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Siege of Avalon, Another Bad Half Marathon Run and Non-Fiction Books in Romanian

Last Saturday night I started eating dinner at 3:30 AM and was initially in bed before 5:20 AM, but then got back up to compose an SMS to Elena P., wishing her a happy Easter and better days, for old times’ sake, and was only back to bed at 5:40 AM. Didn’t send that SMS just then, of course, but after modifying it a little I did send it after I woke up, and then also sent one to the guy I gave those 70 RON to, just in case it’d serve as a reminder. Meant to call both, which would have also allowed me to learn if the phone numbers even work, at least the one that guy gave me having been unreachable when I accidentally called from dad’s phone, but couldn’t get myself to do it. And there was no reply to either, of course.

Monday Micky woke me up at 12:30 PM by meowing, but since it had been announced that a large number of games were going to be added at the start of the month and that was yet to happen when I went to bed, and dad was also away, that meant I could get on-line to check The Community Giveaway on the GOG.com forums, seeing Siege of Avalon: Anthology there, asking for it and receiving it soon after that… What made it even more awkward than usual was that somebody had nominated me for Tyranny: Gold Edition before I checked, so I had to refuse that nomination, the game actually being one I specifically don’t want to play because of the plot, and then ask for something else. That always felt like not a nice thing to do, but with the game I was nominated for not even being on my wishlist, I have no idea what prompted that nomination… Either way, though I’ve been interested in Siege of Avalon for a long time and even created the wishlist entry for it back when the feature was implemented, I’m now playing Bound by Flame and trying to get myself to write the review for Venetica, so I didn’t jump to install it right away. Besides, it’s a remastered version that was just released and they’re still finding bugs and releasing patches for it, so it’d be a good idea to wait anyway.

Still on Monday, forgot to bake beets that evening, but at least I had other stuff for the salad I made that night, being able to avoid cabbage, as I want to do before a run, and even more so before covering a half marathon distance, that being the plan for Tuesday, when the alarm was set to ring at 2 PM but I again got up a bit earlier. In fact, after first waking up to pee at 10:40 AM I kept waking up, despite not needing to go to the toilet again, and thought that the alarm was going to ring since the second time that happened, but only checked the fourth time, since it still hadn’t, seeing 1:46 PM and getting up at that point. Then I had the usual stuff plus raisins in dark chocolate added to the yogurt and cereals and an energy bar expired since October, drank most of the tea, put on the full running gear, with some money and bags in the pocket of my tights, and left at 4:10 PM, when the reported temperature was about 21°C, being supposed to hold quite steady.
Well, I guess I wasted that energy bar after all, since I had been saving it for a moment when I thought I had a chance at a better time over this distance, which obviously hadn’t been the case last month, but it wasn’t the case now either, the time of 1:50:36 just barely avoiding a huge embarrassment, being a mere 11 seconds less slow than that previous one. Sector times were 4:28, 5:16, 6:11, 4:41, 5:17, 6:11, 5:15, 5:25, 6:15, 4:54, 5:39, 6:30, 4:59, 5:33, 6:29, 5:01, 5:33, 6:38, 1:56, 6:26 and 1:59, making for lap times of 15:55, 16:09, 16:55, 17:03, 17:01 and 17:12, plus 10:21 for that final portion. Admittedly, I likely stood still longer, as that time on sector one of lap three shows, because I somehow forgot to tighten my shoelaces before the start and the right one came loose, ending up knotted as well, so I spent some 30 seconds on it, and also tightening the other one, while I was at it. But that’s obviously no excuse, and the target time should have been no more than 1:45 in itself, which I allowed to get up to 1:47 because I keep being excessively cautious when avoiding other people and there were no sectors without seconds lost because of that, so I calculated that I’d lose over a minute because of that, so the total could perhaps get to two minutes by adding the issue with the shoelaces. However, it was clear from lap one that I won’t manage anything of the sort, what I thought as the realistic target becoming 1:48:30 before that stop and 1:49 after it… Yet that’d have required sustaining that lap three pace, not counting that lost time, all the way to the end, which didn’t happen at all, the following laps being even slower than that third one, including that lost time, lap four making it clear that the only remaining target was avoiding the embarrassment of being even slower than the previous time, and I pushed all the way to the end to barely manage even that.
I had to push against the wind on a part of that long sector three turn on lap one, but otherwise the weather was fine. I wasn’t, on the other hand, something in my abdomen stinging from the start, though I felt it less as time passed, and my leg muscles seeming quite tired, also from the start. There was also some pain at the back of my right knee, which became the whole knee from sector three of lap four, though it got better again after a while. In addition, I think it was on sector two of lap six when a certain pressing need appeared, and on sector two of that final portion, so the seventh sector three, there was some pain in my left side and I needed to snap my back and, since I’m still trying to avoid those rather brutal moves I used to make, couldn’t quite do it. And there was no single sector, not even the short ones in that final portion, without seconds lost because roadblocks, excessive caution or both made me stop or at least slow significantly, on top of all the weaving, going the long way around or squeezing through all the people. And it was also in order to avoid another person that at one point I used the slightly raised part, towards the lake, and ended up stepping on the edge of the curb, barely managing to avoid falling and making it a good thing that it happened in a paved area, so I was already making sure my ankle was firm and didn’t twist it. This happened on a sector three, but I kept trying to remember the lap even towards the end of the run and couldn’t, so I can only say that I believe it was lap five, because I don’t think this happened around the same time I noticed that knee getting worse, since I’d have made a connection but only recalled thinking that it was weird that I noticed the knee pain on sector three of lap four when the previous sector’s time would otherwise indicate a problem.

