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New Finds – XIX

I’m continuing with the quick posts in this series as I keep trying to avoid needing to use more of those old book reviews to make room for more personal posts, and this one will be a particularly quick one if I’m to also post it before midnight and therefore make it this week’s second post. But at least the choice of bands was easy, since it would appear that what I had mentioned in the previous such post, what I assumed to be the banning of guy spamming the Power of Female Fronted Metal group, cross-posting stuff, was in fact a momentary issue and his posts reappeared after a few days, and that led to me not checking things at all anymore, feeling completely overwhelmed now that I also had older stuff to look at, posted before the date when I had last checked. But I did look one more time, going through just a few of those older ones, and ended up with a new and good band from Hungary, and the last one I had stumbled into before that, before his posts reappeared, was also from there. And I had one more band from there which I hadn’t included yet, and three should be enough for such a post, even if I had another that included three bands from Hungary only last year, though they weren’t the only ones in it then.

To go through them in that order, I’ll start with Tales of Evening, and I’ll say right away that they’re by far the best of the three. They’ve been around for several years, but their first album in English was just released earlier this month, so I couldn’t have really heard of them sooner, though I understand that they did have two songs that were also released in English in their early years, and one of them has a video as well, so I’ll go with that one, Winds Will Rise, as my first pick. The second one is much harder, on the other hand, since I really like what I’m hearing and can’t sit here to listen carefully and try to make a choice I’ll have the best chance to be content with later as well. Still, even though I understand that it’s included as a bonus track on that album, I’ll go with Flower of Frost. I may just end up a little lost in this one, listening to it on repeat for a while…

Moving on to the band I had stumbled into earlier, that’s Leecher and, despite calling themselves “cello metal”, they have a harsher sound on most songs, with some growls, albeit softer ones, on some of them as well. That means it’s possible that it’s not actually the first time I heard of them, but happened to hear one of those songs before and immediately dismissed them, yet those songs seem to be in the minority, so I’ll be including them now. Having their earlier songs on what so far is their only full album does make it difficult for me to stick to that rule of selecting the two songs from different releases if the band in question doesn’t have just one, but I guess I’ll go with Eclipse, which was originally the title song of their first EP, as my first pick. As for the second, I was considering two or three, but in the end I’ll just take the easy way and pick Fading, since they have a proper video for it as well.

As for the third band, that’s Half Past Dark and they only have one album so far, and apparently only two of their own songs from it, Fairy Tale and Saddenly, officially posted. At least that means I don’t need to choose, the picks being obvious, and it’s also not my problem that they can’t be from different releases. On Fairy Tale there are obvious problems with the vocals, on Saddenly the sound’s different in a way that I wouldn’t normally care for too much, and they’re not a band I’d have really considered including in such a post at this time if I’d have selected them individually, but it’s here to at least get to three and, with the other two being from there, not leave out any of those from Hungary which I had heard of so far and hadn’t completely dismissed.

Written by Cavalary on November 17, 2019 at 11:51 PM in Music | 0 Comments

Chest and Network Worries, More Vegetables for Plastic Bottles, Infuriating "Debate"

Something isn’t right, though I don’t know whether it’s something in my chest, which would be a serious problem, or a new effect of that bone spur on my spine, which has been acting up more lately. Either way, something feels wrong when I breathe, and it’s not new, having occasionally happened for months, if not pretty much all year, but it definitely got worse lately, in the sense that I feel it almost all the time and Monday morning before going to bed it was no longer just a strange feeling but I actually felt like I had some difficulty breathing, though it went away by the time I woke up. It was enough to finally make me ask dad to take me to have it checked out, before making the payments for next year’s half marathon and marathon, in case it’s something bad and will require spending a lot now or even prevent me from taking part in such runs then, but he meant to go there to take care of something for my mother tomorrow and I can’t go with him then, since I’ll be planting trees Saturday after getting hardly any sleep that morning, so tomorrow I want to get up as late as I can and possibly get back in bed for a little nap after eating something and getting the stuff I’ll take with me ready. May spare an hour for another trip for some more vegetables in exchange for plastic bottles if I won’t be able to sleep that late, but being at the doctor at a certain time, which may even be in the morning, depending on her schedule, and waiting there for what will probably be hours, since that’s how it goes with her, is definitely out. But maybe he’ll get me scheduled and we’ll go next week. But, of course, it’s a scary prospect.

