[ View menu ]

Possible Monitor and Mouse Issues and a Less Embarrassing Half Marathon Run

Since this time around Micky just woke me up, for no reason that I can tell, and I have this already written, having finished it last evening, I’ll just post it now, before trying to get back to sleep. At least the monitor still seems fine, after its issues seemed to be worsening Monday evening, that area towards the bottom of the screen that sometimes has lighter streaks being much larger then, though it was fine again when I turned it back on after eating that night and so far it didn’t look like that again. Then again, it is 13.5 years old, and at the same time replacing it with a used similar one shouldn’t be a problem if and when it’ll be necessary. On the other hand, I don’t need to say what it means if my mouse will start having serious problems now that replacing it with an identical one seems out of the question, and Tuesday I actually thought I noticed a couple of double clicks, as in the left button doing that, though so far it didn’t happen again when I tested carefully.

Since I started with the most recent issues and only actually started writing this Tuesday, the post not being another one that was written piece by piece, I’ll continue with Monday. Actually, should probably first mention that Sunday I again tried to sleep in the evening, but only got about an hour in the first part, being unable to fall asleep again after waking up that first time, so after that I just wasted a lot of time in bed, admittedly resting. Was back in bed at 4:35 AM and might have just gotten about an hour and a half of sleep before the alarm rang, at 6:30 AM. With the forecast listing similar or higher temperatures and much worse wind the rest of the week, that morning was my best chance to run, so I had the usual stuff plus almonds, and those wheat things with jam as something sweet, drank most of the tea, which I had made before going to bed, and eventually went out at 8:40 AM. Unfortunately, only lost time on the toilet twice, and also struggled for quite a while to fit the bags in my tights, since I was going to go buy things after that. For that reason, also considered taking the regular shoes, but eventually decided to stick to the full running gear. It was sunny and the reported temperature at 8 AM was 18-19°C, the forecast for 9-10 AM listing 22-25°C.
Meant to really push from the beginning, hoping for a first lap in less than 15 minutes since getting back to the park, even if I was going to pay the price for it over the next two laps. However, when I thought I should have around 4:15, possibly even less, at the end of the first sector and instead saw 4:24, that was quite clearly a lost cause, and I was completely off the pace even for staying under 48 minutes all the way. It didn’t even look like I was going to stay under 48:30, and I was considering going for 16 km in that case, but it was going to get rather windy after 10 AM, and in fact there were a few gusts even while I ran, and I had to go buy some things too, so I pushed like crazy over sector three of lap three and the final sector and at least managed 48:19.45, with sector times of 4:24.55, 5:06.01, 5:54.06, 4:33 (4:32.97), 5:06.31, 5:53 (5:52.41), 4:34.47, 5:10 (5:09.76), 5:53 (5:52.64) and 1:46.27, making for lap times of 15:24.62, 15:32 (15:31.69) and 15:37 (15.36.87).
My right knee and left calf gave me some serious warnings from the beginning, but after the first sector that pretty much went away, though the knee bothered me again when I pushed in that manner, over the last two sectors, when I also suddenly felt a certain rather pressing need, though it wasn’t that hard to hold it in. As for people, there was just one moment, on sector two of lap three, when someone suddenly changed direction just as I was about to go around him, probably to avoid walking right past the toilets, in case somebody’d open the door just then, and the fact that somebody else was coming from the opposite direction just then as well meant I had to slow for a moment and just squeeze between them. On the other hand, another runner showed up in front of me just before the end of sector two of lap two and she was slightly faster, so I made it my goal to at least not let her get out of sight before the end of the lap. She stopped right after the bridge, on what for me was sector one of lap three, but by then she had passed a guy in a red t-shirt, who was also faster than me but only by very little, so he became the one I kept my eyes on, at least until I just gave it everything, becoming pretty much unaware of anything else. Rather doubt I’d have managed to stay under 48:30 without them.

