Oct 18 2018

Back in action

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:52

Every time AWS disappoints me I realise how much this blog means to me. This blog started in 2006 as a joke. I was finishing the faculty and me and my partner at the tim, Rpx,w ere kinda sick of the university forum anyway, so we started this blog. He had the knowledge, together we had the resources and I had the passion for writing. He used to write as well in the past, but then he got hired at M$ and he was a little restricted regarding what he was allowed to write and how. So he gave it up. When this blog has started it was hosted on a server under our desks and the domain was rpx.kicks-ass.net.  It was moved to an Azure machine when he started his job at M$ and when he quit that job, I moved the blog to an AWS machine and gave it a new name because he hadn’t written for a long time also, so it wasn’t his anymore.

Our relationship ended, but we remained what we always were, best friends and even if a new study suggests that people who remain friends with their exes are psychopaths, well… at least now it is confirmed for us, after so many years of suspicions for the people knowing us both. :)  This blog has been our project for a long time, and although I am the only one providing content, he continues to help maintain it from time to time and contributing with AWS and moral support for me when AWS drives me nuts.

It’s been a long time since this blog was down for so long. The last time this happened was because of a hacking attempt, that got me into a paranoid mode and I basically messed up the AWS machine configurations and Apache rights trying to secure the blog. I secured it alright. :))  This time… it probably was something similar. A Chinese hacker or a hacker behind a Chinese proxy was doing a lot of requests trying to find a backdoor and turned my Apache server into a memory hungry monster. There is no excuse for me using Apache with the default settings though.

When I noticed that my blog kept dying, first I restarted the AWS instance a few times, then I configured Apache properly. But last night I found myself unable to access the blog. The Apache server was up, the database was up, but in the browser, I was unable to see anything. Nothing. Nada. Niente. Nichts! So I panicked. I did a curl while being logged on the machine through ssh and got a lot of HTML content. So the blog was up, but inaccessible to the real world. Why? I had no idea. But I had a suspicion. AWS has something called Security Groups  that can be used to define rules regarding who has access where. Also, the instance hosting my blog is managed by something called a Load Balancer, that sane people with a lot of traffic on their blogs, use it to balance the load of requests between to identical instances. But not having that many readers and only one instance, I just use it to secure the blog and make sure it can only be accessed via HTTPS. And this balancer is managed by a Virtual Private Cloud and that has its own rules as well. Anyway, long story short, following Amazon tutorials and advice on their forum, I’ve played with them and locked my self out of the instance via SSH as well. And that is when the real panic started. Yesterday I went to bed at 3 am, after trying to find a solution.
Continue reading “Back in action”


Oct 16 2018

Too little, too late

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:58

I’ve been raised romano-catholic. One of the quirks of this religion is that it drills into your head that you have to marry a virgin and stand by your man in sickness and in health, until death do you part. I know all wedding vows go like that, but romano-catholics take this very seriously. They do not recognize divorces, in their minds, if you married somebody you are stuck with them for life, no matter how huge an asshole they become. Because of this education indoctrination, my personal life has hit a few bumps in the road. I mean, by 18 I was already an atheist, but getting the shitty idea of “the one and the only” out of my head took a while. But, this blog entry is not really about that.

Last week I discovered Daniel Sloss, and aside the fact that I was barely containing my laughter while at work, some ideas he talked about raised my interest enough to look at his shows on Netflix. In case you do not know who the kid is, he is a British comedian, that started his career quite early and was making a lot of money before he was even allowed to drink legally. His most recent show,  Jigsaw is a cold and raw view of relationships and the dark places the human mind goes when shit hits the fan. Because of how real and personal he gets in this show, he inspired people to ask themselves some difficult questions and  apparently quite a few relationships and marriages have been victims of it: 8500+ break-ups, 37 cancelled engagements and 46 divorces. And yes, he keeps count.

The guy reminds me of George Carlin, because his comedy is not really comedy, is the verbal manifestation of a grounded, logical  person’s repression faced with the ridiculous things in this crazy world that we all live in. I was listening to him and laughing, but at some point I stopped, because it was not funny anymore. He was dropping a swear word or a funny comment here and there, to keep it light, but the overall tone was a morose one.

Unfortunately for me Jigsaw came a little too late. I regret that this kid did not have this brilliant idea about 6 or 7 years ago. It would have spared me a lot of headaches and a harrowing heartbreak. Because at the time I was struggling to keep alive a relationship with somebody that probably wished me dead, because that was the easiest way to end it. And I must confess, although I did not wished him dead, I did kill him a lot of times in my nighmares in the most spine-chilling ways.

