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Quick Review: Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

Read it just to pick something from the Library’s poor environmental section, but the timing’s somewhat interesting, since the Plan’s target was 2020 and you can see how the situation worsened because very little was done. Many problems are correctly identified and in some ways we’re even worse off than anticipated. I particularly liked the focus on population, which is repeatedly listed in connection and leading to most other issues, which can’t be solved without first solving this one. And quite a number of the proposed solutions are good, and quite clearly necessary.
They’re far from sufficient, however, tending to be incremental reforms despite stressing the need for a complete overhaul. Worse, instead of aiming to dismantle and replace capitalism, many proposals are based on the market, which can’t lead to anywhere near enough advances towards the goals and would crush the poor. After all, instead of the predicted collapse leading to a fundamental shift, the economic crisis that followed shortly after publication resulted in even more efforts and resources put into preserving the status quo, which is happening again now. In addition, it’s entirely anthropocentric, with hardly a thought spared for nature and other species in themselves, the problems of “green” development being basically ignored in a race to maximize output. And if the energy chapter would be an example of that, the food one is even worse, largely promoting even more intensive, industrial agriculture. But what bothered me the most was that the population problem was presented as almost exclusively affecting poor countries and being solvable through those nice, voluntary measures that are necessary but nowhere near sufficient, when the even greater immediate need is to stop the better off from having children. Worse, the stated goal was stabilization, reduction and growth being presented as equally unsustainable, which is ludicrous on a terribly overpopulated world.
Otherwise, it’s a hard read, mostly facts and data, and the Romanian translation I read seemed rushed, with a number of typos, some strange wording and no consistency regarding measurement units. The notes were left entirely in English, however, including the chapter names.

Rating: 3/5

Written by Cavalary on October 25, 2020 at 9:29 PM in Books | 0 Comments

Little Money, More Carrying, Replaced Router, Reading and Playing

Last Friday I got up at 2 PM, when the alarm rang. I had been sleeping poorly for a few hours at that point, but I’d say that the alarm ringing just then was rather fortunate, since I had just woken up after a bad dream about Andra and I’d have ended up in a particularly bad place if it wouldn’t have pulled me out of it. Either way, I then had the usual stuff plus almonds and baked pumpkin, with the yogurt being one of those better ones and the sweet thing those nicer biscuits with added honey, drank most of the tea and went out at 4:05 PM, wearing the full running gear and not taking anything else with me. The reported temperature was 22-23°C, supposed to drop by a couple of degrees by the time I finished running, it was cloudy and there was hardly any wind.
After carrying 20 kg the day before and walking quite a lot the day before that as well, the primary target was just 16 km in less than 1:20, but I had this idea that if I’ll complete the five laps in about 1:18 and still feel capable of continuing I was going to go for another half marathon distance and try to finally get back under 1:45 one more time. That proved to be a lot of wishful thinking, however, and in the end I was quite pleased with 16 km in 1:19:32, with sector times of 4:31, 5:15, 6:08, 4:39, 5:11, 6:06, 4:38, 5:15, 6:05, 4:36, 5:16, 6:09, 4:30, 5:14 and 5:59, making for lap times of 15:54, 15:56, 15:58, 16:01 and 15:43. After that poor first sector, I didn’t think 1:20 was possible, and after the first lap I was sure I was looking at about 1:22 or so, thinking I won’t even be able to finish two laps in 32 minutes, to have the 1:20 pace at least on those, when put together, but I just pushed, trying to at least do that, even if I was going to exhaust myself, and when I saw that I managed to actually stay under 16 minutes on lap two as well I kept it up, just pushing wherever I could, sprinting as much as possible on the straights, counting breaths and steps, and found myself a little disappointed by that poorer sector three of lap four that made me unable to complete all laps in less than 16 minutes. Yet, even though I thought I had pushed really hard on that fourth lap, I apparently still had something left for lap five, which ended up being the fastest even though I had moments when I was feeling rather out of it on its first sector and other people caused some problems on the second.
With the weather being good and my joints and muscles not causing any issues, which was actually quite surprising, the few problems were caused by other people. There were quite a few of them, and while for the most part that just meant weaving and going the long way around, three girls caused me to need to take to the grass and go around a pole, breaking my sprint on that long sector two straight, and then there was a roadblock on sector three of lap one. The only other roadblock, however, was on sector two of lap five, but that sector was rather tricky in general, since I had to keep looking for ways through and weave around dogs and leashes, cyclists, walkers and kids on scooters. Other than that, did start to feel like I had to take a shit early on lap four and wouldn’t say that the feeling went away, but it wasn’t too bad and after a while I just didn’t pay attention anymore, which was particularly true on lap five, when I was just pushing like crazy.
This again makes me think that what I lost during the state of emergency and can’t seem to regain since then, despite the time that passed, is this confidence to push before the end, always thinking that I need to keep enough in reserve in order to avoid hitting the wall and being terribly slow, and being unable to just whip myself in this manner in general. I mean, obtaining such times isn’t supposed to be easy, and if I’d have pushed like this last Monday, I’d have quite certainly managed to get back under 1:45, assuming I really wouldn’t have hit the wall. But I can’t know that I won’t, and don’t want to find myself back in the situation I was in at the start of July

