Happy, happy day

Because it's my birthday! Well it's not exactly my birthday. I was born in April. But according to our customs, today is my "name day". It's Saint Andrew's day. And my name is Andrei (meaning Andrew in English), so it's my day.

Although I'm not a religious person, I can't just pretend that this isn't a very important day. It's the day of the historical (biblical) character that inspired my parents to give me this beautiful name. Actually I'm named after my grandfather, but that doesn't matter. He was probably named after the saint. Or his grandfather, who cares. Anyway, as I was saying, this is Saint Andrew's day. With that idea in mind I was trying to remember what exactly did this character do to become a saint. What were his great accomplishments? You see in Romanian tradition, maybe in other cultures, there are at least two customs related to this day. I mean two that I heard of, it's possible there are more. But I'll tell you about them later. First I did a quick search on the Internet, to see what I can find out about the guy whose name I bear. And this is a short version of what I found:

Saint Andrew is a Christian Apostle and the elder brother of Saint Peter. Boy, those two must have been the joy of any parent :) He is the patron saint of Romania (that's were I live) and Russia. That's the country everyone thinks Romanians are from when they hear them speak. I don't know why, there aren't many things in common between the two. A Romanian can't understand the Russian language and a Russian definitely can't understand the Romanian language. But anyway, back to Saint Andrew. After all that wondering through the world spreading religion to all those barbaric tribes (or maybe running from the romans, who knows), he was crucified on a X-shaped cross, now commonly known as "St. Andrew's Cross". Why X-shaped? It was his request, because he didn't consider himself worthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Christ. So he died and became a saint. Good for him.

I was telling you about the fact that there are two traditions related to this day. So here they are:

  • the first one is related to love and romance and happy things. It is said that on the night of St. Andrew, whoever places a little sweet basil under his/her pillow dreams that night the one that is his/her soul mate. That's an old habit told by the elders and many people believe it's true.
  • the second one is on the horror side. It is said that on the night of St. Andrew, the so coled "strigoi" (after a quick dictionary search, it seams it means ghosts or specters in English) come out to stalk and attack people. Pretty much like Halloween. To be protected from these creatures you must place garlic at your windows and doors frames so they can't come in the house. That reminds me a little of the Dracula stories. Maybe Bram Stoker was inspired from more than one of the local legends when he wrote his famous book.

There might be other traditions related to this day in Romanian culture, but these are the only ones I know of. The first one I only recently heard about. I don't believe and I don't practice any of these, but are really nice stories and go well on a cold winter night, in front of the fireplace, with a cup of hot wine/chocolate/tea.

But now, I'm off to get drunk, because it's my name day. So it's a happy, happy day. For me and for those that I'll have to buy drinks to. I think I'll end up broke after tonight, but it doesn't matter. I'll be really drunk and I won't care.

I am (not) one of a kind?

After all those religious ads that showed up in the AdSense boxes (which I managed to get rid of eventually) , now I am faced with yet another problem. Not ad related though.

Let me tell you how I picked up the name "The Yoboo". I wanted to create a thing that was mine, something where I can put anything I want, my own corner of the Internet. And I ended up with this crappy thing :). Just kidding. At first I thought I should pick a name that was very descriptive, that would say what my project is about right from the start. I soon realized that I was unable to do such a thing. Not because all the good names out there are taken. It's because I didn't know what I was to write about, what was my main target audience, my strong point. You see, I have very many things that I consider interesting, such as graphics (any kind of graphics: drawing, painting, spray-painting, computer generated, body painting, and any other form of graphical interpretation), sculpture (although I don't practice it, I like the idea that you can create something so beautiful out of raw material), pottery, electronics (I like playing with all sorts of gadgets, commercial or home-made), programming, and probably others that I can't remember right now. I will surely place at least an entry here about them, as I stumble into them. So, as you can see, I have relatively many hobbies. It would have been impossible to choose just one of them and use it as a main focus point for the title. So I had a real dilemma.

A few days I said that I won't start anything until I find an appropriate name. Then I changed my mind and I decided to focus on graphics, that being one of my favorites. And I picked a corny name, "Talk About Graphics". As I said, corny. I posted a few entries (not more that 5 I believe) then I got bored with it. I believe it's because I don't like doing something for too long. It gets monotonous and thats one of the things I hate more. So I decided to change things. I started with the name. I thought about it for a few days but I came up with nothing. Then , in a moment of despair, I used one of those word generators you can find online. I gave it a few letters and it spit out about 100 results. It is there where me and The Yoboo first met. It was love at first sight. Isn't that a beautiful love story?

