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Houses, Libraries, Science and Science Fiction

This will be a particularly long post, even though there’s not much to say about this week after I already posted about Monday’s record run. Should probably mention the fact that I finally slept better though, probably mostly because I was alone during the day and could therefore make salad and eat it then instead of at night, so didn’t keep waking up to pee every couple of hours anymore, and there was also much less noise except for perhaps an hour or so relatively early, while dad’s awake and yet to leave. Doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t still wake up plenty of times, usually due to worrying about all sorts of things, but could also get back to sleep quickly too, and stayed in bed until 2 PM or 3 PM, which again was in good part due to knowing I’ll be alone for most of the day, so there was no real reason to get up quickly if it seemed quiet.

Can probably say that Micky pissing me off could also be filed under this week though, since it happened Sunday night, a little after 1 AM, when I was going to the kitchen to eat, so it was Monday already. Either way, she was standing right against the door, which happens a fair number of times when she knows the time at which I go out comes, but now she somehow managed to slip past me without me really noticing it. Had only slightly opened the door and squeezed myself out after noticing her there, but she somehow slipped into my room even so. Did think I might have noticed something out of the corner of my eye, but didn’t see her inside when I closed the door, so went to the kitchen… Only to return to check when I didn’t see her there or on the hallway either.
Found her behind the door at the bottom of my bookcase, which opens towards the rest of the room, as in not towards the wall, and creates something of a box, considering the boxes with dad’s old books that are in front of that area. But as soon as I approached, she ran towards my desk and got right behind it, behind my computer, struggling to make her way through the cables that are in that tight space while I froze, knowing it’ll just make her move even more if I approached, and stared at the computer, hoping she won’t unplug something. Once she made it through that area, she stopped under my desk, but as soon as I moved towards her again, she turned around and stood on two legs, leaning against the side of the desk and seeming about to get behind it again by jumping, which would have been even more likely to unplug something. So I stopped again and grabbed my stopwatch, which was the first thing I could think of, to try to move it around on the floor in an attempt to get her interested.
That definitely didn’t work with Micky, but glancing outside I saw Liza meaning to get in as well, since I had left the door open so Micky would be able to leave on her own. Normally my mother takes Liza in her room at night and closes the door, but she wasn’t there then, so I found myself trying to keep Liza, who wanted to play with anything, away, while drawing Micky, who didn’t seem to care about anything other than staying under my desk, towards me. And that got even harder after I left the watch and grabbed the feather duster from the hallway.
The only time Micky moved while I was doing this was when I tried to approach her again, at which point she turned around and meant to get behind the desk again, so I had to stop and back off right away. But she was at least paying attention, so I managed to keep her eyes on the feather duster enough to slowly get closer without going straight towards her, and when I was close enough I put a hand behind her, which made her run back behind that door when she noticed it. And then I went right after her, now obviously coming from the direction of the desk myself, so she couldn’t run back there, and I grabbed her and took her back out of my room, breathing a sigh of relief that Liza didn’t get in during that time and neither of them broke anything.

And now let me get back to the beginning of the period covered by this post, that being September 23, when I checked out some of the locations that took part in this year’s Night of the Houses. This is a personal post, so won’t be explaining much about the event or the locations, but the idea is for some NGOs and communities, many of them artistic or cultural, that are making use of houses, apartments or gardens instead of places that’d be more readily recognized as headquarters or, as the case may be, clubs, to open those spaces and present them to the public one evening per year. The listed general schedule was between 6 PM and midnight, but plenty stated that they will remain open later into the night and a few stated opening later. And there was one opening earlier due to having some presentations and discussions taking place before the general event.
Since I was curious and one place I wanted to visit, having to do with the Rosia Montana issue, was at the end of a potential route going past several others, I started on that route in time to reach the first one at around 6:15 PM, give or take five minutes. At that point they were still trying to get ready, but a couple of older women were going in as well and someone else was already inside, so they presented the place quickly and announced the evening’s schedule. After that I had to pretty much walk all the way to that last point on my route, finding that none of the others were ready for visitors yet, some showing activity, others appearing quiet and deserted.
