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Arecibo Being Torn Down Soon After SETI@home Shut Down Seems Fitting

I was saying that I’ve been spending much of the past few days walking a long route, and most of the rest of the time preparing for and recovering after such a walk, so I hardly have time for anything else, but I just noticed the news that the Arecibo Telescope will be torn down, having been deemed too unsafe after the recent failures that put the structure at risk of collapse. And it struck me that, while sad, it seems particularly fitting for it to be torn down soon after SETI@home was shut down for good, after entering hibernation, seeing as the vast majority of its data came from Arecibo, that being the only source for the large majority of the time SETI@home operated. Can’t say anything more about it now, barely managed to write this post tonight, before going to bed, but had to at least post this little comment about it.

Later edit: Should probably post a link to the official announcement as well.

Written by Cavalary on November 22, 2020 at 4:55 AM in Space | 0 Comments

Rushed Little Update Between Very Long Daily Walks

With Carrefour’s “Payment with PET” campaign being in Bucharest again between November 18 and 24, I knew I was going to be walking a lot, but I thought I had some 80 to 100 bottles, so I could skip the weekend, since you can get the rewards for up to 20 per day. However, I underestimated what was left here and my mother sent more than a day’s worth which she had gathered as well, and the distance also increased by a good 50%, since they moved the location from Orhideea to Baneasa. And since I’m not using public transportation under the current circumstances, that means a daily walk I so far didn’t think myself capable of. But I realized that I walked similar distances in a day before, and at least once did so after a 16 km run and on very little sleep as well, so I’ve been making that walk for the past three days and, assuming I’ll still manage it, I’ll continue to do so until Tuesday, though at the moment the plan is to go with dad Monday, so we’ll each take 20 bottles and he’ll drive us there and drop me off a good part of the way back, since he’ll then go to my mother again.
Yes, with the infection rate being what it is, being out so often and so much is definitely unwise, but at the same time, I’m outside the large majority of that time. More importantly, on top of getting nice rewards for doing a little “green” thing, a vegetable or fruit produced in Romania for each bottle dropped off, it’s something that seems major that I just found the motivation to do, possibly for the first time this year, seeing as the half marathon, the marathon and any tree planting events with volunteers that I knew of were canceled, and the only protests were a few minor events that seemed risky, and some of them also possibly going against the regulations, so I had nothing of this sort to strive to do so far. Now it remains to be seen whether I’ll make it to the end of this period and also manage to avoid getting infected or ending up with some other significant problem as a result, my back giving me serious reasons for concern already, but at the moment I definitely mean to try.
One thing this means, however, is that I definitely won’t be reading Oathbringer this year, as I won’t have time for anything else in that case and so far I only read nine books this year, so if I want to get to the usual 12 I’ll need to add something short to Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning. Don’t know what that may be at the moment, but if I’ll manage to read 12 books in a year during which I purchased none, it’d be an achievement in itself. And another would be being able to claim to have finished five games, albeit only by considering those additional modules first included in Neverwinter Nights: Gold as one short one, because Sunday I started Witch’s Wake and if I will finish it by the end of the year, it’ll mean finishing all of Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker, which definitely counts as a game. It’d also mean finally, finally finishing Neverwinter Nights: Diamond, after a good 13 years.

Written by Cavalary on November 21, 2020 at 3:51 AM in Personal | 0 Comments

White Hair, Games, Books, Damaged Stopwatch, Carrying Two Thirds of My Weight

Should start by mentioning that I again felt my heart beating particularly erratically on the evening of November 1, as I was reading in bed. It again seemed to be caused by that bone spur, however, since the position seemed to have caused it to get stuck in a bad position again and my heartbeat was getting significantly less irregular if I moved in certain ways, but it was quite some time before it more or less went back to normal, so I consider it quite an achievement that I managed to work that problem so calmly and hold off the panic attack that tends to be associated with feeling like this. And it has been fine since then, which is a relief.
On the other hand, while I’m at matters having to do with my body, last Saturday night I saw white hair and actually managed to pull two out to confirm, and one more a few days later. There were times even last year when I thought I saw white hair, but never managed to pull any out so far, though now that I had a better look, it seems that there are quite a few of them, so I wonder if more showed up recently. Either way, my mental image of myself has white hair, so there’s that. White, strong, thick, shoulder-length hair, but that’s another story.
What does worry me now is that tooth on the upper right side. After having first started to bother me back in July, it had been quite well again for quite some time, but last Friday evening it started bothering me again a fair bit and, while it again got better after a few days, something still doesn’t feel right, and I doubt something like this will go away on its own, so I guess I’ll need to see a dentist sooner rather than later… And that’s quite a troubling prospect these days, in more ways than one.

