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Before My First Marathon

Until I’ll get around to writing about race day, let me catch up on the period before it, starting with October 6, when I left a bit after 2 PM, maybe around 2:10 PM, rushing and forgetting to take out the recyclables too. The plan was to cover a part of the route of the marathon, including the area I didn’t know, and get to the other Auchan in time to take the 6:05 PM bus to get to this pharmacy before closing too, since it closes at 6:45 PM on Saturday. And it went very well, despite thinking I was losing valuable time when I had to wait quite a bit for my turn at the toilet in Izvor Park. On that part of the route that I didn’t know I also found a metro card with eight trips left, seeming to have just been dropped but being on the sidewalk that goes along the river, where very few people walk. Reached the end of that part of route, the turning point, around 5:15 PM or so, and was at that Auchan before 5:30 PM, giving me time to even shop a bit and still be out around 5:50 PM, needing to wait for the bus to leave, which was also a couple of minutes late.
At that Auchan I found boxes of that yogurt that were expiring later, so could get one, also that energy bar that wasn’t available at the Auchan I usually go to, and frozen corn, which also seemed to be missing there. Forgot to check for mushrooms though, and while I saw very cheap unpackaged soy, they didn’t have cubes like that, and even though the slices were also much cheaper than even the unpackaged cubes at the other one, I didn’t get any then. As for the pharmacy, did find the gel I wanted for the marathon, so grabbed two of those, but not something else which Alma had recommended to use after it, so decided to just give up on that idea. Also grabbed something dad wanted, but he wanted four and possibly one of a different kind as well and I just found three of the kind of pills he was mainly interested in, so just got those and didn’t try to ask about the other kind, since you need to stand in line and ask for those and I only got out with the other things five minutes before closing anyway.
There’s another thing I need to mention though, and that’s that when I reached Constitution Square the second time as I was walking the route I felt my left foot start hurting again, seeming like it was about to start feeling like it had when I walked the route of this year’s half marathon, so I tried to figure out exactly why that was happening and noticed that I sort of “threw” that leg while walking. Also noticed, while I was trying to correct that issue, that I may not quite have the full movement range of that ankle anymore, possibly due to hitting myself and that bump that’s left there now. But I was careful to keep my walking style in check and the foot stopped hurting, and it was fine after that day as well.

October 6 was also the first day of voting in the referendum, but I meant to wait and see what the turnout will be anyway, so I just kept my eyes on the announced numbers the next day. Complained against the campaign to boycott it all along and stressed that I was going to vote against the proposed change no matter how many attacks are aimed at those who vote, and I’d have felt terrible if I wouldn’t have voted, seeing how I keep stressing, and definitely believe, that if you don’t vote you lose any right to have the authorities pay any attention when you try to complain or make suggestions after that, but I did seriously consider going against all of that this one time for the cause and not vote after all if it’d be close, saying I will go vote as soon as the turnout will be announced to have reached the required 30% or if it’ll be under 20% at the last report. Would have really wanted to vote if it’d have just been under 25%, but in that case I’d have seriously considered giving an invalid vote.
Fortunately, there was no reason to be torn in the end, since the turnout was clearly low all along and still under 20% at the last report, at 8:30 PM, with data from 7 PM. So I waited for that report, ready to go right out, and did just that as soon as I saw the numbers, since there was absolutely no danger of the referendum being valid anymore. The person responsible for my address was a young woman who might have been from one of the parties supporting the boycott, and at the time I thought that was why she looked at me suspiciously and took her time to check my information before giving back my ID card after I voted, showing her displeasure that someone of my age and living in this area voted, but after I thought about it for a while I remembered that the guy responsible for my address at the previous elections had placed two stickers on my card, then removed one when I pointed it out, obviously leaving some glue there that attracted dirt since then, giving someone glancing at the card reason to believe I might have voted already and removed the sticker to vote again, since the system to check this in real time wasn’t used now.

The plan for the next day was to cover the rest of the marathon’s route, since I could use dad’s card to get back to Constitution Square and leave after I’ll end up at Unirii. Sure, mostly knew that part of the route, but obviously still wanted to walk it just before the race. Later learned that a part of the map listed on the site was wrong, so I didn’t know what that small detour would involve until I actually ran it, and the end of it sure was unpleasant, but at the time I just walked the route I knew, having worked out a plan that was even more efficient than what I had originally meant to do, to repeat as little as possible during this walk, even if during the race I’ll have to go both ways or more than once through certain areas. And that really was necessary that time, since I only left around 4:15 PM and was still some way from finishing when it got dark, actually getting to that part that goes through Cismigiu Park, which I didn’t know at all, after dark. And while that was clear once I got there, after leaving the park I got rather confused again, thinking I had walked too far and spending some time trying to get some directions or a map to load on my phone before giving up and just continuing, which proved to be the right choice, as I actually hadn’t walked far enough. Not that I needed darkness to get confused that day, since it first happened at Victory Square, where I chose the wrong road to continue on, realizing it and getting myself to the right one after quite some time. Not much of a problem there though, since I had to go both ways anyway, so walked all parts of that road, just not all of it in both directions.
Was finally back at the Izvor metro station at 8:05 PM, took the metro to the nearest stop to the other Kaufland and went there to get a bag of that kind of pasta that I wanted to make just before the race. Got out of there at 8:50 PM and walked to the other Auchan, getting just the soy, since I couldn’t find any of those mushrooms there, and at the same time definitely confirmed that they don’t carry that kind of pasta, since I walked in with the bag from Kaufland and tried to scan it for a price check, the machine stating that the product was unknown. When I went in, I thought I might just even have a chance at catching the 9:25 PM free bus, but it was just after 9:30 PM when I got back out, so thought I’ll take the 9:35 PM one and walk from where that leaves me, yet there were none of that number there at all and I saw a couple of other people wondering what was going on, so a few minutes after it should have left I decided to just walk, being in front of the door at 10:15 PM. If I’d have waited for the 10 PM bus and it would have left on time, I should have been here earlier and without having to walk, but had no way of knowing that won’t also fail to show up.
Later, after showering, the wax clogging my left ear for a long time now moved in a bad position again and I’ve kept struggling with it ever since. It was very bad just then, and that also affected my balance and I knew I had to do something about it before the marathon, but while it seemed better after a couple of days, it still feels a bit wrong even now. Should do something about it someday, but that’s scary too… Though at least that night I had a reason for annoyance to make me think of it somewhat less, after I tried to get something out of the freezer and a plastic box with some herbs fell out, the lid flying off as it was in the air and the box ending up face-down, some of the herbs spilling all around. Tried to quickly wash and brush off the top layer of what was left before putting it back, then cleaned what was on the floor, with the cats appearing very interested in what I was doing.

