The Great Disconnect

One of the modern life paradoxes is that although we are all more connected than ever via our smart devices and the internet, however at the same time we are disconnected than ever. Having a connection to other people in our pockets gives us an illusion of closeness, gives us the illusion that they are reachable at any time and with that in mind…we never actually physically get close to them.

However, if you are willing to try to be a good person, you can use the power of the internet to reach out and help people at a continent distance from you.  Call me crazy, call me too entitled, maybe I am giving myself too much credit, but I think I’ve helped.

We all feel alone sometimes, hell … actually all of us are alone locked in our heads and nobody will ever see us as we want to be seen or truly understood. Although most of us are reluctant to admit it, most families are toxic. The reason why I think this is because parenting is not a topic we have in school. The only way we learn how to make and maintain a family is from our parents and good families that manage to make children and raise them up to be decent adults that will become decent parents themselves are as rare as albino squirrels are. The only way to break the bad-parenting loop is to detach ourselves from the toxic families. Paradoxically this makes us feel lonely and disconnected, we miss what we did not have and sometimes we try to find it in other people. If we are lucky enough, we find it, but if we are not, and most of us aren’t we end up alone and feeling lonely like the person that posted that message. Nobody prepares us for this possibility either. This is why I am very gentle and supportive with people in the same situation I used to be for a long time. I guess I just want them to realize, being alone and feeling disconnected is a normal situation too, just as normal as having a big family and a lot of friends. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these and the biggest difference is which of those you choose to focus on.

As for me, most of my life I’ve hated holidays, Christmas and New Year’s in particular. The main reason was my very deffective family. I have no happy memories involving Christmas and New Year’s from my childhood.  I am trying to squeeze my brains and dig one up, but it is so hard to find something. I vaguely remember a Saint Nicholas’ day when I found some oranges and chocolates in my shoes.  But I also remember the fights, I remember my father throwing the Christmas three from our 5th story flat because me and my sister ate all the chocolates from it. He swore to never again make us a Christmas tree again and he was serious about it. I remember New Years’ when he wanted me and my sister to dress up nice and serve the male carolers from the village we moved to with wine, in the hope some of them would be interested in us and marry us. Me and my sister, we both hated this, being exposed like pieces of meat fot the taking.

So, I left my parents’ house hating the holidays and the first time I’ve made myself a Christmas tree was more than ten years later. There was a period of my life where I hated this holiday and refused to celebrate them like normal people. You can imagine this was not making me a good and normal girlfriend. Some boyfriends accepted it and they were just happy they did not have to get me presents.

But after the boyfriends were gone, and some friends stayed and became closer over the years, I just realized that I was missing something really nice. So one year I decided I would treat myself and celebrate as if I had a nice family and close friends. I bought a 15 inch tree, I decorated it and put my own presents nicely wrapped next to it. I went and had a nice dinner by myself. I baked cinnamon and ginger cookies. I played those happy Jazzy carols non-stop on my computer. And exactly as I told that redditor, it was great. The athomosphere in the house changed and it was all so calm, so peaceful and at the same time … festive. You know how people say “be the change you want to see in the world”? That year I was the change in my little world. I was the family and the friends I always wish I had. It all started with me. Since that year, I’ve allways celebrated Christmas, sometimes alone, sometimes at friends houses. But I always had a tree and presents.

So, this year, I got another miniature pine tree and decorated it. Durinng the day I listen to jazzy carols.  I love hearing the voice of Nat King and Frank Sinatra while I have my coffee. I already baked some apple and cinnamon muffins. This year I think I will skip the steak and have some salmon. Not sure what presents I will buy for myself this year, but I am going to Paris before Christmas  and I intend to treat myself as I deserve.

Holidays are coming and I will celebrate them accordingly.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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About giving away too much

Parasocial interaction (PSI) refers to a kind of psychological relationship experienced by an audience in their mediated encounters with performers in the mass media, particularly on television and on online platforms. A parasocial interaction, an exposure that garners interest in a persona, becomes a parasocial relationship after repeated exposure to the media persona causes the media user to develop illusions of intimacy, friendship, and identification.

I’ve learned of this term after a friend asked me if I am not worried that me having a blog where I post a lot of my own personal experiences and somewhat intimate details might affect how the people reading my books might perceive me.

Here’s the thing, I’m multi-dimensional individual. I have thoughts and experiences that are unrelated to my job and my technical knowledge. I think I can inspire people though this blog more than I can through my technical books. I think this blog makes me relatable to people that are not interested in learning Java, nor Spring.

Sometimes I worry that because I seem to be giving away too much, there will be no mystery about me as an author. But then again… I am a technical author. There shouldn’t be that much mystery about me. People should be able to verify that I exist, that I like Java and Spring and Engineering and that I do my best to produce quality books.

