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First Snow, Volunteering and Not Really, Software Behaving Oddly

Since I’m still leaving the huge post, or posts, about those long walks for some other time, this one will just be about this week, though I’ll also mention that last Saturday, so on November 28, there were again no visits recorded in either view. At this point, I don’t even know whether I’ll have those posts by the end of the year, with the priorities being reading the three more books I need to read to get to 12 this year and finishing Witch’s Wake, to finally, finally finish all of Neverwinter Nights: Diamond and also be able to claim finishing five games this year, if I cheat a little and count those additional modules as one, separately from Kingmaker

Getting to the point, Monday it snowed a little, so I went out to “greet” the season’s first snow. I should have done so earlier though, since it was melting by the time I actually did, so I mostly had to deal with puddles and slush, but took the recyclables, including a whole pile of those things I take to Kaufland, first went to drop off the rest in a bin, then left those on the sidewalk to quickly check a Mega Image on the way, retrieved them, left them again on the sidewalk before entering Penny, got a few things from there, retrieved them again, and finally dropped them off after I got to Kaufland. Just had a look through Kaufland, but found expiring sour cream with 30% fat at a fair discount, so got some for something I meant to make again, then also checked Carrefour, finding unsliced bread of that kind that I get from there, and which was still on sale, so I got one of those. On the way back, after going back and forth for a bit, since I wasn’t sure of the location anymore, I returned to a new bakery I had noticed and quickly checked out the first time I passed it, buying two things, just to see how they are. And then, since I mentioned those priorities, in the evening I started the very unimaginatively named Thief, picked up for free back in 2016, not that it’s not free even now, and I’m close to finishing it, so the quick review for it will need to be the week’s second post.

