Aug 05 2019

With Psihoza on vacation

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 13:12

This weekend I was away from home in a quick short trip to some Scotland lochs: Loch Tay and Loch Long. I basically did a circle drive with the following itinerary: Edinburgh -> Kenmore -> Arrochar -> Glasgow -> Edinburgh. Why this itinerary? I had a dear friend visiting and I really wanted to get her out of Edinburgh, because right now it is festival time si the city is swamped with people. I just chose the two locations: Kenmore and Arrochar because they were in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, they were close enough to drive, leaving us some time to just hike or walk around. And they were near lakes which helped with the view.

When booking the hotels my friend noticed the hotels were pet-friendly and she suggested we should get the cat too and that’s exactly what we did.

Continue reading “With Psihoza on vacation”


Aug 02 2019

Are you where you wanted to be?

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 12:01

This question is a refrain that from time to time I sing to myself in my head using Darren Hayes’ voice. Because this is a Darren Hayes song. I heard it first in 2001 when starting university. I found it on a shady Mule server and recognized his voice and could not understand at the time how this song was never famous. But if you listen to it, you’ll understand. Nowadays nobody wants to listen to songs that make them think, that make them reflect.

So, here I am in 2019, closer to my thirty-six birthday and I am asking myself yet again the same question. What prompted this? Recently I’ve been around somebody who seems enchanted by the glamorous life as a developer at titan companies as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others. Although I’ve had many chances of entering a recruitment process with any of them I’ve always changed my mind in favor of smaller companies, where there is more technical freedom and it is easier to shine. Maybe it’s my low confidence in my abilities, maybe it is just my necessity to be important and I won’t be important as a cog in the big machine that is one of those companies. Plus, with the current evolution of these companies and the data gathering and manipulation they are doing for increasing their profits, for me, it’s already a question of ethics. Because I cannot be a part of this with a clean conscience.

And then there is a question of validation. What will validate me in my own eyes? Will it be enough if I work at one of these companies? Will I finally be proud of myself and my achievements? And what will that do to me as a person? Because the driving force behind all my achievements so far has been this feeling of inadequacy; of never being enough. This has been the fuel that has kept me running so long.  Once this is gone, what will happen to me, who will I be then? Will I be a better person than I am now?

No, I know for sure that I won’t. Because my validation was never external. The feeling of satisfaction about myself is not fuelled by the money that I make, or the fancy company names on my CV. My validation comes from the number of lives that I’ve touched and changed in a good way. It’s not about the things, it’s all about the people.

And it is all about the freedom to spend my time as I see fit, with who I see fit.

Am I where I wanted to be? Not sure, but I’m on my way there for sure.

Stay safe, stay happy!


Jul 16 2019

Some people are an acquired taste

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 17:49

For a long time people in my life have told me that I’m inadequate or unsuitable for certain things. When I was a child I was too extreme, I was rebellious and fearless and although this made my childhood amazing, it also made it dangerous. I was challenging myself and others around me, sometimes with tragic results. I insisted to go to school when I had the mumps to present an important paper and managed to give it to my desk-mate. I was venturing outside the neighborhood to unknown areas, sometimes taking the group with me and returning late at home, when all the parents would be already crazy with worry. No wonder my parents used to beat the shit out of me and threatened me with grounding me for weeks inside my room. Nothing worked though and in retrospect it was a little bit their fault.

Every summer, they used to ship me and my sister to the country side to my grandma. She used to ask us to help her work the garden sometimes, but otherwise she would chase us away from home so we won’t annoy her. So I’ve had a wild childhood. I used to wonder on those hills next to her house, the forests after them and every neighbour garden that used to have one or more trees that produced some kind of fruit that was edible. We would build castles out of mud and play in the near-by river which became dangerous after a heavy rain.

And when I hit 14, all of a sudden I was asked to behave like a well educated girl. Which meant not talking without being asked, not to laugh to loudly, not to do anything that might endanger my face, or leave scars and above all be gentle. Not to spill stuff on my clothes, etc … whatever passes as girlish and delicate. Kinda late to ask somebody to behave this way after you’ve allowed them to be wild for a long while.

So there I was, puberty hit and I had no idea how to behave. Well, as an adolescent you don’t know much of everything really, and all the pressure on how I should be and I wasn’t was getting me depressed. Anyway, puberty has long passed and gone, but I’ve found myself as an adult … unfit again. I was a girl in a faculty for boys. Then I was a woman working in a male dominated field. Still misfit, still wrong somehow.