When I reached that final place, at 7:15 PM, the door to the building was closed and there was a note stating which number to call on the intercom to have the door opened if you wanted to go to them. And I eventually managed to persuade myself to do that after wandering around the area for a few minutes, then I went up the stairs, checked everything out, had my picture taken holding my signed oath for Rosia Montana, read everything I could and tried to figure out who those scheduled to speak later were and what was going to happen after that. But I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable pretty much just wandering around an apartment, waiting for something to happen, so I eventually went to the bathroom and left just before 8 PM, before anything else started.
After that, I walked the same route in the opposite direction, finally finding all the places open. But there was nothing interesting for me at the next one, so I just went in at about 8:25 PM and back out just a couple of minutes later. Then passed by the next one again, having gotten the impression that there was nothing for me when I had passed by it the first time, though I later saw that it might have been interesting to go in after all. As it was, arrived at the next place at 8:40 PM and wandered around for some ten minutes, then reached the next one only some five minutes later and spent some ten more minutes there, before just going in and out of the first place I had visited one more time, around 9:15 PM.
That was when my route back no longer was the same one I had taken to get there, since there was one more place I could reach from there that I hadn’t passed by the first time, so I went in that direction and reached it at about 9:25 PM. Saw everyone with glowsticks around their wrists, plenty on the way too, not just there, but avoided the people at the entrance and therefore had no idea what anything was about until I actually went inside, ignored the boiled wine and the bits of bread and slanina with mustard offered and grabbed a token after listening to what others were being told enough to understand that three were supposed to be picked up from different locations.
It wasn’t clear to me what you were supposed to do with those tokens though, so after checking out the place for a bit I got back to those at the entrance of the area, at which point one of the girls saw me looking confused and asked whether I ever volunteered… At which point I froze. She told me it counts even if it was just once, I fixed my gaze well away from her and managed to say I did, she asked what, I froze again, she said there’s no wrong answer, I still couldn’t say anything, she tried to offer some options, I somehow managed to remember planting trees twice, completely forgetting anything else, but said I was at Moara Vlasiei this year, when in fact this year I was at Branesti, Moara Vlasiei having been last year. Still, I got a green glowstick for that, then went back to explore the area, grabbing the second token and eventually, after answering some questions, the third as well, and leaving them back at the entrance, along with the information needed to enter the raffle. It was just before 10 PM when I left.

Moving on to last week, Wednesday I attended two events that were part of the Bucharest Science Festival. Only really meant to attend one, Mark McCaughrean’s presentation about space exploration, but a second one, a talk about the influence of science fiction on science, seemed to take place in the same place, just before, so I thought I should attend that as well in order to have a good seat, being there before those who’ll arrive just for the second event.
Well, that didn’t work. Got a little lost on the way, losing a fair bit of time trying to figure out where I had ended up by trying to save just a little, arrived at 6:15 PM when the first event was supposed to start at 6 PM, had no idea where exactly it was supposed to take place, saw no signs or anything, noticed a few others also wandering around, eventually found the exact location and took a seat, pretty much just waiting for it to end. One of the authors was funny, albeit gloomy, but some of the things he said were also annoying. And then the moderator was trying to finish it on a positive note, saying she’s a teacher, has to be an optimist to teach for the future, kept trying to ask for some visions of a better future and all three were basically saying that, considering what humans are and have been doing, dystopias are what makes sense, any reasonable predictions for the future of humanity offer few reasons for hope and many for fear.
And then, at 7:05 PM, the moderator said they’ll have to end the discussion there because there was another event taking place downstairs at 7 PM… Which prompted me to jump, quite confused, and pretty much rush out, along with a few others, looking around for the other location. Someone asked, was told the presentation was taking place in the Cafe, but that didn’t tell me anything either, so I kept my eyes on him as he went out and to the right, stopping along with his kids and staring in confusion for a moment. That told me I should go left instead, and by doing that I found the right entrance as I spotted him returning inside out of the corner of my eye, probably to ask again.
The problem was that my attempt to be there early and catch a good seat resulted in being there late, arriving after all the seats in the Cafe were already taken, people already standing wherever they could. Someone came and said she’ll get a few more chairs out if she’ll get help, a couple stepped forward, the woman taking the first chair from her and handing it to the man, but he was still trying to set it down somewhere by the time the second arrived, so I grabbed it from the woman instead, then stayed there to take three more after she left, someone else grabbing a couple more after me, and all of us setting them down in that area where we were, in front of the entrance.
