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Stopping to Finally Catch Up on June… Almost…

Ran yesterday, the time being 48:23, with sector times of 4:17, 5:04, 6:00, 4:32, 5:03, 6:02, 4:29, 5:10, 5:57 and 1:49, making for lap times of 15:21, 15:37 and 15:36. The idea from now on is to no longer look for good conditions when I’m running only ten kilometers, so I went out there yesterday even though it was quite windy and pretty hot in the sun, which meant I struggled a fair bit to manage to stay under 48:30. That bigger cloud that came at the end of the first sector of lap three and offered shade even in the places where trees don’t until I was close to the end of the next sector helped a bit, and seeing that I had to push over the last two sectors to make it, I’m thinking it’d have been very tight without that.
After coming back, I was in the kitchen when I noticed the hot water pressure dropping a lot, which was worrying since I hadn’t showered, but I kept doing what I was doing there until dad got back as well and said there was a note, which I hadn’t seen, saying the hot water will be turned off until 11 PM today. So I just dropped what I was doing and rushed to have a quick shower, starting with water that was quite cold, assuming it was just what was left in the pipes and won’t get better, only to later notice that it did get warmer after all, though the pressure remained low. Since it took a while longer before what came out the hot water pipe became cold, and rather brown, I could have even washed my hair, and should have done so, but decided not to risk it then. And it would appear that the hot water was turned back on quite early today anyway, though it remains to be seen whether it’ll be turned off again now.

But now I’ll leave the other things that happened recently for another time, because I really should stop and finally catch up on what’s left from June, with the exception of June 12, since that’s when I bought a light fixture for the bathroom and dad’s yet to replace the old one with it, so I’m leaving that to make one post about the whole thing whenever I’ll be able to. Then again, the only things left to say also have to do with buying stuff, and regular stuff at that, on June 15, 19 and 20.
On June 15 I meant to go to the farmers’ market early, but decided against it and just went to Auchan after the day’s first match, without even taking the plastic bottles, even though a lot had gathered. Actually left just before the end of injury time, but didn’t miss anything important and caught the free bus to get there faster. Just missed the one to get back though, possibly because it left a bit early, the next ones that came seeming a bit early as well, so I had to wait a few more minutes for the one coming after them, which was the next I could use. That one could also take me pretty close to the market as well, and I had intended to go there if I’d have caught the one I meant to catch, but it was already too late to go there that day and I was about to piss myself as well, since I didn’t go before leaving. Got off a stop late though, since an old lady asked me to help her with her purchases when she’ll get off while I was still considering whether to try to rush to the market after all or not, so when she asked where was I getting off after I agreed I said I’ll likely go farther and it’d have gotten awkward if I’d have stepped off with her after all. So I just helped her then and waited for the next stop.
On June 19 I woke up early, saw that it was 9:10 AM when I checked the time, and it was still early when I went out, taking out the plastics and then checking prices at Carrefour and Kaufland and just getting a little thing from Carrefour. Saw one of those yogurts my mother eats in the pile of stuff that was deeply discounted due to expiring soon and I tried to bury it under the others, which were the kind with fruit, until I’ll get back from having a look at Kaufland as well, but that whole pile was gone when I got back. Either way, after getting back here I quickly stuffed the plastic bottles, plus two cans, in bags and caught the free bus to Auchan, where I also got 1 RON from the two coins in carts left close to the bus stop, after taking a moment to chain them to others. Then had to tell someone that the recycling machine was saying it was full and wait for it to be emptied, since it really was full and opening it myself and moving the contents around a bit didn’t help. Then the cashier gave me 0.05 RON more back, in fact handing back the 0.50 RON coin I had given instead of giving 0.45 RON back, but I again missed the free bus I should be taking, having to run to even catch the next one that’s usable. I guess another one, that also left at that time, would have been better, but I was back just in time for the day’s first match anyway, and dad also gave me back what I had spent on the stuff bought for the cats and for them.
Still on that day, while watching the match, I tried to use the receipt from Carrefour to play the game that was part of their contest at the time, but it didn’t work in Internet Explorer and trying it in Firefox just got me a message stating that the receipt in question had already been used. Did eventually, some time later, manage to use the one from the next purchases made that day, since I went back to Carrefour after the match, taking the paper out as well. Ran most of the way after dropping that off, knowing I had to save every bit of time I could, as I was going to buy three bags of cat litter, and decided to get something for me as well, ending up confused when checking out since I accidentally got six instead of five and the total price was obviously more than I thought it’d be, so the cashier had to explain why that was before I realized it, deciding to leave it like that. Just barely made it back in time for the start of the next match, having 30 minutes to do so but really struggling to carry the 18 kg of cat litter, plus the few other things, having to stop and switch hands very often, since two bags, so 12 kg, had to be carried in one hand.
As for June 20, after waking up I decided pretty much on the spot to go to Auchan again after all, mainly for more yogurt and dental floss, since both were a fair bit cheaper than elsewhere. Meant to take the free bus straight to the farmers’ market after that, but eventually got off here and dropped off the purchases, not wanting to keep the yogurt outside in the heat so long. Then walked to the market, meaning to look for tomatoes first but ending up getting quite a lot of cheap cucumbers instead, and only one kg of cheap tomatoes, plus some rather wilted green onions, lettuce and half a kg of apricots, finding one person selling some that were rather green but otherwise all right for a fair bit less than the others. Was back just as the day’s first match started, and left again after it ended.
The reason for leaving again was to look for apples at the other farmers’ market, and I ran part of the way there. Fortunately, found what I was looking for, but was a bit confused since I knew that there usually are quite a few different prices, the apples being sorted by type, size and how good they still are, and could only see a slightly higher price for one box and a single price label that seemed to be for all the others. Left to have a quick look at the rest of the market then, but then returned and asked the guy whether that price applied to everything and he pointed in the general direction of some of the apples and specified a lower price for those, then looked at the label and turned it around, revealing that the other side listed that lower price. So I first grabbed an apple from the box with those that didn’t look so well, but saw that it was rotten in the middle, so likely almost completely rotten inside, and when he also noticed that he told me to just pick from wherever I want and went to serve someone else with tomatoes. So I left those uglier ones alone and got just over 1.5 kg from those that seemed sort of in between, actually giving him a 0.05 RON coin too, to get to just about exactly the price for that quantity. I’d have actually needed to give him 0.01 RON more to avoid any rounding and one such coin was all I had left, after taking a 0.10 RON one that dad had left lying around before leaving, but we both had a laugh about me wanting to be so fair about it and I didn’t dig that out as well.