But back to my problem. A few days ago I did a Google search for "The Yoboo" to see whether or not it's indexed by the search engine. I don't care about the others, like Yahoo or MSN Live. I especially don't care about MSN, but that's another story. Anyway, after that I did a search in Google's Blog Search - BETA. I was surprised to see something I saw a few times before, but didn't bother to give it some importance. It appears that 'yoboo' is actually a real word and from the types of results I'm getting when searching for it, at appears to be Chinese. OK then, off to the dictionary I went. And I had no luck. Then I found that there is a registered domain, http://www.yoboo.cn. But I don't know Chinese and that didn't gave any helpful informations. All in all, I think I'll just pretend that The Yoboo is unique and that there isn't anything that even remotely resembles it. But if anyone can find out, please let me know what the hell does yoboo mean?

Yet another day

I thought about what I should write about next. And guess what? I've got nothing. It seems that my life doesn't have all those exciting moments it had when I was a kid. Man, back then I could have talked for hours about anything. Life was great, no worries, no work. The only problem I had to make a decision on was what game I should play next. Ahhh, those were the times. And look at me now! I sound like an old man, all nostalgic and I'm not even 24 years old.

But the reason I'm talking about this is of what happened this morning. I woke up all grumpy and with no mood to go to work. Mind that I'm supposed to get to work at 9 am. I usually wake up around 8:30 sometimes even 9, and get to work around 9:30. But the boss is OK and it isn't actually someone or something that requires me to be there at a certain hour. Anyway, today I got up around 8:45 and I immediately noticed it was a bit colder than usual. I started getting dressed, I now remember I forgot to wash my face, I never take a shower (in the morning, I mean). I grabbed a cup of coffee and I headed towards the window. It was all white. At first I thought it was because of the difference in heat and I tried like an idiot to wipe it clean. That until my eyes started to open up a bit more and I realized that the entire hill in front of my apartment is covered in snow. A beautiful white coat all over the almost whithered grass. The trees carried a pretty decent weight on their branches and the cars could barely be seen (those that were left anyway, the lazy ones I mean).

At that point I felt like I was a five year old kid all over again. I really felt like it was winter, not just a grumpy and cold season. You see, for me and I'm sure that others feel the same way, winter is just not the same if there is no snow. Now I can get in all that holiday spirit, enjoy Christmas and New Year's Eve. That didn't last very long. The damn Sun came up and the snow began to melt. Now it's just like autumn all over again. Damn it. I just hope there will be snow for the holidays, unlike last year.

Methods of making money on line

That must be one of the most discussed subject on the Internet . The idea that you can make money on the web, without a lot of work, makes people spend a lot of money in the process. Now isn't that funny? Trying to earn more money, you spend money, hopping you will receive some income in the end. The truth is that money have always made people behave in strange manners and scamming others has become just a small step in the "circulation of currency".

The Internet has given people a lot of ideas and many of them are not very legit. Wherever there is an exchange of currency, there's sure to be at least one person trying to ripoff someone. As long as there are stupid people, there will be others to take advantage of them. For example, I heard a while ago that some guy notified the police that he had been ripped off on eBay. He paid for the good in advance, but it was never delivered. The funny thing in this story is what he tried to buy: a helicopter! That's right, the full size one, not the toy. I mean, COME ON! Who the hell tries to buy a helicopter on eBay? What was that man thinking? It was going to mail it to him?

I'm not saying that earning money on the Internet is impossible. In fact I'm sure it's very much possible and I'm sure it even involves large sums of money. I just haven't seen any of it yet. But I'm not giving up. I just have to find that little thing that makes the Internet piggy-bank bleed. Then I'll be filthy rich, I'll have a Lamborghini, a huge mansion with a swimming pool and 50 girls in bikini bathing in the sun. Yeah, right!