As I saw those target times slipping away, I set my mind on penalizing myself by giving 1 RON for each minute over 1:47 to some buskers, and picked two guys for it, but decided against making that detour as I went back through the park on my way to that newer Kaufland, thinking I’ll do it on the way back… And ending up just setting those 4 RON aside, since I could no longer find them then. On the other hand, a very tiny detour, of just a few steps, made in that Kaufland’s parking lot, also proved useless, since I spotted a cart with a coin in it, but it actually was connected to the others, the coin being stuck, so I couldn’t get it.
Once inside, I found piles of deeply discounted bread and got four for dad, also got four bundles of green onions, though they were quite wilted and discounted only to 0.50 RON, and since I was there at 7 PM, when their bakery products get discounted, also got the last two of one kind of pastries and last three of another, plus the last bread of the kind I get from there. The employee was taking her time with the labels, however, also talking to someone on the phone and at one point saying she’s fed up with Kaufland, so I waited after her before getting that bread, wanting to make sure it really was discounted and hoping nobody else will get it first, only going to it once she did place the label, again showing that discount of 51% instead of 50%, and the full price also still being the regular one. They were also discounting various fruits and vegetables, however, an employee still placing them in bags and filling a part of that area with them, and while many were apples but they were imported and I therefore didn’t care, as I was waiting I grabbed a bag of bananas that seemed better and the only one of what the label stated were black radishes, finding when I got back that it actually contained beets. That also made the discount lower, black radishes costing over a third more than beets, and one was really rotten, but I can use beets as well, when I don’t forget to bake them, so it was still all right overall. Either way, after I was done with everything else, I also got a few small lemons that also had a low price and went to the self-checkout, which did tell me to keep the product on the scales until the end after placing one of dad’s breads there, but didn’t actually cause issues, allowing me to continue after I removed it, put it back and then hit OK.
It was somewhat weird when, as I was wandering around the fruits and vegetables area, a woman called me over to say she couldn’t find those large cucumbers in the menu of the scales, the fact that she had called me specifically making me wonder how did my running gear, with the blue-green t-shirt that the text on the back clearly states is from the half marathon, seem similar to the red or black clothes with the store logo the employees wear, but I just told her that those are sold by the piece and moved on. But another person also helped me at the end, because I only had two flimsy bags with handles, one of them very flimsy and small, and one without, and after rushing to put everything back in them to allow the next person to use the machine, I couldn’t quite pick them back up after scanning the receipt in order to open the gate, someone else actually walking through when I did so and the gate closing again while I was struggling with the bags, at which point that other woman said she’ll help and took some of them, getting me through the gate. That obviously felt awkward, but at least I could take my time and arrange everything properly, putting the bananas and lemons in the bag with what I later found were beets, placing it in the one the bananas had been in, to reduce the risk of tearing, and tying them in a way that created an improvised handle. That still left the bread and pastries just barely stuffed into that one bag I had that wasn’t that small, with the green onions in the one that was, and focusing on holding them in a way that reduced the risk of tearing meant that when I got back, a bit before 8:40 PM, the tips of a few fingers from my left hand, the middle one in particular, were quite purple, though at least they quickly recovered. And I also saw blood when I removed my left shoe, the corner of a nail having jabbed the toe next to it while I ran.
After only having a piece of pasca and a banana earlier, made mamaliga again that night and only started eating at 3:10 AM, though I had spent a few minutes licking the whisk in the kitchen before that. I was only back in the kitchen at 5:15 AM, washing the other stuff before scraping what was left on the pot, and in bed at 5:45 AM. It wasn’t even 8 AM when I first woke up though, and had a hard time sleeping after that, kept twisting and turning, feeling hot, likely dehydrated, unsurprisingly also had acid reflux, so at 9:10 AM I was up and on the computer, and also made and quickly drank tea, making another later that day.