Otherwise, on November 4 I played the third and last of those additional modules first included in Neverwinter Nights: Gold and at night also wrote a quick review for all three of them. And on November 8 I finished Arcanum Unbounded and posted the quick review. Then, the next day, I started Ali and Nino, which I finished on November 12, when I also posted the quick review, the one posted on Goodreads being in both English and Romanian.
On a different note, on November 10 there were no visits recorded in either view again. And the next day I finally received another Carrefour survey, which I completed at night, getting another of those 10 RON codes. Oddly, the night before I had tried to reapply for the panel, thinking that something must have happened with my membership, since I hadn’t received any surveys in too long, but stopped shortly after entering my name and e-mail, so it’s a strange coincidence.

Moving on to the Mondays and Fridays, on November 2 the alarm was supposed to ring at 1:30 PM, but my internal clock was still good, since I woke up with a start at one point, checked the time and saw 1:27 PM, so I turned off the alarm and got up. I had been wondering whether to just go for the run first, perhaps looking through that Carrefour after that mainly to check prices, then return, change, get what I needed and leave again, or sacrifice the run again, take everything with me and handle it all in one trip, but dad decided things for me when he said he had been called by his boss and told he’ll have to switch schedules, so I wanted to try to be back somewhat earlier and take advantage of the time alone. As such, I had the usual stuff plus hazelnuts, the yogurt being one of those better ones, but with 4% fat, since I’m out of the 10% ones, and the sweet thing was the remaining slice of cozonac he had brought at one point, with added honey, but when I left, at 4:05 PM, I again had the regular shoes, an undershirt under the running t-shirt, the jacket tied around my waist, and stuff in the jacket and tights. The reported temperature was about 15°C, but starting to drop.
For that reason, my fingers ended up pretty frozen by the time I was done and I found that I didn’t press the button on my stopwatch when I meant to, at the end. I was looking at it, however, so I don’t have the exact time, but otherwise know it was 49:17. Sector times were 4:11.10, 5:15.62, 6:04 (6:03.69), 4:37 (4:36.75), 5:14.77, 6:09 (6:08.78), 4:38 (4:37.66), 5:11 (5:10.65), 6:00.77 and 1:58, making for lap times of 15:30.41, 16:00.30 and 15:49.08. So it was another particularly poor time, and if the week before I was content with that 48:16 on a run I had sacrificed in a similar manner, being 1:01 slower then was quite a disappointment.
Can’t even blame that on the conditions, as there was little wind and, while there were quite a number of people, it was usually just a matter of weaving or going the long way around, the only actual roadblock being on sector two of lap three, though there was another moment when I had to briefly stop, on sector three of lap three, when another runner had just stopped to check her phone and we ended up doing the silly dance when she suddenly looked up with a start and saw me coming, and I think I also slowed a little while going up the stairs, at the start of the final sector, because a family was very slowly going up at the pace of the small child they had and a cyclist meant to come down and I didn’t think he’ll make way. He did, however, so I could get past them there, but that sector still was particularly slow. Then again, with the exception of the very first one, they all were, and that first one was faster because I started with a sprint, since three officers were just coming and I wanted to make sure they saw I was pushing and therefore wasn’t required to wear the mask while running. Wonder how much that had to do with being so slow later, since there were no specific physical problems other than perhaps my right nostril feeling a little irritated again, but I just felt I couldn’t go faster and already realized at the end of the first lap that I was realistically only looking at staying under 49:30. Still wondered whether I could somehow find the resources for 49 minutes, but after sector two of lap two that was almost certainly out of the question, and the following sector eliminated any trace of that “almost”.