Went back to Auchan the next day, to the usual one this time, since I definitely still needed those mushrooms. Had no intention of walking more than I had to at that point, so went out some seven minutes before their free bus should have arrived, and it of course ended up being a similar amount of minutes late, so had to wait for quite some time. Also had to get something for the cats, and got some more of their food too while I was there, plus a few other things, a tea actually being the result of me miscalculating how far some money dad had given me earlier would go and leaving me with less for the farmers’ market, but it was fine anyway. Not sure how to feel about a guy getting my attention and handing me a 5 RON bill as I was looking at bread, saying he saw me looking and that I should get myself a croissant or something. Refused him and quickly got away from that area, and by doing so and starting to look for the other things at that moment, I ended up walking past the spot where an employee had apparently fainted, others gathering around, holding her, getting a chair, trying to wake her up with alcohol and vinegar… When they put her in the chair, a guard was trying to both help those holding her and hold the chair at the same time and didn’t quite seem to manage it, so I rushed to hold that chair for a few seconds, then went on my way again. Hope she ended up being all right in the end…
Did have to return to the bread area though, since dad had also asked me to get him some bread, and he wanted it sliced too, using the machine that’s there. I definitely wouldn’t use that, but if he wanted it like that, I did, struggling to slice all five, leaving others who had less to use it after each, and also struggling to put each bread back in the plastic wrapping I got it in, not taking another bag. Had both an employee and another customer tell me that those bags will tear, but they didn’t, so I managed it in the end, though it took a whole lot longer than I thought it would, so after doing that and getting the mushrooms and tea as well, I noticed that it was just the time when the next bus should leave, and I had no intention of trying to make it to the other one, leaving ten minutes later, and walking part of the way. So I just wandered around a while longer, then accidentally used a classic checkout instead of one of the “fast” ones, and got to the bus stop quite early for the next one, which got a bit uncomfortable when a guy started muttering something, then asked why was I standing and to come sit down, which prompted me to walk to the other end of that area.
Once back, it was very obvious that dad had a cold. Had warned me about it a few days before, but it was getting worse and I really couldn’t afford anything of the sort, so I had to be as careful as possible, and in the end it worked out, as I didn’t get it. My headphones were also a concern, as the broken part of the side I had recently glued again had pretty much gotten loose the night before and that side was largely falling apart, so I didn’t put them on during the day, only doing so again, very carefully, at night. But I’ve kept doing that ever since, simply being careful, and they didn’t fall apart completely just yet, though I’m sure they will soon enough unless I finally glue them again, if there’s any chance for that glue to hold. Admittedly, hadn’t actually glued that part that’s broken off then, and something else broke off at that time, making one of the screws no longer do anything at all, which put added pressure on a fix which was bad to begin with.

On October 10 I received Divinity: Original Sin from the Community Giveaway on the GOG.com forum, after having asked for it myself when I saw five copies suddenly show up. Was actually looking for Dragon Age: Origins, since there had been copies dropped in the list multiple times during the sale and I actually just missed a couple of them, so even took to checking on my phone when I woke up to go to the toilet, but when I did so that morning I spotted those instead and decided it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass on and the number of copies made me feel little guilt over it even if I won’t be able to start the game on this computer. Did start to feel rather guilty when it was suggested, and then confirmed, that those keys had been donated by the same guy who does those massive giveaways in which I had already won first The Witcher 3, back in spring, and then, only last month, a free choice of a game, which I used for Lords of Xulima, but I had already asked and I do want to have that game around, so that was that. And at least I had purchased codes for Bloodlines and Theme Hospital during the sale and dropped them in the Community Giveaway then, to give something back.

The next day I went to the farmers’ market, getting the last things I wanted to get before the marathon, and spent over three and a half hours in the kitchen after dad left. But it was what I saw on the way to and from the market that worried me, since workers seemed to be finishing connecting that, and in fact this, entire area to this network of underground cables supposed to replace all those used by the LANs left in the city, and I knew that years ago, when this project started, they would force all cables to be removed in the areas covered this way. Looked things up after seeing that and noticed that the project had been resumed last month, after having apparently been blocked since 2013 just because of these practices that drove LANs out of business, but the authorities are yet to regulate it in a manner that would change things, though they have done so in another city, so there may be hope, question being whether it won’t be far too late for most… Including for me, especially considering what happened Saturday.