People should know that I am reliable, and they can count on me to review text and code in my books and provide additional information in case of need and improve my books from revision to revision.

As for the PSI thing, sure, some of them will imagine me as a friend in their minds and I have no doubts that version of me will either eventually disappoint them, either slowly fade away, but such is life. I do worry that because of what is written on this blog, some might decide not to buy my books. But then again, if somebody doesn’t want to buy my books, there will be a lot more reasons than this blog.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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But what about the weather?

I think I’ve mentioned around here that when I told my friends and family in Romania that I want to move to Scotland, the first reaction was a nose crinkle and a question “But what about the weather?” or “How will you deal with the wet and cold weather?”

Soon there will be three years since I live in Scotland, and now I can answer both of those questions with the image below.

Weather is not under my control, to get upset about it is illogical. Weather just is, like the starts and the moon and the mountains. Being upset about it does not change things for me in any way. Also, if I were to be bothered about that weather, that would mean my life would be pretty sad already.

So, this is all I can say about the weather.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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This is what determination looks like

The last time you’ve seen the dress in the picture in this entry, it was on a hanger, because it did not fit me. I tried to find the blog entry where I publicly announced my intent to fit it, but wordpress search is … well, it is not. It’s just not there, the chances of it returning something useful for a search are smaller than me getting laid tonight. Trust me when I say this… there is 0.000000…1% chance I’m getting laid tonight.

Anyway, since August I’ve embarked on a getting fit journey. I am in the privileged position of having 24/7 access to a gym, pool and sauna. I’ve put myself in this position by buying a flat in a building with such amenities. I’ve assumed at the time if they are there, I will be using them at some point. When I got my fat scare in August, that is when I started properly making use of the gym. Since then, I’ve worked out almost every day for the last three months and a half.

One of my goals for the last ten years was to drop about 10 kg of my body weight. Well, that goal might not be possible, because in 10 years my body has changed quite a lot. I think my hips and shoulders are wider and the muscles and fat are distributed differently. I’ve dropped 7 kg. I was 66 kg in weight when I started working out and I am now 59 kg in the picture below. I looked at myself in the mirror and I have no idea where those 3 kilograms would have to come from, there is barely any fat left. Most of my clothes are now loose on me which feels great. It’s so nice not to have to avoid some of them because of how I felt or looked in them. Anything I put on me now, just slides easily and it feels amazing.

I did not adopt any restrictive diet. I did a few 48 to 96 fasts and tried to stay away from processed sugar. I ate less carbs and stopped drinking alcohol. The weirdest thing is that I can eat sugary things, but alcohol is the one that messes up my progress the worst.

I currently eat one meal a day, a complete one with a desert that I cook myself. I am still exercising almost daily just to maintain the body I have now, but it is not that hard anymore. Now that there is less fat on me, I can run faster, so 5 miles a day takes me about 50 minutes. Sometimes I add some weight training exercises to build muscle, so the skin has a pretty support. ;)

What else can I say? I am healthy and happy, since it is the first time in more than ten years when I look at myself on the mirror and I do not see myself fat anymore. Enjoying the comfort in my clothes is not the only advantage, mentally I feel better, because I trust myself more now. Also I enjoy the food more, because I do not feel guilty when eating anymore, after all I know how to burn it now.

Stay safe, stay happy!


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Friends and readers, I need your help with Amazon (again)

Guys I need your help. If you know me enough by now, you know I hate doing this, but I must do it.

Not sure what is going on, but my previous book, Pro Spring MVC with WebFlux, has a few 1 star rating on Amazon, on sites in multiple countries without any additional text. This is obviously hurting sales. My project manager at Apress asked me to ask some friends and colleagues to add some better ratings/reviews.

Requests to Amazon to delete those ratings because they have no comment, nor an explanation – so they are either bogus or unfair (or their algorithm requires a default rating to function properly, and this is it) – have been ignored. If they are valid, I don’t even know what their problem with the book is, since they posted no comment; so, I don’t know what to work on to make the next revision better.

I’ve worked with German people, and in my mind, if there are no complains, the book was acceptable, but that is not the case for Amazon. Amazon functions more like a social platform (which I am not fond of) where no ratings is equivalent to bad ratings. (Why couldn’t their default rating be of 5, ffs?)

So, if you’ve bought the book and have an opinion on it, please leave a review with it, even if it is not a 5. I’d be just as thankful for lower valid reviews, that will point the problems in the book that I can tackle in the next revision, than higher ones that are there just because you appreciate me as a person. After all, I want this book to be useful to developers, that is the end game, not the sales. Honestly, I will never be able to live of writing anyway.

