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Catching Up, Except Shopping and Hand

Though it’s been a while since it happened, this is the first actual personal post since then, not counting the one about my phone turning 15, so I guess I should start it by mentioning that the “emergency” post I initially wrote back in August of 2016 and which has since been set to post at 11:59 PM on Sunday, the date normally being changed after writing each week’s second post, ended up posting at 11:59 PM on December 17 and stayed up for two hours and some ten minutes before I noticed and pulled it again. Unlike the previous time this happened, at the end of July, I really did forget to change the date this time. Didn’t do so before Sunday and then on that day I got up at 2:35 PM, left at 4:15 PM for the protest, spending the time in between getting ready while watching some ski jumping, and then got back at 10:20 PM, all wet and frozen, spread my clothes around to dry a bit, went to take a bath, made some food and when I finally got on the computer again I saw it up. So I’m obviously neither dead nor in hospital, as that post says is likely the case if it shows up, but I am a bit worried that it’s starting to lose its purpose if it ends up posted in error like this. I’ll probably get rid of it if it happens one more time.

Moving on, I have no less than three runs to write about in this post, starting with the one on December 22, when the time was 48:11, with sector times of 4:19, 5:06, 5:56, 4:28, 5:07, 5:48, 4:30, 5:07, 5:56 and 1:54, making for lap times of 15:21, 15:23 and 15:33. The temperature was around freezing and I was wearing two training suits, with the jacket wrapped around my waist since I wore that as well on the way to the park and back, but at least the route was quite clear and in the end the time was a bit better than I expected. The little race I had with another guy probably helped with that, since he got on the path around the lake at the bridge on my second lap, so just before the end of that lap’s second sector for me, and I pushed to get ahead of him after a while on the third sector. He stayed right behind me until what for me is the end of the lap, but then immediately overtook and pulled ahead bit by bit. I seemed to be just slightly closing in again on sector three, doubt I could have caught up by the end of the lap even if he’d have kept that pace, but at a turn he glanced back and sped up a bit more, leaving me with no chance at all but keeping me pushing hard. Maybe a bit too hard, since that effort resulted in a final sector that was one of the slowest final sectors ever on a ten-kilometer run, and the slowest of any such run completed even in less than 50 minutes, not just out of these under 49.
Ran again on December 27, when there were plenty of people in the park even though that’s not a legal holiday, so finding my way through was at times a problem, but at least the weather was nice, and the reported temperature up to 13°C. As such, despite all the weaving around, the time was 48:08, with sector times of 4:29, 5:13, 5:43, 4:29, 5:04, 5:51, 4:30, 5:01, 5:58 and 1:50, making for lap times of 15:25, 15:24 and 15:29. That means I could have clearly managed another time under 48 minutes, and likely a new sector three record on that first lap, if the route would have been clear, but then again maybe I wouldn’t have pushed that hard then.
As for this week’s run, that was yesterday, on about an hour and a half of sleep and with the route full of people. Thought it’d be rather empty in the first part of the day, but only meant to leave around noon either way, so doubt that’d have helped that much, since I eventually ended up leaving at 12:50 PM. Still, while I didn’t manage an eighth time under 48:30 in a row, I stayed under 49 minutes, managing 48:44, with sector times of 4:27, 5:16, 5:56, 4:29, 5:05, 6:00, 4:31, 5:03, 6:05 and 1:52, making for lap times of 15:39, 15:34 and 15:39. Interestingly, the previous time over 48:30 was also 48:44. But this really took everything I had, not only physically but even mentally to some extent, on so little sleep and needing to constantly search for a way through and calculate speeds and directions to see where and when I could slip through without losing more time than I had to. Was drenched in sweat and winded at the end, but at least I managed to stay under 49 even under those circumstances, always weaving around, pushing as hard as I could when I was in the clear for a little bit to make up for the time lost when I had to slow or even briefly stop otherwise… Actually expected a worse final sector after all of that, especially since I had to pretty much walk the first few steps up those stairs the sector starts with, since there simply was no way through, and then had to switch from one side to the other multiple times while climbing. But then I pushed like I was going for the record once I got to the top, and I guess that was enough.

Since I mentioned running on an hour and a half of sleep, that was because I first woke up that morning at 7:30 AM and had just barely managed to fall asleep again when Liza woke me up scratching something hard and then meowing loudly. Checked to see whether something was wrong, since she had seemed more scared than Micky by the fireworks the night before, but everything seemed normal, and she is in heat these days, so I went to the toilet and tried to get back to sleep… Only to hear heavy footsteps from the apartment above, all sorts of movement, and keep wondering about that, also keep stressing about the orders made the previous evening, so no chance to get back to sleep. Eventually, at 8:20 AM, I went back to the toilet for the other pressing issue I had felt when I got up the first time as well but had decided to leave for later, and for all the 20 minutes I was there I kept hearing water being turned on, some seconds of splashing, then the water apparently being thrown down the toilet, this cycle just repeating over and over. Couldn’t hear much of that from bed when I got back to it, but when I did try to listen for a bit, about half an hour later, I got the impression that it kept going on.
Either way, there was no chance to get back to sleep, but I stayed there for a while longer and only got up at 9:50 AM, since the original plan was to get up no later than at 10:15 AM and that was close enough. After having washed my running clothes, wanted to iron them just a little before using them again and hadn’t done that yet, plus that I wanted to enter some codes in a contest during those early hours of the year, when I thought fewer were likely to do the same, the hourly prizes starting at 10 AM. But that came to nothing, and I only got to the ironing part quite late and it took me quite some time too, plus that I then went to the bathroom again, something not seeming quite right, all of this leading to me going out later than planned despite having woken up earlier.
Back to the noise from above, after waking up and going out of my room again I heard pipes vibrating and banging, as they do when the water is turned on with a lot of pressure and then quickly turned off in the bathroom, and water constantly flowing down what seemed to be the pipes for the other column of toilets. That was still going on at 10:30 AM, after I had gone to the kitchen and managed to step in something that made a small hole in the uselessly soft bottom of the cheap slippers I had bought a few days before, my old ones being quite torn for quite some time, and which I had just started wearing that morning. The hole doesn’t go all the way through, but it makes it clear that I can’t actually use them, so deciding to just go for the cheapest ones pretty much meant I wasted 5 RON ($1.28 or €1.07), though I’m now wearing them in my room and changing to the old ones when I go out, and having separate ones for here isn’t that bad of an idea actually. It still means I need another pair though, a better one.
Either way, could hear the same sort of noise when I went to the bathroom again and even when I went out to run, which I already mentioned happened at 12:50 PM. Tried to look for signs of flooding from above but didn’t notice anything, though that area is stained from previous such events, so I can’t be entirely certain. Either way, I guess whatever it was got sorted out one way or another at some point. I also guess it had nothing to do with the screams I heard in the afternoon, not long before dad got back, saying he saw an ambulance leaving from here, but of course I can’t be sure. I believe the person living above is still an old woman I believe is approaching 100, so anything’s possible.

Going back from there, spent New Year’s alone, which I’m quite sure is a first, that night otherwise tending to be even worse than others since I got thrown back here, with parents being up and around even longer, in the first years even having others over, and me not even going to the kitchen until morning. So at least this time the fact that I’m terribly lonely wasn’t made even worse by not actually being alone and I could largely treat is as a normal night, just making myself some popcorn earlier, then watching some fireworks and turning on a TV for a while around midnight, checking on the cats a little around that time too. My mother called a bit later, which I could have done without, but I could just shrug off the common thing that’s said at this time, not giving the depressing reply I usually give to that, and she didn’t start saying other things to make it worse.

Going back a little more, Wednesday evening I sure gave the washing machine a hard time when I put in all the colored clothes which had gathered. Noticed I had to shove them in quite hard and knew it was well over the 3 kg that’s the listed maximum for the normal program, but I was thinking I was maybe around the listed maximum for the machine itself, 5.5 kg, which the manual states is actually only valid for the cotton program, which I’m not sure was ever used in all the years since this machine was bought. Well, I weighed them after pulling them out, and while there was some water to add to the weight as well, 9.7 kg is a whole lot above that maximum, so I sure made the poor thing struggle. Good thing it didn’t break, or at least it’s not yet obvious that anything is failing because of it, but it remains to be seen whether there will be any consequences.
It definitely couldn’t rinse all those clothes properly though, and not sure how well it washed them either, but at least I now know that all those white stains that kept appearing on colored clothes after my mother washed them, and which appeared again now despite this not happening the previous few times I washed colored clothes, were caused by overloading the machine, because when she left instructions about using it I learned that she was using the gentle program for colored clothes, the listed maximum load for that being 1.5 kg, and when I pointed that out to her she said she never put anywhere near that little, yet until then had kept saying she had no idea why those stains kept appearing. So I guess I’m just learning the things I find myself needing to take over now, and hope I won’t break things while I do… But sure hope something will be worked out so I’ll end up living on my own somewhere in the foreseeable future, because needing to keep anything in order with dad around is a real pain.

Further back, since I was alone all day on Christmas I kept myself a bit busy, cleaning my room a bit and also shaving my head. Been a while since I had cleaned here again and that was a good moment, so I could finally get around to it, and it was definitely a good moment for shaving my head. It wasn’t as bad as at other times in the past yet, but was starting to look a bit like a clown again and with highs around 12°C all those days, I got it out of the way sooner than initially planned, as I had meant to do it Tuesday or Wednesday at first. Not that having some hair helps much when it’s colder, seeing as I’m bald to the top of my head, but it helps a little bit, so if and when it will be colder now, at least it won’t be immediately after shaving, and I won’t need to do it again until it’ll get warmer again.

Regarding protests, attended the two “main” ones that took place during the period covered by this post, and the one on December 17 sure messed me up. As I already mentioned at the start of this post, pretty much used up that entire day for me, but also resulted in me getting soaked and freezing. Left at 4:15 PM, needing to walk there and back, since dad had the metro card, in what started as rain and ended up being sleet before I got there. Then there was this winter’s first snow, which was a bit nice at least, some snow managing to settle at least on parked cars, but by the time I got back, at 10:20 PM, it had turned back to rain and perhaps sleet again. My hands were so numb that I spent some two minutes trying to get the keys out of my pocket in front of the building door, and then I couldn’t unlock the apartment door, so dad unlocked it for me eventually, hearing me fumbling with the key but not coming in.
Either way, as I mentioned in the post about the protest, wandered away soon after reaching the Parliament and had a quick look at the Christmas fair as well. Just a quick look, took me some 30 minutes including walking there and then back to where the remaining protesters were, not really even approaching stalls, so the people manning them won’t assume I’m interested in buying something and start talking to me, but I did take a bunch of pictures, despite the conditions. The rain made them turn out even worse than usual, so I hadn’t even posted them until now, only having those from the protest up, but now that I mentioned them, decided to post them as well, since I had them anyway.

Moving on to the December 23 protest, it sure felt cold, despite the lack of precipitation and the fact that I didn’t need to walk there and back again. Of course, I had previously worn a training suit under the street clothes and a sweater as well, even two at times, when staying out for hours in cold weather, but then I had just washed the thinner training suit, which I had worn during the previous march and then also around the house since then, as the other one hadn’t been washed to change to it after that, and both sweaters as well, being left with just an anorak with a malfunctioning zipper, which keeps me significantly less warm than a sweater. And while I knew it’d be pointless to get there long before the scheduled start time for the march, of 6 PM, so I only arrived at 5:40 PM, the march only started at 7 PM and even then there were only maybe 300 people, even 200 according to some estimates, in that entire area, so no warmth from any crowd and pretty much nothing to do.
Not that there was much to do during the march either. The pace was normal, so a slow one for me, there wasn’t much of a column to speak of, there was even less reason to even try to go back and forth along it too much, and the fact that the march was on the sidewalk meant that often there wasn’t much room to do so either. So I pretty much walked somewhere in the first part of the column, stopping now and then and then making my way back to the head, which definitely wasn’t enough to help me keep warm. Still, did what I could to take a handful of pictures before leaving, around 8:30 PM.

Speaking of pictures, I tend to take a very long exposure shot of the sky in a dark place on a street when I come back from somewhere well after dark, have the camera with me, the sky’s clear and there’s a parked car conveniently placed in such a dark place. I place the camera on the car, so it won’t shake, but I used to hold it tilted instead of just leaving it pointing straight up, so the image ended up badly shaken anyway. But more recently, when I also found a darker than usual place nearby, I started to just leave it pointing straight up, and the results started showing, so I took what’s probably my best picture of the night sky yet on my way back from that December 23 protest. There’s a bit of a tree in the way in that one and I managed to take another a few days later in pretty much the same spot without anything in the way, but there’s more light pollution in that second one, so it’s probably not as good. Not that either of them are much to speak of, but it’s what my old camera can do, set to the maximum exposure time it allows, 15 seconds, and at ISO 800, which is also the most it can do, with a two-second delay so any movement caused by me pressing the button and then taking my hand away won’t be a problem either. There’s of course also the lens issue that results in that darker patch, but, again, it is what it is.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a chance of seeing stars from my window anymore, since this heating station or whatever it is behind the building here had powerful lights installed on the outside. Can see two from here, but one’s more to the left and can get hidden behind a tree, so it probably won’t be much of a problem when trees have leaves, but the other one is quite an issue, more so than the other lights in this area. I have solid blinds on the outside on my window, so that’s not the problem, the light doesn’t get in my room, though it sure is noticeable in the rest of the apartment, but trying to look outside and at the night sky is becoming pretty pointless. So now I’m once again worried that I won’t see another star from here, as I was after getting thrown back here. Didn’t take me long back then to start to figure out how to spot at least a few, and there were times when the lights closest to my window weren’t working, which made it better, but now my chances really don’t look good.

And this is a long post already, so, like the title states, I’ll leave for later the part about shopping, orders and long walks, as well as that about messing up my hands even more, though things finally seem to get better to some extent now. I just want to mention that I did manage to finish the 12th actual book in 2017 right on December 31, while eating the popcorn I had made, and posted the quick review for it at 11:25 PM, spending some more minutes after that to look over it again. On the other hand, couldn’t finish what I believe to be the final scenario in the Nomad campaign on Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic and didn’t even try to get back to that sixth “Divine Empire” scenario in Disciples, so I’m left with just Torchlight and Driftmoon finished in January and the bunch of protest games played in February, which I guess may count as one finished short game if put together, and nothing else since. But I’m now trying to recover as much information as I can about which games I finished and exactly when in recent years, currently using my post in the old “Games Finished in 2016” thread on the GOG.com forums to list what I find, going through 2014 and 2013 today. 2012 should be easy in terms of games, not sure if also in terms of dates, but it’ll get harder after that. Still, if I’ll at least get as far as 2010, it’ll be nice, and then maybe I’ll find a way to include the information in my games played list.

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