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Review: Regions of Ruin

This style of action combat, requiring speed and coordination, doesn’t suit me and it’s also not what you’d expect when you think of dwarves, all of this applying to platforming as well. Nevertheless, there was something about Regions of Ruin that made it seem interesting enough and I had also seen that later on you’ll end up quite insanely overpowered, so I expected to no longer be frustrated by needing to use skills I don’t have once I’ll get through the early part of the game, which indeed proved to be the case. Of course, what to me was a good thing may well be a bad one for those actually looking for this style of gameplay, but the higher difficulty settings may help them to some extent.

But, when it comes to the positive aspects, I should probably start with the number of locations. I see numbered files going up to 253 and that seems quite right, and while a small number need to be pointed out by NPCs or discovered in some other way, most of those locations can be accessed at any point, requiring only some food in order to explore that area of the map. And those locations are just about varied enough to keep things interesting much of the time, and I rather liked the caravan master’s little comments too, often pointing out what to expect when you talk to him once you get to a location, though it’s true that sometimes what he says is generic or even wrong. And yes, you can actually continue after finishing the game, if you left something you’d still want to explore, since going through all or even most locations is not required.
And then there are the puzzles as well. There are those involving runes too, but those are usually simply a matter of finding the right sequence somewhere, so what I’m actually referring to here are those involving switches and/or moving ruins. They’re to be found in the locations with beacons and a few more important treasures, so there aren’t many of them, but they can be interesting and just tricky enough, especially in case of those required to reach the later beacons.
In addition, the few siege locations add a tower defense aspect, and since they’re clearly marked, I’d recommend saving them for moments when you may need to go through a number of similar locations in a row or start to feel bored by regular locations in general. I left it quite late to try even the first one, and only got to the last two when I had almost finished the entire map. Do make sure you have enough room in your inventory before a siege though, and that resources aren’t too close to the maximum either, if you want to be able to pick up all the rewards at the end.

This next part will likely count as a bad thing for many, but for me, seeing as I don’t have the skills for this game’s combat style, ending up overpowered was a good thing, as was the fact that you could in effect become so before actually becoming powerful enough to easily defeat the enemies in combat, by being able to get rid of them without actually fighting them. And, of course, nobody’s forcing you to make use of these methods if you would rather fight, and even I decided not to let companions do my work for me, in fact hiring a single one and setting him to be defensive and wait, only making use of him when necessary, before I could do everything on my own, and during sieges.
Speaking of companions, apparently they were hired for a single journey at first, until an update changed that and hiring became permanent, turning it from something very rarely worth doing to a way to very easily clear out all areas without even having much of a need to move, much less fight, if you so desire. But, again, that’s all your choice, and even if you do get some you can, usually, have them wait out of the way and keep going on your own, while if you later decide they are necessary you can instantly teleport them to your location with the press of a button. Either way, the experience gained is not affected by having companions or their involvement in a fight.
As for being on your own, you’ll find sneaking extremely powerful, and that brings a layer of tactics into the combat. Later in the game, after obtaining certain powerful sneaking skills and bonuses, a little care will pretty much turn you into a ghost, being able to clear an entire area before the enemies can see you, and you will constantly be sneaking in order to do just that, but even early on you can make great use of it at night. That’s another thing that may perhaps be worth noting, that a game that is otherwise quite simple does have a day and night cycle and takes it into account for sneaking, but that is indeed what’s happening and you’ll find that even early on you’ll be able to defeat enemies that’d crush you almost immediately in any sort of actual fight if you wait for night and position yourself properly.

As for positive odds and ends, I’m not exactly making a point out of it because it doesn’t exactly make for good reading and there are some other issues as well, but you will end up with a fair amount of lore in your compendium, explaining what happened in the past, the current state of the world and also the traits of the dwarves depicted in this game. Other than that, there’s a fair amount of humor, which sometimes works, and the developers seem to have made a point of giving particularly funny names to bosses and funny reasons for the bounties showing up on the board. And it’s also nice that stamina is no longer used once an area is cleared, even if you get back there for a bounty, so you can dash all you want in order to explore and also while fighting a character with a bounty on their head and their minions, since the locations are selected from the areas you have already cleared.

When it comes to negative aspects, I’ll start with those having to do with the positive ones mentioned above and say that there may actually be too many areas and it can get tedious to keep visiting them after a while. That doesn’t mean I’d have wanted less content, but I’d have much preferred to have the same amount of content, or of course even more, separated into fewer larger areas. Improved saving would have likely been required in that case, but that’s an important problem that I’ll get to later, and it affects even small areas anyway, since there are some spots where you can get stuck and, while you can always travel away if not in combat and then get back, you will lose anything that’s on the ground.
Then, not sure if this fits here, but since moving platforms are part of some puzzles and I mentioned those above, it is a problem that you need to keep moving as well when you are on such a moving platform, as otherwise you will remain exactly where you are until it will move away and you will fall. That makes no sense and strikes me as nothing other than bad coding.

When it comes to companions, the reason why I said that you can usually have them wait out of the way is that they’ll always appear next to you when you enter or exit a building or when you load a save. That’s just a little annoying if you want to do something on your own, but may be more of a problem in the opposite scenario, if you want them to do something while you do something else, or even hide away.

