Self-analysis snippet

I’ve already mentioned that reading Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life changed me, made me better at interacting with other adults, however, I have to admit it also broke me in some ways. For example, it made me realize that I am probably quite a broken adult with unresolved issues as well. It also made me realize that I am envious of people that had a better childhood than mine. Relax, this is not yet another entry about my bad childhood. Keep or reading, or don’t, I don’t really care.

If you watch Simpsons, the episode where Homer is explaining to Lisa the difference between envy and jealousy is probably stuck in your mind.

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My Most Recent Achievement: Java 17 for Absolute Beginners, second edition

I already mentioned its release in my first entry for the year, but I think this book is worth a longer entry.

The book is named Java 17 for Absolute Beginners, second edition which might lead people to believe there is a Java 17 for Absolute Beginners, first edition which is ridiculously funny and stupid at the same time, since JDK 17 was released just a few months prior. If you ask me, this book should have been named Java for Absolute Beginners, second edition. Just that, nothing else.  Eventually, there should have been a subtitle mentioning that it covers details on all Java versions including 17.  This should have made it pretty clear what the book is about. On the internet, however, a book name is decided by the search algorithms of the various search engines. And since a lot of people are interested in the most recent version of Java, to make the book easy to find on the internet, Java 17 had to be part of the book title.

This book assumes you are an absolute beginner to Java and probably programming and is written in such a way to introduce you gradually in … my world, because I’ve been writing Java code since 2002 and I’ve had a lot of resources, but let me tell you… I did not have a book like this to guide me through the process. The book covers Java fundamental concepts, but also a few simple algorithms and design patterns. I always thought that you cannot learn a language quickly unless you have a wider context, a purpose for which it can be used. The book is perfect for an absolute beginner in that way, because it doesn’t just tell you Hey, this is how you write Java code! , but also This is what you can use it for, This is why you should consider doing it this way and Here is how you make sure it works.

When writing my books I try to do the following:
– start with a basic example and build upon it by adding layer on top of another layer of complexity. The idea is to provide a gradual path of learning.
– use analogies to real life objects and events, programming is just another way of modelling the real life. Also, if people can associate what they learn with what they already know, they have better understanding and the knowledge sticks.
– provide wider context. People tend to be more enthusiastic about learning something if they understand the problems that the thing they are learning can solve.

I don’t know if these three principles of mine apply to every student, but I know this works for me. For example, I’ve struggled to learn advanced math because my teachers did not explain what real life problems advanced math solved. A single teacher mentioned at some point that some formula he was presenting us was used to compress data in PNG images, and he had my attention more than the others. I know, I am a very stubborn learner myself and have trouble learning if I don’t have a lot of contexts for how the information can be used, what kind of problems it can solve, or if I cannot link it to knowledge I already have. It might sound selfish, but I wrote this book for younger me, that was just learning Java and struggling with it.

Not sure what else to say about this book, except when I received my copies, I opened one and checked the formatting, read a little bit and felt so proud of my work and the entire team of graphicians and technical and text reviewers from Apress.

That’s about it, if you are just starting to learn Java, give it a shot, and feel free to send me an email to thank me if you found it useful or swear at me if not, but after that tell me exactly why, so I can make the next edition better.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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The Expat Experience

I left Romania almost four years ago. I know, how time flies, right? I have no plan to return to Romania to live there when I am old and grey. There are many reasons why I left and if you’ve read this blog for a while, you already know them; no need to list them again.

However, I am surrounded by quite a few expats and most of them are sometimes mentioning they miss living in their countries, they actively search for the company of their own nationality, and they live a life that emulates as much as possible the life that they had in their original countries, but with a little more money, I guess. They read books in their own language, they watch the news from their countries, and some of them even use their own language subtitles on Netflix. They also mention how everything is cheaper in their country and their masterplan is to use the money they save here to build/buy houses over there and when they retire, to reap the benefits of an UK pension into a country where everything is cheaper. And you know what comes next… I don’t get it.
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2022, here we go!

I’ve been thinking about writing something about the year that is now gone. I usually list all my achievements and all the nice things that happened and try to make a list of things I want for the year to come. However, this year I was just not in the mood for it. I had a long vacation that ends in about two days, and I am quite looking forward to it. Having a lot of free time is not good for me. I need a purpose; I need something to do. I need to feel useful; I need a challenge; I need an obstacle to overcome. Or maybe not… I really don’t know, and I think this is what pisses me off.