Still on the topic of worries and health, but this time having to do with how someone else’s may end up affecting me, Tuesday afternoon, around or probably a bit before 1:40 PM, I noticed that the network signal was completely gone, as if somebody had cut the cable again, and since dad was here, I immediately told him to call the guy. Minutes later, I made the connection with the fact that I had noticed the elevator being serviced when I went out that morning, which was likely to require turning off power to the place where the building’s switch is at some point, and that did seem to be the case, as it recovered at 2 PM, but by then dad had already called and learned that the guy’s in hospital and will remain there until Friday evening, having kidney problems checked out, and he doesn’t have anyone else to handle such matters if he’s unavailable. So, on top of possibly having such problems that may take a long time to fix if the situation will repeat itself, if he’ll have his own health to worry about, and pay for, I fear for this little network’s future. Judging from the public financial reports I could find, while managing to greatly reduce its losses despite the revenue dropping to a level indicating just a few dozen remaining subscribers, if even that, it seems to have next to no remaining assets anyway, so I’m not sure what the future was likely to bring even without these added problems, but under these circumstances I fear even more.

Since I already mentioned having been out Tuesday morning, that was to get some more vegetables for plastic bottles from that Carrefour. Hadn’t tried again over the weekend or Monday and that was probably a bad choice, since I haven’t seen corn again these days, since I went on each of these last three days, but there were always Kapia peppers, Bianca peppers and green onions. But, getting back to Tuesday, I was up at 9:15 AM and left at 10:20 AM, taking out a few plastic and metal things and a glass bottle dad broke, and going to that Carrefour with ten plastic bottles, which I exchanged for four Kapia peppers, weighing about 550 grams, three kohlrabies, two Bianca peppers, weighing about 260 grams after I removed a rotten part one had, and one bundle of green onions. The girl told me she had to pick the moment I tried to pick one Kapia pepper myself, so I obviously allowed her to do that, and I also asked whether I could bring wine and vinegar bottles, and after asking the other one, since I’ve seen two of them there these days, she said I could, as long as they were washed and transparent. And I finally saw a place for expiring things in that location as well, though at the time the stuff that should be refrigerated was simply dumped in two carts, which was a huge problem from where I’m standing. They did place them properly since then though, since I looked again today.
That day I had also taken those 20 batteries that I’ve kept trying to exchange for four new ones recently, meaning to go to a location of that store that should exchange them like that which should be behind the park. However, I didn’t get that far, because some environmental film and technology festival is taking place in that mall this week and I saw that they had a machine exchanging used batteries the same way, one new one for five, so I went there on the way out and got the four new batteries. The machine seems to be just for show, however, that space mainly being intended for children, as it would seem that a new battery comes out whenever you press the button for it, regardless of how many used ones you put in, and the slot for AAA ones was already stuck anyway, the woman who came there as soon as I started using the machine telling me that after I tried putting some in and saw that I couldn’t. But since it didn’t matter where you put them, I just put all of them in the AA slot and pressed the AA button, noticing that it just worked on its own when trying to do so after being told of that other slot being stuck and getting a new battery right away even if I had only tried to put three in and none of them had really gone through. But I just put in the 20 I had, got the four I should have gotten and walked away, getting back at 11:10 AM.

Yesterday the idea was to go see Blue Heart at that festival mentioned above, and I had requested an invitation by e-mail, since doing so was required, and it was confirmed. So I was obviously going to take some more plastic bottles to that Carrefour, but with the movie supposed to start at 7:30 PM, I was going to go later, and left at 5:55 PM, giving myself time in case there will be lines, seeing as that’s pretty much the rush hour and I had 30 more batteries to exchange as well. But I could exchange the 12 bottles well enough, the issue being that I had taken 12 of the largest ones and had pressed them as well, to fit them all in one bag, and they didn’t fit through the holes when pressed like that and, while the girl first offered to get a bag for me to put them directly in it, she then returned to say they had no more bags available, so I had to struggle to make them fit one by one. Once that was done, I got the usual four Kapia peppers, again all of them good and weighing about 650 grams, four Bianca peppers, weighing about 335 grams, this time weighed without first removing the rotten bits that one of them again had, one lettuce and, since nothing else of interest was still available at that time, three more bundles of green onions, which didn’t look that good either. And then I went to exchange those 30 batteries as well, confirming that the machine was indeed only for show when a guy came as soon as I got there and told me that they had removed the new batteries from it since children kept pressing the button and getting new ones. I could still put them in it, and I did, but he didn’t bother to count, believing me when I said I had 30 and giving me six in exchange.
Since I had seen that this walk only takes me 15 minutes and I had nothing else to do, at 6:25 PM I was outside and walked back to drop things off, leaving again at 6:55 PM and entering the Cinema City from there at 7:15 PM. Even the speeches only started at 7:40 PM though, and one of them really dragged on, the movie only starting at 8:10 PM, by which time the moderator was quite desperate, as the schedule listed the event as ending at 9 PM and that meant that the movie itself only ended five minutes before that. But a debate was supposed to take place after the movie and another guest was given ten minutes to speak before questions were to be taken from the audience… And she ended up speaking for 20 minutes, and almost entirely in favor of the dams and against those who oppose such “development” in general, which made me so furious that I stared daggers at her almost the entire time and often managed to not look away when we seemed to make eye contact, and I was on the fourth row, with that side of the first two being empty, and had my cap off as well, so I’d say she noticed. One guy, whom I had recognized as having exchanged some plastic bottles for vegetables just before me and who had brought that paper bag with him there, did try to speak at one point and wasn’t allowed then, but at least the moderator did give him a chance after that woman finally finished and he outlined, in a calm and gentle voice, three problems of the dams, giving some quick examples… Only for that woman to be given the last word as well, to quickly reply to him before things ended, at 9:20 PM, when it would appear that the next movie was about to start there, those who had tickets for it waiting at the door. So I took it slowly at first, trying to calm down and only getting outside at 9:30 PM, then walked back and wrote them a long comment on the event page, but there was no reaction.

