Mar 05 2019

The case of online harassment and cyber-bullying

Category: English posts,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:08

When I was a kid/adolescent, from 6 to 14 years old  I was most of the time the quiet type. I don’t remember many details, or my filters might be distorted by now but I don’t remember bullying being so bad. There were the usual fucked up kids that would say nasty things to you, maybe shove you here and there, but nothing traumatic. At least I don’t view those experience as being traumatic through my now adult eyes. But I do remember crying and asking my mom “why they won’t just leave me alone?” and my mother brushing it off and just saying that I should ignore them. Seriously, I had some intervals in my childhood when all I wanted was to be invisible. Problem with real life bullies is that you cannot ignore them. Ignoring them, only makes them desire to be noticed and be in your way.  With real-life bullying the only two possible solutions are to involve serious adults that will use any tool necessary including therapy for the bully to fix the problems in his or her life that cause violent outbursts or … and you won’t like this probably, become the bully yourself.

But online harassment and cyber-bullying, have much easier solutions. Remove yourself from the medium where the bullying happens, or put your accounts private, or block or limit access to people even trying to be assholes. I know it seems difficult or even impossible, because social networks seem like the place to be for anybody these days, but believe me it is easier than you think. Be brave and detach yourself from anything that hurts you. If somebody would call you on the phone and insult you, you would end their call and block the number, right?  Believe me, you can do the same thing on the internet.

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Mar 05 2019

5 fundamental rules of a career

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:56

A while ago I was asked by Apress to write a blog entry for their blog. It took me a while to do it, because I was unsure of the topic. I also had a character limit, so it was a little tricky. Finally after about two months the blog entry was posted on their blog and it looks a little weird. I’ve written it in Google Docs and somehow I managed to screw up the text arrangement. So I decided to post the complete article here, with some additional links and corrections. Enjoy!

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Mar 04 2019

When real life copies art

Category: English posts,FunnyIuliana @ 1:27

I haven’t been sick too many times in my life, at least not many of the problems I’ve had required me going to the hospital. So I think I can be considered quite lucky. I was hospitalized as a child only once for the treatment of measles. And I remember having a lot of fun. I will never understand why my parents did not leave me in there with a lot of books to keep me occupied. And since I was in a room with four other kids, all with measles we found ways to keep ourselves busy. We had one cupboard with a broken door. I managed to get myself locked in it. I saved the syringes, filled them with water and attacked nurses and doctors from our window. Until we got caught and nurses would not leave the syringes in our garbage bin anymore. And many more. Although sick, I was bored out of my mind and very creative. But I digress.

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Mar 03 2019

The Case of Edinburgh

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:10

I’ve first visited Edinburgh in 2016. I don’t remember the address exactly, but it was somewhere around Holyrood and really close to Craigmiller’s castle. The apartment I rented with my friends for a week, was at the ground level, it was quite old but well maintained and across the street from the building there was a big green area, where kids would play football and adults would walk their dogs. It was really cozy and gave you the impression of an area where you would want to live when you retire. It was clean and green and about 30 minutes walking distance from the craziness of the city center. I loved that little neighborhood, I loved the Holyrood Park and I even loved the noisy city center. I loved Edinburgh just enough to conclude that I could live there. And three years later I made the move.

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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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Feb 17 2019

Brave New World

Category: English postsIuliana @ 1:41

No, this entry is not about the dystopian novel that we all know and love. This post is about how me, a person that has lived more than 30 years of life in eastern Europe just clashed with the reality of a more civilized country.

When I lived in Romania I never had to justify my income. I started writing books for Apress and I started receiving payments form US in my ING account and nobody from the bank called to ask me where is that money coming from and if it was taxed. The reason for that is that Eastern Europe is quite relaxed when it comes to a lot of rules, which gives people a sense of freedom, but people with bad intentions use this to their advantage, that is why there is so much corruption in the official institutions.

Well, here I am in the UK. And things have changed. As I’ve probably mentioned here, before I left Romania I installed Revolut, the wonder money-management application that helped me swim across the turbulent and diverse system that is the banking system. Until yesterday 4:00 am I was their biggest fan and preached to everyone who wanted to listen how advantageous using Revolut is. But, all good things come to an end. Go get yourself a big coffee, because this will be a loooong read.

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Feb 09 2019

Good soul, skeptical mind

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:51

The thing I love most about moving to another country is the fact that I get to fully immerse in its culture and get to know people with a different core of fundamental values. There are philosophers that say that people are born bad and society conditions their malevolent impulses and there are philosophers that say the exact opposite. I’m not a philosopher, I’m an engineer and I believe people are born as pure as a blank canvas and their environment shapes who they are. Their environment  and their experiences sculpts their characters and determines their thoughts and their actions. So somebody raised up and educated in a country where survival of the fittest and competition are core values is fundamentally different than somebody raised up and educated in a country that has survival of the pack and cooperation as core values. Sure, the work on your character never ends and changing your environment might cause little or big changes here and there, depending on how open minded you are, but some building block of your character such as you instinct fro survival, are hard to re-program.
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