[ View menu ]

Recycling Center, Arcabit, Kingmaker and Yesterday

The title’s in chronological order, but I did just send messages to both Carrefour and Kaufland about some things that happened yesterday, so I’ll start with that. And this will make for a long piece, since my parents said they needed various things and I spent the day wandering around, checking prices and availability and getting everything, plus quite a number of other things I had added on the list, leaving just after 1:10 PM and getting back for good just about nine hours later, with my arms not too happy after all that carrying. Did get back one more time, at 6:55 PM, but just dropped off what I had purchased until then and left again some 15 minutes later. Also took the paper out when I first left, but didn’t cross the road to put it in that bin, instead going to the one that recently appeared next to this building next to mine, where the work that was done is just being finished, since that was on my way, and stuffing it in there even though it was overflowing and regular trash had been thrown in there as well, the smell and the flies assaulting me, which likely means that it’ll all end up in the landfill.
Either way, when I got to the metro station I still wasn’t sure of the route or even which store locations I wanted to go to, making up my mind on the spot, in part due to just missing the train going in one direction. So I ended up first checking prices at the Kaufland from Basarab and then walking to that big Carrefour from that area to do the same there as well, though that first involved some time lost when I went out the wrong exit from that metro station and didn’t know how to cross to the other side, since there are train tracks there and the area is closed off, the crossing apparently being through a closed and raised tram station, which I was uncertain about entering, wondering whether I needed a ticket, until I saw a few others going that way.
Was back on the metro after that, going to Supeco and this time getting there without getting confused again, though at first I also just checked prices, ending up leaving through the entrance doors and being stopped by a guard who told me to get back inside and go out through the checkout area. Then I walked to Auchan and bought what was cheaper and available there, then walked back to Supeco to get what I had decided to get from there, before getting back to Auchan to use their free bus to get back. They seem to have some work done where the station used to be, so that area is closed off and people have to wait elsewhere now, which made me confused at first, so I ended up asking one of the drivers, but he pointed me in the right direction and I waited there, the bus being a few minutes late.
After dropping off those purchases, I went back to that Kaufland, to get what I had decided to get from there. They were almost out of frozen spinach though, so I ended up getting the 260 grams that were left and asking an employee whether there was any more, but he said he had no idea, frozen foods not being his area. He also said that there should be a girl there who’ll know, but I couldn’t see her and thought Carrefour would be an acceptable option for the rest, so I didn’t stick around… And saw that they had opened the self-checkouts, so I obviously meant to use that, after reading the sign in front of the area and not seeing that they don’t accept cash, as is the case at Carrefour.
Unfortunately, I ended up being “that customer”, since after reading that sign I just looked for a free machine, not looking above them from the entrance, and the signs listing which machines also accept cash and which don’t are angled so they’re easily readable when you enter, not when you’re in front of a machine. In addition, the writing specifying that on the machine itself is below the scanner, and it was covered by a cable, so I only noticed it at the end, when I couldn’t find a cash payment option on the screen and started looking around for some button. But, after at first being uncertain which scales were connected to which machine, since it’s not specified, and putting the first scanned product on the wrong, but fortunately unused, one, I found that the machine simply refused to activate the scanner again after that first product, so I ended up trying to cancel, which required the employee to come and clear that, and she snapped at me a little because of it. It did work after that, but seemed to take quite a few seconds to reactivate the scanner after each product was placed on the scales, so it was slow and tedious, and I also scanned each product separately, since I couldn’t find any obvious option to enter a number of pieces. There was a “multipack” one, but I thought that had to do with actual, packaged bundles, so I didn’t try to see what it did. But, of course, once I was finally done, I realized I had no way to pay and felt too embarrassed to tell the employee, not to mention to go to one of the machines that did accept cash once I noticed those signs, so I just quickly threw the products back in the basket and rushed back, ending up using a regular checkout after all.
Either way, after needing to try three before finding one that worked, the first not locking at all and the second opening if you pulled on the door twice after locking it, I left my purchases in a cabinet from there and walked to that Carrefour again, going straight to the cat food I needed to get from there, the bag I had recently purchased ending up taken to my grandmother’s. Well, the problem was that I couldn’t see any anymore, and it had been surprisingly cheap there, plus that the only other place I could have bought it from at that point was Auchan, since it was too late to try to go to that pet shop again and the others didn’t have it. But the gate to the storage area was open, an employee went in carrying some things and when another one came out I asked him and, after searching the shelves as well, which I had already done, and saying he doubted there was any more if not on the shelf, he nevertheless went to look and after a few minutes came back with several, so I took two, checking the price to confirm that it was still that surprisingly low one.
After that, I calculated carefully and got the other stuff, minus some more bread for myself, since I wanted to get some from there as well but by that hour they were out of anything I’d care to eat, and the second cabbage. This last part was due to the fact that now they had a person operating the scales even in that area for products on sale at the main entrance, and when I took one cabbage there, meaning to check the weight before deciding how big the second should be, she put it in a plastic bag and told me she wasn’t allowed to place the label with the weight and price directly on it when I told her to do so, which led to me deciding against buying a second one if using more plastic was required for it. And I also wonder whether I should have checked the weight of the vegetables I bought from there when I got back, considering what happened in the past with the bread and the fact that I later realized that I was charged a higher price for the frozen spinach. Admittedly, after being annoyed by the bag issue and the fact that they had placed an employee to weigh those vegetables as well, when customers could do it themselves before, I also remembered that I still hadn’t paid them back for that thing with the bread, decided to not be fairer than they assume me to be and cheated a little bit, since you can weigh frozen products yourself. But I made the weight appear to be a mere 36 grams less, if I remember correctly, and paid for the equivalent of 81 grams more, considering the difference between the listed price and the real one, so I now have even more to pay them back for. But I only realized that as I was taking a shower at night, so at the time I thought there was no problem and just paid, walked back to Kaufland to get the stuff left there and got back.