Written by Cavalary on July 17, 2018 at 5:41 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Isner Again Involved in Proving Why There Should Be No Final Set Tie-Break

Sure, this time he lost, but after setting the unchallenged record for the longest tennis match in 2010, John Isner was again involved in one of the longest matches in tennis history, the final set ending 26-24, and this again happened on the fastest surface, at Wimbledon. And he and Kevin Anderson actually played better and more spectacularly deep in that final set, after seeming largely content to hold their serve for quite a long time. And keep in mind that Anderson did this after another long match in the previous round, when he defeated none other than Roger Federer, not just in five sets, but with 13-11 in the final set and after being two sets down and saving a match point at 5-4 for Federer in set three.
Granted, at six hours and 36 minutes, the Anderson-Isner match is nothing compared to those 11 hours and five minutes Isner played in 2010, but it is nevertheless the fourth longest tennis match, and it was played in a single day, while that one was spread over no less than three days. Second longest is currently the doubles match the Czech Republic won against Switzerland, in seven hours and two minutes, in the Davis Cup in 2013, while third longest is also from the Davis Cup, this time from 2015, when Leonardo Mayer defeated João Souza in six hours and 43 minutes.

The point is that such matches are rare, but they’re absolutely extraordinary when they happen. Yes, shorter matches can be absolutely thrilling, but even a single game, or a single rally, can be thrilling. What happens when a game stretches to such lengths, on the other hand, is something special, and that comes not only from the duration but also, and in fact mainly, thanks to the extended final set, due to the fact that at least the organizers of the Australian Open, Davis Cup, Roland Garros and Wimbledon still have enough sense to not give in and do not implement final set tie-breaks, like US Open unfortunately does. Actually, even at the Australian Open and Roland Garros this extended final set is only allowed for singles matches, doubles even being best of three for men as well, but singles is still the most relevant aspect, so it counts.
So, while now just about everyone else seems to be renewing those infuriating calls for final set tie-breaks everywhere, and when formats like Fast4 start being used more and more, and when in many places you see even the third set replaced with a “super tie-break” played up to ten instead of seven, turning tennis from an endurance sport into something like a series of sprints with a significant element of chance, I’m also renewing my call for removing tie-breaks from the US Open as well, and definitely for ensuring that they won’t be added to the other major tournaments.

While I’m at it, I’d actually call for a change to the scoring rules that’d make it impossible for such a match to be won in a tie-break. Not that I’d mind removing tie-breaks once again for good, of course, but this wouldn’t need to imply that. Instead, it could perhaps involve keeping a double score during a tie-break taking place before the final possible set but at the end of which the match may be won, such a tie-break actually following the current tie-break scoring rules for the one needing to win it in order to stay in the match, but being treated as a regular game for the other. In that case, the one needing to win the set to stay in the match will do so by winning that tie-break normally, but the other could only win a game, scored as if it’d be a regular game, after winning at least four points and having an advantage of at least two.
As an example, if player A is leading by two sets to one and set four gets to six games each, then if said player A gets to 4-2 they will win the game and lead seven games to six in set four, but the set will continue. On the other hand, if player A will not have a two-point lead from the moment they reach four points in that tie-break before player B will get to at least seven points while having a lead of at least two points, player B will win the set 7-6, and set five will start. In case player A wins the game, this scoring system will apply each time the number of games is tied in that set from then on, player A needing a two-game advantage to win the set and the match, but player B only needing to win such a tie-break to win the set.

One other idea could be to introduce breaks, say for 15 minutes, after every 12 games played in the final set, or even after every 24 games, which would make this a rule that’ll very rarely be used, but could spice things up a bit. It would indeed make very long matches even longer, so would likely be even more difficult to implement anywhere but at the major tournaments that have a lot of courts that are also covered and have lighting, and these breaks shouldn’t be counted in the duration of the match, but they would allow not just rest, but would also allow the players to review their tactics and therefore play even better, possibly making these long matches even more thrilling.

