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Wasting the Current Opportunity Makes for a Hopeless World Environment Day

Yes, today is World Environment Day, and I should be posting something about it. With this year’s topic being biodiversity, I probably should in fact be posting something specifically about that. But I guess everyone else will, and some might even move past that completely unreasonable optimism that makes most keep saying that the doomsday clock is stuck at a few seconds to midnight, making you wonder only whether they’re just lying to everyone else or to themselves as well. So I’ll just keep it short and stick to what I already said in the previous post: It’s clear we wasted this immense opportunity offered by the current circumstances, setting ourselves even more firmly on the path of destruction and worsening problems for decades to come and, when it comes to the environment in particular, ensuring that everything is lost, yet we must keep fighting because we can’t allow ourselves to give up. Not because there’s any reason for hope left, not because we may still reasonably believe we have a chance, but because we have a responsibility, a duty towards the other species we share this planet with, towards the ecosystem as a whole, and even the tiniest shred of a theoretical chance they may still have will go away if we don’t.
Can you say anything else when a mere quick glance over recent environmental news from a single source shows that, for example, even the recent reduced activity and restrictions only slowed the growth of the atmospheric greenhouse gas levels back to the past decade’s average when we know that it needs to be quickly halted and then reversed, air pollution quickly returns to previous levels and may even exceed them as soon as restrictions are eased, even the completely inadequate existing environmental regulations are being increasingly discarded and even the leading calls for changing the system still focus on growth and state that the private sector should lead the way forward when either of these absolutely ensures that there will be no chance whatsoever of averting particularly terrible outcomes? I highly doubt you can… Or, well, if you can, I’ll definitely say you’re guilty of that completely unreasonable optimism I was mentioning above, and either lying to everyone else or to everyone else and also to yourself.

Written by Cavalary on June 5, 2020 at 7:06 PM in Environment | 0 Comments

Little Reason for Hope, But Information Campaigns May Buy Some Time

I kept saying I’ll write a post about what should be done to tackle the far more important environmental and social crises, now that we know drastic measures can be taken and the economy can be negatively affected and even individual rights and freedoms can be restricted when we recognize that a crisis exists and want to solve it, but kept putting it off. The topic’s too important and, far from getting better and easier in time, I find it much harder to write about serious non-personal topics and the end result if I try is clearly worse than what I managed over a decade ago… And now it can even be said that the moment is lost, because the measures are being relaxed even if the crisis that is currently recognized is far from over, there are more and more protests even against those that remain and great efforts and sums of money are directed towards the economy, in large part to allow it to continue as before instead of using the incredible opportunity for the absolutely necessary overhaul of the entire system. So I guess some things could be done, for a little while, but sooner rather than later people again proved that they’re, well, human, and if given the choice the tremendous majority, be they those in power or the masses of regular people, will just keep making the wrong one time and time again, regardless of the amount of correct information available.
Still, it’s this part about information that seems to still work, and it’s probably the one that worked the best from the beginning. Even if campaigns urging and pressuring people to act in a certain way are far more likely to have the desired effect than merely providing the information and expecting people to make the correct choice, it may not be too useful, the impact of individual actions being a mere fraction of what’s necessary when it comes to what’s needed to solve the major environmental and social problems, but it would at least be something and we now know it can be implemented quickly and on a large scale and maintained even when other measures start to fail. Of course, a complete overhaul of society and the systems it’s based on is required, and this is something that needs to be implemented from the top, by enacting uncompromising laws and regulations and strictly enforcing them, but if something so simple would have a chance of changing individual behaviors on a relatively large scale, it may buy a little more time. It won’t be much, one electoral cycle most probably being the most that could be hoped for when missing the opportunity provided by the crisis that is currently recognized will quite certainly ensure that all of those major problems will only get worse for decades to come and, at least when it comes to the environment, everything is lost, but even that is more than nothing, and we have a duty to try and fight all the way to the bitter end.

I’m actually just focusing on the environment now and thinking of a very specific situation, an NGO from here having asked the Ministry of Environment, before the state of emergency was declared, to start a campaign promoting recycling, which the media would be required to broadcast as public service announcements. The request was approved, but they were told that the campaign will only start in summer, because time is needed to create and film the videos and get them on air. However, that was definitely no longer the case when it came to the campaigns telling people to stay home and take measures to limit spreading this new virus, those announcements showing up everywhere very quickly, many media institutions starting their own campaigns right away as well, signs appearing in stores, on streets and at building entrances… And that’s still happening, these campaigns likely improving as time passed, so it’s clear that this can be done on very short notice and can keep being done over a long period.
Of course, even when done properly, recycling largely serves to perpetuate this cycle of continued production and consumption and permanent growth that created and maintains the problem, either way its impact is low when compared to what’s necessary, and what impact it does have may well be driven towards irrelevance by the massively increased amount of waste generated by the measures, some of them misguided to say the least, taken for the crisis that is currently recognized. But all of these may actually be reasons why such a campaign would work, and would be easily accepted by all involved, so it should be just about as widespread, and taken on with similar urgency. Just because of this increased amount of waste, the two campaigns could and should even be connected.

