Sep 18 2018

Stories must have an end

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 13:00

When I was little and just started reading, my favorites were fairy tales. Not because of all the imaginary characters with fantastic abilities and unreal adventures. But because they had a clear and concise end. I think the first tale I hated a little was One Thousand and One Nights because I was unable to find all the books at the local library. 

And now as an adult, I love some series but hate the studios that dropped them without a clear end. Firefly is the fist one that comes to mind. Lie to Me is the second and there are a few more, but I digress.

After Game of Thrones started airing, I had to buy the books, because I needed an end. To my disappointment George RR Martin, did not finish writing his book series, so after reading all the published books of the series I still feel… off. I don’t know how to describe this feeling. It’s like you’ve been dumped, but never given a reason. It’s like a bullet would that healed with the bullet being left in.

That’s why I hate Netflix, so many of their series are just … unfinished. And some of them are great, but just because people haven’t discovered them – and how could people discover them, there are only 24 hours in a day, and we work and sleep for about 16 of them – they will probably get cancelled.

That’s not the case of Altered Carbon though. I think they are going to continue this one. But I cannot wait for them to do it. So I bought the books and started reading them.

One of the most interesting things I do, when I read books after being introduced to a TV show is to take a note of the differences, and modify the scenery and the characters looks based on the descriptions in the book. And if you think Joel Kinnaman is hot, just imagine him with dark hair and more blueish eyes. It is interesting though how the story in the movie diverges from the one in the book. Maybe I’m not that far into the book, but things look a really different so far. For example, it puzzled me in the show that the main Meths in the Story, Laurens and Miriam Bancroft would choose 40-year old looking sleeves, when they had the option for younger, hotter ones. I think that this was a visual decision for the show, to make it clear that they are indeed really old. But in the book, Miriam wears a 20-year looking sleeve. And Ortega, is taller and slender, but in the movie they preferred to cast an actress that looks typically Latino – short-ish and curvy. I’m not complaining, Martha Higareda is hot as peppers and she is a very good actress, but in a futuristic world, where you have a planet colonized by a combination of Slavic and Japanese people, and the main character is named Takeshi Kovacs, it would not have been a long stretch to have an Ortega that looked less Latino. A, and there’s no evil sister and Quell is not that important so far.

I did the same for Game of Thrones, corrected the characters, scenery and the story with details provided in the books. It’s a fascinating process really and I think that it enriches the experience of reading a book a lot.

But the main idea here is that stories need an end. I hate things that are left just … hanging. Well, not hate, hate… more like I am just bothered by them. Because when something does not have a clear end, I find myself from time to time imagining endings and yearning for a confirmation that I will obviously never get. Thank heavens sometimes the books help with this.

So, anybody else has the same problem? How do you deal with it. Let me know in the comments below.  Or keep it to yourself, it’s not like any of us has time for that much conversation, right? :D

Stay safe, stay happy!

Sep 18 2018

The one with the vigilante

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:18

I was born in a traditional East-European family. A Romano-Chatolic one. I’ve loved God before I even understood what it was. I obeyed the rules, said the prayers. But things were not that good for my family and me. Bad stuff kept happening, parents were fighting, money was never enough and friends always seemed to be more close to each other than to me. I always felt somewhat excluded.

My parents did not help much. They always treated me and my sister as a burden, that had no say in adults decisions and we were told since I can remember that as long as food and a roof over our head is provided by them, we have to be thankful and obedient.

My syster rebelled since she was in her crib. Seriosly, she rebelled against being left to cry alone by kicking her head against the wooden fence of the crib. She still has a visible scar next to one of her eyebrows. In school she refused to do homeworks and get good grades. In highschool she smoked and wore way too much makeup. And her final act of rebellion was to run away from home at 18 years old. She lives somewhere in Milan now. I keep promising myself to visit her someday.