But first things first, and that’s to make sure such epic matches will still be a possibility. So please, do not even consider adding a final set tie-break in the tournaments that managed to resist this pressure so far and definitely do not consider implementing some of those even more dreadful systems in any official tournament. Then, if at all possible, remove the final set tie-break from the US Open as well, and also remove those other systems used to shorten matches in the other major tournaments, such as the final set tie-break for doubles matches at Australian Open and Roland Garros and that “super tie-break” instead of the third set used for mixed doubles for example.

Later edit: After what was displayed in the extended final set that the Djokovic-Nadal match also had, would you really give it all up and replace it with a simple tie-break? Admittedly, Djokovic won at “only” 10-8, but that’s not something you could see if this won’t be allowed anymore anyway. Even as it is, it’s something you can only see at a few tournaments each year, and only at Wimbledon and in the Davis Cup does it apply for doubles as well.

Written by Cavalary on July 13, 2018 at 11:56 PM in Sports | 0 Comments

At Least I Didn’t Have to Run and Buy Stuff on July 12

Monday night, when I realized that I should have actually started the plan I had in mind in order to work my way up to October’s marathon last week, I thought I’ll have to cover a half marathon distance through the park today, since it was supposed to rain both Tuesday and Wednesday, and possibly Friday as well. But Tuesday night I checked the forecast again and noticed that, while there were still going to be some clouds, the risk of rain was very low for Wednesday, and the wind and temperature weren’t going to be a problem either. So, with hardly any preparation, yesterday I just went out there and covered a half marathon distance again, and then also went and bought a few things, so I didn’t have to do any of that today. Unlike last year, I did install this month’s Windows updates today though, and so far there don’t seem to be problems.
Did consider going to the farmers’ market today, since we’re almost out of cucumbers and tomatoes and dad had left a little more that I could use, which I mean to use for something for both of us anyway, but I left it for tomorrow, assuming there won’t be a storm. The updates were quite enough for today, even if I must say that I didn’t, and don’t, exactly feel down, probably as a result of the high after yesterday’s run, even if it had already been somewhat dampened by what happened when I went back out that evening. It’s possible that stuffing myself last night had a little to do with it as well, and I’m now actually stuffing myself again. But, of course, last year was a milestone, 15 years since me and Andra met, so it was somewhat different.

Usually avoided making these posts into personal updates, since it really doesn’t feel right to mix this with other things, but this time I will. Won’t go further back than yesterday and won’t even include what happened after going back out then, but yesterday’s run was quite something, and since it may have a fair bit to do with me not crashing today, I’ll get right to it and say it marked a new record over a half marathon distance, and by quite some margin: 1:48:26! Sector times were 4:38, 5:22, 6:15, 4:45, 5:21, 6:16, 4:46, 5:21, 6:08, 4:45, 5:16, 6:19, 4:48, 5:23, 6:20, 4:47, 5:21, 6:25, 1:57, 6:23 and 1:50, making for lap times of 16:15, 16:22, 16:15, 16:20, 16:31 and 16:33, plus 10:10 for that final section.
Really didn’t mean that, aiming for 17-minute laps and a 12-minute final section, so 1:54, but also allowing for time loss from lap five, the actual target being 1:55. Obviously saw that I was going much faster despite feeling that I was keeping my pace in check well enough, putting a bit of effort into maintaining those times but definitely not too much, but still didn’t really change my target until the end of lap three, initially assuming I’ll slow down a fair bit later on. But that didn’t happen, so after lap three I calculated that I could aim for 1:51, with 11 minutes on that final part. Then, when I maintained that pace on lap four and only slowed a little on lap five, I started thinking of 1:50, and then of 1:49:30. 1:49 only became a possibility in my mind at the end of lap six, and then right before that final sector I realized I had a slim shot at just making even 1:48:30 if I’ll somehow manage to run it as I do when I just run ten kilometers. And I did.

My toenails were a concern, obviously, so I had put bandages on the three middle toes on each foot before going out and something seemed wrong with the middle one from my left foot starting on lap three, if I remember correctly, feeling like the bandage had moved and was pressing against the nail from the front with each step. That made me worry that just what I did to try to protect the nails will end up tearing one away, and I kept thinking I felt something wet there, looking at my shoe several times, almost expecting to see blood coming even through it, but it was just sweat and me imagining things, because there was no blood at all and when I took the bandages off before showering, late at night, I saw no new bruises under the nails either. It does hurt a little bit when I press on that nail, but otherwise nothing seems any worse at the moment than it was before. Do have reasons to be concerned that the second nail from my left foot, the one I cut too much from since I didn’t realize it was coming off as well, will end up ingrown though.
On the other hand, my left knee is not happy. Feel something complaining a little in my right foot too, and maybe a bit of pain in my right knee as well if I really pay attention to it, but that doesn’t seem to be any cause for concern at the moment. That left knee, on the other hand, is really telling me I should have it checked out. Has been doing that for some time now, of course, but if after smashing my record on 16 kilometers it oddly seemed better for a while, now it acts as one would expect a joint with a problem to act after being put through something like this, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better on its own. Obviously can’t afford something like this now, which makes me even less likely to have it checked out than I’d normally be, which is saying something, so not sure what I’ll do about it.

