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Finishing with the Other Stuff, Still Leaving the Flu, Doctors and Computer

In this post I’ll put some of the stuff I didn’t include in the previous one, but still leave out the stuff about the computer, even though I meant to include it at first, and definitely that about the flu and, with the exception of the x-ray, doctors. Have another appointment Monday evening anyway, albeit not for the cough and infection left after the flu, and still quite some way to go with the treatment for those, so I guess I’ll get around to all of that after it’ll be over, hoping it really will be over and I won’t be left with problems or have it come back. The fact that dad seems to have the same symptoms, albeit milder, but isn’t getting a similar treatment definitely worries me from that point of view, even if the doctor said he won’t give it back to me if it is the same thing, after I’ll get cured of it now.

A rib hurts quite badly since I woke up today. There was one that started hurting when I was coughing badly, making me worry that I had cracked it because of that, and it was also on the left side, but it was a different rib and the spot was right next to the sternum, while this is on the side. Wonder if I did something while running yesterday, or even while sleeping, but it may actually have to do with my back hurting again recently, that bone spur catching something else now, since it doesn’t hurt that way anymore, and this pain only appearing to be that particular spot on that particular rib, while in fact being an echo of that issue. And speaking of that, it suddenly started hurting again Wednesday evening, as I was doing squats, and kept hurting the next day, but yesterday it just seemed fine again, more quickly than expected.

Another little thing I’ll mention here because it happened again today has to do with Micky, who again got in my room as I left the door a bit open behind me when I came to have a look at something, before going back. But today I was at the computer, so she didn’t get under the desk and behind it and just left when she saw I noticed her and she won’t make it past me. Sunday, on the other hand, I went to spit and blow stuff out during ski jumping, again not fully closing the door behind me, and she got in and was obviously right behind the computer right away, getting tangled in the cables, with me staring and fearing she’ll unplug something. But I just stood close to the door, waiting, and she walked away on her own, then I could chase her out without incident.

Moving on to Tuesday, got a total of some two hours of sleep, waking up once and needing some time to get back to sleep, and woke up again a bit before 8 AM, going to blow and spit stuff out again. Then dad woke up, I waited for him to leave, then got up at 8:30 AM, thinking to go out pretty quickly, but then looked outside and saw that it was snowing heavily. Still, the forecast said it’ll stop, so I made tea and ate something, then watched tennis until it subsided, leaving a bit before 11 AM. Got the probiotic and another tea from an even cheaper pharmacy that dad told me of, though you need to ask for stuff there, or at least for most of it, and they have fewer things, then went to the one I go to as well and got some pills and another tea from there as well. Got scared for a moment when I got there, seeing a line going well out the door, but that was for prescription stuff, with reduced prices. Either way, then went to the Kaufland from that area to get some more things.
After that, went to the medical center I had been told to go to for the lung x-ray, actually meaning to have it done on my own since I wanted to know how things stood before the treatment kicked in and when I told dad that the previous evening he said that’s just why I shouldn’t have it done then, and should instead give it a few days and then see that it’s better. However, I couldn’t do anything, since I was told that, on top of not having funds to do it for free and therefore needing to pay, they couldn’t do it that day at all, so I was told to take a card if I’m not certain I want to still do it like that and call them to schedule if I will decide, but that it’ll have to be the next day at the earliest. So, on the way back, I also went to the diagnosis and treatment center next to the nearby infectious and tropical diseases hospital, since I had seen on the hospital’s site that such an x-ray was cheaper there. However, the hospital itself was apparently already under quarantine due to the flu and I didn’t try to go to it directly, not that I was really aware that the center in question is in fact a separate, private clinic. Learned that while waiting, when the person before me was told that they didn’t have funds for free tests either and the waiting list for that is for about three months, so anyone who wants theirs done faster needs to pay, and I didn’t know how it worked with scheduling and didn’t care to stay there and ask, so I got back, being here at 1:45 PM or so.

The next day I woke up twice after going to bed, but then apparently just crashed, dad waking me up a bit after 3 PM to go for the x-ray. I had told him what I had learned the day before, and that I had spared him a pointless trip if he’d have gone with me to that first center, and I had also checked the site and saw that the price for that x-ray was the same here too, so he decided that we should just go to this center, being closer, calling them that day and being told they don’t schedule, but anyone should just come in and wait their turn, and it shouldn’t be long. However, he was also told that the doctor giving the result, as in reading the x-ray and writing down whether anything shows up, won’t be there in the afternoon, so we’ll have to come again the next morning and pick it up. That proved to be false though, since the doctor was there and I got that result right away, stating that everything looked fine. There was so little to wait that I didn’t even read two pages…
Got back alone after that, and waited for dad to come back with the money he said he’ll withdraw, but also wanted to catch the free bus to Auchan that should be here around 6 PM and despite saying he’ll be back around 5:30 PM, I was just about to go out the door when he called to say he’ll be back in five minutes. I wasn’t about to wait though, so just took some of the money set aside and went out, but he found me still waiting for the bus and stood there with me until it came. I had taken the plastic bottles which had gathered too, and the machine worked, and I even put in two that I found fallen next to it, but it wasn’t much even so. Then got what I wanted, though there was none of the bread I usually want left at that hour and I had to get the other kind, plus what dad had told me to get, plus some of that food for the male cat that’s at my grandmother’s, since I finally saw some of that kind again, right on the top shelf, making me struggle to just barely manage to get a box down.
At the checkout, the cashier first accidentally scanned one of my items as being for the previous customer, then asked whether I’ll just pay him the amount to sort things out that way, but I only had large bills, so she had to call someone to fix it, then another cashier took over… And she commented about the “lucky cat” when she saw all the cat food, the next person in line saying she was just thinking that herself, but I didn’t say anything. The strange thing was that when I put the stuff on the belt, it appeared as if I had miscounted one kind of cat food, getting less than I meant to, and then I saw that same, lower, number being scanned, so I wasn’t surprised when the total was lower than I had calculated… But I should have been, because it was lower by more than it should have been, and later, when I checked the receipt, I found that the box of yogurt had been scanned as a single yogurt, since I had indeed counted that cat food correctly, but had apparently placed it on the belt in two places, likely forgetting the first one, and they were scanned the same way, so I just saw that second group. So Auchan again proves that in their case these mistakes really are just mistakes, since they can be in the customer’s favor as well, and that left me with the money for the kiwi I got from Kaufland the next day. That was definitely the cashier’s mistake though, as I had checked the price of the box and it had scanned correctly, but the cashier was quite focused on the cat food anyway, even forgetting to give me my receipt, and saying that she just got carried away with thinking about the cat when I grabbed it myself.

