Feb 23 2021

Evening thoughts

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:29

I’ve mentioned a while ago that I love the first season of Altered Carbon. I love it so much I had to read the books. The first one was the best, the other two… gradually lessened in quality. Or maybe I was missing the imagination to create the worlds described in the books.

There are probably lot of things in those books that could be considered good starting points for some very long conversations. But there are two paragraphs that stuck with me.

The following paragraph is from the first book and it is about shopping.

“Shopping—actual, physical shopping—could have been phased out centuries ago if they’d wanted it that way. They (people, society) had the capacity back then. Mail order, virtual supermarkets, automated debiting systems. It could have been done and it never happened. What does that tell you?”

“It tells you that people like shopping. That it satisfies a basic, acquisitive need at a genetic level. Something we inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Oh, you’ve got automated convenience shopping for basic household items, mechanical food distribution systems for the marginalized poor. But you’ve also got a massive proliferation of commercial hives and speciality markets in food and crafts that people physically have to go to. Now why would they do that, if they didn’t enjoy it?”

“Shopping is physical interaction, exercise of decision-making capacity, sating of the desire to acquire, and an impulse to more acquisition, a scouting urge. It’s so basically fucking human when you think about it. You’ve got to learn to love it, Tak. I mean you can cross the whole archipelago on a hover; you never even need to get wet. But that doesn’t take the basic pleasure out of swimming, does it?

Being born poor I hate shopping; I hate ads and I hate people trying to convince me to buy stuff. Some of my friends used to say that shopping is therapeutic, but I’ve never seen it that way. Well, after reading this, I’ve started to accept the activity of shopping as being perfectly human and started enjoying it more.

Even now, when a pandemic is still upon us and a lot of people are still in lockdown, we are buying things from the internet, but we miss the basic action of manually choosing and gathering our own resources. Maybe shopping is a nice way to soothe an yearning that is left from our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

The other quote that I can’t get out of my mind is this one.

Religion is religion; however you wrap it; a preoccupation with the next world pretty clearly signals an inability to cope credibly with this one.

I’ve been raised Romano Catholic. And religion has affected my life in many ways. Bad ways. But while being a devout Catholic, I had questions. And when I was eighteen I got sick of accepting that there are answers, it’s just that some powerful entity decides not to share them with me. One of the things that changed in my whole attitude when religion stopped being part of my life is that I stopped accepting a lot of crap as being part of life and considering that crap an advance payment for my spot in heaven and this made me fight and work harder to improve this life. Will Smith said something similar: if you have a backup plan, you will not work as had fulfil the main plan.
This is a simple truth that most people tend to ignore when it comes to religion. If you are truly good and worthy, why are you not worthy enough to have a good life on this earth? How much suffering does that heaven cost, really?

And how does life in heaven looks like? Because there is no book describing that in detail. What if I get there and I don’t like it?

Anyway, if there is something to take from this entry is this: learn to enjoy shopping and make this life the best you can for yourself, because the afterlife is not guaranteed.

And read the Altered Carbon books. You won’t regret it.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Feb 20 2021

I’ve been living in the dark

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:32

Among my friends and some closer acquaintances, I am known to be a good cook. Hell, even I thought for a long time that I am a good cook.  I can make a killer stake, a killer cheesecake and other things. But there is one thing I always had trouble with. Soups. Whatever I tried, they always seem watery and like there is some ingredient missing.

I mean, being Romanian, I’m not really good at soups. We don’t have many types of soup in our culture… only a lot of types of ciorbă. The Romanian ciorba is a type of sour soup, that is soured using something called borș, that is a liquid that consists of water in which wheat or barley bran have fermented. I remember my mother putting sour cherries, or sour cherry branches in it too. Making borș also requires a putină which is a wooden barrel, shaped like a cone; if you want to get the flavour and the sourness right that is.

It’s no surprise that after leaving my parents’ house I’ve never actually tried to make borș myself. I did try sour soups though, and I tried to get them sour with lemon, or apple cider vinegar. It’s just not the same thing. They are still pretty tasteless.  So, I cheated. When I wanted to make some kind of soup, I always added some kind of store-bought enhancing flavour or broth.  Or I added garlic. Garlic makes anything taste like food of the gods.

But a few weeks ago, my life and my way of cooking changed.

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Feb 10 2021

Yes, you do have to prove yourself

Category: Miscellaneous,TechnicalIuliana @ 21:49

I was watching an episode of a random series while cooking yesterday.  And as all recent lazy written series, they were trying to push political correctness on their viewers in a very explicit way. And there was this woman that was training for some job and she was talking to a friend about how some man at her job was always correcting her and she thought that he was doing that because he was a misogynist. And during the talk with her friend, she very vehemently said: I don’t have to prove myself to anyone!.  So, I had to go back a little and understand the context, before writing this article. And sure, there she was, protesting that she had to prove herself to the one training her and making sure she was fit for the job.