Otherwise, only timed my squats Tuesday, 2:21, and that was also the day of this week’s run, the time being 47:17.93, with sector times of 4:13.96, 4:58 (4:57.07), 5:43.91, 4:23 (4:22.46), 5:01.06, 5:53 (5:52.91), 4:27 (4:26.93), 5:05.29, 5:46 (5:45.84) and 1:48.50, making for lap times of 14:54.94, 15:17 (15:16.43) and 15:18.06. Aimed to stay under 48 minutes but was also thinking of 47:30 from the start and tried it, considering getting under 15 minutes for the first lap and managing it even though I was wondering whether that’ll prove too fast and didn’t push too hard at first. Lap two was sort of a test, and I meant to decide what to aim for after it, then pushed from sector two of lap three and really went for it on sector three, hoping for 5:50 and managing to do even better, so the final sector wasn’t an issue anymore.
I had hit my left knee on something and was a little worried about that, and I also couldn’t get much out when I went to the toilet and had a piece of honeycomb and a doughnut instead of what I’d usually have before a run, but all of that ended up being fine, and having my keys in my left pocket, since I’m yet to fix that hole in the right one again, didn’t bother me either. What did bother me, however, was the weather. I went out right at 2 PM and the forecast listed 27-28°C and party to mostly cloudy skies, yet it was sunny and I could feel it burning when not in the shade, and the worst problem was the wind. I knew to expect that, but that doesn’t make it less of an issue, and there was a spot, on sector two of lap two, where I felt I was barely advancing against it.

After the run, decided to crush the cans and the largest bottles and take them to that recycling center. It took me almost an hour and a half to crush them, and I counted 70 cans, though it’s possible that I was off by one or two, and estimated roughly 40 bottles, though I stopped actually counting after putting one “row” in one of the bags. But once that was done, it was easy to carry them, using three bags but not taking that largest one, and in fact the bottles filling two and the cans about half of the third. Weighed the bottles before leaving, seeing 1.9 kg, including the bags themselves, but didn’t bother with the cans, having weighed a few at an earlier point and knowing that I needed about 60 for one kilogram.
Finally left around 5:40 PM and got there without getting confused, though I felt quite awkward once I did, and waited around for a few minutes, the employees being busy with other things. But I eventually got their attention and was told which scales to use to weigh the stuff, which led to a somewhat funny moment, since something was already there and when I saw 106 and didn’t immediately spot the decimal separator, I wondered whether it was listing 1.06 kg or a mere 106 grams, ending up assuming that I was looking at some rags after deciding on the latter and trying to brush them away… Only to find that the “rags” were pressed sheets of metal, possibly even lead, and the listed weight was actually 10.6 kg, so I needed to drop the bags and pick that thing up with both hands. But after that it went fine, seeing the same 1.9 kg for the bottles and the guy saying they’ll consider it as two, so rounding up instead of deducting the weight of the bags. I did panic for a moment when he took the bags, trying to take them back from him, saying I still needed those, but he said he’ll bring them back and I placed the third bag on the scales while he wandered away, seeing 1.2 kg. The other guy did round down there, eventually giving me 3 RON, saying two for the cans, which would be the price for one kilogram, and one for the bottles, though I have no idea what the right price would be, since it’s not listed. That place at Obor offers 0.60 RON / kg for bottles, so it could be that it was rounded down as well, but no idea. It’s very little anyway, the fact that I can be quite sure that they actually are recycled if taken there likely being more of a reward, but I felt embarrassed over it anyway, feeling a need to explain myself by saying I had convinced dad to collect separately and wanted to take the stuff to the proper place, which is after all true.