And now I’ll get back to January 5, when I had a pretty sweet dream about Andra… It started badly; I was trying to send her something on Yahoo! Messenger, not that it exists anymore, and I knew that she was laughing at me, telling others how I had no friends, that there was nobody on-line on my list, nobody to talk to, and I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe… And woke up realizing I couldn’t breathe due to snot, so blew and coughed and spat, then managed to get back to sleep and the dream continued with me meeting her at some public party, with some master of ceremonies from back in the Communist days on stage. I knew she was in the bathroom and I went there, pretty sure that it really was the women’s bathroom, with other women there, looking at me angrily, but I knew some, they seemed known or even related to her even though I didn’t actually recognize the faces, and the bathroom actually looked like the corner of a small kitchen. She had some papers, notebooks or something like that on a table and snapped at me at first, but eventually one of the others, who in my mind was her grandmother despite being younger than she had been even back then, let it “slip” that they had to check some things about me and/or maybe I had to sign something, not sure anymore, because we were going to resume the plans to get us, as in Andra and me, and apartment together. That baffled me, even more so since she said the plans will be “resumed”, meaning that they had existed before as well, but I tried to just go with it and Andra did the same, just very casually addressing the matter, as if nothing should have been in any way surprising.
After that, we left that place and she wanted to go somewhere and for some reason we couldn’t take the metro from where she was trying to, so I led her to another station. However, even though it was one stop away from the closest one, when I needed to pee we were suddenly here, having apparently stopped by on the way, though that couldn’t have been the case. Still, here we were, and we had also talked about the changes dad made or was making, so I showed her some stuff, including the bathroom, where something had been placed in order to be able to hang stuff above the bathtub. It wasn’t up against the ceiling though, but lower, so I found myself telling her that she’ll have trouble standing when taking a shower there and she checked, just quickly getting in the bathtub, and said she’d just fit, but I won’t… And then we just seemed to just start talking about regular, domestic details having to do with living together again, very casually, as if it was the most normal thing… Until I was suddenly woken up again, not sure if by dad making noise or by snot or needing to pee or a mix of these. It definitely was the noise that didn’t let me get back to sleep though, so that’s where that ended.

Written by Cavalary on January 19, 2019 at 11:55 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Runs, Game, Book and Deposit, Leaving Flu, Doctors and Computer for Later

There’d be a lot to cover in this post and I won’t do it, but I will start with today, when I finally ran again, after skipping last week. Since I still have quite some way to go with the treatment, though the obvious symptoms are just about gone, I expected a poor time, but at the same time had hopes it won’t be quite that bad, thinking I’ll be thrilled to stay under 50 minutes and aiming for that at first… Only to end up with 53:38, with sector times of 4:43, 5:37, 6:42, 5:02, 5:33, 6:44, 5:04, 5:44, 6:31 and 1:58, making for lap times of 17:02, 17:19 and 17:19.
Temperature was good and I’d have overheated if I’d have actually been well and pushed as hard as I normally do, but as it was I was fine, and the wind wasn’t an issue either, but I wore my regular shoes, there were a few areas where there was some muck left, where I lost some time, and there were a fair number of people as well, and I didn’t really try to find the most efficient routes. Add the fact that I didn’t really push except close to the end, as having the fastest third sector on the third lap shows, and I’m quite sure I could have gotten under 53 minutes if I’d have given it everything, but that was pretty much the limit today. There was no particular reason for it, didn’t feel like I couldn’t breathe, didn’t have to stop to blow nose or cough, nothing hurt in particular, even my back seeming fine again today, but I just didn’t have the energy to do better. After that first lap, I even feared for my chances to stay under 55 minutes, so I controlled my pace to avoid exhausting myself too soon, but eventually realized I wasn’t really tiring that much, just couldn’t be faster.

Last week I meant to run Wednesday, when the regular flu symptoms seemed pretty much gone and these other ones that required seeing a doctor and taking various kinds of pills hadn’t quite started yet, or at least not at a level that made it obvious that something serious was going on. Used some nose drops again that morning, hoping for some relief that’d allow me to sleep better, even though I could actually breathe much better than I normally do when I have a cold, then woke up at a good time to run, made the tea I tend to drink when I run in the cold, ate what I usually eat before running, but then read a few more articles about running with a cold and decided against it at the last moment, considering the exact symptoms. Did go out briefly, to buy this month’s issue of National Geographic, but that was it, and I got back quite angry with myself and certain I’ll really regret the decision not to run, which I definitely still do. Pretty sure I’d have managed a better time then than today… At the same time, can imagine all too well how my mother, who was here at the time, would have reacted to me running without really getting better first and then the truly troubling symptoms becoming obvious immediately after that, since she’d have assumed that the running caused that to happen.