As for today, I was peeing at 7:20 AM and at first decided to stay up, then got back under the blanket, then got back up to check and saw that the Carrefour from there opens at 8 AM and decided once again to get up, taking 12 more bottles and leaving at 8:45 AM, hoping to find better things if I’ll go early. It seems that plenty of others had the same idea, however, since it was the first time I actually had to wait in line for a few minutes, though at least I didn’t have to put the bottles in one by one anymore, the girl just taking my bag and emptying it in a bag. The thing is that they had radishes, this being the first time I saw that, but they had just finished when my turn came and I heard the girl ask for more to be brought, but decided against asking whether I could wait, so I just got four more Kapia peppers, weighing just over 740 grams, four tomatoes, which I also hadn’t seen before, these weighing about 770 grams but not looking too good, and I’ll be throwing out a fair bit of at least one of them, and four cucumbers, weighing about 370 grams. Then I went inside and bought a few things, including something to eat right away, and I did so after getting outside, sitting on a bench, so I ended up only entering the building at 10:30 AM and, after putting everything away, getting back in bed a little after 11 AM.

Only timed my squats today, when I did two series, in 2:15 and 2:19, respectively, and Sunday, when I did them in 2:22. But at least this week’s run, which was Monday, finally broke that series, being a few seconds faster than last week’s, in spite of dad asking me to help him move a piece of furniture after I woke up, or more exactly after he woke me up with a sneezing fit, also being unable to take a shit before going, and feeling rather weak and being worried about my breathing while running. Also felt bad about how things turned out with that piece of furniture, since he had turned it around in a different way, so I’ll be able to hold on to it better, and then when turning it back one of the legs he had put on it came off, taking a part of the bottom with it, and while he said that he’d have had to turn it back around either way, I was left wondering whether it would have still happened if I wouldn’t have failed to hold on to it the way it was at first.
Either way, the conditions were otherwise good, I had the usual stuff plus the last of the corn, there were fewer people than in recent weeks as well, and time was 47:38.14, with sector times of 4:26.37, 5:02 (5:01.67), 5:46.92, 4:27 (4:26.44), 4:58.08, 5:46.29, 4:29 (4:28.72), 5:06 (5:05.58), 5:46.24 and 1:52 (1:51.83), making for lap times of 15:14.96, 15:11 (15:10.81) and 15:21 (15:20.54). The first little issue came early, when something got in my eye as I ran through a cloud of bugs just before the bridge, on sector one of lap one, and I likely lost a bit of time trying to get it out, or at least make it not bother me anymore. Then, on sector two of lap two, a guy with a dog was coming from the opposite direction and the dog suddenly rushed towards the lake as I was about to go past them on that side, cutting me off and forcing me to quickly need to avoid them, going the long way around dog, leash and master. And then there was the matter of losing the light, as I went out at 4:05 PM and by the end I was struggling to see the time, slowing down for a few moments in order to be able to do so at the start of sectors two and three of lap three. Not that I could see the hundredths better after sector three of lap three either, but I didn’t even try, so I didn’t slow again at the start of the final sector, only looking after I was done, since that last intermediate time remains listed. And, speaking of intermediate times, nice how I managed nearly identical sector three times on all laps, and also nearly identical sector one times on the first two and being only a couple of seconds slower on the third.
However, the most annoying bit involved a truck that seemed to chase me from the end of lap two and through much of lap three’s first sector. I didn’t actually turn to get a good look, but it was likely the one loading bags of leaves, which I had seen before, albeit going in the opposite direction, and which I had needed to rather squeeze past on sector one of lap one as well, and at that point I heard it approach and moved to the edge of the path, to allow it to pass, yet the driver didn’t seem to want to, getting pretty much alongside me and staying there for a while. When I noticed that it wasn’t about to pass, I tried to pick up the pace and it actually fell behind a little, but only a little, staying right behind me until it eventually stopped some time later. It’s possible that the driver was doing that just so he won’t bother me, but I felt that he was egging me on and it didn’t seem safe to have the truck right there for so long, and trying to stay at the very edge of the path to leave room for it wasn’t exactly comfortable either. Plus that having me there and the truck next to me left those coming from the opposite direction with nowhere to go, and there were a couple of cyclists who had to act quickly as a result.