The next day I installed this month’s Windows updates and, quite on a whim, ended up starting a trial of Arcabit Antivirus, after finally trying to update ESET Antivirus again and having it turn off when it checked and apparently properly realized it had expired back on September 1. Now Arcabit is something I’m obviously just using to say I have something for another month, clearly meaning to restore from that backup again once this trial will be over, to remove all traces of it, but it also uses Bitdefender definitions, so at least there’s that. It’s weird that some bits aren’t even translated, remaining in Polish even if you change the language, and there’s one page, apparently asking which partition to use for storage at the end of the installation, that’s completely in Polish even if you switch the installer to English otherwise. And, overall, having it may end up being worse than just turning on Windows Defender, but I’m leaving it there for now, especially after all the trouble I had with it and Comodo Firewall at first, since there’s an “Arcabit Sp. z o.o” on the trusted vendors list, but not the correct “Arcabit Sp. z o.o.”, so it didn’t recognize it and the HIPS module treated it as potentially malicious until I gave up just granting permissions and figured out how to add a trusted vendor signature, which I never had to do so far.
But to return to the Windows updates, something odd might have happened. There’s an obvious performance impact from something, and it seems to be a delay in opening programs, so it may have to do with Arcabit but it’s also very similar to what I experienced when I briefly tried to allow those Spectre/Meltdown and related mitigations to be enabled at some point, and since some more of those mitigations have been added this month for 32-bit, I wonder if the registry entries to disable them may not apply anymore, which would be a big problem. On the other hand, also saw audit failures for the same two files, appidapi.dll and appid.sys, which had similar entries logged in March and again back in 2016, but again apparently just as they were getting unpacked, the failures not being listed for the actual installed files as well, and I seem to remember that back in March it was a known issue, though I don’t care to look it up and check, so it’s probably nothing important. It did make me run the sfc /scannow command though, and it claimed it found problems and couldn’t fix them all, which is a first. Not that I’m even sure I ran it before, and if I did it was quite a long time ago, so there’s no way to know when the problems appeared. But the log lists that the problems have to do with files with “telemetry” or “diagnostics” in the path or name, usually .json files, so I wonder if it has something to do with what I did to disable those things, in which case the “problems” definitely aren’t problems from where I’m standing. But I guess some things will become clearer next month, when I’ll restore again from that backup and see what happens if I’ll reinstall these updates.

As for Thursday, I somehow managed to persuade myself to try to get back to Kingmaker, actually getting in that crypt and killing a few things. The previous save was from February 2017, but the one before that was from November 2016, while the others before it, the oldest remaining ones, were from one month before that. There’s very little difference between the November and February saves, but do seem to have done at least something that November, though I also see that the three screenshots I took have that same date, so maybe the main reason to get back to it was to take those, remembering that I had meant to take screenshots specific to this expansion, since there are none on MobyGames, and hadn’t until then. Also meant to start it again with a new character, to take some proper shots from the beginning, as I recall deciding against taking any at first since my imported character and, more importantly, his gear wouldn’t have been right. But gear is the reason why I didn’t take more after that either, since you hardly find any and I didn’t buy any, so he’s quite naked, as are the companions, which again didn’t seem right. Now I see that he at least has a cloak, which hides things from behind, but I’ll see. The problem is that I remember that I can only delay the vote one more time and I haven’t really done much, considering how I play, so I won’t have nearly enough time to explore as much as I’d like, and that made me stop in the first place. But we’ll see…

Written by Cavalary on September 14, 2019 at 6:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Two Books, Mouse and Vivaldi Issues

Was called to do another survey by phone today, since elections are coming up after all, so I ended up drenched in sweat and shaking and feeling cold again, but I’ll try to write this anyway. Also keep thinking to try to get back to Kingmaker, possibly aiming to just do what I need to do in order to get elected and therefore move on to the final battle, getting what equipment and levels I can and hoping to finish it that way, without trying to explore everything and continue to squeeze every last bit of experience out of it, as I had done before stopping, losing so much time in the process and being left with plenty to do and even more unexplored when, from what I recall, I can delay the vote only one more time. But that idea really rubs me the wrong way, and that time limit that pretty much forces this, making me unable to go through everything at my usual very slow pace, was why I stopped in the first place, so I’ll deal with the post now and think about that some more later.