I know it is not fair to ask you this, especially since some of you do not use Spring daily, but if you have an Amazon account – with enough spending on it, otherwise you are not allowed to rate and review products – can you help me with a high rating? Preferably a 5, to make for a decent average.

Here are the Amazon pages where my book has a single 1-star review. There might be for other countries, but I am just reluctant to look.

Also, proof that the book is not that bad, in Germany it has a few actual ratings with comments and the bad reviews are related more to the book formatting,  than the contents. The formatting is not (all) my fault, but I will make sure in the next revision this will be handled properly.

Later edit: I am an idiot and I was reading reviews for the previous edition of the book. One reader mentioned it to me and I’ve removed the previous paragraph. However, I do have the book at home, and that formatting is pretty bad. That still stands. :) So, how about some help with those Amazon ratings?

I will tackle the technical complains, you can be sure of that.

Another complain I’ve seen in the reviews is that it is not a beginner’s book. Well, yes, it is not, it says so in the book name(unless PRO does not mean what me and Apress think it means) and in the first chapter, in the text, that thing a book is full of and the one you are supposed to read. 🤦

Thank you in advance for your help. Apress offers the ebook in exchange for your help. If you live in the UK, I can offer an actual book with a dedication; I will send it you and cover the delivery charges. (I am sorry I am limiting this to the UK, but Brexit might have raised delivery charges for the EU; I want that review, but I would prefer not to go bankrupt over it.)

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Last Christmas …

… I received three books as a gift from my best friends. I love reading anything really and I have trouble choosing the books to read sometimes. So, my friends decided to give me a hand.


If you read this blog often enough, you know by now that I struggle to shut my brains off and go to sleep, I am plagued by insomnia and I alternate methods of getting myself tired enough to give no other choice to my brains except sleep. Reading to fall asleep works most times. When I am writing books, that does not leave much time for reading, but nonetheless I try and read a few pages every night. In May I started one of the books sent by my friends; it is called A Little Life and is written by Hanya Yanagihara.

The book started so slow, that by June I barely got through 150 pages. These 150 pages were the introduction to its main characters, and after those pages, the book became addictive, but heavy to read as well. It is one of the most difficult books I’ve ever read, but I think it is one of the books that affected me as well. The book is written in such a continuous way, that if I did not have to sleep or eat, or work, once I got into it, I wouldn’t have put it down. Also, sometimes the events in the characters’ lives were so grim, that I felt the need to take a break from it. There are four or five characters in the book that get a lot of the attention. The perspective changes sometimes, and some events are shown to us through their eyes. The main character is the one I have identified with the most, maybe because of the abuse he suffered as a child, maybe because of how he chose to deal with it, maybe because of his doubts about how other people see him… those are things I can empathize with, because they felt so familiar to me. Reading about 53 years of this person’s life can break a person, because when he is in pain, you are reading and hoping it will stop, that a solution will be found, and then when he is happy, you have this impending feeling of doom, you want it to last, but you have this feeling that it won’t last and that something traumatic is right around the corner.

There was this night when I woke up at 2am, maybe because of the cats, maybe because a moon ray entered my bedroom, it doesn’t really matter now, and I decided to read a little to put myself back to sleep. And there it was, the event that broke his heart and broke mine too and I felt like throwing the bloody out the window. This guy… he couldn’t catch a break. Life hit and hit and hit him and he took every blow hoping it would kill him, but he was still alive and thriving against his desire to do so. That feeling of hoping your life would end, sooner after the person you loved the most died, asking yourself “What is the point of me?”, “Why him and not me?”, “He was the good one, the one with the most potential to live a long, fulfilled, happy life. How come he is no more, and I am here without him?” … I know that feeling so well. I wish I didn’t… but I do. I never went back to sleep that night.

I took another break from the book. There were not many pages left, but it was so hard to read them. Today I’ve finished it… and I cried for half an hour, because the main character finally died, as he wanted to for so long, but he died alone, thinking he disappointed all the persons that loved him, and it just felt unfair. I wanted a different ending for him, I hoped he would heal, and he would have a few good years and then die from natural causes, but no, he was unable to heal, to move on and he killed himself.

This book has given me a new way of looking at adults, I hope I will be able to be way more indulgent with their faults, because they might be caused by unresolved traumas that I don’t know the half of it.

I don’t know what else to say, there are a lot of young people not reading books these days, maybe because of stupid teachers forcing them to read according to a stupid curriculum, maybe because nobody ever bothered to ensure they would love reading, maybe because they find it a time-wasting activity compared to watching a movie. I don’t know the reasons, but there are many books I can say changed me as a person, for the better, but not many movies. Books are a way to view life and the world through other persons’ eyes, or more than one person, depending on how many well written characters it has. Books are a way to witness and learn from other’s people mistakes instead of making your own. Books are the doors the multiverse. Why… why in the world would somebody not love to read?

