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Farewell, Andrei Gheorghe

Last evening, former radio and TV show host Andrei Gheorghe was found dead in his bathroom, at the age of 56. Apparently he had been dead since morning and the death seems to have had natural causes, his heart failing for good after having had problems with it for a while, including previous heart attacks. Doesn’t seem that any of these problems had been public knowledge so far, and even some who knew him say they were not aware of his failing health, but that this was probably just how he wanted it, and that he’d likely lash out at those mourning him if he could.

Now I’m not usually affected when more or less famous people die, even if I appreciated their work and public life. I’m not particularly affected even when people I actually knew die, probably the only exception being my grandfather. But this is somewhat different, because I can say that to some extent Andrei Gheorghe formed me, those communication tools of mine that Liz so well described as being those of debate and conflict. As hard to be influenced by others as I am, that’s in part thanks to him and his shows from his “glory years” at ProFM, Midnight Killer and 13-14, between 1996 and 2002. The way in which I debate and argue, even more so the way in which I did, back when I was doing it far more and far more publicly, the fact that what others think and say about me doesn’t affect me, my willingness and courage to hold and advocate for deeply unpopular opinions, to think for myself and, to whatever extent, stand for what I believe in, even if I stand alone. I don’t know exactly how great the part is, but for some part of all of that, I definitely have him to thank.

As one of the messages I saw last night said, for those under 30 Andrei Gheorghe is nobody, but those of us between about 30 and 40 and who were teenagers, especially in Bucharest, during that time, especially those of us who ended up more vocal, fighting for something, we grew up with him, with Midnight Killer and 13-14, and that stayed with us. His skill at debating, his obvious intelligence, how he readily assumed the role of Devil’s advocate, how he could argue, even brutally, but stick to the matter at hand and not get to personal attacks, the fact that it was said he was undefeatable in a live debate, regardless of topic or opponent, because he mastered the art of it and knew how to use the other’s mistakes and arguments against them, some of that rubbed off on us, made us think better, harder, more clearly, not tolerate stupidity. It made us bolder, more willing to analyze the world, to care, to fight, to try to change it. Made us better.

Unfortunately, his career went down after being caught smoking weed back then, his glory days at the radio were over, his attempts at television weren’t exactly successful and none of the shows lasted long, his attempts to continue his radio shows at other stations rather faded into obscurity and again ended quickly, as did his involvement in politics, at some point I know he ended up working in Moldova… I did listen to the radio again for him at some point, when he had a show with Liviu Mihaiu for a while, watched the one actually successful TV show, a game show filmed in Panama, that he hosted, but while I occasionally happened to bump into one of his posts and most recently saw him when he moderated an event I attended in October, in between I rather lost track of him and his more recent attempts to return to the radio, in the past few years, I think between 2014 and 2016, apparently back at ProFM, doing the morning show, after some years away from the media. He was fed up with it and it was fed up with him, there was no room for someone like him anymore, he bothered too many, too much, and the sort of freedom he thrived in, the audience he had, they’re not to be found anymore.

Still, he had his site and Facebook and used them to continue to lash out at what he saw as wrong, to comment and bother, and to support those protesting, those fighting for something, those thinking for themselves and trying to bring about necessary changes. He was even named by politicians among the “opinion leaders” supporting the more recent massive protests, and he was involved to some extent in protests since they started here, in 2012, 2013, albeit always avoiding being too visible. Maybe he faded for the average person, maybe he was never really noticed by the young, but plenty still did appreciate and respect him, as shown by all the messages flooding since last evening, perhaps most of all by all those from people pointing out how they and him frequently didn’t see eye to eye, frequently argued, yet this never negatively affected their respect for him and their appreciation for how he viewed and approached life.