The problem was that a wall was preventing those sitting there, myself included, from seeing much, and that was pointed out right away by the speaker, who walked in just as we were doing that, along with the festival’s organizer, who apologized for the delay and said it was due to traffic. The speaker pointed out that his presentation will be quite visual, but was told there was no choice, so the event went ahead like that… And with speakers that apparently didn’t work either, in the sense that it seemed that only the microphone was connected to them, not the projector as well, so the sound that went along with the images could only be heard through the projector’s speaker. That wasn’t a problem though.
The talk itself was quite nice, and he seemed to be a pretty cool guy. He covered quite a lot of issues, about space and Earth and Earth’s politics. Started with the politics in fact, mentioned the “calamity” of Brexit both at the start and at the end, at the end saying he can be accused of wishful thinking but he’ll hope until the very end that it won’t actually happen, shot a barb at Trump as well without naming names, also had some comments later about political decisions harming space exploration, lashed out at Elon Musk and at the private sector getting involved in space in general quite a number of times, for very good reasons, also approached climate change a few times, saying it’s not a matter of science anymore, we know what to do about it, we’re just not doing those things, and that’s entirely a matter of politics… He was also quick to bluntly crush the hopes of those asking about scientific developments that could offer amazing solutions, whether to quickly advance space exploration or to save things down here on Earth.
Speaking of questions, there were a few who kept interrupting to ask things once one got going, so he had to rush through his presentation after a while and it was 9:25 PM when the festival’s organizer said we should wind down, the event having been supposed to end at 9 PM. But the speaker left a bag of greeting cards with space pictures and some tiny badges for people to take and then stuck around for some more questions one on one until the organizer again walked up and said he really had to go, because he had to be at two schools the next day as well, even though he had made no gesture to indicate that he wanted to leave otherwise.
I made my way out at that point, after grabbing a little cup of the tea that was made available for those attending… And then hit my head against the metal beam at the top of the entrance on my way out. That space at the top of the stairs is very low, that beam is about at the level of my eyes when going down, so I saw it and ducked when I went in, but was looking at the feet of the person in front of me as I was going up the stairs on my way out and smashed right into it. Actually cracked the skin on my head a little bit, so tried to hold my cold hands there at first and then, after a while, just left my cap off to let the cool air help.

On that note, “managed” to hit my head again this week, Monday, in the kitchen. Had opened a door to get something, but then I noticed there was no large plate already out and bent to take one of those out as well. However, as I was doing that I noticed a large plate on the stove, so I got up and moved towards it, which got my head right into the corner of the opened door above. This actually left more of a mark than that metal beam, I believe largely because that corner scratched me.

Back to last week, Friday I went to buy a few things and again took some recyclables with me, including plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Since I had managed to make the machine accept crushed cans before, didn’t crush the bottles, which meant I filled two bags with them, but crushed the cans to save a little space and not end up needing three. However, this time I couldn’t get it to accept the crushed cans either, and trying to do that and also seeing whether it was going to take a liquid soap bottle I also had made it again give an error after I had only fed it four normal bottles, leaving me with a ticket worth only 0.20 RON (about $0.05 or €0.04) and just dropping off the rest, which I think were worth about two and a half times more or so, along with the few other things I had. Of course, next to nothing either way, but thought I might as well get a little something out of it since I took them that far…
Not that I even used the 0.20 RON in the end, because I didn’t use one of the “classic” checkouts again and those that scan at those where you then use a machine to pay don’t seem to be trained to do anything. I mean, once one didn’t know the bread I get was priced according to weight and scanned them all at the price of the first one she had grabbed, acting very surprised when she had to call someone to void that and telling me I should have told her they were priced by weight because there was no way for her to know otherwise, as if I was the one working there instead of her. And now I put my ticket on the belt along with my purchases and the cashier just handed it back to me with a puzzled look, without scanning it. And since I didn’t say anything and the attempt to get the machine to scan it, which I tried just in case there had actually been a reason for her to hand it back to me, failed, I just left it on a cart there, after trying to persuade myself to just give it to someone who was checking out and failing due to needing to interact. Did pick up a total of 0.23 RON (about $0.06 or €0.05) in coins as I wandered around the area though.