Since I got to Wednesday, that afternoon I ordered some books, non-fiction and in Romanian, after a known activist recommended some on the topic of economy and I saw some environmental ones too, that publisher having a major sale that day only. The environmental ones, Europe: A Natural History, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History and Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, are books I had actually been interested in for a while, even allowing for the possibility of reading them in Romanian, but that only meant checking a few times to see whether the Library somehow had them, actually purchasing them, even at such low prices, not being something I had considered. And those I picked out of what Claudiu suggested, Capital and Ideology, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future and The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality, are nothing I’d willingly read, this last one in particular seeming to be something I’ll find just infuriating. Still, the first at least presents a Leftist perspective, though it’ll clearly be very far from what I’d want to see and will just be a long and hard read either way, and the second one deals with the one topic that I do care to look into when it comes to economic matters, albeit again likely not in a manner I’m likely to not find frustrating. The one that I should be able to read easily is the seventh, Unde nu-i cap, vai de popoare (Where There’s No Head, Woe to the Peoples), which I added to get free shipping. The price was just under 1 RON less than the shipping would have been, but at least I got another book and supported a rather Leftist TV show host, maybe the only one left here, since it consists of a collection of commentaries from the show from a few years ago.

Otherwise, Wednesday I did have both breakfast and lunch, but after those less than two hours of sleep in the morning, only got a very brief nap, lasting mere minutes, in the evening, started eating dinner at 3:25 AM and got back in bed at 5:20 AM, so it was no wonder that Thursday I felt quite exhausted… And those hours, 3:25 AM and 5:20 AM, repeated the following night, though that was after taking care of some things I had left in the kitchen for quite some time and then also finishing a newspaper.

