Nov 10 2018

Of my love for running

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:14

Since I’m obviously having a little insomnia I’m basically just writing to fool my brains into thinking I’m doing something productive maybe it will decide that my body actually needs some rest. It might sound stupid but it works when I’m writing technical books, so I can only try. Probably I’ve written this story before around here, but since the search I did returned nothing, I might have written it in Romanian, so an English version is in order.

I’ve been born in a poor family in Romania – not complaining, not looking for sympathy since things turned out quite well for me, just stating a fact to prepare the context. Being poor as a child pushed me to being really curious and creative. I used all my talents to build toys and invent games and this worked well for a while because it helped me with my social life a lot, but then my friends started being sent to after school activities that my family could not afford. And thus, I saw them less and less, and I was getting bored out of my mind during my new found alone time, plus if my mom saw me doing nothing, she would find something for me to do. So, when one of the sport teachers in my school was looking for children to join the running team I said yes with all my heart. I had no idea what that involved, I was just happy to have an after-school activity. I never took it seriously, but I did go to all the training sessions, I was just glad to be out of the house. My parents never took it seriously either, they were just glad for me to be out of the house too, not all the time, but oh well.

I know it sounds paradoxical, but I was going to training sessions like I was going to church, but never thought I’ll ever get to really compete. Until I did. My sports teacher just enlisted me to a local competition, told me where to be and when. I went, I ran and I ended up finishing second place. It could have been first place, but I just got distracted when I saw some of my mates in the stadium and just slowed down to wave at them and smile. Anyway, I went to the finishing booth, signed my name and went home for the weekend.

On Monday, during recess, the sport teacher just came running at me, hugged me and congratulated me. She was ecstatic. I had no idea that finishing second was that great. And yes, as you probably suspect, I did not take that competition seriously either, so her enthusiasm seems to come out of nowhere. And then she said the magic words: “I put you on the list to start training for the Olympics team.” And maybe I was a child that took nothing seriously, but fucking Olympics? Oh baby, that was … the dream I guess? I just wanted to get out of the house and now I had a shot at the Olympics??? Wow, that turned out well.

So, I went home, told my parents, and my mother was like: “Yeah, yeah sure, good for you child! Now go wash your clothes!”. If that affirmation makes no sense to you, is because I have not mentioned in this entry that I was helping my mother with house chores since I was six. One of the chores was hand-washing clothes, because we were poor and we had this old washing machine that was not working 90% of the time. And now you know why I was so desperate to get out of the house. Anyway, I continued training for one more year and this time I had a purpose: making it into the Olympic team.

My mother and father were born in the North of Romania, and because of their jobs they moved a lot. But after having me they managed to stand still for twelve years in the city where I joined the running team. But every year they had the same routine: when summer would come I was shipped across the country to spend the summer vacation at my mother’s parents. So, they were taking a vacation from parenting. And basically, this is how I ended up with my sister. And when she was old enough, she joined my vacation as well. Unwillingly, I might add.

So, a year into my Olympic training I was shipped up for the summer again. I tried to convince them not to because of, well … I was training for the Olympics, which was pretty fucking important and amazing, you know??? Obviously, I failed miserably, because children have no decision power in my family, not until they can sustain themselves and move out of the house. And their opinions no longer matter then either, because they are no longer members of the household. :))

You have no idea how bad I waited for that vacation to end. I even convinced some of my friends to go running with me at the country side to make sure I will keep in shape. And there it was, almost three months have gone and my parents have returned. I could barely contain my joy thinking of the ride back to my friends, back to school and back to my training. But my parents had other plans. They came with great news. We were moving to a city nearby, to be closer to family, because we were all poor and we had to stick close to family so we will help each other. And it was already done, the flat was sold and our stuff was now in a train being delivered to the little town in the North of Romania where we will start a new life. What was mine and my sister’s opinion about it? It did not really matter. In their mind, they were doing this for us. And my mother announced the move by calling it “a great news”. Bitch, say what???? I know it is not ok to call your mother a bitch, and given I am now living in Scotland – What the fuck, cunt??? Ahem, back to the narrative.

So, we moved to the North shitty city and four years of training went down the drain because in the new city there was no running club. But my love for running never died. So much so, that I still sometimes ditched my responsibilities to go running. I even got some friends into it, and adults in the area were making fun of the horde of kids running around the neighbourhood with no purpose. And they were all lead by “that new crazy girl”.

I kept running all throughout highschool, and at the sports competition for our bacalaureat exam (final highschool exam that you need to pass to be accepted for university studies) I left the whole group of kids from all highschools in the city half a stadium behind. During faculty, I ran along the river in the campus, sometime with a group of colleagues just to stay fit. I had no fat to burn, because I was functioning with beer and coffee. After faculty, when I got two jobs I was finally running to burn fat. In 2014, after the most brutal breakup of my life I ran to clear up my mind and to get myself tired enough to sleep.

