Jan 16 2020

Time for atonement

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:45

Although I am proud of myself for finally being able to keep my assumptions to my self, this doesn’t apply to the internet. Or at least not to this blog. I still have to learn when to wait and digest things before posting a reply to a comment.

On this blog I am the author. I speak to my readers and I use the second tense. When I read my own posts my perspective is that of the author. And because I am the author and those are my opinions I don’t feel offended by them. How could I be, I am subjective right?

When reading the comments my perspective changes. I am the reader and my comments are directed to me.

Just look at this exchange:

This is a series of comments at my previous entry. It took me more than twenty four hours to realize that my reader Cip indeed did not meant what I thought he did. Because his perspective was that of an author too. My perspective was that of the reader of his comment and I felt like the target of that “you”.  And because of my own frustration of not having enough time to read as much as I wish, I felt attacked and reacted like that.

Please notice my reply full of malice. I am fully ashamed of that reply, but I will leave it there as a reminder to do better. So dear Cip, I am truly sorry for snapping at you.

I’ve always believed that we view the world the way we are, not the way it is. And on a smaller scale, most times, we treat people the way we are, not the way they are. And yesterday I’ve been an asshole. But there is something that is important in my comment.

You shouldn’t give a fuck about people assumptions. Thier assumptions are rooted into who they are, not into who you are. Assumptions are conclusions drawn with a lot of missing context. So do not let them affect you too much.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jan 14 2020

On being able to shut up

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:47

Depending on how we are raised, some of us are talkers, some of us are taciturn, some seem to ability to recognize perfectly the moment when they should talk, or they should shut up.

I’ve struggled all my life with my  inability to shut up. I’m not even sure how I became like this. Maybe I was thirsty for attention, maybe I just hated that people kept think and lied around me all the time when I was a kid during the communist time and my mother and father never bother to explain to me why. They just told me to shut up and threaten to bet the shit out of me if I didn’t. So I guess never keeping things to myself was an act of rebellion.

The most difficult part for me was when I started to be interested in people romantically. Because when it is not reciprocated, the normal outcome is to shut up and move on. That was not me, and being motivated by all romantic movies and books I read about love, it’s better to be sorry for what you said, than for you did not said, right?  WRONG.

A while ago I made an assumption about somebody. I was so convinced I was right and so enraged and almost blew up and trashed that person. But for some reasons I kept my mouth shut. And recently, through some turn of events, my assumption was proven wrong. I don’t think I’ve even been so relieved and happy about keeping my mouth shut and keeping my assumptions to myself.

There are moment when we must react, we must say something, spat out mean things trying to defend ourselves. But words hurt too, and they have long term consequences. You have no idea how happy I am for finally being slapped in the face for the shit my brains comes up with. And I am so happy that I was bitch-slapped and the fucked up assumption and the bitch-slap are only mine to know and to learn from.

So, welcome to 2020, the year when I’ve started being able to keep my mouth shut. You have no idea for how long I’ve tried to become this person, and how many times I’ve failed. This is good start of the year for me. I wish the same for you.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jan 10 2020

On being environmentally friendly

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:35

I mean, if you really want to be environmentally friendly this is the secret: limit your consumption. Because if you consume, somebody will see a way to make money out of it and they will produce. And to produce what you need, they will consume in turn from this environment, sometimes cutting corners, polluting and who knows what else.

For years in Romania I’ve listened about jokes about Scottish people being stingy, but after moving here I’ve realized that we were so wrong about this people. Scottish people are not stingy, they are efficient. If something can be repaired, they repair it. If something can be reused, they do so. They donate things when they no longer need them and most times are still in the best shape and you can buy them at reduced prices in second-hand shops that donate a high percent of their profits to charities. The Scottish people are very environmentally friendly. Well, most of them anyway.

I’m not bragging. I am not the best when it comes to being environmentally friendly. I eat meat usually once a month. I am doing intermittent fasting so I’m down to two meals per day. It would be nice to get to one meal per day, but … force of habit. I changed my car because I had to in the past, but the one that I have now, I will take care of it and I will give it up only if they outlaw this type of  car. I stopped buying clothes and shoes. I mean, it’s not like I need more clothes, or shoes. I am trying to keep my carbon footprint as small as possible by keeping my consumption as low as I can.

And another thing, you really want to save the planet? Stop multiplying. Seriously, one kid per family is enough. And some of us shouldn’t have kids anyway. Just ask your psychologists how many of us are actually able to take care and guide a small human to become a functional adult.  You would be surprised by the answer.  This planet is dying because we are eating it like termites. Just have one kid and raise him or her well. I admire the adults that have managed to afford to make more than one and if all of them get to be proper adults, kudos to them. But unless you know what you are doing and you have that village to help you raise them right, just settle to one if you want to save the planet.