Written by Cavalary on November 14, 2019 at 11:37 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Air and Forests Marches, Recycling Kits and Vegetables for Plastic Bottles

Last Saturday I woke up at 9 AM, when the alarm rang, and was out the door at 10:15 AM, having the metro card but walking to the National Library. My back started hurting as I rushed to cross a street, but I was careful after that and it got better, so I got there at 10:55 AM and it wasn’t a problem during the march. Did again take a vest, and also a mask, and eventually also a sign, though I left that rather late and there were none with the text I had wanted to have left by the time I did. Still, it was a good thing I at least took one when I did, because I was quite surprised when the march started at 11:35 AM, when I’d have expected to only get going at noon and the organizers seemed to think the same at first, and then I was right next to them when they had settled on 11:45 AM as a compromise, in a discussion with the gendarmes, who seemed to want to rush things for some reason. But that bossy woman, who had wanted to rush things as soon as she arrived, got things moving sooner and most just followed, leaving the rest with little choice but to do the same. And at least we were visible due to the gear, even if the march was again almost completely silent, to the point that I found myself wanting to lead some shouts, though of course I couldn’t get myself to actually do it. So I just walked with the rest, we reached the Ministry at 12:15 PM and it wasn’t even 12:30 PM when the call was made to end things, and those taking pictures were specifically asked to either not post those with children at all or blur their faces, so I hope I didn’t leave any unblurred in what I posted.
Left there at 12:35 PM and walked to Unirii, searching again on the way for that store I had failed to find Wednesday, since I had taken those used batteries with me again, but it’s apparently not there anymore, some other supermarket being in the spot where I thought it should have been and not finding it elsewhere in that area even if I circled it, having a look on some streets behind the buildings as well. My bladder was screaming loudly enough by the time I was leaving that area that I considered just stopping in one of those alleys, but managed to make it to the toilet in Unirea Shopping Center, then went to that Carrefour and got a few things, including another yogurt, expiring later, still at that low price. Finally used the metro card after that, but got off at Romana, deciding to finally get around to checking out a pastry place I had been meaning to get something from for several months and doing so. Then I got back, being here around 2:40 PM, maybe 2:45 PM, feeling increasingly tired and weak. The nap I took in the evening didn’t help much, but at least I finished Elantris, so I could pretty much also write the quick review that night and then look over it again and post it before leaving the next day.

Said next day I actually did use the metro card to get there as well, leaving at 5:15 PM and being at University Square at 5:45 PM. That meant I was there when the organizers were talking to the gendarmes about the march and saw that even they didn’t expect anything like the numbers that ended up participating, saying that they had listed 1000 participants in the protocol and weren’t even sure of that and attempting to negotiate for the march to at least be allowed on the street where the sidewalk will be particularly narrow or blocked, not all the way. Other than that, I mostly did what I usually do, rather hiding behind the camera and wandering around to take pictures, actually learning to make some better use of the new one when it’s dark while doing so. Can’t in any way compensate for the lack of the manual mode, but it worked well enough most of the time, only a few shots ending up unusable.
Did do something unusual around 6:45 PM, since the speeches had been going on for a few minutes in front of the fountain but those who were behind the fountain had also decided to start shouting and chanting around that same time, which resulted in quite a mess. Others were commenting, wondering whether there were different organizers, but I decided to actually do something about it, making my way there, finding the girl with the loudspeaker and telling her that she was breaking things up, since speeches had started, and then managing to also say that it sort of does when she replied that it didn’t carry all the way to the front, which actually seems to have led to her stopping, even if I rushed away as soon as those last words left my mouth, this having already been just about too much.
Got back to hiding behind the camera after that, and when the march started, obviously on the street, the numbers making the gendarmes allow it without problems, I climbed on that little wall around the entrance to the metro station and kept taking pictures of signs until the end of the crowd was near, after which I rushed forward, catching up, looking for more good opportunities for more shots along the way and then staying just behind those holding the large banners at the head of the march and joining in the shouting and chanting until the Ministry was reached, at exactly 8 PM. Took a few more pictures there as well, before sort of following those who kept going for a little while, turning around when they seemed to be getting too far, then sort of turning around again to weakly shout after them to return when one of the organizers started calling them back through the loudspeaker. Got back in front of the Ministry when I saw that they had stopped, first taking some more pictures and eventually finding myself a spot in that group gathered around the speakers, before stepping back into the crowd, though still at the front of it, when someone asked those who had gathered there to do so.
After the call to end the event came, at 8:40 PM, I really wanted to help gather the banners, but ended up just sort of hovering around those doing it, not managing to get myself to actually lend a hand until the end, when most others had cleared the area and I saw a girl starting to roll up one of the larger ones on her own. After that, since some were sticking around to shout and chant a while longer, I joined them for a few more minutes, walking away at 8:50 PM… And finding a metro card with one trip left as I did so. It was just there, on the street, and I actually checked it when I got to the metro station, making sure that it wasn’t a case of that last use not being printed on it. Was back at 9:30 PM.