Spent some seven minutes on a bench after that, writing down the exact times and the quick notes about the problems, then meant to head back to those I had seen gathering signatures for USR-PLUS, to lash out at them for basically ensuring that Sector 3 will remain in the grip of the current mayor, but it didn’t seem likely that I was going to actually be able to say what I meant to, so I eventually just got back to that drinking fountain to wash my hands a bit, put my mask on and went to that Carrefour, getting eggs, since I found cheap ones again, and leaving them in a cabinet.
Walked to that Kaufland after that, to take advantage of the day’s 40% discount for cabbage and cucumbers. Had just meant to get a small quantity, but the previous evening dad mentioned wanting to start a cabbage, cucumber, potato and beans diet, so I ended up buying a lot, plus two watermelons instead of the one I had initially meant to get, since I knew I won’t be able to carry everything in one trip anyway, especially considering the bags I had taken with me, having been unable to stuff more sturdy ones in the tights. The weight might have even ended up being a problem at the self-checkout, since I only knew that they say those should be used for a maximum of 15 items but the employee said that there’s a 20 kg limit as well and what I had exceeded that. Had called him twice by then, once because I had also taken some expiring bread, thinking it’d be for dad but now it remains to be seen, since he said he wants to eliminate bread as well and was going to take it to my mother, yet didn’t do that either. Either way, accidentally scanned one at full price, the discount sticker not having been placed over the actual bar code, so the employee had to override that, and then the fact that there are scales there as well somehow slipped my mind and I called him again because the label had fallen off the red cabbage I had bought for myself and I couldn’t even find it in the basket. All he did then was point me to those scales, but he also had a better look at all I had and mentioned that weight limit, though he also said that the machine might just allow me to get away with it, which it did.
Things got quite tricky after I finished scanning, however, since I meant to put everything back in the basket, then leave a part in a cabinet and carry the rest back to Carrefour and then here, returning later for what I had left. But I couldn’t do that because the guard stopped me from leaving the self-checkout area with the basket and I couldn’t even get myself to ask whether I could just take it to the cabinets and then return it. He advised me to leave the basket there and grab a cart from outside, but that’d have been entirely pointless, so I stopped there and tried to stuff everything in the bags I had, the problem being that I could only take one sturdy one and the other two were tearing as soon as I tried lifting them. The guard tried to offer me something at one point, probably some plastic wrap, saying it should be slightly sturdier, but I refused that as well and tried to walk out with everything as it was, at which point he opened the gate for me, so I won’t have to scan the receipt as well.
After leaving the cabbage, except the red one, and the bread in a cabinet, I struggled to walk back to Carrefour with the rest, the problem being that I had to hold the flimsier bag in an uncomfortable way to prevent the handles from tearing off, so I kept stopping until I tied the handles in a knot and gave myself a better way to hold it. Then I stuffed everything in a bigger cabinet at Carrefour, moving the eggs there as well, and had another look inside, grabbing a couple of expiring things which had appeared in that area by then. Unfortunately, cracked one of the eggs as I was trying to arrange everything in the bags after getting it all back out of the cabinet, but it’s a small crack and it seems like that was the only damage, though I stopped a few more times over the first part of the walk back, worrying that the eggs will be struck or pressed by something else until I found a way to carry them that seemed safe enough. Add a couple more stops to rest and it took me about half an hour to get back, getting here around 1:45 PM or so, having carried 16 kg just in my hands and with bags that made it harder.
Was out again a bit before 2:15 PM, having at least changed my shoes, if nothing else. Since I had seen discounted potatoes at Carrefour that were also large enough for dad to want, I kept meaning to go back there, turning this way and that a few times, but I just felt too embarrassed at the thought of going in there a third time, so I eventually just got back to Kaufland and retrieved the cabbage and bread. Since I had taken the backpack and the cloth bag I use for bread, I could have that bag with the bread around my neck, the largest cabbage in the backpack and one of the others in each hand, so that walk wasn’t a problem anymore… Even if I didn’t end up where I thought I would at one point.
Since I wasn’t struggling anymore, I thought to pass through the farmers’ market as well, but I guess I was pretty much on autopilot and ended up at the Dristor metro station instead. Still, that meant I could get to that pharmacy without really making any detour, so I did so, finding some things I wanted but somehow forgetting to get another nose spray as well while I was there. Then, since I had left my stuff in two cabinets from that Mega Image, I decided to have a look in there as well, ending up getting a couple of discounted pastries and a bagel, having calculated it so what I had saved dad on cabbage, cucumbers and bread ended up going into the ice cream I got from Kaufland and those. The cashier told me that the bagel was a more expensive kind than the one I thought, but that more expensive kind was also discounted then, so the difference was marginal and I shrugged it off, and when I looked again I realized that she was right and I had taken a different kind than what I meant to take.
Finally got back here at 4 PM, after having barely felt the 10 kg I had carried, with everything split in this manner. Still, after having been a bit more relieved when I weighed myself before the run and saw 47 kg, even if that included what I had been unable to get rid of in the toilet, the 45.5 kg I saw then got me worried yet again… And heating one of the pastries in the microwave and then trying to eat it quickly resulted in burning my tongue and throat a fair bit. And, since I have nowhere else to put this, I’ll also mention here that there were no visits recorded in either view that day.

Before getting to last week’s run, I’ll mention here that Saturday I grabbed BorderZone, being free on Indiegala and another game I had happened to glance at a few times on Zoom Platform. Seems terribly badly programmed, so I had put it out of my mind, but now that it was there I decided to go for it. The fact that the Indiegala version includes a readme.txt from Desert Law made it even more suspicious, and being unable to find the version listed anywhere made me wary of starting it, seeing as patches were released long after the game’s initial release, possibly by a developer working on his own time, the latest one I found being from 2015, so ten years later. Still, after posting a comment to ask about the version and receiving no reply, I went for it that same day, at first starting the Indiegala version, then applying that patch and restarting it. The patch includes additional texture and music files, a borderzone.pdb file that doesn’t exist in the Indiegala release and versions of audiere.dll, this file seeming to be the main reason why the game wouldn’t initially work at all on Windows 7 and newer, borderzone.exe and config.exe that are larger in size, running config.exe also presenting me with a list of resolutions that’s limited to what my monitor actually supports and includes its native one, which wasn’t the case with the Indiegala version. So, while I still have no way to compare the actual versions, it does seem that the Indiegala version is unpatched… This version still seems buggy to the point of being unplayable though, but I’ll see what happens, and some things that now seem to be bugs may just be oddities and quirks.

