[ View menu ]

Facebook Redesign May Mark the End for Internet Explorer… And Not Only…

Meant to write this last week, but with the opportunity for another quick non-personal post so readily presenting itself, I put it off, though the changed notification made me worry that the redesign may be launched soon and the post will end up coming after the fact, which I wanted to avoid. But, despite leaving this for the last day of the week, that hasn’t happened yet, so it worked out well enough… For this one post, at least, because the issue itself won’t be working out at all.

Now I know it’s very popular to hate Internet Explorer, and it has been pretty much all along. For a while, it was a reasonable attitude, for a number of reasons, but after it stopped making a point of being different, adhering better to the standards, and it also stopped representing rotten practices used against competitors, allowing the browser “market” to become more open, that changed. For years now, the new dominant browser, Chrome, represents those rotten practices, both it and the main alternative, Firefox, do things differently, accepting browser-specific commands, with prefixes, and now they’re even using more system resources, which was another reason for the complaints against Internet Explorer.
Of course, there is the fact that Internet Explorer stopped being developed quite some time ago, and even before that time it developed at a much slower pace. But for me that always was a good thing, pushing against this insane quick release cycle that’s now the norm, and which the other browsers fully embraced. And, as long as security updates will keep coming, to patch vulnerabilities, I’m very fond of the idea of having a browser that doesn’t otherwise change in itself, especially considering the direction of the changes in software for the past decade or so, possibly even more. Also very fond of that being the rule for the operating system and pretty much anything else I regularly use, as long as I’m able to find something that suits me to begin with.
But that’s not what those calling the shots want, is it? Everything must keep changing, and according to their will, being under their control, regardless of the users or anything else. And the Internet perhaps most of all, sites apparently “needing” to use the newest technologies even if, with every change and redesign, they only get worse, becoming less usable, especially on desktop computers, and requiring more system resources. So, instead of getting back to simpler sites, which would work on any system and nearly any browser, or at least having simpler, more static, versions offered as alternatives, there’s this very active push in the opposite direction, and any browser that doesn’t keep up, even some that are still being developed, such as Pale Moon, are being left behind in the dust, and so are their users.

Why am I writing about this again now? Because, while a few other sites went along with this insane push for “new web technologies” earlier and stopped supporting Internet Explorer over the past year or so, the major ones generally continued to function well enough. But that’s about to change, because a Facebook redesign is coming and those of us using Internet Explorer have been seeing a notification at the top of every page for some time, first merely recommending using another browser, supposedly for a better experience, and now stating clearly that it will no longer be supported soon and instructing us to switch to the latest version of our “preferred” browser, with links only to Chrome and Firefox. So, leaving aside the fact that the few images I saw of the new design follow the same pattern of things always getting worse, and screwing desktop users more and more in particular, with a lot of empty space and a good part of the rest being taken up by large “flashy” things, the day when that redesign will hit and Facebook will no longer be accessible with it will likely be the most appropriate choice for the “death” of Internet Explorer… And, as I already mentioned, possibly of other alternatives that also don’t follow this dreadful trend as well.
I wonder how long it will be until that redesign will hit, and if those of us still insisting on using a browser that doesn’t support it will be allowed to stay on the current one for a while longer. If so, I doubt it’ll be for too long, but I also saw that some have been forced onto the new design already, so maybe they’ll at least time it to more or less match the end of support for Windows 7 or something along those lines. And then there is the simple m.facebook.com, and I have used it in the past when they were changing things and there were issues for a few days, but that’s much simpler than it needs to be and wastes an awful lot of space on a monitor, being designed for feature phones.