With my fingers frozen, it took me a few minutes to get my mask back on, then I started my route with that Carrefour, checking prices and getting a few things. Then I kept going to the Kaufland from Vitan, getting what I had to get from there and a few more things that had the evening discount applied. Surprisingly, on top of the prices for those yogurts that granted the 5 RON vouchers remaining the same as the week before, I also still found even some of those cheapest ones. Only nine of them, spread around the three locations those yogurts were scattered in, and two of those being quite battered, but I got six, still gaining 0.60 RON for each, plus eight of the 30 or so of the next cheapest kind that were left, gaining 0.46 RON for each, and six of the next cheapest kind, which they had many boxes of, those offering only 0.26 RON each, so they basically paid me a total of 8.84 RON to buy yogurts. Also got eight more of those “Greek” ones for my mother, but you did pay 0.33 RON more than you gained for those. Somewhat oddly, when I gave the cashier the eight vouchers I had and said I could have just given her one and we’d be even, since I should receive seven for the current purchases, she was surprised that I knew their deals so well, saying that she wasn’t even aware there was one for those yogurts, which I find quite hard to believe, especially considering the specifics of the deal, not merely getting a discount but actually receiving more than you pay.
Either way, went back to that Carrefour on the way back, to get the few other things I had considered getting from there, including another bag of cat litter, but that and the few bags I had with me, and the fact that none of them were particularly sturdy, made carrying everything quite a problem, and I ended up with stuffed jacket pockets, the bag of cat litter in my left hand, the smaller bag on my left arm, one of the bigger bags in my right hand and the other one on my right arm. The problem was that I was also still wearing my stopwatch and that bag hanging on my right arm was pressing on it, so I wondered what to do about that when I stopped at the first bench after returning to the park, but with my pockets also full, I didn’t take it off, not thinking at the time that I could have thrown it in a bag. And that proved to be an awful decision, because after I got back I noticed that the strap was almost completely cut through, right at the holes I use, and you can’t replace the strap for that model, so I guess I need to look for a new one now. That should at least offer the opportunity to replace it with one I’ll be able to see better in low light and in the dark, but I didn’t want to replace it otherwise, and it’s not a good time anyway, so I’ll see what I’ll end up doing. And at least it wasn’t even worse, since after stopping one more time, when I was close to getting back here, to catch my breath and rearrange the bags a little, I must have placed that one in a way that pressed on a nerve, since after a few steps I felt my right thumb burning, immediately stopping and changing that bag’s position again, and that thumb remained rather numb for a few more days even so, but it eventually got better.
Was back just before 10 PM, carrying some 20 kg, and made mamaliga again that night, only starting to eat dinner at 3 AM, after just having a kaki and some ice cream while cooking. And, while I’m at it, made mamaliga again last Wednesday night and this Tuesday night, and only got in bed at 5:30 AM three mornings in a row last week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Last Friday I woke up with a start a bit after 10:30 AM, after dreaming of my mother shouting at me to get up and get going. There was a call, again from those doing surveys, at 10:45 AM, but I didn’t answer, meaning to rush, yet it was 1:10 PM by the time I was out the door, also taking the plastic and metal, as well as the newspapers and magazines which had gathered, to drop off at a bin on the way. Realized later, when I passed by those recycling centers that are on the way to that newer Kaufland, that I could have held on to the newspapers and magazines, since I was going to pass by that place anyway and one of those lists paying 0.20 RON / kg for paper, and I think they added up to the five kilograms that are probably necessary, for 1 RON, but I forgot that then.
Either way, I first checked prices at the Carrefour from the park, then at that Penny, and then at that Kaufland, where I saw that a thing dad wanted still had the full price listed, but nevertheless scanned at the discounted one, and also thought that a few other things were no longer available, but after wandering around for quite a while eventually found that only the sour cream was indeed out of stock, the employee stocking that area confirming it when I finally worked up the courage to ask, the others having just been removed from the areas where other similar products were and gathered in a separate one, very close to the entrance.
Only actually made the first purchases when I got to that Auchan, the price listed for Liza’s food being the full one but the discounted one I had seen on-line nevertheless showing up when I scanned it to check. Then I went back to Penny, getting what I had to get from there and a pastry that was discounted, only to find that said discount was apparently only for those with the store card, so when the cashier told me that after I pointed out that the price I was charged was higher than the listed one, I told her to just leave it out in that case, but instead she used her card to give me the discount anyway, which was nice of her. The guard helped far more, however, since I had rushed out with everything in my hands and the backpack somehow slipped without me noticing it, the guard shouting after me to let me know. And then I again risked losing something after going back to Kaufland and rushing to pee. Had also needed to rush to pee when I had first reached that Kaufland, but that time a bag slipped out of my jacket’s pocket as I left the stall and fell on the toilet floor, the man who was waiting for his turn letting me know.