I am not a stranger when it comes to jugsaw puzzles. Most of my life I’ve felt like a piece of puzzle forced in the wrong place, because I’ve been trying desperately to match expectations that weren’t mine. It took me a long time to muster the grit to say “fuck this!” and try to live my life in a different way and see if it matches. And here I am, a few years later after just throwing it all out the window twice and moving to a rainy island sandwiched between the Nordic and the Celtic sea.  I no longer feel like a piece of jgsaw puzzle, and I am finally building my own. If the jigsaw puzzle is not centered on a partner, that how should I go about solving this? The solution is simple.

I have a career that happens to be one on my passions as well. I also have a passion for music and travelling. I have to solve my jigsaw puzzle by putting my career and my passions in the center. And I guess I’ll just have to get out of my confort zone – in my case, out of the freaking house :)), and meet people. Because among those 7.5 billion people there shoud be one that I have proper chemistry with and that understands and accepts my way of life and priorities. And because I am a grounded, logical person, I will understand and accept his and we’ll just have to slowly gravitate around each other and adjust slowly to one another. Because no matter how hectic, how challenging having a career is, for the person worth your time, you will find time. I’m not sure everything will go flowlessly, but as an adult I will do the adult thing and try my best.

And if among those 7.5 billion people there isn’t anyone for me, at least I lived my life to the fullest and did not have time to think about the fact that we might actually, never really meet.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Oct 11 2018

Back to my old shenanigans

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:53

Some time ago when finances became stable, I started fulfilling some of my childhood dreams. Might seem ridiculous, but as an adult, I’ve felt quite frustrated that I did not know how to ride a bike or swim. So as soon the opportunity showed itself, I started “fixing” those frustrations one by one. There is the TODO list on this blog of course, but there are more small things that I never got to do that feel so fulfilling when I get to do them. I learnt to swim when I was 27, learn to ride a bike when I was 28 and about the same time I got my driving license. The first two were denied to me because of lack of money and lack of opportunity when I was a child. The third – is one of those things I never even dared to dream about because well, I never expected to own a car. You have no idea how good it felt the first time I went to work on my bike. You have no idea how awesome it feels to swim confidently in the sea after yearning for the experience for so long. And my vacation during which I drove 2000 miles across US, is still the best one so far.

Anyway, my biggest passion is music. Unfortunately, because my parents never thought I was worth the investment, my only experience with music was the 18 years of the church choir. I used to be a soprano then, no idea if I still am. I now own a piano and a guitar and plan to learn to play them both by the time I am dead. Because I cannot create music myself, I am an avid music consumer. For me, music is rarely background noise. I like to analyze the sounds, identify the instruments, change in rhythm, voice inflections. I get lost in good music. And yes, when I reproduce I get creative too.

My tastes in music vary, the only two genres that I don’t really enjoy are Latino and Oriental. Otherwise, I have favorite singers and bands, based on the in instruments they have, voices or the lyrics they sing. For example, Darren Hayes is one of my favorite singers because of the perfect combination between meaningful lyrics and beautiful music. I love all his songs and probably know the lyrics by heart for each of them, and yes probably I could sing them as well. I like B.B. King, Santana and John Mayer, because of the wonders they can do with a guitar. I love Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Seth MacFarlane because of the jazz/blues sound, multiple instruments, very diverse voice inflections. I love Akua Naru for the voice and meaningful lyrics. And I love Rock music because it is the music that sets me free. Rock music is to music, as Linux is to operating systems. There are so many styles that I couldn’t list them all. But the one I love the most is alternative. I fell in love with this genre because, a long, long time ago, in a country far far away in East Europe, where good media could only be procured by not so legitimate ways, I found a list of MP3s sets named Alternative Collection. There were hundreds of them, and while I was a student I had them all written to CDs and listened to them a lot. There were a lot of American and Canadian bands, the rest of the world didn’t even know existed, but they were amazing.

The last Rock experience that I had was in 2015, when I went to Wacken with my dearest friends. Nothing compares to that, but the concert from two days ago reminded me how good for the psyche is a proper headbanging and scream singing. Well, proper and responsible adult headbanging, that does not leave you with destroyed neck muscles for two days, because as an adult I still have to work the job that provided the resources used to purchase the ticket. :D

Three Days Grace, Glasgow, 2018

This is the first concert I went to since moving to Scotland, and the taste for this kind of experience is back. Expect some more entries about concerts form now on. And if you are curious how they sond live, I prepared a little mash-up for now. I don’t really like to take pictures at concerts or record too much, because I really want to enjoy the moment, to get lost in the music, sing out loud and dance. Enjoy!