Interestingly, as you can see in the statistics, over the past year I actually had a significant increase in visitors using Internet Explorer here, admittedly nearly all of them from China and Japan. But I guess something happened there, possibly some instructions coming down, because while I keep getting far more visits from those countries, and from China in particular, than I used to get before, in recent months those visitors are using Chrome as well… Or Chrome or something that presents itself as Chrome, at least, since I believe that for example Vivaldi does that, supposedly because of Google‘s rotten practices, blocking any other browser from certain features on their sites even if it’s one based on Chromium and supports them, something that the developers of these alternatives get around by changing those user agent strings, eliminating themselves from reports and artificially increasing Chrome’s apparent market share in order to be able to show that they actually can indeed fully support those features.
Speaking of Vivaldi, that is my alternative of choice, and in fact the only one I grudgingly started using regularly, after GOG.com stopped supporting Internet Explorer, a year ago, but even it wouldn’t be something I’d actually choose to use. Does check a lot of the right boxes, having a large number of clear options, not something like that unexplained pile of values Firefox has, allowing a lot of customization from there, without requiring extensions, also allowing the basic fact of setting the new tab page to be the same local file as the homepage and quickly seeing a list of recently closed tabs and reopening any of them, and being better aware of privacy and users not wanting programs that keep “calling home” and gathering and sending stuff. But it is still based on Chromium, which is a huge red flag in itself. Past that, for example it doesn’t seem to have something as basic as a working popup blocker! You can enable the function, but that’s apparently a Chromium feature that doesn’t actually work in it, and when I asked they said they can’t help me with that. And it also seems to have issues with the major security software products, as I now know that for some reason ESET frequently makes it stop loading pages and if it’s closed without first closing all those pages and trying to open a blank or local one it’ll be messed up in a way that won’t allow it to start at all anymore, and Bitdefender completely blocks it from starting unless you add it to the advanced threat defense exceptions.

But, to return to the matter at hand, as I already stated, I guess that redesign will pretty much be the end of the road for Internet Explorer, and possibly for those other browsers as well, unless they’ll change to follow Google’s “orders”. I mean, even Edge did, completely, so the future looks grim, with Chrome taking on Internet Explorer’s role as the browser “villain” from the days when it actually was ever more, and in fact being much worse than it ever was from multiple points of view, but nevertheless having far less anger and hate directed at it, and far fewer trying to push back. As with anything, a few big corporations just care for control, power and money and already have enough of each to get away with pretty much anything, some of those in the business, in this case developers and webmasters, are drawn to, and possibly trained in, that mindset and aid them by also enforcing their mentality on what few potential alternatives might appear, and the masses just don’t care, just taking the path of least resistance and readily allowing themselves to be herded, possibly even lashing out against those who might try to push back, for stepping out of line. Meanwhile, those of us who know what we want and won’t just follow the crowd, whether what we want is something entirely new or, as in this case, preserving something that used to work and still should, are being battered from all sides and trampled over.

Written by Cavalary on October 20, 2019 at 6:43 PM in IT & Copyright | 0 Comments

Another Half Marathon Distance Before Turning 35

Turned 35 today, but that doesn’t mean much; just this ball of metal and rock that we keep trashing so dreadfully being pretty much in the same spot on its orbit as it was when I was unfortunately thrown onto it through no choice of my own one more time. May say that it’s a somewhat round number, but that doesn’t matter much either, so I’ll pretty much leave all of that aside…. Unless you want to consider the fact that I covered a half marathon distance again yesterday as a way to “honor” this and not the marathon that took place the day before and which I didn’t take part in, but that’s your choice and your problem.