You know when you are training for a job and somebody is correcting you or testing you, and you want that damn salary? Well, tough shit,  you actually do have to prove yourself, regardless of gender, color or number of piercings you have.

This reminded me of something one the recruiters the company I work collaborated with said. We were trying for a while to hire people, and the process involves a technical test. Apparently quite a few people were not interested in our company because they did not want to go through our technical test. Apparently, their CVs speak for them.

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Feb 06 2021

Truly Like Lightning

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:38

It’s no secret around here that I have a soft spot for David Duchovny. The only thing stopping me from masturbating while watching The X-Files episodes when I was in high-school was my overly catholic education. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were my idea of partners for the most perfect threesome, and that is very … ahem … catholic.

Anyway, I’ve followed both their careers over the years. Gillian Anderson is still kicking ass as an actor and I always watch whatever series she is in, even if I don’t like the overall series.

David Duchovny might have gotten tired of acting because he focused on music and writing. His music is good because of the lyrics and storytelling. He is not an exceptional vocalist, and the good instrumental part of his songs is 100% the work of the youngsters in the band. His singing voice reminds me of the wise old men that use to sing songs in the mountain cabins after a long trek. It’s an acquired taste, and probably those that like his music, pretty much like him for all his previous achievements.

I am very happy he started singing and touring honestly. Because this has given me the opportunity to meet him twice. And I was amazed by how good he looks for his age, but also by how normal and humble he is.

Anyway, as soon as he started writing books, I looked up his bio and read about him to make sure the books are worth buying. He has a degree in English literature, so how bad can his writing be? And I started reading everything he wrote. And I did not hate it.  The book I like the most from him so far, is Bucky F*cking Dent, I’ve probably mentioned this on my blog before.

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Feb 04 2021

Goodbye Facebook & Instagram!

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 22:09

A few weeks ago, I noticed the feed of my Instagram account changed. I had 2/3 more ads than entries from my friends. I checked the settings, maybe I messed them up somehow. But there was nothing to help me filter the foreign entries from accounts I wasn’t following.

So, I decided to close my Instagram account and delete the data. That was easy to do, but in the Facebook typical style, I have 30 days to change my mind.

Today, the Facebook account followed.

I told you a while ago I have an addictive personality. Considering I’m not alcoholic, although I like alcohol, I’m starting to doubt that. But I’ve noticed that when it comes to Facebook, I had little self-control. It was really easy to slip from friend post to friend post, to a Tasty video, to the kitchen eat something, then some work, then Facebook, then I got enraged by the vacation posts of people that seem to not be aware that there is a pandemic out there, another friend post, with their friends, all closely together under the same roof WHILE THERE IS A PANDEMIC OUT there.

I got frustrated, because here I am, my plane to Romania just got cancelled so I cannot go see my friends. Because here I am, staying roughly in the same area since March 2020, bathing in disinfectant, staying away from people, getting out of the house only when I have to. All the while, the rest of the world seems to live their normal beautiful lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an idiot, I know that real life is much more than the online life. But you know, it’s very difficult to tell your brains that everything is just and illusion.

I also noticed that spending time on Facebook narrows my view on people. It is very hard to believe them when they tell you something that seems to be contradicted by their pictures and entries on Facebook. It is very hard to believe you when you tell me that you are struggling with money and that this pandemic has hit you hard when you are posting pictures from Maldive. Truth is, Facebook and Instagram, are very curated versions of a person’s life. But this pandemic has kept us apart from each other and when the real person is no longer tangible, the line between this real person and the online persona gets seriously blurred.
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Jan 24 2021

I don’t like to talk politics…

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 16:20

…but when I do, is to criticize conservatives.

Every country in the world has them. There is that one political party that wants to keep the world from changing. They want to freeze it in that one moment that is good for them, and the hell with everybody else. Scotland has them too. And I just received their booklet through the mail, and I would like to write about it. So, here I am writing about Scottish politics, which probably I shouldn’t be doing since I am not yet a citizen. But guess what? I am allowed to vote, because I live and pay takes here so I have the goddamned right to criticize them.

In this post, I am taking generic things about conservative parties and matching them to the things in the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party booklet. Let’s start with the basics. Even if the party doesn’t not have the “conservative” term in their name you recognize them pretty easily.

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Jan 20 2021

People are not trees

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:14

I am not sure how to start, nor if this entry is going to have a clear conclusion. I have this pain in my chest that I need to try to get rid of by putting it into words. If there is something that you should take away from this entry is this: people are not trees. I am not kidding and I am not high. Hear me out!(well… actually read me!) We are not stuck on a single piece of land, forced to deal with winds, rains, frost, snow, dogs peeing, birds piercing our skin, and other outside elements breaking pieces of us. Trees and most plants have no choice, we do.

Imagine the following: if you have a plant in a pot, and your plant is not growing, not blooming, if it starts to get yellow and apathetic what is the first thing that you do? You change its soil.
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