Tuesday I wanted to write the post about the protests, but I was talking to my mother in the kitchen after waking up, since she’s here this week, and when I mentioned Auchan’s rewards for used cooking oil and that I thought we had just gathered enough for something useful, she said that dad had just taken it away, supposedly for the building’s cleaning lady to pick up. It’s possible, even likely, that she disposes of it properly, possibly taking it to such a place herself, but that’s uncertain and, either way, the point was first that I wanted to see how that worked myself, and then that I keep trying to get them to take responsibility for what they throw away, not keep seeing it as trash to get rid of, for someone else to handle. So I even stopped making tea and put what I had taken to eat back, too furious to stay there anymore, only getting back for cereals and yogurt, and grapes, after they left to take Micky to have some tests done.
Dad brought the oil back when he got back, since it hadn’t been taken away yet, but by then I had seen an e-mail asking people again to come help put together more of those recycling kits, the number of volunteers having dropped sharply, and since I thought I had their “sins” to make up for, I had decided to go again after all, despite having said that I won’t do so after last time. Had since then also received a reply to that e-mail sent then, which made it seem that things were good, at least from Olga’s point of view, and she had already invited me to keep coming, including when I’ll be able to just be there on my own, and they had also changed the way things are done, anyone being able to come like that, whenever they wanted, listing themselves in a document. So I saw that nobody was scheduled between 5 PM and 7 PM and just one person from 7 PM, listed myself as being there between 5 PM and 8 PM and left at 3:35 PM, taking the paper out as well.
Didn’t have the metro card and also went to that pharmacy first, for toothpaste, and after that I ended up going the wrong way… And finding another metro card. Spotted it on the sidewalk, sticking out from underneath a discarded campaign “newspaper”, and saw eight trips left when I looked on it, but when I actually checked it at a metro station it said that just two were left, so a lot of uses hadn’t been printed, but it’s still something. The delay did make me think I’ll be a little late, but ended up on that street at exactly 5 PM and going through the door a couple of minutes later… And finding a group of people gathered right there, those who had volunteered to help earlier just leaving and the NGOs members apparently getting ready to have a meeting, which they confirmed was indeed the case when I asked.
That meant I was left to work completely on my own, which they apologized for several times but which was great from my point of view. And I also only had to fold and stack those sheets of paper and the stickers, plus a slip with the necessary information for those wanting to donate, since apparently five people had come earlier, after seeing the e-mail, even though only two had listed themselves in the file, and they filled all the envelopes, so more kits couldn’t actually be completed, but they could be prepared, so they’ll just have to put one of these prepared stacks and the bags in when they’ll get more envelopes, and piles of such stacks had already been made. So I just added to those piles, working until 7:15 PM. Had at first been told that the meeting would only last for about one hour and they’ll leave after that, being tired after putting in long hours the week before, but it lasted for two and I made full use of that time. Took it very slowly on the way back though, only being back here at 8:45 PM, and didn’t drink anything that day, since I didn’t care to make tea after that point.

This week’s run was Thursday. Ate the usual stuff, dressed the usual way, making a note of the fact that I’m still running in my t-shirt in November and will do so next week as well, the highs remaining around 20°C, and went out at 3:35 PM. The conditions were good, there was little wind and even the people were less of a problem, still requiring weaving and going the long way around in some places but less so than during past weeks. Nevertheless, 47:46.21 is my worst time in quite a while, and even that required pushing. Sector times were 4:26.88, 5:00.06, 5:50 (5:49.65), 4:27 (4:26.81), 5:08.27, 5:50 (5.49.43), 4:28.83, 5:03 (5:02.43), 5:47 (5:46.77) and 1:47.08, making for lap times of 15:16.59, 15:25 (15:24.51) and 15:18.03. Had to manage my back a bit at first, but it was fine after that. Due to the back issue, the first sector’s time didn’t worry me that much, but sector two of lap two did and at that point I was concerned about even staying under 48 minutes, so I really pushed from sector three of lap two and it worked out in the end. This is the third run in a row that’s slower than the previous one though, and unless the trend reverses there’s not much room left under 48 minutes…

