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LED Tube, Botanical Garden, New Headphones

Slept poorly today, after Liza again started meowing like the feline equivalent of an abandoned puppy as soon as dad left, at 9:30 AM. With some dishes to wash and a note from dad asking me to give her some food too, I did that and then got on the computer and ended up submitting the credits for The Müll Littoral, since the game itself had been approved on MobyGames yesterday. After checking a few more things, crawled back in bed around 11:20 AM, but I had a hard time getting back to sleep, just occasionally, and briefly, drifting off until around 1:30 PM, though I believe I managed to sleep for one hour after that, and eventually got up around 2:50 PM. But I really should write this now, to avoid another Sunday update, so let’s see how it’ll go. Did do two series of squats while writing it though, since I skipped yesterday, with the first being done in 2:19 and the second in 2:23.

Slept badly Tuesday morning as well, waking up several times to pee after making mamaliga again, but the plan was to get another LED tube, since dad said he has no motivation to try to see what’s going on with the lights in the bathroom without one he’ll be able to actually use as soon as he’ll do something. However, before going to bed that morning I checked and saw a review, posted hours earlier, for the store I meant to go to again, the one I had purchased nearly all other LEDs from, stating that it no longer exists, and after sending them a message to ask about that, after waking up I saw a reply confirming that the physical store had been closed and they’ll only take orders. And since that would have meant spending more for shipping than for the tube itself, I checked another such store I knew of, which was actually the one I first considered when I was thinking of this plan to replace as many lights as I can around here with LEDs, and saw that they actually had a 40% discount for LED tubes these days, which got the price close enough to the otherwise extremely cheap ones from the other store.
The problem was that those had also closed the store I knew of, apparently back in September, and while a blog post written at the time stated that in October they were to open another one, which they claimed would have a larger showroom as well, that was almost outside the city and was closing at 4 PM! Still, I actually had much less to walk from the nearest metro station than I’d have had to get to that store I got the rest from, so I had a good chance if I rushed, which I did, meaning to leave at 2 PM but just managing to do so at 2:15 PM, after getting back once, since I realized when I got outside that I had forgotten the metro card.
It was a completely failed trip, however, starting from getting out of the metro station through the wrong exit, going farther than I should have through the tunnel. That obviously led to being confused, as what I was seeing didn’t match the map I had seen before leaving, and I first tried to go one way, quickly turned around and tried another way, went all around an area, got back to that exit and tried the first way again, going somewhat farther and spotting a street name I recognized from a long time ago. That finally made me realize what I had done and find the proper way, and from there it wasn’t a problem to find the right street. However, finding the store was a completely different matter. I hadn’t written down the address either and couldn’t seem to remember the number anymore, but I assumed I’ll spot some sort of sign, which wasn’t the case.
The numbers on that street are very weird too, jumping back and forth, sometimes both even and uneven on the same side, and some even on a separate road branching away from it, so I went all the way to the end, came back, also checked that road… It would appear that a gated community is being built there, but the gate was wide open, so I went in to look, ignored a dog that sounded quite angry, since it was behind a fence, but then I heard another one growling menacingly closer to me, and turned to see it about a meter away from me. There was another one on the side of the road as well, I had missed them since they were partially hidden by bushes and I was looking for store signs, and while that other one didn’t seem to care, this one had taken a few steps to come after me and the situation didn’t look good. But I first looked right at it as I took a few more steps, and when I saw that it had stopped when it saw me looking, I turned away again and kept walking at the same pace, trying to show that I’m not intimidated but not challenging it either. When I looked again, I saw that it had returned to its spot, next to the other one, so I turned around as well and went back out of that area, using the other sidewalk and being relieved that there was a pole just in that spot, so I could have it between me and them as well. Looked a bit more after that, but since I still couldn’t spot any sign and when I checked the time it was 3:54 PM anyway, I gave up.

Since I had to change trains at Basarab anyway, went out there and checked out that Kaufland first, seeing the discount I had seen advertised by Carrefour for a certain kind of yogurt there as well. But they only had one left, and it looked like it had been kicked around too, so I then walked to the big Carrefour from that area, and saw that it was actually a little bit more expensive there. But I found a pile of discounted, expiring ones of some better kinds, and saw that they were still doing it the old way there, with the prices for these expiring products listed on each one and the discounts being higher, especially for the more expensive ones, instead of this general 50% discount that they recently switched to in their other locations, though I guess it’s also possible that they gave up on that idea these days, as I haven’t been to any other location since then to check. Either way, got some of those instead, keeping the discount code for 10 RON which I had obtained for taking a survey for them for later, since those were much less than that. And then I also got another Paysafecard code, for that plan I mentioned, though I walked right past the machine at first, getting to the exit, walking past it again on the way back, turning back again from the other exit, and finally spotting it the third time.
It was 5:50 PM when I got to the metro station here, and with the next free bus for Auchan supposed to arrive around 6:05 PM, I mostly ran to quickly drop off the yogurts before leaving again. However, I also dropped off the receipts, and then decided to leave dad a quick note as well, since he was out at the time, and this caused me to leave the notebook I usually have with me, with the metro card in it, on the kitchen table without realizing it. I just rushed back out, catching the free bus, found that yogurt for slightly less than even at Kaufland, confirming that the discount was enforced by the manufacturer everywhere, and got four large cups, plus the cat food I needed to get from there. Then I rushed out, since my bus had already left but those leaving ten minutes later were about to come, and it was only then that I noticed the missing notebook, as I tried to put the receipt in it and couldn’t. Still, realized that I could have left it on the table, so didn’t panic as much as I otherwise would have, and got back with that bus. Interestingly, there was just one other person it in and the driver asked us where we wanted to get off, and after dropping me off as well he just turned right back, not going the rest of the route, so anyone waiting for a bus to get to that other location was left waiting.
After being dropped off there, considered going to that Carrefour from the park, but didn’t want to wander around with the yogurts in that heat, so first walked back to drop off the stuff, and also get my notebook back, being relieved that it was there. Was definitely not certain that I wanted to go back out at that point, but eventually decided to go to that Carrefour after all, leaving at 7:20 PM, thinking that sometimes there are unusually cheap apples there too, and the farmers’ market is nearby as well, so if I really rush I may have a chance to find something there too on the way back. But I wasn’t that fast, as I first got cabbage and carrots and those added up to only 5.33 RON, so I still needed something else to use that code, and that continued to be the case after picking up something I tend to occasionally get, as at that point I was at 9.98 RON and was worried that the cashier will say the machine won’t let her apply a discount higher than the total. So I added another carrot, getting to 10.04 RON, but found I only had 0.03 RON in small change, so looked for another coin for a bit, before realizing that I could just tear out a little bit of one cabbage, a bit I wasn’t going to use anyway, and weigh it again. It was too late for the farmers’ market by then though, so I walked back, getting here at 8:45 PM.