To get the other odds and ends out of the way before getting to yesterday, Friday I did start Venetica, but just to test that the actual game starts as well, without saving, so it doesn’t count and the plan is still to finish Kingmaker first. Still on the topic of software, but this time referring to security software, my trial of Arcabit Antivirus expired Saturday afternoon, but it does continue to function, only without getting more updates after that point, so I could delay restoring again from that backup and switching to something else and am in fact still delaying it. The plan would be to get around to it tomorrow, but it is, as always, a scary prospect. But to return to Saturday, that was the only day during this period when I timed the squats, but did two rounds then, in 2:13 and 2:17, respectively, even though the second time it was in the kitchen, not long after the first and just after eating a little. As for Sunday, that morning I really didn’t mean to wake up to watch the race, but I nevertheless ended up waking up right at 8 AM, hearing the sounds the HDDs make when the backup script runs, and I knew I’ll just keep thinking of that and be unable to get back to sleep anyway, so I watched it after all and went back to sleep after it, and then spent more time in bed in the evening, even if I only actually slept for another hour or so, wanting to rest before Monday’s run.
On the other hand, again noticed something odd while breathing on Friday, and while it eventually lessened, it continued since then as well, this feeling that I occasionally have for quite some time now, that something is there and my right lung is struggling, feeling partially as it does when I have a bad cold, as I almost always feel the problem mainly on the right side and pretty much radiating from that same spot when that happens. But the results I get while running obviously show that it’s not something bad, or at least not yet. And I hope the fact that I lost a toenail when I was cutting them Saturday evening won’t become a problem either. It’s that one which had a bruise under it multiple times and I kept being worried of losing it, but I thought I had been in the clear for some time, yet that time it just came right off, the whole thing, revealing another one underneath, albeit an obviously thinner one and with an odd shape, so put a bandage there then and kept it until after yesterday’s run and now it remains to be seen how it will grow and what will happen next. Should probably have some tests done again, for a number of reasons, and I guess you can connect this to turning 35, and I believe the request must be made during the month when your birthday is to get, or at least to have a chance to get, them done for free, so let’s see. Fear the results though, of course, especially when it comes to my kidneys.

Yesterday I had set the alarm at 1:30 PM and meant to leave at 3:30 PM, yet got up at 1:15 PM and still only left at 3:45 PM. Had an apple, added the few raisins I still had around to the yogurt and cereals, ate the last part of the baked pumpkin, which I had saved for this, made the usual tea I tend to make when I run but drank all of it before leaving, and also had an energy bar I had been saving for such a run, though it had expired in July, and one clove of garlic, taking two more with me. Also meant to weigh myself before leaving, but forgot, but I barely had 47 kg with clothes on after I got back. Felt something of a cramp in my left thigh at some point, but it seemed all right by the time I left. And the weather was fine, sunny and with little wind, though it’d have been better if it’d have been cooler, since the reported temperature when I left was 26°C. Dropped a little by the time I finished, but couldn’t have been by much.
The time was 1:43:15, with sector times of 4:19, 5:02, 5:55, 4:29, 5:01, 5:47, 4:32, 5:06, 5:54, 4:32, 5:09, 5:59, 4:29, 5:11, 6:03, 4:36, 5:15, 6:04, 1:53, 6:07 and 1:52, making for lap times of 15:16, 15:17, 15:32, 15:40, 15:43 and 15:55, plus 9:52 on that final portion. Being 23 seconds slower than the record makes it a very good time that’s also not frustrating, which it would have been if I’d have ended up very close to 1:43, and even more so if I’d have been under 1:43 but not by enough. Still, while anything under 1:45 would have been acceptable, especially considering how little I had trained for this now, and any new second best time, so under 1:44:04, would have been good, I did try to aim for a new record, having those lap times memorized and hoping for a more controlled run with that target, knowing I won’t be able to keep it up if I’ll start so quickly but aiming to lose no more than 30 seconds on the first four laps, about 25 of them on the first three, and then gain that time back on laps five and six, with a similar time on that final portion that would have ideally allowed me to just squeeze under that 1:42:52. But I never really felt that I could do it and, while it actually worked out to being exactly 25 seconds behind at that point, the lap three time and the effort required for it made it quite clear that I had no chance, and then lap four pretty much destroyed even what traces of hope might have remained. Still gave it all I had, but instead of gaining I ended up losing two more seconds even on lap five, and despite managing a new fastest lap six, and also the only one so far under 16 minutes, and a new fastest final portion, that only meant gaining a total of 18 seconds.
There were a fair number of people, oddly enough causing more problems on the first lap and a half, the next three laps or so after that seeming clearer, before things went as expected and it seemed to get more crowded again as I was about halfway through lap five. But it was mainly a matter of weaving through them and going the long way around now and then, with few moments when I had to slow or really squeeze through and just one that I clearly remember when I had to briefly stop, on sector three of lap one, when a man and a little girl riding bicycles were passing in between a woman with a pram and another with two dogs, and since the girl was alongside the bike lane, not in front of the man, on it, that pretty much left me with nowhere to go for a moment, before I could squeeze between her and the dogs. Do seem to recall another brief stop, perhaps on lap six, but I don’t have the details anymore, just the face of a woman right in front of me, and I wonder whether I got confused, considering how tired I was at that point, possibly mixing some older memory with the moment when I just managed to squeeze past what was almost a roadblock. Either way, the people did cause me to lose some time, but it probably wouldn’t have been enough for a new record. A temperature more like last week would have probably made the difference, on the other hand.
In terms of physical issues, my calves seemed to mean to cramp a little at first, though they were eventually fine, my right leg being what I again had to manage more, again starting on lap four, when the knee again started to bother me, and at one point, briefly, that hip as well. But I did manage it and it also got better after a while. It seems likely that I did that by favoring that leg a bit too much, as now I feel some pain just above my left ankle, on the left, and wonder whether I should watch out to avoid a possible stress fracture or it’s something else, but at the time it meant I could focus on the fact that I was starting to feel that I was about to crap myself from sector two of lap five, despite having done so quite thoroughly before leaving. But that was what the garlic was for, so ate that at the start of sector three of lap five, likely losing a few seconds because of that, and after a few of the expected cramps that also got better. In fact, on lap six I had a quite obvious case of runner’s high, feeling like I was flying and everything was fine and briefly thinking that I might yet have a chance… Until I saw that first sector time, proving that I obviously wasn’t flying in the least, but instead getting a fair bit slower, and just pushed to stay under 16 minutes on that lap as well.
Was quite lucky with the shower I took after getting back, since the water suddenly started getting colder as I was rinsing myself, so I finished it with it starting to pretty much feel just lukewarm despite being all the way towards hot, but I did finish it like that… And then realized that even needing to finish it with completely cold water would have been somewhat lucky, as I saw posts mentioning the water turning off completely, both hot and cold, in a pretty significant part of the city, not too far away, the fact that we stopped getting hot water for a while here as well being a consequence of that. Seems to have been fixed later in the evening though, so I wouldn’t have needed to go to bed without showering either way, but it’d sure have been a strange and unpleasant situation.