Went back out after the run, leaving at 5:15 PM and taking the stuff I drop off at Kaufland too, since that’s where I mainly meant to go, seeing that one of the day’s discounts was for onions and we needed more. But I first left that stuff in a cabinet without a key and checked that Carrefour too, and found a carton of free range eggs and a better yogurt in that place with things that expire soon, and got one more large cup of that regular yogurt too, since it was still at that low price and expired even later. That meant I couldn’t get the tofu I had meant to get from Kaufland anymore, and couldn’t find the exact kind of another thing which should have been discounted these days, but did get onions and a few more cheap things… And then ended up asking for help at the self-checkout, first because it seemed to not accept the onions, telling me that the product had been removed and to place it again on the scales even though it was there, and picking it up and putting it down again didn’t change anything, but then the next problem presented itself after the employee came to override that message, since the onions scanned at the full price. The employee quickly scanned the other things as well and showed me that the discount was applied before the total was made, but that definitely doesn’t seem right. I mean, how’s the customer supposed to know that, and to check that it is correctly applied before needing to pay? But at least it was sorted out and, after getting this month’s issue of National Geographic too, having forgotten to also look for that in Kaufland, I walked back slowly, getting to the building at 7:30 PM.

Friday morning I ended up waking up just before 9:30 AM, when my phone rang and I ended up listening to a recorded message from USR’s candidate for the presidential elections asking supporters to try to get five more people to vote, specifying that I had allowed my number to be in their database, which is indeed the case, I believe after filling a survey at one point. But then I made good use of that, since that was the first day when Carrefour’s campaign rewarding those who bring plastic bottles with local fruits and vegetables, at the outstanding rate of one fruit or vegetable per bottle, reached their location next to the park, and I obviously meant to go relatively early, thinking that the better stuff will vanish quickly.
Had checked what I could the night before and also asked them for details, after seeing that they had replied to someone else a week earlier to say that they’ll post the complete terms before the campaign will start but hadn’t, and checked their reply before leaving. So I confirmed what someone else had said earlier, that the maximum is 20 bottles per person per day, also learned that another limit is four pieces of any one product, and saw a picture of what was available, managing to identify most of the vegetables and to see that the only other thing were apples. Also learned what kind of bottles they accept, so I knew to leave some aside, then selected the 20 to take, starting with all the smaller ones that they were going to accept, also took the plastic to drop off and left a bit after 11:30 AM, getting back pretty much exactly one hour later.
There was a young girl there who had to do everything herself, actually count the bottles people were putting in, and I guess also glance at them to determine whether they were acceptable or not, help people take the products chosen, ensure that they stick to the limit, write things down by hand, put everything in the paper bag they were providing, staple it closed, and somehow also answer the questions others were asking during this time. And she still paid more attention than I did to what I was getting, spotting that one of the ears of corn I picked was rotten, with slime dripping from it, and replacing it with another. Admittedly, I sort of went with the idea that you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, considering how rewarding this campaign is, and just grabbed some of the things and let her help with the rest, and ended up with a Bianca pepper that didn’t look too good and another ear of corn with the tip quite eaten through by something, but the other stuff’s really good, and I should have noticed something as rotten as that corn right away myself. But I ended up with four ears of corn, four Kapia peppers, weighing 530 grams, four bundles of green onions, four kohlrabies, with leaves, three Bianca peppers, weighing 280 grams, and one lettuce.
Didn’t check the prices of those things at that moment, though I did go in the store after that, buying one thing that was on sale, but based on what I know the total is well over 20 RON, likely around or even a bit over 30 RON, if the corn is as expensive in the store as it says on the site, so over 1 RON and maybe even over 1.5 RON per plastic bottle, instead of the 0.02 RON offered by those machines! Of course, it is a very limited campaign, and the better things may be gone quickly, and it’s possible that one of the vegetables was already gone by the time I got there, but I do have quite a number of bottles left and mean to go again next week, multiple times, likely with less bottles at once, looking for more corn first, if it’ll still be available, since I think I only bought corn to boil once this year. Kapia peppers are the second priority, and then I’ll see.

As for this period’s timed squats, those were 2:21 on November 2, 2:17 on November 3, 2:21 on November 4, 2:23 on November 5, 2:21 on November 6, 2:25 on November 7 and 2:22 today. And since I’m at odds and ends, there’s just one more thing to add and it happened before eating Wednesday night, though probably after midnight, so already Thursday. Either way, I spotted something on the wall behind me and killed it with my slipper, trying to wipe what it left on the wall a little but not thinking much of it until I turned on the light when I got back from the kitchen and saw that what was left was a significant amount of blood. No idea what it had been, but it had obviously been full of blood, and since it was in my room, I’m going to assume that it was mine, so I was left wondering about that and whether there will be any consequences of the bite. Didn’t manage to find any bite mark though…

Written by Cavalary on November 9, 2019 at 9:50 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Housing, Colectiv, Air and Forests – October 27 to November 3 in Bucharest