After receiving an SMS stating that volunteers were wanted, Tuesday and Wednesday, to help put together packages for the poor, I meant to go, but the SMS asked those interested to reply to it, which I can’t, so I sent an e-mail. After receiving no reply to that by Monday night, I also sent a message on Facebook to the NGO the person who had sent the SMS works with and then, when there was no reply to either even after I woke up Tuesday afternoon, another e-mail, both to the person who had sent that SMS and to the NGO, and only then did I receive a reply with the link to register at. Why couldn’t that have been included in the original SMS, no idea, but it meant I couldn’t go Tuesday, since it was past 5 PM when I saw that reply, it’d have obviously taken me some time to get ready, the location was over an hour’s walk away and the work was supposed to finish at 8 PM. But she said she thought they still needed people, and I could go the next day, when dad also said he wanted to drive me there, even if it meant going in the opposite direction of the one he had to go in, so I planned to go then.
As such, after getting in bed at 5:20 AM, I found myself awake at 11:35 AM and wondering what to do, since I had set the alarm to ring at noon. Didn’t turn it off then though, getting back under the blanket and probably even getting a few more minutes of sleep, before my internal clock again worked really well and I found myself up and turning off the alarm at 11:59 AM. It was a bit after 1:30 PM when I left with dad and we got there quickly, but the location was a warehouse at the back of an industrial park and I wasn’t sure how to reach it. Had seen what should have been a straight route on the map though, and he couldn’t drive through there, so he left me in the parking lot and I walked that way until I saw a closed gate and a guard. So I approached the guard and asked him about the warehouse where volunteers were supposed to make some packages Tuesday and Wednesday, and whether volunteers were still needed at that moment, but he knew nothing about it, repeatedly saying that the public was allowed there on Mondays but eventually telling me how to go around the restricted area and reach the main warehouse from the other side.
Well, that turned out to be the relatively straightforward part, since I was there around 2 PM, looking at that main warehouse, which didn’t seem like a place anyone could just enter, but also seeing stairs leading up to what the sign stated was another NGO. I didn’t think they were involved in this, but someone was just coming down those stairs and she asked where I wanted to go, and when I mumbled something about volunteering she told me to go up to that NGO and also shouted to a guy to let him know a guy’s coming up. But when that guy showed me in, I found an office with three women who had no idea what I was talking about, but definitely wanted to help. I couldn’t immediately tell them which NGO I was supposed to be volunteering for, as that information hadn’t been included in the messages from the other one, but when they said a name I recognized it and said that’s probably it, and also gave them the contact name and number listed in the e-mail, saying I can’t call from my phone. They didn’t call that person though, instead calling someone else they knew from that NGO, giving her my number and telling me to go back down and wait for her to call me, which she did a bit later. She couldn’t figure out how to explain how to get from where I was to the warehouse I was actually supposed to get to though, repeating something about a barrier and saying I was very close to that warehouse, could certainly see it from there, but there was a fence in the way and they never get there the way I did, so she didn’t know how to tell me to get around it. Eventually she told me to wait right there and someone will come and get me, but instead, quite some time later, someone from that other NGO called me back up and showed me on her laptop, and also out the window, just which way to go.
The thing is that, since I was there, I don’t think it made any difference that I had arrived from the other direction, and the gate I went through was just behind the stairs I used to get to that other NGO, so it should have been very easy to explain if we’d have understood each other. But I guess I couldn’t really explain anything either and she realized that talking just increased the confusion on all sides, so she had to find a way to work around it and as a result I only reached that warehouse around 2:30 PM or so… Which was just before they finished, that lost half an hour probably making the difference between being at least a little bit useful and mostly a nuisance, which I guess I ended up being.
Still, when I finally got there, the one in charge asked the three girls who seemed to be the only volunteers how many bags they still had to put together and they said ten, and that they didn’t need me to help them with that, but she insisted to include me, since I was there, and I likely ended up costing them some time, as one had to explain to me what to do and I just put together two by the time they finished the rest. But someone drove in while I was doing that, starting to load some of the bags, and I asked the coordinator if I could help with that and she agreed. That again resulted in a bit of lost time, since I went right to it and had to immediately stop, learning that there were two different kinds of bags and they were counting exactly how many they were taking of each kind, so I left them to finish with the first kind, and when the guy took the first two of the second kind, I heard him say that he needed 22 of those, so I brought the other 20 to the car, leaving him to just put them inside. Then I helped the girl gathering the empty cardboard boxes and crates, and I think she left me to it after a while, and at the end also put some more apples and oranges in bags, after seeing a girl start doing so and being told how many should be in each, only stopping when I ran out of bags. By then, the girls had gathered around the coordinator, chatting and receiving some rewards for their work, and when one of them came back to grab some apples and oranges for herself and I asked whether they had any more bags she said they did, but I should just leave the rest in the crates, as they’ll take them to children and they’ll be easier to carry that way.
The coordinator had offered me some coffee or water earlier and I had refused, and I didn’t try to get anything for myself or even join them when they were still gathered there, feeling that I didn’t deserve anything after only getting there at the end and probably getting in the way more than I helped, but the coordinator gave me some cards and a booklet, and insisted that I should change my mask, so I threw mine away and took a new one from the box she offered. Had been feeling rather self-conscious about that, since the rest of them had more serious masks and I just had a regular surgical one, and replacing it with a similar one right at the end wouldn’t have done anything for their safety, but I did so since she insisted. And I also ended up with a muesli bar that the coordinator gave me just as I was about to leave, saying it was “for the road” if I didn’t want anything else.
The strange thing was that she could open the main gate in that fence, letting me out that way! The girls were asking where to drop me off, seeming to assume they’ll drive me out of that industrial park and at least to the nearest bus stop, if we won’t have a longer common route, but after awkwardly trying to figure out what to say, I eventually, and quite firmly, said that if I walked there, I could walk back as well, at which point the coordinator said that in that case she’ll open the gate so I’ll at least be able to get straight back and did so, only telling me to rush out so it’ll close again immediately. Yes, those at the other NGO hadn’t talked to her, but the person they did talk to should have known she could do that, so I wonder why didn’t she do it from the beginning, letting me in that way. Either way, I was through that gate and back on the other side of that fence a bit before 3:25 PM, so I spent no more than an hour, and probably a bit less, in there, including that time spent standing around at the end.