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Oct 08 2018

Mistakes happen

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:22

Humans are not infallible creatures. Actually, there is no creature immune to fuckups. This is what makes this world so beautiful and colorful. Trying to live a life without making mistakes is sisyphic. Believing you never made a mistake and you will never make one is moronic.

I grew up terrified of making mistakes. Of course, the mistake concept was pretty malformed in my family as well, as a mistake was whatever event caused by me or my sister that my parents disapproved of. And their disapproval was manifested by more or fewer light-beatings, repeated beratings about it, eventually in public – because everybody knows, the more people hear about the fuck-up and agree it was a fuck-up, the more chances you will understand your mistake and the more the chances you will never do it again, right? If this is what you think, then please don’t have kids, because you will be a terrible parent.

I don’t know for sure when I heard this expression but here it goes: “only he who does nothing, makes no mistakes”. Unfortunately for me, I heard it quite late, and until then I still had the inherited attitude of my parents regarding mistakes and people who made them. After hearing that expression I rummaged over it on and on. Sure, we all make mistakes, but mistakes have consequences. How can you forgive a mistake and the consequences are unforgivable? Well, you don’t have to. You just have to accept this is the way life is and move on. Being a grounded person means accepting that mistakes happen and being strong enough to accept the consequences as well.

Mistakes are unavoidable. Accepting them and showing yourself available to help correct them and eliminate the effect of the consequences is the most healthy attitude. Nobody wants to make mistakes. So when pointing out a mistake to somebody, be kind and be graceful. This is probably the only way you will make it easy for them to admit to the mistake and correct it.

I’ve written this post because I’ve written and errata for any of my books. Some of them have gotten pretty long. I sometimes had moments when I’ve felt ashamed and considered that maybe I shouldn’t write books anymore. But if I wouldn’t write them, there would be nothing for other people to read and learn from, and apparently, there is enough correct information in them that they can identify my mistakes. And from time to time, I even receive an email like the one below that makes my day.

So I will continue to write books, and I will continue to make mistakes and I will write erratas even if I’m not paid to do it. Because at least I’m doing something. I am no longer afraid of making mistakes and I accept the consequences.


Oct 07 2018

The lonely road

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:45

When I was in college I had a teacher; she was ancient. She was teaching databases and she was probably there when they were invented because her knowledge of data relationships and normalization was extensive. My colleagues used to criticize her for her childish voice, for how she dressed, for how she taught. The poor woman could do nothing right apparently, just because she never married, she was a spinster. It’s so strange how people assume behavior from basically … nothing.

I also had another teacher that never married, a man. Men spinsters that manage to be functional adults are automatically labeled as drunken geniuses, that dedicated their lives to their passions and that is why their personal lives never happened. But old women that never married, they are obviously crazy-sour man-hater good for nothing bitches.

Ha ha, see what I did there? I just underlined a sexist double standard.

Clearly, the two cases are limited to the Romanian culture. Not sure what preconceptions other cultures have about spinsters. Another thing that is common in Romania is to mostly isolate people that skip the marriage step.  Spinsters are viewed as misfits and sometimes a danger to existing marriages. Because in our culture it is considered “not normal” to be single and obviously if you tell people you’ve chosen and accepted solitude, you must be actually lying and the only reason you try to stay close to people that are married is so you can steal somebody’s husband or wife. Isolating and casting out people that end up alone is a social phenomenon.  I’m not even sure if the root of how we view single people has a religious or a political reason. Because church and political regimes have at least one thing in common: they love the traditional family, the one made by one man and one woman, the fundamental cell of any society, that leads to the creation of new people, believers for the church and taxpayers for the state.  This is quite a big discussion, but the core idea is that being single after a certain age is bad and everything while growing up, teaches you that the worst thing to be as an adult is … alone.

Seriously, my parents biggest fear was that I and my sister will never marry because we were ugly and poor and we would become a burden for them. Since I was a child I remember my mother teaching me how to do everything around the house, because those were the skills a good wife had to have. And their fear transmitted to me too, because I am a little abashed looking back at my romantic history, because I am pretty sure, most of my decisions in my relationships were caused by that fear. And no, they were not good decisions.

Anyway, more than four years ago, a series of unfortunate events and bad decisions (not all mine) left me for the first time in my life in the state of being single after a really bad and brusque breakup. I’ve had moments when I blamed myself, I’ve had moments when I blamed him. When you are in pain, blame is like a ball in an out of control pinball machine. No matter where you throw the damn ball it will always hit something until it finds the path out. Truth is we were not compatible, not unless both being extraordinarily stubborn counts.  We would have hurt each other way worse if it hadn’t ended when it did and I am forever grateful to the lover after me.

And this is how my long walk on the lonely road began.