Moving on to the next day, that was when I picked up my race kit, getting there a little after 3 PM and finding that at least there weren’t long lines this time around. However, the system failed just before the couple who was ahead of me, and the volunteer who was there said it was the second time that day, and the schedule stated they’d only start handing out the kits at 1 PM. Even though the people managing the system, who seemed to be Italian, started running around and seeming quite concerned, she wasn’t worried though, saying it had fixed itself after some five minutes the first time and will likely do so again, which was proven correct. So I could move on to get my t-shirt soon enough, the volunteer who was handing them out asking everyone what size they wanted regardless of whether they had one reserved or not, which I gather resulted in them running out of certain sizes soon after that. Though I can see the point, it seemed strange that the t-shirt seemed sealed at the top, making me struggle for a bit to try it on before I realized that and carefully pulled it apart, which may have caused some threads to come loose.
Then I went to get the rest of the stuff, the bag and what they put in it, but since I was still paying attention to the t-shirt I didn’t notice that there were two volunteers and a line in front of one, since the line was hiding him from view, so I just saw that there was nobody in front of the other one and went straight there, only to realize after he asked the other guy what the kits for the marathon were that this guy was supposed to just hand out the kits for the half marathon runners. I pointed out that the balloons didn’t say there were different lines, that only being written on some pieces of paper that were on the desk and impossible to see if there was a line, and he said it doesn’t say they’re different, but different things go in the bags. Was somewhat concerned that I ended up with a half marathon kit as a result, especially when I saw no energy bar or tablet in the bag, but then again I had two cans of pineapple pieces and one liter of almond milk, which I doubt would be given to half marathon runners, so I guess it’s just that Isostar decided to not give things for free this time around.
Speaking of Isostar, they may not have given things out, but they were selling them cheaper this time around, as I noticed that the energy bar I had purchased from Auchan was cheaper at the Isostar stand that was there, which hadn’t been the case before and was a bit frustrating. What was a whole lot worse, however, was noticing that difference in the route which I mentioned above, a detour which showed up on the course map that was there and which was not in the map on the site, so I couldn’t have known of it before then and therefore walked straight past it when I checked the route. Tried to ask about it on-line after getting back, but the only answer was from another guy who was also wondering about it, the organizers not saying anything.

As for Saturday, the previous post covers the problems with the Internet access and how that made me too worried to be able to get back to sleep that afternoon or evening, which had initially been the plan. But at least that meant that I cooked after waking up, while dad was away, so in the evening I just made the salad as well and ate, though the time spent doing that meant that my computer worked on just one CPU core for 55 minutes that evening, since I had suspended all SETI@home work units except the one long and few short ones, to be able to better estimate the amount of work left if my Internet access won’t be restored the next day, and forgot about it, the short ones finishing well before I got back to my room. Either way, once I did get back, I probably ate about as much as I do in two days. Did otherwise only have a normal “breakfast” that day though, and finished by 1:30 AM, to have a full eight hours to digest everything before the start of the race.
After making sure everything was ready, was in bed around 3:20 AM, and probably fell asleep around 4 AM, though at 4:30 AM I was already getting up to pee, probably mainly because of the salad, and had to do so again at 5:25 AM. Worse, found it difficult to get back to sleep that second time, feeling hot, having gas, some body parts feeling numb and generally feeling like I was about to have a panic attack. Did just manage to fight it off and get a bit more sleep eventually though, before waking up when the alarm rang, at 6:45 AM.

Written by Cavalary on October 18, 2018 at 4:49 AM in Personal | 0 Comments

More Cut Internet Cables at a Very Bad Time

Yesterday I woke up, grabbed something to eat, got on the computer… And saw that I had no Internet access again. Had a signal, so it wasn’t my cable being cut again, but had a message about a failed connection already at 9:14 AM, so the problem appeared then or earlier and hadn’t been fixed in several hours, making me assume that the work being done on the next building was the cause again, only some two and a half weeks after the cable cut by them had been fixed, and with the marathon being the next day, I really couldn’t afford that… But I had to deal with it either way.
Tried sending dad a message then, to call the guy and ask what’s going on, but I guess he was busy because there was no reply, so after a while I sent a message to him myself, and he called back and said everything was hacked apart this morning at this next building, all the fiber optics, and since he has the equipment there that also serves us here and this friend of dad’s around the corner, and he wasn’t allowed access to that guy’s building anymore some time ago, he talked to the administrator of the building where the work is being done, which is apparently the same one as for this one, and also to that friend of dad’s, so he could talk with his administrator as well, to see about getting the equipment here and then draw the cables from here to both sides if possible. He was concerned about the next building, since he said he had more clients there, while here it’s just me and that guy, but at the time he thought putting the stuff here was his last option for this area either way, so if it won’t work then there’s nothing he can still do to continue supplying services. And even if there would be an agreement, there was no way to fix things that day, so I couldn’t check anything then and even in the morning, before leaving, I had to struggle with dad’s mobile Internet, which was very slow, to just barely manage to check for any announcements or replies and the weather, with things not quite loading properly even after long delays.
So I was in quite a bad state and my plans of sleeping a good part of that day went down the drain, as I was too close to a panic attack to manage any of that when I tried in the evening. But there was good news while I was wasting time worrying in bed, since dad got back and talked to the guy and the administrator, got them talking to each other, and apparently they sorted things out and the word was that it’ll be fixed today. Still too late for me then, but it was actually fixed quite early today, more specifically at 11:45 AM, when I also noticed after the race that I had two missed calls from the guy, probably to ask to make sure it was actually working right. Of course, I was about 23 kilometers into the marathon at that point, and my phone was in my bag, in the wardrobe tent.
There was also a note from dad when I got back, stating that the other guy asked whether the speed could improve and the Internet guy said yes, but since it’s just the two of us on this node now, we’ll need to pay for the new equipment needed… The issue being that I have no use for a better speed, not when it’s working properly at the normal speed, I mean, and dad has even less, so if we’d agree we’d just cover half the costs for something that other guy would use. At the same time, it would mean an investment in the network, but it’d obviously only make sense if we’d get guarantees that there are no more risks of service being cut in any foreseeable future, so it would be worth it if they could somehow be provided… But I have to wonder how come it’s just the two of us here now, when yesterday the guy told me he had more clients in the other building and everyone was hooked up to the same node, and dad understood that the arrangement allowed for the node to remain there. Not that I’m in any way certain that dad understood that correctly, of course.