Still before actually getting to last week’s run, I’ll add that on July 25 I cleaned my room a little and changed the sheets, also finally putting away the blanket. Then, the next day, I tried to get a little more sleep in the evening, spending close to 3.5 hours in bed, but if I actually slept for one hour I’d be surprised. The attempt to at least give myself more time to digest what I ate at night also failed, as I only finished at 3:15 AM. At least I made the tea then as well, and got back in bed at 4:35 AM, managing to sleep rather well until dad got back and I woke up when I heard the key in the door, though that was in fact mere seconds before the alarm rang, at 6:30 AM. Then I had the usual stuff plus almonds, an old protein bar as something sweet, and drank all the tea. Also weighed myself, feeling much better when I saw 48 kg, and went out at 8:20 AM. Between the reported temperature and forecasts, I’d go with 23°C when I started running and 26°C when I finished. It was sunny though.
Yes, I did go for another half marathon distance, and the time was 1:46:41, with sector times of 4:21, 5:10, 6:04, 4:35, 5:08, 6:02, 4:34, 5:12, 6:11, 4:40, 5:18, 6:11, 4:48, 5:19, 6:16, 4:46, 5:27, 6:27, 1:54, 6:18 and 2:00, making for lap times of 15:35, 15:45, 15:57, 16:09, 16:23 and 16:40, plus 10:12 for the final portion. So I still didn’t even get back under 1:45, there were no good sector times except perhaps the very first one, all sector three times were poor and so was the last sector, but overall it certainly was much less embarrassing than the last time. Interestingly, this time was exactly the same as last year’s official time at the Bucharest Half Marathon, though of course that included the 1:05 start time.
Did sort of think of target times for 1:45 at first, but on lap two my mind was already on the targets for 1:50, admittedly aiming to have a very safe margin towards the end. And since after lap two it was perfectly clear that 1:45 was a lost cause, I just focused on that from then on. However, since I was slowing less than I feared, 1:49 looked very achievable after lap four, and after lap five I was quite clearly looking at 1:48. Still thought I risked hitting the wall, in which case that 1:48 would have required a mighty push, but if I was mentally prepared for that anyway, I just went for it on lap six, despite needing to manage the pain caused by that bone spur getting in a bad position again, and after sector two I started thinking of 1:47, becoming almost certain of it after finishing the lap. Even spared half a thought for 1:46:30 after the final portion’s first sector, and while it didn’t seem possible, I thought of it again after passing two other runners on the following sector. Realized there was no way for that to happen after calculating exactly what it’d require though, so I just stuck to what I could still do.
Since I mentioned those two runners, they were alongside each other when I noticed them in front of me, but when I approached the older man was left behind, the younger but overweight guy looking at me and trying to stay ahead for a little while, then struggling to keep up after I passed him. He was panting heavily and gave up after just a couple hundred meters, but that spurred me on enough to do those calculations, and it was probably why that sector was faster than sector three of lap six. That was the only notable moment involving other runners, though there were in fact plenty of them again, while probably the only more obvious issue I had with other people in general was on sector three of lap four, when I had to stay on the outside of a wider turn because of a cyclist that was on the inside and just barely faster, not moving ahead until some time later. Sure, there was some weaving and going the long way around at times, but it was quite fine, the park not being crowded. Otherwise, my right leg was already giving me some warnings on lap two and it got rather windy on sector three of lap four and much of lap five. That knee and everything above it only got better from lap five or so, but that was when that foot started threatening to cramp, and then, at the start of lap six, that bone spur got in a bad position and I couldn’t snap it back no matter how much I tried, so from then on it was a matter of managing pain, and posture so it won’t worsen.

Only got back in bed, really full after having just eaten, at 3 PM, but noise, first from outside and then made by dad, meant I hardly got any sleep, barely managing to fall asleep before waking up again, until dad left a few minutes before 4 PM, actually calling me at the time even though he should have known that I was trying to sleep. Peed and went back to bed after that, actually falling asleep after a bit and sleeping until 5:45 PM or so, when Liza woke me up. Went to pee again after a few minutes, just in case, and got back in bed at first, but at 6 PM dad got back and I got up for good… And I didn’t make up for the lost sleep in the morning either, being woken up by noise from outside a couple of minutes before 9 AM and getting up, wanting to go out and buy some things, and check out the day’s discount at Kaufland as well. However, decided to first eat quite a lot, so only left a bit after 11:20 AM.
First went to the farmers’ market, and since I was there I actually went to that Supeco before checking out the market, finding cheap bananas and carrots and buying some of each, since dad had asked for bananas and I had a plan for the carrots. Then I got plums and apples from the market, finally finding cheap apples again, plus some corn and tomatoes. Had 1.1 kg of tomatoes in the bag when I placed it on the scales to check the weight, and when I saw that I told the woman who was selling them that she could take one out, but she told me to leave it as it happened to be, because “we’re not a pharmacy”, and only charged me for 1 kg. On the other hand, a guy working in one of those little stores surrounding the open part of the market had apparently been fined for not wearing a mask, or not wearing it correctly, and was shouting angrily, plenty of others who were selling there joining in, also seeming angry over the measures and the possibility of being fined if they don’t respect them, asking each other whether those checking were still around, discussing how to get something from their doctors to be exempt from the requirements… That guy was also specifically outraged by the fact that he had been told to wear it correctly, as in over the nose as well, saying that “they” demand that so people will lack oxygen to their brains and become unable to think properly, though it seemed to me that he was already in that situation, without having worn a mask until then.
Either way, went to that Carrefour after that, leaving the purchases in a cabinet and looking around, checking prices and getting bread and a few onions. Since I had my card with me just for this purpose, Carrefour only allows paying by card at their self-checkouts, this bank’s machines won’t allow you to withdraw bills smaller than 10 RON and I had 24.65 RON left in the account after withdrawing the amount I purchased state bonds with, I carefully calculated the weight of those onions, ending up with a total of 4.64 RON for them and the bread and using the self-checkout there as well for once. Had no idea which way to insert the card in the machine though, and after two wrong tries it locked me out and the employee came to unlock it, and I fortunately managed to do it right after that. Then I tried to remember where that bank’s branch is in that mall, but couldn’t, so I picked one of the escalators and went up, then checked the map on one of the touchscreens and realized I had to go back down, since it’s right next to Carrefour, on the other side, right next to the escalator I didn’t pick. So I went there and withdrew 20 RON, just leaving 0.01 RON “lost” in the account.
Picked the wrong exit when I left that mall as well, so I had to go around it, then walked to Kaufland, at first just to check prices. Went to the toilet before leaving, and seconds after walking in the stall and closing the door I heard what sounded like somebody repeatedly bumping into the door. It didn’t sound like knocking, and either way I had just walked in and it should have been obvious that it was occupied, so I ignored it and did my business, but when I got out a cleaner was there and she said “you can knock until tomorrow and he won’t hear once he has headphones on” out loud, then pretty much stood there and stared daggers at my back as I washed my hands. I probably gave a surprised look, but otherwise ignored her and pushed and squeezed my way out, her cart being placed so it held the door open but at the same time blocked the way out.
Went to that Auchan after that, buying what I meant to buy and then taking a slightly different route on my way back to Kaufland and ending up rather lost. Lost some time as a result, but got back there in the end and got most of the things I meant to get from there, with the exception of salt. The kind dad wanted seemed to have the lowest price there according to what was listed on the shelf, yet it scanned at a price that was 28% higher, and 20% higher than it was at Auchan and Carrefour, and I was going back to Carrefour anyway. Didn’t look for an employee to complain, but warned a woman who was looking at salt, albeit having a different kind in her hand at the moment, when I put it back. In addition, the self-checkout machine didn’t like the black pepper I had bought, saying that the wrong item was placed on the scales, the employee trying to scan and place it himself as well and getting the same result, so he had to override the error.
As I already mentioned, got back to Carrefour after that, moving my things to a bigger cabinet and getting back in to buy what was left to buy, then spending quite some time trying to arrange everything in bags. Checked after I got back, at 6:45 PM, and saw that I had ended up carrying 16.5 kg, but had the backpack with me as well and that helped, even more so after I stopped and rearranged things again before leaving that mall, putting more of the heavier things in it. Then, even though I was after two days with much effort and little sleep, I only got in bed at 5:20 AM again.

