Dec 21 2016

The meaning of my tattoos

Category: English posts,PersonalIuliana @ 1:24

I’ve worked on my books for two years and I managed to function with 3 to 5 hours of sleep during this time. I was expecting to sleep a lot after getting them done. But then the accident happened and I had a little bit of insomnia and nightmares caused by that. When this was done, I was actually able to sleep and I was quite happy about it. But the previous Friday something changed. Something curious happened that I cannot write about yet, maybe because it is hard to define it. And since then my insomnia came back. And my dear friends and readers you will benefit from this, until whiskey starts to work properly as a sleeping pill. Because I am going to start writing often again. So, here goes nothing.

Recently somebody I met asked me about my tattoos. And I surprised myself giving different explanations for them and explaining why I will probably never get them removed. The best thing about my tattoos is that, aside for being anchors to memories they are symbols of personal beliefs, perfect representation of who I am and who I hope to continue being. As time goes by, they gain more meaning, they grow as I do. I have a friend that has an 18 years old son that wants a tattoo and he is terrorizing his mom with this. Until now I could not advise her how to convince him to think about this very well, but I hope this post will do it for me. Let’s discuss them one by one.

The Atom
This is my first tattoo. It represents my acceptance of the fact that little is under my control because everything that happens in this world is the result of the interaction between these little particles. It also depicts my passion for science in general and my curiosity regarding what makes things tick. I do not think I will ever change my mind and stop liking science, unless something happens to my brain, like cancer or a lobotomy. So there is no way I will ever consider removing it. This tattoo is an anchor for the second biggest change in my life so far: moving to Sibiu. I had this design for four years on my computer, and every now and then I looked at it and planned that someday I will imprint it on my skin. And when the moment fit I did it.
Darwin’s evolution tree
This is my second tattoo, it is a simple version of Darwin’s species evolution tree. The full design did not fit my hand. :D When I had it done I thought about it as a mark of my evolution from the feeble and fragile girl I used to be to this stronger version of myself, that I finally admire and love. It is also an anchor of the Colectiv incident. It is a sign that life goes on (if I would have chosen to work in the Bucharest office for this company, I would have been in that club that night), it’s my monument for the lives affected by that fire. Currently it is still a sign of evolution. Great minds accept that they do not know nothing for certain and they must always be curious and willing to learn, grow, evolve. This tattoo reminds me every time I look at it that vehement beliefs are symptoms of a narrow mind, so I should manage to keep my integrity while accepting that there is always a little chance that I might be wrong. So I must keep my mind flexible and growing. I never want for this tattoo to stop representing me.

Still alive, still able to love

When I decided to have it done, it was supposed to be an anchor for the memory of the first man I ever loved and that died 15 years ago. The original design had some roman numerals under it: the date of this birth and the day of his death. But the tattoo artist expressed his concern that the characters will blend in time, so I gave them up. After I had the accident the tattoo changed its meaning. Shortly after the accident, I also had to give up trying to win the heart of a man I loved, as he was not meant for me, nor good for me.(although quite a nice person after all, but a little broken, as all of us are) But meeting him, gave me hope that there is still a chance for me to love and be loved, because honestly I kinda gave up the hope of this ever happening to me a long time ago. So this is how this tattoo gained its full meaning. I am still alive, still able to love. And I have all the time in the world to find the person that fits me best. And until I meet him I will continue improving myself so he gets to meet the best version of me.

This is the meaning of my tattoos. There will probably be more, because as time goes by, I will change, more and more things will define me, more and more events will leave their mark on my mind and soul. So I will probably decide to mark them on my skin as well. They are not art, they are not something that make me special in the eyes of others. They are made for me. They say something about me, something that I hope will never change.

Stay  safe, stay happy!

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Dec 20 2016

Company given rank and how much it matters

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 1:01

I’ve been promising for a while to start writing technical posts, but until I’ll have some time to write some code, I do have a few ideas regarding management and internal hoochy-moochy that happens inside IT companies. Bare with me, it might be either fun, either instructive, depends on how my mood changes while I write. Also, do not expect a small post that you will read in five minutes, you know I rarely do that.