So things went from a very real chance of no longer being able to stay in this network to plans of investments in its future in less than a day, and I’m wondering what will happen next. I mean, with the work continuing on the next building for months, and this one likely also getting in the program at some point, and the plans to move cables underground and charge LANs an arm and a leg for the use of that network being unblocked again last month and this area actually being covered just these days, things looked grim, but when I told the guy that I thought he’d move the equipment here just after my cable was cut then, he said he didn’t think of that because there had been other buildings where this sort of work was done and he always worked things out, so he assumed it’ll be the same now, even after the cable for that friend of dad’s was cut twice after mine was. Whether this means he just went back to wrongly assuming that or got some guarantees himself after the discussions with the administrator, remains to be seen.

Either way, this spared me the trouble of thinking of what else to post this weekend, and at least there was no need to do what I was considering while I wasn’t sure it’d be fixed at all today, which was using dad’s computer and the mobile Internet to throw a quick post somewhere else, just mentioning there’s a problem, and moving it here, with that timestamp, once something would have been worked out.

Written by Cavalary on October 14, 2018 at 11:10 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Last Run Before My First Marathon

No idea when I’ll write this week’s second post, much less both, after today, so I’m just throwing this here about last week’s second run, which I mentioned considering, and the rest of that day. Should have written something about the referendum, but after going out again to get some more things yesterday, I rested and slept as much as I could today, and after today this will definitely be the plan, getting my race kit and likely some things from the farmers’ market, cooking what I want to eat these days and otherwise resting and sleeping as much as I can, so that won’t happen until at least next week. And I’m quite sure no other actual personal update will be coming before then either, so I’ll see what I’ll manage to put here as the second post and when. May even be just a little note on Sunday, assuming I’ll make it, or Saturday evening or even that night, to have it here in case I won’t be in a good enough state to manage to write anything after.

Yes, I did run again last week, Thursday morning, waking up at 8 AM and meaning to be out the door at 9:15 AM, but ending up being two minutes late and then rushing to the park. Rushed too much, as I meant to start at 9:30 AM and ended up there with a few minutes to waste, but that didn’t hurt my time, which actually was my second fastest over ten kilometers, 47:15, the stopwatch actually listing 47:15.00. Sector times were 4:22, 5:06, 5:52, 4:24, 4:56, 5:49, 4:21, 4:58, 5:40 and 1:47, making for lap times of 15:20, 15:09 and 14:59. That means a new fastest third lap, or at least what I’ll list as the new fastest lap three, though a difference of one second compared to the previous record means it may also be a matter of rounding, as I don’t have exact times. That lap’s third sector time was also the second fastest third sector ever, showing that I could still really push, though the final sector wasn’t at the same level.

After the run I went back out, to Auchan, going out six minutes early to be sure I won’t miss their free bus again and, of course, needing to wait since it was some five minutes late. The bread I usually get still looked different, and the one bought two days before tasted different too, so I assumed this would be the same and instead got two of the other kind which has a different shape but a very similar composition, and which now seems to be priced according to weight as well, to have enough for this entire week. Got a few other things too, but still couldn’t get yogurt, as those packs still expired too soon and they looked ugly, dirty and even damaged too, also still couldn’t find that energy bar, actually seeing that notification about a missing shipment where it should have been on the shelf, and forgot to check for that kind of pasta again, but when I checked another day I confirmed that they don’t have that kind at all, so it didn’t matter.
From there, went to Kaufland and Carrefour too, just getting one thing from the first and a couple of things from the second. Also noticed a bunch of coins spread on the floor in front of an ATM in the mall that Carrefour is in, so I wondered who got coins out of it and then left them there, but while several were 0.01 RON ones, which I left, spotted two 0.05 RON ones and grabbed them, and recall finding a few others elsewhere too. There was a bit of an unpleasant moment at the checkout at Carrefour though, since I used one of those small ones, for few products, and those don’t have a belt, so I just put my two things there next to the last one left to scan from the previous customer as I dug in my pocket for the money, assuming the cashier will know there was just one item left and won’t continue with mine, but she didn’t and that other customer had to tell her the cabbage wasn’t his. Then again, doubt she was paying much attention anyway, since she seemed to be trading jokes, or maybe more exactly small jabs, with him. She called someone to remove that cabbage from the other customer’s order, sounding quite bothered and repeating that only one customer should put products there while that other customer was saying, still in good humor, that she must have seen me with the cabbage and couldn’t have expected me to just hold it in hand, but I just mumbled a few apologies and left it at that, and the person who needed to authorize removing that from the order apparently was just there, maybe after having just left before I got there, so it was all over quickly.

Written by Cavalary on October 10, 2018 at 11:36 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Catching Up on Diaspora and Violence – August 10 to 17 in Bucharest

Since I hope I’ll be writing something about the current referendum soon, I guess this is a good time to finally have a quick post about the events in August. Since just about everyone, activists included, ended up focusing on the violence and the Gendarmerie’s response on August 10 and therefore joined hands, even unintentionally, in burying the actual point and purpose of the protest, I just didn’t care enough to struggle with it anymore, but can’t quite ignore it completely, so I’ll just try to write this quick post now. Don’t expect details, and doubt any are needed anymore, but will also take the opportunity to add the personal part for August 11 and 12, after only writing a personal post about August 10 back then.