Still, while anything is better than nothing, if we are to start such campaigns, they should primarily focus on the individual actions with the greatest impact, not having children being the first by far, followed at a huge distance by living a car-free life, avoiding airplane travel and switching to a plant-based diet, the latter ending up at a similar level as the other two when you add the other factors it influences into account. In fact, avoiding airplane travel could and should easily be connected to the current situation, and that may even also be said about switching to a plant-based diet, considering the number of cases among those working in the meat industry, the difficulties faced by farmers during this period, and in fact how this virus started spreading to humans in the first place.
Of course, any efforts aimed at making people no longer have children will always be my top priority, and for good reason, any and all other measures merely delaying the inevitable at an ever higher cost until and unless we drastically reduce the population, and it should go without saying that such a reduction should most preferably be achieved not by increasing the number of deaths but by stopping births for a while and severely restricting them once we’ll again be able to allow a small number, after coming up with and implementing fair and objective systems for this purpose. And the uncertainty and likelihood of said potential children growing up in a world that’s worse than the current one should only make such campaigns easier, if people would only actually be rational beings. But very few are, and such a concept would also go against the perpetual growth model, and many others that this rotten society of ours is based on, so I’m just listing this here as the first thing that should be done when it comes to such campaigns, but I’m all too aware that it won’t be.
A campaign urging people to live a car-free life may also face resistance at the moment, because of the false sense people have that they are isolated and protected inside their cars, and also because some businesses and events are now favoring and even bringing back the drive-in model as a way to continue under the current circumstances. But it could and should nevertheless be attempted, and those campaigns discouraging airplane travel, even if and when it will otherwise be readily permitted again, and promoting a plant-based diet, most preferably also one favoring products grown and processed locally, should be easy. And if the authorities, media institutions and businesses won’t start them on their own, those of us who care need to demand them, loudly and clearly. Speaking of individual actions, we should probably even start them on our own, at whatever small level we can.