As for today, since I had decided to order Oathbringer to use that code and some additional little discounts obtained for the few reviews I had translated and posted on that store’s site and had received the message stating that I could pick it up yesterday, I meant to do that now, and also go buy some stuff while I was out and had the metro card as well, the idea being to probably get back just before the match. However, after sleeping poorly, having the upstairs neighbor make noise as well and eventually getting up around 12:40 PM, after dad left, I found a note from him which, among other things, mentioned that I should get back by 7:30 PM, since a meeting of those living here was to start at 8 PM and I’d have to pass through them to come in, therefore likely being stopped or at least asked to call him to attend, which he didn’t want to. And the note also mentioned needing one kind of cat food, for here and for the cats at grandmother’s as well. So I had something more to look for and a good two hours less to do it, meaning that something had to be taken off the plan, and it wasn’t until after I actually went out, just after 2:45 PM, that I made up my mind.
The original plan had me go to Auchan first, since one thing I definitely needed was bread, but since I couldn’t connect that to the others and do still have bread for today, that was what I gave up on, going straight to that store, which I reached at 3:30 PM, leaving some five minutes later with the book. Then I just ignored the Kaufland I passed by and went to that bigger Carrefour, which I reached at 4:25 PM, buying a few things but seeing that the kind of cat food I needed wasn’t that cheap there anymore. So I then went to that other Kaufland and the pet shop that’s there, buying the cat food from that shop and just carrots from Kaufland, the self-checkout again complaining that the wrong item had been placed there even though I didn’t try to cheat in the least this time, but the employee didn’t even wait for me to say something, coming right over and overriding the error, so I wonder if it wasn’t some known problem. Not quite sure when I got to that Kaufland, but left with everything at 6:10 PM and I’d say the whole thing probably took me about half an hour, or possibly just a little less than that. Then I also passed through the farmers’ market from that area, reaching it at 6:25 PM and just getting one kilogram of apples, deciding to accept the offer of the person selling them, who saw me looking and offered a price of 2 RON instead of the listed one of 2.5 RON. Did tell her that I’ll look a little more and checked out those sold by another person first, but then I went right back, not going to others as well, to leave more quickly. Considered passing through the Carrefour from that area as well, looking for some bread from there, since that bigger one didn’t have anything I could be interested in, but eventually came right back, getting here just before 6:55 PM and needing to go out again tomorrow.

