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Being a writer, it’s just a lonely thing. Sometimes the world you create on the page seems more friendly and alive than the world you actually live in.

— Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

Wildstar: First impressions. (Yes, it’s awesome.)

on Jun 1, 2014 in Gaming

Unlike World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls Online, Wildstar has no previously-established IP to draw from. It’s a game set in a whole new world (no, not that one), it sells for a hefty price (50€ regular / 60€ deluxe edition pre-order), and it also comes with a 15€/mo. subscription. A ballsy move in an era where MMOs gravitate towards a free-to-play model and those that don’t tend to fail no matter how good the content actually is (The Secret World, for instsance, seems to have failed partly because the sub-based model drove potential players away). Wildstar, however, had me sold from the very first Devspeak. Don’t know what Devspeak is? Take a peek at the official Wildstar Youtube channel and you’ll find out. The idea of an MMO that took itself seriously without being too serious, with multi-tiered PvE (and PvP?) progression, a positioning-based combat...

Linkin Park and I: Why, ten years later, I still love that band

on May 24, 2014 in Music, Personal

When I first came across Meteora, I was sixteen, bored, rebellious, and I’d just come home with a cubic fuckton of math homework I didn’t feel like doing*. I sat down with my pen and notebook, plugged in my headphones and picked a random folder off an mp3 CD I’d just borrowed, then got to it. A minute later, I stopped – and listened. The music wasn’t just background noise anymore; it felt as if whoever was singing had read my mind and put my feelings into song. Or, uh… scream. Songs like Numb or Faint spoke to me. All right – part of it was due to the run-of-the-mill teenage angst that almost anyone could relate to at some point in their lives. But things went deeper than that. During my high-school years, I was under a lot more pressure than I let on. Look at it this way: I saw myself as a chronic over-achiever, and I saw my parents as a pair...

Behind the scenes at Otaku Festival 2014

on May 11, 2014 in Conventions

Something funny just happened: I was going to write a very detailed chronicle about last week’s Otaku Festival in Bucharest, but one sentence in I realized I was so busy volunteering as an interpreter/driver/gal who brings the McDonald’s and has to double back because there’s no straws that I missed it altogether. Both days were a blur: wake up, phone ringing, rush to the hotel, pick up the guests, fast-forward through a series of exhausting ordeals, drive the guests back to the hotel, go home, 2 AM, sleeeeeeep. Still, I was left with a great sense of accomplishment at the end of it. Interpreting for two Japanese guests rather than one was quite a dramatic shift; I can only hope Reika-san and KANAME☆-san were happy with my services :) Besides – I had lot of fun on the day we brought our guests to Sinaia. Reika-san and KANAME☆-san had their photoshoot and I got...

Five things F.R.I.E.N.D.S taught me about work and careers

on Apr 26, 2014 in Personal, TV

As a Romanian who grew up in post-commie Romania with no cable, I only discovered Friends in my early twenties, when someone brought a 6th season DVD to my dorm in Osaka and it somehow found its way to me. As it turned out, the timing couldn’t have been more fortunate; by the time I was done with the tenth season, I was back in Romania, unemployed, with no degree and in desperate need of something, or someone, to tell me it’ll all be okay. For lack of anything better to do, I started watching Friends again. Now that I knew who ends up with who, I started to look past that and notice other things. I saw Rachel waitressing tables at the Central Perk in Season One and knew that the finale had left her with a haute couture job in Paris. I saw Joey performing in his ridiculous Freud! musical and knew he’d end up performing in a successful Hollywood sitcom (which, of...

Old stories are like old friends… You have to visit them from time to time.

George R. R. Martin

Humanity does not, in fact, suck – no matter what some people would have you believe

on Apr 18, 2014 in Sociology

When the Western Black Rhinoceros went extinct last year, people took to the Web and raged and ranted and bemoaned how we should all “…pat ourselves on the back, good job, big round of applause, everybody.” Such drama! Such self-righteous outrage! Didja hear that, Humanity? We suck! Except… there is no “we”. There’s over seven billion people spread all over God’s green earth, and each nation, people or group has its own problems to deal with with. In fact, the number of people who had something to do with the extinction of that particular species is somewhere in the vicinity of less than one percent of the entire human race – or even less than that. Is it fair, then, to verbally crucify the remaining 6.930.000+ people in the world for it? I’d say it’s ridiculous to even think about it. Not that these nutters didn’t...

J-popcon and my trip to Copenhagen

on Apr 5, 2014 in Conventions, Travel

Two weeks ago, I was invited to J-popcon in Copenhagen, Denmark, to be a translator/interpreter for the lovely Reika Arikawa (Japan). This was my second time collaborating with Reika-san, who is an absolute pleasure to work with (not to mention incredibly talented and professional~). The guys and gals in charge of the cosplay competition did their jobs exemplary (and sometimes other people’s jobs too, it seemed :3), the stage performances were WHOA! In fact, check out the opening performance, set to a medley of Disney villain themes – and you’ll see what I mean. ← #SWAG-tastic – with Lex, Ruxi and Reika ♥ Copenhagen itself, on the other hand, was a wee bit of a cultural shock for me, especially since I wasn’t expecting it to be that much different from other European countries I’d visited. If I were to describe it in one word, it would be a toss-up...