Still Friday, in the evening, I went to the National Library for Libraries’ Night, having just happened to notice the event and getting curious. Got there at 7 PM, by which time some book launches taking place in the area where an exhibition of medieval art, or more exactly art inspired by medieval themes, was located were supposed to have finished, but I actually wandered around for a while before finding that place and the talks not only were still ongoing when I found it but continued as I carefully went all around, looking at each piece I could, ending up behind the speakers and going around the other way so I won’t stay behind them but then ending up going there anyway in order to see the last few pieces once I got back to that spot from the other direction. That still left a few pieces that were on the walls separating the middle area, where the chairs were, which I couldn’t exactly get a good look at under those circumstances, as that’d have required squeezing past the people sitting there, but I could eventually look at those as well when the event finally ended, after I had left the area and pretty much just awkwardly wandered around for a little while.
There were several other events scheduled there that evening, some taking place at the same time, in different locations, but the only other one that I was curious about was a concert listed as starting at 9 PM. Not that I had any clue who Alexandra Usurelu was, hadn’t looked her up at all even though the YouTube channel, including a playlist with quite a number of songs performed live, and the Bandcamp account are readily available, but thought I might as well find out. However, that meant I still had quite some time to waste, so I explored the place a little, getting quite confused with the stairs that only went up to the entresol and the main elevators that didn’t work, eventually following the signs to a place that was higher and some staff members who went through some doors that looked like emergency exits but in fact led to elevators that actually worked and stairs that could be used to go higher as well. Or at least I think I did that at the time and not while waiting for the Russians I’ll mention later to finish.
Either way, with that little exploration done and still plenty of time to waste, I spent part of it watching a short and a half, since shorts were being shown in a room, an actual movie being supposed to follow, also from 9 PM. When I walked in that room, just two other people were there, and one left soon after, though a few girls walked in after that, spending some time talking with the other person who was there, and an older man also appeared at some point, though I had the impression that he worked there. What was rather funny had to do with a couple and their child who also walked in during that first short that I caught a part of, since he left the child there and then went back out after her, and she was about to make a scene when she came in as well and noticed the child watching what at the time was a scene with a child following what I guess was a prostitute and eventually ending up trying to touch her breasts, after having seen her kiss either his father or someone else, had just walked in during that scene and I’m not sure, after following his mother to a private party, where she had gone to look for his father who had left home. So at one point there was a scene on the screen in front of me where the parents were arguing, including about having brought a child along to something like that, while just behind me there were parents actually arguing about having left a child to see something like that.
With 9 PM finally approaching, I made my way back to the stage, seeing someone on the floor, getting covered with something red, and nothing that really looked like a concert was about to start. Got even more confused when someone said a performance will follow and the best places to sit would be either in front of the stage, facing away from the stage, or at the entresol, looking down. So I went up, wondering what that was all about, and eventually saw that the performance consisted of a Russian reading two poems translated in English while someone else was moving around very slowly, and eventually someone else replaced the first person and started spinning around, continuing to do so for quite some time after the poems had finished. At least they thought to give everyone the texts, because the one reading, who I guess was also the author, had quite a thick accent and the translation was quite rough as well, but since I had no interest in what was happening I mostly wandered around from one spot to another, waiting for the whole thing to end.
It was 9:30 PM when it eventually did, the singer and her band having just waited their turn on some armchairs behind the stage, close to the vending machines, chatting with whoever happened to find them there. They wasted no time after that point though, pretty much jumping straight into it while the others were still gathering their things, without any sound check or any other preparation. Even their sound guy just sat among the public, controlling everything from his tablet. But there really was no problem with how it sounded. Not something I’d normally listen to, but I’ve been listening to her stuff quite a lot since then and it was definitely nice, the whole thing feeling quite cozy and intimate, though it probably felt a bit odd for them, as she had supposedly filled the National Theater at her last concert there while I counted about 70 people around me during her concert at the Library, including probably 15 or so children tumbling and running around. Checked the seating plan for her next concert at the Theater, scheduled for January, so quite a long time from then, and there were more than twice as many tickets already sold that night, and they’re not exactly cheap.