An unpleasant moment came in the evening, however, when I got to the subject of money with dad and was told that he had talked about it with my mother as well and, since her pension increased by less than the amount they had expected, “we all need to share the difference”, so they can give me less than 40% of what was a normal amount, after it was only a little over 60% of that amount last month and I also covered most other expenses out of what I had set aside by then, though at least that amount was paid back now. He also took the opportunity to rant against the government for a while for things I wouldn’t quite say are among the otherwise long list of problems they can and should be blamed for right now, but to return to that unpleasant matter in itself, I don’t quite see how the family’s income increasing by less than an amount that was expected, unreasonably so if you ask me, would logically lead to the amount allocated for something decreasing. One’d think that less of an increase in income would lead to less of an increase in expenses, and likely no increase at all for matters of low priority, which is where I guess I fit, yet that’s not only not the case, but it also seems that all of us sharing that difference between expectation and reality means that a good 60% of it is taken out of what they can give me, while the plans for added expenses elsewhere go right ahead, since later that night he asked me to search again for a freezer, and the next day about a computer a friend of his wanted to sell him… But discussing money is awful under any circumstances and the whole concept just needs to go away, maybe after a period of nearly everyone being given their fair share of the available amount instead of “earning” very different amounts in very different ways that are almost always terribly unfair, so being more or less in what should be my situation, when things don’t get messed up in this manner.

Moving on, Tuesday the alarm was set to ring at 2 PM, but I got up at 1:15 PM, after sleeping poorly after waking up to pee at 12:40 PM. Had the usual stuff plus hazelnuts, since my mother had sent some a while ago and I’m running low on almonds, and also some baked pumpkin. The yogurt was again one of those better ones, and for the sweet thing I went back to what used to be the usual stuff, having two of those wheat things with honey. Then I put on the full running gear plus an undershirt, stuffed some things in the pocket of my tights and left at 3:50 PM. It was sunny and there was hardly any wind, but the reported temperature was 16°C then and holding steady or maybe dropping by 1°C by the time I finished running.
The time was 47:06.53, with sector times of 4:10.75, 5:01.13, 5:41 (5:40.33), 4:23.38, 4:57.36, 5:50 (5:49.76), 4:24 (4:23.77), 5:01.49, 5:49 (5:48.48) and 1:50.08, making for lap times of 14:52.21, 15:10.50 and 15:14 (15:13.74). I was just aiming to stay under 48 minutes, but pushed from the beginning and even harder on lap one’s third sector, aiming for a lap in less than 15 minutes again, which I managed. Then I was just thinking that I could afford 15:30 on the next two laps, but kept doing my best to take advantage of the straights, return to a better strategy and have more confidence in the fact that I can push earlier, so I ended up closer to 47 minutes and wondering whether I could have gained those seven seconds too.
There was of course some weaving and going the long way around, but the only more noticeable issues had to do with squeezing past several dogs that had just met, their owners having a bit of trouble controlling them just then, and catching another spiderweb and possibly losing a couple of seconds as I tried to get it off my face. Quite sure the dogs were on a sector two and the spiderweb on a sector three and believe they were both on lap three, but it’s possible that one was in fact on lap two. However, with masks mandatory outside as well as of that day, I obviously had mine on as I walked to the park, only taking it off just before I started running and putting it back as soon as I finished, but was wondering whether even having it off while running was all right and other runners seemed to take all possible approaches, the first one I saw having his on his chin, the next few having theirs on at first but having pulled them down on their chin as well by the time I saw them again, since they were running in the opposite direction, others being like I was, without a mask at all while running, and one having a cloth mask which she kept on over multiple laps. Saw four police officers as I ran, two seeming to be fining someone who was sitting on a bench as I passed them and the other two walking, one of them seeming to glance my way when I first passed by them but not saying anything. Just before I was about to pass them the second time, however, I again passed that guy who was the first runner I saw and he was just pulling his mask back down and gestured to it, probably meaning to warn me that I should also have one on before they’ll see me. I don’t think they’re required while exercising, but I’m seeing plenty of people asking about this, so it remains to be seen.