Until then, I'll just have to try it the old fashion way: do whatever other people are doing, and hopefully have more luck at it then the majority. And on that note I hereby announce my first "Join this" link. I don't plan to fill your head with all sort of money making campaigns, but I think I'll just slip one now and then, here and there. And remember, you always have the AdSense boxes. If you see something that interests you, don't hesitate to click on it. OK, let's just get over with it:

  • uvme.biz - this looks pretty interesting. It's still in beta, or pre-launch as they call it, but it seems very promising. The website is still not completed, but you can find a lot of information about the way things will develop the second they launch. It's worth signing up, just out of curiosity if nothing else. Plus that thing with the "get it while it's hot" has always given me an impulse
  • Big Fish Games - this is one of the fun ones. One of the best "try before you buy" companies. They offer some of the greatest games ever. I'm sure many of you have heard of them and great titles like Virtual Villagers: A New Home (with the sequel Virtual Villagers: The Lost Children) or Diner Dash (and the sequels Diner Dash 2 Restaurant Rescue, Diner Dash Flo on the Go, Diner Dash: Hometown Hero). One of the best thing about them is they offer you 2 free games when you sign-up. A definite must have.

Well, that's all for now. I'll come back soon with new content as soon as I figure out what that will be. Bye!

That was a stupid idea

I opened up this blog today and I noticed something that really bothered me. All that talk about God and religion apparently had a side effect that I didn't anticipate. It seems that now, all the Google AdSense ads on the main page have been "spammed" with religious content. I really freaked out. It's like I try to promote religion in any way I can.

On the other hand, the interesting thing is that I can see just how many types of religions, or should I say churches, there are out there. Without counting those already known by the vast majority of people, I found a few others (actually there were a lot more) that I've never heard about. Nor do I want to hear about them anymore. It's not like I have certain feelings towards those that are a part of them, it just isn't my thing. I find it a useless concept to pray to someone so your life would be better or things like that, instead of actually doing something to improve your life. But it's a big world and we live in a society that claims to respect other people's opinions and beliefs.

As to my problem, I guess I'll just have to limit the words that symbolize the things that I don't want to promote so that AdSense would put less of them. Or hopefully none. I'll have to look a little more into how this advertising method chooses it's content. But I already know it won't be that easy. It's probably "classified information"!

Speed drawing/painting

A while ago I was going over some videos on YouTube.com looking for different drawing techniques and I came across quite a few speed drawings (paintings). For those of you who don't know what speed drawing is, the simplest explanation is to watch one. I don't know the exact definition of the term, but from what I know it's the action which involves the filming of an entire drawing process, playing it at high speed and completing it with an appropriate sound track. The result is a very good insight in how these people work and a very good knowledge resource.

As I said, the videos show you almost the entire drawing process, so you can see how sketching, coloring, shading and highlighting is done. If you want to start learning drawing or even if you are looking to improve your skills, these show you how certain things can be done. They don't beat a drawing class, but they're a good intro and even a better motivation tool.

If you look around on the Internet you'll definitely find all sort of websites dedicated to this form of art, some might call it. One of my favorite is http://www.speed-painting.com. The website owner is Nico Di Mattia and that's the place I've seen some of the best videos. On YouTube (probably even on other video sharing servers) you can find speed drawings of artwork created in the almighty Adobe Photoshop, but you can find some that are real amazing, like the one I've embedded below. It's entirely created using MS Paint. That's right, the lame one that comes with Windows. Just watch the video and you'll see what someone with proper skills and a lot of patience can achieve.

Back to religion

I figured I should say a few more things about my beliefs on religious matters. I say religion as in the "faith in God and other deities". There are of course other uses for the word, but I won't be going into those.

Let's take it all from the beginning, the way The Bible describes how everything happened. God created light, the sky, earth and water, plants and animals and eventually the human. And he set human as master over all living live. Now isn't that a little bit narcissistic? Of course it suits us humans, but that created the idea that human has the "God given right" to do whatever he wants. And why not? We wrote the book. The Bible I mean. We know it was written by humans. It didn't fell from the sky. So if humans wrote the book it's only natural that they written it the way they liked it and the way things were back then. It's not like they were going to say that humans were created to live in harmony with the other creatures of the earth. That way religion would have never been accepted by such a large number of people.

But why is it Christianity so popular? I guess it's a matter of comfort. Before it appeared there were many gods. Each with a specific duty. There were many days of worship, many offerings to be made and many gods that would be mad and vengeful if you forgot about them. That wasn't too nice. Then a religion appeared that said that there is only one God, that he is kind and merciful. That he takes care of all his followers and grants them eternal life in Heaven. That sounded great in my opinion. Why should I give praise to so many gods that will punish me if I don't when I can follow just one god that will take care of me? And when things went bad, it was God's way, God's greater plan for all humans. Stupid. I still can't figure out how thing could get so elaborate as time passes. I think all religions start out from humans inability to explain certain things at a given point in time, so they attribute it to a higher, supernatural being. Also, when bad things happen, the question "why is this happening to me?" finds its answer in God's plan for everything. I find it hilarious that people turn to religion most often when they are at a low point in their lives. And after that claim that God saved them and showed them the way. The way to where?