Read two books last week, though that’d actually work better in countries that have Sunday as the first day of the week, since I started Swallowtail and Sword the previous Sunday, after picking it up for free the evening before, then Tuesday I finished it and wrote the quick review, Wednesday I started The Alloy of Law and Saturday I finished that and wrote the quick review for it as well. Enjoyed both a fair bit, and The Alloy of Law actually got me excited while reading it… Though it also made me sympathize with the antagonist’s cause perhaps a bit too much, since that resulted in getting depressed, or more depressed than usual, after his execution and actually sleeping badly because of it. Not that I haven’t been sleeping badly anyway, but that was one added and specific reason for it, since I kept thinking about that.

Still on the topic of books, yesterday I put that Romanian series up for sale, since I see no reason to keep it around, so let’s see if anything will happen. As for the topic of sleep, went to bed at 4:30 AM last night, as well as Tuesday night, or I guess Wednesday morning. Tuesday I also finally cleaned by room again a little, though I left it for Thursday night to also change the sheets. Also Thursday, the plants behind the building were cleared again, this at least being the first time it happens this year, so now that area is barren and with the trash thrown there even more visible. And while I’m at odds and ends, I’ll also mention here that Saturday I confirmed that we have ants in the kitchen. Had been occasionally seeing some small things around the sink recently, but just killed them without paying attention until then, when I had a good look at one and confirmed what it was. That can quickly become quite a problem…

The timed squats during this period were 2:17 on September 1, 2:21 on September 2, 2:23 on September 5 and 2:24 yesterday. But what I’m really tracking are the runs, and last week’s was on September 5, with the time being 47:14.24, with sector times of 4:19.54, 5:01 (5:00.58), 5:51.12, 4:26.18, 5:00.52, 5:43 (5:42.24), 4:25.16, 4:56 (4:55.83), 5:45.01 and 1:48.06, making for lap times of 15:11.24, 15:09 (15:08.94) and 15:06.00. The target was to stay under 48 minutes and I meant to do it in a more controlled manner, with less of a difference between the lap times, so I took it a bit easier at first and really went for it from sector three of lap two, and it worked out nicely, with each lap actually being a little bit faster than the one before it… And I didn’t even sweat much.
Went out a bit after 2:10 PM, when it was mostly cloudy and the temperature was good enough, though it did feel a bit hot when it was sunny and the clouds did clear as I ran. Probably the more notable problem was the wind though, and there were some people as well, plus that my keys again tore a hole in my pocket and I felt them slip just as I was climbing the stairs, at the start of the final sector, and took them out to hold them in my hand until I finished, though I noticed later that they couldn’t have gone all the way through. It was also a bit worrying that it was the first time I hit the interval button instead of the stop one at the end, so the time after three laps was cleared away, and sometimes I don’t really bother to properly memorize that one and calculate the third lap’s third sector right away, thinking I’ll be able to do it after I finish, but this wasn’t one of those times, so it was fine.

Left again after the run, at 4:55 PM. Hadn’t been quite sure which way I wanted to go, but dad saying that one kind of cat food was needed settled things, since I recalled seeing it at a lower price at a pet shop next to that other Kaufland. And that allowed me to use a route passing through that farmers’ market as well, so I first checked prices at the Carrefour Market next to it, then went there and got some cheap plums and some apples at a reasonable price, the woman selling the plums replying to my questioning look by saying that those were the last ones she had, so that was why she had lowered the price, and then she added about 100 grams more to my bag after I had picked 1 kg, waving me away when I asked why. Walked to that Kaufland after that, first checking prices and getting the cabbage and carrots I wanted but not buying them, hiding them behind some of those croissants I was also going to get for dad, since Carrefour had significantly increased the prices for theirs, and rushing to that pet shop for the cat food. Returned to Kaufland after getting that, grabbing the vegetables from where I had placed them and some of those croissants, to buy them all at once.
Instead of going back the same way, I tried another way, also thinking that I could get to that Auchan and use their free bus from there. But I decided against doing that and sort of explored a little, though I didn’t exactly mean to, the result being that I went quite a long way around, and despite walking past them and meaning to get some more onions from there, I decided against also going to that Carrefour or even back to that Carrefour Market. Did get some sour cream from a small store on the way back though, after having checked the price as I got back from the run, but while the price for that with 30% fat is quite a bit lower than that of the similar kind from Auchan, what I didn’t know was that the little store in question charges for the plastic thing it’s put in as well, and the scales don’t deduct those few grams either. Got there less than ten minutes before closing and was rushing, but the person there did suggest selling me a cup instead, but that was with 20% fat and I wanted 30%, and despite her mentioning paying for that plastic thing as well and it not being worth it for such a small quantity, since I had asked for just enough to be 3 RON, I rather dismissed it, since I had never been in the situation of paying for that, and then had to accept it when I saw the quantity she gave me and that she had calculated it to be 2.90 RON including the 0.40 RON for that thing. So it ended up costing at least as much as the 30% one at Auchan, but I couldn’t back down then, so I just took that small quantity and left, getting back at 7:25 PM. Ate a few of those plums then, plus one of those croissants, and in the evening again made mamaliga and stuffed myself, after again weighing myself and seeing just 47 kg.

