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Sunday Update Instead of the Half Marathon…

The half marathon should have taken place today, but instead I can’t even run through the park. Those in Sector 2 have just been opened again, but as far as I know the rest are still closed, and will probably remain closed until at least Friday, when we’ll no longer be under the state of emergency. And since everybody will go out just then in that case, I won’t, so at this point I’m thinking to not run at all next week, since it’d feel rather odd to run on the street again when there will only be a few days left, and when the route reaches one spot that’s just across the road from a park that would be open, but in which I wouldn’t want to go to run. But that would make the following week complicated, because I definitely want to “honor” the half marathon by covering that distance through the park as soon as possible, yet don’t want to just do it right away, without at least a 16 km run first, and doing a half marathon no more than a couple of days after 16 km would be a tall order, and skipping a week before that would make it even worse.

Speaking of running, last week’s run was Friday, when the alarm again rang at 11 AM. Woke up three times before then, however, and if the first two times I heard dad here and awake and didn’t need to pee, so I got right back to bed and actually managed to get back to sleep rather quickly, the third time was at 10:30 AM and it didn’t go so well. Decided to try to get a little more sleep, since I could still hold it too, but ended up lost in thoughts again, and the brief nap I likely did manage was plagued by nightmares, and I believe I was awake again before 11 AM, though I was too confused to be certain. But I had the usual stuff plus almonds, which has in fact been the normal thing for the days when I run for some time now, and two of those old oat biscuits, putting jam on one and honey on the other, and went out at 1:15 PM, wearing the running pants and the regular shoes, but also a regular t-shirt, and of course the mask. The reported temperature was around 19°C, but there were some clouds too.
The time was 49:33.27, with lap times of 12:29.54, 12:21.21, 12:15 (12:14.79) and 12:28 (12:27.73). I obviously didn’t try to put mask on properly again, but it was probably still a bit better than it used to be before last time, and things didn’t look good at first, needing to push to just barely stay under 12:30 on the first lap. Admittedly, said lap included a brief stop when a few people, including one who had just parked his car on the sidewalk in that spot, caused a roadblock in front of this nearby shop, then another to allow a car to pass, and probably had to slow a little for another car as well. There was another brief stop for a car on lap two, and also a tiny bug got in my eye, and I slowed twice while trying, and failing, to remove it. There was some weaving as well, and maybe slowing a couple more times, but the one notable moment when I clearly had to slow was when I caught up to a worker a bit before the end of that narrow path through that nicer bit of the route and he was walking slowly and carrying something, so there was no room to pass right away. I believe that was on lap three, but I’m not sure anymore, so there’s a chance it was in fact also on lap two, or maybe even on four. That strikes me as much less likely, however, since I remember thinking on lap four that the only external problem was the wind, which had in fact rather suddenly picked up. My body wasn’t happy on that last lap though, at first my left ankle starting to bother me, followed by the right knee and hip, and if the hip just gave me a few warnings, the knee was quickly getting worse, requiring me to make an effort to manage it. And I was making an effort to keep pushing myself at that point anyway, since if I lost focus for a moment I noticed myself slowing down.

Took the things I needed with me again, so went straight to this Kaufland and Carrefour after that, jogging much of the way. Got even more tiny bugs in my eyes and under the mask, one probably getting in my nose, before getting there, and when I went to the bathroom at Kaufland I saw two caught in my eyelashes on the left eye, but that one stuck in my right one since lap two of the run was actually on the eye itself, and it took me a while to remove it. Or I hope I did, though my eye continued to bother me a bit at least the rest of that day. Either way, went straight to the bakery area after going in, which was a good thing, since I found exactly four of the kind of bread I wanted, which was also discounted, and that was just how many I wanted. Then got a few other things and used the self-checkout without problems even if I just placed the bag with the bread on the scales, without removing them from it first. Also found National Geographic at that store next to Kaufland this time, and then went to Carrefour, mainly looking for the cabbage that was on sale. Didn’t get any though, since it didn’t look good enough to just keep until I’ll finish what I still have, so I just got a few other things and then got back on a route I never used before, getting around the park on the other side, getting back a bit after 4:30 PM. Only actually got behind the park after a while though, but on that short stretch of road, before getting around it, I counted six runners, and there were nine or ten I saw that day in total, since I believe the one I saw in front of the park, on the way to Kaufland, was the same one I saw here at the corner, as I was also running.