Anyway, back to The Bible. It says that at first there was just Adam and then Eve was created from his rib. I don't know why from his rib but never mind. You could say that Adam was the only man that gave birth :) Then they upset God by doing something bad: they ate an apple. Oh no! And also became aware that they were naked. And gained knowledge. After that they were banished from the Garden of Eden and became the humans we are today. OK. They first had two sons, Cain and Abel, the first of which killed the second. So far so good. Now human has discovered murder. A real breakthrough. But what happens next? A few years after I mean. How did humans get to populate the planet? There was just one woman. Let's assume that she latter had daughters. Did brothers mate with their sisters? Or did Cain had sex with Eve? Or did they just have a great orgy and no one knows who had who. That's not very ethic is it? Or they didn't thought about it back then: there was no one to judge them :)

That's just one of the many large mysteries of The Bible. I will try to remember others and I will talk about them some other time.

About God and religion

Now that's a delicate subject. I always believed that anyone has the right to express themselves in any form they chose. Well not exactly always. As a child I considered that my point of view was the right one and no one else could change my mind. In time, as I grew up, things took a different turn. But anyway, I was trying to talk about God and what are my opinions about this.

As a child you are told that there is a greater being that takes care of all people, and that it watches over them so that nothing bad happens. When you grow up and realize that things aren't always that good, you are told that it God planned for this and that to happen and that you shouldn't try to understand, because God has a plan for everyone. Many of you probably heard that a few times over the course of your lives. It's seems just a little too stupid to me. Probably because I don't believe in God. Some of you might ask "Why not? Can't you see all the wonderful things that he has created?" Well I can't. I have absolutely no proof that God created anything and no proof that it really exists other than some ancient writings that surely suffered more that a few modifications across time, considering the fact that they were first passed on verbally. And also considering the fact that those stories were told by simple men, without a scholar education. And also, those were times in which very few were interested in scientific discoveries and anything that didn't have an explanation was immediately categorized as a miracle. But those are just a few reasons.

But I will try to talk about this matter some other time. Now I'm feeling a little bit tired. It's been a long day. Let me put my thoughts in a certain order and I'll come back with a more detailed description of my opinion about religion. But let me be clear that I don't speak just of Christianity and the Christian god and I don't try to change anyone's beliefs. I will try as much as possible to refer to religion in general, but I will discuss aspects from a Christian point of view because I am more familiar with it as I was baptized as a catholic.

OK, I feel like I'm falling asleep and I can barely tie two words together. I'll come back on this later.

A new week

So the weekend is over and a new week has started. Back to work.

It's been an hour now since I should have started to do something, anything. Like at least pretend to work. But I have absolutely no motivation. I'm so tired and I want to go back to bed. Or do anything else, it doesn't matter.

I tried to read a few feeds, find out what else has happened in the world while I was relaxing, enjoying the weekend. But that didn't work. My eyes were shutting and my head was tilting left and right. I'm constantly yawning and stretching my muscles like I just got up. And the worst thing is it's only Monday. And even worse, I still have 7 more hours until I go home. Sad.

I think I'll download a game or something. Or play one on line. Anything to get my mind of the fact that I might be doing this for the rest of my life.

What to do

It's been a long time since I posted here. The main reason for that is that I don't really know what to write about. I tried to go for graphics, and even made a few graphics related posts, but I don't think that anybody is interested in that. The information is mainly gathered from Wikipedia, so that's the first place anyone would look if they wanted more details.

At first I thought about doing a personal projects page, but then, when I realized I don't have the time to start any projects, I changed my mind.

A personal page where I can talk about myself and the things that I do every days sounds too boring. And it actually is boring what I do every day. Plus it's not my style to talk about myself (too much).

A few days ago I remembered that I still have this blog, had a little bit of spare time, so I decided to redesign it. Actually all I did was change the graphics and colors and played with the original layout a little. Just to see what I can change. I like it better this way. By the way, if anyone really asks, this design is inspired from a Photoshop layout tutorial I've stumbled upon. So yes, it's copied from someone. I can't really remember from who.

Anyway, as I was saying, I don't know what should I do with this blog. Maybe an online money making resource index. That wouldn't be cool at all. There's so many of those. But who knows. Maybe this one would be the best of all. Or not.

I guess I'll just have to wait and it will come to me. Sooner or later.