The August 10 protest had been announced months ahead and scheduled so more Romanians living abroad would be able to come, since it was supposed to be their protest, and that of those they left behind, to complain about the reasons for leaving Romania and demand changes that’d make them return. There was a longer list of demands posted in some places, some of them highly questionable, to put it mildly, and some activists did distance themselves from those, but the main point was, or should have been, that: Millions of Romanians have left and continue to leave the country, we have the second highest percentage of citizens living abroad in the world, after only Syria, and all those people don’t just leave because they want to, often leaving families and loved ones behind, but because things are too bad here.
Admittedly, there had been calls to occupy the Government building and do worse things all along and the known activists didn’t sufficiently push back against them, some even supporting certain ideas, and in the Square there were repeated calls for the men to come forward and create pressure before the gendarmes, even specifically being said at the loudspeaker that the Government building will be occupied that night, just that it’ll be done without violence. The fact that such calls weren’t drowned out right away was a problem, though there is also the fact that the mood was quite angry quite early, various problems the authorities caused for those coming to Victory Square from outside Bucharest, and outside Romania, only adding to it, so anybody trying could have become a target. Still, there were repeated calls through all channels to not use violence, that message was even projected on the surrounding buildings, and before the gendarmes moved in and used force to clear the Square a very tiny portion of those present could be said to have been in any way violent, the repeated use of tear gas by the gendarmes starting after 4 PM rarely being justified, and the extent of it, switching later on to shooting canisters and other such methods when the troublemakers likely only numbered in the dozens and were gathered in one area, probably never justified at all.
But to get back to the beginning, people started gathering in Victory Square in the morning and things were pretty calm until the afternoon, when the numbers grew and the first attempts to break through the cordon of gendarmes came, leading to the first use of tear gas. After that, the tension in one particular corner of the Square just kept increasing, but the gendarmes kept angering everyone by making a show of being fully prepared and using tear gas in that area at the slightest provocation, for example even when people swore at them or just asked them some ironic or simply uncomfortable questions. The rest of the Square was pretty much calm, but as time passed, tear gas kept affecting more and more people even when they were not only not involved but actually far from the area where there was any tension at all, and those requiring medical attention kept being carried through the crowd, the anger grew and more and more people ended up prepared to respond if needed.
There were some 100000 people there at the peak and, while plenty had left by then, when I also left, at 11 PM, after taking the last few of the many pictures I took that evening, I thought there were still enough calm and peaceful people left that it’d take some 30 more minutes before things would get really ugly, regardless of the determination of both that small group and the gendarmes to make that happen all along. It was clear that it was about to happen, but not as soon as it did, since it was almost immediately after I left that two gendarmes who had for some reason been left behind by the others were caught and beaten by a few of those violent people, while other protesters tried to rescue them and even became human shields, throwing themselves in front of the kicks and punches. At first it was said that the beaten female gendarme was in a bad condition and may end up paralyzed, but that proved not to be the case and she soon walked out of hospital on her own two feet, not that this excuses the behavior of those who attacked in any way. It was also said that the guns of the two gendarmes were stolen then, though later the theft of only one was investigated, and the culprit and the gun were found days later.
Minutes after this, the gendarmes moved in to clear the Square, supposedly after having first been told that the two gendarmes had been killed. It’s still unclear who gave what order, how, why, or exactly when, and investigations, while started, just drag on, but the end result was that the Square was quickly cleared, thousands or tens of thousands of peaceful protesters being forced to run before tear gas and even water cannons and quite a number, including journalists, even being beaten for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those who were determined to fight back, however, which by then also included quite a number who hadn’t arrived with any violent intent, kept the gendarmes busy well into the night with running battles on the surrounding streets, and caused plenty of damage in the area. About 450 people required medical attention and 70 or so were hospitalized.

By the next day, all attention was on the violence, with activists apparently forgetting all about the actual point of the protest and just focusing on making the gendarmes and those who gave the orders pay, and them, the few media sources that support the protests and even some from the medical field starting quite a mass hysteria about the substances used and the dangers they pose. People who had been affected were asked to file complaints, several hundred doing so over the coming days, and investigations were started, though that also turned into another front of the battle between the ruling coalition and the justice system and doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. The matter was brought before the European Union as well and there have been reactions and questions, including very recently, but so far that didn’t really result in anything either. The one thing it all did result in was, as I said, the fact that the real message and point of the protest was completely buried.
There was, of course, another protest the next evening as well, and I for one left at 5:30 PM, happened to spot that the broken handle of that Victory Square metro station toilet door that caused me to get stuck inside and cut my hand had simply been removed, and was there at 6 PM, though I could have arrived an hour later just as well, since not much happened at first. Or not much happened among the protesters, because my camera had quite an issue I hadn’t experienced before, as I was trying to squeeze a little more out of the used batteries I had while I had the time to switch them at will and after it turned off at one point the screen stayed off when I turned it back on, the camera turned off again when I tried to turn on the screen, and when I turned it on yet again it reported a memory card error. It correctly reported the space used on the card, but wasn’t reading any image anymore, seemed to still be able to take pictures but it wasn’t reading them, and I of course couldn’t know what it was trying to save. Removed the card and put it back a few times, blew on it, shook it and the camera, changed the batteries, nothing helped, but since I had just taken a few pictures that day I tried to format it and that worked, and it continued to work from that point, so it’s a good thing it happened so early and I didn’t really lose anything, being able to take quite a number of pictures again.
Back to the protest itself, things were calm, neither gendarmes nor protesters appearing to intend to be violent again, though plenty of protesters were prepared to some extent, with simple surgical masks, boxes of them having been brought for people who hadn’t brought their own to use, even glasses and maybe a few other things as well. Starting at 7:50 PM, there were repeated calls for everyone to sit down and preferably be quiet, but many weren’t listening, a guy immediately went forward and started shouting against the gendarmes, but the gendarmes didn’t respond and therefore nothing happened. Still, more and more people did listen to those calls, eventually, which only served to reduce any risks of violence even further.
At first I meant to leave just after the “traditional” 9 PM moment, but I was on the sidewalk in front of Antipa then and didn’t hear the anthem, so wasn’t even sure the usual moment took place, though the lights were there. So I ended up wandering around and taking more pictures, actually realizing how large the area covered by the crowd was, though the density was low in many places, estimates being of some 50000 at the peak. Someone from a TV station tried to interview me that evening, but I just refused and walked away. Before leaving, which I did a few minutes after 10 PM, staying there for another moment with the lights which happened just then, I was right in what had been the “hot zone” the previous evening and there were a handful of people who tried to provoke the gendarmes again there, but without a response nothing happened, and I see reports that they eventually just gave up and walked away. Though the numbers dropped rapidly, there were still some people in the Square well after midnight.