Written by Cavalary on August 6, 2020 at 8:59 AM in Personal | 0 Comments

Partial Comment Published on The Guardian’s The Upside, So Here’s the Full One

I was saying that I was apparently going to have a comment published in this week’s The Upside weekly report on The Guardian, sent in response to the one about the new population estimates. Well, that did happen, but what showed up in today’s report was less than half of it, not even the entire first paragraph, quite clearly only quoted for shock value, what was removed even from that paragraph allowing readers to get the impression that I might advocate killing people to reduce the population. And even leaving aside how much and exactly what was removed, the simple fact that something was surprised and disappointed me, after spending quite a long time struggling to fit something in 250 words, which I remembered to be the strongly recommended limit. And what they kept from it made it into one of the shortest published comments, while one of the others was actually a little bit longer than the complete message I had sent.

So, just to make sure that it shows up somewhere, I’ll add the complete comment in this post, along with a screenshot of the e-mails, just to make it clear that I didn’t make any edits now. The full comment sent was this:

A drastic population reduction is the main necessary condition to even have a chance to solve the world’s major environmental and social problems. So it’d be great if it would fall, but what this estimate presents would be far too little, far too late. The only way to offer everyone a decent standard of living and a large amount of freedom in all other aspects of life, continue to improve health and lifespan and reduce mortality, and also, eventually, have a healthy ecosystem, is to not only fully embrace and encourage far fewer births but, considering how bad things are, even find ways to completely stop births for a time.
Yes, consumption is another major problem, and some behaviors and products need to be phased out or outright banned because they’re damaging in and of themselves, but many others are harmful because of our numbers and the situation would be much worse if the large majority wouldn’t live in poverty, deprived of options they should be as entitled to as those better off. Therefore, it may be said that the immediate necessity is slashing birth rates, even to zero, for the better off, while for the poor it will become necessary as the standard of living improves. And the end of growth and different age structure requiring replacing this economic system that causes so much environmental destruction and human suffering with, preferably, a postcapitalist, post-work, mostly automated, resource-based one guaranteeing goods and services as fundamental rights is only another benefit.

As you can see, they removed “continue to improve health and lifespan and reduce mortality” from that first paragraph and quoted only the rest of it, completely ignoring the second paragraph. And I’d say that both that removed bit and the entire second paragraph make points that go against what is typically believed of those fighting for population reduction, while what was quoted is likely to just produce the typical outraged reaction. And there was also that last part, about changing the economic system, added in response to what that recent study listed as the major concern, making it clear that, from my point of view, there are only benefits when it comes to that, so it’s something that’d have clearly fit what The Upside should be all about, yet it was also cut… But what’s done is done, I guess…