But these are my not so humble opinions. And who knows what the future holds? I might come back and read this in two or three years while my beautiful twins sleep next to me and I might laugh of the silly human I was now. But following the rule of the universe, where nothing is lost because everything transforms. If you want to slow down the transformation, reduce your consumption and reduce the production of consumers. :P

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jan 08 2020

The disaster question

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:52

I’ve been bombarded  with news from the Australia fire  just like all of you. I had no intention to write about it because this is atragedy of a level that I cannot even begin to comprehend. Humans, being humans, they tried to place blame. Climate change is the main cause. Politicians that pretend it doesn’t exists and keep facilitating the burning of fossil fuels were blamed. Politicians that tried to prevent climate change and promotes laws that protected national parks from human intereference were blamed as well. But putting blame on somebody does not put out that fire.

What is happening now in Australia is terrifying also because we are helpless to stop it. Somebody working as a fireman can tell you how difficult is to put out small fires in the city, where water is accessible easily from hidrants around the neighbrohood. Imagine a fire in the wild, where there are no hidrants and no access routes. A lot of humans are suffering and will continue to suffer because of that fire, but the most unfortune victims of this fire are the animals. Poor things had no saying in the laws of humans that lead to this tragedy. They do not know why it is happening or the direction that is safe to run from it. Call me cold hearted, I think humans on some level did this to themselves, but those poor animals are collateral damage.

Since those fires were not started directly from a human hand, we can think of them as a natural disaster. And if you are wondering how prepared we are for a natural disaster… well, we aren’t. Because we got comfy, we got lazy. Most of us live comfortable lives and have no training for dealing with a natural disaster of any kind.

Let’s do a small imagination exercise: what would happen to your life if electricity would just stop in your city? You do not know for how long. It just stops and you have no way of finding out how long it will be gone for, because there is no way to read the news and there is nobody to produce the news.

Here’s my answer: It’s winter now in Scotland, so the first thing that would happen to me … my ass would freeze, because my house is only kept warm by an electric boiler. I’d lose my job, because without electricity there’s no computers. I would be unable to buy food, because cards cannot be read without electricity or internet. And I don’t usually keep much cash in the house or in my wallet. Because I imagine the Edinburgh airport needs electricity too(sic!), there would be no plane landing or departing from Edinburgh. So I’d be stuck here, away from friends and family without any hope of ever seeing or talking to them again. But also, knowing myself, if things don’t get sorted in a week, probably I’d get my most valuable things in a backpack, take my cat on my shoulder and walk all the way home.

What would you do?

Jan 04 2020

Theory Of A Deadman concert

Category: MusicIuliana @ 22:06

On the 20th of November 2019 I’ve participated to yet another rock concert. The band was called Theory Of A Deadman and apparently starting last year are trying to chnage thier name to Theory. This not a famous band, but was formed in 2001 and I started listening to them shortly after. This was just another band in my alternative bands collection, they had no faces, they just had an angry sound that felt just right for me. Over they years I’ve listened to them from time to time and when ticketmaster send me an email that they were performing in Glasgow I jumped at the opportunity to listen to them live.

To prepare for the concert, I copied the whole discography on my phone and I’ve listened to them for a while. Their music has changed a little through the years, but their latest album is  quite… different. It’s not really rock anymore, it’s a little pop towards hip-hop and the lyrics are quite meaningful and related to social problems that affect the US quite seriously in the current day and age. Medicate is about the opioid crisys and History of Violence is about the effects of domestic violence. I was reluctant about this new album, and how it would sound live, but damn I was in for a surprise.

The show was opened by a band named Dead Posey. I never heard of them until that moment and they did not really sound great live. Or maybe it’s just not my style. But then again, you don’t really want the opening band to be too good, right?:D

Theory Of A Deadman were amazing, they sang for two hours and the room was spacey enough that a lot of head banging was possible. There’s not much I can say about this concert. The crowd was just the right size and I had a lot of fun.

This band does not have the level of celebrity that Taylof Swift has(just a very random example), this means all their income comes from thier music and thier merch. Listening their music on Spotify doesn’t do much for them, since artists receive about 0.006$ per listen. Don’t even get me started on Apple or Google music, where you can buy one song with 0.9$. If you truly want to support artists that do not have multi-billion marketing business behind them, going to their concerts and maybe buying thier merch are the only two ways to do it. Plus, you will never forget the experience. Bands that are not absurdly famous can’t afford to rent huge and expensive venues for thier concerts, which allows you thier fans to be closer to them providing a more authentic experience and usually means the sound is very high quality too.

Even if you are not a fan, if you ever get the opportunity to go to a concert of a not-so-famous band, don’t miss it. You will probably have a lot of fun and it will mean a lot to the members.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jan 04 2020

Happy New Year!

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:55

I’ve been silent for a while. I keep promising myself that I won’t, but sometimes it is difficult to find the time to write a few lines. I’ve been pretty busy starting October, and I allowed myself to just be lazy for the last part of December and the first week of January. Aside doing a few tasks for work in the most friendly environment with my cat on my lap and taking two hour lunch breaks to go to the pool and swim, I did nothing more than take long walks and Netfix and chill with one of my oldest friends.