After the run, I went to that Carrefour, just getting eggs and a bread, and got back just before 6 PM, leaving again a bit after 7:10 PM. Wasn’t quite sure which way I meant to go at first, but ended up checking out the Supeco that’s next to that farmers’ market and getting a couple of things from there, having the receipt from Carrefour fall out of my pocket and end up under my foot, so it’s a good thing someone else pointed it out to me. Then I kept going to the Kaufland at Vitan, getting a few more things, including taking advantage of the evening discounts for cucumbers and carrots, the one for carrots actually being much higher than what was not only listed, but also repeatedly announced while I was there. And that Carrefour receipt really wanted to get away from me, because it again fell out of my pocket when I left the self-checkout area, and again someone else pointed it out to me as I was searching for it, having noticed that it was gone after taking a few steps. But I retrieved it again, and then returned to that Carrefour to also get cat litter on the way back, needing to specifically ask for the receipt, since the cashier didn’t give it to me directly. But at least that was the last thing on the list, and I was back just before 9:40 PM, carrying 16.5 kg… And it actually was just after 5:30 AM when I finally got in bed, but it had been 5:30 AM when I went to bed Monday morning as well.

Otherwise, Saturday I did manage to finish Grim Fandango Remastered, then cooked that sweet thing I had been planning to make for quite some time, having it turn out surprisingly well. And Sunday evening I somehow managed to throw together a review for the game, in order to make it the second post of the week, and just managed to both post it here and submit it on MobyGames before dad needed to start working on-line. In addition, Monday I played one of those additional modules that supposedly come with Neverwinter Nights: Gold, starting the second one yesterday, though I haven’t yet finished it. In between, Wednesday, I also started the book I managed to get from the Library last week and I’m hoping to finish it Sunday, to have the quick review for it as this week’s second post. That will be quite a struggle, but I should just manage it if I maintain this pace… And if I’ll be fine in general, because my heart again started beating irregularly when I got back to my room after eating last night and it kept happening even after I got to bed, even when I woke up to pee, and I felt a few such moments after I got up today as well, along with a panic attack that I seem to just barely hold off…

On the other hand, the router issue repeated itself and kept getting worse this week. Actually, it first happened again Sunday evening, just before I connected to post that review, and then it happened several more times after that, starting to happen twice in a row and eventually, just while dad was working last night and really needed the connection, taking 20 minutes before the connection was restored. So dad called to report the issue Monday, and somebody came to have a look that evening, but he said the router was fine and that someone else will come to check some other equipment they have in the building the next day. Whether that happened or not, I don’t know, but seeing as the problem kept getting worse dad called them again yesterday and this evening someone came again, replacing the router and saying that a power surge had likely messed it up. The problem is that they replaced it with a different one that no longer shows who’s connected, so dad can’t see when I’m on anymore, and this after he had just finally started actually checking and acting accordingly not long ago… The settings are also quite confusing, and the IP changed, so I guess I’ll see what will happen with that and whether dad will have something else to talk to them about.

Written by Cavalary on October 23, 2020 at 8:01 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Review: Grim Fandango: Remastered

I must say that this review is put together in a hurry and focusing mainly on the remaster and less on the game itself. I haven’t played the original game, however, and also didn’t care to try to play this version with the original controls or graphics, so I can’t make a direct comparison, but some improvements, mainly when it comes to the controls, are so obvious and important that I don’t even want to think about needing to play the game without them.

Starting from there, the fact that point and click controls were introduced in this version made the game playable as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know how somebody initially thought it was a good idea to make the player need to slowly move Manny all around, try to figure out what he was looking at and hope to avoid missing anything, but at least they came to their senses for this version. Or they partially came to their senses, but more about that later.
The other immediately noticeable improvement has to do with the graphics. For those who want to compare, switching between the original look and the enhanced one can be done at any point, with the press of a button, but graphics aren’t such an important aspect for me and, as one of the bits of commentary also mentions, the game’s art style actually suits those early 3D graphics in a way that very little else does. And the sound is another aspect that was handled well to begin with, the music being perhaps best described simply as being truly fitting, and the voice acting actually being great; no complaints from me about either. In addition, and in fact more importantly, the dialogues, characters and overall story are quite good. Wouldn’t say great, this is no Planescape: Torment or Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines, for example, but Grim Fandango may well be one of the better games from these points of view as well, all of these aspects put together also meaning that it may well be one of the better ones when judged on its artistic merits in general.