Also bought some things on September 2, and that time dad didn’t need the metro card, so I had a route in mind and also meant to once again try to ask, if possible in two different places, whether they accept crushed plastic bottles and aluminum cans. However, things seemed to go badly when dad woke up before I left and mentioned the bottles gathered, again saying that the building’s cleaning lady has someone who comes to take them and pays her a little bit for them, repeating that he can just give them to her when I said I wanted to ask about being able to take them somewhere after crushing them and that I can’t get myself to do that. So I felt pressured, started sweating, got a little nauseous too, was quite clearly having a panic attack, and ended up snapping at him to shut up and rushing to the bathroom to try to recover, staying there for a bit and splashing some water on my face.
Eventually took the plastic which had gathered, to drop off in the bin outside, and left around 2:50 PM, going to Obor and asking at that recycling place there, the door being open this time, another man walking in just before me to ask for a knife and a friendly girl being the one working there, which made it easier. And even though that place is operated by the same firm operating those recycling machines which only take these things if they’re not misshapen, it does indeed work differently and she said that she’d actually prefer those things being brought crushed, since she won’t have to crush them herself.
That done, I also checked prices at the Kaufland and Carrefour from there, but didn’t get anything and went back to the metro, going to the other Kaufland, still looking for something that doesn’t seem available anymore. From there, walked to that Auchan, got the kind of cat food that was needed and a couple of other things, and then wanted to walk to that other recycling center that I saw being recommended. Went the wrong way though, and took me quite a while to realize it, so I then had to go back and go the right way, actually seeing a few other recycling centers on the way, though they seemed to mainly be just for iron and I didn’t try to go to any to ask about anything else being accepted, not wanting to drain myself before getting there. And that worked, since I could ask when I got there, even though the guy seemed quite intimidating. And yes, he said they accept crushed stuff as well. Don’t know how much they’ll pay for them, since the numbers seemed to have fallen off the boards and I couldn’t get myself to ask that as well, but the main thing is that I now know where to take such things when I go that way as well, and if I’ll take them this week, since that place at Obor had a note on the door stating that it’ll be closed this week. And that was the main point, so I meant to come back after that, but wasn’t quite sure which way I wanted to go and ended up back at that Auchan, 15 minutes before the next free bus coming this way was supposed to leave. But I decided to go in and wait, cooling down for a bit, and then took it to get back.

Moving on, that issue with Vivaldi, which I started noticing a couple of months ago, happened again in the first moments of September 2, since it was after midnight. Hadn’t happened since restoring from backup and starting a new trial of ESET Antivirus, this time having it set to not filter secure connections anymore, but I also hadn’t rebooted since then, until the night before, when I finally installed the pending Windows updates, to do that before that trial also expired, that afternoon. So maybe it does have something to do with ESET Antivirus, regardless of that setting, but with something that it does after the first reboot after it’s installed, since it doesn’t require a reboot to complete the installation. And it kept happening since then, though at least I know to watch for it and make sure never to close it with such a stuck page still open, which means it always started up again just fine after that. But it is unusable like this, and if this does indeed have to do with ESET, it’s clear that I can’t use that and, with Vivaldi currently the one option I have for a browser to use more and more next year, however grudgingly, I’ll need to keep looking for security options, which is a real pity.

As for the mouse, noticed several more double middle clicks during this period, but also confirmed that it occasionally misses a scroll up. Doesn’t seem to affect scrolling down yet, which is good, and it’s possible that the issues with scrolling up have been going on for quite some time, but it’s something I don’t do that much and it’s not hard to miss when scrolling quickly or pass off as some momentary browser issue when scrolling slowly. But I clearly confirmed it now and it’s easy to reproduce, so it’s an even better reason to take it to the store under warranty than the double middle clicks, but I’m still putting it off, being wary of ending up without it, possibly with the money back but those not being enough to get another one like it if they won’t replace it with a new one, like they did with the keyboard. Of course, if they will do that again it’ll be the best possible scenario, but there’s always the risk of the bad ones, ranging from getting the money back and being unable to get another one with just that much, going through having it sent back in the same or worse shape, and even getting to being told that they can’t see any problem and charge me for wasting their time. I wonder if this will keep me paralyzed in this manner until the warranty will expire, in January.