After all of that, I still needed that LED tube, and Thursday I went back there for it. Had asked about the exact location and they apologized for the difficulties, said everybody gets confused there and they haven’t yet obtained the approval for a lit sign, and that it’s the building right next to that gated community that’s being built, so I was quite sure I couldn’t miss it again. And I didn’t, leaving at 2:10 PM and being back, with the LED tube, at 4:45 PM, after waiting a total of more than 25 minutes at the metro. However, I definitely didn’t find it because I spotted any sort of indication that a store was there, as not only that they don’t even have a piece of paper, or even a little sticker, to say so, but the building is surrounded by a tall fence and the gate is closed, and you need to use the intercom for it to be unlocked, so it’s quite obvious that they don’t expect or, for that matter, want anyone coming there directly. And the woman who answered definitely seemed surprised that somebody did come, and then she led me past a space which I guess could be a showroom but which was in no way ready to receive any customers and into the storage room. Then she tried to find what I was looking for, but then asked me to show her what I had seen on the site, to look for the part number, and I asked whether she could open the site there, since I couldn’t, and she opened it on her phone and I pointed to the item, so she could then search for the part number and eventually find it and hand it to me… And then she left me there to go get the change. But at least I got the tube, though it seems different, needing to be powered on one specific end, so we’ll see how it works.

Had scheduled myself to volunteer at the Botanical Garden again that day as well, from 6 PM, and did go, though Anca had posted a message in the morning stating that the area had been badly flooded and help was needed, but rubber boots were mandatory. If that really was the case, I couldn’t go, not having any, but I asked before leaving to get that LED tube and when I came back I saw that she had said that some areas were accessible without boots by then. So I left just before 5:10 PM and was at the gate at 5:50 PM, finding a lot of mud in front of the gift shop but being told that it was quite fine at that point, compared to how it had been earlier. As I had suspected, one of the huge pipes on that hill had burst, and it had actually happened the previous evening, with Eszter, this being this volunteer who comes very often, and the girl from the gift shop staying there until 10 PM to try to limit the damage. And this is apparently something that has happened several times before, though it’s the first time this year, and at least this time it was just cold water, while in the past it had been hot as well, or mixed with something toxic that killed the plants in that area. I was also told that they were not allowed to clean that area, since more pictures were to be taken the next day, to assess the damage and determine what the water company should pay for it.
Under those circumstances, and with them there since morning, there was little left for me to do by then, and Eszter instead showed me the state of the area we’d normally work in and told me where I could start weeding if I wanted to, but said that I won’t have too much time, as it was already around 6:20 PM by the time I was starting and the girl from the gift shop definitely won’t stay past 8 PM again, and in fact may want to leave a bit earlier, so I should make sure to be back in time to change and wash before then. So I did what I could, clearing a pretty small area but at least doing so thoroughly, and doing my best to avoid the ants, though I guess some did get on me, as I later found several bites around my left ankle, and today noticed a couple around the right one as well, and they do indeed look like ant bites. Eszter was full of all sorts of bites on her arms, on the other hand, and that’s what I saw, since who knows how many she had elsewhere as well. Either way, when the bucket I had got filled with weeds, I went to dump it and saw that it was already 7:21 PM, so just worked a bit more and got back to the gift shop at 7:30 PM, when Eszter was just leaving.
The girl working there started closing pretty much right away, as I heard her lock and turn on alarms as I was changing and arranging my things, and at 7:40 PM she asked how was I doing with that, so I just quickly washed a bit and left with her… Only for her to ask whether I also took what Eszter had left me, two bananas and one candy, insisting that I had to take them, and that she had been given some as well so I can’t leave them for her, when I didn’t want to. Said that such things make me feel bad, but she just said that it’s just how Eszter is, an awesome person who just likes to spread joy that way, and I ended up taking them after all. Leaving the bananas for dad, of course.

From there I went to that bigger Carrefour again, and when I got out of it, with the things I bought from there, I might have still had a chance to get back in time for the start of the match, at 9:30 PM. But I first went out through the wrong exit, being used to use that one, so had to go all around that place to go the other way, to that Kaufland at Basarab, since I wanted toilet paper as well. Should have gotten some of those things Liza is addicted to as well, but it was 8:55 PM when I got there and rushed, forgetting about that, being at the checkout before 9:05 PM. However, after that I got confused at the metro, getting in on the wrong side, with too little time before the next train to go out and back in on the right side. Of course, I was going to catch the train after the next either way, but instead of risking to mess things up even more, and since it was also hard to carry the stuff, including a watermelon and the toilet paper, I just waited there for the train going in the opposite direction, took it for one stop, then waited for the correct one there, losing a good eight minutes in the process and only ending up back here at 9:50 PM.

As for yesterday, should also mention that I noticed two more double middle clicks, and there might have been two more today as well, though I’m not entirely certain about that. But the day’s plan at first only involved picking up the new headphones which I had ordered the previous evening, a little before midnight. With the state of my current ones, which even started visibly harming my right ear in recent months, I was looking for a replacement for a while, in fact since last year, but couldn’t find anything checking all the right boxes that didn’t cost a completely ridiculous amount so far. Had even considered just getting some cheap ones, to have something for a while, but those went out of stock shortly after I noticed them and I moved my attention to the SteelSeries Arctis 1, which were pretty much at the upper end of my price range. But I remained unconvinced due to the earpads, kept looking, and saw a sale that included the Arctis 3, with its price coming down to that of the Arctis 1 in that store, but also the HyperX Cloud Alpha, actually for a few RON less… And I eventually ended up ordering these just before the sale ended, even though that guy I’ve been exchanging some messages on GOG.com with recommended the Cooler Master MH751 after I told him what I was looking for. Do admit that those really seem to check all the right boxes, but there was something that made me less convinced as well and at the moment they’re not on sale and that store that also allows extended warranty to be purchased for such headphones doesn’t sell them directly, only a store from Bulgaria selling some through them, and if I am to spend so much on headphones I will get extended warranty as well, and I did for these ones.