Maybe it’s not the domain, maybe I just don’t fit well with other people. I try, but then I miserably fail and retreat and become a recluse. The reason I say I am an introvert is because I have so many thoughts in my head that never get to leave it and I fight to keep them in because if I let them out they will be misinterpreted and people would get hurt. And we live in a very sensitive brave new world where people get offended easily. So yeah, I’m an introvert by choice and my extrovert bursts caused by having a good day here and there, or just getting passionate with a cause or a person, are just that. Short bursts of joy and of friendliness, that I pay for with feeling tired and inadequate for days, because my interactions, ultimately feel awkward and unwelcome. And that is because obviously, practice makes perfect and I am always out of practice.

Nothing I ever do is ever good enough for some people, and the way I am seems to make people uncomfortable most times. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I should change. But then again, I had suicidal thoughts most of my life because I tried to fit labels other people put on me. I tried to meet somebody else’s expectations for so long and nearly drove me to mess up my life.

I’m not perfect and I’m not anybody’s dream girl. I’m an acquired taste, I am liquorice. There are not many people that like liquorice and that is ok.

Stay safe, stay happy!


May 20 2019

And now they are five

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 20:32

Every year, on this date I post some cheesy entry about lost love and unfairness of the whole process or some empowering post about life after love. This year, I won’t. Because this year I’m watching the last episode of Game of Thrones. :D

Stay safe, stay happy and if you are unhappy how Game of Thrones ended, you are a superficial person that hasn’t watched the series properly and probably you haven’t read the books either, you ignorant cunt!


Apr 13 2019

My first crush

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 8:14

I’m not sure when I first saw “The never ending story“, but I loved the idea behind it. I cried when Artax, Atreyu’s horse, drowned in Swamp of Sadness, and at the time the analogy for the mental illness of depression was not lost on me. Even if it was not as loved as the first one, I loved “The Neverending Story II” as well. Probably because I had the appropriate age. Bastian was growing up, making mistakes and atoning for them. Bastian was becoming an adult, but learning not to lose his imagination either.

And Bastian was played by Jonathan Brandis that probably was my first crush. I liked his blue eyes, his dimple chin and the way he smiled, by pulling the corner of his left cheek a little harder than the right.

I remember having posters with him on the walls in my room. I definitely had this one.

And then Seaquest happened. I loved that series and I used to wake up at night to watch re-runs. I loved seeing him grow up from a kid into a beautiful young man. The fact that in the series they paired  him at some point with a hacker named Julianna might have been the moment when I decided that maybe being a software engineer is possible for a girl. I was so fascinated with him that I remembered writing letters to some papers asking them to write articles about him and print pictures with him. And they delivered.

I re-watched Seaquest during my faculty years, because I just could not accept that he was dead. He killed himself in 2003. I had access to internet by then and I Googled him from time to time. The news broke my heart, and it was very difficult to explain to my boyfriend at the time why. For him, he was just an actor, one of many. For me, it felt like we grew up together. There are a lot of assumptions about the reasons behind his suicide, and it is so sad to read about it. He was a single child of good decent, hard-working people and I am so sad for his parents, because they must be inconsolable.

Every year, around the time when his birthday would have been I remember him and watch an episode of Seaquest to remember his blue eyes and his voice. And I wonder how he was as a person. What kind of pancakes did he like most? Did he even like pancakes? What did he like to do on Sunday mornings? Which book was his favorite? I dreamed of meeting him one day and asking him all these questions while sharing my own preferred things about this world. I really, really wanted to get to know the man that brought my favorite character from Seaquest to life. But I guess every teenager with a crush of him at the time wanted the same thing.

Rest in Peace, dear Jonathan. I am glad you were part of my life through your work. I only wish you would have stuck around, because we might have ended up meeting one day.

[Later edit] And for all of you fighting suicidal thoughts, just you wait. Things are never as bad as you think, and reality beats movies when things start going right. I’ve had suicidal thoughts since I was about 10 years old. I made it to 32 and finally won the battle. You will too and there are people willing to help. And feel free to drop me an email if you feel the need to talk about it. Just hang on and stick around, don’t rob someone of the pleasure to meet you.

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Feb 20 2019

I met David Duchovny again

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:11

I haven’t been writing for a while, but the main reason for that is that I was on vacation this time. I was in Dublin for 4 days to a David Duchovny concert. I’ve done this before, in 2016, so why do it again, especially since he is not really a great singer?