I’m in my 10th year of experience in the IT field. I have worked on a lot of different type of projects, I taught at the university for a while, did some consulting and even written two technical books.  The company I work for currently has knighted me at the beginning of the year and therefore I am now called a software architect. My diplomas say that I am an engineer. And I find the term  software engineer much more suitable, because engineers break down problems into smaller problems and provide solutions or they concoct contraptions to make life easier and work more efficient. This is what I’ve been doing since 2010, concocting contraptions to make my work easier so I can be payed for being lazy.

But back to the original point. Last week, the company I work for sent me to a training/workshop where some guys were explaining something that I cannot currently write about and at the beginning of the workshop asked all of us to present ourselves. These guys were just there for the workshop, we will probably never see them again and the plan is to provide our own implementation for the thing they talked about. Nevertheless my colleagues started giving super details, their full names and full titles within the company. I just told them my first name,  the project I work on and the reason I was interested in the workshop. All done in 20 seconds or so. Bam!

I never liked labels, maybe because I was given so many while growing up (crazy, poor, weird, teacher’s pet, geek, nerd, etc). I do not like titles either. Unless you are freaking royal, then… oh well, you can have your title and shove it where the sun don’t shine. I have been doing architect work since 2010 when I had a full project on my hands, and I had to migrate it to some new technologies. And I did that and only missed the deadline because I broke my right hand and I had to program for two weeks only with my left hand. And I am right handed.(Since then I kinda started doing a lot of things with my left hand too, so now I think ambidextrous fits.) Returning to the original idea, bragging about your title when it does not fit you, is quite ridiculous. You can call yourself a manager, but you’re not doing much managing if your team members keep leaving. You can call yourself and architect, but if your solutions are crappy you’re not doing much … architecting(sic!). You can call yourself a web developer, but if you cannot develop a responsive web interface, allow me to have my doubts. And plus, a title given by the company you work in is as valuable as your wife knighting you the best lover in the world.

This is why I used to make fun of my architect title at the beginning. People who do not know me well, did not get my sarcasm. Many of my colleagues took my Lync status (I am architect, therefore I am God…) as bragging. I do not feel like an architect when I do not have architect specific tasks. So I present myself as a developer or engineer. It suits me better at the moment.  The way I see it, presenting myself as an architect, when I do little architect work, would be like presenting myself as Miss Romania, after I gained 20 kilos. So I do not present myself as an architect. I let others do it.

Another term I totally loath is expert. In the company I work for people like to use it a lot. I just started on a project called Regulator, people I interacted with, already started calling me The Regulator Expert. Then I switched to something called XBRL, I became The XBRL expert. Seriously???

I am no expert, in anything. Really. But what I am good at is keeping things simple and keep learning. Everything I do, I try to make it so simple that anybody with a little motivation could understand it, use it and maintain it. Why? Because I am lazy, I prefer the work to be self explanatory, than for people to bother me with questions. The other reason why I prefer not being asked questions about my work is that I kinda’ lack social skills. So if I develop something, expect tests, proper documentation with three types of UMLs  and some extra schemes drawn in Google Drawings. Anything to keep you away from me.

Also, company ranks mean nothing if you are not up to the task. And I’m the kind of asshole that even if you are a manager, if you are a crappy one, I will treat you accordingly and eventually tell you to your face, because negative feedback is also a thing.  :D

This being said, there is a post about negative feedback in the works. I hope you will enjoy that too.

Stay safe, stay smart!