But that was the original plan, and I only managed to pick them up with minutes to spare because I first went to the Botanical Garden again. Dad said he won’t need the metro card in the afternoon and with Eszter asking if I couldn’t come more often at least now while it’s still hot, I listed myself as coming at 5 PM, dug those clothes worn there out of the laundry basket, sprayed myself just about all over, though that spray isn’t against ants as well, and rushed out. It was after 4:15 PM when I left, but the metro came right away and I was at the gate a few minutes before 5 PM, again walking right in. The cashier had been outside the day before and looked at me, though she waved me through as soon as I said I was a volunteer, but yesterday nobody was outside and nobody came out after me, though it is likely that they remembered me.
Someone else had been there in the morning, but in the evening I was alone. In spite of that, since nobody had watered the day before and only a relatively small part of that area had been flooded and therefore didn’t need more water just yet, I decided to struggle with the hose. And I do mean struggle with it, since I spent more time doing that than actually using it, and when I did use it the pressure was low and I couldn’t figure out why. It also seemed to have been rolled on those things backwards, but it may be that I did something wrong, though it definitely makes sense to do it the way I struggled to, even if it required fighting and carrying it, and I actually checked the instructions sent by Anca again after getting back and this way is what I understand from there as well. Did try to roll out the second half from the other end, joining them in the middle after that, but it was a struggle either way and it definitely didn’t end once I did that, as the pressure dropped to almost nothing shortly after I started watering and I couldn’t figure out why, running back and forth, making a few small changes, getting a lot of mud on my shoes in the process as I went through a muddy area several times… That area in front of the store had been cleaned, at least, but using the path would have required going around each time, and I was losing too much time already. It was also in order to not lose more time that I decided not to take those things the hose is rolled on back inside, instead placing them in a spot I could see while watering.
I’m not sure whether it was after or even before this period of trying to figure out the reason for the loss of pressure that I checked the time and saw 6:30 PM, meaning that I had been struggling with it for well over one hour already. Either way, after trying everything I could think of, it seemed like the last remaining possibility was that the last part was coiling in some way that caused that to happen, even though I couldn’t see any particularly tight coils, so I resigned myself to doing what I could with that low pressure until I reached the place where that half’s two halves join together, at which point I took it apart and discarded that last part. However, the pressure didn’t improve by much, and in fact it was low enough that I didn’t have much of a problem to connect the end to it there, the water not pushing it away. Still, by the time the alarm I had set for 7:15 PM rang, I almost reached the place where the two halves of the hose join together, even if that was due to the fact that some scavenger hunt, or something of the sort, was organized there that evening, with that central area, with the main magnolia and the solar benches, as the central location, so I avoided it completely and continued watering on the other path, being able to get farther on it only because of that.
After the alarm rang, I just quickly got to a spot that I could describe better and then turned off the water and started gathering the hose, joining the second half’s two halves together again and rolling it back on that thing well enough until I got to that spot. Once I did, however, I saw what a bad move it had been to leave that part of the hose in a pile, and then carry it back like that in order to join it to the other part again where I had stopped, because it was awfully tangled and I lost a lot of time fighting with it. There were some spots where it was coiled in a worrying way as well, so I definitely hope there was no damage, and when I finally managed to finish rolling it back on that thing I saw that it was 7:52 PM!
With the gift shop closing at 8 PM, I pretty much ran back… And found the door locked. But the lights were still on, and the girl came out of the bathroom and unlocked the door for me again, so at least she was still there then. But I still had the other half of the hose to deal with, and told her I hadn’t yet managed to gather it and apologized for it, but also said that it was stretched out, not tangled like this part had been, so it should be done faster. She said it was all right, but I nevertheless ran back and rushed to gather it, things indeed going much faster despite still feeling that I was doing it backwards in order to put it back on that thing the same way it had been. Still, it was obviously after 8 PM when I rushed back with it, so I just quickly changed my pants and threw what I had been wearing in the backpack, very quickly washed my hands and face a little and left, apologizing again.

Was walking out of the gift shop at 8:15 PM and needed to pick up the headphones by 9 PM, so I had absolutely no time to waste and ran to the metro station after crossing the street in front of the Botanical Garden. Kept calculating the time on the train as well, but it was looking better and knew that if I’ll get to Titan station at 8:50 PM I’ll be absolutely fine. And I was walking out of that station at 8:49 PM, and by 8:55 PM I had the headphones. Got here at 9:15 PM, after taking a little more time while going through this park to clean what was left of the mud a little better off my shoes, and went straight into the shower. Didn’t unpack the headphones that evening, and in fact I’m yet to do so, which I guess means I’ll leave it for tomorrow and still use these old ones tonight as well. Of course, I’m also delaying because I’m feeling quite rotten for spending so much on them, and very uncertain of my choice, especially considering that recommendation I received, and returning them is still an option. But I hope they’ll be fine and last a very long time and I’ll end up being content with my choice, at least eventually. I mean, I was very unhappy when I bought the old ones, but ended up using them for close to nine and a half years.

Written by Cavalary on August 24, 2019 at 10:31 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Protest, Runs and Games, Including Another Gift