Once back inside Kaufland, I had another look at the place where that sour cream should have been and at first thought they had restocked it after all, but when I looked closer I saw that they had just filled that spot, where that sour cream with 25% fat should have been, with the 12% kind, without changing or removing the label from the shelf. But that was just something I had been considering getting, not something on the list from my parents, so I did without it and got everything else plus some apples, again using a regular checkout to be sure I’ll be able to use the vouchers.
I definitely picked the wrong line to stand in, however, since the cashier was apparently not a cashier. I noticed that the line was barely moving, but thought a customer had some problem and didn’t even move to another checkout which opened while I waited, since most others did and just one more person was left in that line ahead of me, yet when my turn came, I ended up being there for quite a while. First, the bag of potatoes didn’t scan, which I knew was going to happen since both labels were sewn on it so part of the bar code was covered, and the cashier didn’t seem to know how to enter the code manually, so she asked another for help and that one eventually handed her a label to scan. Then, after scanning everything, she told me a higher total, not taking a two for the price of one deal into account, and after I pointed that out she figured out that she needed to hit another button first. Then she didn’t know what to do with the vouchers I had, again asking the other cashier, being told she just needed to scan them and attempting multiple times to scan them as regular products, trying every direction, cleaning the scanner, again asking that other cashier for help, being told to call someone if it didn’t work, doing so, but eventually figuring out, just when that other person arrived, that she needed to use a different scanner. And then I told her that I should also be receiving two vouchers for the purchases I had made and she again asked that other cashier for help, looking around and saying she had none to give, so that other cashier asked her to confirm that she needed to give me those two, and after she read the text on her screen said other cashier handed me those two vouchers out of the ones she had. Asked whether she was new after it was all done and she said she normally has another job, but had been called from home to help at checkout.
When I counted my money after that was finally over, I ended up being certain that I had forgotten a 0.50 RON coin at Penny, after retrieving the purchases made from Auchan from the cabinet… And then spotted just such a coin next to another checkout, so I stood around that area, pretending to arrange my purchases in my bags, waiting to see whether the person who was getting checked out at that time was going to pick it up. When she left without doing so and the next one didn’t immediately grab it either, I just moved in and took it, thinking I had just recovered what I had lost… Until I calculated again, after walking past that Penny on the way back, and realized I hadn’t forgotten any coin there after all. That was quite some time later, however, since I spent quite a while struggling to arrange everything in the bags, backpack and even pockets, and the weight still wasn’t balanced even after I finally left Kaufland, so I stopped twice more to switch some things around, and several more times just to rest for a few moments, until I finally reached Carrefour again. Also tried to get some bags on my arms, but that wasn’t going well.
Was quite exhausted when I got there, but there was something left to get, so I stuffed everything in one cabinet, which wasn’t one of the largest ones, since all of those were either occupied or had no key, went in to get what was left, and also bought all they had left of a kind of pie, knowing my mother likes that kind. The change I was given was 0.05 RON short, but I shrugged it off, retrieved everything from the cabinet and again spent quite a long time trying to arrange everything, really stuffing all of the jacket’s pockets and squeezing a couple more things in the backpack and the pie in the bag with the bread, which already had a few other things in it as well. After a few steps I stopped again and tried to hang two bags on my shoulders, but that didn’t work, so I kept trying to get them on my arms and did my best to carry them like that.
Needed to make several more stops on the way, but was finally here just before 9 PM, having carried 31.5 kg, so two thirds of my own weight. Some 3-3.5 kg were added at Carrefour, so for the last kilometer and a half, or maybe a bit less, but the rest I carried from Kaufland, so for over three kilometers. And I just had a piece of that pie and an apple before 3:10 AM, when I finally started eating dinner, in my room, and it was almost 5:15 AM when I finished, admittedly after getting one more thing when I went back to the kitchen to wash the dishes, and 5:25 AM when I got in bed. My back wasn’t at all happy with what I had put it through, but what I’m more worried about is that tooth that started bothering me again that evening.