But at least this really proved that a half marathon isn’t in itself a challenge for me anymore, if I can just go out and smash my record just like that, and without even really trying. Sure, I’m not getting any younger, so maybe in a few years it will once again become a challenge and I’ll need to focus my efforts on just managing to stay fit enough to be able to keep covering this distance in a reasonable time for as long as possible, but going for the full marathon this year is the natural step at this moment. It probably won’t get easier later anyway.
What concerns me is that I’ll be running it with no experience of covering that distance. Had covered the distance through the park once before running my first official half marathon, and the final part was very hard even so. Now my plan includes running 11 laps around the lake, so 35.2 kilometers, seven short of the distance of a marathon, in September, which should make me hit the wall and figure out how I can push through it, just taking one more step and one more step until I’ll reach the finish despite my body wanting to shut down and hurting all over. But even after that, assuming I’ll manage to do it at all on first try, there’s still the matter of doing it for those seven more kilometers, and on little sleep as well, seeing as the race starts in the morning.

But that’s something to figure out when I’ll get there I guess, so I’ll end this now. Did sort of consider also adding what happened when I went back out after the run, but it’s almost midnight, so couldn’t do that and still post this today anyway, which made the decision easy. And makes me feel a bit less rotten for writing about other things in something posted on July 12, since what I did write about isn’t quite so mundane while the other things would be, even considering the fact that I kept messing up, probably as a result of all that effort made with so little preparation.

Written by Cavalary on July 12, 2018 at 11:58 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Sunday Update to Partially Catch Up on June

Saw more damage than I expected when I cut my toenails last night. The nails look pretty bad in general, but not sure how much that has to do with the causes for the bruises under the three I knew had such issues, which appeared after certain runs. So I’ll just focus on those three and say they don’t seem far from coming off, though at the same time I’m spotting an area at the bottom that seems better, so I’m hoping the problem is only up to that point and they started to visibly recover, though even that means this recovery is very slow and may not complete before I’ll need to start training more seriously for October’s marathon. And the unpleasant surprise was the one I thought had only a small and faint bruise under it, which had already cleared away, but now I realized the nail itself barely avoided coming off at least as much as the other two, which had been completely black and purple underneath, and the worst part is that I realized that after starting to cut it, so I went in too deep and now worry about it ending up ingrown as well because of that.

Otherwise, after waking up yesterday I grabbed the pile of coins left in the kitchen, those being the only money still available, and went to the farmers’ market, ending up with one kg of cucumbers and one of tomatoes, both obviously very cheap. The cucumbers have large and pretty hard seeds inside, which explains the price, but the tomatoes are actually very good, though I did have to pick the better ones from that pile. The forecast mentioned storms and I saw a few drops starting to fall just as I went out, which turned into actual rain within moments, but I had taken my jacket with me, so put it on and kept going, taking it off again when the rain died down, minutes later. Had to put it back on when I left the market, because it had started raining again, and quite heavily, while I was there. Meant to pick some more fruit on the way back, even more so when I saw how ripe they were and how they were falling and squashing on the pavement as the wind was picking up, but I didn’t.
Since dad had left in the morning and said he was only going to come back today, I wondered whether I should just grab something to eat then and make what I had in mind during the evening or the other way around, deciding on this latter option and only noticing his e-mail stating that he was going to get back that afternoon after all after I had already started, when I quickly came to the computer after a nearby lightning strike, meaning to unplug the network cable but eventually deciding against it, seeing that the storm wasn’t otherwise getting close. But at least the food was almost done by the time he walked in, though at that point I also kept switching between watching Simona Halep’s match, which she unfortunately lost, and the Sweden – England match. So just before the end of the first half I could take the food to my room and eat here.