Since the previous post was about the August 10 protest, I should start this one with the personal notes about that day, when I had to walk there and back and somehow “managed” to go the wrong way on the way there. Meant to leave at 4 PM and take it easy, getting there around 5:30 PM, but leaving at 4:15 PM meant I couldn’t take it that easy anymore, even though it was really hot and the Sun was burning. In spite of that, still decided to make a detour to that recycling place at Obor, meaning to ask if I can bring crushed plastic bottles and cans if I’ll find someone there. However, with the door closed and nobody outside, I didn’t try to open the door and see whether someone was inside, instead just walking past… And ending up on the wrong street without realizing it. Noticed that I was getting to a major road right away, which shouldn’t have happened, and later that I could see that mall from that road in one spot, which again shouldn’t have happened, but I didn’t think much of it and ended up walking on that wrong road for 15 minutes, until 5:10 PM, when I found myself at a park entrance.
Knew the name of the park, but had no idea where it was, it was completely off my mental map, since I’ve never been anywhere in that general area. Found the name of the road I was on and figured out what I had done, but that still didn’t tell me much, as I didn’t know its angle compared to the one I should have been on. Could walk back, of course, but I knew that not much was going to happen at the protest until later, so I decided to explore instead, at first trying to go at it geometrically… Which is hard to get right if you don’t know which way you went in the first place, so who knows where I’d have ended up if I’d have kept that up. However, at an intersection I saw a sign pointing to the Dinamo stadium and went that way, and another park I got to gave me some idea of the general area I was in. More importantly, I was quite sure that the road I was on at that point would lead me to a place I knew, and from where I could get back on the right path. But I turned off it at one point, to continue to explore, wanting to go geometrically again and the fact that I then sort of knew where I was allowing me to do so far more accurately, eventually finding a street name that was familiar and ending up back on the road I should have been on in the first place. It would seem that I took a detour of more than three kilometers, and that’s after deducting the distance between the point where I got off that road and the one where I got back on it.
Eventually got to Victory Square at 6:10 PM, started taking pictures, wandered around a bit, then went to pee. At first I meant to go to that restaurant from that area, but found that it’s apparently getting renovated, so I eventually used the more proper public toilet from there, the line not being long, since plenty were using the portable ones which had been brought. Then I got back, took some more pictures, spotted Petruta and I guess others from Demos in a corner and, after just walking past the first two times, since they weren’t obviously gathering signatures and I couldn’t get myself to ask, they eventually made their purpose a bit more visible and I also signed for Claudiu. I also happened to be in the right spot to catch those who had been in the march arrive, at 7:35 PM, then more wandering around, more pictures, listening to that pianist for a few minutes in two places… As the “traditional” moment with the lights was coming up, at 9 PM, I was rather running out of things to do, but I was obviously going to wait for that, and then saw that group bringing that large banner which ended up being the main one I took away from that evening. After that moment, I was getting ready to leave, but still wandered around until 9:30 PM.
Meant to grab something from Carrefour on the way back, and with no way to get to the one at Obor before closing time, I went the other way, to get to the one at Unirii, which is open until 1 AM. After that, got back here at 11:15 PM… And ate a lot of watermelon. Only started showering around 1 AM, getting out of the bathroom at 1:40 AM and having plenty of dishes to wash too, so I was wondering whether I should just grab something quick to eat and leave it at that for that night. But I wanted to know whether I could afford to do that, so I weighed myself, and when I saw 47.6 kg it was quite clear that I couldn’t, and in fact rather needed to stuff myself. So I did that, made the salad, there was fish as well, and I only finished at 4:05 AM.

Moving on to the games mentioned in the title, on August 11 I decided to install and start Syberia. Adventure games really aren’t my thing, pretty much not at all for many years, but I’ve been considering trying this one ever since it was given away for free and I guess now I got around to it. Was actually thinking that I may have a chance to even finish it in about a week at the time, but that’s obviously not the case, and I’m stubborn enough not to check a guide. Seeing as I haven’t played for the past couple of days and doubt I’ll play today either, and I’m once again quite stuck anyway, it may take a while. Then again, when I will finish it, it’ll be the fifth game finished this year, so I’ll get to the usual target with quite a few months to spare, even if those five only include one, the first Eschalon, out of those I specifically meant to finish this year, Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker remaining where it was two and a half years ago and King of Dragon Pass still not being restarted after that second failed attempt, four years ago.
But before possibly getting to five, I had to get to four, and I did that on August 12, when I grabbed The Müll Littoral, which is being given away for free during this period on itch.io. It’s very short, taking me less than two hours to finish, get both endings and take screenshots as well, so it does feel like I’m sort of cheating to count it, but it does count as a game. And I also submitted it on MobyGames, and it was as I was closing what I had opened to use as sources for that submission that I noticed another double middle click, and another one later that day, though it’s been fine once again since then. Back to the game, found myself writing a review for it too. Meant to just write a quick one, but ended up with some 430 words despite having discarded a couple of ideas, so I just put those back and had just over 500 words, which may just be tolerable, barely, for such a short game. If I’d have started from the idea of actually writing a review, I’d have added some more things there, but I didn’t care to do that at that point, so I left it at that.
Still, with The Müll Littoral being a new game I grabbed the day I finished it and Syberia one that wasn’t actually on it, my backlog not only didn’t get reduced and won’t get reduced even after I’ll finish Syberia, but actually increased two nights ago, when a guy from Romania that I’ve been exchanging some messages with on GOG.com sent me Zeus + Poseidon (Acropolis). It was sent before midnight, but I saw it after, as I was eating, which apparently also involved burning my throat with mamaliga at one point, so I’ll consider it as received on August 20. I felt awfully awkward about it, of course, but he said it’s for being helpful, and in particular for telling him about a store with lower prices for some components that he was interested in, and to not even think about refusing it or sending him something in exchange or he’ll block me. If he’d have bought something with regional prices higher than the base price, I’d have considered blocking him, but he did pick it well, this being the oldest game left on my wishlist from there but one of only a few not added just in case, perhaps to follow and make up my mind at some later time, or only to consider after I’ll have a better computer, and the only one of them without higher prices in any region. So I guess I won’t be sending him anything in return, but this did settle another matter, and I guess I will do something I’ve been considering doing, and have started preparing for it already.

Unrelated to that other matter I just mentioned, but related to games and another conversation, it was a talk with someone on MobyGames that finally got me to do something I’ve been considering for the past couple of years, so in the early hours of August 18, before going to bed, I updated the code for my games played list to display when I started and finished or abandoned, as the case may be, a game. It may not be the final code, as there are situations it won’t deal with properly, but for now it works, the harder part being to actually add those dates that I do have. I’ve been tracking both start and finish dates since 2017 and finish dates since 2015, but even simply adding those isn’t the easiest thing, since when I made that array used for the data I assumed I’ll just add batches of games a couple of times per year and the entries won’t change after I’ll first add them, so editing it can cause some headaches and it took me a while to figure out how I had managed to “break” it the first time. Still, I also have other dates dug up, with varying degrees of accuracy, going back to 2010, and I added some of those after waking up that day… Even if it apparently scared people away, as on August 18 I again had no visits recorded in either view. Either way, I should finish adding those soon enough, and should also be able to dig up a few more, but for anything before 2007, if not even 2008, with very few exceptions, even being certain of the year may prove next to impossible.