Did run a second time the week before that though, on Thursday, and even though it was clear that I had a cold, that also being a large part of the reason why I ran again then, knowing that neither my condition nor the weather were going to get better too soon, I actually did well enough, the time being 48:19, with sector times of 4:22, 5:08, 5:53, 4:27, 5:04, 5:58, 4:26, 5:07, 6:01 and 1:53, making for lap times of 15:23, 15:29 and 15:34.
Set the alarm at noon and just managed to get out the door at 1:45 PM, as planned, and started running at 1:59 PM, so just managed to stick to the plan to start before 2 PM. Was prepared to accept just staying under 50 minutes, doubting I’ll manage to stay under 48:30, but could still breathe, just breathing out through my mouth a fair bit, since I was running out of air before I could breathe in again if I breathed out normally, and didn’t really feel weak then, though I did later. So the first lap worked out and I thought I’ll push to have a good time on the second as well and maybe fail on the third, but just gave it everything, including tactically, and it worked out. It’s possible that I also gained a few seconds on the first sector of lap three, where a caught a guy running with his dog and when he noticed I was catching up he turned to tell me to overtake him on the side with the dog, then saying again that the dog liked to chase after runners but it’s fine, and pulled the leash tighter. So I pushed a bit at that point, wanting to put some distance between me and the dog… But it’s possible that I left those seconds on the final sector, where I didn’t push that hard anymore, knowing I didn’t need to.

Had wanted to start running before 2 PM that day because ski jumping was starting at 3 PM, and I rushed back after the run for that reason, but I didn’t need to, since it was just 2:54 PM when I was back. So watched that and ate some more, finishing after it was over, then went to Auchan, after wasting a bit more time failing a couple more times in the fight with the second Jotun and ending up just running out with gloves and bags in hand and jacket unzipped. Was out two minutes before the free bus should have arrived, fearing I missed it, but it came pretty much on time or maybe a minute late, so I just had time to sort myself out first.
Once there, got what I wanted and some cheap candy that they’re trying to get rid of, being typical for Christmas, though I saw two pieces of another more expensive kind in that pile and added them in the bag too, and then, after seeing one more color after weighing the bag, I took one more piece of that cheap kind and threw it first in the basket and then put it in my pocket, since others were just grabbing a piece to taste anyway. On the other hand, there were two problems, one being that there was a single price listed for the entire area with buns, making me think that it was a special price for all kinds, but when I got to the checkout with the three I had, I was charged the regular, slightly higher, price for that specific kind. But the other issue bothered me more, and it had to do with rushing to catch the free bus at the end and only having a quick look at the box of yogurt, not noticing anything wrong then, but then seeing the cashier get a rag to wipe it after scanning it, because there was yogurt on it, which hadn’t been there before. I asked whether one broke and she said it was just dirty, but it hadn’t been… Gave it another quick look, then dumped all my stuff in the basket next to the payment machine and then had to find the receipt to scan among the others thrown there by people, then found I had missed my bus anyway and ate that one piece of candy and actually opened the box while waiting for the other one, looking at the tops of the cups and still not noticing anything wrong… But did when I got back here with them, when I took them out of the box and saw that one was cracked on the side. Put it in the freezer and then used it the next time I made mamaliga, scraping away the bit that was right next to the crack too, since it was frozen and I could do so.
Meant to sleep after putting things in their place, was in bed for some two and a half hours, but couldn’t sleep at all, feeling nasty, the cold catching up to me. Took a bath after eating at night, and ate quickly, not making a salad, after all I had already eaten that day. Also, that day marked seven days since reinstalling Emsisoft Anti-Malware, so debug logging should have stopped, and the support guy was saying it should stop on its own, not waiting for reboot, but that’s clearly wrong, since it kept logging. Either way, went to bed at 4:30 AM, after a few more failures in Jotun, though the next evening I finally managed to defeat that second Jotun and things went quite smoothly after that. Very smoothly with the third Jotun, since I got to that one that night too, and defeated it on first try.

But the period covered by this post should actually start with January 2, when I confirmed that I was coming down with a cold, or more likely a flu, after starting to feel a bit of a sore throat the previous evening. I’ll also mention that I woke up a bit after 11 AM that day, though I actually got up a bit after 12 PM, just staying in bed for a while. Wanted to leave at 2 PM, since I wanted to go to Kaufland and the listed schedule stated that it’ll close at 4 PM that day, and only actually left a bit after 2:20 PM, but even though I had a quick look through Carrefour too on the way, it was fine. In Kaufland, saw big sales on fruits and vegetables, so got a few things, and was out just before 4 PM, but heard no closing announcements and there were plenty of people behind me, so not sure what was going on. Meant to go back to Carrefour after that too, but was already carrying enough, plus that I saw no empty cabinets at Carrefour when I first passed by it, so I wouldn’t have been able to store my stuff there.

Since I mentioned Jotun, on January 5 I had completed the first area of the next section and died right at the end of the second, due to being unable to see the entire constellation, but then had to do it all over again since I had to restore from backup again, for reasons I’ll leave for another post, and forgot to copy the file it stores in the user folder, following this annoying trend of games saving there instead of using the folder they’re installed in for that, leaving me with the one backed up automatically in the morning. And that night I couldn’t even finish the first area again, being unable to find the apple again. But at least the next day I could complete those two areas on first try, in case of the second needing to take a screenshot of that last constellation on the stone and then compare with what I could see there at the end, and then killed that Jotun as well, on the third try. And then, on January 10, I finished the game, I think needing four tries to defeat Odin. That fight seemed impossible at first, and I think I tried twice and then quit, but then I worked out the strategy, got back and managed it on the second try like that. Did attempt a handful of fights against the first and third Jotun in Valhalla Mode over the next few days, but got crushed every single time, and I didn’t care to do anything in that mode in the first place, so I just wrote the review and uninstalled it.