Written by Cavalary on September 9, 2019 at 10:00 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Quick Review: The Alloy of Law

This just isn’t done, taking a fantasy world forward, skipping centuries and having its level of development actually change drastically, yet Sanderson did it anyway. I still much prefer more typical fantasy settings, and an Industrial Revolution keeps making me think of the environmental damage caused, but must admit that a fantasy world having its Industrial Revolution can be an interesting place. Or at least, at this point, this one is, even if there isn’t that much worldbuilding in this book, being too short to allow for it and very focused on the action. But the newspaper inserts help with that to some extent, or at least add to the flavor, and otherwise it does just what it aims to do, being something of a fantasy Western, a novel that’s lighter in various ways but thrilling, offering readers a sort of intermission in some ways but gripping them and pulling them towards what comes next in others.
Perhaps as the main bridge over the centuries that were skipped, the magic system is nevertheless presented in great detail, albeit with a clear focus on its use in battles and on the specific abilities of the main characters. And what characters they are, Wax obviously being the most developed and most interesting but Marasi standing out as well and Wayne being another piece that fits in just right to make for a great trio. He doesn’t work so well on his own though, seeming too stereotypical, and that constant banter at times becoming too repetitive and just too much. But that banter does remain funny, while on the other hand, some discussions and inner monologues touch on much deeper aspects, and the antagonist also makes excellent points, definitely worth supporting and acting on, in this world as well as in our own.
Between the thrilling battles, the great characters, the deeper aspects touched upon and the interesting world, I truly was excited while reading this, mostly noticing the reasons for complaint when I stopped to think about it. Could have done without that sort of intervention in the final battle though…

Rating: 4/5

Written by Cavalary on September 7, 2019 at 11:48 PM in Books | 0 Comments

Quick Review: Swallowtail and Sword: The Scholar’s Book of Story and Song

It’s unusual for me to enjoy short stories, but this time I did. That’s in part thanks to the writing, which does again rise to the level I have gotten to expect from the author, with all the care obviously put into it, including the particularly good use of structure and patterns. There were also far fewer typos this time around, several in Kerris’ story but only a few in all the others put together. But the main reason is that these aren’t scattered stories, but the backstories of characters I already know and care for, meaningful and connected with ties that are stronger than the forces of the different times and places trying to separate them. Considering the complaints I had about those, I’d call Swallowtail and Sword better than some of the “proper” books in the series.
Taking the stories separately, the first was Jeffrey’s and the clear postapocalyptic setting overshadowed the positive aspects, while the legend at the end seemed quite out of place in a different way. But other than that, I even sort of enjoyed Ling’s story, despite obviously being bothered by the court intrigue and, as I call it, human filth portrayed in it. Maybe I wasn’t particularly impressed by any aspect of the one about Kirin and his horse, but I can’t find faults in it either, and I also can’t exactly find faults in Fallon’s story, the setting, this time an institution of formal education, again likely being what bothered me to some extent, but in that case I was once again drawn to her unfiltered but well-meaning awkwardness, and even to the way her insecurity is depicted. Sireth’s and Sherah’s struck me as truly, simply, good stories; no complaints. And I’d have likely considered Kerris’ as the best if not for the author insisting on ruining it with that last part. As it is, I’ll have to say that Ursa and Kirin’s is likely the best. But, with the possible exception of the first and the last, they’re all good even separately, and even better when taken as a whole.

Rating: 4/5

Written by Cavalary on September 3, 2019 at 9:53 PM in Books | 0 Comments

Syberia, Botanical Garden, Trouble with New Headphones and Old Glasses

I was quite surprised Wednesday evening, when I finished Syberia. Was quite sure that there will be one more area after the one I was in at the time, but that wasn’t the case, and the ending actually felt quite rushed. So I finished it then, and then quickly threw together a quick review as well, to have a first post for this week, and from now on I definitely mean to always write one of these for any game that I finish and don’t want to write a proper review for. And this also means that I have five games finished by the end of August this year, even if counting The Müll Littoral feels a bit like cheating, so I have reached the normal goal for a year and should from now on focus on games that will take a long time and maybe switch between them if I’ll think that doing so will result in advancing more overall, not caring to actually finish anything in the next several months.

Going back a bit, Tuesday evening I hit my head as I was putting a small plastic bottle under the seat in the kitchen, next to all the others that I keep, still hoping I’ll eventually be able to crush them and still have them accepted by some recycling center but receiving no reply from those I sent messages to and not having the courage to actually go to one and ask in person. Micky was on that seat, right in that place, and I didn’t want to reach in there while stretching my head over the seat and into her and I couldn’t reach otherwise, so I pulled the table away… The problem was that I already had my head down there, and that table has quite a large structure, not regular legs, and I didn’t think about that at the moment, so I ended up pulling a corner of some part of it right into my head, cracking or at least scratching it. There was a bit of blood, which I washed away, then I pried some ice from the freezer and held it there until it melted, then cleaned the area again and put some medicinal alcohol, which I left there while making salad, then cleaned the area a couple more times.