I did not rebell. Not visibly. I realized that rebellion can easily be crushed by people thrice times bigger than you that do not shy away from hitting kids. So I rebelled in the only place that I could. In my mind. And the mind has infinite resources for fuelling and maintainign a rebellion.  So while I was going to church, saying my prayers, getting good grades and being obedient, in my mind I was a vigillante that protected weak people, like the real me, that did not shy away from hitting or killing violent adults that did not choose redemption (a sort of Batman), that was wearing a dark costume, drove a motocycle, smoked on the windowsill at night, when her own parents were sleeping, not because she was afraid of them punishing her for smoking, but because she respected them too much and did not want them to know thier your daugher had a vice they considered despicable.

I still have the novel I wrote about her and just realized she did not have a name. She was strong and she had to be, because her life was difficult as well. Her life was even more difficult than mine, but she was able pull through. And through her, so did I.

And here I am, I’ve become so much more than her. I don’t really fancy motocyles that much anymore, but I do like leather and kicking ass, but not in the literal way, in a really cool, strong character, supportive and happy all the time kind of way. But I also did a little bit of karate and mma training for a while, so in case of need I can do that too.

I don’t know why I remembered her today, maybe because lately I’ve been feeling a little fragile. I just pushed through a cold and I am close to finishing the book. I just have a small hickup called reactive programming. :) But I’ll push through this as well. This is what I do best. Push, then hide away to charge the bateries. Don’t worry about me, all is still well with the world.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Aug 10 2018

I became an organ donor

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:50

This morning I had a chat with my Uber driver, he was African and an expat, same as me. I noticed that Africans in general are very sociable and tend to get friendly fast with people that are not native to this country and come from countries with communist regimes. I have a colleague that basically took me under his wing and he told me “we are the same”. Yeah, we would, if I were extremely tan and I would have about 80 kilograms of muscle. :)  But I digress…

So anyway, I was talking to my Uber driver and he asked me for how long have I been in Scotland and why I left Romania. And there were some many reasons, that was difficult to give an answer. I just blamed the communist regime and how things are getting worse every day, little by little and that was it. There are many reasons, some of them personal, some of them professional. And none of them financial. Seriously, I did not leave Romania because of financial reasons. I read a lot and I watch a lot of movies and documentaries. I am passionate about anything science related and I do have quite a good memory.  I grew up with Star Trek, American medical series, X-Files and other series that showed me a different world. I was watching how in these civilized countries, cancer could be beaten while my relatives died of it. I was trying to keep my garden clean and recycle, while most around me did not give a shit. I was watching documentaries about organs being transplanted and people being saved, while in Romania these operations are rarely made, or some doctor-politician rules the mafia of it. One of my biggest desires for a while is to register as an organ donor or donate my body to science if the first one is not possible. But in Romania, there is no such thing. I think even the Orthodox Church that basically rules this country from the shadow of corrupt politicians frowns and disapproves of such practices.

So when I moved here one of the first things I did was to register as an organ donor. We are all dust in the wind, we come from the Earth and back to the Earth we shall return when we die. This body of mine is just a shell, just a container for an energy that is my soul. When this energy will disperse for some reason, if anything of it can be used to help anybody to keep on living why should I be against it? I do not even have the right to be against it. I never owned this body. It was just borrowed to me for a little while by the universe. The way I look at it, it’s just another type of recycling. And why should you be selfish and let your organs rot, when you can save a few lives? It’s not like you will be here, aware of them or what happens to them anymore.  I’m not sure I can express how proud I feel to be holding this card. I am a healthy human being and I will take care of this body and keep it in the best shape I can, so that one day if my life ends abruptly, it will give life to somebody else. And I hope they make the most of it. As I am now and as I will be until such unfortunate time for me.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Aug 09 2018

Been there, done that, sadly no T-Shirt

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:09

I think I’ve mentioned around here that my family and most of my friends are worried of me being single for so long.  It’s tiring to keep repeating that I am ok, that I am happy and I don’t miss being in a relationship. Actually, to be honest these four years have been the best years of my life so far. And this kind of freedom and peace can get addictive; I am aware of it. I was always afraid of this, that if I ever end up alone for a longer period of time I will be no longer able to commit to a relationship again. But as life is supposed to be better in two I haven’t given up the idea yet. I accept the fact that it might happen at some point, I might meet someone that will feel better being close with, than without. But at the same time I am at peace with the fact that it might never happen. So, I’m done hoping, yearning and looking for it. When I was young every guy that gave me some attention would be scanned for signs that he might be “the one”.  But I’m not young anymore, I am mature and wiser now.