Written by Cavalary on May 31, 2020 at 6:35 PM in Environment | 0 Comments

A Poor Run Follows the Good One… And My Calf Worries Me

Monday seemed to be the week’s only day with a relatively low risk of rain, the forecast listing storms otherwise. For that reason, it should have been the week’s running day, but with my left calf still vehemently complaining about being forced in such a manner during Friday’s run, that’d have been particularly unwise. At the same time, I initially intended to use the day to go in the other direction, starting with the Carrefour from the park, and then getting to that recycling center I dropped things off at once before, to check whether I’ll be able to take all the bottles and cans “generated” by dad during this period there, since I learned that the company that had those machines and the place at Obor that also accepted them pressed closed them down for good in March. Then, since I was there, I planned to check out the Kaufland that recently opened in a spot that should be just next to that recycling center, then keep going to the Auchan at Vitan, and return on the other side, to pass through the farmers’ market and get apples as well.
This last part of the plan went away Sunday morning, when dad brought a lot of pretty bad apples, so the need is now to eat them quickly, not get more. And then the forecast, which still listed possible showers or even brief storms, and the threatening clouds that were actually gathering in the afternoon, made me give up on that entire idea and just go to these locations of Carrefour and Kaufland that are right next to each other here. The rain actually held off, but I went out a bit before 2:25 PM and wandered around for quite a while inside, including losing about half an hour for no reason in Kaufland, since I gave up before I could perhaps benefit from it, so I was only getting to the building’s entrance at 5:45 PM even so, and it was a couple of minutes later that I finally got up and in here, since all the bags I had made it hard to dig out the keys and open doors.
First checked prices at Carrefour and found some eggs among the stuff that expired soon. One of the cartons was wet and opening it revealed why, but the other also had one egg that wasn’t just cracked, but actually had a hole in it, so I replaced it with one that was still whole out of the other one and bought it then, leaving everything else for later. Then went to Kaufland, dropped off those things I drop off there, which I had taken with me, and got some things. Also meant to get onions from there, but they weren’t from Romania, so I gave up on that idea… And also eventually gave up on waiting for those who were putting the labels on the products that were expiring soon. Saw two employees working on several crates of such products and wandered around the area for about half an hour, but they seemed to barely make any progress and towards the end of that period someone else grabbed two of the remaining five buckets of the kind of yogurt I wanted, so I got the two I wanted out of the remaining three, worried that I’ll be left without otherwise, and eventually gave up on waiting for them, both because it had been too long and because I didn’t want to wander around with the yogurt even longer, since I still had to go back to Carrefour and leave it in a cabinet for a while anyway. Used the self-checkout without issues at that point… And for a moment, while arranging the stuff in my bags after getting back to the cabinet where I had left the eggs, thought I had left the noodles dad wanted on the machine, before looking back up and realizing I had for some reason taken them out of the bag and placed them in that cabinet when taking the eggs out.
Went back to get the other things from Carrefour after that, which included one bread of another kind, since that kind that I tend to get from there was again only sliced, and ended up wandering around and calculating the total for quite a while, to make the cabbages take me as close as possible to what I had left. Did trick the scales a bit for one of the lemons I purchased, since dad told me to at least get two of them even if they’ll be too expensive, and they were and also had thick peels, but it eventually worked out. Might have worked out even better when the cashier told me to leave it like that, at 15 RON instead of 15.37 RON, as I was digging through my pockets for the exact change, possibly after noticing that I was giving him everything I had and also how my phone looked, when I took it out of the pocket and put it in front of him, since I still have the SIM card in the old one. But I insisted on paying the correct amount, and finally started on my way back, though I did stop once more before exiting that mall, to arrange the stuff better in my bags. Also meant to use that disinfectant dispenser that’s at that exit once I was finally done, but I guess it was empty, so I just kept going. And while I’m at it, struck me as rather odd that nobody checked my temperature when I went in, as they’re supposed to do that and Kaufland was known to have started doing so even a bit before the requirement was officially published, but learned when I got back that they had announced that they won’t do it anymore and many other places pretty much gave up on the idea quietly, after quite a wave of complaints and even some staged scandals.
I’ll also add here that my mind seemed to be even more on vacation after getting back, and also that what I did with those noodles wasn’t even the first sign, said first sign actually being when I left without writing down the new 10 RON discount code I had for Carrefour, after receiving and filling another one of their surveys, so I wasn’t able to use it then. The third sign was that I cut that bread, but placed it as it was in the freezer, without turning the pieces around, so they were going to get stuck back together as they’ll freeze anyway. At least I could fix that after showering, still being able to pry them apart at that point, but there was nothing to do about the receipts, which I had forgotten in my pants when I put them in the washing machine. Was also thinking of shaving my head before showering that evening, but it wasn’t that I gave up on the idea since it’ll be colder these days, but that I simply forgot that I was even thinking of it when I went to the bathroom… And then ended up washing my hair with shower gel too, and that wasn’t because I grabbed a bottle without looking. I actually looked at it the first time, then even rinsed my eyes and opened them again before putting some more of it on my head, thinking it was strange that I could see how it was settling back down in the bottle but not realizing even then that it meant something was wrong, since the shampoo bottle isn’t transparent. Only finally noticed it after I finished rinsing and was about to move on, at which point I used a little shampoo as well and rinsed one more time.