Written by Cavalary on July 31, 2020 at 10:34 PM in Overpopulation | 0 Comments

At Least We’re Still Sending Spacecraft to Mars…

I keep adding such posts, expressing my disappointment and anger at the loss of interest for space exploration, and the fact that what is still being done focuses on nearby bodies, is in good part driven by the private sector and looks at possible commercial developments. Some of those posts are about humans getting back out there, but those from 2017 and 2014 are more relevant now, dealing with how, decades ago, we could send probes to all planets and even beyond, maintain a continuous presence even beyond Jupiter, and now we apparently can’t do that anymore. Those past posts are more detailed than this will be and include quite a number of links, so have a look if you want, I won’t repeat what’s already written there.
All I’ll repeat now is that humanity’s plans that go beyond Mars are few and far between, those beyond Jupiter even fewer and far in the future, and a return to the ice giants still pretty much out of the question. And, as I already mentioned, the involvement of the private sector and commercial interests pretty much destroy the chances that most of the missions to nearer destinations will be done for the right reasons and aim for actual scientific goals. And, of course, there’s still the lack of cooperation, nations still operating separately to a large extent, competing and even using such missions to become even more of a threat to each other and this world as a whole.
Still, I guess I should mark these recent launches, Al-Amal (Hope), Tianwen-1 and Perseverance all making use of the opportunity provided by the current launch window for Mars. Still working separately, still focusing just on Mars, and it obviously remains to be seen how many of these missions will be successful, but at least the launches themselves were, it’s been a while since we’ve had such a series, and the very fact that the plans weren’t put on hold because of the current situation should probably be noted as well. Maybe this will send a signal, possibly leading to positive developments, whether down here or up there, that wouldn’t have taken place otherwise. Humans being humans, I doubt it, but I guess it remains to be seen…

Written by Cavalary on July 30, 2020 at 6:49 PM in Space | 0 Comments

New Finds – XXV

It’s again because I need to throw something here as the week’s second post and want to avoid a pointless Sunday update, but at least I’m doing something that’s somewhat useful by adding another post to this series. It’s another rushed one, but again focuses on bands that released new material this year, same as the last one. It’s harder to decide just how many bands I should say are included in it, however, even if that may seem strange. As far as the list is concerned, there will be five, one of them only added to the list now, because I’m including it here, though it’s definitely not a new find and in fact should have no business being in such a post at all. But what makes it tricky is that the other four come in pairs, the two that are currently active being formed by the core members of the other two, after those split up, and one of these also had another stage, with another name, in between. Since that, shall we say, intermediate band only released covers, it was never actually on the list and I won’t include any of its songs here, but some may count it as having been mentioned, which means that, depending on how you look at it, this post may be said to include anything between three and six bands.

The band that wasn’t on the list so far, and which has no business whatsoever being in such a post at all, is Draconian. It’s old, clearly known by anyone with any interest in their genre, and said genre isn’t what I’m looking for. However, just last week they released Sorrow of Sophia, which is a song from the album scheduled to be released later this year, and I happened to listen to it and found myself keeping it on repeat for quite a while over the past few days, so it may be said that it’s what made me think that adding another such post may just be the thing to do in order to have a second one this week. The second, much older, pick is without a doubt Death, Come Near Me, which is a song I do occasionally return to, maybe even having it on repeat for hours when that happens. There are growls in these two songs as well, but for some reason they appeal to me, while pretty much everything else released by them that I tried listening to chases me away, the other songs that I even managed to listen to all the way to the end without wincing and needing to force myself to put up with it just to be able to say I gave them every chance being counted on the fingers of one hand. Still, for those whose preferences differ from mine in this manner, there’s some new material coming.

Next comes a band I kept meaning to add to such a post, but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Their current name is Alexandrite and the first EP under this name was actually released earlier this year, even if all four songs were in fact posted last year. However, it’s formed by the core members of Revontulet, which was apparently active for a decade but only released one album during that period, at a time when the two of them seem to have already been the only remaining permanent members. Complicating things even further, there was a relatively brief intermediate period, between Revontulet and Alexandrite, under the name of Rainheart Symphony, which released only covers. So I’ll skip over that period, but pick two songs by Alexandrite, Enough and Find the Light, and two by Revontulet, Rainheart, and The Pianist of the Darkest Night. Admittedly, can’t say I was the one who picked these last two, since they’re the only two that are posted officially, not counting any live recordings, but they are definitely good, as are all those released as Alexandrite. I’d say I’m expecting great things from them, but that will likely require finding some stability, in order to be able to focus on the music, so I hope that will happen.

As for the last pair, I’m adding it because I kept going through the list, searching for other bands with something released this year, and found that Beneath My Sins released an album. But Beneath My Sins was formed by the members of Evolvent after that band split up, and that may well be the reason why I placed it where I did in this version of the list that’s ordered differently. Not that I’m thrilled by either, but after listening to the three Evolvent songs and six Beneath My Sins songs posted officially, I must say that the former sound clearly better than the latter. Being the only one of those three from a full album, Love Doesn’t Love Me must be one of the picks from Evolvent, and it actually sounds pretty nice despite the growls, which are at least rather subdued, while the other will be Spiritual Confession. On the other hand, if I’m to pick What You Feel from that recent Beneath My Sins album, it’s pretty much just because I can listen to it, not because I actually recommend it. I tend to wince at their vocals in general, and plenty of the songs have growls that chase me away, the second pick, From the Flames, being the only one of the six that sounds somewhat better, and it’s probably the reason why I ended up adding them on the list at all, back when I did.