I am aware that I work a lot. Time is a very limited resource and when you live alone most of it is occupied  with keeping house, work and your free-time activities.  And I also have a cat. And I just moved to a new country. The little spare time I have I spend it sleeping, like normal adults. :)) None of my activities will lead me to meet “the one”. Because the people I interract with are all colleagues, and when it comes to work I always kept a little distance and never gotten personal. It’s a work ethic that I always had and it is difficult to go against it. So, this leaves me with zero chances of meeting someone. 

So I did something that a mature person would do. I subscribed to a speed dating event organized by these guys. I do not want to force things, but men won’t start falling out of the sky for me, right? And the event was tonight.

Two day before I started feeling the normal anxiety. I don’t really have time to date. I don’t really want this. What should I wear? Should I leave directly from work? Should I take the car to work, leave it in the parking lot and come back after the event and drive home? Would I be able to drive with heels? Do I still know how to walk properly in heels? WTF did I subscribed for this? And the ticket was 20 pounds ffs… In the end I made myself pretty, I wore my red dress that turns male brains into mush, I took an Uber to allow myself a glass of wine to tone down the anxiety and there I went. And I got there. And I had my wine. On the house, because the event was cancelled and apparently nobody told me about it. And since I was out into town in this lovely restaurant I also had dinner. So I basically went on a date with myself. I’m not even sorry. The wine was good and the dinner was fancy and tasty.

You know what I’m sorry about though? My time. I wasted precious time being anxious about this, preparing for this. I never really had any expectations to meet “the one”, I know how peculiar I can be. I’m also sorry about the money. 20 pounds the ticket and 12 pounds the Uber; that would have been my Crabbies supply for two weeks. And I love Crabbies ginger beer. And I’m a little saddened by the fact that I will probably never go to a speed dating event ever again, because now I just cannot take this kind of things seriously anymore. And if I don’t get my money back, this will be the first crappy service I payed for here. This disproves my theory that “services are more expensive in this country, but this is because they are worth it“. And this is the most important thing that I really am sorry for.

Later Edit: I am getting my money back. All good. Theory still stands. :D

Stay safe, stay happy!

Aug 08 2018

Censoring rage

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 8:44

A month ago I got myself a new addiction: Netflix. The relationship between me and Netflix is a love-hate relationship. I’ve got it for a month and intended to discontinue, because I know how addictive it is. But I ended up keeping it because of an awesome Finish detective series called Bordertown. And then I realized that British series might be useful to me in improving my accent. So, oh well  5.99£ for a  month is not much, is less than my beer& cider for a week. :D

So yeah, I am now one of the thousands people that Netfix & chill with a bag of Doritos and beer once a week. But after a few series, I ended up seeing Shooter and that’s when I discovered something that started grinding my gears. The movie is marked as rated 15+, because of all the blood and guts. But … every “fuck” in it is censored. And I was like WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK???

I am not watching the movie on a kid profile, the movie actually has a lot of shooting, stabbing and bloody fights. And the worse thing in it that apparently it was worth censoring was the word “fuck” and every derivation of it. I’m not sure you realize how ridiculous this is.