Wednesday I woke up a bit before 1:30 PM and checked the forecast right away, seeing that the storms announced before seemed to have vanished and I had a shot at good enough weather, so I decided to go for a run after all. Saw 46 kg again when I weighed myself, which remains just as worrying, and had an apple and the usual tea, but replaced the yogurt and cereals with the pasta I had left there for a week, had regular biscuits with honey as something sweet, and didn’t add almonds again. Wore the full running gear, the reported temperature was around 19°C, and it even became sunny when I left. One site still listed a significant risk of storms around 5 PM, but I went out at 3:35 PM, so that shouldn’t have been a problem even if true, and it wasn’t true anyway, staying sunny.
It was rather windy though, and while I seemed to have managed to fix my cap properly during the first part of the first sector, right at the end it almost flew away again, and while I could have just allowed it to do so at that point, I grabbed it out of reflex and that made me hit the button on my stopwatch a little late again. It was still very quickly after crossing what I consider to be the finish line, but the time I saw was 48:15.22, so I will take 48:15 into account, but there is a chance it was in fact a little less than that. Sector times were 4:21.54, 5:11 (5:10.61), 5:56.34, 4:27 (4:26.90), 5:02 (5:01.64), 5:58 (5:57.98), 4:27.20, 5:07.66, 5:56 (5:55.15) and something under the 1:50.20 I saw as the time for the last sector, making for lap times of 15:28.49, 15:27 (15:26.52) and 15:30.01. That’s obviously a poor time, 26 seconds worse on the three laps than Friday, when I had a long way to go after that point, and the worst for ten kilometers since July 3, when it was awfully hot, unless you also count the runs around this area, while parks were closed. But the one thing I am pleased about is that I could remember all exact times, since it’s been quite a while since I last did this for sector times.
The wind was an issue at times, and there were a fair number of people again as well. It was nothing like Friday, however, and while I had to often weave and go the long way around and at times calculate paths and pick my way through, there weren’t any real roadblocks, I never had to stop and wouldn’t even say I was forced to significantly slow down. The bigger problems just had to do with me, one being that calf and the other the effects of eating different things before leaving. Somewhat strangely, going out on Monday seemed to have helped my calf, and when I woke up Tuesday it seemed quite fine unless I touched a certain spot, but once I started running it was clear that something was definitely still wrong there. That was likely also part of the reason why my legs felt heavy while running and it seemed I couldn’t cover the usual distance with each step, but another likely reason for that was having that pasta instead of yogurt and cereals just before running, and possibly those regular biscuits as well, and that was clearly the reason why my stomach also felt rather heavy. So I just felt sluggish, and that I needed to make more effort for less gain, and it definitely showed. Still, at least I managed very steady lap times, and also sector three times, and sector one times on laps two and three.
I’ll also add here that I again noticed the regulations being ignored in the stores I passed on the way, and while I didn’t pay that much attention as I was going to the park, just seeing two employees without masks in one place, I actually made a point of looking on my way back, not seeing anyone at the door except at this nearby Mega Image and a jewelry store, so the places that already had guards, not seeing even those take people’s temperature, and clearly seeing customers without masks in two stores, the employee in at least one of them having the mask under her chin as well. I couldn’t see the one in the other one well enough to be able to tell, but both of these were food shops, the first being part of a bakery chain and this other one belonging to a dairy company, selling their products as well as various things to munch on, some in bulk.

Was quite understanding with myself Wednesday evening, finding explanations for that poor performance, but yesterday that didn’t work anymore and I pretty much crashed, spending a few hours just curled up under the blanket in the evening, unable to do much of anything. The cold also had something to do with that, but the main reason was my mood, that time being part of what caused the crash. That calf is another part of it though, as something’s definitely not right there and I’m getting increasingly worried. If anything, the pain I felt for the first few days was less concerning, as that felt familiar and like something that was likely to go away on its own, but now it just feels strange, hurting if I just touch a certain spot, without even pressing, and otherwise the muscle feeling rather tense when I start moving after resting it for a while or even when I just stand, but at times even when I just sit or lie down I have a sensation that I can only explain as feeling that something isn’t right there. But I could do 200 squats just fine yesterday, making up for skipping Wednesday, and it’s mainly my thighs that are complaining about it a little today, when I somehow also managed to drag myself to clean my room a little and change the sheets again, after which I also did the day’s 100 squats just fine, so let’s see how it’ll go. I was very close to worse injuries over these past few years, after all, and possibly even had some, and I could just wait them out and recover without even taking a break from running. Then again, I’m not getting any younger, and relying on that is less likely to be a good idea with every passing year…

Written by Cavalary on May 29, 2020 at 10:11 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Unexpectedly Good Half Marathon Run Thanks to Impromptu Running Partners

Instead of recovering after yesterday, I ended up being woken up around 9:30 AM today as well, by the message notifying me that my phone credit will become inactive tomorrow unless recharged. And, unlike yesterday, despite the lack of noise, I couldn’t get back to sleep at all after that, ending up thinking that I should clean some of the filthiest parts of this place since I’m alone today, planning that and trying to persuade myself to start after I’ll get up and maybe eat something. Not that I could really persuade myself, but “managed” to make it impossible to get back to sleep as well, so a little before 11 AM I got up again, ate just a little and vacuumed and washed the floor in the kitchen. It was already 1 PM when I finished even that, so I didn’t continue at the moment, just leaving the floor to dry before putting everything back and coming here for a while. Writing this today will be quite a challenge under these circumstances, since I checked some other things first and by the time I actually started it, a little before 2 PM, I was finally getting sleepy again. The blinds are still down and the window’s closed, so I’m ending up doing for a personal post something I used to do back when I was still forcing myself to write a serious, non-personal one each week, sitting here and struggling with it possibly until evening and only giving that sort of sign that I’m up and about once I was done, but this will be a long post and there’s no way I’ll finish it in one sitting. But maybe it’ll at least help to some extent…