Well, he is one of my favorite actors. I grew up with X-Files and I fell in love with the character of Fox Mulder because of his interpretation. When he started singing, I was a little bit puzzled. But then again, if Britney Spears can do it, anybody in this world can. Especially a guy that studied at Princeton and Yale, a guy that took a year from his career to learn guitar and a guy that has been in the business of show-biz long enough to know what to do to continue  having a career and being in the spotlight.

I’ve seen other blog articles writing about how going to his concerts left them disappointed and such, I won’t even bother search for the article and link it. But if you are going to a David Duchovny for his music, at least appreciate the effort involved, even if the end result is not pristine. David Duchovny is no John Mayer, don’t get me wrong, but he also just started singing at 55. So for somebody doing this only for three years, I think the result is quite good.

Here is what I’ve noticed after two of David Duchovny’s concerts. In Dublin he engaged his public more than he did three years ago, he was way more approachable during the Meet & Greet. If three years ago I was told not to speak to him, this year I got to hug him, and he was smiling and being charming. Three years ago in Amsterdam, I was afraid I get ushered out by security if I touched him.

The Meet & Greet was better organized then the last time, but the paraphernalia was non-existent. At the previous concert I got a CD and a signed picture of him. Then again, nobody really uses CDs these days, and because he is also an author now, most people prefer getting his signature on one if his books. But yeah, it would have been nice if the picture was the default for people that were flying economy to be there, as I did, and did not really have space for a book in the small bag Ryanair allows.

But never mind, let’s move on from this. Let’s talk about the music. David Duchovny’s voice has a specific inflection that is quite sexy, but he’s no super-duper-vocalist. And he’s not lying to himself or to his fans about this either.

“I’m not a real musician,” he says. “I mean, I can play guitar well enough to write some songs on it, but I’m not a player. I didn’t even play on my own album. I’m not good enough.”

So if you go to one of his concerts, don’t expect him to be. But he is singing live, and jumping around and is obviously enjoying being there, and singing for the people in the room. And is doing this at 58, and he started doing this at 55. So appreciate the work and the effort. And then there’s the band, 5 very talented youngsters, probably half his age which he adores. During his concerts he talks about them a lot, and makes sure the spotlight is on each of them. And they are amazingly talented. Considering the struggle to make it in the music business, I think having David as a front-man ensured these guys will have an audience. So, if you don’t go to his concerts for him, go for these guys, because they are amazing.

If you want to go to his concerts and do not know what to expect, here is a snippet about his latest album.

“Every Third Thought” is David Duchovny’s follow up to 2015’s “Hell or Highwater” that Rolling Stone called “a likable, lyrically tart, vaguely Wilco-ish debut album.” The album moves away from the folkier vibe of the debut set into more rock territory.

I like his music because the lyrics of his songs are stories of a man that lived his life well, that has made mistakes, acknowledged them and learned from them. I like his lyrics because they they bloody exist and make sense. You won’t hear many yeah, oh, ah from him, because he fills the pauses with real words. Call me old-school, but I like songs that tell a story.

As for my encounter with him, well, meeting him temporarily turned my brains into mush. I wanted to tell him that I’ve read his books, that “Bucky Fucking Dent” is my favorite because it depicts a non-shiny life, with nothing extraordinary in it, because it depicts how love can grow in the most deserted places and because that book is a raw depiction of human relationships. I love it because it depicts a non-romanticized idea of love, love just is, just happens and will change your life in ways you could have never imagined. But all I managed to do is jump up and down smiling while telling him how thrilled I am to see him again. Which probably meant nothing for him because he definitely does not remember me from three years ago.

But no matter, I got to hug him, so all is well with the world. And if he continues singing, and keeps the Meet & Greet tickets at acceptable prices, probably I’ll go hug him again next time. :)

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Dec 23 2018

Your duty is to try

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 14:36

As you’ve probably figured out by now, from what you’ve read here, my family is the typical broken family, with people scattered all around the world, all of them trying to detach from their past so they can start new and do better, because if you do not want to get cancer the smartest way is to move farther away from the power plant. Don’t stop reading, this will not be a sad blog entry, I promise!  From time to time members of my family do manage to meet after years of not seeing one another and is fascinating for me to discover the people they have become.

I have a cousin that has become a wonderfully strong woman that is hell-bent on fixing this family through acceptance and communication.

I have a cousin that is torn between his duty to a small part of the family that raised him up and gave him a career and the girl he loves that happens to live in a city too far away from where his life is built so nicely.