Let’s be realistic people, swear words exist and have been used since language was invented. They are as important to a language as words to express love are. As a parent, even if you like it or not, your kid will learn bad words from older kids or adults that are more relaxed with their use of language. My mother was a very religious woman, so swear words were strictly prohibited in the house and in her range of hearing.  But she and my dad used religious swearwords. Yes, you read that properly: religious swear words. Those were allowed. (Makes a lot of sense, right?) Anyway, Romanians are very creative with their swear words. Here are the most common ones I heard around the house: “in mortii ma-tii”, “pastele ma-tii”, “cristosii ma-tii” and “mama dracului de treaba”. They roughly translate to: “in your mother’s death relatives”, “in your mother’s Easter” (yes we have a swear word involving Easter), “your mother Christ-es”(yes, more of them) and “devils mother’s business”. They definitely don’t make sense in English, like I said, Romanians are very creative with their swear words.

Ironically, I was quite a good Christian until I was 18, probably even better than anybody expected or knew and I hated religious swear words and never used them. Especially because I was such a strong believer, they seemed vile and using them was a serious sin to me.

But I was curios about the swear words children older than me used. Also friends of my father’s helping him build one thing or another used some interesting swear words when they would hurt themselves, or talked about things that were not working properly and giving them hell. I liked those swear words especially because my mother hated them and prohibited me and my father from ever using them.

So here I am, an adult. I really don’t swear that much; the reason for that is that I am quite a calm and happy person. When I do swear, I rarely use something else than: fuck, fucking, bloody, damned and my own personal signature swear expression: “piz, mazare, cartofi”.

Growing up, whether  my parents like it or not, I probably knew more swear words than they did. Actually, I definitely did, because I knew swear words in four other languages. But I know that swearing is not cool, I know in society it is frowned upon, unless you are in some pickle or some tool is giving you hell. It is acceptable to say “fuck”, when something has gone terrifyingly sideways. It is acceptable to say “fuck” repeatedly when you just erased the production database.  There are other situations when you can use various “fuck” variations. Using “fuck” instead of punctuation will always be frowned upon, as this is a clear sign you are not mature enough to use swear words. Adults know when to use swear words to accentuate meaning. Let’s take a simple example: “The cake was awesome!”. Sure it was, but “The cake was fucking amazing!” means the cake was so good you had a culinary orgasm.

So, protecting children and teens from swear words does nothing. I mean, what are we really protecting them from? Next we might decide that rape, beheading and death are bad words. You can’t protect people from words, not unless you educate them.

And Shooter is rated 15+, the least worst thing in that movie is the use of the word fuck.  It’s so ridiculous that is cringy to explain. It just does not make any sense.

In Romania we have an expression that can be roughly and gently translated to: “I’m a fucking lady, for fuck’s sake!”. So let me have my “fuck” word, stop being such prudes.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Aug 07 2018

The trillion dollar company

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:47

A few days ago an article about how Apple is the company with the biggest revenue in the world, and the bitter jokes about how that came to be began.

Of course people credit the ridiculous revenue on  thier fragile products and the need for adapters. But I don’t see the problem. They have discovered a niche of lazy humans that forgot that soldering a wire is not really complicated. And honestly it’s quite fun. Another option would be to find a guy good with electronics and pay him to do it, it would still be cheaper than a new one. But hey, an adapter or Apple cable that has been repaired is not as pretty as a new, freshly bought, 200 $ one right?

I love Apple products. I am writing my 4th book on a Mac and I chose it because it satisfies my developer needs better than any other computer and it works out of the box, without the need to install drivers and it took me just 2 hours to install everything I needed to be able to do my work on it. I really considered buying a different computer, but all come now with a Windows I really do not want  to pay for since the first thing I would do is to erase it and put a Linux distribution in its place. Also, I have never had the toolstack I work with now on a different computer than a Mac, so pressed by time I made the investment. But I knew exactly what I was getting. Is it powerfull? Yes. Is it practical? Yes. But you know what else it is? It is sensitive as fuck.  So I don’t move it around if I don’t have to. When I do move it around, it is in a special backpack with shock-protection interior, exterior leather so it doesn’t get wet. When I close it, I put a thin sheet of special paper between the keyboard and the screen, otherwise in 3-4 months the exterior layer of the screen would be deformed in the shape of the keyboard.