There were some incidents that night, the truck and trailer used by some of the more notable regulars of these protests being removed and those who tried to defend it being roughly carried away and fined. Otherwise, next evening’s protest was again peaceful, but also drew far fewer people, though still over 10000, maybe 12000. I for one left at 6:30 PM and was there at 7 PM, with the new camera. Had the old one with me as well, in case that won’t work after dark, but in the end I could make reasonable use of it, taking plenty of pictures, though there were some that were unusable due to moving subjects and a far too long exposure time, since I can’t set it manually. Left at 10 PM, before some finally decided to start a march, around 10:30 PM, only learning about it when I got back and saw the news and wondering why did they wait so long to do something which should have been done the day before, or much earlier even that day, not only when most had already left. Then again, those who tried to march didn’t get that far either, definitely nowhere near the Parliament, which seemed to be the original destination, and they returned to Victory Square after a while, as the protest was dying out.
Unfortunately for me, hurt myself that evening, my left ankle remaining a real concern even now and being something I’ll have to check out after the marathon, assuming it’ll hold then. Had spotted a guy with a new sign and went after him to take a picture, noticing the bicycle which was parked in my path but not the scooter that was behind it. Not sure whether I just hit that scooter with both feet or hit it with the right foot and that raised it and caused it to slam into my left ankle, but it really hurt. Still kept going after that guy, but once that was done I sat on a bench, checked the ankle, then took off my shoe and sock and checked the toes on my right foot too. The nail on the big toe was cracked and a bit of a bruise formed under it, and a bigger bruise formed under the nail of the next toe, though I already had one there at the time, so I guess it just got bigger. More concerning was the pain though, also in that toe but mainly the moments of pretty sharp pain in both ankles, though the right one seemed quite fine soon enough. The left one stopped hurting after a while too, but there was a bruise that took a few days to go away and a pretty noticeable swelling, plus a strange feeling that I at times feel even now. Worse, since I had stopped checking after the bruise went away and only did so again after last month’s long run, only noticed then that the swelling is actually a lump, which is still there and feels like something got moved out of place. It still holds, but something’s definitely wrong, and it’s definitely not how you want to approach your first marathon…

Back to the protests, in part also because of the ankle but definitely not only because of that, I stopped going after that, and so did most others, though I see estimates of about 3000 Monday, which got down to mere hundreds Tuesday and pretty much just the regulars after that, though there were hundreds again Friday, to mark a week since the first protest, of course in the sense of marking a week since the Gendarmerie’s violent response and still leaving anything else pretty much buried. More things happened after that, but largely having to do with the investigations, demands for resignations and some reactions from European officials and groups, all of these mainly focused on the violence, so didn’t follow and didn’t really care. It is, of course, very important for those who were directly affected, those who were beaten or otherwise injured or who required medical assistance due to the tear gas, and those responsible, on both sides, must pay, but that wasn’t the point of the protest and the activists should have made sure it doesn’t end up becoming the primary, and even the sole, focus. Yet not only that they did not, but they actually largely caused this to happen. Not implying that there was ill intent on their part, definitely don’t believe there was in any way, but it doesn’t make them any less guilty of it.

Written by Cavalary on October 7, 2018 at 9:20 PM in United We Save | 0 Comments

Internet Cable Cut Again and 42 Kilometers in Three Runs over Five Days

Last Monday I was woken up by a call, the phone saying it was missed at 9:49 AM, and I decided to get up then, but it was about 1 PM when I finally left to take the keyboard to be fixed under warranty. And then I had a problem on the way, since dad’s metro card apparently didn’t work anymore. Seems like it had worked for him that morning, but when I tried to use it I just got an error, so after trying several times a guard came to see what was going on and I showed it to him, he saw it was valid until October 14 and he let me through, while on the way back the guard from the other station told me to show it to the woman in the booth, who checked it and opened the gate for me. The problem is that I’ll need to use it on its very last day to get to the marathon and back and needing to deal with guards then sure makes me wary… Especially when those here already know dad and that he needs to have them let him through and they may have questions, plus that the text on it was already fading then, so not sure how clear it’ll still be on that last day.
But I guess that’s an issue for then, while this first part of the post was supposed to be about the keyboard, which I did drop off without issues. There were two other people there, so both of those taking products under warranty were busy and I had to wait outside for a while, but they both finished at about the same time, I was the only one left and didn’t have to say much of anything. Did quickly specify that the main problem now was with the space bar and also mentioned wondering about that issue with Ctrl+Shift+Esc, but had printed everything on the back of the invoice and the person there read that quite carefully and also accessed the messages I had exchanged with them before taking it there, and just copied the first message I had sent on the service request. Seems like the very end of it didn’t fit, but what’s important is there, and until I’ll get that back the old one is doing its job well enough. It’s really filthy though, and it took a bit to get used to the much lower keys and a space bar that’s easy to press again, but within a day or two it was just fine, so when I’ll get that one back I’ll need to get used to it all over again, and that will likely take a fair bit longer.