Unfortunately, I can’t maintain this good opinion when it comes to the gameplay, even in this edition. I already said that, from my point of view, the original game was nearly unplayable, but they could have improved it further in this version by adding a proper inventory, and maybe also a way to highlight what you can interact with, though the point and click controls admittedly make this only an optional helpful feature. A journal would have definitely been useful, however, the dialogue transcript being a poor substitute, its role being at most to add a slow and tedious way to partially compensate for the fact that you can’t repeat dialogues in case you forgot something, or missed it in the first place.
On that topic of knowing what to do, there may be fewer examples of Moon logic than adventure games tended to be infamous for, possibly also in part just because there is no proper inventory system, and there are some parts of the game where there isn’t that much you can do, so a bit of trial and error should be enough even if the puzzle makes little sense or you forgot what you should be doing and obviously don’t have a journal to use to remember. At other times, however, the solution makes no sense and simply trying everything may not be a realistic option, year two probably being the most confusing overall, considering the number of locations, characters and items you may end up carrying at once, and the fact that it seems some context is missing early on, and possibly later as well, if you don’t quite do or find some things in the intended order. Still, while I did need to read the full solution for one year two puzzle as well, when Manny needs to get strip searched, the one that struck me as the worst, simply impossible to either figure out or stumble upon the correct solution on your own, was in year one, to find the key for the way to Rubacava, the fact that the commentary recognizes it as a problem being little comfort.
Since I got to the commentary, it was quite messy, difficult to follow at times. They should have taken some care to speak better, and maybe more to the player than to each other, and at times even over each other or more or less to themselves. The fact that the text is often a bit faster than the speech only makes it worse, and you can’t hurry it along either, just reading the text faster and skipping to the next line when you’re done, that function not working on the commentary. In addition, there are quite a number of commentaries with tiny trigger areas, easy to miss if you don’t make sure to step in pretty much every possible spot, and at least one place, when you get to the Florist in year four, where just playing the game normally is likely to lead to completely missing some commentary, as well as some of Manny’s comments about what he sees, since you can’t get back there. Otherwise, I personally liked that the commentary at times provided hints, but can see how many would dislike that as well, so there should have perhaps been a way to enable and disable such spoilers.
It struck me as odd when I spotted some wrong names in the transcript of a few of the first year two commentaries, and then there was the time when the commentary icon briefly appeared at the end of the car ride to the final area, when I doubt that pressing the commentary key would have worked during a cutscene even if I’d have managed to react in time. But those are tiny issues and I just mentioned them to connect the part about the commentary to this one about bugs, the important ones having to do with running to some things you can interact with or even to some area exits, which can sometimes require reloading or even forcing the game to close, and perhaps even more notably with manipulating the crane’s chain in year three, the game hanging multiple times until it finally allowed me to get past that puzzle and freezing the display as it did so, so it’s a good thing I knew how to “blindly” force it to close. As for other smaller problems, there are a number of objects that don’t have point and click controls, though they all seem to be objects Manny will only comment on, not any that can actually be interacted with, and also a few cases where such controls seem to have been added where they shouldn’t have been, clicking one such object causing Manny to move to another, though this again doesn’t interfere with any puzzles.

Overall, when it comes to the artistic aspects, the story, characters, dialogues, acting, music and art style, Grim Fandango was a good game to begin with, and this version retains those aspects and also adds graphical improvements, which can be toggled on and off at any time with the press of a button. However, I don’t even want to think about having to play the game with the original controls, so I’ll once again stress that, from my point of view, the point and click controls added in this version simply make it playable. There are other improvements which should have been made and weren’t, and a handful of bugs that weren’t fixed or were even added in this version, but changing the controls means it can be played as it is, and those positive aspects can be enjoyed. That’s not to say that it can’t still be frustrating at times because of puzzles that make too little sense or, in a few cases, are pretty much impossible without a guide, but probably less so than most adventure games.

Written by Cavalary on October 18, 2020 at 10:08 PM in Gaming | 0 Comments

Just a Regular Update at 36

I guess I’m 36 now. Wonder how long it’ll take me to remember it, but maybe not too long, seeing as I was thinking to myself that the answer would have changed if they’d have called a day later when someone doing a survey woke me up yesterday, one of the first questions being my age. Not that a certain day matters, even if it means that this ball of rock and metal that we keep trashing as if we and all other species we share, or should be sharing, it with had plenty more to spare should be in the same spot on its lap around our local star as it was at the unfortunate time of my birth.