Monday I was woken up at 11:45 AM by a call, those doing that survey trying again. Got back in bed after it, but it took me a long time to fall asleep, so I only caught a little nap before the alarm rang, at 1:30 PM. Then I had the usual stuff plus hazelnuts, the yogurt being the last of those better ones with 4% fat, and doughnuts with honey as the sweet thing. Went out at 3:55 PM, wearing the full running gear plus an undershirt, and also the jacket, which I tied around my waist while running. Obviously also needed the mask for the walk. The reported temperature was 11°C and it was supposed to remain pretty steady until I’ll finish running, and there was hardly any wind.
The time was a pretty good one again, 47:48.40, with sector times of 4:08.65, 5:04.31, 5:57 (5:56.18), 4:23.18, 4:59 (4:58.77), 5:54.61, 4:32 (4:31.67), 5:05 (5:04.69), 5:53.85 and 1:53 (1:52.49), making for lap times of 15:09.14, 15:16.56 and 15:30.21. There’s not much to say otherwise, as there were relatively few people, so there were no issues caused by them other than some pretty normal weaving or going the long way around, and I already mentioned that there was hardly any wind. I was feeling rather exhausted early on lap two, but the feeling seemed to partially go away later, at least until the final sector, since I rather struggled up those stairs and then, for the last 100 meters or so, my nose seemed to have dried up, my nostrils threatening to get stuck together and making it hard to breathe, but I managed the situation well enough.