Written by Cavalary on July 26, 2020 at 11:00 PM in Music | 0 Comments

State Bonds, Watermelon, No New Mouse, Dad Messing Me Up Again

After deciding to not go Saturday as well, when the day’s discount at Kaufland was for watermelon, Sunday I jumped to check the time as soon as I woke up to pee the first time, seeing 8:38 AM and deciding to stay up, since I meant to go there early, that day’s discount being for citrus fruits. So I quickly got ready and was leaving at 9:25 AM, going straight there, passing through that mall this time, and getting some oranges. After getting away from that crowded area, looked around a bit, then waited for quite a while at the self-checkout, the people using those that also accepted cash not knowing how to use them and repeatedly needing help from the single employee. At least that meant that the impatient man who had placed himself behind me and was trying to slip ahead, muttering about how long it was taking, got fed up and moved to one of the regular checkouts, so he didn’t end up standing right next to me and hurrying me up when my turn eventually came, which was likely to happen otherwise. But things were definitely concerning over there, one of those using a machine that only took cards also walking right up to the employee to demand help pretty much in her face, pulling his mask down as he did so, and she had her nose out of hers as well… And then another man apparently slipped his money in the machine through the wrong place, saying that it caused him to lose 100 RON and shouting repeatedly for someone to come and take it apart in order to retrieve his money for him, also taking his mask down as he did so.
I went to that Carrefour after that, getting some things from there as well, including watermelon, which I’ll write more about later, then returned to Kaufland, to also get lemons. Needed yogurt too, and had seen a good one at a good price again when I first had a look, but knowing that it could wait another day, after the purchases from Carrefour I no longer had the money for it. What I could still afford and also get a 0.50 RON coin as change, since it’s always useful to have one and I no longer did, was pretty much exactly 750 grams of lemons, but it was too difficult to get an exact amount when it was so crowded and there were always lines at the scales. Spent quite some time among all those people as a result, trying to not stay in one place for long but nevertheless being in that area for quite a while, though at one point I went to use the scales for frozen products, which area was almost clear, to try to get closer to that amount. The closest I could get was about 770 grams though, and then a guy came to use those scales as well and I went back to the crowded area to put the larger ones back and get a few more smaller ones, again unsuccessfully trying to get as close as possible to 750 grams there, before returning to the frozen products area and managing to find a way to get 740 grams, after which I finally returned there to weigh the bag again and print the label. The wait at the self-checkout was much shorter that time, however, people knowing what they were doing even if it was in fact getting more crowded.
Left Kaufland at 11:40 AM and was back here at 12:05 PM, a little before dad woke up. Then he went to my grandmother’s, and when he came back he said my mother wanted us to buy a freezer, asking me what I thought about putting it in the kitchen, where the cabinets where we currently have the pots and pans are, with some things on the counter that’s on top of those cabinets as well. That strikes me as a bad idea, making us need to move so many things that we actually use often when I don’t even see where they could be moved, but the first issue was that I thought we had money problems and had to be very careful even with day to day expenses, or at least that’s what I keep being told, in between seeing how much they spend on the day to day stuff they get for themselves, being called a miser for how careful I am with such things and dad saying he can’t spare the time needed to save money. So I mentioned that, and also that I was thinking of something I never intended to even mention for that reason. But this is another thing I’ll write more about later.

After managing to nap for maybe about an hour and a half Sunday evening, Monday morning the alarm woke me up at 11 AM and just before 12:15 PM we were out, dad coming with me to purchase those state bonds. The walk was rather frustrating, as I had to keep my pace in check when after a while he was panting and complaining even so, and he also kept trying to talk to me, but we got there well enough and things went smoothly, the only issue I made a mental note of being that the clerk’s mask was pretty much on her lower lip. There was nobody else there at the time, just one guy came and waited his turn as I was waiting for the clerk to do what she had to do, and after dad stepped away to wait by the door it didn’t even feel too awkward. He had made it so at first, rushing to start telling the clerk what we were there for as I meant to take a moment to mentally prepare myself for it, and at first standing next to me and looking ready to pounce after I awkwardly cut in, which made her ask which one of us was actually going to make the purchase, but then I waved him away and there were no problems.
It was done at 12:45 PM, and after I took a moment to quickly read through the document, we walked out and then went our separate ways, since I meant to go to Carrefour and Kaufland again, and also check at least one Mega Image on the way. Needed that yogurt, after all, and wanted to check out the day’s discount at Kaufland again as well, since I’ll be there, but he had also told me that he wanted to cook something and needed quite a list of vegetables for it, which he’d have bought for way more from nearby stores otherwise, so I said I’ll get those as well. Did ask him to have a look on his way back and tell me the prices, just to check, and while I was in Carrefour the first time he sent me an SMS with some, not including all those he had written on the list but including carrots, which weren’t on it, and also having a price for regular cabbage when he had written red cabbage on the list. But I just went with the list, only adding carrots to it because of that message.
Since I hadn’t entered a Mega Image on the way, meant to first check prices at the hypermarkets, then go to the Mega Image from that area, make any purchases I was going to make from there, then get back to the hypermarkets, but when I first went to Carrefour I saw that they had a lot of bags of peppers of all kinds next to the area of expiring products, those peppers also being 50% off due to starting to spoil. So I had a look at the bags of regular ones, which was what dad wanted, and picked one right away, before going to check the prices for the other things. Then I went to Kaufland, leaving the peppers in a cabinet and going in to check the prices before moving on to that Mega Image… Where I found other piles of such bags, this time with various kinds of fruits and vegetables, and since we needed those things for cooking, they were good enough and I picked one of beets and another with a handful of small carrots, then had a look around and eventually got myself a pretzel as well before checking out. Couldn’t see the kind of paper bags they usually have for bakery products anywhere though, and when I asked an employee she pointed me to some very narrow ones, asking whether they’re too small when I stared in surprise, then saying that as far as she knew those were meant for pretzels, so I struggled to somehow squeeze a pretzel in one. When I broke a piece off it, I considered leaving that pretzel there and trying with another one, but I doubted it was going to be any easier to get that second one in the bag whole, while getting this one in it in pieces was at least possible, so I took it like that… Then was surprised when I was charged a little more than the listed price for those vegetables, noticing on the receipt that I had been charged for the plastic bags they had been in as well, though I was forced to use them instead of my own.
Returned to Kaufland after that, putting those purchases in that same cabinet and then buying what I meant to buy from there… Which again included watermelon, but this is still something I’ll write about later. Felt a bit rushed by some employees while using the self-checkout though, as they seemed to also want to buy some things and came to stand right next to me, commenting to each other that I wasn’t done yet as I was waiting for the machine to give me my change, but at least thanking me for rushing after I hurried to move my stuff from the machine to the floor in order to let them use it as I put everything in bags. And since I wasn’t taking up the machine anymore, I took my time at that point, arranging things somewhat more carefully, checking the receipt and counting my money before finally leaving the self-checkout area. Stopped again on my way out though, after grabbing those things from that cabinet as well, because I realized I couldn’t find the receipt from Carrefour, for those peppers, and I guess I lost it at some point, if I even took it at all. Seem to remember stuffing it in a pocket, but couldn’t find it anywhere, then or later.
Speaking of Carrefour, I of course returned there at that point, first struggling to fit everything I already had in one of their cabinets and then getting what I still had to get from there, plus one expiring yogurt which had appeared in that area by then. Then I took everything back out of that cabinet and arranged everything better in the three larger bags I had, the problem being that only one was sturdy, one of the flimsy ones already having some holes at the bottom and the other one’s handle starting to tear as I used it instead of a shopping basket in Carrefour. Also calculated what I had spent and how things were split at that point, checking to make sure I hadn’t lost any money, and was finally walking away at 4:10 PM. That handle that was threatening to tear continued to worry me though, so after leaving that mall I stopped again and moved some of the vegetables from that bag to the two small ones I had that also had handles, leaving them in it but in a way that meant the weight didn’t really pull on that handle anymore, since I was holding them by their own handles. And that allowed it to hold, so at 4:45 PM I was in front of the building without anything tearing. The other flimsy bag, the one with holes at the bottom from the beginning, seemed just about to fall apart, but it held long enough for me to get here. And yes, checked how much I carried again, seeing 15.5 kg, that time just in my hands.