The next day things got really unpleasant though. Woke up at 10 AM, went to pee, then quickly glanced at something on-line before getting back to bed. And I apparently did that just in time, because the last successful connection I saw in logs was at 10:17 AM, with the first failed one at 10:40 AM, so at some point between those two times my cable was cut, since after waking up I saw I had no signal at all anymore. As I immediately suspected, the culprits were the workers working on the next building, who thought it got in their way and just cut it. Worse, dad called the guy from the network I’m in after he got back and was told he’ll be called when there will be something to say about sorting the matter out, but there was no other word that day, not even to reply to the message dad sent around 10 PM. So I spent the day playing quite a lot, including getting back to Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic.
Even worse news came the next day, when the guy called dad and told him he had spoken to the workers and they told him that for as long as they’ll work there, which will be months, was even over a year in some cases, the cable will remain cut and nobody but them will have access to that area. He said he’ll try to figure out some other solution, but what was interesting was that the other two people dad knows to be in the same network and having cables coming this way from that building had no problem, so only ours had been cut. Seems like the guy couldn’t do anything for us that day though, so I kept playing more Age of Wonders, though it was starting to get choppy, that bug that causes that and eventually makes it keep shutting down without even a crash message and finally no longer start at all as more time passes since the last reboot starting to kick in. But I finished the first scenario from the Dark Elf campaign that day, rather accidentally, in the way it’s meant to be finished, though I had pushed back the enemy and had my armies next to its last city, just waiting to finish exploring. Considered reloading and conquering instead, but decided against it.
Now I had managed those two days with no Internet access reasonably well, just quickly checking a couple of things on dad’s mobile Internet, still without installing it on my computer, but Wednesday night I was getting concerned and rather restless, and when Thursday came and the situation was the same even after I got back from running, it was definitely not a good feeling. Still, finished the second Dark Elf scenario as well and started the third, and that kept me otherwise occupied as the guy apparently figured something out and, at 7:35 PM, reconnected me in a way he said shouldn’t get in the way of those workers anymore. It remains to be seen how long that will last, as when the buildings on the other side were being worked on cables were cut quite a few times, but those were always cables coming to this area, affecting all of the several people still in this network who live here, and while each time we were told it’ll be solved the next day, from what I recall it was solved within hours every single time, so it was nothing like this. Definitely have no idea what to do when this sort of work will be done on this building though…

I mentioned above that I ran Thursday, but that was the first of a series of three runs I had planned: 16, ten and again 16 kilometers every other day, so over five days. Wanted the ten km run to be during the weekend, to also count as a final practice of dealing with many people around, so the question was whether to start Thursday or Friday and all I could go on was the forecast I quickly checked on dad’s computer Wednesday evening, which listed a lot of wind on Sunday and rain on Tuesday. There were also likely showers Monday morning, but it was clear that I had to start Thursday, and so I did… Only to look outside on Sunday, so on the day between the second and third runs, and notice next to no wind, and the forecast stating 100% chance of rain on Monday, which proved to be the case, even though it was light rain. And, of course, no rain on Tuesday. Then again, Tuesday was windy, I wouldn’t have wanted to run in that, so maybe it was better that way after all, even if that run on Monday was uncomfortable.
Thursday’s time was 1:17:38, with sector times of 4:21, 5:05, 5:50, 4:26, 5:07, 5:57, 4:35, 5:08, 6:02, 4:33, 5:09, 6:00, 4:35, 5:03 and 5:47, making for lap times of 15:16, 15:30, 15:45, 15:42 and 15:25. Saturday’s was 47:54, with sector times of 4:16, 5:11, 5:50, 4:28, 5:00, 5:52, likely 4:25, likely 5:07, 5:55 and 1:50, making for lap times of 15:17, 15:20 and 15:27. And Monday’s was 1:18:48, with sector times of 4:18, 5:13, 6:04, 4:31, 5:12, 6:07, 4:31, 5:16, 6:03, 4:38, 5:14, 6:08, 4:40, 5:08 and 5:45, making for lap times of 15:35, 15:50, 15:50, 16:00 and 15:33. So good times in all three cases, regardless of conditions, and of the fact that I didn’t mean to be quite that fast, just aiming to stay under 1:20 for the two 16 km runs and maybe, if possible, 48:30 on the middle one, though I think I wouldn’t have been too upset if I’d have just managed to stay under 49 minutes either. Still about that middle run, the exact time for the first sector was 4:16.99, but I’m not absolutely certain of the first two sector times of lap three, because at first I remembered them as 4:25 and 5:02 and only realized after I got back, which was after wandering around for quite a while, that it didn’t add up, but I am absolutely certain I had 30:37 after two laps and 40:09 after those two sectors and I’m pretty sure I remember calculating 4:25 for the first, and since that would have made for 35:02 at that point it seems likely that my mind just discarded that three and “saved” the rest as the next time, being a plausible one, instead of actually calculating it.
Not much to say about that first run; went out when I was ready, also being the only one of the three that I managed to take a crap before, then started well and was comfortable all the way, so I found I could go faster than the target times and just did so.
For the second, was already up at 10:30 AM and went out despite the, shall we say, additional weight I couldn’t get rid of, but when I got there I saw there had been some sort of race that morning, they were just gathering stuff from the finish line, which was where I start, when I started running, just after 12:30 PM, and it wasn’t a problem otherwise, except when someone carrying one of their banners was just coming down the stairs as I was going up at the end and she stopped and blocked my way for a moment as I thought I’d just be able to squeeze in between her and the other people if they’d all keep moving as they were. But if she wouldn’t have had that banner, she could have been just one more of the people I had to find my way around that day, and yet I still managed to stay even under 48 minutes, even though it took everything out of me.
And the third run took a fair bit out of me too, but not because of the people, few being in the park at the time, but because of the rain, and in one spot on the last lap because of one of those small trucks used there. Would have been harder if I’d have gotten up when I first woke up, but was just too sleepy, so eventually slept a bit more and was up at 10:10 AM, then saw there was a light rain when I went out but just kept going and the rain did go down to just a drizzle much of the time, maybe even just a few drops just when I finished, before getting heavier for a while not long after I got back. Still, it all meant oversaturated air, droplets to breathe in and that it was wet, which made it quite slippery in a few places, plus that there was some wind too. But the first sector was definitely faster than I thought it’d be and after two laps I considered aiming to get under 1:19, which I was still on track to do after lap three. Lap four started with a poor first sector though, and it was unpleasant to see exactly 16 minutes for it, so not getting under 16 minutes for all laps again on such a run, and then it was even more unpleasant when one of those small trucks, not sure whether one for cleaning toilets or for gathering branches and such things, since some were even cutting some trees then, was coming towards me just in a turn on the first sector of lap five. The driver slowed almost to a stop, but I was already committed to go on the inside, found I couldn’t quite squeeze myself past it and stay on the path, stepped off it and promptly slipped on the wet grass and mud, just barely managing not to fall. So lost a bit of time then, and that resulted in an even poorer first sector time and a lot of catching up to do, yet gradually accelerated on sector two and really pushed on the last one and did it.
So I managed just about a marathon distance over those five days, if you put together the three runs, and despite the conditions I was fine. Actually it seemed better after each of the runs, especially in case of my left knee, which bothered me quite a bit after the first, less after the second and almost didn’t particularly bother me after the third. Do consider another run now though, tomorrow morning, on very little sleep and starting at the same time the marathon will start at, which seems to be 9:30 AM. Meant for these three to be the last runs before then, but since none of them were that early I do think I could use one like that too. Still uncertain, but I guess I’ll set an alarm and see how I’ll feel in the morning.