Made a detour on the way back, going to that pharmacy that’s usually just a bit cheaper than the one I’d normally go to if needed, to check whether they had a couple of things my mother wanted, but they didn’t have one and the price of the other was strangely higher than it’d have been at that other pharmacy, so I just got another nose spray for myself. Then, after I got back, I’m not sure why but my left eye started swelling, and while the swelling went down to some extent after I showered, it was only the next day that it looked pretty normal once again.

As for yesterday, I meant to get up and leave after the first time I’ll wake up to pee, but it wasn’t even 7:30 AM when that happened, so I went back to bed. Didn’t stay asleep for long, however, and a bit after 8:30 AM I was up, though it was almost 11 AM when I finally left, also taking the recyclables and dropping them off in a bin, on the way to that pharmacy. Not that getting there at 11:15 AM did much for my chances of not finding long lines, but I just asked which was which and took my place in the one I had to stand in. Said place was behind a woman who coughed several times and the two behind me weren’t keeping any distance, but at least we were outside, everyone but the few who were eating was wearing a mask, those few weren’t near me, and that woman, being ahead, wasn’t coughing towards me. And the line actually moved much faster than I expected, so at 11:35 AM I was inside.
Considering the list of things I had to get and the fact that they keep saying customers shouldn’t spend more than 15 minutes in that area, I rushed to the spots where I knew some of the things had to be and relatively quickly found another area I needed as well, but the two things dad had specifically asked for were left, I couldn’t find them at all by the time I realized that my 15 minutes were up and the message asking customers who had been inside for 15 minutes to head to the checkout made me feel quite guilty, so I gave in and tried to ask an employee. However, the one I went to was searching for something for another customer, on the computer, and asked me to wait until he was done, which actually took a couple of minutes, and when he did reply he didn’t help at all, since he pointed me to the spot where one of the products should have been, but there were none left there. So, after searching thoroughly enough to make sure of that, I went to look for another employee and she came with me after I told her that the site said they should have it in stock at that location but it wasn’t on the shelf, and after she confirmed it was true she went to get some more from the storage room. But that still left dad’s other requested product, and while the first employee had correctly pointed me to its location, it was in the locked cabinets, so I had to wait for another couple of minutes, along with a few other people who had gathered in that spot for that same reason, until someone came to unlock that cabinet and hand us the products. I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that, after the first employee who came there just got one product and then locked the cabinet again and left, the one who handed me that last thing I needed was the same one I had asked the first time.
It was exactly noon when I checked the time again, after taking a few steps outside, and then I arranged everything in my backpack and continued on my planned route, going to return the book I had finished the day before. I had also noticed a sign at that Mega Image that’s next to that pharmacy, stating that lemons were a little cheaper than the price I knew they should have at Kaufland, but I didn’t go inside there, knowing I’ll have plenty of opportunities on the way, and after being unable to get a good look at the lemons without actually entering at the first location I did step inside of, I was able to do so at the second, seeing that they were good enough, but deciding to not bother with it for a difference of only 0.10 RON / kg unless those at Kaufland were worse, especially since I can’t weigh the products myself at Mega Image and the cashiers also tend to round up, sometimes even to the next amount divisible by 0.10 RON, not just by 0.05 RON, meaning that I might have even ended up paying a tiny bit more.
Either way, after a little detour to that bar I went to in order to sign for Demos, to use the toilet, I reached that Library location… And found the gate closed and a sign stating that the location closed at noon that day, in order to get disinfected. Still, it recommended using the two nearby locations instead, and since I clearly knew where one was and that it was very near, I headed that way… Or I eventually headed that way, since I first used the opportunity to take a look at those two pastry places from that area, and while neither seemed to have what I’d have been willing to get, I guess that made me pay a little less attention to which way I was going, so I ended up making a bit of a detour. But I nevertheless reached that location soon enough, asked whether I could return a book borrowed from the one that was closed there, and did so after being told that I could. And I’ll also add that the person I talked to was much nicer than any of those from the other location had been, and while I still wasn’t allowed to actually enter, the door was open, with a desk about half a meter behind it, and I could step in and stand next to the desk.
From there, I went to the Carrefour from Unirii, mainly looking for bread, and while they didn’t have the one I was primarily looking for, there was another I could get, so I got some of that, plus some kadaif I decided to try. Also wandered around for a while, looking for a few other things, finding something dad had asked for but deciding to not buy it from there, knowing I’ll pass by the other Carrefour on the way back if I won’t find a better option at Kaufland, and even asking about National Geographic, but after two employees asked each other and pointed me to the area where I only found a handful of books for children, the person at the information desk told me they don’t have magazines there. And then, when paying, I tried to get rid of a bill with a torn corner that dad had received and didn’t think he’ll be able to use, but the cashier didn’t accept it.
Had a quick look through the nearby Pepco before retrieving my things from the cabinet, but didn’t think I’ll find another thing dad wanted and indeed didn’t. So I continued on my way to the Kaufland from Vitan, peeing again after I got there and using the opportunity to pull the mask down for just a moment and finally wipe my nose after washing my hands, before getting a few things from there as well, and also managing to get rid of that bill at the self-checkout. The machine caused problems at first, telling me to scan the product before placing it on the scales after I had done so for the flour, and the employee who came over to help couldn’t make it accept it normally either, not even when, from what I saw, he tried to set the weight of the product in the system to match what was on the scales, so he stayed logged on and around me until I finished scanning everything, so the system accepted everything without checking. But then I could both use the two vouchers I had, figuring out how to do it and asking the employee to confirm before I actually tried, and then, when paying the remaining amount, I also used that bill and, unexpectedly, the machine accepted it without any issues. Did take me quite some time to arrange everything in my bags and backpack after that, but the area reserved just for this purpose wasn’t crowded, so I could do it properly, without rushing or needing to get out of someone’s way.
Then, as planned, since I hadn’t found a better option for that remaining thing, I also went to the Carrefour from the park on the way back… And found that they didn’t have that product, the spot where it should have been being empty. I even asked an employee, but she said that if it’s not on the shelf, they don’t have any more. And I couldn’t get National Geographic from there either, since they rearranged some things and apparently removed the area with magazines and newspapers, which had admittedly only appeared relatively recently at that location. Still, I was there and also wanted to use that code I had received, so I grabbed another bag of cat litter, since it was still on sale, and three apples of the kind that was also on sale, trying a few different ones until I got to a weight that got the total to 10.01 RON, so I just paid 0.01 RON in the end. Or, more exactly, I ended up gaining 0.59 RON, since I spotted a 0.50 RON coin right at my feet after checking out, and then there was a 0.10 RON one on the bench I used to arrange things again. A man was sitting on the other side of that bench at the time, so I told him that he dropped a coin, but he said it wasn’t his and left it there after he got up and left. And since that happened while I was still there, I grabbed it.
Before leaving, finally got National Geographic from that store that does sell magazines and newspapers, which has a location just there, and was back around 6:25 PM. Only weighed my backpack, which had the things from the pharmacy in it, and the toilet paper, but those were the things I didn’t know the weight of, so I can estimate that, including the weight of the bags and jacket and the usual things I have in my pockets, I “only” carried a total of about 15 kg or so. And, since that weight was spread around and balanced, it didn’t feel at all like it had been even that much. Either way, despite having slept so little that morning, it was nevertheless 5:20 AM when I got in bed this morning…