But this post should be about the stuff from June I didn’t mention so far, so I’ll go in reverse order and start with June 30, when I got an e-mail notifying me that somebody had sent me a message on OkCupid. Hadn’t logged on there for long stretches of time for quite a while, long enough to only learn last night that they actually removed all tests even though I gather it happened quite some time ago, and didn’t see any point at all in the site after the changes to messaging made it mandatory to “like” someone to even be able to send a message that may not even be seen at all, unless the recipient somehow figures out how to find who the sender is, which seems particularly difficult if both don’t have the same location, or aren’t at least close to each other. Nevertheless, somebody actually sent me a message, and I then spent far too long trying to figure out how to get her to show up in order to be able to actually see that message.
At first I tried to look in DoubleTake, like it tells you to, but spotted nothing telling me I had a message among the first few profiles there, as I eventually started passing on all after checking the first one in every way I could think of. Gave up at first, but then got back, went through some more profiles showing up in DoubleTake, then through some showing up on the front page, then through matches, but still nothing. Since I had a blog visit from OkCupid around the time of the message, I checked the reported location of that visitor and searched for matches from there, also needing to find the ZIP code because apparently that’s required for locations in the United States now, but found nothing at all. Expanded the search, to within 100 km of that place, but there was nothing to say I had a message from any of those that showed up. So I looked up exactly how it highlights those who sent you a message, browsed the matches again after eliminating all filters, scrolled through dozens and still saw nothing highlighted. But I guess that may have changed what DoubleTake shows as well, at least after I had discarded the local matches it meant to throw at me, because when I went there again, using the “clear history” link, the first person that showed up was the one who had messaged me. The fact that she plays around with her location, at that time listing some place in Japan, stating that she does that just to find interesting people regardless of where they are, considering how much the algorithms favor locals, obviously didn’t help, but I finally managed it.
In case you’re wondering, she was just asking me to let her know if I ever find that “site that’s largely like how OkCupid was around 2005, plus the more recently added option to see others’ question answers and the since removed one to add your own without them poofing if they’re not accepted into the main batch” that I start my profile asking about. And I had to “like” her to be able to reply. And I’m not sure if the conversation won’t vanish if I “unmatch”, so didn’t do that yet even though she didn’t reply again. At the same time, it may not vanish, because that post says that to get rid of conversations for good you now have to block the sender, and I indeed see no way to delete the one announcing the changes to the messaging system or an old one I hadn’t deleted before, even blocking and unblocking the sender resulting in it reappearing. How could anyone think any of this could possibly ever be a good idea is beyond me.

Going further back, and since I mentioned rain above, on June 14 I was in the kitchen when the wind sent the rain and hail heavily into this side of the building and I heard water dripping. When I looked around, I saw quite a lot of water coming out of the air conditioner, so I shouted for dad to come and when I pointed it out to him he brought something to put there, for the water to fall in. Then I saw signs of older drops around there as I was wiping the area, so that was not the first time that happened, though it was the first time we noticed it and likely the worst such situation so far, since if we’d have had anything close to that amount of water there, we’d have definitely noticed. And dad tried to have a look and said it seems the foam filling the hole through which the connection between the two parts of the AC passes got eaten through, so that’s how the water is actually getting in, but with that side of the window not opening, getting there to do anything about it will be quite a challenge. And I don’t know what that means for the AC, as it wasn’t turned on so far this year, nor has it been cleaned, which we have to do before turning it on anyway. Of course, I’d very much do without it, but dad won’t, and my mother probably even less, if she’ll be around here again during the hotter days.
Didn’t notice it happening again since then though. Admittedly, it hasn’t rained quite that heavily and with that kind of wind blowing the water in this direction, but it has rained and there have been storms. One woke me up on the morning of June 21, when I woke up to go to the toilet just before 8 AM, got back in bed, then was at the computer around 8:50 AM, woken up again by loud thunder and lightning and considering unplugging the network cable, but seeing the storm passing quickly and eventually getting back in bed about half an hour later. Still kept waking up though, even if the storm wasn’t the reason anymore, and after deciding to finally get up I was in the kitchen when the delivery guy called me to say he was about to deliver that cheap food processor we ordered, since I had made the order on my account the previous day. So I didn’t hear the phone, but he came directly and my mother received it and paid, so there was no problem and I didn’t even have to get involved.

Even further back, there are a few things to add about the protests mentioned in the last “protest report” I wrote, strictly from a personal perspective. On June 8 I left at 5:20 PM, got there a bit before the announced start time of 6 PM, and on top of what’s already written in that post and the pictures I took, I’ll also add that I actually took some of those cherries offered by that person, at first putting two handfuls in one of the paper bags that were also provided and then adding some more shortly before leaving, which I did at 8:55 PM, getting back here 30 minutes later and washing and eating the cherries, admittedly after taking a fair number of worms out. As for June 10, left just after 5:35 PM, got there only some five minutes after the announced start time of 6 PM, when I hardly saw anyone there I first went to the toilet somewhere nearby to avoid that becoming an issue later, then, for the reasons stated in that post, pretty much just wandered around, took some more pictures, and left at 9:05 PM, right after the moment with the lights and the anthem, pretty much struggling to stay that long after being bothered by those shouts heard before that moment.