Written by Cavalary on October 15, 2019 at 10:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

International Day Against DRM 2019

Today is the International Day Against DRM, which should be a far, far bigger and better known event than it is, considering the plague that DRM has always been and how it keeps getting worse, adding ever more restrictions in ever more ways even for paying users and granting more and more control to the rights holders, the major ones in particular. This year’s theme actually focuses on how DRM expanded to add dreadful restrictions to education as well, when that, as well as knowledge and information in general, should definitely be freely accessible to all who desire it, considering both meanings of the term “free”. And, of course, ideally access to all content, or more specifically to digital copies of it, should be free, or at least otherwise unrestricted and requiring at the very most covering for that negligible amount of real resources required to transfer that individual copy, and allowing that to be done in multiple ways, not only by actually paying or putting up with advertisements, as it is now, but also by such things as allowing one’s computer to be used for distributed computing for a little while, just enough to cover that cost, or doing a little remote work, perhaps in some citizen science projects, which would have the added benefit of promoting those projects and perhaps drawing more participants to them, if some would like to continue taking part.
Unfortunately, what we get are things getting ever worse and a large amount of disinterest and apathy about the issue in society. Of course, that’s the case when it comes to just about everything else as well, and there are far more important matters, mainly the environment, poverty and individual rights and freedoms. But even looking only at those topics, this is about some rights and freedoms and poverty means lacking access to resources, services or content, and this therefore is actually a part of it, artificially enforcing poverty by adding restrictions and imposing artificial scarcity. It’s something that increases inequality, reduces happiness and, while obviously not being on the level of access to clean water, food, shelter or medical services, access to knowledge and information may well be connected to those as well.
So, of course, you can observe the day in the suggested manner, not paying for, and preferably not accessing in any way, any content protected by DRM, especially if the DRM requires connecting somewhere and can therefore be observed, the reduced use showing up in statistics. You can do even better by sending some messages to those who may do something about it, raising awareness, gathering support and/or taking part in some protests or other off-line events. But what matters far more is what many people do in the long term, how many refuse anything plagued by DRM and stick only to DRM-free content every day, either completely avoiding or finding, shall we say, alternate ways to obtain and use what’s not readily available in a legitimate DRM-free form for them. If that will happen, this battle will be much easier than those more important ones I mentioned, without actually requiring people to do much if you think about it, and granting the tremendous majority far more than they had before once victory will be achieved.

Written by Cavalary on October 12, 2019 at 4:39 PM in IT & Copyright | 0 Comments

Arcabit, Venetica and a Tiny Protest

With my trial of Arcabit Antivirus nearing its end, today I installed this month’s Windows updates, to see how it goes before what I mean to do next, which is restoring from that backup again and trying something else. And the updates themselves seem to have gone well, but after it rebooted the second time, which seems normal this month, there was another one of those freezes on the boot screen, with just two lines there and 9C in the lower right corner, requiring a hard reset for things to get back to normal. Seems fine at the moment though, so I guess I will install everything after restoring, and then make another backup to finally have a newer one as well. But I may leave that for next week, if that trial expiring will just mean no longer getting updates, which is how I understand it works.
However, still on the topic of Arcabit Antivirus, Saturday I noticed that it had silently failed. Something had seemed odd after updating it the previous night, but I didn’t check then, only noticing a problem when I right clicked the notification area icon after waking up, wanting to update it, and the menu didn’t show up. And then, when I clicked that to open the interface and started the update that way, the notification area icon became a blank space. So I checked whether it still worked and found that it didn’t, even if everything showed up as enabled. Turning the file protection off and back on didn’t fix it, but a reboot did, and it hasn’t happened again since. But, of course, this was never meant to be a serious test, but just something to get me through another month, so I don’t really care. Care somewhat more for the fact that there was again a single double middle click that I noticed during the period covered by this post, on that same day.