The timed squats done during this period were just 2:30 Sunday, 2:27 Wednesday, 2:25 today and about 2:23 Monday, give or take a second, since a replay was just ending then. And since I got back to the beginning of the period covered by this post, there was another double middle click in the early hours of August 25, before going to bed that morning, following those mentioned in the previous personal post, but again no others since then. It was also on that day, after waking up, that I finally started using the new headphones, but I’ll get to that later, since I guess this paragraph is about odds and ends, where I’d fit the annoying little exchange I had with dad that evening, about something else he’s changing in the bathroom. He had also said that somebody was supposed to come the next evening, around 6 PM, to drill some holes, and since I didn’t want to be there at the time and didn’t want to talk to him again either, I left around 5:45 PM and went to Kaufland, walking slowly both ways, dropping off the things I drop off there and just getting some more of those things Liza is addicted to and that cheap coffee they drink. When I got back, at 7:20 PM, it didn’t seem that anybody had been here or that anything had been done, and nobody came since then either, but I didn’t ask about it and don’t care to.

Thursday I volunteered at the Botanical Garden again, once again going to help Eszter, not being alone again. Set the alarm for 2:15 PM, but eventually got up just before 1:50 PM, after sleeping poorly again despite, very oddly, not needing to get up to pee at all. Left at 4:10 PM, as planned, and after I got there, left my backpack, took a pair of gloves and found Eszter, I learned that the gift shop had already changed the closing time to 7 PM, so we had to rush. She had been watering for some time, having already passed that central area, and asked me to water the magnolias with water from buckets, since she hadn’t known about the change either and otherwise we won’t have time to finish, gather the hose and change. She told me to fill four buckets, because half of one should be enough for one magnolia, but I counted ten magnolias, not including that central one, and also saw five buckets stacked in the gift shop, so it seemed to add up too well and I filled all of them, even if I guess she might have said four due to having already watered two with the hose and filling a bucket in that gift shop bathroom took quite a while, due to the low water pressure and also needing to use something smaller first, since buckets obviously won’t fit in a sink and there’s no short hose there.
It was probably 5:40 PM or so by the time I was done, as I remember checking the time and seeing it was after 5:30 PM when I still had a little to do and then I also lost a bit of time trying to use a wheelbarrow, as she had told me to, only to realize that it’d be a struggle to fit three buckets on it without spilling water and it’d therefore be faster to just carry them by hand, two at a time. However, after carrying the first two buckets and watering the first two magnolias, so when I was thinking that I was just starting to actually do something, since just standing there and filling some buckets couldn’t possibly count, she called me over, asked whether I had carried those buckets by hand and when I said I had she handed me the hose and said she’ll do the rest herself, since she doesn’t want to “abuse” me in that manner, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. So all I could do was finish watering what was left with the hose, feeling quite awkward, while she took care of the magnolias and also the last area with other flowers.
It was just before 6 PM when we were done and I went to turn off the water, and then we gathered the hose incredibly quickly as well, since I saw 6:14 PM when we were done, with her again doing the harder part but still praising me, which is awfully embarrassing… And then I felt even worse when she let me change first and pointed out that she had left me some grapes as well, which she insisted I had to take, and when I got back I saw that it was pretty much exactly 1 kg. In addition, she started raking the area around the gift shop while I changed my pants, and we exchanged a few more words before I walked away, just before 6:30 PM. She said I was the only one helping her with watering, since there’s one person who just comes in the morning and therefore can’t do that, since we’re supposed to water in the evening, and the few others who still come sometimes told her directly, after doing it the first time, that they won’t do that again. But it still feels like, instead of volunteering to do something, I ended up being “paid” by another volunteer to do pretty much nothing.
Either way, I then stopped again a little farther, taking close to ten minutes to arrange the stuff in my backpack and pockets, those grapes making it somewhat difficult. Then I went to Auchan, getting what I could, since money will be really tight for the next couple of weeks, and catching the 8:15 PM free bus to get back. The money situation also means that I’ll need to see what I’ll do about the security software, since the current trial ends tomorrow, buying the headphones means I don’t have enough set aside for what I had planned and I don’t really care to get a license for just one year. But that’s a matter for next week, and to finish with Thursday I should also mention here that I found bites on my hands that evening. There were mosquitoes getting everywhere, in my eyes, in my ears, but it would appear that the repellent did its job, yet it had obviously been washed off my hands… Though these don’t look like mosquito bites, and I wonder if there wasn’t actually something in those gloves I took…