Also, Monday I started reading The Lady of the Lake. Really didn’t want to read this one, knowing how it ends, but I went to the doctor that day, with dad, and she keeps people waiting a lot, not scheduling in any way, or not respecting anything in case she does tell you to come at a certain time, so I knew I’ll be there for a while and decided to take this one with me instead of one of the others I’m yet to read, and read two chapters by the time I got in… Or almost two chapters by then, finishing the second as she was talking on the phone while we were there, this being another reason why people wait so long. Since then, just read one chapter per day, and today I won’t be reading anything, so I guess the plan is to finish it by the end of next week.

I’ll leave the other stuff about the flu, what I was left with after it and the doctors I went to for another post, but before finishing this one I’ll add that, after leaving the clinic yesterday, leaving the car there since dad had another appointment there in the afternoon and then had to go somewhere else from there, I fell on a patch of ice. Dad noticed that it was bad ice, uneven and with a layer of water on top, and warned me, but I tried to walk on it and ended up on my back. Took the fall well though, just using my elbows to spare my back a little and make sure my head won’t also hit the pavement and otherwise dissipating the energy pretty much all over my body, so my right elbow hurt a bit for a little while, but there’s no mark there either and otherwise the only issue was that the butt of my pants got wet.

But the more important thing is that I made a deposit with the money I had managed to set aside so far. Had been thinking about it for a while, had compared interest rates and fees and information about the banks, and what dad gave me Wednesday evening got me to a round amount exactly a year before I plan to use it, since I’m trying to have as much set aside as possible at the start of 2020, when I’ll need to get the components for a new computer, so I made my decision and told him about it that morning, before we left to go to the clinic. Had pretty much selected a bank too, but there was another with the same interest rate that I know he has an account at and which we could also get to on the way back from the clinic, so I asked which one he’d recommend and, as expected, he selected that other one, so we went there first… And left after being told that a regular account is required to make a deposit and there are fees for that, which would have eaten into the already very low interest I stood to earn.
So we then went to the bank which would have been my choice, which also required opening a regular account and also having a debit card tied to it in order to avoid any fees when withdrawing cash, but neither the account nor the card carry any fees in themselves, so even though I just wanted to make a deposit and definitely want to stay away from cards, I could just get those as well, as required, and just ignore the fact that they exist and make my deposit, mainly to make sure I won’t touch at least this amount until then, and if I can also gain a tiny amount then why not. They were also celebrating purchasing another bank and had boxes of cookies for people to eat, one employee making a point of inviting everyone to take some, and dad did so both while standing in line with me and while standing next to me when it was my turn, but I just grabbed two once it was all done, after having meant to not to so at all until then. Not counting the time spent waiting in line, it took some 30 minutes, but at least it was done, and I was relieved when I ended up with an employee who knew what she was doing, since there was a guy who seemed to be in training and I feared he’ll finish first when it was my turn, considering to let the person behind me go first if that’d have happened.

After getting back, took the recyclables, since quite a lot had gathered, and rushed to Kaufland, dropping them off on the way. Also quickly passed through Carrefour, just losing time I couldn’t really afford to lose, but got the kiwi I meant to get from Kaufland and a little cheap thing to munch on when I’ll take the antibiotic, since it added up to pretty much exactly what I still had, including a few coins I had grabbed from here before leaving, then rushed back. It was almost 3:40 PM when I got here and I should take the antibiotic at 3:30, being every 12 hours, but managed to take it around 3:45 PM and I’d say that’s close enough, the instructions in fact saying to take two per day, at least four hours apart, not necessarily one every 12 hours. The probiotic was more of an issue that afternoon though, since when I wanted to take that day’s first one, after napping for about one hour, the capsule broke as I was pushing it through the aluminum foil, a puff of powder ending up in my room and on my shirt. Keep fearing this happening, the design seeming quite wrong to me, making it likely to happen, and then it did, and I didn’t take the next one, just taking a little bit of the powder left in there on a finger and putting it in my mouth and cleaning away the rest, cutting the used part of the blister pack away. Been making sure I open it very carefully since then, not pushing the capsule through anymore.

Written by Cavalary on January 18, 2019 at 11:43 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Review: Jotun: Valhalla Edition

Started Jotun in the first hours of 2019, thinking it’ll be a game I should be able to finish quickly enough, to get a good start of the year from this point of view, and that proved to be the case. That second Jotun, which is in fact the only one that attacks simply because you’re there, the other battles starting after you strike first, made me think I had been wrong, killing me dozens of times and making it seem as if I couldn’t get past a certain point in the battle, but once I got past that it went quite smoothly. The handful of attempted “Valhalla Mode” battles against the two Jotun which had seemed easy only resulted in the same number of deaths without it even seeming that I had a chance against those more powerful versions and I didn’t care to struggle any more with that, so I’m just referring to the game itself, up to that point, which is actually pretty short, despite some issues that may make it artificially longer and also cause the player to reconsider a session if they’re not certain they’ll have the time to at least finish an entire area.

What does work well in Jotun is the art, and I’m not just referring to the style of the graphics. That is indeed excellent, and also does a good job of creating the sensation of scale and of how small Thora is compared to the challenges she’s facing, but the music isn’t bad either and the developers seem to have made pretty good use of the mythology, at least for the limitations of the game. The way the creation myth was used in the Ymir’s Blood area struck me as particularly notable, though I guess others may disagree, since this is very obvious while in other areas the mythology was perhaps more organically intertwined. How Thora presents a part of her story after each section also works out all right, despite probably not being something notable in itself. I’d say that the spoken language proved to be somewhat more notable, on the other hand. It had at first struck me as a gimmick which was likely to prove annoying, but once I actually played for a while and heard it a few times, I realized it really fit and enhanced the setting and the desired atmosphere.
So what I can say about Jotun is that it can be seen as a pretty good work of art, at least considering its limitations. Judged more by its artistic value and less by its gameplay, it would do quite well. It may be a fair example of games as art, but I don’t think playing it is required to properly appreciate its artistic value. There are games that make particularly good use of the medium in this manner and which need to be played in order to be understood, felt, appreciated at their real value, but in case of Jotun, watching it may be enough… Which I guess isn’t a good thing in itself, but may be if you don’t have the skills to finish it or just don’t care to.