That’s all I’ll say about that, however, the rest of this post being just a regular personal update, albeit one posted with the time of the file, just to have it show up on October 15 even if I could only get on-line at night. And, speaking of that, I’ll again be spending a lot less time on-line for the next two weeks, since dad will again be working from home for this period, this happening very suddenly, seeing as he started last night and was only notified a few hours earlier, sending me an SMS to also let me know about it while I was out. And this comes right after a period during which he was leaving about an hour and a half earlier, so I’m going straight from having more time than normal every other day to having less, meaning I’ll need to cut much of what I’m still doing on-line again.

But let me start from the beginning, with Monday, when I got up at 2 PM, when the alarm rang, had the usual stuff plus almonds and baked pumpkin, with the yogurt being one of those better ones and the sweet thing those nicer biscuits with honey, drank most of the tea, put on the full running gear, not taking anything else with me, and went out at 4 PM. Also weighed myself before leaving, seeing 47 kg. Otherwise, the temperature was around 24°C, supposed to drop by 1-2°C by the time I’ll finish. Fortunately, while the forecast had changed the day before to list pretty strong wind, that wasn’t really the case while I ran. It was still windy at times, but nothing like I feared, and on laps three and four I wouldn’t say that the wind was a significant problem at all.
Covered a half marathon distance again, the time being 1:45:50, with sector times of 4:26, 5:06, 5:57, 4:33, 5:11, 6:02, 4:39, 5:11, 6:05, 4:42, 5:14, 6:05, 4:45, 5:22, 6:13, 4:48, 5:25, 6:12, 1:53, 6:03 and 1:58, making for lap times of 15:29, 15:46, 15:55, 16:01, 16:20 and 16:25, plus 9:54 for the final portion. Of course I was hoping to finally get back under 1:45, so the failure was disappointing, but it was clear from the very first lap, in fact after the first two sectors, that I had no chance, so I calculated target times in order to at least be faster than last time and stuck to them pretty much exactly for the rest of the six full laps, the one exception being lap four, when I wondered whether I could stay under 16 minutes for one more lap even though the target was 16:05 and ended up failing to do so and also losing a second over two laps, seeing as the initial target for lap five was 16:15. On the other hand, I never thought I’d be as fast as I was on that final portion, but when I found that I didn’t struggle up the stairs, on the bridge, I kept pushing… And ended up just two seconds shy of the record for that portion, without even realizing it until I got back and typed the times. If I’d have realized how close I was, maybe I’d have managed to gain a few more seconds on the final sector, but I wasn’t calculating anymore at that point.
In terms of problems, it was rather windy on parts of the first two laps, but then the wind died down and only picked back up on sector three of lap five, several other windy areas following after that, all the way to the end, though at least this time around I didn’t have to fight the wind on those sector two straights anymore. Otherwise, the knee was fine until the start of lap five and only gave some little warnings after that point, and I felt gas and quite a pressing need on sector three of lap two, making me think that I was going to have a rather serious problem, but the feeling soon went away and, while said pressing need returned at various moments after that, it wasn’t nearly as bad and therefore not much of an issue. Also, while I felt a bit of runner’s high on sectors one and two of lap three, when that feeling went away it wasn’t replaced by exhaustion. As for problems caused by people, had a roadblock very quickly, I think on the first sector, when three groups were passing each other just when I also reached that spot, but then I only had to briefly stop again on sector three of lap four, after a little silly dance with a cyclist, and twice more on sector one of lap six, first because of a misunderstanding with another cyclist and then because of another roadblock. For a good part of the time, however, there weren’t that many people, so there was some weaving and going the long way around, and maybe slowing a little bit a few times, but the only other issue that might have had a noticeable effect was at the start of the final sector, when I was going up the stairs and three people were ahead of me, completely blocking the way, and I think I slowed as I was trying to figure out how to get through before one realized that somebody was coming and stepped aside, so I wonder what the final portion’s time would have been without that problem.

After getting back, I changed, grabbed what I needed and the plastic and metal and went back out just after 7 PM, dropping those recyclables off in a bin on the way to the Carrefour from the park. The plan was to then go to that Kaufland as well, which was why I hadn’t taken anything with me and came back first, but in the end I decided against that, just getting what I meant to get from Carrefour, minus almonds, since I couldn’t find any of those that were on sale, but plus some pastry that seemed to be on an unannounced sale. Had to wait for several minutes to get that pastry though, a single employee again seeming to need to cover the confectionery and bakery and pastry areas and having a few customers at the confectionery area when I got there. But things went fine otherwise and I was back at 8:50 PM, having that pastry before finally showering. Obviously made mamaliga again that night, though that meant I only started eating at 2 AM… And got in bed at 5:30 AM…