As for me, on top of, like I said, growing up with 13-14 and Midnight Killer and being formed to some extent by that, I was also particularly active on his forum back in the day, even being made moderator, but never actually acting on it since it happened just when I had become overwhelmed by it and withdrew. My activity on that forum was responsible for perhaps my first direct contact with the authorities, however, since Ralu Filip, at the time president of the National Audiovisual Council, contacted me in order to discuss the Romanian media landscape of the time and how the institution handled it as a result of what I was writing there, which pretty much caused me to be paralyzed with fear when I realized it wasn’t a prank, ending up doing my best to move the discussion to the forum and, sadly, run away. But even so, perhaps that was a spark as well, one more element that led to where I ended up all these years later, still doing far too little, embarrassingly so, yet at the same time so much more, and so much more openly, than all those years ago that I’d likely be unrecognizable for those who knew me before that time and lost touch since.

As a somewhat funny moment, I remember that time when I went to pick up Andra from the train station on my own and we got back after 13-14 had already started, so instead of jumping right on each other we ended up making out on an armchair in the kitchen while watching the show, since it was on TV too at the time, delaying other “activities” until it was over. But I guess that’s the last thing I’ll mention, as this is too long already, and likely going places it didn’t need to go to, and perhaps actually shouldn’t have gone to. So I’ll end it simply: Goodnight, AG, wherever you are.

Written by Cavalary on March 20, 2018 at 8:04 PM in Society | 0 Comments

Picnic Kit, Broken Food Processor, Micky Again in My Room

Starting directly, I’ll just quickly mention that I went out to buy a few things on March 2, 5 and 7. Left early on March 7 and it was already clear when I woke up that something was seriously wrong, but at first I dismissed it as perhaps something caused by getting so little sleep, not that it’s not likely that the lack of sleep had something to do with ending up with this bad flu anyway, knowing that the immune system is hurt by not getting enough sleep.
But this post won’t be about the flu, so I’ll sort of try to write around it and mention the other things, and since I got to March 7, that means the next on the list is receiving the “picnic set” won last month. Somehow didn’t hear my phone ring while I was shopping that day even though it was in my pocket, so I only noticed the SMS and the missed call later and actually called the delivery guy myself while on the way back, thinking there may still be a chance to have it delivered that day, but he told me that my dad had already answered the door and everything was fine even if I hadn’t been there personally. Then again, doubt I’d have received it myself either way, as I’d have likely been asleep at that time if I wouldn’t have gone out that early. But all’s well that ends well, and while I find little use for the plastic plates and glasses in the set and am not keen on the cutlery, since it all has plastic handles, or the small plastic cutting board, some use may be found for them at some point. The most useful, on the other hand, will be the backpack it all came in, as I think dad will start using it at some point, maybe sooner rather than later, seeming just like what he wanted for some time.

I guess the next thing to mention should have taken place on March 9, when dad was leaving and someone was supposed to come to read the electricity meter. He had told me that the note on the building door said the person will come after 5 PM, or maybe 5:30 PM, but somebody rang the doorbell around 11:50 AM, just when he was out for a little while to buy a few more things for me, before actually leaving for those few days. Not sure whether that was a first attempt or it was someone else, as the note definitely didn’t mention that the person will try in the morning as well, but at the same time it apparently didn’t mention 5 PM either, because I still found it on the building door when I went out on Sunday and it said 7 PM to 8 PM, so I’m not sure what dad saw. But what he told me was all I had to work with, so despite being completely crushed by the flu, I tried to stay awake after 5 PM and wait for that person, struggling not to fall back to sleep until around 7 PM, obviously all for nothing. Whether the person tried to come later, at the time that was actually listed, or not, I have no idea, but she did come again at the start of this week, after dad got back, both earlier and later during that day, and he was finally here and able to open the door that evening.

While all of this was going on, I read League of Dragons, starting on March 3 and planning to finish in a week, but eventually ending up not reading anything on March 9 and finishing it on March 10. Was something to do in bed during those last few days, when I could at least do that much, and I just wanted to cry after finishing it, being left without that as well, but of course I can’t cry while alone.
Did order Lady of the Lake, but I’m not sure I actually want to read that, knowing how it ends, and either way I wasn’t told that I can come pick it up even now, not that I could have done so any earlier. The thing is that there’s a science fiction and fantasy book fair next weekend and the store I ordered it from will be there, making me wonder whether I may find it cheaper there, and how much of an asshole would I be if I’ll wait even if they will let me know I can pick it up earlier and cancel the order and get it from there if so. Or, if it won’t be cheaper, whether I’ll be able to pick it up from there at the price I ordered it at, so I won’t make another trip later.

