the first shift – and gets finished on the second!

Transportation Management is indeed a big thing – and every industry should consider it as a strategic matter in its development. After all – it is that modest driver that actually represents the company when presenting himself to unload the truck. It is that driver that hands you the parcel you’ve ordered. It is the driver that you empower to represent you at the supplier site, and allow him to handle the goods that are necessary for your processes. Investing in good, stable partnership with professional and caring Logistic Companies should be a pivotal scope of every Supply Chain department. What are your thoughts on the matter?

*I am obviously not only speaking about the end-customer. My client can be a warehouse or another division of my own company.

** I am aware not all products and business are tailored to fully load a truck every time – but it would ease carriers life if they know that the space in their truck is optimally used, and they can safely plan their next load.

*** In case you are not familiar with all terms: FTL – Full Truck Load; LTL – Less Than Truck Load.

A new chapter

There is a funny Romanian tale of a man who leaves his wife and kid (he also lived with his mother in law – so we cannot 100% put the blame on him) – and wanders the world, looking for… stupid people. (Not the hardest of all endeavours, now that I think about it). Throughout his journey – he encounters several idiots, all really lining up for the Fool of the Year Award (or the Donald award as they call it nowadays). The best of them all is trying to catch and store sun rays in a… barrel – to light up his house. The moral of the story is that wherever you travel this beautiful flat Earth – you will most probably have the chance of acquainting loads of dimwits. Dozens of fools!Well – admitedly – we were all in the position of being fools and fooled in our lives. Either fully in love – or fooled by someone we did not know, but should’ve knonw better. And the question still remains in the back of our mind though – how dumb are we really? Exactly just how stupid can we be? There should actually be a radar (or an app!) to spot stupid people around you – this way everybody could avoid them! (Although I fear we would end up all living alone, secluded, should we choose to use such a device). Anyways, this is a story of such an nitwit. Enjoy!The first encouter

I do not recall ever being born. In fact – there is little evidence I was not born at all, and though apparently I myself was present, I have no recollection of that particular element. What is for sure is that I am now observing every year a certain date that I can scruplously mark as the beginning of my reason, and that date is completely different from the day my parents tell me I came to this world. It is the day I first smelled the sweet scent of lilacs – and that one day I do recall!

It was spring – a day not very different from today. It’s strange how some days begin in an absolute ordinarly tone – you hear the alarm go on; you snooze it; you drag your way up to the bathroom; you start the morning preparation for work with that distant look, expecting the worst from the day… and already praying it will be over… Sip your coffee, scrolling thourgh the phone. Same day, same pattern, same colleagues, same walls. We see no trees, hear no bees. Nothing will change the way we look at the world – they way we look at our fellow humans or they way they look bak at us. We feel the same way we felt yesterday, and the day before. And clearly tomorrow we will feel the same. But then, suddendly, with not as much as a shred of notice, your whole day changes – and something peculiarly unexpected turns your day upside down; it just tears your life apart in small pieces and you are left in wonder, not really realizing how it happened or why, but deeply knowing that the days to come will simply not be the same!

So it was spring – a beatiful day actually. It was one of those lazy days when the world would stand still, quiet like a Sunday afternoon, warm like a hug yet distant like the memory of lost years. Sunny, clear, a little breeze in the air! I do not need to close my eyes to see it all again, for the memory of it will never leave me. Somewhere in the distance I would hear the barking of our neighbour’ dog, out in the street there were birds chirping and a horse-pulled waggon was getting near (I could hear the rithmic rap-tap-tap of the horse shoes on the stone road). I was playing with the wooden stick that my magical imagination had transformed into a mighty sword – I was armoured and fighting a mythical beast; I was on the verge of losing my last breath in the heat of the battle. The mighty beast was powerful – white fangs spliterred with my blood, steel claws about to get me, thunderous roars realeased with neverending fury! Just when I wthought my end was near, a lucky swing of my sword and I pierced through the creature’s chest – right through its heart! It released a final, collosal, shout – and fell lifeless on the ground.

And there – whilst I was contemplating my victory and analized the variants to continue my game (either lay down near the beast and die the death of the victorious, unknown hero – or reap the fruit of my triumph and marry a beautiful maiden) – it was then that I felt it. At first I could not understand what it is. Something sweet, crushing yet delicate, impressivley present but somewhat very subtle, fragranced still hardly nuanced – the scent was dancing around me in an ever seducing manner, and though I was 7 (or 8? or 6 maybe?) I fell irremediably in love with the bewitching incense of the lilac – and remained a slave ever since. Never before have I felt it, though passed by it every day – the little lilac tree was reigning the garden long before I was born – but never since have I been able to resist the embracing whisper of the lilac.

It was that day that I started noticing the lilac. I noticed its delicate little flowers, all gathered in that unaccountable formation, an intricate mauve pattern with gentle patches of white – releasing those sensations, that feeling, that silky perfume.

And I could never again pass by a lilac tree and give into memories; because I miss that naïve little boy who was fighting monsters and could talk to trees and enjoy the little every day miracles.