However, it is a game and I did play it, and the first thing that bothered me was the camera. I’d even go as far as to call it awful, at least if you’re trying to actually play the game and not just watch it. Probably another element that works quite well if judged on its artistic value, but there’s no way to control it and the changes in zoom level and the way in which it follows Thora or the action can and will cause quite a number of issues. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of being too slow to reveal the larger area or follow when you move away from it, likely in an attempt to create a more powerful impact and pressure the player to stick around long enough for it to sink in, but other times it may actually cause some confusion or add to the difficulty of battles. And on that note, the fact that only Thora’s shadow is visible when she’s under or behind something else definitely doesn’t help either, though I must admit that, without being able to change the camera’s angle or rotation and without negatively affecting that sensation of scale, I don’t know what other solution the developers could have found.
Since I mentioned battles, one important reason why they are difficult is Thora’s particularly slow attack, which keeps leaving her exposed since it can’t even be stopped except by dodging. Yes, enemies tend to also be slow, usually even slower, but clicking and then needing to wait for two seconds before the strike comes doesn’t allow for any sort of flow, nor does it give you a feel of the battle, not even creating a sensation of weight. Yes, there is a quick attack, if you attack while dodging, making Thora end the roll offensively, but that attack is much weaker and also requires dodging straight towards the enemy, and there’s the time needed to roll to be taken into account as well, plus of course needing to be very much aware of the position at the end of the roll.
On top of that, you can’t save manually, the situation being automatically saved once you complete each area, so the areas that need to be explored, for the required runes, as well as the God Powers and additional health, need to be completed in one sitting, and if you die at one point, you’ll need to start over. You do keep what you gain, but still need to go through the whole thing all over again, until you can get to the end in one sitting and without dying. In addition, if you quit you’ll start back in Ginnungagap, needing to walk back to the area, and through that first part, before the actual “arena”, of those with the boss battles. There’s also the fact that, until you learn to make proper use of the fountains, restoring your health and powers only at the end, or when you find yourself unable to do so, it may be better to die early in a section’s second area, as in that case you’ll start it again fully restored, while otherwise you’ll only have what you had left when you completed the first area.
The area map isn’t exactly easy to use either, since it doesn’t indicate your position and is rough, possibly even including a few mistakes, so you’re expected to keep track of your position and figure out what those rough sketches actually represent. It’s a smaller problem than the rest, but it can nevertheless be frustrating… As was the fact that I couldn’t see the right part of the last constellation in the Northern Sky area, only sorting the matter out after starting over, since trying to complete it blindly eventually resulted in death, taking a screenshot of the image on the rock and using it to fill in the rest once I got back there. Perhaps it had to do with my resolution, 1280×1024, this possibly having something to do with some of the ways in which the camera annoyed me as well, but if a game supports a certain resolution, it should actually be playable in it. And since there’s nowhere else to put this, and it’s not like the scroll wheel is used for zooming or anything, I’d have liked to be able to use it to switch God Powers, but it’s not possible.

Overall, Jotun really is better if seen as a work of art than as a game, with an excellent graphic style, fitting atmosphere and a fair amount of attention paid to the mythology it’s based on. Judged on its merits as a game, on the other hand, it’s quite frustrating, in good part due to various design decisions, and while the camera may perhaps be partially justified by the desire to enhance the artistic value, it’s harder to find justifications for the lack of manual saving, the rough map that doesn’t even track your position, or Thora’s slow attack that doesn’t even create a feeling of weight… Except perhaps that the developers wanted to extend the game’s length to some extent, since it’s quite short otherwise, but this is most definitely not a good way to do so. As a result, I can recommend watching the game, if the one recording explored everything and did so properly, but actually playing it, perhaps not so much. Still, couldn’t possibly call it a bad game, so if you can deal with some frustration and a few tougher fights, you can play it too, even if just to list another game as finished in a relatively short amount of time.

Written by Cavalary on January 12, 2019 at 9:47 PM in Gaming | 0 Comments

Best Run Times at the End of 2018

At the start of a new year, I guess it’s time for another post like this, obviously just for my own use, likely including as a way to stay at least somewhat motivated. Again, didn’t include times for distances not covered since the previous post, so those are in that one and the one before it. Notes are in the same format, with the first value representing the distance and the second the lap on which that particular time was achieved. Do consider adding the dates as well, but whether I’ll edit this later to do that or just give up on the thought, I don’t know yet. And yes, this post again comes after the year’s first run, which was last Thursday, noticing I had a cold which seems to have turned out to be flu and knowing neither my condition nor that of the weather were going to get better too soon, but there were no relevant times then and they wouldn’t have been covered here even if there would have been.

10 km (through the park)
1. 46:39
2. 47:15
3-4. 47:22 (twice)
5. 47:26
6-7. 47:39 (twice)
8. 47:42
9. 47:43
10-11. 47:46 (twice)

16 km (through the park)
1. 1:16:54
2. 1:17:38
3. 1:18:24
4. 1:18:48
5. 1:19:26
6. 1:19:29
7. 1:19:45
8. 1:23:45
9. 1:23:51
10. 1:24:06

Half Marathon (21.1 km)
I. Bucharest Half Marathon real time

1. 1:51:54
2. 1:54:56
3. 2:02:38
II. Through the park
1. 1:48:20
2. 1:48:26
3. 1:53:11
4. 1:53:19
5. 1:56:41
6. 1:59:11