The timed squats during this period were only 2:20 Saturday, 2:28 Sunday and 2:24 today. But since I mentioned Sunday, that was when I received a warning for a “political” part in a post on the GOG.com forums, where I was replying to someone, being told that another violation will result in a ban. What was more messed up was that I just received an e-mail asking me to rate how the support ticket was resolved, and I had to track down the supposed support ticket to even see the warning, which I’d say rather defeats the point of a warning! Also wonder how come I lasted this long without a warning, if they became so strict about this, and how long I’ll last without a ban.
But at least I’m still able to post now, and was obviously also able to post after I ate Monday night, so in the early hours of October 8, when I closed my little giveaway and sent the games to the winners… And also received Venetica from the Community Giveaway, after asking for it just before going to eat. And I actually already installed it, deciding just before 5 AM last night to see whether there will be any point in doing so again after restoring from that backup, and ending up going to bed at 5:20 AM as a result. Didn’t actually start the game yet though, not even without saving, just going through settings and closing it again.

If that’s how yesterday ended for me, it began when my alarm rang at 10:30 AM. Was awake for a little while, but didn’t get up before it rang again, being quite sure that it was going to happen soon and wanting to rest as much as possible. Since I didn’t have the metro card, in order to attend the protest against the amendment removing the protection status and allowing hunting of bears directly, I guess so there will no longer be any need for those outrageously excessive exceptions that kept being granted so far, which recently passed the Senate without a single vote against and is moving to the Chamber of Deputies for a final decision, I needed to walk to Izvor Park, so the plan was to leave at noon and I was just one or two minutes late. Felt that I was rather slow on the way, feeling tired and also stopping twice to get stuff out of my shoes and once to very quickly check for that kind of cat food that is now hard to find in some other store, but was nevertheless there at 1:05 PM, when hardly anyone was there except the reporters. Did see the banners and loudspeakers on a bench and one guy who was obviously a protester on another, but even he was a bit away from the reporters and just waiting, so I first went to the toilet and bought this month’s issue of National Geographic, returning some 15 minutes later.
I guess I participated after that, also taking one of the signs which had been brought and standing with the others, only breaking away for a few pictures, which are of poor quality anyway, since I only had my phone with me. Not that much happened, since I counted a total of 16 participants by the time I left, and a peak of 12, since some had already left by the time others arrived. Also counted 12 reporters, though four left early, I guess the interest being not just due to the fact that the protest was taking place right across the road from the Parliament, but also because it was organized by Remus Cernea, after a few years of him staying away from taking on such activities.
The listed schedule stated that the protest was supposed to end at 4 PM, Remus said we’ll stay until 3:30 PM, in case more will come, but as I already mentioned, most had already left by the time I did, at 3 PM. And those who were still there had pretty much just been chatting for some time at that point, just briefly taking the signs again for a few more pictures after a new person arrived. Which, of course, meant that I felt quite awkward, though I probably said more than one’d normally expect from me, mainly to a girl from Demos who was there. Didn’t say anything to the woman who was wearing a jacket that looked like crocodile leather and leopard print pants though, and I don’t think anyone did, regardless of how awfully inappropriate it was at a protest against hunting, since she was obviously quite sick and was attending in spite of that. Either way, what made me feel particularly awkward was when Remus made a point of greeting me right away and saying he was glad to see me again, and later mentioned my comments on his page and how supposedly 95% of the time they’re good and he agrees and we shouldn’t focus on the remaining 5% or on the “millimeter” of bad we see in each other, only making the idea general, referring to how people should act if they want to get anything done, after that. Well, there’s a whole lot more we disagree on than he said, but definitely agree with how things should go, of course, focusing on the common points and not the differences.
Had also somehow “managed” to pick up a long strand of spider web at one point, and it took me a while to at least get rid of most of it, and I have no idea whether I had picked up the spider as well or not. There was a spot that started itching in a somewhat worrying way on my chest after I left, but it seems better now. The sunburn may take a bit longer to get rid of, since I “managed” to get that as well, on the back of my neck, ears and even nose, but I guess it’s not exactly surprising, since it was a sunny day and after leaving the protest I didn’t just walk back as well, but took quite a detour, looking for some more of that cat food, since we were down to the last one. Checked a few stores along the way as well, but eventually got to that other Kaufland, with that pet shop next to it, and that pet shop was the only place where I found some more. At a higher price, but I nevertheless bought ten, as it worked out as being just marginally cheaper for the same quantity than purchasing the new ones, with a lower quantity, from Auchan would have been, assuming I’d have even found those there again. As it was, didn’t need to go to Auchan as well… Though that also meant I couldn’t use their free bus and had to walk back, feeling increasingly sleepy and out of it on the way, and getting back here at 5:05 PM.