Here’s the thing… I never thought I would make it this far. All my achievable dreams from when I was young were to get married to a decent enough guy and have some kids to take care of that if I’m lucky will keep my mind busy enough that I won’t get too philosophical. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have no idea of knowing which, that did not happen. What happened is that the unachievable dreams became a reality. You know how some kids dreams to be astronauts and go to Mars? Well, there is a possibility for a very small group for that to happen nowadays, but when I was a kid, having dreams like that was just… making conversation. We all knew no matter what you do, that shit ain’t gonna happen. Living in almost rural Romania, means that dreams that sound achievable to some, were mostly unachievable for most of us. For me as a girl, being financially independent, owning my own house and my own car and writing books – these were my unachievable dreams. Talking about this kind of dreams, was like playing Dungens and Dragons, I could imagine scenarios and even throw a dice that will get the quest done, but that just meant the game was over.

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Being born guilty

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I was raised by an overly catholic mother. The consequence of this was low self-esteem, guilt, and lack of sexual education. The consequences of those were many and … not sure what negative attribute to describe them fits here. Neither of these is the topic of this entry, however. The topic of this entry is the guilt.

I was educated to feel guilty. All religious women, share and carry the guilt of being the cause why humanity is not living in the garden of Eden. So, my mother passed that guilt onto me. This means that when something bad happened to me, my automated response was not to question it or fight against it, but to accept it for being punishment for Eve’s original sin. You can imagine this type of attitude lead me to be meek, soft, helpless and honestly quite a bore.

When I got my first period, my mother and all religious women around me were quick to remind me that the period was a reminder from god of the part women played in the original sin, you know the one that everybody is supposedly washed of via baptism. And the pain of pregnancy is a punishment for the original sin as well. The same sin people are washed of through baptism!!! Religion, please make up your mind already, does the baptism wash the original sin of women or not?  If pregnancy pains are a reminder of the original sin for women, what is that reminder for men? Passing a kidney stone through your urethra, which is in the center of the penis and meant to only be passing liquid stuff? Because science said men are mostly predisposed to having kidney stones.  I will never experience it myself, but I heard the pain makes you think about killing yourself.

However, my survival instinct was always and still is quite strong. So, although at home I was told I am guilty for the whole humanity not living in paradise, at school through religious education (ironically orthodox, because this is the dominant religion in Romania) repeated that, and at my afterschool activities which involved the church that was enforced again, my survival instinct combined with my obsession for reading every book that fell into my hands started to plant the seeds of rebellion. And so, I ended up asking one of the priests in my church if Adam was a total idiot to go against his belief in god and enjoy the damn apple, just because Eve recommended it. The priest said that Eve was a temptress, that she temped Adam, and he was weak and was tempted. He changed the subject quickly because I had so many questions. What is a temptress? Why would god make weak humans? Why was the serpent allowed to be in the garden in the first place? Also, why apples?

Now that I am older and an Atheist, I no longer have those questions, I have others.

Here’s the thing, when a woman is raped, most people still dissect every action she did before the rape to find a way to blame her. Did she lead him on? Did she not shout NO loud enough? Did she put herself in the position of being raped by letting him into her house, or returning late from work on a dark street? How could she be that stupid?
So, if women are condemned for their naivety/stupidity, why was Adam not blamed for his, in the apple situation? And how come the weak, easy to tempt member of the species became the powerful and the dominant member of the species and whole societies evolved around this concept? It’s unfair to men as well, to reduce them to weak minded, easily tempted brutes.

What if Adam was just an asshole? If you ask feminists, he probably wanted to try the damn apple himself, but he did not want to risk god’s wrath. What if the snake in the garden of Eden was Adam? What if he is the one that inspired Eve to taste the apple, then joined in, once she did it first and could blamed for it? This narrative fits best with the behaviour of men always blaming women every time something goes wrong.

Anyway, religion is the refuge of weak mind. Feel free to believe in something greater than yourself, but do not live your life following somebody else’s rules without questioning them. Live, learn, decide who you want to be and live by your own rules. Like is too short and too precious to do otherwise.

And never, ever let anyone make you feel guilty for something you did not do.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Clarification: this entry was written a while ago, just did not felt like posting it at the time.

Somebody asked me today if I feel lonely. I’ve answered this question so many times, in so many ways, but my heart still sinks a little when I have to answer it again. This question came in a conversation about holidays, when I was also asked if I am going home.

Home… such a confusing term for me. I don’t remember the last time a place felt like home. The flat I bought feels familiar, but it is too early to feel like home. Plus, the term home is linked less to a house and more to the people you care about. They feel like home.

The disadvantage of never staying in one place for enough time is that you are not anchored to any place. The advantage of never staying in one place for enough time is that you are not anchored to any place. It is paradoxical, but every time I hear people pissed because of their family, friends, and social obligations I envy them and pity them at the same time. For me it is easy, I choose the persons I spend time with… most times. Now with this pandemic, some of that choice was taken away, but I am not that upset about it.