Moving on to the runs, last week’s was Friday, the time being 47:23.60, with sector times of 4:15.70, 5:00 (4:59.30), 5:48.65, 4:23 (4:22.58), 5:00.46, 5:50.24, 4:31 (4:30.77), 5:04 (5:03.32), 5:48.11 and 1:44.47, making for lap times of 15:03.65, 15:13.28 and 15:23 (15:22.20). After having to try twice before being able to shit, drinking more tea and having some biscuits that I think could actually help before a run instead of the rice things, I left just before 3 PM, this time actually meaning to stay under 48 minutes. However, if when I looked at the weather report I saw little wind, it was really windy on the way to the park, and I thought it was going to really mess me up. And the wind was indeed a problem in quite a few spots for the first half of the run, or at least for the first lap and the second lap’s first sector, before finally dying down. There were also a fair number of people to go around, including a spot that I believe was on sector three of lap two, though it’s also possible that it was on sector two, where I almost had to stop when they formed a momentary roadblock. Nevertheless, after lap two I thought it might just be possible to even get under 47:30, and even though it seemed unlikely after sector one of lap three, I just pushed, perhaps more than I normally would on a normal run like this, going as if for a record, and kept at it even though it really didn’t look possible after sector two either, ending up surprised after sector three and continuing to push on that final sector, managing it by some margin.
Found a 0.05 RON coin in the park, on the way to the starting spot, and put it in my pocket even though I thought I didn’t have much of a chance of not having it fall out while running, yet it was somehow still there when I finished. But picking it up meant I wanted to wash my hands, since I touch my nose and mouth while running, and that meant waiting for a wasp to have a drink from that fountain, since I had apparently disturbed it when I turned it on and after I turned it off again and stepped back it settled there to drink as it was still dripping a little, going on its way after it was done. On the other hand, when I went to just have a quick look in the nearby Mega Image on my way back, I could have had a drink myself but didn’t. There was someone there offering juice, promoting some brand, and I just did what I always do and automatically avoided that spot at first, not even noticing what it was about… Only to end up sort of hovering behind her after I heard her tell another guy what she had, since it would have been quite suitable after a run. But I couldn’t get myself to say anything and the fact that I was behind her meant she didn’t see me stopping there either, and when I passed in front of her again on my way out I obviously didn’t stop, and she didn’t offer, and in fact I believe she was on the phone at the time.

As for this week’s run, that was Monday. Also shaved my head that evening, before showering after the run, but to get back to the run itself, the time was 47:38.14, with sector times of 4:12.72, 4:56.05, 5:48 (5:47.99), 4:25 (4:24.79), 4:57.33, 5:49 (5:48.25), I think 4:29 (4:28.93), I think 5:08.00, 6:03.08 and 1:51.00, making for lap times of 14:56.76, 15:11 (15.10.37) and 15:40.01. I was quite drained from sector two of lap three and that showed mentally as well, and while I ended up being quite sure of those times for sectors one and two of lap three after getting back, I wasn’t while running. For it to work out like this, I’d have had to have 35:36.06 after sector one of lap three, but then definitely had 40:44.06 after sector two and yet somehow calculated the sector two time as 5:06.00, and did so while thinking that I had seen 35:39.06 after sector one, which was wrong either way. So my mind was quite messed up at that point, but when I could catch my breath and work things out a little, that 35:36.06 seemed the right time at that point, with the sector times resulting from it.
Had slept poorly and little the previous days, and in fact have continued to do so since then, and the night before I had felt cold and weak, so I meant to sleep until 3 PM if I’ll be able to and only go out at 5 PM, hoping that the temperature will start to drop by then, the forecast listing a high of 31°C. And I did actually manage to get up at 3 PM, sleeping most of the time until then, though at 12:45 PM the noise from some machine woke me up quite roughly, fortunately stopping after a few minutes and allowing me to get some more sleep. On the other hand, even if I left several minutes later than planned and it was after 5:20 PM when I started running, it was really hot and sunny, with up to 33°C reported when I left and the heat really hitting me when I wasn’t in the shade. Also just had some other kind of cheap biscuits before the run, a kind that something in me doesn’t agree with too much, but I still hoped to stay under 48 minutes, and managed it by some margin.
There were also a fair number of people to weave my way through, and a few tougher moments with them, including a bit of confusion with a group on bicycles and scooters, including a kid, on sector one of lap two, but at least I didn’t actually have to stop there. Did for an instant on sector one of lap three, however, when I was going around a group and a cyclist coming from the opposite direction was doing the same, on the same side, and her low speed made her unsteady and we probably also saw each other too late, with the others blocking the view, so I had to stop for a moment and see where she was going to go. The most notable moment, however, was on sector three of lap one, and it was probably the moment that had the highest potential of actually being dangerous that I had to face on a run so far, since a leash tripped me. I saw the people, rather on the right side of the middle of the path, and the dog, already off the path towards the lake, to the left, but I didn’t see any leash, so I thought they had allowed it to run loose… Until I did see the leash, long, thin, pretty much the same color as the path, just about dragging across it, and right in front of me, with no time left to avoid it. The woman yelled at me to watch out, the man just told her that I was about to end up on my belly, and I just managed to stop without falling, with the leash ending up caught under the tongue of my right shoe. Lost a good five seconds to get untangled, so I then tried to push to make up for that and thought the effort will come back and bite me, especially considering the heat, but I still managed it.

Timed my squats every day during this period, starting with August 11, though I won’t today, and they were done in 2:22, 2:23, 2:28, 2:18, probably 2:17, 2:24, 2:27, 2:22, almost certainly 2:18 and 2:20, with the note that the last two were yesterday, since I didn’t do any Monday. On August 15 a replay just started as I was about to start and I’m not sure I could focus properly fast enough when I finished, so I’ll go with that 2:17 but 2:16 is also possible. As for yesterday’s first series, a replay was just ending when I finished, but I’m pretty sure that just one second passed before I could see the time, and that second was what I deducted from what I saw then.