As for this week’s run, that was yesterday, the time being 47:52.34, with sector times of 4:21.93, 5:07 (5:06.59), 5:52 (5:51.80), 4:24.05, 5:00 (4:59.66), 5:47.17, 4:29.44, 5:05 (5:04.53), 5:57.24 and 1:50 (1:49.93), making for lap times of 15:20.32, 15:11 (15:10.88) and 15:31.21. The forecast I saw listed a high of 31°C, but I saw 33°C reported both when I left, just after 3 PM, and when I got back, and the Sun was burning, there was some wind as well, plus that I had “managed” to choke on watermelon and my airways still didn’t feel properly cleared despite coughing a fair bit, which also caused some soreness and made some mucus build up. All of this made me not really set any goal, but I pushed more and more, at first wondering whether I’ll at least manage to stay under 48:30, then starting to think of 48 minutes again, and managing it.
There weren’t many people, so the main problems were the heat and the few areas where I had to go against the wind, but there were some clouds as well, and those helped a fair bit. There was such a period even on lap one, possibly on sector two, then towards the end of sector two of lap two, and then again later. Not quite sure when it got cloudy again, but it was cloudy at least for most of lap three, maybe starting in sector one, if not for just about the entire lap, though at the end it was sunny again, and I really felt it when I ended up in the open at the end of that final sector, as I was giving it everything I still had. Really doubt I’d have managed to stay under 48 minutes without those clouds, since I really pushed and felt exhausted from the end of lap two, but when I saw the time on that sector three of lap two I knew I had a good reason to be so exhausted, and it worked out in the end, even though I was doubting it again after sector one of lap three.
I was drenched in sweat, and actually just what was dripping off my arms made puddles on the desk as I was writing the times in the file, despite trying to wipe several times. Yet I meant to go right back out, to donate some remaining old books, since I saw an event made to gather books for rural school libraries, but I hadn’t noticed the tight hours, only between noon and 3 PM, so it’s a good thing I looked before leaving and realized there was no reason to go anymore, and with today being the last day and not going today either, that was that. On the other hand, the evening was quite unpleasant, since dad badly burned something in the kitchen and the whole place was filled with smoke, giving me headaches as I made myself salad and mamaliga with eggs and cheese and yogurt again, despite all windows and doors being open and a fan running in the kitchen as well.

And now let me get to the new headphones, which I’m still wondering what to do about. I can still return them, but now that I finally got myself to get some, I’d rather not if I can help it. And the sound is good, though I’m not blown away by it, the way many seem to be. I mean, the voices are very clear, yes, and I think I notice that the bass is separate, to reduce how much it interferes with higher frequencies, but the effort to reduce noise may have gone a bit too far, as everything seems just a little muffled and when it comes to the highs I think I hear some more details even on those cheap ones I got for my phone, and on a test I definitely noticed that drop around 4 kHz, which I gather is intentional, supposedly to reduce the noise when you listen to someone talking in a microphone, which is not what I’ll use them for. And they definitely seem very solid, though I guess there’s also a chance that this may mean that they’ll eventually snap somewhere all of a sudden.
But the fact that they’re so solid and the earcups, being over ear and trying to seal, are the problem, since the frame of my glasses doesn’t have the regular shape, going down behind the ears, but continues almost straight, sort of just sitting on my ears and holding on a little bit to my head behind them. Admittedly, when I got them I was very unhappy with how the old ones fit as well, yet I ended up using them for almost nine and a half years and the real problems were only during the first months, before getting used to them, and the last, when they had started visibly harming my right ear, and it says there that before that I wasn’t wearing glasses with headphones at all due to the headaches they caused, the fact that those were just on ear at least fixing that problem. But now I really can’t be at the computer and not wear my glasses anymore, so I really need to see what to do, because these really push those things into my head and it hurts quite badly, can’t keep them on like that for long, and I doubt it’s healthy either. There may be positions in which it’s better, I’m trying various things and there is some relief in some cases, but I doubt it’s something I’ll be able to fix that way, without changing the frames, and I’m not sure that’d be worth it, and I don’t know whether regular ones would fix the problem anyway. Plus that the headband leaves a very red mark on my head as well, which I guess means they’re heavier and generate more pressure there than I thought. But that’s a smaller issue, as is the fact that the cable is on the left, so I’m still not sure how to place it and not have it get in the way of my arm, which already caused me to pull roughly on it a few times, by accident.

Written by Cavalary on August 31, 2019 at 9:28 PM in Personal | 0 Comments