As for this week’s run, that was Tuesday, and I went for 16 kilometers again. Ate and drank the usual stuff plus some baked pumpkin and left at 4:05 PM, also with an undershirt under the running t-shirt, the reported temperature being around 14°C, that being the last of the cool days, before the highs returned above 20°C now. But it was nevertheless sunny and the wind wasn’t an issue either, so I aimed for 1:17 and actually managed 1:16:09, with sector times of 4:25, 5:10, 5:52, 4:23, 4:56, 5:49, 4:22, 4:58, 5:49, 4:26, 4:58, 5:50, 4:26, 5:00 and 5:45, making for lap times of 15:27, 15:08, 15:09, 15:14 and 15:11, again only looking at the seconds. This also means the fastest laps four and five yet, despite managing my right leg during them. Probably due to trying to spare my left hip, after it had started bothering me a little after Sunday’s squats, pretty much from the start of lap four my right knee felt like it was in danger of sliding out of place, trying to bend it less resulted in the foot threatening me with cramps, and trying to manage that as well resulted in my ankle and eventually even my tibia sending warnings, but it all held together in the end. They still bother me a little though, so I hope there won’t be worse problems next week.
To return to that run, the only other issue had to do with people, but even that was far less of one than the week before, just meaning that I had to weave or take the long way around a number of times. There was a single moment that stood out a little, on the very last sector, when a kid stumbled onto the path, looking back and away from me, stopped when I was about to go behind him and started again as I quickly switched to trying to pass in front of him, breaking my rhythm as I had to avoid him. But I actually ended up using that as an opportunity to sort of reset and push harder, losing speed over the last minute and a half or so, since I had started way too early to maintain that pace, but nevertheless managing a great final sector and lap. Then again, the only poor lap was the first one, and that one did worry me at the time, but I started pushing harder from the second and could keep it up, the first being left as the slowest one. Was still just aiming to just squeeze under 1:17 at first, but after lap three I started thinking of 1:16:30, thinking I needed to commit from sector two of lap four, since if I’ll just push on sector three and end up failing to stay under 1:01 after four laps, I may be too tired on lap five. So I did push from sector two of lap four, managed 1:00:58 at the end of that lap and then was even faster on the fifth, so I shouldn’t have been worried either way.

Went out again that evening, at 7:05 PM, getting back just after 9 PM. Went to this Kaufland and Carrefour, also dropping off those things I take to Kaufland, so going there first again. Dad had also mentioned that cat food, but there was none at Kaufland and Carrefour apparently switched to the new ones, with the reduced quantity, keeping their price as it was, higher than they used to be even at Mega Image, and also more than what I ended up buying those with the previous quantity for from that pet shop yesterday, so I obviously ignored the fact that they had them. And, either way, the main thing I went to buy were onions, and got some cheap ones from Kaufland, after going through both crates and picking pretty much every single one that still seemed quite all right, among the pile of mostly bad ones. And I also did use my own plastic bag, and the self-checkout as well. As for Carrefour, did get a few things from there as well… And ended up leaving with more money than I had when I went in, since as I stopped to arrange things better a woman came from behind and slipped me a 10 RON bill, telling me to say “bogdaproste”, which is what you’re supposed to say when receiving alms, especially when they’re given in the name of someone who died. I was rather too stunned to react properly, merely asking why and meaning to refuse but ending up just saying what I was asked to say when the woman just repeated the request and left. Should have probably at least asked for the name of the deceased she was giving for, if that was the case, but, as I said, I was too stunned.