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Dec 17 2016

Iuliana’s log, stardate 13351.18

Category: English posts,PersonalIuliana @ 20:44
  • I was mentioning to a friend that every two weeks or so I cry because of loneliness.  So he said I should get out and meet someone, get married so I won’t cry anymore. But… actually, there is no warranty that the crying will stop. What if I make a mistake, and choose to stick to a person that makes me cry from a different reason. What if I still feel lonely? How will I explain to that person that I feel sad and alone and it’s not because of him and also, that he cannot do anything about it? So yeah, I don’t think I want the most important reason that I will marry to be that I want to feel less alone. Because loneliness is not something that you feel only when you do not have a partner in your life, loneliness is something you feel when you are misunderstood, when you just don’t fit in a certain group as well. And you can also feel alone when you are not at peace with yourself.
  • My second book is so close to being published that it scares me. It scares me because I will have less work to do. I will come back from work and have the time to read a book, go biking or hiking or go out into the city or around the city. And when all the books are done, all the bike tracks have been exhausted, and all the pubs visited… what will I do then? And while doing all these things, where will my mind go? This is the part that scares me the most, because my mind likes the dark.  My mind has already started to drift to places where it shouldn’t. I try to keep her at bay, but with so little work left to do it has already started analyzing what the future might have in store for me, what dreams may come. And it is scary, because aside from work, there are so many things I kept on stand by for so many years, that it is really difficult to start on them now. And him, I can’t stop thinking of him. And it’s not even love anymore, I do not yearn for his presence, the thought of actually meeting him scares me. I just remember some moments, I try to remember how his voice sounds and I really, really hope he is doing really well and he is evolving mentally to a stable and beautiful character. If you know where I can find a tutorial about how to forget somebody and stop thinking about them, let me know. I’ll be very generous with the reward. ;)
  • This week, I’ve been delegated to Frankfurt. I had the occasion to meet a lot of new people and to interact with my colleagues in a more non-professional way, at the Christmas party. It was a really nice party, but I was reminded again that I really have to work on my social skills, because in a big group of people I feel like whale in a sea of sand. I think I could manage being in a big group of people if nobody would know me, but when a lot of people know me, that’s a problem. Actually, more than one problem. Problem number one: I know them and they know me, but we are in a different environment than usual and I do not know what is accepted as normal behaviour and what is not. Should I go say “hi!”, should I try to engage in a conversation, should I just let them come to me? Because Germans are weird people, they have the ability from switching between personal and professional very easy and I have no idea sometimes what context causes the switch.  Problem number two: they know me, but I do not know them. This year I have given a few presentations at company level and apparently one of them was quite memorable. So my German colleagues know me, but I do not know them. And they come to me to say hi, and they talk to me like I should know who they are and I get embarrassed because I don’t and try to remember if I ever met them in person and if I should know them and maybe I seem like an asshole to them.  So yeah, that is why in a large multinational group  I need alcohol, because I need to turn off that part of my brain that thinks about how intercultural clashes can be avoided and what should I say so I don’t look stupid or inconsiderate.
  • I keep thinking about buying an apartment, it is not an easy task and it will require a lot of time and paperwork and money, obviously. The problem is, people are assholes or if they are not really being paid by how well they are doing their job, they do it in a precarious manner. The real estate agent I contacted to view an apartment, did not reply my last email, the one containing all the questions from my architect friend. Because I won’t buy an apartment that she does not approve of. And if her questions will remain unanswered, I won’t even consider buying the apartment. It’s quite simple.
  • I am coming back from Frankfurt with two big bags of black mushrooms and a bag of Wakame algae. I simply love these things.
  • I realized that people like to put labels on everything, including people and they desire to be labeled themselves. No idea why, but oh well…
  • I bought some souvenirs from Frankfurt for a few of my friends and I realized,  when it comes to my male friends I have no idea what to buy them. Women are easy: books, perfumes,  massage oils or simply funky socks will do. But men… men are a whole different matter. And if you want to prove them that you care about them, you should care about the gifts, you should know what to buy them… But I do not know because my social skills and inspiration when it comes to this are like my surgery skills. Totally missing.
  • It has been a full week and I can barely wait to get home. I want to sleep within my own sheets, I want to smell the mountain air of Sibiu and I want to drive my new car. And I want to start running again because my left foot is starting to misbehave again.
  • I wanted to do so many things next year, but I realized that I have to prioritize. So here’s the list of TODO’s  for next year:
    • learn German
    • learn to play guitar
    • go to US on vacation (visit Smithsonian, Big Cat Rescue reservation and go to a John Mayer concert, if I could meet him, that would be awesome too)
    • get certified as a Spring Architect

Stay safe,  stay happy!