There was a blackout that evening, the logs stating that it started at 11:47 PM and I let the computer run on battery for 7.5 minutes, just in case the power was going to return quickly. It only did at 12:25 AM though, so I waited a few more minutes, then turned the computer back on and got back to the kitchen, where I had been when it had started as well. So I didn’t have to make salad and eat by candlelight, but was still only back in my room at 4 AM, since I first had to finish cleaning up after dad, and after I finished eating I also had to figure out how to make everything fit in the fridge.
The far more unpleasant and depressing part came earlier though, and it has to do with the mouse. After writing Saturday’s post and mentioning those likely T1 double clicks, I had a look and saw that the store I bought this one from had it on sale, stating that they just had one left, and it seemed gone from everywhere else, being replaced with the Remastered version, so it seemed that what I had in mind when writing that post, getting another one at some point over the next couple of months, won’t be possible and I started wondering whether I could actually get that one right away, to have one that will be under warranty for two years again and keep this one as a spare, ensuring that I won’t need to worry about choosing another model for at least the next few years. That’s what I was referring to Sunday afternoon, during that talk with dad, but since I no longer have anything set aside and knowing what they keep saying about money, I assumed there was no way for that to happen and, as I said, didn’t even mean to mention it. Yet he asked what it was, I ended up telling him, and he told me to go for it, stressing repeatedly that it was fine when I kept being wary. So I ended up making the purchase after all, though the shipping had to be paid as well, since that store no longer allows people to pick up orders either and they only have free shipping on orders above 500 RON!
Well, the site stated that the one that was left was in the store’s stock, which should be updated in real time, and indeed as soon as the order was made and paid, since dad paid by card, the status changed to say it was no longer available. However, Monday I received a message telling me that it wasn’t in stock after all, and when I asked how did that happen they eventually explained that one more piece was listed in their system as being left, but it couldn’t physically be found… Either way, they asked whether I wanted to replace it with something else, which I obviously didn’t, so the order was canceled and they said they’re refunding the money. I asked if they needed an account to refund them to and there was a reply asking for that, so I provided dad’s, but then I also received an e-mail from the payment processor saying that they were informed that the order was canceled and the money will be returned to the card used, so I took the opportunity to add another comment to the order, telling them that, as it should already be obvious, I have no idea how such things work and that wasn’t even my own card, as I stick to cash, and want to again complain about the fact that they discourage cash payments, and have done so for a long time, adding another fee if you pay cash on delivery, and now you can’t even pick up an order yourself anymore and pay cash there, without that additional fee. Had already complained about the fact that they now require customers to have orders shipped and shipping isn’t free, or doesn’t at least become free if the order exceeds a relatively low value, 500 RON in fact being by far the highest threshold for free shipping I’ve seen anywhere. But, while I also told them to let me know if they ever find that one or get this model back in stock, it does seem to have been discontinued by the manufacturer, so at this point I doubt I’ll be able to find one again…

To get to the watermelon now, after deciding to not go to Kaufland on Saturday just for it, I didn’t think I was going to get any, but when the price I saw Sunday was still lower than at this nearby store, I decided to get one from Carrefour, the price of the cheapest kind being the same in both places, before dad would get another from here. However, that proved to be a bad choice the very next day, when it wasn’t only cheaper again in Kaufland, but actually cheaper than I think it should have been on Saturday. I’m not absolutely sure, since I didn’t go then and the site only listed the discount, not the resulting price, but Monday’s price was 46.5% lower than Sunday’s, while the listed discount for Saturday had been 40%. So I bought another one then as well, to at least take advantage of that price.
The truly unpleasant part came Tuesday, however, when I ended up dropping the first one, and the plate it was on, as I was about to put it back in the fridge. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but it fell out of my hands in front of the fridge, smashing on the floor, pieces of plate and watermelon flying in every direction, watermelon juice ending up on my clothes, legs, slippers… Washed the slippers a little and then spent the rest of the day with my feet in wet slippers, without socks, and it took me about an hour and a half to clean everything up, getting the worst off my clothes, washing the floor a little, vacuuming the entire hallway, since shards of plate had ended up even at the other end of it, throwing away the parts of the watermelon which had ended up right on the floor and washing the rest of it, cutting or tearing it in usable pieces, more or less along the cracks, and finding a way to fit all the separate pieces back in the fridge. Had been sort of considering cleaning my room a little that day, but definitely wasn’t going to do that anymore after that, and still haven’t.

