Oct 27 2019

Et tu, Brute?

Category: Funny,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:40

A few of my close friends and those that got to visit my home in Edinburgh got to meet Bob. Bob was my vacuum Robot. It was a Neato Botvac D7 and it helped me a lot by sparing me the effort of cleaning the house. Because it is shaped like a D, it got into the corners as well, so I managed to live for one year without owning a broom. It was quite efficient, silent and the cat liked him.

About eight months after moving into my house he started acting weird. He seemed to foget parts of the house and one time I received a notification that it was stuck and needed help. I found it under the bed, not being blocked by anything. I assumed the software must have bugs, because I did a few software updates, and no software is perfect. Being a software engineer, I know!!!

One year later I decided to buy it a new battery as the manual recommended. The new battery was identical to the old one. It charged normally and Bob did its job exactly once after that. Then it stopped charging the battery.

I did all I could from a software point of view, without affecting the warranty, to no avail. When I gave up I called Neato support. And I had to send Bob to an authorized centre for repair. They sent him back three days later. My Bob was now completely dead, the battery was discharged completely.

I called support again and they told me I should send it to some location and they would replace it. I send it on Monday. Seven days have passed. Almost two months have passed since the last time my house was cleaned. I do not want to imagine the quantity of dust and cat hair in my carpet right now.

I am waiting for them to send me the new robot. And while waiting I decided its name. Its name will be Brute, because if it gets fucked up too, I just want to look at it disappointed and ask “Et tu, Brute?”

But, regardless of the issue bob had, I really love this type of robot. I really hope the new one will be more resilient. But still, its name will be Brute. That is not going to change now.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Oct 27 2019

The one with the menopause

Category: Funny,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:39

After 5 published books and a few jobs where I had leadership positions people that know me tend to think that I am pretty smart. I don’t like to contradict anybody that has a good opinion of me, but if you think I have some natural talent, or that my work is exemplary and my mind is an epitome of organized information let me burst that bubble for you.

My mind is like a hurricane, powerful, quick but also highly disorganized. After all these years I barely know how to harness it. Sometimes I have the impression that I do not remember information and when needed, it just pops up seemingly out of nowhere. Or even more funny, it pops up when I no longer need it.

When I took the exam to finish the first school cycle in Romania, there was a math problem that was really simple, but I was unable to solve it during the exam. The solution come to me three days later, seemingly out of nowhere. It’s not like I was thinking about it after the exam really, I was just on the balcony, lounging in the sun and boom! there it was.

One of the weirdest things that happened to me recently is being in a bar with a friend and recognizing a song and the band and started singing it. And he swears that a few weeks ago I did not recognize that song when he asked me about it in a different bar.

Anyway, I decided to take a break from bragging about where I’ve travelled and what I did interesting and waste your time with some funny things happening in my life.

Continue reading “The one with the menopause”

Oct 16 2019

John Mayer – Carry me away tour

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:53

It was 18th August 2017, I remember it as it was yesterday. I got out of my hotel in Philadelphia, and slowly made my way to the ferry. My heart was beating in my chest with the speed of a hummingbird. I was going across the river, to Camden to a John Mayer concert. It was the first time I was to hear him live after dreaming about it for years. And it was my birthday and I just knew, no other birthday present would beat this.

It was 2010  when I heard his song Say, three years after it was released.

Before that time, I have never heard of him. I was in a relationship with a taciturn troubled young man and running out of ideas to make him open up and let me in. I sang that song in my head while navigating the stormy seas of that relationship hoping that we would make it. We didn’t.

I guess I met his music at an interesting time, when my feelings were in sync with what he was singing. Add in my fascination with guitar music, and there I was, a fan was born. John Mayer has been in a serious competition for the title of my favourite singer with Darren Hayes. In the end I settled it by naming Darren Hayes my favourite vocalist and John Mayer, my favourite guitarist.

I love his music, I love the sounds he can produce on a guitar and I also love the messages in his songs, be it political or personal, there is always a feeling in his songs that I empathize with. I love his music so much, but I must confess, sometimes the line between the love for the music and the love for the man has been blurred a little. I have never been a groupie, but I was jealous of Katy Perry. Just a little.

As I was preparing to take off for Dublin I felt a little off. I usually feel a little off when leaving home, mostly because of the cat. But this was something different. I was a little anxious, but it was that type of anxiety as I have forgotten something important. But everything was there: money – check, passport – check, ticket to the John Mayer concert – CHECK!.

I landed in Dublin and hopped on a bus to the city that dropped me on the side of the Liffey river. It was a beautiful sunny day and the 30 minutes walk to the hotel was an occasion to observe the changes that Dublin is going through. The river bank is being filled with glass building hosting million euro businesses, which I guess is good for somebody. Not for the Liffey river though, because its losing its Irish traditional charm.

I got to the hotel, took a quick shower and headed to 3Arena, where the concert was going to take place.