By the time the concert was over, they had added some 15 more minutes to the delay, so it was 10:45 PM when the schedule stated that it should have finished at 10 PM. That was when I left, actually noticing the sound guy just throwing his jacket on and leaving right behind me. Also heard some staff members make some comments about the earlier performance and one saying it’s the last time she does something like that, though I’m not entirely sure that also referred to allowing that sort of thing to take place there and I didn’t stick around to try to find out, already being quite a mess by then. I mean, had been around people for quite some time, brain wanted to shut down already just because of that, was planning to attend another event over the weekend, and some of the songs had really hit me, especially coming so soon after September 27. There were moments during the concert when I just wanted to hug myself, or better yet to have wings just to wrap myself in them, and curl in a ball.

In spite of that, Saturday evening I went back to the National Library, to the science and science fiction festival organized by a magazine from here. The plan was to arrive at 7:30 PM, attend a short presentation about discoveries at Paleolithic sites in Romania, and then see whether the weather allowed anything interesting to be seen through the telescopes outside, leaving everything else for Sunday. Had considered having a quick look at the book fair area in between, depending on exactly when the presentation will end and how long the lines will be at the telescopes, but that wasn’t really part of the plan for that evening.
However, I arrived at 7:10 PM, so ended up having a quick look through the book fair area first, and bumped into someone I know from protests and United We Save Community meetings while at it. Something I had read in the schedule had led me to believe that he’ll have a stand there, but he was talking to someone at the back of the tent and I didn’t see him when I got to the stand in question, yet he saw me and, just as I was about to move on, I heard him shout the main slogan from back then, then a second one as I was looking around in confusion, before he came towards me and we awkwardly shook hands, since he seemed to be going for a different kind of shake. He quickly told me what he has at the stand and then also to go inside as well because there are interesting things there too, but of course I couldn’t say much of anything, being even more stunned than I’d have normally been due to the shouts and the fact that he had made me so noticeable, so pretty much just smiled and nodded and peeled myself away.
Once inside, walked right past the stands that were there and got to the stage, where at the time there was a presentation about climate change, which was rushed but all right. The next one wasn’t all right though, since the guy obviously couldn’t handle speaking in public like this and I didn’t care about the topic either, but I just waited it out and then the one I had come there for started, at 7:40 PM. So it started ten minutes late and then also took ten minutes longer than it was supposed to, ending at 8:05 PM… And also annoying me at one point, when the main speaker stressed that the people who lived in those areas being excavated lived through massive changes in the climate and survived just fine, so we’ll have no problem either, actually saying that she was saying that because of that earlier presentation that said it was a problem. It was quite interesting otherwise, however.
Just as I was getting up, somebody’s chair broke. Not sure if the guy placing the broken chair next to a wall just as I was walking past that spot on my way out was the one who sat on it or not, since I didn’t get a good look at the person who was on the floor when I heard the noise and turned, but a security guard for some reason assumed that I had been sitting on the broken chair instead and came to me to ask as I was wandering around a little and ended up behind that area. He really wasn’t convinced when I said I wasn’t, asking me who had it been then and saying he was sure I was the one he saw when I said I had no idea. And since my brain just wanted to shut down again due to needing to interact with someone, I somehow ended up telling him the chair that broke was two rows behind the one I sat on, when I think it was actually on the same row but at the other end. But I just walked away from him after that and he left me alone.
Then I just had a quick look at the stands that were inside, wanting to avoid anyone noticing that I was in any way interested even more after what had already happened, and went back out, avoiding the book fair area so I won’t bump into that guy again, especially since there actually were things I’d have wanted to ask him and knew I couldn’t, and heading straight for the telescopes.
Once there, first saw a stand where a piece of meteorite was under a microscope, a smaller screen was showing the Moon and the larger one was very slowly displaying an image full of noise through which you could just see a few points of light which they said was something they had just caught breaking up in the atmosphere. But I didn’t stick around and moved on to the actual telescopes, saw the Moon from a big one, moved on to a small one that seemed rather ignored, got told only the Moon could be seen that evening when I asked what that one was pointed at, but found myself surprised by the fact that the details seemed clearer through that small one than they had been through the larger one, being told it’s because it has a more powerful lens when I said so.