Also Tuesday, I received an e-mail asking for permission to quote the message I had sent to The Guardian‘s The Upside, in response to the weekly report that was about population, and it will apparently be in next week’s weekly report. On the other hand, that evening dad again told me he disconnected his computer without actually doing it, and an error I saw when I checked the system logs before going to bed that night also made me wonder whether he had unplugged it before leaving that day, since I didn’t think to check when I finally finished cleaning up and went to my room to connect until he got back.
And since I got to dad again, Wednesday he brought what he said was bulgur pilaf, snapping at me for “being like a computer” and asking what did he mean instead of immediately realizing what he was referring to when he mixed up some of the letters in bulgur. It got worse when I said I was already eating something else then and won’t get to it that day, not that I wanted it in the first place. He said he was also rather upset when he saw that I had left some pastries he had bought for me, again obviously without me asking him to, for days before eventually eating them, saying the things he usually says to make sure I feel terribly guilty about it, responsible for waste and expenses. Was also angrily saying that this is how it works in families, people getting things for others when they can and want to and expecting them to eat them right away and so on. So I snapped back a few times and then walked away, being left to run the whole thing endlessly through my mind and feel even worse after that, which led to sending him an e-mail before going to bed at night, also touching on matters like what he supports, and therefore makes me responsible for supporting, through such purchases and how needing to use what he buys for me in this manner means giving up on what I’d actually want to get. He replied to that from work, again saying I’m not responsible or guilty for what he does for me but I won’t make him feel that way either, ignoring that whole part about supporting things and saying he’s thrifty but won’t be a miser like I am, and that everyone’s allowed to state their opinion but he won’t allow me to tell him what to do and make him like I am… But he apparently can force me to do what he wants in this manner… Got even more messed up after sending another reply yesterday, two of them in fact, also including things like his impulsiveness and desire for instant gratification versus my long-term thinking…

At least there was no other reply, so I could try to put it out of my mind when I ran today. Still slept poorly, however, waking up several times, though at least I also kept getting back to sleep quickly. That was no longer the case when, a little before 12:30 PM, the reason I woke up again was the noise made by dad in the kitchen, and despite trying to get a little more sleep after going to pee, the alarm being set to ring at 2 PM, I don’t know if I even got a few more minutes before giving up and getting up at 1:15 PM, when he left. Then I partially clipped a few toenails, since there seemed to be a risk of them jabbing the toes again, and ate an orange, since I’m again out of apples. Had the usual stuff plus almonds otherwise, including those wheat things with jam as something sweet, and again got worried when I weighed myself and saw a mere 45 kg, actually dropping a little below that when I weighed myself again, just in my underwear, after getting back, so I’m definitely stuffing myself tonight.
Went out at 3:15 PM, wearing the full running gear and thinking that if I won’t manage to get back under 48 minutes, I’ll go for 16 km or even a half marathon distance again, especially considering next week’s forecast, with highs around 35°C each day, even reaching 37°C. However, the reported temperature when I went out was 31°C and it was sunny, and when I felt that heat and how it was burning when I wasn’t in the shade, I gave up on that idea, just hoping to not embarrass myself too much… And I guess I didn’t, pushing all the way and managing 48:17.67, with sector times of 4:19.21, 4:57.41, 5:49 (5:48.71), 4:33 (4:32.75), 5:05.05, 5:58.46, 4:41 (4:40.52), 5:12.02, 5:54.40 and 1:49.14, making for lap times of 15:05.33, 15:36.26 and 15:47 (15:46.94). Even managed that good first lap, the fastest one since getting back to the park, though the heat took its toll after that.
I must say that there were no problems other than the heat, which definitely helped. Sure, had to weave and go the long way around occasionally, but the park wasn’t crowded and there was just one moment, on sector one of lap two, when there was a bit of a misunderstanding and I had to slow for a moment, and another one on a sector three, possibly also on lap two but I don’t really remember anymore, when I had to go on the grass and around a trash can. There was a little wind in a few places, but this time I’m not even counting that as an issue, feeling that the cooling effect helped me more than going against it hindered. The most important thing, however, is that I didn’t feel any physical problems, not even any noticeable warnings from any muscles or joints, the only issue being that I was clearly getting tired from sector three of lap two. That meant I really pushed on lap three, even more so after that slow first sector, and when sector two didn’t look good either I was thinking of “penalizing” myself by getting back after I’ll finish and handing the 1 RON I had taken with me to the busker who was sitting next to the stairs if I’ll finish three laps in more than 46:30. Since I had covered sector three of lap two in 5:58, needed 5:55 on sector three of lap three in order to avoid that and was also noticing myself losing focus and briefly dropping back to a jogging pace a few times, that seemed a certainty, yet it somehow wasn’t the case, since despite those moments I managed that 5:54 on that sector… And followed it with a final sector that was surprisingly fast under those circumstances.

Written by Cavalary on July 24, 2020 at 10:58 PM in Personal | 0 Comments