Dec 15 2016

Hate has no place here

Category: English posts,PersonalIuliana @ 19:55

I do not take crap from people. Not in real life, not on my blog. But I used to. I thought if I ignore people, of if I try to explain to them that their behavior is unacceptable maybe they will stop. But people who emotionally abuse other people will never grow their empathy and they will never understand. Life is too short and I’ve lived more than 30 years allowing others to tell me who I am, who I should be, what should I do or not do, what should I think, what is wrong with me and what is right with me. I did not have good enough parents to invest in my character and build me up so I had to do that myself. Sure it took longer than it should have, because weak people prey on people weaker than them and I have had plenty of those in my life. But I also have good friends, people that appreciate my gentle nature, my blunt honesty and my impulsive actions, that forgive my wrong doings because they know they are not intended to hurt, but to help.

If somebody criticizes me, first I try to figure out if that person has valid arguments. If they do, I take that into account. I take pride in being a very open minded person that tries to keep her mind in continuous growth. I can’t grow and improve if I don’t know what I do right or wrong. And I can’t evaluate myself objectively, when I’m the subject of the evaluation. That is why I listen to criticism, I analyze it and take it into account. But if you criticize me, you’d better have valid arguments and you’d better give me a chance to defend and explain my point of view.

If you start throwing shit at me because you are pissed off, because of something you think I did to you or some action of mine that you interpreted in the worst way possible, then do not be surprised if I ignore you or give shit right back to you. Although these days I am quite chill and I found out that giving shit to people is quite mentally consuming. Plus, it doesn’t really help. Nobody ever changed their mind or character because somebody gave them shit. The only thing that changes is their opinion about that person.

The advantage of managing your own blog is that you can make all the decisions. So I decide if I want certain comment or discussions on it. I do not keep comment exchanges that do not bring any value to this blog, I try to keep only constructive ones. Personal opinions about who I am, how attractive or unattractive you consider me do not have their place here. If you still think you are entitled to have your opinion on this site, just because comments are allowed, you are dead wrong.

And regarding attractiveness, since this is what got this post started, we are all different. Let’s make an analogy here, let’s consider a person’s attractiveness a sorting algorithm. There are many sorting algorithms, each of them has a worst case scenario for complexity and a best case scenario. There is not one sorting algorithm that gives the best results on any possible array. That’s why we have them all and we use them in the cases suitable. Nobody can put a label and say who is attractive and who is not, because we are not all the same, even the way we perceive reality is different. I do not want to start a wide discussion about this, but the fact that we are all different obviously means that our parents were different too. And whether they were considered attractive or unattractive by some percent of the population, they still got together and passed on the DNA. Humanity is part of nature. And nature is not a closed and fixed system. Anomalies happen. Beautiful or otherwise. And the attractiveness or unattractiveness of a person does not really matter. Because what it matters in this world are pheromones. No matter how you look like, if they are in sync with your interest, beautiful stuff will happen.

And damn… I cannot believe that in this day and age, when we know so much about the chemicals produced by our brains, about psychological processes affecting how we see other people, about mental compatibility, there are still people that are so narrow minded that they use attributes as “ugly” and “unattractive” to describe a person. And more than that, they use those words as stones to try to put people down. What the fuck is wrong with this world? What the fuck is wrong with you? (You know who you are, and this is the last time and the last words I waste to try to make you understand that your hate has no basis, purpose or consequence on me and you should find something else to direct your energy towards. Also, go get some professional counseling, it might help with your resentment over imaginary things.)


Stay safe, stay happy!

Dec 15 2016

The suckers for pain chain

Category: English posts,PersonalIuliana @ 15:38

I am over 30 years old. I have a lot of friends that did not find “the one”, just like me. Their families are sad for them and try to set them up with family friends or new colleagues, not even considering that maybe, just maybe they are happier alone.

Talking with somebody a few days ago, I realized that the most unhappiest times of my life happened when I was in a relationship. I had the most low self esteem when somebody else did not like me, or treated me badly and I tried to find faults in my self to justify their behavior. Because they loved me, so if they treated me badly, it must have been something I did wrong, or something I said that made them punish me, right? Yes, communication was the problem, obviously, but you live and you learn.So if you are wondering why am I not so eager to give somebody that much power over me, now you have the answer.