There’s a bit more to say about the next day though, since I got woken up at 10 AM by plants again being cleared from that area behind the building, then tried to do the laundry but when I pulled the clothes out of the washing machine they didn’t seem washed properly, so I put them in again and the second time it seemed fine, the fact that I thought I could smell something burning likely just being a result of me worrying about it too much.
After that, I had a look through Carrefour and Kaufland, ending up just grabbing a couple of things from the former after looking through all the bags of organic oranges on sale for a surprisingly low price and seeing the reason for that price, as I couldn’t find any bag in which all looked at least well enough. Considered getting some regular ones from Kaufland, as those were on sale there, obviously for even less, but decided against going back there for them. And at least I got 0.10 RON more in change, the cashier giving me 1.50 RON back when I paid 5 RON for purchases that were 3.60 RON and clearly doing it intentionally. Could have ended up stuck in the area around the stadium on the way back though, as I got in before the guards closed the gate on that side to get ready for the evening’s event, but it was already closed on the other by the time I got there. One in a uniform came with a couple of guys to ask the one at that gate to open it for them just as I was getting there though, so I could get out then as well. And then, after dropping off those few things, I went to the farmers’ market as well, grabbing a few things from there too.
Then, as I mentioned in that other post, I went back out, just to that event on the National Arena, and once again I have some personal things to add. Knowing that there were going to be checks at the entrance, I had left the coins I had in my pockets here before leaving, but took two pairs of used batteries for the camera, and when the guard saw the pair that wasn’t inside the camera, he asked me to leave it there. He said there’s nothing he can do about it if it’s anything that can be thrown and that I’ll find them there when I’ll get back out, even if things were just thrown on the floor, but that wasn’t going to help me when I needed them while I was there. Still, nothing to do about it, so I left them there, as well as the eraser I also had, which I put on a nearby table when the other guard checked me. And the batteries in the camera lasted long enough, and I also filmed with my phone, and I actually did find the pair I had left, at first spotting only one and the guard seeming at a loss when he tried to have a look for the other as well, but I eventually spotted it behind something else, and also lifted the hats the guards had placed on that table and recovered my eraser from there as well.
A few more things about that event that I also didn’t include in that post, even though they’re not personal, would start with the fact that there was a little girl who was crying among the children brought there, showing her forearm, which was dirty and likely quite badly scraped. Could also clearly read her lips as she said that it really hurt when the cameras were on her and it showed up on the screens, and it seemed as if she had been brought straight from practice, likely after having just fallen, nobody bothering to even clean her up, the dirt on her arm likely being clay. And another strange moment was when the sprinklers started just as the children had taken their place, one aiming right at them and at the big screen, which actually showed some signs of damage as a result of that, even though one guy rushed to that sprinkler and tried to cover it with his hands and even his whole body, getting completely soaked before somebody managed to turn the water off. And then there were the comments heard as I was leaving, when a few different people, just out of those I happened to pass by on my way from the stadium exit to the park exit, said it’s a good thing the tennis crowd is different, because if the mayor would have showed up on stage in that manner at an event having to do with football, it’d have been a full riot, with injuries and deaths, instead of just boos.

Initially meant to catch up completely, but this is long enough and took long enough already, and I’m not feeling so well either. Seems like some pasta dad made didn’t agree with me, as I felt something wrong after eating some last evening too, and again after finishing it today. Probably a result of him not caring about doing things properly, and hardly at all about food hygiene, but it’s just gas, pain likely caused by that gas, and feeling just a little bit weak, and it’s not getting worse, so I think I’ll be fine after all. Just one more reason to want to handle these things myself though, instead of him cooking things just before we run out of what we had before, among other things. One more reason to want to live alone, in fact, if not for the fear of something going wrong and requiring interaction with someone to fix or sort out, and also the fact that we both use the metro card when needed… There is, of course, also the fact that it’d be entirely impossible due to finances, but that’s another matter.

Written by Cavalary on July 8, 2018 at 10:44 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Emsisoft, Camera, Cleaning, Some Catching Up, Including Donating Old Books

Was told Tuesday evening that an update to the delayed branch of Emsisoft Anti-Malware should come the next day, if not even that night, so I first made really sure it won’t update automatically and yesterday I made a backup before allowing it to do so. However, there were nothing but definitions updates, and the situation continued today as well, the reply I got stating that yet another issue was discovered and the forced update was delayed a bit more. And since it still wasn’t available when I started writing this post, I’m thinking I once again won’t let it update for the rest of the day, because even if it’ll otherwise work fine, which I’m in no way sure it will, it’ll require a reboot, this being the first update of the delayed branch since before the driver update that caused quite a number of problems, including a conflict with Comodo Firewall that locked computers where both were installed, which would obviously include mine.
But while I’m on the topic of Emsisoft, I’ll also mention here that I got permanently banned from their forums early on the morning of June 13, supposedly for “abusive behavior”. Interestingly, that ban came over a day after my last post, but shortly after I voted down the post in which the guy who ended up banning me stated that he was closing that topic because the discussion was not only off topic but also not constructive. Had been told by the support guy I keep exchanging messages with to check there to see when issues will be solved, and since I was looking I started posting as well, the situation obviously getting rather tense due to me asking for the things I keep asking for, a program that lets the user decide everything, and in case of Emsisoft in particular no forced program updates, plus ensuring compatibility with other security solutions that offer what they made a point of deciding to exclude from their software, such as firewall and HIPS, and also sandboxing, which as far as I know they never offered. So I was definitely frustrated due to talking to walls and getting talked down to, but actually thought I was unexpectedly nice under the circumstances, though I guess anyone can have a look at my posts and determine for themselves how “abusive” they were.
Got back to exchanging e-mails with that support guy after that, and at first he seemed quite annoyed as well, actually replying quite harshly, which surprised me. Didn’t reply again for a while, since it wasn’t really necessary and was obviously not desired, but after I did so again, asking about this update to the delayed branch, we seem to be having quite friendly chats again, the parts actually having to do with the product taking up a small and decreasing part of the messages. And he did again say he agrees with me about the kind of features that would be desirable, although in a separate “system monitoring” software, which he doesn’t think is available on the market anymore, and wouldn’t have a problem with letting users know that a program update exists and allowing them to install it if and when they choose, separately from definitions updates, or with not checking whether something is running in full screen, and even sent the suggestions multiple times to developers, but the clear decision was made that users will not be given that choice and he considers that extremely unlikely to change. As for ensuring compatibility with products that offer features that Emsisoft doesn’t, he said it’d certainly be nice, but “security companies just don’t work together like that”.
So I just have to hope that they’ll at least fix all issues before releasing an update to the delayed branch, the problem with Comodo Firewall hardly being the only one introduced after that update. But even if only talking about that issue, I’ll definitely keep using Comodo Firewall and, after spending the whole of 2015 testing various security products to look for the best one to pair it with, I didn’t find any that I was less unhappy with, and if even Emsisoft went in the same direction as all the others since then, I doubt any of said others, already starting from a worse position, went in the opposite one. So, on top of the immediate problem caused by a conflict, and even if they’d refund me for the remaining time left on my license if I’ll be unable to use it due to such an issue, I wouldn’t have anything better, or more exactly anything less bad, to switch to.