35.2 km (through the park)
1. 3:26:38

Marathon (42.2 km) – Bucharest Marathon real time
1. 4:19:40

Lap around the park lake (3.2 km)
1. 14:31 [10-1]
2. 14:50 [10-2]
3. 14:51 [10-1]
4. 14:57 [10-2]
5. 14:58 [10-1]
6. 14:59 [10-3]
7. 15:00 [10-3]
8. 15:02 [10-1]
9. 15:04 [10-2]
10. 15:05 [10-2]

Lap sector one [10-1 unless otherwise specified]
1. 4:07
2-5. 4:14 (and a second, third [10-2] and fourth time)
6-9. 4:15 (and a second, third and fourth time)
10-13. 4:16 (and a second, third and fourth time)

Lap sector two
1-2. 4:50 [10-1] (twice [10-2])
3. 4:51 [10-2]
4. 4:52 [10-1]
5-6. 4:53 [10-3] (twice [10-2])
7. 4:55 [10-1]
8. 4:56 [10-2]
9-12. 4:57 [10-2] (and a second [10-3], third [10-2] and fourth [10-2] time)

Lap sector three
1. 5:25 [10-1]
2. 5:40 [10-3]
3. 5:42 [10-1] (twice [10-1])
4-7. 5:43 [7-1] (and a second [10-1], third [10-1] and fourth [10-1] time)
8-9. 5:44 [10-3] (twice [16-5])
10-16. 5:45 [4.1] (and a second [10-1], third [10-3], fourth [10-2], fifth [16-5], sixth [16-5] and seventh [10-2] time)

Final sector on a 10 km run
1. 1:40
2-4. 1:42 (and a second and third time)
5-10. 1:43 (and a second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth time)

Final section of a Half Marathon (21.1 km) run (through the park)
1. 10:10
2. 10:31
3. 10:45
4. 10:53
5. 11:57
6. 12:07

Written by Cavalary on January 8, 2019 at 11:08 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

More Emsisoft Issues, Needlessly Restoring from Backup, Winning Oblivion, Starting Jotun

2018’s last run was yesterday, the time being 48:23, with sector times of 4:15, 5:06, 5:54, 4:32, 5:05, 6:00, 4:37, 5:08, 5:59 and 1:47, making for lap times of 15:15, 15:37 and 15:44. Had set the alarm at noon, but woke up the second time just before 11 AM and decided to get up, eventually going out the door just after 12:45 PM. The weather was good, with a reported temperature of 5°C but quite sunny and with pretty much no wind, but there were a number of people to find my way around. Plenty of runners too, but those aren’t a problem, and one likely even helped, as he overtook me on sector three of lap two and ended up quite far ahead, but obviously couldn’t maintain the pace and I caught up to him and overtook him again on sector three of lap three, that little “race” likely making me be a little faster than I’d have been otherwise, though by then I was already pushing hard. Did feel rather out of breath most of the time, and that was the limiting factor starting even after the first lap, and definitely from sector two of lap three, when I started giving it everything, since I was in real danger of failing to stay under 48:30, so I breathed out through my mouth plenty of times and on parts of the final sector I breathed in like that too, though at the end I saw that I didn’t need to do that, since it likely helped me gain two or three seconds, not seven. The knee was really fine though, so that was nice, though another issue was that I felt like I needed to take a crap almost from the beginning, despite having managed to get rid of a bit before leaving.

After the run, since I had taken a bit of money with me, I went to the Carrefour from that area and got myself a couple of things, though it was awkward with the one I had to ask for, being sold by weight like that. I said 200 grams and the employee put 238, then seemed bothered when I said that’s too much, saying it’s hardly anything over what I had asked for, making a show of taking just a tiny bit away, asking quite angrily if that was how much it was over… Well, no, not just that much, since what she took away was just 12 grams, but it was good enough for the money I had left. Actually, even the initial quantity would have been good enough, since I found a coin at checkout and then the guy from the shop where I charged my phone card, with just 1 EUR, only to activate it again in case it’ll be needed these days, rounded down the amount he asked for, but I couldn’t have known that then and that initial amount would have put me over what I had by a tiny amount. Plus, it was 19% over what I had asked for, which is a large margin.
Either way, got back just in time for ski jumping, and to catch dad before he left, since he had said he’ll leave around 4 PM but apparently decided to go at 3 PM… And a few minutes later came back for something, and I reminded him of a couple of other things I noticed he had forgotten too. But after that, not counting the cats, I was alone for New Year’s, which is at least less bad than being alone with someone else around. And otherwise these days just mess up my routines, as I wouldn’t care for them one way or the other. The New Year is hard to ignore though, and it did bother me a bit that I didn’t have what I consider typical food for that night around, since he only brought some of those things, and quite little at that, when he came back today. But I still stuffed myself with a few things that were left and the usual stuff I make, even managing to do it all early, finishing eating just before midnight… And later I decided to start another game at the start of the year, installing Jotun and completing the first area before going to bed.

Since I’m on the topic of games, the day before I won Oblivion on another truly massive giveaway on the GOG.com forums, organized by the same guy who does these massive giveaways in which I had already won first The Witcher 3, back in spring, and then, in September, a free choice of a game, which I used for Lords of Xulima, plus that he also donated the copy of Divinity: Original Sin I requested and received from the Community Giveaway, in October. And this time he wanted to make sure that everyone who entered received something, at first adding more codes, including for Oblivion, which hadn’t been on the initial list, before the deadline and telling people to feel free to edit their requests to add anything new they want to enter for, which I did, then actually adding quite a number of additional codes at the time of the draw, for games requested by many, then asking for those who didn’t win anything to select something out of the codes that nobody, or not enough, had entered for, and then apparently offering something to those still left out, until he said that everyone who entered and whose chat settings didn’t block him from contacting them had received something, and there were messages from those who had mentioned not winning anything saying they had indeed been surprised to receive a code anyway. But I seem to have won the first code for Oblivion, not anything added at the time of the draw or later, so at least I don’t have even more reasons to feel guilty and embarrassed. Already do anyway, considering all I received from him in so short a time…