The main purpose of this post is to write about yesterday, when I “honored” the fact that the half marathon should have taken place this month by covering the distance through the park, now that parks are open again. After not running at all last week and using Monday’s 16 km as the only practice run, I didn’t have high hopes to begin with, and then things got even worse in the morning. Expected to wake up to pee multiple times after having mamaliga again and a salad made mostly of cucumbers, plus a small tomato, at night, and also because dad worked that night and obviously got back in the morning, but then, just after 9:30 AM, a couple of workers started mowing the plants behind the building again. So, for one, the fact itself made me angry, as it does every time, because years ago something that looked like a small forest was there, then they removed all but a couple of the trees and all the bushes and don’t plant anything else in that area, just leaving it barren until weeds take it over again and they repeat the process. So I did again rush to take a “before” picture, which I could do without fear of a reaction as the workers had no protection for their faces and one had just gotten something right in her eye and I guess left to have it checked out, the guy walking away after a while as well. However, that’s when the first bigger problem appeared, since I must have done something to either a muscle or my right hip as I stretched over the desk for that picture, and it bothered me a fair bit as I got back in bed… And then they started again and kept at it for hours, though they admittedly started pretty much right in front of my window and the noise level dropped as they moved away, allowing me to get some more bits of sleep. Kept waking up and having bad dreams, however, and by the time the alarm rang, at 1 PM, I’m not even sure I reached a total of four hours that morning.
At least that hip seemed better by then, though it was still giving me some warnings and I noticed the left knee and hip bothering me a little as well. But a plan was a plan, so I had the usual stuff, the cereals being the last of those free servings, which I had saved just for this day, plus of course almonds again, and two of those old oat biscuits, one with honey and one with jam. Weighed myself again, still seeing 46 kg, which was still worrying, as was the fact that I couldn’t take a shit before leaving, which also means that said low weight even included that. Had done so before going to bed, so it was less of a problem than it could have otherwise been, but it definitely added to the others, and to the fact that by the time I left, at 3:20 PM, I was feeling sleepy again, unsurprisingly. But, again, a plan was a plan, I was wearing the complete running gear, and the conditions seemed good as well, with a reported temperature of 17-18°C and a mostly cloudy sky. The reality didn’t match any of the reports I checked when it came to the wind though, as all reports gave pretty low wind speeds but it was quite windy when I went out, to the point that I felt it was blowing me away as I walked to the park!
On top of all of that, I must have done something to my left calf on the way, since as I meant to tighten my shoelaces before starting I suddenly realized that it was somewhat contracted and there was nothing I could do about it, just having to push through it all the way. As such, and also considering how crowded the park was, I did sort of aim to stay under 1:45, but not only that I rather doubted it, but early on I was even thinking that I might end up having to abandon the plan to cover a half marathon distance at all, stopping after five laps, or even doing only ten kilometers. However, I didn’t just cover the distance, nor did I just do so in less than 1:45, but actually managed the third best time, 1:43:23, with sector times of 4:27, 5:00, 5:45, 4:22, 4:56, 5:54, 4:35, 5:03, 5:57, 4:34, 5:05, 6:00, 4:32, 5:06, 5:51, 4:40, 5:13, 6:12, 1:55, 6:19 and 1:57, making for lap times of 15:12, 15:12, 15:35, 15:39, 15:29 and 16:05, plus 10:11 for that final portion. And I’d say I have two impromptu running partners to thank for it. Well, that and the fact that I actually had it in me to maintain such a pace, of course, since otherwise they’d have just been two faster runners moving away from me until they’d have ended up out of sight, but I highly doubt I’d have managed it without them.
I was having those thoughts about possibly needing to abandon the plan as I approached the end of the first lap’s second sector and two women, properly equipped and one of them having a t-shirt from a forest running event, got down to the path around the lake just a few steps in front of me and started running. Their pace was very similar to mine right away, perhaps only a little slower because they had just started, but since they were right there, I pushed to get ahead of them, actually needing to try one side and then the other before I could find a way through, considering the other people as well. I noticed the look the one with that t-shirt gave me at that point and got the feeling that I was going to have a bit of a race on my hands, and I thought they were going to pass me back right away when I had to stop for a couple of seconds under the bridge, people coming from opposite directions and not making the slightest gesture to step aside forming a complete roadblock. They didn’t, however, and now that I think about it I realize they couldn’t have exactly done so, since they couldn’t have gotten through either. Instead, they made a point of staying just a couple of steps behind me as I pushed harder and tried to shake them off for an entire lap. Then, pretty much in the same spot where I had passed them, I heard one tell the other to slow down and they started dropping away. But I had pushed too hard as well, and after it was clear that they had slowed down, I did so too, I guess ending up pretty much matching their new pace, resulting in that sector one of lap three that was in fact too slow, making me push a little harder again to make up for it. But they followed suit, again maintaining the distance, even if they weren’t right behind me anymore.