I know that the charger cable will probably wear off in time. I’m not worried, I know how to solder and isolate cables. Apple did not become a trillion dollar company because it somehow screwed their clients. Quite the opposite, Apple just provided them sensitive products. They decided not to take care of them and then pay for expensive adapters and new cables instead of fixing them. You might say that Apple provided solution for problems that Apple created. Well, what did you expect? We live in an age that is addicted to shiny new stuff and frowns upon refurbished and patched things. And we like to consume and brag about our new expensive stuff. Apple did not create problems that weren’t there. Our pride, our lust for adoration and satisfaction was always there. Apple just found a way to monetize it.

So don’t be envious of Apple. It’s just a business that is managed well. They did not create the weakness in people.  Take a good look at your self and learn to manage your desires and your finances, your life and your priorities. And if you do a well enough job, there won’t be another  evil corporation owning the world.

And by the way, that trillion dollars might be a consequence of the tax reduction that Trump gave corporations in the US and the third-world cheap labour. Because, they way politicians designed this world, to have a successfull business and be totally legit is probably impossibile.

Stay safe, stay happy and stop buying shiny shit!

Jul 29 2018

The cat lady

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 15:25

A few days ago, I read a blog post  written by one of my fellow bloggers that saddened me a little. I won’t link it because it is written in Romanian and as I am aiming for a wider audience, it is quite useless.

He was telling a story about how he noticed three ladies in the queue of the super market buying cat food and he started drawing conclusions about the fact that they were probably loners that refused men for superficial reasons and ended up with a cat or more.

I have a cat. I’ve had many throughout the years. The reason for it is that I really love animals, but cats are the only ones that can deal with me being away from home for 10 hours per day. Also, all my childhood I wanted a pet, I kept bringing home kittens I found thrown by irresponsible owners at the garbage dump and my parents kept making them disappear. And then when we moved to the countryside, they never spayed the cats, but disposed of the kittens in the most brutal ways. And the old cats, or cats that were deemed unworthy, because they weren’t catching mice, were abandoned in near by woods, or villages. I never approved, but they did not care.

So yeah, I guess I volunteered at a animal shelter for 5 years because of guilt. And I took cats (and dogs sometimes) off the street and took them to the vet and found them owners because of that guilt as well. And I did not abandon this cat and I moved her twice with me, last time to Scotland because of the same reason. The funny thing is I was in a relationship when I got this cat. And my boyfriend at the time loved her just as much as I did. But he had to move to Prague for a job and he was in a difficult situation, so he could not even start negotiating with me to keep it. I had another relationship after that. It did not work out, because we just … did not fit, I guess, but we were to young and stupid to figure it out.

But the cat is not some kind of a consolation prize, or some kind witch mark deeming me unable to have a relationship. More than that, we’ve been together since 2007 and we have gone through a lot of hardship together. And cats are not like dogs, always supportive, understanding, easy to tame, always in a good mood. Cats  can be sassy, cats can be annoying and even violent sometimes. That fact that I can deal with her behavior and not kick her to the curve proves exactly the opposite.

I’ve had one cat the last 11 years, this does not make me a cat lady. This does not make a crazy man hater bitch. But this reduces my dating pool for sure. Because a possible partner must accept the fat furry creature that pukes sometimes, hisses sometimes, acts like the house owner, shits in the house and when it gets sick, it costs a lot to get her better.

And I accept this responsibility. I think I’ve written this here before. If the intelligence of a cat is that of a 4 years old, then the cat can be compared to an autistic 4 year old, because she clearly has difficulties in communicating and can be quite difficult sometimes. Would you abandon a 4 year autistic child? Because I wouldn’t. So I accept all the consequences of having this cat even if this means reducing my chances of being in a relationship.

It does not mean that I hate men(or people), or I am crazy or mean. And it feels a little unfair to be labeled as such.

Stay safe, stay happy!