I have an uncle that is learning how to live at fifty four, because more than half of his life he spent taking care of his parents in a place that kept him isolated from the real world. And he is the guy I want to talk about. Because he found a type of wisdom in his simple life and his duties that people rarely do. And I consider myself lucky to know him and to be able to learn from him. He got dealt a bad hand, but he did his best and at some point in my life, I decided he deserves more and I set up to help him live the rest of his life the best way possible. I won’t tell you his full life story, I will just list here a few things that I know about him that are really impressive to me.

He quit smoking after thirty years of this nasty habit. He was stressed by the fact he did not have much money and I guess he was thinking about quitting for a while, but one morning he woke up, burned the rest of cigarettes in the house and decided he won’t smoke from that day on. He just acknowledged that smoking is a toxic and costly habit, that he did could not afford anymore and he quit, just like that. It was not easy to break a habit like that, because he went through rehab alone, not in a specialized centre, there were no nicotine patches, no other dugs to soothe him. He was living in the countryside so he worked the field, drank a lot of water, went to sleep when he felt sick with headaches or feeling nauseous and in two weeks the nicotine was out of his system and he never smoked again.

He was convinced to leave his job and move to the countryside by his parents, well his mother basically, because she was the head of the family. She told him he should move back close to family because there is money to be made in agriculture, that they had land to work that could produce a lot of crops that could be sold, but they were old and needed help. And for some reason, he believed it and gave it a try. And here and there there were little successes. He made enough money to buy a horse – that was a nice and gentle horse, by the way, I’ve met him, it was love at first neigh – working the fields became easier for a while. He bought himself a motorbike and he taught himself how to ride it, but never got a license, because he never got too far out of the village on it anyway.

He tried getting married, but after getting his heartbroken by his last fiancé, he gave up on the idea altogether. He said that his life is miserable and he had nothing but misery to offer, and who would want that? Years after I found out from another cousin he confides these stuff in, that he was in love when he was younger with somebody that went on and married somebody else and he never got over her. Apparently, after he restarted his life, he met her again and she was divorced and they are starting something –  so life finds a way.

When his parents started to get too old and needed care, his life started going down the drain. People in my family judged him for drinking now and then. Because the expectation was for him to become an alcoholic like his father, so if he even got tipsy, the hate would flow. But during one visit I talked to him and told him about my university experience and how I drank to forget, to detach myself from a life I did not like, from the me I did not like. The conclusion was that if alcohol is the curtain we put between us and the part of us we do not like, but it is not the solution. If you don’t like yourself and the life you have you have to stop hiding from it, you have to stay awake and find ways to change it all. And I saw his face lit up. For the first time he was not judged, he was not considered a despicable drunk like his father, somebody saw him exactly as he was, a man in a difficult position, a life that was not satisfying to him and a person he did not like. He had accepted the fact that he won’t have a life of his own until his parents died and he accepted the duty to care for them until that moment. There was no way for him to fight it or run away from the responsibility that he realized he took upon himself when he decided to move back in with them.  So he graciously accepted it and fulfilled that duty the best he could. Sure he drank one too many now and then, but he wasn’t and most probably he will never be an alcoholic.

Last year, February his mother died. His father was long gone. I’ve have visited him before and noticed this guy never smiled and  I realised he was plagued by the family disease of bad teeth. So I offered him the opportunity to get his teeth fixed. Told him to go ask a doctor for an estimate and the money will be wired into his account. The next time I saw him he had a smile that could light up a room. You probably have no idea that smiling makes you look at least ten years younger. I did not know it either. Now you know why I look so well for my age. :)

Long story short, he fixed his teeth, and since the whole thing cost him half as estimated, with the rest of the money, he got himself a new set of clothes and a ticket to Italy. And the rest is a happy story, how he got a job and he is amazed by how much his work is valued and how beautiful Italy is. He has plans to visit the whole country and take in all the beauty Italy has to offer, but he is putting money aside to pay me back and build a self-sustaining clean energy house one day. And when he came back to Romania on vacation, he asked out the woman he loved, because now he was confident that one day he might have something else to offer than misery.

One of the most important thing I heard him say and got stuck in my head and probably gave me a little nudge here and there to try absurd things, is that as a human being you have the duty to try. Ofcourse at the time he was talking about girls, he was quite young then and hadn’t totally given up the idea.

So no matter how ridiculous is something, how absurd, how unreachable,  if you really want it, it is your duty to try. So if there is something to take from this entry, this is it.

Stay safe, stay happy!