Well, I definitely had no chance to recover yesterday, because I again mentioned in the comments that I preferred the delivery to be made after 3 PM and yet, just like last time, I was woken up before 10 AM, actually at 9:45 AM this time, by the call. Despite the different stores, it was even the same number, so I guess this guy is the one from that delivery company who deals with this area and that’s the time when he usually gets here on his route, but this time around it was even worse, because he didn’t call when he was a few minutes away, but said he was just in front of the building, and since I was in my pajamas and dad was asleep after having worked that night, I asked whether he could give me ten minutes and he agreed, though he didn’t sound happy about it. So I changed, closed dad’s door, turned on the intercom and grabbed the money, the amount again being rounded up and the guy actually asking when he called whether I had that amount, so I didn’t even try to give him coins again, losing 0.56 RON. Then I unpacked the books and slowly got ready to go out, being awake so early meaning that I could do everything I had sort of considered doing that day.
It was a few minutes before 1 PM when I went out the door, first checking this nearby store for the price of the margarine dad gets, because I had asked him whether he wanted me to get him one, since it’s now on sale at Penny, and he said that price was higher than the one he buys it at from here, being adamant that he wasn’t referring to a different weight… And obviously being wrong, the price I saw being higher by almost half! Either way, I then also took some time to look through the used books placed outside a store I passed, also quickly checked a Mega Image, and eventually reached my first actual destination, a location of the Library that had Capital in the Twenty-First Century, still in Romanian, this being the only one of the books recommended by Claudiu available there, so I had decided to get it and start with it.
Well, that experience was as unpleasant as the previous two times I went there, and for the same reason. The door was blocked, so I greeted the woman who was there, but she was on the computer, the desk is some distance from the door and she didn’t react, so after waiting for a moment I hesitantly went around that desk and chair and took a couple of steps, trying to look for the economy section without getting too far inside. Couldn’t see it from there, however, so I wasn’t sure what to do, turned to look at her a couple of times, seeing no reaction, but when I finally took another, even more hesitant, step she finally seemed to notice me and asked if I didn’t see that desk in the door, sounding annoyed and telling me to wait there. I said I greeted her and assumed I could come in when she didn’t answer, she said she didn’t hear and came to take my library pass, but didn’t also take the slip of paper with the book title and location, which I had also written down after checking the site. Then she took her time with my pass, also asking whether I had borrowed a book from there before, and I said I didn’t recall, thinking about it and eventually adding that I had perhaps borrowed a movie some two years earlier, which was in fact perfectly accurate, but I wasn’t sure and said so. Either way, she even asked for my full name, though it’s even written on the pass, and then finally asked what book I wanted, took some time to search for it on the computer as well, and when she gave it to me she also told me I can use any of the contact methods to extend it if I’ll need to… And, while I don’t mean to, since it has just over 1000 pages, it’ll be hard to read, and after two days I’m yet to even start, I fear that may end up being necessary after all…
Moving on, I was out of there at 1:45 PM and went to the Carrefour from Obor, getting some more of those bagels for my mother, and also one bag for myself, plus some garlic and some expiring eggs. At the checkout, the guy who was ahead told me in English that he needed to get an onion and I just nodded despite not really catching what he had said before that, so when the cashier finished with the person who was before him I looked hesitantly at her and she motioned for me to go ahead, so I did. The label on the bag with the garlic wasn’t straight and wouldn’t scan, however, so that guy came back while she was still struggling with it, for some reason needing to try to type the code twice before it finally worked, and then she also asked whether I had 1 RON and when I said I didn’t she said she didn’t need the coins since her problem was not having 1 RON bills for change… Which struck me as odd, since she’d have needed to give me 4 RON with the coins and 3 RON and a bunch of coins otherwise, so if she had no 1 RON bills the coins made no difference… But I didn’t want to make that guy wait even longer, so I dug in my pocket and retrieved a 1 RON bill after all, since I did have those four I wanted to give away… And somehow lost a 0.01 RON coin, since I had slightly miscalculated the total, it wasn’t needed and I have no idea what I did with it when I meant to put it back, the interactions meaning that my brain was pretty much disconnected by then. But at least that was a negligible loss.
After thoroughly checking that I hadn’t lost anything else, I also went to that big Mega Image from that area, for bio (organic) cloves that actually ended up being over 30% cheaper for the same weight compared to the regular ones I’d otherwise get, and they also come in a jar, albeit a plastic one. The problem is that the difference is likely in large part thanks to the quantity, 100 grams instead of ten, so I spent an amount I can’t really afford at the moment, but I’ll work something out, and at least it means I won’t have to worry about these for a long time.
I got back at 4:20 PM, but after showering I took care of some issues with the entries for those books on Goodreads, getting the description of the one I borrowed to be fixed, adding these editions for Capital and Ideology and The Sixth Extinction and also having this edition of Postcapitalism combined with the others, then stayed on-line until dad got back and it was therefore quite late in the evening when I had lunch… And then it was 3:20 AM when I started eating dinner, after spending quite a lot of time getting the bad bits out of a small cabbage dad bought and never touched… Which I’ll be doing tonight as well, and I had lunch rather early, after waking up, the good thing being that said cabbage is very small and I’ll finish it now.

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