Written by Cavalary on November 14, 2020 at 10:15 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Quick Review: Ali and Nino

Another classic, so of course I didn’t like it. Didn’t particularly dislike it either, but that was mainly due to giving it the benefit of the doubt, first because I don’t know how much was lost in the Romanian translation I read. There were even a number of typos and obvious mistakes, but I also wonder whether the dominating tense, which is typically a regionalism here, was the translator’s choice or an attempt, possibly also in the original text, to convey that the main character belongs in a rural, rather archaic setting. Do consider the fact that some archaic terms used didn’t have explanations as a problem with this edition, albeit a minor one.
Also gave it the benefit of the doubt in the sense that I took the whole depiction of the characters and that part of the world during that period as more of a caricature, the otherwise sickening closed-mindedness and prejudice on all parts, the ignorance, traditionalism or nationalism, certain to become unbearably infuriating otherwise. It does get somewhat better after a while, however, the part in Dagestan offering something of a respite and the book becoming more serious, more “real”, if you will, after the move to Iran, even though those annoyances, to put it mildly, return in force.
Otherwise, the writing often seems rather like a stream of thought, running on but also rushed, more like something of a summary, even speech often seeming summarized while at times still being annoyingly flowery. And the fact that speech and description are often mixed creates confusion. The biggest problem, however, is that it’s presented as a love story and I just didn’t feel any emotion. Yes, the characters say that they love each other and some actions would prove it if analyzed, but I simply couldn’t feel any of it. I didn’t care, wasn’t invested, wasn’t touched, and that’s a problem for any book, not to mention for one supposed to belong to a genre that first and foremost aims to trigger an emotional response.

Rating: 3/5

Written by Cavalary on November 12, 2020 at 11:07 PM in Books | 0 Comments

Quick Review: Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection

Sanderson states that the connection between his works is most notable in this collection, but the stories still stand on their own. And that’s mostly true, and a relief. Even if an epic of epics wouldn’t be too much in itself, I don’t and won’t care for some of his works and don’t want to need to read them to not feel lost when reading the others. I’ll just mention that the solar systems look rather implausible though.
The Emperor’s Soul, Mistborn: Secret History and Edgedancer would deserve their own reviews, but I won’t write them. So, very briefly, The Emperor’s Soul is an awesome piece, I’d say the best in the collection, showing understanding of people and art, making me care, read in one sitting and want more when I was done. Mistborn: Secret History explains much about the original Mistborn trilogy and is a good piece in itself, but will confuse anyone not familiar with that trilogy and also has more to do with those connections. And I didn’t expect Edgedancer to be about Lift, but it fills in some Stormlight Archive blanks while being both humorous and, mainly towards the end, deep, though the switch, and the change in Lift, may be too sudden.
The Hope of Elantris is much weaker, simpler and without much depth, though I guess it does the intended job. And that also goes for The Eleventh Metal, which is basically an introduction to the Mistborn magic system, with a bit of backstory thrown in. I’d say that Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania is just comic relief, the notes being indeed funny. I don’t care for graphic novels and had no use for that White Sands excerpt when the draft it’s based on was also included, and said draft was a more typical, somewhat rudimentary, short story. Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell was good enough for a short story but, lacking context, didn’t have much impact. Sixth of the Dusk was quite infuriating, more modern than the rest and containing more of what I call human filth.

Rating: 4/5

Written by Cavalary on November 8, 2020 at 11:57 PM in Books | 0 Comments