I did mention yesterday’s squats, but I’ll leave yesterday aside otherwise, since it was quite a mess and I’ll be going to, I hope, fix it tomorrow, so all of that should go in another post, and it’s getting late now anyway. But before ending this I’ll mention August 13 as well, when I ended up awake around 11 AM due to the upstairs neighbor vacuuming and dad getting ready to leave and decided to get up after he went out the door. When I found a note about needing one kind of cat food, I checked Auchan’s site and saw a discount for another kind as well, so I decided to just get dressed and go, taking the free bus. Once there, found the kind Rocky likes as well, with the same discount, and ended up buying an entire box, which was possible because I only found eight of those for Micky, which had been the main reason for going there. If I’d have found the 20 I had initially meant to get, I wouldn’t have had enough money, but as it was, I could get a few things for myself as well. Miscalculated the times of the buses when I meant to leave though, ending up having to take the one leaving ten minutes later and walking a bit. Tried to nap later, but after watermelon and some tea that should help kidneys, I had to wake up to pee again after less than one hour and then I kept feeling that I had to go, which does tend to happen when I’m exhausted, so I might have managed to very briefly fall asleep again, but then I woke up again because of it and couldn’t get back to sleep. And later, after getting up and eventually having that feeling start to go away, gas took its place when I tried again, being bad enough that I couldn’t sleep because of that instead.

Written by Cavalary on August 21, 2019 at 11:05 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

A Year After August 10 – August 10 in Bucharest

A year after last year’s August 10 protest, people gathered in Victory Square again to demand a conclusion for the ongoing investigation and punishment for those responsible for the gendarmes’ intervention, and of course also to voice their current grievances, including those stemming from the handling of Alexandra’s case and the ensuing investigation. A small shrine, with pictures of the murdered girls, those killed in the Colectiv fire, and the protester who died after last year’s August 10 protest, albeit apparently due to a preexisting condition, was placed in the Square, for those who wanted to bring candles and flowers. In addition, with Romanians living abroad again being part of the focus, a group also aimed to spread information about the new facilities for those meaning to vote abroad and the requirements to make use of them. And there was a small march as well, with people starting to gather in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs around 6 PM and leaving around 7 PM, including the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism on their route and joining the others in Victory Square at 7:35 PM.

Various groups, putting forward various lists of demands, tried to claim that they were the organizers and one actually did so formally, signing a protocol with the authorities, which protocol apparently had the hours listed as 5 PM to 10:15 PM. However, the regulars from Victory Square, along with a few others, started arriving in the morning, and perhaps the best known out of those regulars also ended up in a conflict with the authorities due to bringing a platform without an authorization, ending up with a fine and his driver’s license suspended for 30 days as a result. Those who had signed the protocol set up a stage, on which they invited people to speak after the “official” start of the protest, but many objected to it and it wasn’t used for that purpose for too long, eventually ending up as a place for photographers before being cleared away.
Back to that protocol, it mentioned an expected turnout of 250000, with the authorities also stating that they will place 100 portable toilets and offer bottles of water. And there were some portable toilets in the area, though far less than 100, and some water was distributed in at least one spot. The turnout was much lower than that awfully optimistic estimate though, and it would appear that the expectations I had before the protest were proven correct, the reports I see mentioning a peak of about 25000 participants, though I must admit that I thought there had been at least twice as many while I was there, probably due to the fact that the entire area was closed for traffic and people were spread out, and also wandering around a fair bit. Mostly because of the heat, the numbers increased quite slowly at first, and there weren’t many even at 6:10 PM, when I got there, and most of those who had already arrived were gathered in the shade, not in the actual Square, but small numbers were still arriving even after 9:30 PM, when I left, though many started leaving after the “traditional” moment with the lights, at 9 PM, and some of those who had arrived earlier had left even before that time. So the total was higher than that peak, but highly doubt it was anywhere near twice that number.

On the other hand, while they stayed away from any claim of organizing the protest or putting forward lists of demands specifically associated with it, opposition political parties also had a presence, mainly gathering signatures for the presidential elections. USR-PLUS were by far the most visible, with people wearing their t-shirts and gathering signatures in various parts of the area, and the leaders also stated that they will attend, though I didn’t personally spot those at the very top. In contrast, PNL, who had chosen the day to start gathering signatures, stated that they will stay at University Square specifically in order to avoid any complaints that they’re trying to take over the protest, but Rares Bogdan was there, at least for a while. Demos were also there, but with a very discrete presence, those not already aware of them being unlikely to realize that they were representing a political party, though I at least spotted them and managed to sign for Claudiu Craciun. Also spotted the somewhat more obvious presence of another small party which is pretty much their opposite. And there might have been others as well, plus those gathering signatures to reduce the number of members of the Parliament to 300, according to the result of the 2009 referendum.

Another notable event was that Davide Martello played in the Square, moving to a few different spots before apparently deciding to stay in one, and I for one took a bit of a break from wandering around and taking pictures to listen to him for a few minutes in two places. According to the reports I see, he was the central point of the end of the evening, as he continued to play until at least around 11 PM, with more and more of those remaining being gathered around him as the time passed, past the protest’s end time as stated in that protocol.

There were some tense moments in front of the fences and the line of gendarmes in front of the Government starting a bit before 9 PM and likely peaking around 9:30 PM, but the gendarmes, not in riot gear this time around, didn’t retaliate to the shouts and chants or even to the fences being pushed back in some spots and things eventually calmed down as a result. Four people were taken away over the course of the day, but that happened at the filters set up by the gendarmes, who had stated that they will search those with larger bags or who otherwise seem suspicious, three of the four being found to have weapons or pyrotechnics and one refusing to submit to the search and cursing at the gendarmes as they tried. On the other hand, some people required medical attention, but merely because of the heat. There was no violence and no use of tear gas, with the gendarmes displaying a completely different behavior compared to a year ago, a behavior which I’d illustrate with a moment I witnessed after I left, as I reached the end of the area that was closed off to traffic just as a man who was apparently only then going to the protest furiously shouted at them to ask whether they were getting ready to “kill” protesters that night as well and whether they hadn’t had enough last year and they merely wished him a nice evening, very calmly.