Moving on, my computer tends to have issues whenever I’m in a particularly bad mood or sick and now was no different. As such, Saturday night after eating, so actually in the early hours of Sunday, I noticed that the mouse sounded and felt like it was scratching on the pad. It still does so even now, so I’m not sure what’s going on, but that night I kept trying to figure it out and at one point, pretty much just as I was giving up, the pointer jumped on the screen. I wasn’t moving the mouse at that moment, but I just saw the pointer suddenly jump quite some distance to the right, which obviously worried me. Can’t say I noticed it happening again since and I guess it is possible that a hair or some piece of dirt had caused it at that moment, but I’m obviously worried that it was a sign of some actual problem, which would hardly be surprising.

I did mention above that I went out on Sunday, and that wasn’t in spite of, but actually just because I was so sick, since I went to a pharmacy to get some pills Alma had told me she had taken and helped. Dad had left me some more money and I still had a little bit as well, so I just got dressed and went out the door a few minutes after 9 AM and got back pretty much exactly one hour later, with the pills and one yogurt picked up from a supermarket that’s right next to that pharmacy.
Got there well enough, despite noticing a few times that I wasn’t exactly walking in a straight line and getting quite dizzy for just a moment at one point, when I turned rather quickly to look at a sign on a tree, somebody looking for their lost bird. The way back was more of a problem, as I really wasn’t feeling well anymore and had started to not see well either at some point, but I didn’t have long to go by then and managed to get back well enough. Felt very bad about having spent so much though, and that only got worse as time passed and I could think about it, even though what I bought proved very useful and likely necessary and that pharmacy tends to be a whole lot cheaper than others most of the time.

Getting to this week, Tuesday dad was cooking a few different dishes, and he decided to use the food processor for one, though I definitely can’t figure out why, since the idea would have pretty much been to do the same thing to those beans as one would do to make mashed potatoes, meaning that the same utensil should have likely been used. But, like I said, he decided to use the food processor, and I actually got out of bed to see what was going on when I heard the noise for a few seconds the first time, asking whether he had washed it properly and made sure that nothing was spilling. Then I got back to bed, yet got back up very soon, as after hearing the noise for a couple more seconds the power went out, a circuit breaker reacting to what was likely a short caused by the food processor, which wouldn’t turn on again after that.
He said he might have pushed it too hard, the beans requiring more power than the motor could deliver, but I asked whether it wasn’t wet, and he realized that indeed it was, pretty much all over. So I guess that’s gone now, and while it was quite old and usually only used by my mother, it’ll be hard to find anything that reliable anymore, at least among the affordable ones. But at least I spared the mixer from what might have been a similar fate, as dad wanted to use that next, but I persuaded him to just use the utensil and leave any appliances where they were.

As for Wednesday, it was already evening when I managed to crawl out of bed, did some laundry, made myself something to eat, but hadn’t actually started eating when dad came and started searching for Micky all over the house, since he couldn’t find her right away and she did slip past him before, or ended up left on the balcony or, actually rather recently, in a wardrobe that she couldn’t get out of until he got back. Since she didn’t seem to be anywhere, he went out and started looking through the building while I continued to look around the apartment… Only to find her when I got back to my room and noticed a lump under the sheet and the blanket that’s under it, as she had buried herself there, sitting right on the mattress, under everything.
I have absolutely no clue when or how did she manage to slip past me and get in here that evening, but there she was, so I picked her up and went out as well, waiting for dad to get back and pointing her to him as he seemed quite desperate. Don’t know what she did while in my room though, but at least my computer didn’t report having been disconnected again, so either she didn’t crawl behind it again or at least did so more carefully and didn’t move that cable that way again, and things weren’t thrown out of the bottom part of my bookcase either, which happened before when she somehow slipped in here without me noticing until much later. Still wondering whether there may be consequences I just haven’t noticed yet, but at least so far it doesn’t look like she caused any problems.