That remained the case for about a lap and a half, but at some point on sector three of lap four I noticed that they were getting a little closer, and after the start of lap five it was clear that, if they’ll keep going, I won’t be able to finish it ahead of them. Made a good effort, aiming and managing to at least stay ahead until the end of sector two, in case they’ll stop there, after what for them would have been four laps, but on sector three, despite really pushing, which can be seen in the time, the question was only exactly where they’ll choose to pass me, since they were right behind me again and I was tiring. So, when it seemed that they were just about to do so, I meant to stay on the inside, letting them go on the outside and actually planning to congratulate them on their pacing and the tactical run as they’ll pass… Only for two cyclists, I guess father and daughter, to mess up the whole thing. They were slow and making themselves really “wide” on the path, making it hard to decide how to pass them, and I think I heard the women ask each other which side to pick when the cyclists seemed to be coming on the inside, so I cut across, which probably put me behind the man just before he turned to look, so he saw them and went back on the outside to let them pass, boxing me in completely, as at that point I was alongside him and behind the girl, who was turning her head to see what was coming and, likely unintentionally, making her bicycle turn the same way as she did so, completely blocking my way forward just when we passed a stall, which prevented me from going off the path to get around them as well. So I pretty much had to stop for a moment, until the girl realized what was happening and cleared the way for me, by which point the women had already passed me and I couldn’t get myself to shout what I had meant to say after them. Not that I’d have been likely to say it either way, since I did have another chance and still didn’t.
They pulled away easily after that, possibly also because I had some difficulties in getting back on pace after having to stop like that when I was already tired, and I think I had to deal with another roadblock on sector one of lap six as well, but then they did stop before the bridge, at the end of what for them were five laps. They were threatening to get out of sight by then, only still being visible on longer straights, so I spotted the one in that bright t-shirt from the forest run first, but was surprised when the other suddenly showed up in front of me, running the other way. She turned as I passed her, however, seeming to just want to do some short sprints at the end, as the other was resting, so I’m not sure whether the other one was talking to her or to me when she made what seemed to be an appreciative remark as I passed her. But, as I already said, couldn’t get myself to say anything then either, only giving her a nod. Wondered whether I’d get a third chance, since when I turned to look they seemed to keep slowly walking, passing under the bridge, and I was going to get back there after finishing the lap, since there was just that final portion left for me, but I couldn’t see them again then. And at that point I had returned to just racing the clock again anyway, and while it was harder, I had already started thinking of getting under 1:44 at the end of lap five. Was even hoping to stay under 16 minutes for lap six as well, and while I failed that, I realized that I could nevertheless get under 1:43:30, so I aimed for and managed that as well, even if the stairs at the start of the last sector were quite a struggle.
Back to those two, I must say that they really got my mind off the concerns I had, and felt unexpectedly good while they were behind me… Even if it’d have quite clearly been better if they’d have been in front of me, giving me a target to chase, and perhaps offering some shelter from the wind, instead of the other way around. That calf still bothered me to some extent, but it held all the way to the end, though today it’s quite unhappy, and otherwise just my left shoulder for some reason kept bothering me, making me rotate it now and then to try to make it a bit better. Did also feel like I had to take a shit on sector one of laps three and four, but just then, the feeling not lasting long and not returning after that second time. Otherwise, there were fewer of those little bugs as well, and none got right in my eyes again, though I still had to wipe away several that ended up in that area or in other spots that bothered me. The wind was a problem on the first lap, but became less of one after that, before returning first on that certain part of sector three on laps four and five, and then on and off after that, as threatening clouds were gathering, rain and hail actually starting about half an hour after I got back.
But, as I already said, the main problem was that the park was crowded and there were plenty of groups of people that were much larger than what the current regulations allow. So, on top of a lot of weaving, going the long way around and always searching for ways through, I had to deal with quite a number of roadblocks, a few forcing me to completely stop for a moment. Got a good taste of what was to come right away, on the first sector, having one roadblock under the bridge, another right after it, and another moment, soon after that, when a cyclist seemed to mean to pass me but was only very slightly faster and I was heading right towards someone coming from the opposite direction, forcing me to slow for several seconds so the cyclist could get ahead and allow me to follow him around that other person. Then there were two more roadblocks on the next sector, including that bad one that I already mentioned, under the bridge. Don’t remember exactly where the others were after that, but there were quite a number of them, including some other situations that stood out, such as another moment when I had to just about stop when a kid riding something, can’t really recall what, was just going all over the place and cut me off, or a couple of other tricky situations under the bridge, or the moment when I thought I had a way through, two stopped cyclists making the other people go around them and leaving enough space for me to fit, only for one to just pick up his bicycle and turn it sideways just as I was passing, hitting me in the arm with it and actually leaving a small bruise. And it was another cyclist who blocked me on the first sector of that final portion, going slowly on the right side and forcing me to wait for him to pass the stairs to be able to go up. But the fact that I still managed to stay well under two minutes on that sector in spite of that was actually what made me decide to really aim to stay under 1:43:30.