It was a busy period here, with four protests, or three protests and one commemoration with an element of protest, in eight days. I don’t have much to write about the first one though, since I didn’t personally attend it and the media didn’t seem interested, so I didn’t find much information, though it was strongly supported by Demos and the leftist activists I know, who tended to also participate. It took place on October 27 and dealt with housing, the demands including increasing the stock of social housing by any means available to the state, easing access to such housing for those in need, stopping forced evictions without adequate relocation and implementing rent control, and from what I could find, it seemed to actually have more participants than the march for clean air. Not many more, but I counted at least 70 in what I saw, probably 75 or so, and there might have been at least a few more that weren’t visible. About the times, all I know is that the event was listed as taking place between 1 PM and 4 PM, and it would appear that there was quite a bit of time spent giving speeches at the starting location, which was the so-called Coltea Park, at University Square. When the march to Izvor Park, more specifically to that entrance that’s across the road from the entrance to the Chamber of Deputies, eventually started, the participants had to stay on the sidewalk.

Next came the commemoration of the Colectiv club fire, which I already covered from a personal point of view, but I will stress again that it took place on the first of a few cold days, and while it was raining as well, albeit not heavily. So the conditions were something of an issue, and that was probably why there were no more torches or large candles this time around, and possibly also had something to do with the lack of signs, other than the large banners, but it didn’t seem to harm the attendance that much, as people were asked to start gathering at the usual spot in Unirii Park from 6:30 PM and I found quite a crowd already there when I arrived, at 7 PM. Many news crews were reporting live at that time, of course, and the event obviously attracted much media attention, probably even more than it would have normally done, considering the just over 20 minutes of footage filmed during the initial rescue operation which had just been leaked, after having been kept secret until then.
People got moving around 7:25 PM, taking to the street, the march having been supposed to start at 7:30 PM. With the estimates tending to just mention “hundreds” at the start of the march, with a maximum of 1500, I guess it’d have been at the limit of being allowed on the street by the gendarmes if it’d have been a regular protest, but since it was primarily a commemoration, there was of course no question about that and traffic was scheduled to be stopped as needed for the march to take place. Either way, Bucur Square was reached at 7:50 PM, most estimates mentioning about 1500 people gathered there in the end, with a maximum of 3000. Unlike other years, the weather didn’t allow much to happen, the few large banners, one of them demanding the resignation of Raed Arafat over his handling of the situation and his reaction to the leaked footage, being fixed in places where they could be seen, and otherwise people lighting candles and leaving flowers and then walking away relatively quickly, the numbers having already dropped significantly by the time I took the last pictures and left as well, at 8:15 PM. Did see reports mentioning another large banner being brought and displayed minutes after I left, but it wasn’t a new one, made for this year’s commemoration.

On November 2 there was another march for clean air, following the one that took place in spring, with the route again being from the National Library to the Ministry of Environment. Organizers were once again NGOs I don’t otherwise know, but this time around the march was also intended to mark the fact that they had submitted a set of proposals, along with what I gathered was detailed documentation, to improve air quality and monitoring. The organizers again provided vests and signs, and masks as well, so the march was visible, at least inasmuch as a march taking place on the sidewalk can be, but it was, also once again, almost completely silent, a few attempts to lead some chants and shouts dying out quite quickly. It was bad enough that I was considering trying to lead some shouting myself a couple of times, but obviously didn’t. But at least this time around I have a handful of pictures.
People were asked to gather from 11 AM and, unlike last time, the weather wasn’t an excuse for the low numbers anymore. The early hour most likely still was, however, as was the fact that it wasn’t promoted by the activists I know of anymore either. The media was somewhat more interested, on the other hand, the event definitely featuring in more reports than the housing march, even though there were fewer participants, only about 60… Including one person from the Romanian Ecologist Party (PER), wearing a vest with the party logo, which didn’t sit well with plenty. There had been two of them, making a point of being very visible, but after being challenged by some other participants, the man got in the car and left at the start of the march, yet the woman remained, calmly explaining their stance and answering questions whenever needed. But to get back to the number of participants, whether there would have been a few more if they’d have waited a while longer to actually start the march, I don’t know, but some, apparently including the gendarmes, were pushing for an earlier start, and while the organizers appeared to have compromised on 11:45 AM, in the end the march started at 11:35 AM, one woman who seemed particularly bossy and a few others managing to rush things and leave the other organizers little choice. So the Ministry was reached at 12:15 PM, people only staying there for a little while, as it wasn’t even 12:30 PM when the end was called. The organizers only asked for the signs back, again stressing that we should keep the vests, and the masks as well, and this time I actually did so.