That evening was nice, but the first part of the day was rather annoying due to Micky. I had opened the window instead of turning on the exhaust hood while making tea, and despite closing the door she opened it, came into the kitchen and then jumped on the window, refusing to come down when I wanted to close it. It’s possible that she wanted to get on the cupboard, but that doesn’t go that far anymore, due to the new exhaust hood, and I was afraid she’ll fall since she was getting agitated if I tried to get her away from there, clung on to the window, harder when I tried to pick her up and get her down, which meant I couldn’t do so when I had to stretch so much to reach. So I eventually got on a chair to pick her up directly, but that allowed her to get on my shoulders, as she knows she can do with dad, having him carry her wherever she wants, and I couldn’t get her off, since when I got down and tried to pry her off she just clung on harder and sounded quite annoyed. Tried to avoid pulling her off directly, carefully pulling each claw out of my shirt until I could finally get her off, but that still left several holes in that shirt, which had been quite whole so far.
On the other hand, and back to games, Sunday I also managed to get myself to write the review for Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic, submitting it on MobyGames too just before midnight, after going over it again and making a few changes. Still found one more word I had to add when I went over it one more time, that night, but I can edit things there, so just edited it in the queue, without pulling and resubmitting it. So I did manage to write it before the end of the year after all… And then even added one more post yesterday, albeit a quick one, getting the number of bands included in “New Finds” posts during one year to at least 15 for the first time.

And now I have to get to the issues mentioned at the start of the previous personal post, which started on the night of December 26 to 27, when I got back on the computer after eating, did a few things and then noticed that some things which should have been blocked by Emsisoft Anti-Malware (EAM), as privacy risks, were loading on sites, and this was how I was used to notice that the bug which caused its surf protection and behavior blocker modules to turn off invisibly had triggered again. It hadn’t happened in months, and while I had identified things which caused it to happen and really kept doing my best to avoid doing them, I doubted I had managed to completely avoid every single instance in so long, so even thought that they had fixed it at some point, even though the support guy I talk to had told me that they hadn’t worked on fixing anything about the old surf protection due to developing an entirely new surf protection module, which wasn’t included in the version I had, being on the “delayed” branch. But, of course, my first reaction at that moment was to assume I had indeed been wrong in thinking they had fixed it, that it simply happened again, and that I just had to fix it the same way I did before… Not that I really remembered how at first, so just shut it down and then started it again, before checking the post to see that the solution was to disable and then enable the protection.
Well, that’s where things got bad, because doing that completely froze my computer. Could still move the mouse, it seemed to react normally to hovering the cursor over something, the music was playing, but at first the EAM window was unresponsive, and then I noticed that I couldn’t actually do anything, couldn’t even start Task Manager, trying to close the browser made it appear to close but the music continued to play, trying to open a file from the desktop just froze the desktop as well, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del did nothing… So, after waiting for a bit, I was forced to press the reset button, at first restarting in Safe Mode and trying to run EAM from there, which at first resulted in a message stating that it’s running without active protection in Safe Mode, so to just scan and then reboot normally, but then it crashed, with a crash message that time. So rebooted normally, and EAM was disabled when I did. That was normal, I guess, so I tried to turn protection back on gradually, surf protection appearing to enable, but then when I enabled file guard as well it didn’t show up as enabled, and a bit later EAM just shut down. Rebooted again, it was still disabled, so I tried to enable all components again, and that led to another system freeze, though at the time I had Task Manager already open and could see some activity, just that at first I couldn’t start or stop anything, and eventually CPU use dropped to zero, so BOINC projects were unable to run anymore either. There was some occasional, slight, CPU use showing up, but I’m not sure if it was only from EAM processes or others as well. And I definitely couldn’t reboot normally.
One thing is that, since the bug which required disabling and enabling protection hadn’t triggered in months, I also hadn’t done so on that version, so had no way of knowing whether there was a bug in that version that prevented protection from being enabled again somehow. And, either way, if I’d have been certain that EAM was the only problem, I’d have uninstalled and reinstalled it, which I ended up forced to do later anyway, even if I kept trying to avoid that. But the thing is that I feared I had exposed myself to some malware around that time, possibly even just before noticing the problem, and that made me panic. The risk should have been very low, if it wouldn’t have been I wouldn’t have done it, but I had been aware of at least a theoretical possibility at the time and having security software disable itself and not allow protection to be enabled again right after that made me assume something bad had happened, which in turn led me to restore the system from a backup done a few days before. It’s the first time I do this and it’s a backup image made with Windows Backup, not some other software, but I didn’t sit to think too much about it. Did hope I’ll be able to restore it on another partition, in fact on another disk, but I didn’t remove the one the system was, and still is, on and it automatically restored itself there, so it overwrote everything and there’s no way to get back to what it was just then.
The system started fine after that, with EAM also enabled and appearing to update just fine, since the time of the last update was obviously before I had created that image. However, one thing I noticed right away was the fact that Windows Update forgot everything, at first noticing that it said it had never checked for or installed updates, and then that the update history was completely gone, though I still see everything if I check installed updates. Also, the search indexes were damaged or missing, so I got a bunch of errors from that in logs, but there were no more of those after that time. And between first posting this and going over it again I also noticed that the maximum disk space for system restore points was set to zero, so I wonder what else I still haven’t noticed. The loss of the update history does bother me though, since it was a simpler and much faster way to check that list, and I wonder if it’s not a sign of a more serious problem somewhere. Plus, other than the EAM crash dumps, since I have those enabled, there’s obviously no way to get logs or system information from before restoring it, and therefore no way to actually know for sure that there was no malware.
It’s extremely unlikely that there was any though, and that’s because the “problem” remained. When I checked again, it still appeared as if EAM’s surf protection didn’t work, which I couldn’t explain. I mean, I had restored a system image made days before the problem appeared, how could it still be there? And then I even switched to the “stable” branch, it seemed to update fine to the current version, yet the problem still didn’t go away… Or at least I thought it was a problem and that it wasn’t going away, because I kept checking the same way and it wasn’t blocking what it should have been, and I definitely didn’t expect a significant change introduced by a simple definitions update, around midnight on the night of December 26 to 27 in Europe, so at a time when I doubt anybody would expect important changes.