Still, a quick look around revealed a few larger telescopes pointing in a different direction, making it clear that at least some could spot something other than the Moon after all, so I waited in line for a little bit and could see a little Saturn through one of them. Not many details could be noticed, but it was obviously Saturn. And that seemed to be the only other thing that could be seen, since it was what I saw through the next larger telescope I checked out, after the guy handling it centered the image again and I could finally just spot it somewhere close to the edge, and also through a third, which was electronic and displayed a rather fuzzy image on a small screen, so I could know what it was pointing at without waiting for my turn.
And then, before finally leaving that area, I decided to check out the largest telescope there as well, though it was clearly just pointing at the Moon. No idea why that one wasn’t pointing at Saturn or perhaps even trying to spot something the others clearly couldn’t, such as perhaps Uranus, which should have been in a position which would have allowed it at the time, but at least it offered a very detailed image of the Moon. So detailed that I asked what the magnification was, which prompted the guy handling it to check the lens, mutter something about eight and say he needed to calculate because he had just changed something… Which led to me standing there awkwardly and blocking the telescope until the man behind me told his kids it seems the telescope needs to be focused again, he said no and I realized what the problem was and moved aside while he pulled out his phone to calculate. And the calculation he made was dividing 1810 by that eight he was muttering about, resulting in 226.25, which he said was the current magnification… Which made me wonder whether 1810 was the telescope’s maximum, because in that case it should have definitely been used to spot something far harder to see than the Moon!
Either way, wandered away after that, passing through the rest of the area, just glancing at a few experiments being shown there. Then I had to go through the book fair area again in order to leave and spotted that guy out of the corner of my eye, so stuck to the other side and looked the other way, hoping he won’t draw any attention to me again and feeling quite relieved when I reached the area with the electric cars without anything happening. And then, after just a quick look around there as well, I was leaving at 8:40 PM, wondering whether the telescopes will be pointed at something else later, observations being scheduled to last until 11 PM, but thinking I’ll have another chance the next evening.

Of course, Sunday wasn’t going to be easy, already being such a mess and waking at 9:45 AM too, to watch the race. Hoped I’ll last longer than I did though, or at least that I’ll go back in the evening in order to see whether anything else could be seen through the telescopes, especially since the weather was much better. I couldn’t, however, and the lack of sleep didn’t have much to do with it, and in fact I didn’t even crawl in bed until the evening, though once I did I slept until around midnight.
But to return to the morning, after the race I went to the toilet, got dressed and rushed out at 12:20 PM, right on time, then walked even faster than I normally do and actually arrived at 12:55 PM when the first presentation I was interested in was scheduled to start at 1 PM. However, those who were on stage at the time weren’t even those who were supposed to be finishing around then, so I wandered off when I heard the next ones being introduced. Definitely didn’t feel like I could manage to look through again, didn’t want to meet that guy, didn’t want to be noticed, so after initially going outside I just went right back in without even reaching any of the other areas, going to the bathroom to have something to do for a few more minutes and then returning to the stage area, where I stuck around for the final part of that presentation of the project to colonize Venus that won a NASA prize.
The first presentation I actually went there for, about amateur astronomers getting time on a proper telescope to get good images and how they compare with what can be obtained otherwise, started 25 minutes late and I didn’t take a seat to watch it, just standing there, since the next one was about new medical technology and I didn’t want to be there for that, wandering away again. Kept meaning to ask those from an IT store from here, who had a gaming stand there, about options for mouse and maybe also for headphones, but my feet refused to move their way if I turned to look, no matter how much I repeated the questions in my mind, so I ended up just wandering around again, wasting a little more time.