The last event taking place during this period was also the biggest, estimates mentioning about 4000 people attending the March for Forests on November 3, which seems fair, since I was thinking that there were some 3000 at the start of the march. The killed forest rangers likely had much to do with that, but while some who chose to only remember the largest environmental protests expressed disappointment, expecting many more, those who know something about how these things work, including the organizers, were in fact pleasantly surprised. Actually, I reached the gathering spot, which was the University Square fountain area, at 5:45 PM and there were already hundreds of people, even though the event had asked people to gather starting at 6 PM, yet even then those from Greenpeace Romania who were talking to the gendarmes were saying that they had listed 1000 in the protocol and they weren’t even sure about that, considering how few said that they’ll attend the event, so they were attempting to negotiate for the march to at least be allowed on the street where the sidewalk will be particularly narrow or blocked, not all the way. But, of course, the numbers changed things, and the gendarmes allowed us on the street without problems when the call was made to start the march, at 7:05 PM.
Getting back a bit, many signs and banners had been brought, the organizers coming with many of the banners, as well as with some people dressed in animal costumes, and also handing people badges. However, the banners were mainly displayed behind the fountain while people were still gathering, not in front of it, lights being set up in that area, so it’ll be easy to take pictures, which I obviously did as well. And it was that fact that caused something of a problem at 6:40 PM, when speeches started in front of the fountain while those behind it started shouting and chanting, and I actually made my way back there to tell the girl with the loudspeaker that she was breaking things up. She said it didn’t carry all the way to the front, but I said that it did and she actually stopped after a bit, even though I hurried away from her as soon as I said that, this having already been just about too much for me, so I wasn’t even sure that she had heard that last part as well.
Once the march started, banners were arranged quite well, most being on the side, towards the other half of the road, since we only walked on one side, and people were leaving some space in front of the few banners that were held inside the crowd as well. There was one huge banner that was something of a problem, and I for one couldn’t even see it during the march, being far too long for a picture or to even see at once, so I put off even trying to look at it until, at one point when the march had paused so those falling behind would catch up and the banners would be displayed more clearly again, it was gathered up again, leaving me to only find out what that was about when I saw a post after getting back. On the other hand, Greenpeace did a good job with their large one, hanging it up both at the start, behind the fountain, and at the end, in front of the Ministry of Waters and Forests, and in fact managing to already have it up in that new location when the march reached it, at exactly 8 PM. And there was another place where something was set up, the march at one point reaching a spot where the road was briefly cordoned off as a “forest crime scene”.
Quite a large group did keep going after the Ministry was reached, the intention at first appearing to be to make room for everyone in that area, but when they got too far and didn’t give signs of stopping an organizer ran after them and managed to get them to turn back, and eventually everyone gathered in front of the Ministry, where there were shouts, chants and speeches, while a number of messages were projected on a nearby building. The event was listed as ending at 10 PM, but there was little to do for that long, so instead of trying to drag it out the organizers made the call to end it at 8:40 PM, the large majority of people clearing the area within minutes. However, a small number did stay behind for some more shouting and chanting in front of the large banner, and for a little while I was among them, leaving at 8:50 PM and still hearing the handful that were left as I was walking away.
Overall, I consider it an event that turned out much better than expected, in terms of turnout as well as when it comes to how it was organized, and how the various NGOs worked together, and it was also nice to see many of the “old guard” there again, though that made the absence of those who were missing stand out even more. The destination ended up being a bit unfortunate, as the new government, which was voted in the next day, no longer includes a Ministry of Waters and Forests, having been incorporated into the Ministry of Environment, but that is in fact as it should be and the march had been planned for some time, when the situation was different. Now it will remain to be seen what the effects will be and how well the new Minister of Environment and all other relevant decision makers will understand the message we delivered that evening, what measures will be taken to protect the forests and their protectors and how soon.

Written by Cavalary on November 6, 2019 at 7:16 PM in United We Save | 0 Comments

Quick Review: Elantris

Elantris starts slowly, major developments relatively few and far between in its almost exclusively political first part. That led to me focusing on that aspect as well and noting when the author was unable to make characters as wise as quite clearly intended, even if overall that’s another limitation that he works around better than most, or certain promoted concepts that I disagreed with, such as the low-level, everyday greed and selfishness that can be taken as the theoretical basis of capitalism or people assumed to find purpose in their jobs and needing to focus on them to be content and withstand pain and problems.
After the first part, however, much of that is ever more easily forgotten. The pacing likely also plays quite a part, the book growing and speeding up as it goes along, the structure itself reflecting that as well, with the second part having shorter chapters and the third having those shorter chapters split in sections that go from pages to paragraphs to even mere lines, switching points of view and portraying ever more significant events, ever more actual action, at an ever faster pace. Yet that’s not only not at the expense of depth, but quite the contrary, the systems used, the important characters and, to some extent, the world becoming more fleshed out, more of their complexity being revealed, even though the fact that it’s a single book does place obvious limitations on this.
While the path to a sequel is wide open and one has been announced, albeit as a lesser priority, Elantris stands well enough on its own, containing a complete story. And the additional material included in the edition I read, the author’s comments, the deleted scenes and even the foreword, all of that does indeed add to its value.

Rating: 4/5

Written by Cavalary on November 3, 2019 at 3:28 PM in Books | 0 Comments