Written by Cavalary on March 17, 2018 at 10:26 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

At Least I Ran Today, Albeit Embarrassingly Slowly

This was an embarrassing time, but after skipping the previous two weeks, the first due to the weather and the second due to the flu, I decided to go for it today despite obviously being quite far from recovered. The reported temperature was up to 18°C, but there was some wind, more than I expected after looking at the forecast, and also a fair number of people in the park. But the main problem was how I was feeling, weak and out of breath, at times a bit nauseous and not even thinking well enough to calculate the proper paths around others. Plus that I had to stop for a bit to cough and try to spit crap out just after passing the bridge at the start of lap three, ending up with the crap clinging to my face and then on my hand after wiping it off, stopping again to wipe the hand on a tree, and then on another, after I noticed I still had a bit left.
The time was 54:29, with sector times of 4:45, 5:42, 6:32, 5:00, 5:39, 6:42, 5:20, 5:54, 6:48 and 2:07, making for lap times of 16:59, 17:21 and 18:02. This was the fourth slowest run over this distance and the third slowest through the park, since the slowest one overall was back in March of 2016, on the track, early in the morning, on very little sleep. The previous slower run over this distance through the park was that one from February last year when, on top of the cold and the snow and muck and puddles on the ground, I was first stopped by someone who asked me what time I was covering a lap in and then briefly stopped again to pick up some money I saw, which then somehow flew out of my pocket before finishing. So that leaves a single slower run over this distance through the park when the conditions weren’t very difficult, and that’s the very first one, back in October of 2015.
Other than that, after February of 2017, the last time I went over 52 minutes was in March of 2017, the last time I went over 51 minutes was in April of 2017, when I was also just recovering from a cold and had problems along the route as well, then I last failed to get under 50 minutes in July and last failed to get under 49 minutes in August. In fact, the last time I failed to stay under 48:30 was on January 1, on about an hour and a half of sleep and needing to somehow find my way through all the people filling the route. Even after the last cold, back in November, I managed a 48:43 which sure seemed nice under the circumstances. But now there was just no way to do better…

Still, it is something either way, perhaps even more so considering the sort of panic I was in last evening, after seeing how much blood I kept spitting out each time. It seems much better today, but last evening it sure didn’t and I thought that whatever had made me think I was recovering had been a false impression, because something was obviously still seriously wrong somewhere and it may cause other things to get worse as well. Not that I’m sure that’s not the case, it’s even possible that pushing myself as much as I did today will cause problems, but what I spat out so far today wasn’t red anymore, and that in itself is a huge improvement over the past several days.
Then again, it can be said that I pushed just a little yesterday as well, since I needed bread and yogurt and went to Auchan, to get those and other things as well. Did take the free bus they provide both ways, to spare myself as much as possible, but it still meant going out, being around people, and also sprinting just a little to catch that bus to get back, since I got out with moments to spare.
And speaking of yesterday, since I ended up going there with the bus that passes by here around 12:50 PM and the stop is right in front of the school, I waited rather awkwardly, trying to find myself a spot a bit away from all the parents waiting and children coming out. And as I was waiting I noticed some other guy who seemed to be out of place there, despite the rather “cool” look, and also noticed him walking away apparently without any child. Then, a bit later, shortly before the bus finally came, he came from behind and meant to hand me a 5 RON bill, prompting me to ask him why and then refuse when he told me to just take it. He seemed a bit confused that I didn’t want it, but rather shrugged it off and walked away, leaving me quite confused as well. And I had even shaved the previous evening and I don’t think any of my clothes were dirty or torn this time around, so I don’t think I looked like a beggar. But maybe he had just decided to do a good thing and had more or less randomly selected me as the recipient and I messed up his plans. But maybe he found someone who needed the money more, if he didn’t give up on the idea of giving them to someone.