It’s just … I guess I always expected to end up alone, detached from the world around me. I always expected people to not really see me, or understand me, or want to, really.  I don’t know why. Maybe because this is how my parents made me feel, when I was a child, like I have no importance, like I do not matter. Sometimes is hurts, sometimes it feels weird, I don’t know how to explain it really.

The last time somebody saw me, the last time I mattered to somebody, he broke my heart and then I did not matter anymore. Again. So, I guess, my conclusion was that if I manage to keep myself just dull enough, people won’t be interested and there is no risk of getting my heart broken again.

Of course, I feel lonely, of course sometimes I am cold in my bed, and I would love a warm body wrapped around me. I would love to be seen, understood and matter for somebody. But this is real life, and in real life, people say they like you, they say they really do. Then say they love you and that they want to be close to you. And when they get close to you, they change you, then they say they don’t understand you, they no longer know you and then they say they don’t love you anymore. That they don’t know how it happened, but it did. That is if you are lucky, because if you are not… they just leave.

Of course, I feel lonely, I still have a heart. Just because I don’t use it, it doesn’t mean it is not there. Sometimes I just wished my friends and loved ones would stop telling me I am this great and amazing person, because it feels like a lie. If I were that great and amazing, somebody would have taken advantage of this by now. I am not great, I am not amazing, I am just a functioning adult, with a lot of fears, a mild ADHD, some bouts of depression and anxiety, a lot of determination, some lack of control over my emotions and two cats. There are billions out there just like me. Nobody is special and all of us are lonely and bitter sometimes.

I don’t know if I have all these thoughts because I am on my way back to my flat in a train full of people, all of them going about their lives, all of them lost in their minds or on their phones, all of them busy, all of them great and amazing in the same way as me.

Or maybe I am thinking all this because there is some alcohol in my system and my thoughts are just flooding over my inhibitions gate. Maybe there is a lesson in this, maybe I should quit alcohol completely. Currently I am a little dizzy, my mouth is dry and there are still 30 minutes to my city, and I feel so damn sad. There is no reason to be sad, my job is nice, my cats are fed, my life is great… so fucking great.

I was talking to somebody a few days ago and this person said that was missing their family and friends and I realized I have no idea how it feels to miss somebody. I do love some people, but I don’t know how missing them feels. I would be happy to spend some time with them, and if they would magically appear in front of me, I would be so happy. But I do not yearn actively for their company or feel bad because they are not close. I have a good friend, we’ve known each other for 20 years and he tells me he misses me, because we haven’t seen each other for a lot of time. I reply with “I miss you too”, because I know he expects me to say it too, but I don’t, because I don’t know how it feels.

I don’t miss anyone in particular, but I do feel sad and lonely sometimes. Hey, at least I can console myself with the thought that I am not a psychopath.

Yeah, this is a long train ride, you will get a long entry. Some so called adult is playing a shooter game on his phone. Why would you not use headphones? Why is it important for all of us to hear your game? Do you feel lonely too? Is this cry for help? Are you so starved for human interaction that you would be ok at this point with somebody telling you to stick your phone where the sun doesn’t shine? Also, don’t misunderstand me, or think I’m being unnecessary obscene, the sun doesn’t shine in a coat pocket after all.

I’ve cut my hair the previous weekend, I just wanted it off my face. Now I have a pixie cut, I am not sure I like it. I might zap it completely again. Or I’ll just ignore it until it is in my face again.

Of course, I am feeling lonely from time to time, but because I am feeling lonely, I’d rather isolate myself from people until I don’t. Because of this lonely feeling I risk allowing the wrong people to come close, so I’ll be damn if I allow anybody to get close to me when I am so vulnerable and take advantage of my neediness for human interaction.

Of course, I am feeling lonely, I am human after all. Sometimes I wish I weren’t, but I am.

Stay safe, stay happy!


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Christmas Giveaway

It is again that time of the year, when I free up my house of the books that I get for free from my publisher.

Usually, I give them to friends and family, but the pandemic has put a dent in my plan. Also, even without the pandemic, at some point I will exhaust my friends and family that are interested in having my book in their bookcases.

So, I am giving away one two three fourPro Spring MVC with WebFlux” books with a dedication and my autograph as Christmas presents. Just tell me you want one by sending me an email and the first four of you that are interested get one.

Send your email to: Iuliana[dot]Cosmina[at]gmail[dot]com.

This giveaway is limited to the UK, especially now that Brexit might have modified the postal charges a little and I am paying for them to be delivered, they are presents after all.

So yeah, help me free my house of them and get a Christmas present at the same time. If you like the book, leave an Amazon review. If you don’t like it, write me an email and tell me how to make it better.

Iuliana Cosmina

[Later edit]: All done for the year!

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