Moving on to yesterday, as I already mentioned, a call woke me up at what I see was 1:22 PM, and with the alarm set to ring at 2 PM, I stayed up after that. That proved a good thing, since the call lasted 16 minutes, so it can be said that I was up 22 minutes before the planned time, yet still left almost 15 minutes later than planned, just before 3:45 PM. That was important, since the current circumstances mean that making an appointment to visit the Bucharest exhibition of the Museum of Broken Relationships is strongly recommended and I had done so, selecting 4:30 PM, but I had allowed myself some margin and ended up being only five minutes late, and that was after getting a little confused at one point and losing a few minutes because of that. Should also mention that I only noticed after making that appointment that the exhibition was extended for another week, so I would have been able to go next week as well, but things will only get worse anyway.
About the exhibition, I’m going to say that the objects and stories are all over the place, including some relationships with family members, some ended with death, friends or even one’s home country. But what I didn’t expect, and what I definitely spent most time on, was the room with black walls and messages written on them, and also on a board that was placed there. The messages were of all sorts, from heartbreaking or heartwarming to brutal or disgusting, some also being directed at the other visitors, and I took my time trying to read them all, including those written on the ceiling, or behind the armchairs or couch, or scribbled on the board or on the smaller slips of paper stuck to it. The three other visitors who were there at the same time reached that room while I was there, but the two girls quickly turned around and moved on to other areas when they saw me there, then seemed uncertain what to do when they returned and saw that I hadn’t yet left, one eventually asking the other whether she wanted to leave and apparently doing so after only a quick look. The older woman, on the other hand, arrived there as I was finishing with that room and we didn’t really get in each other’s way. And yes, I did leave a message as well, when I was sure I was alone: “15 years since you left. In what I feel and what I desire, nothing has changed.” I didn’t see chalk, so couldn’t add it in that manner, and also couldn’t find any more of those pink slips of paper that were stuck to the board, but some had written on the board itself and I did that as well, using the pencil I had with me.
What’s unfortunate is that I had meant to take the camera and forgot, so I only had my phone and the pictures I took aren’t exactly usable… And those made of that room are almost completely useless, the poor light meaning that hardly anything is visible. But there was nothing else to do at that point, so after looking at and reading everything, I went to the bathroom and then left, at 5:25 PM. Can’t really say how I felt at that point, but I’m glad I went there, knowing I’d have seriously regretted missing such an opportunity.

From there, I also went to the central location of the Metropolitan Library, since it’s not far and both books I meant to borrow were listed as available there. However, after taking less than 15 minutes to get there, I waited for almost 20 only to eventually be told that they just couldn’t find one. And I had to wait outside as well, as people aren’t allowed in, the other guy who was at the door when I got there letting me know. So after a little while someone came to ask what I wanted, I told her that the first issue was the site stating that my pass was expired even though it shouldn’t be and then handed her the slip of paper with the titles and authors of the two books, she said the pass needs to be verified at least once per year, so they’ll do that then, asked whether the site listed the books as available and, after I confirmed, left with my pass and the slip of paper… Only to return a moment later to ask what was written on said slip of paper, because they couldn’t understand my handwriting. After I told her, she went back in… And the guy who seemed to be handling this eventually handed me just one book, saying that they just couldn’t find the other one, and agreeing that it should be available but saying that it’s probably misplaced.
I was also thinking of getting myself another piece of carrot and orange pie from that place I got one from a while back, seeing as it’s only a few steps away from there, but had only taken a small amount of money with me and doing so would have left me without enough for almonds, in case I’d have found some on the way back, meaning to at least check that Carrefour at Unirii, if not some Carrefour Market spotted on the way as well. On the other hand, I also considered rushing to the other Library location I knew listed both books as available, that actually being the one I had initially meant to get them from, but wasn’t really sure I knew how to get there right away and time would have been really tight even without any risk of getting confused on the way, so I gave up on that idea as well and first stopped for a quick look through a used books store, which was where I was when I received that SMS from dad, and then went to that Carrefour at Unirii. Still didn’t find those almonds, and that was the last day of the sale, so I guess they ran out of them quickly, even if they’re their own brand, but found a couple of expiring things I could use, some cheap apples that were bagged and priced as if about to spoil but nevertheless looked quite nice, that cashier not charging me for the bag they were in, and also some bread, spending that small amount I had with me almost entirely. Then I just walked back, getting here at exactly 8 PM.