But I want to end this post with the large banner which will be the main one I take away from this, and in fact with the whole “performance” around it. It was just at 9 PM, at the start of the “traditional” moment with the lights and with people gathered at the fence and things starting to get a little tense in some spots, when a group of people carrying that large banner in a way that struck me as making it seem that they also had coffins under it carefully pushed their way through that crowd, right at the very front, making sure that they’ll be seen. They went from one end to the other, eventually stopping where the crowd ended, on the street on the other side, to stretch out the banner properly. After a short moment, probably meant to give those who wanted a picture of the banner itself a chance to take one, some moved in front of it and staged a die-in. The message on the banner translates to “the social contract honored only for the privileged, inexistent social policies: the state’s dissolution emanates lethal gases”, being a much-needed leftist message making room for itself at such an event, and in such a notable manner, when the large majority of participants, at least for the past few years, infuriatingly support the right, or at least claim to do so.

Written by Cavalary on August 14, 2019 at 5:29 PM in United We Save | 0 Comments

Review: The Müll Littoral

For a short game of this genre, it could have been a lot worse. The developer actually put a fair amount of effort into the writing and presentation, not trying to merely make a point or even just explore a certain issue, and also not placing the game in this “reality”, but managing to tell a story and place it in a fantasy world quite well, perhaps better than would usually be expected considering the constraints imposed by the game’s length and the chosen gameplay style. The art also complements this, the fact that it’s “gritty” perhaps making it even more suitable for the theme, and the music is good enough as well. Some puzzles were also reasonably interesting, and I liked the change of pace brought by the “meditation” one, which I “translated” into equations and then took the time to solve.
That said, I’m not fond of the way the regular puzzles play out, needing to be so fast and also pretty accurate, to click the right objects in the right order, and in some cases also at precisely the right moments, not even having a second to spare. In some ways it makes some sense, if you also consider the theme, but this is what makes up the actual gameplay and, as I said, I’m really not fond of it. On the other hand, while the option to skip straight to certain points in the game from the main menu is good, I guess it exists to make up for the fact that you can’t save, which can be annoying if you really need to leave at some point, and I would have preferred to also be able to skip straight to the final choice, to not have to go through the last two puzzles again to see both endings.
As for the way it deals with the issue it wants to explore, anxiety, it could again have been much worse… But also quite a lot better. The scenes depicted actually have meanings and it doesn’t push as hard as many would, reveals a fair amount of understanding, even makes points about those meaning to help needing to learn how, and to just offer comfort, including that moment when Glasswalker is told he tried to teach Juul to fly by pushing her off a cliff and telling her to flap, which tends to be what people do, starting from the “professionals”. However, it does in the end push the need to “fix” oneself, and that great harm will come out of not doing so, to the point that it’s unacceptable to not manage it, and quickly. Needing to accept that as the only path and, even then, to sacrifice much for what I guess is supposed to be the “comforting” ending bothered me to say the least. It’s supposedly not Juul’s fault, but only if she makes exactly the choices she “needs” to and “fixes” herself in time, eh? Otherwise, apparently it is her fault, and not an acceptable course of action.

Written by Cavalary on August 12, 2019 at 10:52 PM in Gaming | 0 Comments

Carrying, Worrying, Running and a New Longest Review

Took me three days to write it, but yesterday I finally posted the review for Regions of Ruin… And noticed that it ended up being a new longest one. Tried to avoid it, and it’s not much longer than the one for Ember, but it is nevertheless longer, and a bit over 3500 words, while that one was a bit under 3500. And this is for a pretty simple game as well, so it’s really a case of it getting away from me, but it all started from the detailed notes I kept, as I had almost 1500 words there by the time I finished it. And now I see that I have 940 words so far for Lords of Xulima, so I wonder what that will end up at, whenever I’ll finish it. But that won’t happen anytime soon, and at the moment I doubt I’ll even get back to it just now, so the break will likely be even longer, and there will almost certainly be others in the future. But at least that is a long game with plenty of elements and things to write about, so it’d be justified.
Either way, I started writing that review Tuesday and it was quickly obvious that I won’t finish it that day, but then I also got a call from somebody doing a survey and that completely messed me up. I of course couldn’t give all the answers I wanted either, but the worse problem was that I was a complete mess because of it, drenched in sweat and shivering and feeling that I was freezing despite the actual temperature. Did manage to finish the part about the positive aspects then, but that was it, and at least I managed to nap that evening and felt better after that.
Definitely meant to finish it Wednesday, but dad wanted me to do the laundry and I got back to it quite late because of that, being quite clear that I won’t be able to finish it then either and not really trying as a result. So it was only yesterday that I finished it, after sending a number of messages to complain about a return of that proposal to require identifying those who use prepaid phone cards, this time as part of a series of measures supposedly meant to improve the emergency service, using the recent events as an excuse. Those messages would have likely messed me up at other times, but I guess I was angry enough, and also did it right after getting up, perhaps not quite “registering” everything yet, so I could get it out of the way and then focus on the review.

The timed squats during this period were 2:28 on Monday, 2:24 on Wednesday and 2:32 yesterday, and most likely 2:30 on Sunday, though there was a short replay just then. And this week’s run was Tuesday, the time being 47:50.09, with sector times of 4:19.57, 5:04.41, 5:49 (5:48.96), 4:25 (4:24.21), 4:57.78, 5:53 (5:52.13), 4:25.44, 5:03 (5:02.65), 6:02.67 and 1:53 (1:52.27), making for lap times of 15:12.94, 15:15 (15:14.12) and 15:30.76. After once again carrying a lot the day before and still feeling somewhat tired and that my muscles hadn’t quite recovered, I again didn’t aim for anything other than to stay under 48:30 at first, but after lap two I realized I had a pretty good chance to stay under 48 minutes and managed that. At this point I’m starting to think that I’ll consider staying under 48 minutes as a regular run, and getting over that as a rather poor one, unless conditions would truly justify it.
Noticed an issue before this run though, when I just happened to have a look at the bottom of my running shoes and saw something stuck in the right one. At first I thought it was a staple and tried to gently pull from one side, but that just came out, wasn’t inside it, and might have pricked my finger a bit as it did so. The other end was definitely inside the shoe though, and I carefully pulled it out, finding that it was bent pretty much in half, with about one centimeter inside and a similar amount pressed against the bottom, the part that was inside seeming to have gone inside rather sideways, not straight through. Still worry about that gel, if it exists in that area as well, but after having a better look at it and starting to wonder whether it was a needle I was far more worried about it possibly having pricked my finger. There was no blood, but it definitely wasn’t a good thing, and I do recall spotting something that seemed like a syringe recently, and don’t know whether I spotted it in front of me or when I looked after having stepped on something, nor whether that happened last week, when I had my regular shoes on, or the week before. When I asked dad to have a look later, he said it looked like a pin with the end broken off, but he’ll always dismiss worries and go with the safest explanations, so that doesn’t count for much. Admittedly, I had looked at it carefully under a magnifying glass and saw that it wasn’t hollow, but after all those steps on it, it’d have probably been too crushed for that to still be visible either way. One possible good thing is that it’s been there for at least 12 days.
To return to the run itself, went out at 3:15 PM and since it was so sunny it seemed hotter than I expected at the reported 27-28°C, but it was all right while running. There were some people to get around, but the only real issue was on sector three of lap three, when I had to stop for a moment due to two cyclists coming from the opposite direction and seeming to race each other. It was probably my mistake as well, for not cutting to the inside right away when it was obvious that they were carrying too much speed to do so themselves, but I had sort of a deer in headlights moment, noticing their speed and that the one who was behind seemed to be trying to overtake on the inside, ending up doing something between playing chicken and the silly dance with the other. Eventually, the one behind seemed to be getting confused as well and I just froze in place, hoping that they’ll go on either side of me, which was what ended up happening. One of them shouted something after passing, but I didn’t catch what it was.