Since I walked back from there and it was on the way, I first stopped at the Auchan from Vitan. Really needed to pee by the time I got there, but after I took care of that problem I bought a few things, including the last small bag of raisins of the cheapest kind that I could find, also for that thing I meant to make again, and which I did make that evening, and more of Liza’s food, since I was there… Only to later see that it was going to be discounted at Carrefour starting the next day. Admittedly, the difference between Auchan’s regular price and Carrefour’s discounted one was just 0.01 RON, so a total difference of 0.20 RON, but it at least meant I didn’t need to get and carry it from there then. But I didn’t know that at the time, so I got those things, then made my way back, getting here at 5:50 PM. That was after making two more stops though, the first at a small store that advertised cheap eggs, asking what kind they were but not getting any when I saw that they were type three, and then at the Carrefour from the park, having a quick look but not getting anything from there either. What was quite unpleasant was that there was no hot water when I got back, and the situation didn’t change until I went to bed, at 5:20 AM, so I ended up finally taking a shower when I first woke up to pee, getting back to bed after that.

Moving on to Thursday, for some reason the Kindle software updated automatically when I tried to open it in order to continue reading and the new version refused to start. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling, but that didn’t fix it, and uninstalling again and using the version 1.12 installer I had saved produced the same result. I think I had 1.16 before, but hadn’t downloaded that installer after updating to that version, I believe after being forced to do so back then. Fortunately, a quick search revealed an archived installer of version 1.17, which others facing a similar problem for quite some time were saying worked, and it worked for me as well… Though I forgot to disable automatic updates at first, so it automatically updated again to 1.30, again failing to work, so I had to reinstall 1.17 again.
Well, dad got back as I was struggling with that, and I didn’t immediately go out of my room, staying here until I sorted things out… And he just turned on his computer. I didn’t know it at first, since he didn’t say anything either and I found him eating in the kitchen when I did get there, and the door to the living room was closed, but when he went back to the living room I saw that he had his e-mail open… At which point he just blatantly lied to my face, saying that he had just connected then, asking if I hadn’t seen him plug the cable in, which was of course impossible, since I had followed him there and there’d have been no way for him to plug the cable back in and open a site in pretty much no time. And I confirmed that by checking the logs after he went back to the kitchen, but I didn’t tell him that, only asking again how come he was on-line when he said he hadn’t been, and he calmly said he didn’t know, but would ask me why hadn’t I unplugged his network cable while the computer was off, so it won’t connect when he’ll turn it on if I didn’t come out the moment he got back. So he just blatantly lied to my face, again, and both were connected for some 20 minutes, again making me feel even more anxious than usual even about using my computer.
And on that note, another piece of software messed up in the evening, not long before midnight, my UPS doing a battery self-test and its software apparently turning itself off when it should have notified me that it had passed. I heard the UPS switch to battery, realized that it was testing when it lasted more than a couple of seconds and we weren’t having a blackout, heard the notification sound once it switched back, but didn’t see the message bubble, so I meant to check the software and found that its icon was gone from the notification area, and it didn’t reappear after I opened it from the Start menu either, so I rebooted. Things seem normal since then, and the entry in system logs states that the self-test was indeed passed, so I guess I shouldn’t worry about the battery just yet, even if it is quite old, and all that mess with the Kindle software earlier might have messed some other things up as well, but it was yet another reason for concern.