There are many quotes in this book I could sample here to try to make you understand how totally heartbreaking this book is, but I will put here only one I found at the end:

“Do you think he was happy with me? Because he deserved happiness. We aren’t guaranteed it, none of us are, but he deserved it.”

We all deserve happiness, but life does not care what we deserve. So, grab wherever you find it because life is short and unpredictable. Ask any old person  and they will say that it is better to regret the things you did, than those you did not.

Anyway, this is all I have to say. For now, I will go and paint another wall in my bedroom, while trying to recover from this book.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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You might hate me but …

… I will write about an entry about sexual abuse and rape.

I found out a few weeks ago that a friend from childhood was raped since she was a child by her father, and the abuse continued until a little bit after getting married and he fathered her first child. That girl was my age, I remember her being a weird kid. I don’t remember her father, but I remember her being really weird. Looking back, I feel a cold shiver on my back, because there were so many girls my age in that block of flats. Small miracles were reserved for each of us, so that none of us got raped by him, but she did not have her miracle, living in the same house with him. Being trapped in the same house with him. When her mother found out, she divorced him. That was it. She did not kill him for messing up her child, she did not report him to the police. She did nothing, because “What would the world say?”. She swept it all under the rug, she put a band-aid on the hurt, under which the wound festers and it will destroy her.

This latest confession made me remember other things I’ve witnessed or have been confessed to me along the years.

There was my friend from church, that got raped by her boss from the non-profit organization she was volunteering for. She was 15. I remember her transforming from a happy girl intro a grim woman overnight. I remember her sitting numb, looking at a wall while listening to “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica. I know it is a great song, but after all these years I still can’t stand it, just because it reminds me what happened to her and how she was afraid to tell anybody because if her father found out he would kill her for being “dirty”.

There was that friend that got raped because a girl she considered a friend introduced her to her group of friends. And they were all nice and funny and sweet until they got her alone with them, at a party at somebody’s house.

There is that friend that lived with the trauma of being raped for 20 years, and she still thinks there is a reason why she deserved it. She is less than half the woman she could have been, she is broken and stuck and does not want to tell anybody what happened, because she does not want to “blow up the family”.

There are so many stories that I keep locked up in the darkest corners of my mind, I would probably need a lifetime to write them. I live in Romania, so none of those bastards were ever reported and punished for their acts.

After all these years of hearing stories, here is my conclusion. Not sure how it is in other countries, but in Romania if a girl escapes into adulthood without being raped she is very, very lucky. Some of them are raped by members of their family, some of them by their neighbours/teachers some of them by classmates, some of them might have been attacked when they were forced for some reason to go back home at night and did not have money for a taxi. Some of them are coerced into having sex by their boyfriends, under the romantic blackmail of leaving them. It’s not rape, sure, but it is not really totally consensual, is it? And all of them keep quiet, because Romania is a country of “She was asking for it!” “What was she doing alone with him?” “Why didn’t she fight him?” and “She deserved it, for being so stupid!”.

Because they keep quiet, people think is rare, that these are anomalies, “incidents”. We talk about these acts in whispers, we show ourselves horrified and then we pray it will never happen to somebody close to us. And thus, nothing changes. Laws don’t change, education doesn’t change. And girls in my country grow up to be broken women that sometimes propagate the violence, by not educating their boys and girls properly.

When we think about developing countries, we tend to think they are on their way to become civilized, but most times abuse is rampant and unreported and everything else is just … make believe.

Daniel Sloss had a show, about a friend of his, that was raped, and she did not report the bastard to the police, because she did not want to be viewed as a victim, because she considered herself a survivor of abuse. What she did instead, is to tell everybody, so the guy got shunned and rejected by the small community he lived in. I’m not saying it is enough, but it is a start.

You are probably wondering now if I am one of the girls in these stories, well my dears, that is only for me and my therapist to know.

If there is something to take from this entry, be careful with your children, be careful with the adults in their lives. Be very gentle with the women in your life and be protective of them, because there is a big chance they have been hurt already.

I remember in 2014, it was 10 pm and I’ve met a dear friend when leaving the mall in Iasi and he offered to walk me to my car that was parked at some distance from the mall, in a poorly lit area. I found it very charming, polite and it made my heart melt. I also found it a little weird, since it was the first time a man was doing that for me. I did not realize at the time, that his gesture was a normal one, something that every man that is aware how easily is for women to get hurt and how many men just wait for their chance to do it, should do naturally.

My wise uncle said many things that made me wiser too. Here’s another one: When there is no chance to be caught for doing a bad thing, even the most righteous of man is tempted to do the bad thing.

That is all, these were my thoughts for this evening.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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