People are so focused on finding someone, falling in love, just being with someone, that they do not consider how to stay in love, how to stay with that someone. Because, make no mistake, falling in love is easy. All it takes is some chemistry and some jokes and nice smiles. And there you are. But staying in love, still finding things to love about a person after they have become so familiar that you don’t mind smelling their farts anymore, that’s a challenge. But this post is not about how to fall in love and stay like that. I am not the person to write about this, after all. Because in love and relationships is not like in a professional carreer, being in love many times and being in a relationship many times, does not make you an expert in these two. Having experience when it comes to love and relationships, does not make you an expert, on the contrary it makes you a failure.

This post is about how we love people that do not reciprocate and how this links us in a suckers for pain chain. I met a while ago a guy that I fell in love with. He has been hurt by somebody he loved very much and if I’m right, some leftover feelings for the lover before me, prohibited whatever could have been between us. I still think about him, although I haven’t seen him for a while. Meanwhile, there is one or two guys having me in their thoughts, but I can’t brin g myself to think about them while my thoughts are flying to somebody else.

There is a Romanian song about the suckers for pain chain, the lyrics go like this: “She still loves me, like I love you, and like you love him/ She does not know, that you no longer know nothing of me/ She thinks everything is the same”.

Why do we do this? Why the lovers we are not meant to be with, inspire in us such lust, such yearning that there is nothing left for the lovers truly deserving our attention? Are we really just suckers for pain? Why is that? Temptation of the forbidden fruit? We all love a challenge so much? Or is it easier to cry for somebody not meant for us, than trying something with somebody that could actually stay? Are we all cowards?

Dec 11 2016

În convalescență

Category: English posts,Romanian postsIuliana @ 15:45

Dacă mă citiți des ați observat că de câteva zile acest blog a fost cam … inaccesibil. Dacă interacționați des cu mine ați observat probabil că am fost cu curul în sus din cauza asta. Motivul este că instanța Amazon pe care este hostat a luat-o razna așa că am fost nevoită s-o rad și să creez alta. Desigur asta după investigații nenumărate și ceva schimburi de opinii pe forumul celor de la Amazon, unde mi se spunea că de vină este serverul Apache care nu răspunde, când de fapt și conectarea prin ssh la ea dura 1 minut. Era ca și cum instanța ar fi fost la dracu în praznic sau ca și cum aș fi avut internet prin modem.

Acum treaba e oarecum rezolvată. Pentru moment, deci blogul poate fi considerat în convalescență. Trebuie să mai adaug setările prin care wordpressul devine nehackuibil  prin metodele clasice și gata. Oricum, wordpressul mă scoate de ceva vreme din minți așa că îmi voi face cadou de Crăciun o platformă de blogging scrisă exclusiv în JavaScript. Și dacă voi fi mulțumită de ea, poate o voi da și altora. :)

Și cum se poate observa am reînceput să scriu în română. Motivul este desigur faptul că dacă tot critic atât de mulți oameni pentru gramatica lor de baltă, măcar să le arăt și cum se scrie corect românește, nu de alta dar trebuie să învețe și ei de undeva. :P

Acestea fiind zise, arunc ultimele lucruri în bagaj și o tai spre Frankfurt pentru un brainstorm pe teme de optimizare a consumului de memorie și a doua petrecere de Crăciun.

Și un concert Zaz. Life is good.

[English version]: Convalescence

If you read me often you might have noticed that my blog has been down for a few days. If you interact with me often you probably noticed I was pissed off because of this. The reason behind the blog being down is that the Amazon instance decided to go crazy on me so I had to terminate it and build a new one. This of course after countless investigations and some technical exchanges on the Amazon forum, where people kept saying the Apache server is to blame, when even connecting through ssh took more than one minute. It was as if the instance was hosted on a server on the moon maybe or if I had old-style modem internet.

As you can notice I also started writing in Romanian again. The reason for this is, if I keep criticizing the grammar of the people I interact with, I might also give them a source of proper Romanian grammar so they can improve theirs.