And now I’m running to keep my mind and body in shape. Because when I run, my mind runs as well, and it is not limited by the road ahead. My mind wonders back to the past, explaining things I cannot longer change and providing reasons for acceptance and lessons for the future. My mind wonders to the future, estimating where I could be in one, three, five years from now, providing options of little steps I could start taking right now to increase my changes for my long duration plans to be completed. And my mind also sometimes gets lost in the music, in a ray of sunshine, in the colour of a leaf or just gets fixated on the rhythm of my heart, because after running for five kilometres there is a rhythmic noise that I hear in my ears along the music and can’t help myself from focusing on it.

You could say that sometimes I’m meditating when I run, it definitely feels like it. There is this feeling of calm and serenity after a long run and my limbs feel so much lighter that I feel like I am floating. And this is why I do it mostly. The fact that I now live in Scotland where everything is deep fried and I love beer, and both these things happen to get me fat, has nothing to with my love for running. :D


Stay safe, stay happy!

Nov 09 2018

The “X” experience

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 14:55

As I’ve mentioned in the previous entry, last night I was in Stirling for Daniel Sloss‘s.

I started driving towards Stirling at 04:00 pm, and because it is almost winter, days are shorter here, so I ended up driving at night. And as it often happens when I’m driving at night in unfamiliar locations, I got lost a little, as in I took a longer route to Stirling and managed to see the three bridges (Forth Rail Bridge, Forth Road Bridge, Queensferry Crossing) at night. It’s a mesmerizing view and I can’t wait for my next guest to arrive from Romania to take him there.

With all the traffic jams and the rain(that did not stop until the next day morning), I made it to Stirling just in time to occupy the last available parking spot in front of my hotel and have a pint before the show. Yeap, a pint was all I had the time for so I was forced to skip dinner. I then went to Albert Halls and the security guy at the door met me with a snippet of Scottish humor. He noticed my agenda when checking my bag and I head him say to one of his colleagues: “She had a book in there, just in case she gets bored.” Yup, apparently I have such a serious face that people thought I had a book to entertain me during a comedy show. My seat was in the third row, quite close to the stage so I had a nice view. I found it, put my sexy ass on it and never left it until the end of the show.

Daniel Sloss most recent comedy show follows his already established model: fun with Kai Humphries, then fun with him, then the serious and mind blowing part, and then fun again. I will not tell you what it is about, because I want to give everyone the chance to enjoy it fully. If you are a Daniel Sloss fan and you have some kind of audience of your own you should not talk/write about his show either. First, because you will probably affect his earnings, and it’s not fair, because this guy deserves every penny he’s making. And second, because this show is just another undercover therapy session that most people need to go to. The topic is raw, cringy almost but eye-opening as well. By talking about the show with people who haven’t seen it or writing about it you are affecting the chances they will watch it, and believe me, you do not want to do that.

I will write some blog entries about the show because it has given me a lot to think about, so much so that I’ve had some weird dreams and I’ve been barely able to sleep last night, but I will keep them in the drafts folder until his show is publicly released on Netflix.

And the last thing I want to write about. Although I was unable to find one of his shows, I have an opinion about the core topic of his shows: love. His show Dark focuses mostly on family love, Jigsaw focuses on self-love and X focuses on the love for friends.
I truly think Daniel Sloss is an amazing human being that was lucky enough to be thought the sane way to love by his amazingly sane parents and in consequence he probably has a lot of love to give. And since the universe is governed by action and reaction, he is very much loved as well. And since art imitates life, his comedy shows are inspired by that. I am very curious now to see what his next show will be about. And the one that I cannot seem to find anywhere for the moment.

This is the Daniel Sloss effect. You go to his shows for a laugh and you come back from there is a better person. So yeah, go to his shows and buy tickets for your enemies too. :D

Another thing I like about this guy is that he is basically a superstar in his field, but he started the show on time and after the show, he stayed until about 11 pm to hug and talk to all his fans. Including me. And I told him my theory about his shows and he said it is an interesting pattern. My encounter with him and Kai was brief. After skipping dinner, getting a little wet in the rain and having a pint, I had an annoying headache and I was shaking. But I got to compliment Kai for being an ideal husband(if you go to the show you’ll see why) and get a hug from Daniel. And I did something I never thought I’d have the balls to do. I wrote my name and my telephone number on my show ticket and gave it to Daniel. I’m living in Edinburgh now, so who knows, maybe we’ll go for a pint someday. Honestly, it broke my heart to give that ticket away, because it belongs on the memory board that I started after moving to Edinburgh. But sometimes, my instinct gets the best of me.

