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#TBT: The one with all the hate

on Jan 23, 2015 in Personal

Some things you’re meant to forget, others you can’t put behind until you set them right. Today’s post is about the latter. Back in 2010, I flopped a full-riding scholarship in Japan. And, in a fit of self-righteous vindication, I wrote an essay for a well-known foreign activist website detailing what I assumed, at the time, to be the only reason for my epic flop. Here’s the thing. The scholarship program wasn’t perfect, but neither was I – a fact that I conveniently overlooked in 2010 and for years after. I was so desperate to put the blame somewhere other than myself that I ended up hating the whole damn country for a few very specific faults. When you’re miserable, all you see –all you want to see – is misery. And I needed people to commiserate with me. I wrote my essay under a fake name. Then, I shared the link on my public DeviantART profile under my actual, searchable name....

Discovering non-binary gender identities in today’s society

on Jan 22, 2015 in Personal

The masculine-feminine dichotomy* has been a long-standing point in traditional psychology and a major selling point of popular works such as Men are from Mars, women are from Venus or Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps. Both these books and their subsequent clones and reprints firmly postulate that men and women are fundamentally, irreconcilably different – like two facets of the same coin, one can never transition to any part of the other, and vice-versa. Because, you know, segregation of any kind or treating the “other” like another species just because they’re not “you” always brings such positive results and stereotyping always works. </sarcasm> Thankfully, modern-day psychology is moving towards a more diverse approach to gender and gender identity and terms like ‘gender-fluid’, ‘transgender’ or ‘agender’ have moved from obscure scientific papers to mainstream...

“Right way, wrong way, my way” set to debut in Otaku Magazine!

on Dec 18, 2014 in Books, Personal

*dusts off blog* Hi~i! I’m proud to announce that my sci-fi novel, Right way, wrong way, my way, will debut with this winter’s Otaku Magazine City & Nature bundle! Right way… is a book I’ve been working on for most of my adult life. The concept started off around 2004 and went through various iterations, from a scrapped graphic novel project in ’08 to a movie script for Script Frenzy ’11 and finally, a completed novel for NaNoWriMo ’11. Three years and so much editing later, I’m finally ready to share this story with the world, and, to be honest, I’m glad to finally put this story behind me so I can focus on the sequel and other things. Chapters I & II of Right Way… will be available in a separate booklet with the Otaku Magazine bundle, with the cover made by the very talented Gabriela Gogonea. The magazine can be...

Five things I (still) love about Wildstar

on Nov 29, 2014 in Gaming

Remember Wildstar? I wrote about it. I bought it at launch, played through one or two months, then it sort of just… died. For me, I mean. Life took over and I lost all will to play anything but a quick League of Legends match at the end of a long, gruesome workday. Which is, to be honest, not the best way to unwind after you’ve gone around wanting to bite people’s head off all day long. Anyway. Remember Wildstar? The Internet was abuzz with news of the latest ‘WoW-killer’ (because every hyped MMO under the sun has been labelled that), servers had hour-long queues, people ventured into the virtual world of Nexus, loved it and stayed. For a while, anyway. Sometime between that and now, Wildstar’s social media following dwindled down to a trickle of players who lamented the game’s demise (and incessantly demanded that it go f2p), then climbed back...

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...