While drinking a Murphy’s in the 3Arena bar I realized what the off feeling was. I realized what I had forgotten. It was 16th of October, and it was John Mayer’s birthday. When I bought the ticket, in March this year, I just picked a date in Dublin, because I knew Dublin. And I liked Dublin. I did not realize it was his birthday, because I’m not a groupie. :)
So funny coincidence, the first time “we met” it was my birthday. The second time “we met” it was his birthday. I’m curious what will be the meaning of the third time.

Don’t expect quality photos, 12 MegaPixels can only do so much.

As for the concert… it was astounding. 3Arena is not that big and the sound was very good. I could hear his voice and all the instruments quite clearly. I tried to pay attention to every detail, to every chord, I tried to take it all in and imprint it on my brains. I did not want to miss a thing and I wanted to remember it all. The concert started at 8 pm and ended at 11 pm, with a 15 minutes break. While I was there it seemed like it would never end. I did not want it to end.

John Mayer is very talented, but his band does quite a lot of heavy lifting as well. I like going to see and hear him live, because he improvises a lot. When he sings live, he never sings a song the same way twice. And he is so damn talented and so damn humble. Not something you might find about him if you’d google him though. Why do I say he is humble? He said thank you to his public after every song, and he took the time to talk his public, to explain meanings of some songs, or talk about feelings he had when he wrote them. I don’t remember him doing that at the concert in Camden, two years ago. So, whatever he is going through, he is still growing as a person and it’s mesmerizing to see it happen.

Dear John Mayer, thank you for an unforgettable experience. Until next time, I wish you all the best this world has to offer.

Oct 15 2019

The expat syndrome

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 3:20

I’ve been going through a little bit of a phase lately and a colleague that likes to fix things thought that I might suffer from culture shock. As some of you know I’ve moved to Scotland on the 30th of May 2018. Until that time even if I’ve travelled the world because of work or on vacation, I have been a resident of Romania.

I was shy of 35 years old when I decided to move. Looking back, I try to identify the reasons why I did it, but I’ve noticed that every time somebody asks me why I left, I struggle to choose a single reason. While reading this article I tried to answer this question again. The article is named “The 4 stages of culture shock” and after reading that article I’ve realized that I haven’t gone through any of those phases. Does that make me weird?

I do not know why I left, honestly. A lot of my decisions are based on how I feel, and whatever I felt when I made the decision, or what I was going through when I actually put things in motion, I don’t really remember it now. I remember a moment when I was sitting at my desk in Sibiu and asked myself: “What are you still doing here? There’s nothing for you here, there never was. Do you really want to stay here? Because if you get to 40, you might never leave.” So I guess I did it because I was scared of missing the opportunity to do it.

Continue reading “The expat syndrome”

Oct 13 2019

Fresh start

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 21:57

The best part in having your own space where to post your thoughts is that you can just erase everything one day and start over.

Of course I did not erase everything, I just made most entries written until today private. Why? Because I needed a fresh start.

I have found myself with some free time and decided to change this blog. I’ve decided to put away the personal stuff for now. There is no reason for the whole internet to see the crazy ideas my brains comes up with. I am an adult, I have a job, and you never know what might be used against me.

Do not get me wrong, nothing happened at the job that caused this. Something personal happened that made me decide to have a little more control over the information I let out there. Because just because something is true and makes sense to you, it doesn’t mean people would perceive it as you want it to.

Also, I’ve met somebody who declared himself a master of control. He brags about having his mind and actions always under control. So I decided to give it a try. And since this blog was an actual proof of how out of control my mind actually is sometimes, I decided to start fresh.

Not sure what is going to happen. Maybe this blog will end up being a curated version of the previous 13 years, maybe I will fall back in my old ways. Or maybe I will give it up altogether. You’ll just have to wait and see. Some as me.

Welcome to my brave new blog!

Sep 22 2019

Waiting is wasting time

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:30

Most of my life I’ve been waiting.

Waiting for an answer to letters I’ve sent to my friend when my parents decided to move across the country.

Waiting to go to university to get out of my parents’ house.

Waiting for somebody to come and fix my broken heart.

Waiting for the perfect job.

Waiting for him to notice me.

Waiting for my boyfriend to agree to go with me to concerts or to visit countries I wanted to visit.

Waiting for somebody to appear that would be interested to do the same things at the same time I did.

Until one day, I said fuck this life is too short for waiting! I’ve always been de-synchronized with people. Always meeting them at the wrong moment. I’ve rarely had friends that have the same hobbies or passions or dreams. And in my idiocy, I kept waiting for somebody to do things with. Somebody to share my enthusiasm with. Because I believe sharing your enchantment with somebody duplicates it. And since most times I seem not to be in sync with anybody in my little universe, I’ve decided to do things alone.