This morning I woke up in my hotel room to witness a beautiful sunrise and since my room was at the last floor with a roof window, I did what any relaxed human would do, got out on the roof and took pictures. :D

You can see the pictures taken yesterday below. I’ve never been in that part of Stirling, but I do like this city a lot because it reminds me of Sibiu. Unfortunately, there are not many pictures of it because it was night and the 12Mp camera of my phone is not good enough for that job. But in the near future, you will be able to find more Stirling pictures on this blog because it is only an hour drive away and I’ll be taking a lot of my friends there. Yes, you are seeing right, the Christmas decorations are already up in Stirling, they are just not lit yet.

Bonus: two of the pictures taken with Kai and Daniel, by Daniel, the only one with hands long enough. :D

And this will be the last entry about Daniel Sloss for a while. I’ll get back to admiring the wonderful city of Edinburgh, writing memoirs from my troubled life and post travel photos. And if I’m lucky (yes me, because it is so difficult to find time to do any technical stuff aside the stuff at work lately!) some technical entries about what I’m currently working on and on my incoming book.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Nov 08 2018

Daniel Sloss’s Jigsaw and its impact

Category: English posts,FunnyIuliana @ 21:23

I discovered Daniel Sloss about a month ago, shortly after I got a smart meter. I kid you not, I installed a smart meter, Google somehow found out about it and it recommended me a youtube video of Daniel Sloss being all Scotishly-sarcastic in an ad for smart meters. And I was hooked. This guy’s comedy is like a drug to me. And I’m not even joking, after seeing all his videos on youtube I needed more. So I followed him on twitter and on facebook.(Stoker much!?) And then I found out he had two shows on Netflix and boy I got my fix that night! I’ve seen both of them one after the other.

I loved Jigsaw, not because it was funny, but because it was so damn … raw. And because it hit close to home, even if I am not currently in a relationship. That show broke a lot of relationships and as a single person always being pitied for being single, being pushed to find someone and having my character and good nature doubted just because I don’t have a partner, I view it as a revenge of the universe on people that are in comfort relationships and lecture single people.

But why has Daniel Sloss’s Jigsaw made such an impact? Why was it so successful in making people doubt thier feelings and made them put an end to thier relationships? People are stumped when they see him bragging about the number of relationships his show put an end to.

People have stayed in bad relationships since monogamy started being a thing. And they have taught thier children that this is the way things work when in comes to relationships. I know for sure my mother tried to program that into my rebel mind. And it almost worked. Thankfully, love and relationships have been such an ordeal for me that I decided 4 years ago that my happiness and my sanity are worth more than love. Don’t get me wrong, I will always give a chance to a person to make an honest woman out of me, but hoping, yearning for love is no longer the primary focus of my existence.

And back to the question now: why has Daniel Sloss’s Jigsaw made such an impact? I think I have an answer for you: it had the impact it did because you would not expect a comedy show to provide you that kind of epiphany. You go to comedy shows to laugh and forget about your problems, you don’t go there to find out you have problems you did not know about and you definetly are not going to comedy shows for counseling. Somethimes I think Jigsaw is a psychology session undercover. Also Daniel’s age might be a factor for this. If George Carlin would have made Jigsaw, people would have laughed and said “That’s old age right there, these are the kind of epiphanies you have when you are close enough to death!” And humanity has this stupid habit of respecting old people for thier age, but rarely learning from thier experiencr and dismissing them as old-age ramblings. But when some merely 26 year old guy comes to you with this kind of wisdom, you are just … shocked. And a shock is what really changes a person and makes he or she dare to ask the right questions.

Also, there is human nature. Once Daniel’s show has started taking off as a bad relationship panaccea, people either recommended it to friends in bad relationships hoping it would work its “magic” or people in relationships watched it as a dare. This is why if there ever was a video like the one in “The ring”, humanity will most probably go extinct.

So Daniel, since you’ve been so great at destroying relationships, I suggest your next show to be about climate change. Because if you made so many people actually think about their relationships, instead of just being in them, maybe you can do the same for climate change.

And I’m writing this from my phone, because I’m in Stirling to see his last comedy show: “X”. I really hope is as good as the others two, because I did not make any research about it to keep the element of surprise. And I will tell you all about it tomorrow.

Or maybe not. :D

Stay safe , stay happy!

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Oct 28 2018

Edinburgh in autumn

Category: English postsIuliana @ 1:00

The title says it all. There is nothing that I can say to describe how beautiful this city is, especially dressed in the colors of autumn. So I will let the following pictures do the talking.

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Oct 23 2018

(K)Night at the Edinburgh Castle

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:15

On the 5th of September, the council decided to open up the Edinburgh Castle at night and illuminate it in various colors. Aside from that, there was an … event of some sorts. A small scene was installed in front of the Edinburgh castle and the night began with the alternative’s rock band West Princes act. They’re a bunch of kids, but they sound quite well live. Their only single I was able to find is below; just ignore the video, it’s pretty weird.