As for this week’s run, it was yesterday. Had moved the alarm from noon to 1 PM before going to bed in the morning, but a little after 12:10 PM those doing surveys called again and woke me up. Heard nothing when I answered, so there wasn’t even a survey to take, probably took too long to answer, so I only did that quick survey, basically just asking who I’ll vote for, this morning, when they again woke me up, this time at 9:45 AM. Either way, after yesterday’s call, got back under the blanket for a bit, relying on the alarm in case I’ll fall asleep, but don’t think I did and eventually got up at 12:35 PM. Then had the usual stuff plus hazelnuts, the yogurt again being one of those “creamy” ones with 5% fat, but before that I “managed” to spill some tea just after taking it off the stove, and a bit ended up on my hand, burning me a little. It wasn’t bad though, so I again also had those nicer biscuits as well, though this time I added jam instead of honey, not wanting to open a new jar of honey just yet, and put on the full running gear, this time leaving both the undershirt and the t-shirt I wear inside on as well, and had the jacket on for the walk, tying it around my waist while running. Left just before 3:05 PM, considering also taking my gloves but eventually giving up on the idea, the reported temperature being 11°C, maybe dropping just a bit by the time I finished.
The time was 48:23.02, with sector times of 4:13.76, 5:13 (5:12.82), 6:00.29, 4:31 (4:30.84), 5:08 (5:07.60), 6:00 (5:59.73), 4:29 (4:28.98), 5:04.31, 5:55.27 and 1:50 (1:49.42), making for lap times of 15:26.87, 15:39 (15:38.17) and 15:28.56. So I was marginally slower than last week, but if I was quite pleased with myself then, after all that walking that I still don’t know when I’ll finally manage to post about, this time I was quite disappointed. And there were relatively few people, so it was mostly just a matter of some weaving and going the long way around, though there was a bit of a roadblock on sector two of lap two, followed a little later, probably on the next sector, though it might have been on the same one, by a moment when I had to take to the grass and go around a garbage can as well, and then, on sector one of lap three, by a moment when I had to pick my way through what was about to become a multiple roadblock if I wouldn’t have found that path just then. On the other hand, yes, there was some wind, and going against it even on some of the longer straights wasn’t easy, but the main problem was that I just couldn’t sustain those sprints. I’m not even sure I managed to really sprint for a full 100 meters at any point, even if there were no specific physical problems I could identify, except perhaps my back bothering me a little. Still, after the first two sectors I was thinking that I was realistically looking at 49 minutes, and will need to push to not embarrass myself even worse, so the fact that 48:30 no longer seemed impossible after sector one of lap three was an improvement, and that unexpectedly fast final sector meant that I managed that by a safe margin.

Had a look through that Carrefour again after the run, deciding to get two large bio (organic) yogurts after all but forgetting that I had seen that the cat litter was discounted again and I meant to grab at least one more bag. The way back might have been a bit tricky if I would have done so, however, since another kind of chocolate I was interested in was on sale these days, this time at Mega Image, so I first stopped at the Shop & Go that’s on the way, leaving without anything since they only had the most common type, and then at this Mega Image, which had two of the other three types, so I bought one of each. That meant spending a bit more than I meant to these days, but I had decided to buy myself some of that chocolate if I’ll stay under 48:30, so I did. Of course, deducting it out of what I have for myself means it was no reward, and I’ll have to give up on something else as a result, but I only considered rewarding myself by getting something and deducting it from the rest of the money if I at least got back under 48 minutes.

Before finishing this, I’ll also mention that I timed my squats again today, for the first time in a long time, probably since July. Certainly don’t intend to do it regularly again, but seeing that I did them in 2:09 now was nice. Otherwise, sort of thought about cleaning my room a little and changing the sheets today, but didn’t, though I really should get around to it, maybe next week, when I should also read that booklet and count it as the year’s 11th book, even if it feels rather like cheating to do so. And then I’ll see what the 12th will be, maybe after I’ll finish Witch’s Wake, assuming it’ll seem likely within the next two weeks, so I’ll have at least ten days for that last book. Not sure if I’ll also write the review for Kingmaker by the end of the year, but if the amount of time it took me to finish them and the lack of notes meant that all I wrote about the main campaigns was the quick review for Hordes of the Underdark, I do mean to at least write a proper one for this expansion, including something about each of the three modules contained in it, since this time around I do have notes, even if the “main” one also took me years to finish and it’ll therefore be harder to put something together about it even so.

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