Just before leaving that day, I noticed that Avira had switched itself to the free edition, and after getting back I saw that it had indeed just happened, right after 1 PM. The relevant protection still seemed active though, so I stuck to my original plan… And that made me even more worried when I got back to the computer that night. Had cooked again, only left the kitchen at 3:30 AM and took the rest of the food to continue eating here, and when I checked my e-mail I noticed a notification, received a bit after 2 AM, that somebody had started the process of replacing all security information on my Microsoft account. The e-mail was legitimate, the only unusual things being that it was in Romanian, when my e-mail is set to be in English, and that it listed only the first two letters of my account name instead of the first two letters and @hotmail.com. Plus, of course, the obvious fact that the “somebody” was definitely not me!
Since when I tried to access the security information I got a message that Internet Explorer was no longer accepted due to not meeting the security requirements, I also considered the fact that this notification might be a way to force those who still use it to switch, and the other oddities about that notification also made me wonder whether it was in fact about some forgotten account I had on another Microsoft property, which was now being merged with the active one I use for e-mail. The fact that there was no unusual activity listed would perhaps also point towards those, shall we say, benign options, but the timing, just when my computer had been somewhat less protected, definitely brought worse possibilities to mind. And that got even worse when, while wondering why hadn’t I received any SMS about it as well, I noticed that my phone wasn’t working at all again. If I turned it off and back on, I could usually make a call, but as soon as it was supposed to receive something, either a message with my remaining credit or a code to sign in, it stopped working again, usually silently, and that didn’t change even though I tried several times. But there was little else I could do at the moment, so I just changed the password and finally got in bed at 5:20 AM.
Left my phone off during the night, and when I got up I put the SIM card in the old one, which also told me to check it at first. That makes me wonder whether the problem isn’t the card after all, and these old ones are just much better at dealing with a failing one, but after taking it out, blowing and rubbing, just in case, and putting it back in more carefully, it worked again, and right away I received a message with my remaining credit, with the time being from the previous night, so probably received after I had turned the old one off, which explained why it didn’t just get lost.
A bit later, I restored the system from the backup, getting it done before I lost courage again, but actually connected the external HDD before rebooting and made sure that it was seen in BIOS before starting from the recovery disk, which I’m not sure I ever did before, and the first thing I saw when it booted from that disk was a prompt to unlock the encrypted partition on the external HDD, which I definitely never saw before, the encrypted partitions just being inaccessible when I tried to recover. It also said that it detected problems that may prevent Windows from starting properly and wanted to fix them, but I just ignored everything and restored as planned. Thought about it later and realized I should have tried to figure out what problems it thought it discovered, but it was too late by then.
The LAN chipset was enabled again after restoring the system, so I quickly disabled it again, and that might have messed with the SSD’s software a bit, since I think it was trying to update. I knew an update was available, which I had ignored before, but when I could connect later, I installed it after all, in part to make sure there were no problems, and saw that it requires significantly more system resources. However, I had in fact connected once more even before that, briefly, because I received an SMS with a code to use to sign in to my Microsoft account! That was exactly three hours after putting the SIM in the old phone, and I guess it’s not impossible to have been one I had requested at night and which somehow found its way through then instead of just getting lost, but the time was the current one, so definitely seemed that somebody had just requested one, and I wanted to check to see whether I could spot any activity. Still didn’t, however, and I was left wondering what that was about, since I disconnected again quickly… Not so quickly as to prevent the time from updating, however, and since that backup was made before the daylight savings change, BOINC messed up again, causing my first failed MilkyWay@home task. Just one failed though, and I believe that was because that one completed before I noticed what happened and rebooted, the other one which had been running when the time changed continuing and validating.
The thing is that I didn’t make another clean backup last evening, before installing Trend Micro Antivirus+ at night, so I’ll need to use this one again later and I sure hope I’ll find some way to remember this issue and prevent even more failed tasks! But, as I said, started a new trial last night, though this is another one that’s clearly not an option. It killed explorer.exe and restarted it in an odd way while installing, the network icon being completely disabled, but it worked again after I killed and restarted it again myself, though I also rebooted after that for good measure. A strange thing is that I’m not seeing the Samsung Magician icon in the notification area anymore after that reboot, though it was there after I updated it, and the process is running. But this is about the new antivirus, and the first reason why it can’t be an option is that automatic updates can’t be disabled or even configured at all! I’m seeing registry entries, one listing one day and another three hours, which seem to match what I found when I searched, which seems to indicate that it checks daily for program updates and every three hours for definitions, and I’m also seeing a system task checking for something once every seven hours, but I’m blocked from editing those registry entries, so maybe I’ll try it in safe mode later and see what happens. Either way, I’m definitely noticing its performance impact, which is another reason why it can’t be an option, not that any was needed anymore.
But the main problem is what’s going on with that account, and whether somebody is actually trying to access it. Then again, if that’s happening, writing about it here is probably a bad idea, but at the same time it may count as evidence in case they’ll succeed and I’ll need to recover it. Still not seeing any unusual activity though, but I guess an attempt to gain access may be made without actually trying to sign in, using the forms. The fact that I reacted to that message and changed the password, twice in fact, and have been thoroughly checking everything since then, should probably alert anyone checking that request to the fact that it’s not from the account’s actual owner and said owner has been alerted and is trying to avoid losing it. But I’ve also been asking for more advice, and we’ll see what will happen. In case anyone, other than the possible hacker, is reading this and has any ideas that might help figure out exactly what’s happening or notices something unusual, or will notice something unusual apparently coming from me, do let me know…

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