There were knights in medieval metal suites here and there in the castle that you could take a selfie with. I did not take any selfie with them because I’m anxious to interact with people I don’t know. (I am kidding, I just was not in the mood) On one side of the castle, a crossbow range was installed and people could shoot arrows at some empty beer cans and win small prizes. I got a prize and had an interesting discussion with the man managing the shooting range. After that, I went to the Redcoat Cafe, where they were serving an amazing Quatro Formaggi Pizza and I got myself a huge slice. In the mess hall, there was a young DJ and a group of kids that seemed to be having a lot of fun. There was also a whiskey tasting, but unfortunately, I had to drive home after so no whiskey for me. :(

For the people that had the patience to stay in a queue, there were some artists painting medieval designs on peoples’ faces for a small fee. You can imagine this was a total blast for the kids. For the people that enjoy problem-solving an escape room was set up in the castle prison. I was really interested, but there were already a bunch of kids locked in there. :D There were a few more activities involving dress up in medieval gowns and taking selfies in the castle chambers. I was not in the mood for that either.

So I left home after two hours and seeing all that was to see because at home I had a wine bottle waiting for me and a cat that needed food and some play time. I’ve got some nice castle pictures though and some pictures of a few Edinburgh buildings that I like, but during the night, which is a first since I moved here. So I declare the night an overall success. A mediocre one, but a success nonetheless.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Oct 22 2018

The Midas principle

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:11

A few years ago I was working in a company that had an application used for quite a critical purpose all over the world, but that had the ugliest code I’ve ever seen. Nonetheless, the application was a necessity, as it was and probably still is the only one on the market that performed that specific function, and not using it meant that you had to hire hundreds of economists to make and validate the computations the application did automatically. The specifications for the applications were provided by a validation entity, that also defined when the said computations and validations should be completed and going over that deadline made your entity eligible for some serious fines. Yes, I am talking about a banking application. Anyway, the code was bad, because when the deadline is not negotiable, the new specifications deviate from pre-defined patterns and data to test the changes is almost missing, or anonymized so that sensitive details are hidden, but that makes it no longer relevant for your tests, you are put into the position of writing crappy code. Because maybe you started with good code, but when you are required to do changes to fix something that needs to be delivered in a few hours, so the client does not get fined, sometimes you have no choice.

The code being so bad, it was the ideal company to work for if you liked doing improvements. There were a few managers that over the years realized that the technical debt will probably be the reason why the company will go bankrupt and there were some managers – like my direct manager and my mentor – that dared to take some risks and take some heat to try to reduce the technical debt. This is where I come in the picture. In 2014 I was on the run from a heartbreak and on run towards a career. And boy, I was given the opportunity to do so! Anyway I pioneered quite a few changes in that company, took the risks and took the heat together with my mentor and not all my work was exemplary, but I did the best I could with the resources I was given and within the context I was provided.

One of the things that I did was to present to a group of 100 developers or even more, I think, how to properly think your solutions and your code in the difficult position we all were. Because technical debt is demoralizing for people that like their job. And I had to be optimistic and assume people were doing that job because they liked it at some point. So, I started with motivational quotes, book recommendations, basic common sense about how to work in a team, but I needed something new because all the things I mentioned could be found in any presentation about clean code and competent solutions.

While struggling to find something relevant to our company and to our code, it hit me. Our development style so far has been like fixing and adding new features to an airplane while it was flying with all our customers in it. And the quickest method to develop in this case was copy-paste. We even had managers that believed it so. Problem is, that sometimes people were copying code that was crappy and thus propagating crap; new hires, people less experienced and in the heat of the moment even experienced developers were doing it. Obviously, we were not in the position to ever get rid of this behaviour, but what we could do was to improve our code when working on bugs, as to turn it into code worthy of being copied. Because copy-pasted good code, is still good code, even if the Don’t Repeat Yourselves principle has to suffer.

So I named it The Midas principle: every time you develop something, you leave your mark, you transform it. When your work is shared with your colleagues, your style of working gets propagated. If your work is gold, that is what gets propagated. So, when you are working on an existing functionality, turn it into gold.

Sure, this is 90% similar to Robert C. Martin’s Boy Scout Rule: “Always leave the code behind in a better state than you found it.”, but I like Greek mythology more, and I just love the legend of King Midas.

So there you have it, something older than a boy scout rule to compare your development style to.

Stay safe, stay happy and propagate gold!

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Oct 21 2018

Moving to UK

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:50

So, you’ve had enough of your country and finally decided to leave it. If the country of your choice is UK, this blog entry might help a little, because I am going to tell you how I did it.
Continue reading “Moving to UK”

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