Moving on, or in fact moving back, to Monday’s run, I again kept waking up to pee after having mamaliga and salad with tomatoes and cucumbers at night. But when I woke up one more time at 1:07 PM I didn’t need to go, and with the alarm set to ring at 2 PM, I decided to try to get a little more sleep and actually managed it, waking up again at 1:48 PM and that time staying up. The first attempt at the toilet was a failure then too, but went again before leaving and managed something. It was in between those two moments, so with that additional weight, that I weighed myself, and that’s the reason why I mentioned above that I still saw 46 kg and it was still worrying, because it was the same then as well. But I had a plan, and not even the fact that I saw some mold at the top when I opened the new bucket of yogurt, which was supposed to only expire yesterday, stopped me, just scraping that top layer off and having the usual stuff, plus almonds, and again two of those old oat biscuits, one with honey and one with jam. Left at 4:10 PM, wearing the full running gear, for the first time in quite a while. The reported temperature was 22°C then and it was cloudy… And I saw plenty of people gathered to chat in front of buildings on the way, in groups of more than three, or others walking in stores without masks, touching, even employees without masks… Even in the park, there were larger groups, the band closing off a playground I passed was torn away and there were children and teenagers there, and no trace of police, local or otherwise, which would have been highly unusual even under normal circumstances.
Either way, I aimed to stay under 1:18 and the time was 1:17:30, with sector times of at most 4:19, at least 5:09, 5:50, 4:21, 4:58, 5:49, 4:27, 5:05, 5:55, 4:33, 5:07, 6:06, 4:40, 5:15 and 5:56, making for lap times of 15:18, 15:08, 15:27, 15:46 and 15:51. The cap was a problem on the first sector, as it kept threatening to blow off and I kept having to try to fix it better, and that’s also why the time at the end of said first sector is uncertain. Tried to leave it alone for a bit and it really was about to fly away just before the end of the sector, so I had to quickly grab it with both hands just when I should have hit the button. The exact time I saw once I could hit it was 4:19.99, so it’d have still been 4:19 even if I’d have been just about one full second late, but there is a chance that I actually needed more than that, so it could have actually taken me one or even two seconds less to cover that first sector and, obviously, that same amount of time more to cover the second. Strangely, my cap caused no more problems after that, so all my attempts to fix it better failed but just grabbing it in desperation and pressing it back on in a hurry apparently worked perfectly.
One big problem were those annoying little bugs. I was pretty much covered in them at the end, but the real problem during the run was that they kept getting in my eyes. Also in my nose to some extent, a couple in my ear, around my mouth, elsewhere on my face, so I had to touch my face quite a number of times despite wanting to avoid doing so, and the problem with the eyes was the worst. One actually flew right in my eye on sector one of lap two and I struggled for a while to at least make it bother me less, as I’m not sure I actually managed to get it out. There was one more that flew directly in my eye, probably on sector one of lap five, though there’s also a chance it was on sector two or, less likely, at some point during lap four, but I managed to get that one out quickly. Otherwise, all the joints of my right leg started complaining on sector two of lap two, the hip just giving an occasional warning but the ankle and knee maintaining a rather steady level all the way to the end and actually getting worse on the last sector, though the pain wasn’t too bad even then.
The risk of rain was supposed to be no more than 5%, but there were a few drops on sector two of lap two, then a few more on sector three of lap three, while lap four was suddenly sunny but also had a pretty steady drizzle, and even some larger drops on the first two sectors. With clouds returning, it was back to just a few drops on sector one of lap five, and no more after that. On the other hand, the crowd ebbed and flowed quite steadily, with laps one and five being quite crowded and lap three least so, though I suddenly found myself on a pretty clear stretch close to the end, before some more people appeared just on those last two turns and the short straight. That obviously meant weaving and going the long way around, and there was a spot on sector three where on laps one, four and five I was forced to bend low under a branch, since the one spot where it’s higher was blocked by other people. As for roadblocks, at the end of sector two of lap two, under the bridge, I had to squeeze around one on the sloping part, towards the lake, and that led me straight into a group of cyclists coming from the opposite direction, who were also trying to find a way around that group of people, so there was some confusion there. There was some more confusion with a kid on a scooter, coming from the opposite direction, on sector three of lap four, avoiding him leading me into a roadblock that I had to pick my way past. And another rather nasty roadblock, with multiple “layers” of people, was towards the end of sector one of lap five, and I had also just caught a slower runner at that point, so I had no way to pass and had to just follow as he picked his way through. And the people also meant I varied my breathing, which I actually did some of the time yesterday as well, trying not to breathe out through my mouth when I’d have done so too close to someone coming towards me.