As for today, after receiving a notification that it was the day when they’ll have a 5% discount on all products, on top of any other applicable discounts, I went to the Auchan from Vitan, deciding to stay up when I woke up to pee at 11:50 AM and leaving at 1 PM. Did check that Carrefour from the park first, looking for eggs and checking the prices of a few things, to compare, but everything was either more expensive or not available, so I didn’t get anything and kept going to Auchan, ending up getting everything I wanted and a few additional things from there. Was worried about a few things, considering ordering them on-line before leaving and then just picking them up when I’ll get there, but those I was most interested in and concerned about were those I wanted to select myself, so I didn’t, and that ended up being just fine… Or maybe even better than fine, since the stock of cloves was listed as limited on the site and just when I was searching for them someone else asked an employee to help her find the same thing, and after looking around for a while the employee said they don’t have any left… Yet she pointed out the spot where they should have been, where something else had been placed, and while she removed the first box of those other spices in order to look behind it, after she and the other customer left I removed the box behind it as well, stuck my hand in and managed to find the last of the cloves thrown back there. After making sure that the other customer had left, I even went to that employee and told her that I just needed to search a little harder, showing her my “prize”.
Another interaction was with an older woman who saw me picking up regular popcorn when she was looking at the microwaveable one and asked how I make those and whether it all pops properly, seeming really interested in the details while I was increasingly surprised, having expected an older person to know how to actually make popcorn in a pot and possibly have questions about microwaving it and not the other way around. But I told her what I could before I felt too much of a need to get away, and eventually made my way to the checkout, where it took me a while to place everything on the belt, considering how many items I had. The cashier started to scan well before I finished and then waited for me for quite a while to get everything back in the bags, so I even apologized to her and to the next customer for making them wait, but that was the end of it, the additional discount being applied properly and the machine used to pay working just fine. Did take quite a few more minutes to properly place everything in the bags and backpack, but once I did it wasn’t hard to walk back, even if I carried 20 kg, getting back here at 4:25 PM. I’m not sure how I’ll manage to run tomorrow after this, because I do mean to do so, before things get even worse around here, but I guess I’ll see what happens.
Oh, I’ll also mention here that Micky snuck in my room soon after I got back, when I had just dashed in to check something and hadn’t closed the door behind me, and of course she went right under the desk as soon as she realized I saw her, but this time around she tried to get behind the UPS, and then over it and into the desk, and since she couldn’t fit it was easy to grab her and take her out. She did try to grab on to anything she could when I did that though, and I didn’t get down there again to check the cables, so I hope she didn’t move anything in a way that will cause any problems.

Written by Cavalary on October 15, 2020 at 11:57 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Run Three of the Series and Router Resetting to Factory Settings

Tuesday I woke up again just before the alarm rang, at 11 PM, but that was after having a hard time falling asleep in the first place and waking up multiple times after that. Still, with a forecast listing a risk of rain in the afternoon, I had to go earlier, so I had the usual stuff plus almonds, the yogurt again being one of those better ones and the sweet thing those biscuits with added honey. Had the full running gear and went out a bit before 1 PM, when the reported temperature was 22°C, increasing to 24-25°C by the time I finished. It was cloudy in the morning, but it became mostly sunny just before I left and remained so while I ran, though as I ran lap three there was a rather cloudy period again. The wind sure was an issue though, especially early on, as I had to really fight it for the first two laps, and there were still some serious gusts on lap three and in quite a few places on lap four as well, just lap five being better, the wind only being something of an issue on that long turn where it may cause problems even when there’s very little otherwise.
Just as I meant to press the button at the end, I noticed that my fingers were numb and I fumbled with it, only managing to stop the stopwatch a couple of seconds later, but I’m pretty sure I looked just as I was crossing what I consider to be the finish line, and the time I saw then was 1:18:21. The sector times were 4:17, 5:04, 6:01, 4:27, 5:07, 5:57, 4:31, 5:11, 6:01, 4:39, 5:12, 6:03, 4:37, 5:08 and 6:06, making for lap times of 15:22, 15:31, 15:43, 15:54 and 15:51. Was only aiming for 1:20 and thinking that even that was unrealistic and I’ll likely need to settle for 1:22 or even 1:23, but I pushed from the start and after two sectors even thought I’ll manage a first lap in less than 15:20. The third sector wasn’t that good, so I failed that, but then I aimed to have two laps in less than 31 minutes and managed that with quite a few seconds to spare, at which point I became certain of 1:20 and started entertaining the thought of 1:19. Still didn’t think it was at all likely, however, so I was only really aiming for 16 minutes on lap three in order to afford 16:30 on the last two, and even thinking that if I’ll end up needing 16:20 on lap five and not manage that, I won’t be too disappointed. Yet lap three was even a bit closer to 15:30 than to 16:00, and at that point I finally realized that 1:19 was indeed possible and moved on to the next goal, five laps in less than 16 minutes, which I also achieved. And after seeing 1:02:30 after four laps, I obviously had to aim to stay under 1:18:30, which I did. So, while still not marking a return to a normal time for this distance, which would be under 1:18, under these circumstances this run went way better than I dared to even hope.
Felt that mix of exhaustion and runner’s high on sector one of lap three, but it lessened after that, and from lap four I was actually making a mental note that I felt I had entered a proper “endurance” phase and could just keep going like that, steadily. There were a few moments when I felt like taking a crap though, the feeling first appearing on that same lap three and coming and going after that. The knee only gave me some faint warnings on sector one of lap five, being fine otherwise, and the people weren’t a problem either, the park actually being quite clear. There were plenty of runners though, especially early on, and while all others going in the same direction were much slower, the first two, a man and a woman in Brasov Marathon t-shirts, even helped a little, as they were just ahead of me when I started and a fair bit slower, but once I overtook them, under the bridge, she stayed behind but he pushed to stay right on my heels until a gust of wind made me slow, at which point he overtook me and was pulling steadily ahead until he stopped, early on sector two. But, back to issues, as I already mentioned, it was that wind that caused the most, and especially on those first two laps, plus on those areas of laps three and four, which unfortunately included all but one straight, I was at times feeling like I was pushing against a wall, having to hold my head to the side to breathe and try to position myself to try to cut through it as well as I could.