I guess I’ll stop here, leaving the nasty period and also the several days before it for some other time, assuming I’ll get around to it. Since I still need a second post this week, I may try to cover at least some part of that tomorrow, to again avoid a Sunday update, though it seems particularly difficult at the moment. But now there is a chance, while it would have been impossible according to the original plan, as I had signed up to volunteer at the Botanical Garden again on the 17th, but I just sent a message earlier this evening to say I won’t be coming, and will be skipping this “Spring Cleaning” completely, since I already signed up to plant trees on the 24th, assuming I’ll be feeling well enough then at least. Should be planting trees twice though, if all goes well, since this is something different, organized by an NGO and, actually, Auchan, while the group organizing the events I attended in 2017 and 2016 scheduled their events on April 14 this time around.

Written by Cavalary on March 16, 2018 at 11:38 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Quick Review: League of Dragons

Overall, I guess it is a suitable ending for the series, though at the same time it may also seem a little forced, especially after the series had dragged on at times in the past, and even in this book itself there’s chapter five, which reads exactly like something written in order to just keep writing and buy time until more actual inspiration will strike. But even if it was a case of the author realizing, or being told, that she had to end it, at least in terms of the actual outcome she did a decent enough job. Less so in terms of how it came about though, as that was particularly disappointing, but I can’t say more without spoilers. And speaking of what I can’t say more about without spoilers, it was also unpleasant that one other decision, taken not long before the end, was just presented directly, without anything about how it was actually reached, not even after the fact if the author wanted to surprise the reader at first.
Otherwise, still some nice dragons, still nasty and downright dreadful humans, but sadly many unpleasant dragons as well, for various reasons, albeit through little fault of their own in plenty of cases. And no other relationships between a dragon and their captain or companion to save the day except that between Laurence and Temeraire, though the “chemistry” and understanding between those two remains a beacon of hope when it is given a chance to shine among the filth. And they do get the, if I may say so, sedate ending they appear do deserve… Albeit very briefly…

Rating: 4/5

Written by Cavalary on March 10, 2018 at 11:55 PM in Books | 0 Comments

Quite Sure This Is the Worst Flu Since I Was Little, If Not Ever…

There was a first small sign Monday evening, a few more Tuesday evening, and by the time I woke up Wednesday it was quite clear I was coming down with something bad, and the fact that I went out after maybe some two and a half hours of sleep sure didn’t help. By that evening, it was clear that it was really bad, and yesterday I was just crushed. I can barely get out of bed, until earlier today I hadn’t even crapped in three days, and it’s been four since I showered, though I plan to try to take a bath now. And the fact that I banged my head hard in the kitchen again last night sure didn’t help either, and trying not to fall asleep quickly after that failed, as about one hour later I just couldn’t even sit anymore and crawling in bed and hoping to lie down but remain awake didn’t work, as I just fell right asleep.
Really don’t feel like I can just pull through this one, so, bar one little thing I accepted from dad back when I had one that lasted for weeks and something I took just to calm my sore throat during last year’s massive protests, I’m quite sure it’s the first time since back when I was still living with Andra when I’m taking some medicine and not just tea and lemons and pepper and such. Not that much and nothing strong yet, but I had to give in because this was clearly flu and a really bad one, as this year’s seems to be.
Details, links, corrections and anything else later, right now I’m content I managed to post something here, since otherwise I hardly was on the computer yesterday and today, not catching up on anything and so on. The plan would have been to finish League of Dragons today and have the quick review for that be today’s post, but I decided not to read now, leave those final chapters for tomorrow, and throw this on here now instead. Wasn’t sure I’d have managed to write any passable quick review in this state anyway, so hoping I’ll have a better chance tomorrow, if not even Sunday.

Written by Cavalary on March 9, 2018 at 9:58 PM in Personal | 0 Comments