While I didn’t feel like running last week at all, I did nevertheless consider sticking to that same schedule after all on Wednesday, possibly running again before going to buy some things. What made the decision easy in the end was that Tuesday there was no hot water, so I didn’t shave and really didn’t want to damage a mask by running with it on when not shaved. That meant I got up at 12:40 PM, taking the recyclables, except those things I take to Kaufland, and going out at 2:20 PM, using that regular mask again. Had a look through the farmers’ market at first, finding some cabbage that looked good and was at the same price as it was at Carrefour, meaning that I didn’t need to go there anymore. Didn’t buy it then though, checking the price for cornmeal in that Supeco as well and finding that the cheapest was over a third more expensive that it used to be and then going to that Kaufland, getting yogurt and cornmeal from there, again having no issues with the self-checkout. Returned to the market and bought cabbage after that, the older man I bought it from quite clearly going against the social distancing rules by sending a kid to help me hold the bag open when I refused the one he wanted to put it in and was putting it in my own. Got some apples from there as well, and it wasn’t even 4:10 PM when I was back. Those little bugs sure were annoying that time as well, again getting in my eyes and under the mask.

As for odds and ends, last Friday there was a loud snap in my chair as I changed position and it felt different at the time, so I thought that the plastic under the seat cracked or broke, but I can’t see that place and it still seems to hold for now, and after a little while I couldn’t even say that it seemed different anymore. Also thought I noticed another double middle click that night, the first one in a long time, but it wasn’t followed by others, at least not yet. Then, Tuesday, I finished that 2011 novelization of Planescape: Torment and wrote the quick review for it. And Thursday I again saw no visits in either view. As for this evening, did vacuum the hallway as well after all, and after I’ll post this I’ll also finish washing this part that’s in front of my room, before going to the kitchen, since I didn’t want to do it at the same time as the rest so I won’t block myself in here until it’ll dry. Napped a little too, and while I actually slept for less than one full hour, it’s at least better than nothing. And did the day’s squats as well, which actually wasn’t as hard as I feared. That calf is still complaining quite vehemently, and my right knee hurts a little as well, but oddly enough it didn’t do so as I did the squats, both thigh muscles and maybe even the right hip complaining much more.

Written by Cavalary on May 23, 2020 at 9:29 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Quick Review: Planescape: Torment (2011 Novelization)

This really is a novelization, a lot of effort being made to go through the game as it’s played, going way beyond merely describing and attempting to make events flow more naturally. There is a lot of added writing, and much of it is actually really, really good, greatly improving an already great story. The intermissions and the multiple and fitting storytellers are also a nice touch, and successfully including that evil alternate path was quite a feat. Powerful sections follow that moment, gathered together, and later the writing improves even further. The Maze is notable, but largely fixing Curst, which was the one part of the game’s story that seemed lacking to me, is even more so. And what follows is better yet, adding many more details, written and fitting so well, developing, explaining, fleshing out and, in the end, providing closure… Or perhaps not, considering the epilogue, but I’d call that a good way to end it as well, even if it may not fit with the original concept.
It’s in bad need of editing, however. I’d have thought that a fan effort would have been thoroughly corrected since it was first released, but it’s full of typos, missing or repeated words, places where first and second person get mixed and, worst of all, places where the idea seems to have been changed in the middle of a sentence and the old text wasn’t deleted before continuing with the new. There are also moments when the one writing the descriptions of actual gameplay seemed to get bored, skipping more, which can be rather jarring, and those persuasion scenes from Curst also seem rushed. But the worst “crime” is modifying “Longing“. To change what may well be the best piece of writing in a game… I guess the idea was to clean it up, maybe even “complete” it to some extent, but it just doesn’t work that way, the original text being all about raw emotion and being torn in that manner. Also, don’t those memories about Deionarra contradict it? Or does that section refer to another moment?

Rating: 4/5

Written by Cavalary on May 19, 2020 at 7:17 PM in Books | 0 Comments