Since 2014, most of my vacations have been spent alone. This blog contains quite a few entries about them. I’ve been to concerts in Europe and in the US, and I’ve been randomly choosing Scotland villages and islands to visit during weekends. Here and there I’ve been able to have some companions, but those instances are rare. Sure, travelling alone and being a woman, makes things quite expensive. But it is bloody worth it.

This entry is not about waiting, it’s obvious I’m long over doing that as well.  This entry is about another thing I’ve done alone today: I’ve hiked the Beinn a’ Ghlò. I have a mountaineer friend that goes to the mountains alone, she’s been doing that for years and she is still doing it after getting married, because her free time and her husband’s free time are not in sync either. I’ve always envied her, because while I was in Romania, I did not have the balls to do it alone. I mean The Carpathians are quite big and easy to get lost into with their multiple unmarked pathways and their dark forests. But Scotland is different, because Scotland mountains are bold. As in, they don’t have any trees, and because of that they are very easy to navigate. And the pathways are quite well maintained too.

Short story first: I kinda loathe the way Scotland has named its mountains. What is wrong with the terms mountains and peaks? Why it has to be beinn and munros? I try to have conversations with people and they try to recommend me where to go and I don’t understand a thing. It’s painful and it is frustrating. I understand they want to keep some remnants from the original Scottish language, but I’ve learned English in school, not Scottish unfortunately. Also, aside from those two Scottish terms they also have Scottish names, like the previously mentioned Beinn a’ Ghlò, which I still do not know how to pronounce by the way. To me, conversations about mountains in Scotland sound like gibberish and I really, really hope that will change some day.

The best site I’ve found for getting information about Scottish mountains is walkhighlands.co.uk and this is where I got my information about Beinn a’ Ghlò. I read about it two days before and decided that if on Saturday the weather looks nice, I will do it. Because you never waste a sunny day in the UK. Beinn a’ Ghlò has three Munro summits giving a strenuous day, which means there is a mountain with three peaks. And these are: Càrn Liath (Grey Cairn) at 976 metres, Bràigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain (“Brae/Brow of the Corrie of Round Blisters”, “blisters” referring to rock formations) at 1,070 metres and and Càrn nan Gabhar (“Hill/cairn of the Goats”) at 1,121.9 metres.

On walkhighlands.co.uk I’ve found quite a lot of entries from people doing this walk and they said it takes between 6 and 9 hours. I took me 6, and that is because I actually came back on a different road than the recommended one, actually there was no road, I just slid down the mountain in the direction I thought the parking lot was. And it was… after about 1 hour of sliding and 2 hours of walking. I’m saying sliding because after the lovely rocky formations ended, there were some gravel sections and some muddy sections. Yes, you read that right: muddy. My assumption: when snow melts and ends up creating streams down the mountains, if the mountains are rocky, they just dig their path through stone and they are pretty visible and contained. But because Beinn a’ Ghlò is full of vegetation, the water makes its way through it, splits in multiple little streams and carries all the dead vegetation with it. So you end up with a paradoxical mountain that is both rocky and muddy.

Anyway, it was a beautiful, exhausting day. I’ve been running up and down those peaks, jumping from stone to stone like a gazelle feeling at least ten years younger. Driving back I felt so tired, I just wanted to take a bath and go to sleep. But here I am bragging about it and giving you some eye candy. Meaning, pictures with Scottish mountains, of course.

My walk fits this pic quite well I think.

And the eye candy. Enjoy!

Stay safe, stay happy!

Sep 17 2019

1984 = 2019

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:14

I told you that I’ve read 1984 a while ago. I am still a little bit annoyed with the world that the book depicts. What I did not mention was that before that I went through Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 and  Animal Farm.

And I ended up to a conclusion: these books can be put in a sequence. Imagine this: a world like the one depicted in Animal Farm leads to a world like the one depicted in Fahrenheit 451, that in turn leads to a world like the one described in 1984 and then finally to a world like the one in Brave New World.

I had planned to write a longer article than this about these books and how they seem to connect to one another, but something happened tonight that pissed me off, because I think we are closer to the world in 1984 than we thought. My only consolation is that Brave New World is close and if I survive until then they will pomp me up with Soma big time to keep me docile. :D

Few of you know that this blog until about three years ago was hosted on http://rpx.kicks-ass.net. Even fewer than you know that I used to write also on http://seaqxx.kicks-ass.net. And that is because my then boyfriend owned the kicks-ass.net domain.

Tonight I was having a private conversation with a friend, and Facebook decided to stop me from sending a message with the URL of my old blog because …

So yeap. They are not even hiding the fact that they are reading your private messages anymore. But then again, as long as your messages are stored in their databases, they are not really private, are they?

Take it as you want it, but the next person that tells me that what politicians and corporations do doesn’t really affect me, gets a kick in the teeth.

Anyway, as you can imagine now, me and my friend are having a very dirty conversation to check how restrictive the bot is. Because… engineers.

Stay safe, stay happy and keep your stuff private. If you can.