Since I mentioned June 13, made a backup then as well, before installing Windows updates, and when I directly copied the old command for backing up on the USB stick in the command prompt window, since for some reason I’m yet to make a script for backing up on the external HDD, the command ran directly, not giving me a chance to modify the destination, which resulted in much of the Mac version of the external HDD’s software getting deleted, as its software is on the first, small, partition, and it took me a few seconds to react and stop the script. Not that I’d want to use that software, and I’d obviously have no use for the Mac version either way, so I didn’t have it backed up either and had nothing to do but delete all of it after that. Still have the Windows version, of course, and that’s backed up as well, so no real loss, but a reminder that I may actually lose something important if I’m not careful… And that I really should make that script…

Moving on, this week’s run was yesterday, and the time was 48:20, with sector times of 4:15, 5:02, 5:52, 4:29, 5:04, 5:59, 4:43, 5:09, 5:59 and 1:48, making for lap times of 15:09, 15:32 and 15:51. That time for the first sector of the first lap was just barely 4:15, actually being 4:15.99, but I’ll list it as I always do. And I guess it’s just thanks to that fast start that I managed to stay under 48:30 in the end, as I had to push to manage it even so, and my stomach hurt a fair bit at night, probably due to the effort. It was rather hot in the sun, and I actually felt the clothes heating up on me as I was walking to the park, but otherwise the conditions were all right, though I guess the fact that I forgot to drink anything before leaving had something to do with the reason why I struggled a bit.

While I was running, dad took the new camera back to the store I ordered it from, since I noticed something wrong with it. It had arrived Monday morning and I also went to pick up a memory card for it from another store that day, so I could start testing it on the way back and then continued to do so in my room, taking some pictures out the window as it was getting dark and then some inside after dark, since what I’m mainly interested in is how it handles low light. Was unhappy with the results of those tests either way, the lack of manual control for the shutter speed making it unlikely that I’ll consider it a replacement for the old one, but as I was comparing pictures taken with both cameras I noticed a few white pixels in one spot, and when I started searching for them in the other pictures taken I saw that they had been there since the beginning, though that area had to be dark for them to become obvious. Worse, in some pictures I also saw a point of blue, which is likely to also appear in all of them, only being much harder to notice. There may be even more such areas, just that I didn’t happen to spot them, only focusing on confirming that problem before sending a service request, along with several pictures to show just what I was talking about, highlighting even when the issue was very obvious.
Since I also purchased the extended warranty, they’d have paid for the camera to be picked up from here and delivered to them, but I decided against doing so, and then also against going there myself, instead asking dad to take it when he’ll go out, and since he didn’t have time Tuesday, he did so yesterday. And he said they tried to say that there may be something on the lens at first, and supposedly weren’t finding the pictures I had sent, but after they did and had a look they just took it, since I had sent it exactly as I received it, in its box and with everything there, and said a new one will be delivered next week. The new invoice states a slightly higher price, since I had used a voucher received for posting a review for something else on that site and the extended warranty also seemed to be listed as being a tiny bit more expensive for some reason, but they figured out why that difference existed and said we obviously won’t need to pay it, since it’s a replacement for a faulty product that we already paid for. Just hope the new one will actually be good… And that dad will actually use it, since when he saw it he said he won’t want to take it because he’s afraid he’ll break it, even if this is pretty much the sort of camera he kept saying he wanted and the old one still works, so I won’t need to figure out how to make do with it as well.

Since I mentioned Monday, my computer froze that day, needing a hard reset, which was obviously worrying. Was checking what information Emsisoft Anti-Malware displays in a prompt, removing the rule telling it to allow Quest for Infamy, and while everything went fine then, after creating the rule again, closing the game and then immediately trying to start it again, to make sure the rule worked properly, nothing seemed to happen. However, I saw Quest for Infamy on the taskbar, so I clicked it, meaning to stop myself from doing so when the thumbnail that showed up when the mouse got there just displayed a small white bar but being unable to react in time, my finger already being about to press the button. And as soon as I clicked, the screen went black and the computer wouldn’t respond anymore. Probably a result of me trying to start the game again before it had properly shut down, but it has caused such a freeze before, though that was when I tried to run it in full screen and with different driver settings.