Went back out after that, but I should get back to Sunday first, in fact starting just a little after midnight, when that initial scan finally finished, after just over 28 hours! But that’s just a little note about the night before, the day actually starting at 11:15 AM, when I was roughly woken up by a cramp. At 12:25 PM I was out, going to Kaufland to check prices and then to Carrefour to get two kinds of cat food and cat litter, as the day’s offer was a discount for all pet food and accessories. The discount for a third kind of cat food was a fake one though, the base price having increased so the resulting “discounted” price was a mere 0.02 RON less than what used to be the normal price, so I didn’t get that as well. Meant to get some more bread too, but I saw the same person who had served me the day before and I didn’t want to ask her again so soon, so I gave up on that idea and just got a bunch of green onions, since the price was good. Then went back to Kaufland to get toilet paper, being surprised to finally see the kind we used to get again, some paper towels, since dad was likely to want more soon, and a cabbage. It seemed odd when the cashier rather blatantly took a mere 0.03 RON more, not by rounding, which they sometimes do in either direction, but by taking those little coins I had given her in order to make it easier for her to give me the change, but entering the amount received without them and giving me back exactly what the machine said the correct change to that amount was.
That was the easy part though, since I then had to walk back carrying 19 kg, again weighing the stuff after getting back in order to see just how much I had carried. Was leaving Kaufland around 2:15 PM and only got in at 3:00 PM. Made plenty of stops, but rain was coming too, starting to drizzle soon after I left but not being a real issue until I got on the street leading to mine, at which point it started raining properly and I was worried about the cat litter, being in paper bags as well. Meant to make two more stops after that point, placing the stuff on benches, but that was no longer an option, benches not being sheltered by trees either, so I just picked two spots that were better sheltered by trees for very brief stops, just to grip things better again, and just pushed myself to get here faster. At least my left arm was going numb and I was feeling out of breath, had started getting a bit dizzy now and then even earlier, but managed it. A muscle in my left arm still complains a little even now, though.
Tried to nap in the evening, but dad chopped some meat just as I was falling asleep and after waking up in such a manner I couldn’t fall asleep again, ending up just staying in bed until 9:50 PM. But what made me really anxious happened after that, at 11 PM, when dad called me over to tell me that when he took out the trash he found a sleeping bag, placed in its bag, which in turn was placed in another bag, which he said was tied as well… And he had brought the sleeping bag in, along with its bag, just leaving the other bag there, and he wanted me to set the washing machine to wash it. Now I’m all for reusing, but that raised red flags everywhere and I first asked about the homeless guy in the area, meaning that somebody might have left it for him, but dad misunderstood and said that he doubts he’d have left it inside but even in that case, if that guy no longer needs it, why shouldn’t he take it? I could think of plenty of reasons, so I then said that we don’t know what’s inside it… Which he again misunderstood, telling me what the stuffing was when I was referring to fleas, lice, bedbugs or who knows what other things, even more so since somebody seemed to have gone through some trouble to not let anything spill out. But he said he had shaken it out in the living room and looked and didn’t see anything… Which to me obviously just meant that he just shook everything out in the living room already. But the damage was done, it was already in the washing machine too, and apparently he was convinced that detergent killed everything, being very surprised and at first not believing it when I told him it didn’t.

Gave it a quick washing that evening, despite the late hour, and he set it out to dry, but the plan was to wash it properly the next day, and use some disinfectant as well. Not that I’d be in any way convinced that disinfectant would do too much against the eggs of those parasites, but since I wasn’t sure how to use the one we had, since it’s liquid but the instructions say to mix it with the detergent, which is powder, I went back out after running the next day, leaving just before 5:45 PM. Again had a look at Kaufland first, dropping off some things which may be recyclable there too, then at Carrefour, getting some dishwashing liquid which was on sale from there, and that bread I had given up on the day before. The price for the disinfectant I wanted was the same in both places, but at Carrefour the label was the only thing in that spot on the shelf, so I had to get back to Kaufland and buy it from there… After actually asking a Carrefour employee who was right there, but he checked the storage space above those shelves and there was none left there either… And then he seemed to want to talk, telling me how good that disinfectant is and that it’s the one he also uses, and after he pointed out the reason why and I said that was why I was looking for it as well he seemed even more interested, coming along to explain some more things as I was walking away, before I rushed away to get rid of him.
Thought it won’t take me too long to get that, but I was only back some two hours and ten minutes after leaving, and then I had to get that thing back in the washing machine and set it on a more thorough program. Still, with dad having left a note to say that he’ll be back very late, I then started to make myself some mamaliga… Only for him to walk in before the water had even started to boil. But I couldn’t really give up on the plan at that point, and I told him, and he left me alone in the kitchen, going to take a bath instead. And that was my dinner then, not going back to the kitchen to eat again at night. Also went to bed earlier, at 4 AM.

Written by Cavalary on August 9, 2019 at 9:41 PM in Personal | 0 Comments