Honestly, I’ve never expected for me to be single for so long. But then again, I’ve never really tried that hard not to be. I’ve written books, I’ve traveled and I’ve filled all my free time with things I’ve wanted to do for so long, that there was not much time left to … date. But that’s not important right now.

What I want to tell you is that the lady teacher that I previously mentioned, was always nice to me. She had this childlike voice and never avoided answering a question, even if the answer was “I don’t know”. She had never been anything else than sweet and kind. By comparison, the male teacher was quite bitter and cynical. So, really, if I end up like her it’s not a bad thing.

The loner life fits me for the moment. It has fit me for the last four years.  I’ve embraced solitude as a normality and I don’t really care if me being single hurts the church or the economy. I did not choose this, but I’ll be damned if I let it make me bitter, sour or cynical.

Some people have to walk alone. And that is something to admire not chastise and ridicule.


Oct 05 2018

Iuliana’s miss-happenings

Category: Funny,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 19:52

I’m not good with people. In a way, this is expected from a former(actual?) nerd, so it’s not that bad. But when I am actually interested in dating someone, you can imagine why this is a more than a little inconvenient.

There is a fine line between being sort of unapproachable and tickling the curiosity sense of men and not being interesting at all. I do not know where that line is. And so far I managed to cross it every time and in such a brusque manner, that I still do not understand how I do it, or when, or why!!??

This entry has been waiting in the draft folder for over a year, I cannot for the life of me remember the intention behind writing it. But here we go. Around that time, I had a chat with a friend and she was asking me about the company party, and if I’ve met anyone interesting there. Because this is a bonus of working for a big international company that has offices around the world, big parties where you can meet a lot of new people. And I spilled all the beans and told her I met a guy and totally blew it, by forgetting how to drink beer. Yes, this one of my seduction moves.

In my defense, I sort of moved the glass upward more than I should have because I was so focused on his face and hung up on any word he said, and managed to spill beer on my face in a very obvious way. Beer is good for the skin though, so at least there’s that.  My friend was amused and said that is good because my interest would be obvious in this case, so it should lead to something. I’m not so sure being ridiculous qualifies.

So yeah, dude, in case you did not figure it out at the time, I drenched my face in beer because I was mesmerized by how wonderful you were, not because  I’m overall clumsy and awkward.

And now, the cherry on top… this entry has been in the draft directory that I ‘m not sure who the awesome guy was.

Life is good though!

Stay safe, stay happy! (And it’s Friday, so go party!)


Oct 03 2018

Late night thoughts

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:50

Humans are hung up on the myth of “the one”. We write songs, we write novels and we live our lives hoping we meet “the one”. This person should complete us, should make us feel whole, should fix everything that is wrong inside and outside of us and provide a refuge in the midst of all that is shitty around us. And it is a great myth to hold on to, it’s a nice dream to have and there is no expiration date. Because you can hope meeting the one until the day that you die.

So we live, and we wait for that moment to happen. To meet a person that will freeze time at the first contact. To meet the person that when you first see, an accidental ray of sunshine will isolate them from all the greyness and your heart will skip a beat and you will know.

I was a firm believer in this myth. The first time I met him I knew there was something about him. Because I couldn’t stop looking at him. I was so awkward and did not want him to find me creepy and tried to avoid looking directly at him, but I couldn’t stop looking at him. It’s like time stopped when we were introduced and we shook hands. I still remember his bony white hand and the long fingers squeezing my hand.

And then he died. Poof! Gone. What was I supposed to do? Live my life waiting to die and hoping in an afterlife with him? Because even if I wasn’t a believer, the shoes of a person that is no longer present are some big shoes another person must fill. And they never will. And rationally you know it is absurd to expect them to, but chemicals in our brains don’t really give a rats ass about this.

I was watching a clip today of one of my beloved artists and he was asked how he knew his wife was the one. And it made it sound so simple and obvious. There was no ray of sunshine, no frozen time, just great chemistry. Which is what I believe now after so many years of being an adult and meeting other adults. It all starts here: chemistry.

But well, there are so many things in the middle. The good news: natural chemistry is always reciprocated. The bad news: you can have chemistry with people that do not fit your character. Because chemistry is what brings you together, a match of character is what keeps you together. Another bad news: chemistry is really hard to resist. And because of our romanticized idea of human relationships, most of us try to build lasting relationships based on chemistry. If you are lucky and the person you had a reaction with is a decent human being that fits you, you’re all set.  You can stop looking, put a ring on it and enjoy.  But if you are unlucky(like me) you end up with a history of unhappy relationships and reluctance to give in to chemistry.

So… what to do, what to do? I have no idea, do you ?