Speaking of the computer, I keep worrying about how much playing Ember is wearing out my HDD, since it’s constantly reading from it and at a pretty high rate, going up to a few MB/s. That’s apparently normal, considering the engine it’s using, but definitely worrying. Though I guess even more worrying was that I kept thinking I smelled heated components or even smoke while playing, though it was probably either from outside or from cooking, or from my mother smoking, since she was here for a while again. Happens a bit too often for that explanation, but maybe that’s also because I keep thinking of it and perhaps just imagine it, as I monitored temperatures while playing and there was nothing unusual there. What was unusual was how much the speed of my CPU dropped, on the other hand, seeing it reported as going even as low as 1.1 GHz, so a third of what it should be. That’s possibly due to the integrated graphics requiring all the power they can get and the fact that I disabled that BIOS setting allowing for additional power to be sent to the integrated graphics when needed, so perhaps power is taken away from the CPU under such circumstances, so the package as a whole won’t use more, even though I also disabled the settings allowing the CPU speed to be reduced for any reason other than high temperature, which, again, certainly didn’t seem to be the case.

Back to yesterday, I finally cleaned my room, after who knows how long. In fact yesterday I vacuumed, after having dusted the day before, but at least I vacuumed properly, taking the stuff still left in my room out and bringing it back, arranging it better as well, after I was done. Also, since I had also just made that backup and felt more at ease about risking some other malfunction that would cause my computer to turn off when I’ll unplug it from one place in order to plug it into the other, I took the opportunity to plug the UPS directly into the extension cord, removing the power strip that was also used during this period.
So it actually looks a fair bit better around here now, especially since, ever since those boxes of books had ended up in my room, at the end of 2016, I had only vacuumed around them, and even that rarely. Now that they were finally donated last month, I finally got around to doing this properly again, even if I should likely wash the floor as well. Left that for another time though, possibly for when we’ll move the desk and spray any mold that appeared again, as I think I’m just starting to spot something again these days. Not entirely sure of that though, so I’ll wait a while and see what happens.

As for donating those books, that really is a matter of catching up, since it happened on June 7, right after sorting out the mess with the UPS, since I went with dad, with the car, and we could go to both places at once, being in the same area. Had decided to finally get around to sending messages looking for centers for old people, and while the first place I sent a message to never replied, the city’s Welfare Directorate did, stating that they’d definitely be interested, but directing me to the shelter for homeless people instead of what I was asking about. Did give them the list, telling them to pick what they’d be interested in, to avoid anything just being thrown out or just dumped somewhere and unused, but after not replying at all to that message at first, when I asked again they said they’ll take everything if I’m willing to donate it all, so that was what we did.
Either way, on June 6 I went to Carrefour and Kaufland during the day, not seeing any interesting deeply discounted product at Carrefour and missing on a 0.50 RON coin due to picking between two queues and spotting it on the floor at the other while checking out, so I left it rather late to rearrange those books in the boxes, leaving aside the three albums and those Jules Verne books still wrapped in plastic, even though I later noticed that there are holes in the plastic and plenty of spots visible on the edge of the pages, so it may be pointless to try to sell them anyway. Still, despite only removing those few and rushing a fair bit, I was able to be efficient enough to end up with one empty box, just in case dad wants it for anything. Not that he doesn’t have others getting in the way anyway.
The thing is that I read a report about the conditions at that center we donated the books to and, while it also mentioned some very caring and dedicated employees, it revealed bad conditions and abusive behavior from the guards and the manager, who had other charges against him as well. But now I saw that there was a different manager, and dad talked to him for a bit while I waited in the car, telling me that he had big plans, including setting up a center for the elderly there as well, and also a place to stage plays, dad ending up exchanging contact information with him in order to see about collaborating in the future. Of course, words are easy, but maybe this new guy will actually prove to be one of those caring and dedicated people… And, if so, maybe he’ll actually manage to push his plans through, not getting dragged down by those who’d rather use the resources, and even the people in need of those services, for their own purposes.

Still on that day, though it had nothing to do with the part about the books and everything to do with the mess with the UPS, I was quite a mess when dad dropped me off, since he went somewhere else after that, and ended up buying myself an apple strudel from a place nearby that I kept meaning to get something from for a long time, eating it on the way back and then beating myself over the 3 RON (about $0.76 or €0.64) spent on it. Had tried to take the fact that I may buy myself one into account when calculating how I was going to spend the money I had been given for that period, but it was still an unnecessary expense, taking away that amount from something more useful, and I felt pretty bad over it. But I still had to put the UPS back in its place and plug the computer into it again, which I did after Simona Halep’s match, so I was stressed and kept worrying that something will go wrong and thought I could just make myself that little present. Spending money on something like that for such a reason is not a behavior I want to accept, much less encourage, in myself though…

Was wondering whether I’ll manage to catch up on a few more things in this post, taking advantage of the lack of World Cup matches today, but it’s at 3000 words already and it took long enough to write this much, so I’ll leave the rest for another time. Not that there’s any point in writing it, or at least in posting publicly, other than to just keep being an open book.

Written by Cavalary on July 5, 2018 at 8:31 PM in Personal | 0 Comments