Now the deed is done, the new instance is up and running. For the moment, the blog can be considered convalescent. I have to add the settings to prevent common wordpress hacks and then all will be ok. Anyway, wordpress is getting on my nerves so for Christmas I’ll give myself as a present a blogging platform fully written in JavaScript(yes, server-side too). And if I’m satisfied with it I’ll even share it with the world. :)

This being said, I’ll throw the last things needed in my luggage and off to Frankfurt I go, for a brainstorm with my colleagues on memory consumption optimization topics and the second Christmas party. :D

And a Zaz concert. Life is good.

Stay safe, stay happy!


Nov 23 2016

2016 did not suck for me

Category: English posts,PersonalIuliana @ 11:45

In the last episode of John Oliver’s “Last Week tonight”, a lot of people were asked to say why 2016 was a bad year. And a lot of them mentioned Brexit and Trump becoming president.

Up until last night I had the same impression, that 2016 was a sucky year for me. After all, I crashed my car and fell in love with somebody that did not reciprocate. But last night looking at this beautiful woman on stage and listening to her words about love and power and everything that’s good an pure in this world, I managed to change my mind. 2016 was a great year. Sure I had about four unhappy events and one of them affected my finances seriously. But other than that, I am healthy, I am strong and I have great friends. What more could I want from life? Love? I already have it, if I add up all the love my friends feel for me and all I the love I feel for them it amounts to the exact quantity of love I need to be happy.

And obviously now, here’s the reasons 2016 was a great year. (and the fun part is that it hasn’t ended yet)

  • Although my schedule was so full because of the book, I got to see my friends form The Netherlands this year too.
  • I went to the first open source conference: Fosdem.
  • I was promoted to Software Architect, two years later than I estimated after finishing the faculty, but still good nonetheless. :D
  • I started doing karate.
  • I moved my blog to, there is no way around it now, my online persona ad the real one are truly connected now.
  • I made a great friend in the weirdest place, in the past of my ex-boyfriend. :D
  • I finally found the perfect amplifier for me:Marshall  Acton
  • I met my favorite actor and now author and singer, David Duchovny.
  • I went bungee jumping.
  • I fell in love and had some beautiful moments with my love interest. Why is this so awesome? Because I thought this would never happen to me again. I mean, I considered myself to old for romance and flirting. I never though I’ll get to feel platonic love again.
  • I managed to revisit Dublin and had the honor of visiting Scotland(that I fell in love with) with two people I can now call friends.
  • I got my third tattoo. You’ll get to see a pic.. someday.
  • I got to listen to Akua Naru sing live. It was dreamy, mesmerizing, hypnotizing, magical. She truly is a black magic woman. Also my brains had its occasion to show off its farts again. When I meet someone I admire, my brains defaults to stupid mode. Last night I met a complex artist, a poet a singer and an activist for women’s and for black people rights: Akua Naru. I met her after her concert and she was so nice and she knows a few Romanian words. All I could say to her was that she was amazing. Why say to her that I love her powerful and smart lyrics that perfectly combine with the soul healing music she’s making? Why tell her all that, when you can just say “you’re amazing” like you are a stuck vinyl on pickup machine? Sometime I think my brains is sabotaging my social skills just for fun of it. As for the concert… I cannot describe that to you. The concert hall was designed to make Jazz sound great. I loved every minute of it.
  • I’m getting a new wonderful car, that I chose and configured.
  • I also spent one week in Vienna.(actually I am still here now)
  • My second book is getting published.

Probably I’ll have to go over this again and add some more, because there are still a few days in this year and who knows what wonderful things can happen?

As for the bad things? Some teeth problems, my heart almost got broken (the key word here is “almost”) and I had a freak accident that left me without a car. But, all is well that ends well.

Why this post now, when the year is not over yet? Because I have a good day and because I feel blessed and thankful. Moving to Sibiu was the best decision I made so far. I made some great friends. I did things that I wanted to do for a lot of time and things that I had no idea I wanted to do. My memory board is getting filled with anchors for those memories. This blog is getting populated again and I might say popular. Life is good. All is well with the world.

Stay safe, stay happy!