Was back just before 2:45 PM and left again at 3:55 PM, also taking the recyclables, including what I drop off at Kaufland, so I again had to make that detour in order to find a bin. Then I went to Kaufland, dropping those things off there as well and getting a couple of things… And washing my armpits in the bathroom, since we didn’t have hot water and the site said it’ll stay off until midnight, which normally meant it’ll return to normal pressure at night, but still be cold until morning. Also meant to go to the Library location from that area, since I think I need to renew my pass and was thinking of borrowing something too, but when I went out I realized I didn’t have the time, so I went back, retrieved the purchases from the cabinet I had placed them in and also had a quick look through that Carrefour, grabbing some more beets and getting back a bit before 6 PM.
Started cleaning my room after that, but paused before vacuuming to go back out a bit after 7 PM, to also get some sour cream, since dad was going to bring my mother over again the next day and make mamaliga and wanted that as well, and I asked whether he was going to get some from a certain nearby place or I will, and he said I can go in that case. Almost left my ID card there, and the receipts from Kaufland and Carrefour, after leaving them in a box when I took out the money and forgetting about them until the cashier called after me. But all’s well that ends well, so I got back and vacuumed, then grabbed something to eat quickly and eventually made some mamaliga myself, for dinner, which I only started eating at 1:30 AM. Interestingly, contrary to pretty much all past experience, hot water came at 11 PM, but I made food and ate first, and then also changed the sheets, before showering before going to bed, which I finally did at 5:20 AM.

Something strange happened the next morning, apparently at 11 AM, according to the logs. I noticed that the WLAN LED was on when I passed by the router after getting up and wondered why did dad turn that on, but when I tried to log on, I couldn’t, so after a couple of failed attempts I tried the default password and that worked, and a quick check confirmed that the router had been reset to factory settings, this apparently happening seconds before 11 AM, with some changes to some settings being made, within seconds, four minutes later, no computer being connected to it at the time and the logs not stating that anyone had logged on.

I guess that’s it for now, though I’ll add that dad brought some cactus fruit from his sister this evening and I held them for a while and then peeled one, only realizing that I had tiny thorns all over my hands as a result after that, so I hope they’ll sort of go away on their own after a while, because it’s pretty unpleasant at the moment. Definitely hope my hands will be fine tomorrow evening, when I’d want to make some more pasta, before what I plan to be a half marathon run on Monday, to honor Sunday’s marathon. And I should also finish Grim Fandango Remastered and read something next week, possibly after renewing that Library pass and getting something from there, because my chances of reading 12 books and finishing five, or even four, games this year are getting to be quite low, with only six books and two games when there are only two and a half months left. But the one thing I absolutely need to do next week if I’m to ever do it at all is visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, since October 17 is the last day it’ll be here, so let’s see if I’ll do that after all and how I’ll fit the other things in as well, if I somehow will.

Written by Cavalary on October 10, 2020 at 3:37 AM in Personal | 0 Comments