Otherwise, after Saturday’s run I turned back around, admittedly after first crossing a part of the road, having forgotten about it for a moment, and went to have a quick look through the Turkish fair that was also in that park those days. And then, after getting a bit confused about which way it was, I went to the Carrefour that’s in that area, since I had taken the little money I had left those days with me for corn puffs. However, when I got those I saw that they were a bit cheaper than expected, and that carrots were also at a good price, so I just tried taking two small ones for few coins I’d have had left, but when I weighed myself on a scale you can use, for frozen products, it said 98 grams, yet after putting them in one of those plastic bags and quickly weighing again in another place I saw 100 grams, and tearing away the ends and also a part of the bag didn’t seem to make any difference, as when I gave them to the person weighing the fresh stuff, since at Carrefour you can’t do that yourself, the scale still said 100 grams and the price was apparently also rounded up, ending up costing 0.01 RON more than I had. So I had a look around, trying to find a coin, and didn’t, but did spot an abandoned cart with a coin in it, close to another without one, so probably a customer who hadn’t even bothered to connect theirs to that one used by employees, if that one had also been there when they left theirs. So I connected it to that one and retrieved the 0.50 RON, then got some more carrots, to cover that amount, and finally checked out.
Still Saturday, since I had asked dad to get a recharge code already, since there likely won’t be more money coming before the marathon and I definitely need to be able to use my phone then, I used that and then also checked to see what the free game of the month was, since there is supposed to be one each month for a year for those purchasing a Nokia 230. But didn’t see anything listed as free, so I started poking around, checked the files on the phone too and also managed to delete a demo I had downloaded a while back, or at least deleted enough to make it no longer show up, though I think some related files are still there, but downloaded two others, eventually deleted one, again probably leaving some related files but at least having it not show up anymore, but actually started the one for Dungeon Hunter 3, which at the time I’m writing this is still pending approval on MobyGames after I submitted it there as well, this version being clearly different from the one already on file. Well, the problem is that a demo allows you to play for 90 seconds and there’s no visible timer, and when the time is up the purchase screen shows up, with the option to purchase selected, and hitting the button to attack in game, since I was in a fight at the time, resulted in me apparently purchasing it, spending €0.99 out of my credit. Fumed for a moment, wondered how to contest the charge, but eventually said that credit’s just gathering there and at least it’s not much… And since I had paid for it, I decided to actually play it, stopping after getting to the second area and finding it hadn’t saved properly when I got back to it a while later, so starting again and finishing it in one sitting of about two hours.

As for Tuesday, went to Auchan for bread, meaning to use their free bus to get there too but forgetting to get some more bags and taking longer than I thought to do so after dad reminded me, so ending up walking outside just in time to see it drive past, though it was still some three minutes before the time when it should have gotten here. Did catch another later, just past the park, to not walk all the way, though that meant sprinting to catch it after the last person who had been waiting when it got to the stop had closed the door. So got a few things from Auchan, including whole wheat pasta that was much cheaper than I expected it to be, but I just got one pack because it’s the same brand but not the shape I want to eat before the marathon, that particular kind apparently being sold only by Kaufland. Also looked for that energy bar I had purchased from there, and only found there, for the long practice run, but couldn’t see any anymore.
From there I went to this Kaufland and Carrefour as well, getting a few more things, but not that pasta, since there may yet be better offers before then. Do rather insist on getting one pack like that to make just before the race though, even if it’s just a matter of shape; I may usually do all I can to save any penny, or more exactly any ban, but there are some specific things I want before putting myself through something like that. But speaking of saving, the cashier at Kaufland gave me 0.04 RON less in change, and while she did have a 0.05 RON coin left in front of her and I had a couple of 0.01 RON ones and could therefore just take my exact change by giving one of those and taking that, I didn’t, and didn’t happen to spot enough on the floor either. On the other hand, among the coins the cashier at Carrefour gave me there was one that she thought was a 0.05 RON one but was instead a €0.02 one. Worth almost double in itself, but not like I can use it unless somebody’ll fail to notice as well, and either way I just gave it to dad when he said he has a few more foreign coins gathered.

Written by Cavalary on October 3, 2018 at 10:41 PM in Personal | 0 Comments