Written by Cavalary on October 10, 2019 at 8:31 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

New Finds – XVII

I guess I am trying to add another post to this series, so quickly after the previous one. It’d be great if the need for non-personal posts will make me actually manage to write more of them, but we’ll see what happens. At this point, despite the fact that it actually will include five bands this time, this one doesn’t even change the number of bands not included in such posts, since last night I went through what had been posted on the Power of Female Fronted Metal group since I wrote that previous post and added four bands, and then checked again before starting to write it today and added one more. Should also note that the last band included in the post isn’t one of those added, since one of those added just had one song uploaded, so I couldn’t make the usual two picks, but while I normally just ignore songs from bands I had heard of before ever since the group became so active, for some reason last night I decided to update the links for one such band, so I added that as the fifth one now.

To start with the band added today, that’s Hamen. Since I wasn’t rushing nearly as much as last night, I actually listened to most of their one full album on their Deezer page and there may be better choices there, but since that site requires signing up and logging on in order to listen to full songs, I don’t link to songs posted there and will just go with the song that was posted on the group, My True Freedom, as first pick. As for the older song for the second pick, let’s say Winter. Still those lengthy instrumental bridges in the second part of songs that are so awfully common and keep bothering me, and the low production value, particularly notable on the older songs, hurts them, but they have something interesting as well.

Moving on to the bands added last night and going through them alphabetically, the first is Everfall and, with three videos posted and one of them being for a song in Spanish, my two picks were not a matter of choice. But that’s definitely not a problem, as both Revenge and Damned Eternity are good songs, I’d say the latter in particular. They may be better composed than performed and recorded, and could quite clearly use a more powerful voice, or perhaps a male voice in addition to the female one, but even so Everfall may well be the best actual new find in this post, at least at such a quick glance and based entirely on my subjective opinion and preferences, of course. They even managed to make those bridges somewhat interesting, which is an achievement in itself. And they’re also the first band from Bolivia to catch my attention so far.

Next would be Golden Jubilee, a name which hardly fits a metal band but which makes far more sense when you see that they apparently had many blues influences early on, and some things are still noticeable. Whether that’s good or bad depends on each person’s preferences, of course, but it clearly makes for songs that are generally softer and slower, and rely less on the instruments and sounds usually associated with metal. The self-titled song and Heal Me may be the worst examples of those differences out of the songs I listened to from them, and the latter also features two other artists, but I am choosing them as my picks just because they sound much better to me. The production and even the voices themselves also seem better, which is odd, especially in case of the production, since the others are from the same album. But when you have a song with the same name as the band and another that features other artists, I guess it’s only normal to put more effort, and possibly also resources, into them.

Hypersonic comes next, and no, I have no idea what the name has to do with the Christian theme I see in their songs. Raising my eyebrows at those lyrics to say the least, and some sounds seem to belong more in electronic songs, or something of that sort, plus that those instrumental bridges are here as well and they’re not doing anything interesting with them either, but they do have a good, solid sound overall, and a powerful voice. Prayer in the Dark is clearly the best example of that out of the songs I listened to. I’ll go with a much older song as my second pick though, Wings of Life, to show where they started from, even if that’s a somewhat different song, more of a ballad, and also the only one from their first EP that apparently wasn’t also on their first full album. Not sure why that was, but to me it sounds clearly better than the other three on that EP.

As for the fifth band, the one I had heard of before, that’s Dialith and they’re the reason why I said above that Everfall may well be the best actual new find in this post and not simply the best band in this post. They have everything on Bandcamp, so you can go there if you’re interested, but I’ll take the easy way for the picks for this post, sticking to their YouTube channel and therefore, at this point, to The Sound of Your Voice and Libra. Despite having just released their first full album in August, what I’m hearing is solid, powerful, confident, well produced, professional… And the fact that the theme has to do with the sixth mass extinction, currently being caused by humans, is definitely also a plus. You may say that the overall sound is rather typical, but there are some exceptions there as well and, either way, what’s more important is the quality, and Dialith are clearly among those who not only do things well, but they do them well pretty much from the beginning too, which is even rarer.

Written by Cavalary on October 6, 2019 at 8:27 PM in Music | 0 Comments