This friend of mine is very good at designing  things, so he created a little thing for me, that new button on the top-right. I’ll tell you more about it in a second, but first  prepare yourself for a history lesson.

I’ve had this blog since the summer of 2006. Until 2016, hosting it and maintaining it was painless and almost free. But things have changed in 2016. Since then, my blog is hosted on an Amazon virtual machine. It’s not the cheapest choice, but it’s what I chose at the time and I’m stuck with it.

For years I’ve had friends telling I  should charge for access to it or ask for donations and I considered it. I’ve even considered Patreon, but it’s not my style to block access. I’ve always kept eveything I wrote public, and I’m not going to stop now.

Using Amazon involves some costs. A reserved instance for three years, costs me about 145$. I acquired the last one in October 2019.  All other services: data transfer, computing power, routing and VAT, amounts to 25$ per month.  The domains cost me 24$ per year.

Sure, there are advantages. Having this blog makes me reachable to the people buying my books, gives them an insight into what my life is like as a Romanian woman software developer and technical writer, living in a foreign country and working in a domain that is still a little bit sexist. Just ask Claire Stapleton.

And that is why that button appeared on my site. I finally warmed up to the idea. So, if you bought my books, if you appreciate what you read on this blog, feel free to buy me a beer. If the Amazon costs per month are covered, what is left I intend to donate it to a good cause(my favorites are anything involving scientific research for curing cancer, alzheimer or dementia). If the best I get per month is one beer, I will post a picture with the said beer on this blog. Feel free to recommend non-profit organizations doing research on the above or beers to try. :)

Also, some people might say that I do not need the donations, and that would be true. I am lucky enough to have a steady full-time job and I sell books, right?  I do have a full time job, and from that salary I pay the Amazon costs.  As for the books, I don’t sell them, the publisher does and every four months I receive about 300$. And this is for five books,  in a world where there are quite a few torrent and pirating sites left.

That’s about it, if you think this blog deserves to exist and if you want to motivate me to write more and if you can do with one beer less per month, feel free to click that button and use PayPal to send me a beer. ;)

That’s it, this is the new thing I’m trying in this new year. I don’t really have new years resolutions, because I do not believe in setting goals at the beginning of the year. I just want to keep being a decent human being, a good friend and a dedicated developer.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Dec 31 2019

This is what happened

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 13:12

2019 has been a decent year. Although there were a few struggles, I am now in a good place mentally, professionally and personally.

Mentally, I am stronger and a little bit colder. I’ve realized my mind is my own and as such I can keep it under control. From the beginning of the year I have been through stages of fear, depression, frustration, anger and I ended up in a place of acceptance. Some things have happened in the previous year that made me doubt my sanity and the goodness of my soul. But thanks to friends found in unexpected places and my decision to spend my time with the people that can appreciate it for its true value, I’ve took yet another step forward towards the person I hope to be someday.

As an advice to my future self and whoever neeeds it: time is your most precious resource, spend it well.

Professionally, I now have a job that challenges me and keeps my brains occupied. I would lie if I would tell you everything is perfect. A job can be just as frustrating as anything else in our lives and requires at least fourty hours per week of your most precious resource. What you are getting back from a job is the abilitly to pay for a decent place to sleep in and pay for other commodities you might require to keep yourself healthy and happy.  So this combination of not expecting too much, and the surprises along the way, make this job a pleasant experience.

Personally, I filtered yet again the people in my life and decided who is worth my time and how much of it. I read this article  and had some epipfany moments. I am a pretty busy person. I have a full time job, I write technical books, I run, I cycle, I play piano, I read and I write on this blog from time to time. I am also keeping a house. How much time do you think it is left to form new relationships and  maintain the old ones? Not much. I’ve been through a mental hurricane this year. Moving to this new country I was torn by the longing for old friends and the frustration of not being able to make new ones. It is difficult to make friends when you are absurdly independent and in a new country. Cultural clash is also a factor. People might not understand me well. I might not understand them. Also I am Romanian, and because of some unfortunate history context, in the UK, Romanians are mostly seen as being closer to travellers/gypsies as a people, than as a civilized, educated and overall decent people. I really try not to think about it, and I accepted the fact that people will always have prejudices and preconceptions, that might have been there for so long I have no chance to change them, nor I am willing to invest the time to do so. All I can do is to be the best version of myself and be a decent human being. That will not be enough for some people and that is ok.  I’ve also learned that some people do not belong in my small universe and trying to go against my instincts to make them fit has disastruos results. So, I managed to find a balance. I made a list, checked it twice and I decided that persons that have been honest, decent and willing to invest in me the time I was willing to invest in them are the ones that are worth keeping close. I know it might sound weird to talk about friends like items you decide keep or throw away when doing house cleaning, but my mind is like a house and there’s just not enough space for eveyone.

Personally I am well, I am calm and I am content. And I can only hope this will last.

Stay safe, stay happy!