When it was time for the next presentation, I got back to the stage and took a seat, but was surprised to see something about smart houses, which wasn’t on the listed schedule. Still, while the main part of the presentation annoyed me, the speaker ignoring all the issues regarding security and privacy and also the increased number of things likely to fail and need to constantly be replaced, considering the reality of planned obsolescence, point two on the very first list presented definitely caught my eye, since it mentioned the need to decide what the maximum population is. Actually muttered something about it being at most a third of the current one, probably loudly enough for those sitting around me to hear, and then I might have muttered that those are actually worthy goals at the end as well, when the speaker asked whether the audience believes their goals of smart houses somehow making it so people will support themselves with no more than eight hours of work per week by 2022 and robots handling 80% of construction work by 2026 are achievable. No idea what smart houses have to do with that first goal, and I’d say the second one should be about all work, not just construction, but he just stuck to the topic of the presentation I guess.
Either way, the next presentation was about electric cars, which was all right even though one of the speakers caused quite a problem for the others when he said he just wants to see the electric car accepted as an option along with all the others, as much a matter of personal choice as, for example, a diesel one. The others had to step in and point out the problems with diesel vehicles, but he wasn’t changing his stance and there wasn’t much time for such discussions, so they moved on and another speaker did put things on the proper track by saying the electric car is indeed just one part of the solution that may be the right choice for some, but the others are electric bicycles and scooters, efficient and reliable public transportation, and walking.
After that there was a fencing demonstration, which really didn’t seem to fit but was all right, though it got somewhat awkward when Alexandru Mironov asked the coach who was making the presentation to show the silver medal he had and he didn’t exactly seem keen on it, understandably keeping his eyes fixed on it as children started passing it around and one parent had her child put it on so she could take a picture.
Then a “science fiction marathon” started, the first presentation being about AI in science fiction, the speaker being the funny but gloomy guy who had also been at the talk I had attended a few days before. He sure isn’t good at such presentations though, and it sure was awkward at the end, when he asked for questions and got nothing but silence, ending up saying that must be all he had and walking off the stage rather dejectedly. Ended up sitting right next to me, as I had switched seats to be around the middle for the fencing demonstration and apparently sat two seats away from a girl who I guess was his partner, but he only sat there for the duration of the next presentation, during which another writer spoke very quickly, managing to fit a whole lot of words about his efforts to publish short science fiction stories in US magazines, coming from Romania and not knowing any English. After that there was a talk about science and science fiction, so pretty much the same topic as that talk I had attended on Wednesday, and that first guy went back on stage, since he took part in it as well.
At some point during all of that, at least one more chair broke, possibly two if it wasn’t a case of that broken one being dragged away and somebody else sitting on it as it was leaning against the wall, and I actually caught the eye of that guard when it happened, making sure he couldn’t think I had anything to do with it again. But the damage was already done by that time, the fact that nobody else approached me not being enough to allow me to stick around when I’d have had to waste one hour and 45 minutes according to the schedule, so probably two hours or so in practice, since they were already 40 minutes late by then, before the next discussion which interested me, about neo-medievalism in science fiction and fantasy. Since that included fantasy as well and was therefore about what I’m actually interested in reading, it was the one part of that “marathon” that interested me the most, but the only way to spend so much time around there in any reasonable manner would have been to wander around and look at everything really carefully, which would have meant being really visible, getting approached as a result, needing to interact… And I just couldn’t handle that anymore, so I just left.
On the way back, and also just after coming back, I did consider only staying here for 25 minutes and leaving again at 5:30 PM, going back in time to catch that talk even if there will somehow be no further delays, but then I’d have had no excuse not to stick around to see whether the telescopes will be pointed at anything else that evening, and that was a problem. I obviously really wanted to stay for more observations, but doing so would have meant having to do with people even more after having managed to avoid it until then that day, and I just couldn’t handle that at all at that point, so I didn’t go back and ended up feeling utterly rotten about it. Wasting my time there with those other talks and getting myself in such a state as a result of it that I had to give up on what I was actually far more interested in made me feel crushed and I ended up just sort of sitting around here, rather dazed and whimpering.

This may well be the longest post I ever wrote, but there’s one more thing to mention now at the end, and that’s that my back was hurting again while I was going to all those places last week. Was largely fine again by Monday’s run, but something had caught again and just during those days there were moments when it was quite a problem. Definitely not as much as at some other times in the past, but it’s been a while, so I’m not used to it, and to managing it, anymore either. But all’s well that ends well, I guess, though I still need to crack it a fair bit more than I normally do, so probably that bone spur or whatever it is ended up in a more troublesome position.


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