With the system at least seeming stable for the moment and no obvious signs of malware otherwise, I somehow managed to go to bed that morning, but just after 7:30 AM I had to wake up and take a shit. I had almost crapped myself due to panicking over what had happened, but decided to just try to go to sleep, and obviously my body decided that it wasn’t going to take that for long. So I sorted that matter out, then turned the monitor on just at 8 AM, saw no issues with the backup script, ran some of the things I was told to run after sending a support message before going to bed, then went back to bed and eventually got back up a bit after 1:30 PM. At that point, since I had a different EAM version and also knew that restoring from backup worked, so if all else failed I could just do that again, I risked disabling protection and enabling it again one more time, but then immediately pressed Ctrl+Alt+Del, waited some ten seconds and rebooted. If it would have wanted to freeze again, it would have likely done so, even more so since the desktop obviously showed up again for a moment before rebooting, so I took it as a good sign that I could reboot normally, though I definitely still wouldn’t care to try disabling and enabling protection again if I can help it in any way.
Well, the good signs only lasted until the system booted back up, since it again waited for a while before attempting to show the desktop and then I was greeted by the same black screen and conhost.exe crash that first happened in August. I still don’t know why it started happening then, but that assumption that it has something to do with .NET updates has since been proven wrong and the one that it has something to do with how the Intel video driver loads may be getting some evidence in its favor. Either way, while it had already been proven to happen every time if I tried to log off and back on, rebooting again after it happened once had always fixed it, so I took it as something relatively normal… Until it happened again after I rebooted one more time, and then several more times. There was just no way to see the desktop anymore, nothing worked, so I panicked all over again at first, but then realized that the only thing that had changed had been the version of EAM, so rebooted again in Safe Mode, which worked, uninstalled it, rebooted normally, no longer experiencing that issue, and then installed it again, which again seemed to work just fine… With the exception of the fact that it still wasn’t blocking what it should have blocked.

After exchanging a number of messages and sending all I could send to the support guy, I then just took it easy, trying to make sure I won’t do anything that risked triggering another problem… And then on December 29 I noticed that there hadn’t been a problem in the first place, not until I disabled protection thinking that there had been one at least! Noticed that because I checked the logs after waking up that day and saw that it had blocked a “privacy risk” the night before, so I started testing more thoroughly, and only then thought to actually check the surf protection list, finally noticing that the “privacy risk” category had been almost completely cleared, only 13 entries being left, including the test one. The support guy wasn’t aware of this having been done either, saying he’ll inquire about it and eventually revealing that the category had caused trouble and there had been talks to remove it for some time, and I’m supposedly the only user he knows of to use it in a proper way, but he definitely hadn’t been aware of any decision having been made, so it was either a mistake or somebody just deciding to do it without telling anyone, so something really troubling and which shouldn’t happen, especially in a security company, either way. He never did tell me which of the two it ended up being, just saying that he also doesn’t know why those few entries were left instead of all being removed.
So I at least knew that my security software did function as intended, and I had already confirmed before that point that the behavior blocker worked as well. However, further tests revealed that their new surf protection module doesn’t exactly work in Internet Explorer. It blocks the test entries if I try to go to them directly, but that’s about it. Tried something that’s listed as a phishing host but which I know is, in itself, safe, and it loaded just fine, and then made a few custom entries, telling it to block them, and it failed to do so every time, though they were blocked, at least under that initial scenario, in both Vivaldi and Firefox. However, while I guess I shouldn’t go into details just yet, under different testing conditions, and I’m talking of very simple and common scenarios, it completely failed to block anything, in any browser. I was also told that the new surf protection module won’t block a site if it has successfully loaded in the current session, so proper testing would require logging off and back on or rebooting, which for obvious reasons I wasn’t about to try, but it wasn’t necessary anyway, since the support guy was able to reproduce all I had reported and said he immediately passed on the information and they are looking into it, because it is indeed a huge vulnerability… Which I noticed right away but which their testers hadn’t picked up on in all this time. Not that it’d really matter to me even if it would be fixed, if it still won’t work in what remains my browser of choice, despite all the shit I get over that. Plus that their “privacy risks” category was a selling point from my point of view, considering how I made use of it, and that quite clearly won’t come back.

So, at this point, I’m pretty much waiting for results and hoping I’ll have solutions in time. There are those crash dumps made before restoring from backup, which should give them an idea about what happened that first time, but I got nothing back about them yet, nor about that conhost.exe crash… And this is the more important matter at this point, because even if there won’t be a power failure or some other problem that will require a reboot before then, there will be Windows updates next week, and if that is indeed, as it appears, caused in some way by EAM and I need to uninstall it to be able to get to the desktop and then reinstall it later, that’s definitely not a sustainable solution. In addition, there’s the matter of a new version likely to be released now and me not wanting to get switched to it, with who knows what other effects, so I’ll need to switch back to the “delayed” branch, but currently that would just put me back on the version that froze my system. The support guy said the “delayed” branch should get switched to what is currently the “stable” one around the same time the new version will be released to “stable”, but that will mean always checking, stopping updates when I’ll see the post about the new version and then relying on him to let me know when I can switch back to “delayed” and update again, since the “delayed” version changes aren’t listed anywhere. So plenty of reasons to stress and worry, as if I didn’t always worry about all sorts of things anyway.

Written by Cavalary on January 1, 2019 at 11:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments