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Just About Three Runs Due to World Cup and Ember

It’s three weeks since my last “generic” personal post, so there would be a whole lot to cover, minus the stuff about the UPS. But you won’t find that in this post, because I pretty much intend to keep doing what I’ve been doing lately, which is watching the World Cup matches and in between playing Ember a fair bit, and sometimes trying to catch a little sleep, since I definitely haven’t been getting much in the mornings. So I’ll just stick to quickly going over the three times I ran during this period, and also mention something about how I ended up getting Ember.

The first run was on June 5, when the time was 47:54, with sector times of 4:20, 4:58, 5:48, 4:20, 4:57, 5:59, 4:30, 5:02, 6:07 and 1:53, making for lap times of 15:06, 15:16 and 15:39. It was rather hot, but there wasn’t much wind, just a few gusts bothering me a little, so the conditions were all right, and I managed to finish just in time to take advantage of them, a few drops of rain starting to fall as I was coming back from the park and quite a storm starting soon after that.
The next run on was June 12, when the time was exactly a minute slower, 48:54, with sector times of 4:31, 5:09, 6:00, 4:31, 5:02, 5:58, 4:34, 5:07, 6:03 and 1:59, making for lap times of 15:40, 15:31 and 15:44. Just managed to stay under 49 minutes, but that’s a poor time and I kept thinking to continue to 16 kilometers again, yet decided against it, fearing a really bad time over that distance, that bad final sector time proving such fears justified. A part of the reason for that poor performance may have been the lack of sleep, some eight hours over two days, and waking up early that day, at 9:45 AM, wanting to leave around 11 AM and finish around noon, to avoid the hottest part of the day. Also thought there won’t be water that morning, since a note was saying it’ll be off between 9 AM and 11 AM due to some work done at another apartment, so I had filled a bottle at night in order to have something to wash my hands with, but after going to the toilet in the morning I found that there was water, and it wasn’t brown either to say that it might have been turned back on early, so maybe it had only been turned off on the column with that apartment.
As for this week’s run, that was today and the time was a nice 47:39, with sector times of 4:17, 4:58, 5:43, 4:20, 4:50, 5:47, 4:33, 5:12, 6:06 and 1:53, making for lap times of 14:58, 14:57 and 15:51. And I know plenty of exact times as well, so while I’ll keep just taking the seconds into account when I list the times, I’ll mention here the exact times for those that are among the five fastest so far, those being the 5:43.21 third sector, on the first lap, the 4:50.78 second sector, on the second lap, and the 14:58.82 and, actually, 14:56.65 lap times, the faster one being the second. The third lap was slow though, and right from the beginning, so that was all I had, but considering how little I’ve been sleeping lately and waking up before 9:30 AM today, I’m very pleased with this. Did mean to go out around 11 AM and missed that target somewhat, but the conditions were all right, the heat being manageable and the few gusts of wind not bothering me much. It’s possible that the fact that I didn’t have either of the two t-shirts I’d normally wear while running available and ended up wearing the one from the first half marathon helped a little with the cooling. On the other hand, there were a number of people on the path, and a few of them slowed me a little bit, but it could have been a lot worse, since a triathlon is taking place in that park over the weekend and many participants were there now, practicing, seeming to get ready to swim, possibly after cycling. They took care not to block the path around the lake though, and so did the few reporters and supporters who were there.

As for Ember, the story actually starts back in 2013, when I won some codes for games up to $9.99 on GOG.com. Received and used the first two at the time, for Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne and Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic, but I remember that a third one was sent quite a long time later and I decided to keep it for some other time. So this was this code, which I had been just checking from time to time, making sure it was still valid, not finding anything I’d really want to use it for, especially since I have enough games now to last me for several years, considering how few I finish each year.
That wouldn’t have changed if I wouldn’t have been reminded of it and wouldn’t have realized how difficult it was going to be to use it after the mess with that MMLXXVII code, which was confirmed as just some sort of glitch. But the discussions about that made me try my code as well, seeing that the system isn’t designed for the use of such codes anymore, as there’s no way to sort, search or skip pages, you have to start from the beginning of an unsorted list of titles and flip through them, 15 per page, until you find what you’re looking for, the listing stops after 1000 entries even if over 1500 should be shown, and it’d be awfully difficult to get that far anyway because you have to do it within one hour, otherwise it times out and you have to start over, but flipping through pages too quickly will result in you getting temporarily locked out. The JSON data for each page can be pulled though, and while that also ends at page 67 and trying to get through pages too quickly will still get you locked out, you can continue from where you left off, which is how others managed to get the complete list of those first 1000 titles and how I could confirm that those I could be interested in were to be found on the same pages if using my code as well.
The thing is that I wasn’t going to use the code for a game costing less than $9.99 or for one that was available, and will likely be available again, at a high discount and doesn’t have regional prices above the base one, so I had few options, considering what’s on my wishlist. But what I found was that the code applies to the base price of the game, so I could actually use it for Ember even though it’s not only regionally priced and with some regions paying more than the base price, but actually includes Romania among those regions charged as if the EUR and the USD would be equal, so the price for me would have actually been well over $9.99. That we’re not using the Euro and definitely don’t have the standard of living of the Western European countries that get the same “treatment” doesn’t matter, of course. Not that it’s in any way fair to overcharge the people from those countries in this manner either.
Since I didn’t think it’d work that way, I hadn’t even checked back in March, when it was released there, but once I saw that it became the obvious choice, as I had some interest in it and this was exactly what I meant to use such a code for, so I’ll get a game that uses this typical regional pricing model without actually paying for it, as I’d never actually purchase such a game, being vehemently against the practice. Yet it was all the way on page 59 on the list of available titles and getting that far just didn’t seem possible, so that evening I sent a support message asking whether there was a solution to allow me to actually look through all the options and pick something myself, or if not if I could say what I want to use it for and just have the code be marked as used and given one for that specific game, or have it added to my account directly. However, didn’t say which code it was or what game I wanted to use it for then and hoped I won’t have to, being somewhat worried that, due to the pricing, they won’t allow it to be used for that game if they’d be made aware of the issue.
The next day, on June 13, I received a reply saying that the code had been invalidated, even though, again, I hadn’t said what it was, and was asked for the name of the game I wanted to use it for. But the code still worked, so I’m not sure what was invalidated, and while I did say what the code was and what I wanted to use it for in my reply, I had also managed to get to page 48 that day and thought I finally got the timing worked out well enough to allow me to get to page 59 on my own. So I waited for another reply for a few more hours, until what should have been the end of the work day for them, and then tried again, timing myself very carefully and just managing to get to page 59 in about 57 minutes, then selecting and successfully redeeming the game, sending another reply after that to let the support person know it was all sorted out.
Despite the World Cup matches taking up so much time and having other games I really should be finishing first, I installed and started Ember the next evening. The installation didn’t exactly go smoothly though, since Emsisoft Anti-Malware reported that the installer, or more exactly the file it unpacks in the temporary folder, was attempting to modify files suspiciously, the logs stating that the behavior blocker considered it to be some sort of ransomware. Told it to allow it once, so without creating a rule, and that proved to be the wrong choice when it looked it up again while it was installing and apparently decided to block it without actually prompting me again. I was just clicking in the part of the screen where the notification appeared, so that might have been the reason, but I definitely didn’t get any prompt and the installation just stopped, with EAM reporting that it had quarantined a malicious file but not showing that it actually had anything in quarantine. There was a small file in the Quarantine folder though, but when I asked support about it I learned that it was an incomplete file, probably a result of the installer deleting that temporary file when the process was killed and EAM not actually being able to move it. Either way, everything seemed fine after just running the installer again and telling EAM to create a rule for that file, and also for another that it claimed to be trying to “install invisibly” at the end.

Since I’m on the topic of gaming and this post got away from me anyway, before ending it I’ll jump back to June 4. That day actually ended worryingly, with my Internet access failing exactly when I got back to the computer after eating at night and in an odd manner, as I wasn’t receiving anything on TCP or UDP but could still ping IPs just fine, so until I saw that the issue was fixed in the morning I was worried that my access had been cut off for some reason, and while it wasn’t working I also heard the error sound when checking network properties once, saw consent.exe stuck running after that, and Task Manager ended up hanging once as well. But since I had nothing better to do that night, I installed Serpent in the Staglands, though I’m yet to actually start playing it, so far just starting it a couple of times without saving, just to make sure it works and confirm a couple of things before submitting an entry for it on MobyGames, as it wasn’t there yet.
Had ended up with Serpent in the Staglands that evening, as part of a trade which resulted in me also getting Sunless Sea, due to spending more than the equivalent of $5 during the GOG.com sale. I had been seriously considering purchasing Serpent in the Staglands then and was probably about to do so when I checked the GOG.com forums again and saw that someone from Germany who had posted about wanting to trade for some games that are regionally blocked there without saying exactly which ones had posted again, this time stating that the last two left were Quake II: Quad Damage and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault – War Chest. And when I checked the price of those two during the sale, I saw that they added up to €4.88, while Serpent in the Staglands was €4.89, which seemed like too much of a coincidence to pass up the chance to also do some good. So I sent a message asking whether that was an acceptable deal and we quickly made the trade, this also marking the first time I traded with someone there.

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