As for the writing, it would be nice if the content of the books would have something to do with the benefits gained after completing and studying them, but that’s not usually the case. But the text issues themselves are perhaps more frustrating, and I’m not just talking about typos or the little oddity in the fact that eight pages can be displayed for each book, regardless of the number of entries, which may at first give you the impression that more needs to be found if they’re not filled. More than that, I’m talking about the fact that the text quite frequently doesn’t fit the text areas and is simply cut off. You can barely see the start of the books’ titles, each entry ends with the book’s name and the entry number but that gets cut off quite a few times, and the actual content of at least one entry is cut off as well. In addition, the effects of a few items may not be displayed quite properly and many effects get cut off in the runeforge’s imbue screen, where not even the maximum essence is displayed properly, the last digit getting cut off. May also mention here that it took me a while to realize that “armor pen” is penetration, initially assuming it was penalty. And also the little fact that the resource display overlaps the corner of the journal, compendium or map if you don’t shrink the UI.

On that note, could have done with a manual, or better in-game help. Took me a while to figure out that the bar under the health status marked the progress to the next level, as I kept thinking it should be some graphical representation of health and couldn’t figure out why it kept increasing. And when I figured that out I was left searching for some other place where the actual health is listed, before realizing that it isn’t actually listed anywhere, so you have that text that lists your status and the injuries that limit how much you can regenerate, but the actual hit points aren’t listed anywhere. Some things about the skill tree and stats can also be a little confusing at first, and the clicker game could do with instructions as well.

Speaking of that clicker game in the tavern, it’s odd and it takes an awfully long time to achieve anything at first, and then it completely gets away from you when income starts coming in quickly, so you’ll just change something now and then and otherwise let it run on its own until you get the available rewards. But those rewards make it quite important to spend time on it early on, earning what you can as soon as a new metal is available, after you build another building in the settlement, before playing more of the actual game. And then, of course, once you do earn all the rewards, you’ll never touch it again.

I mentioned the problems with saving before, and there are plenty. It’s all in a single .json file, so I guess you could also edit it if you knew what you were doing and it’s at least a good thing that the file in question is in the game’s folder and not hidden somewhere in the user folder, as so many games infuriatingly tend to do, but you just have three slots plus the one for the autosave made whenever you enter an area, not everything is saved and there’s no information about what’s in each slot. There’s a tiny delete button in the corner of each slot, if you can spot it and figure out what it’s for, but otherwise the first chosen name sticks and there’s no way that I could find to just rename a slot, so I kept finding myself loading each save when I got back to the game, trying to figure out what the most recent one was. And things that aren’t saved include the status of sieges, so even if you save after completing one it’d be as if you never started it, the minions killed when going for a bounty, any items on the ground, the time of day, as it’s always daytime when you load, the way any creature is facing, though this may help if you want some to look away from you, the position of companions, which I already mentioned, or that of switches, likely making any puzzle impossible and even getting you stuck, between walls or even inside one, if you save and load before completing all of it.

But more important is that controls could definitely be better. Of course, since this style of gameplay really isn’t my thing, it will always be a problem for me, but quite a few improvements could be made, and I’ve seen enough complaints about this to be quite sure that those who like this kind of games are bothered as well. And while this mostly has to do with combat, I’ll also point out that pathfinding is bad, watching enemies, or for that matter companions if you don’t teleport them to you, being possibly quite amusing for a while. Also, ladders are always weird, being treated simply as a series of tiny platforms.

Another technical issue that affects gameplay is that clicking to pick something in a menu also acts as if you clicked in the game, so normally, if you click, such as to save, you’ll attack the instant the menu closes. And sometimes the game will still register what you press after you Alt+Tab and act accordingly, though that’s not always the case and I couldn’t figure out what makes the difference. And I’ll also mention here that early on, when armor breaks so quickly, by the time something turns yellow in the corner of the screen to warn you that it’s badly damaged, it’s probably too late. And another issue is that friendly NPCs can get killed by enemies, which is most frustrating when it comes to bounties, which bring tough enemies to areas you had already cleared, where NPCs which may still be useful may be, and may even make them appear right next to NPCs that you couldn’t reach in time even if you’d dash right there.

It doesn’t take a killed NPC to break a quest though. There don’t seem to be problems with the main ones, but otherwise there are plenty that are broken, to various degrees. There are some that show up as completed the instant you get them even if you didn’t already do what’s required and some that don’t register as completed even after you do, or register as completed but give no rewards of any kind even if the journal says you received something. There are also missing journal entries, either completely blank or, amusingly enough in one case, simply placeholders. Also found a couple of NPCs with exclamation marks above them, which would indicate that they had quests to give, but they said they had nothing for me to do when I asked. And, throughout the game, I was led to expect that the rabbit queen will show up somewhere in the north if I’ll kill enough rabbits, but she never did, and I must have killed thousands, and returned several times to northern areas where any rabbits would appear.
In addition to that, there are quite a number of quests which are not completed in the same area where you need to turn them in, but which will not mark that area, so you’ll complete them and then have to wander around, trying to find the quest giver again and get the rewards, and there are also no marks for places with rewards you didn’t access yet, for example because you need to find a phrase or the correct sequence of runes elsewhere, so you’ll find what you need and then possibly have no idea where to use it anymore, both of these being quite different from not marking where you need to go for the quest or solution itself. That also happens, quite often, but letting you explore and discover the solution yourself is a good thing while this is just frustrating.

Another important bug has to do with smelting, as for some reason the forge takes into account the resources you have the moment you access it, then deducts any resources used and sets all resources, so even those it couldn’t possibly use, to the result once done, which obviously means that any resources gathered by workers while that menu is open are lost. Of course, later on you’ll have nothing to do with the resources found and end up with dozens of unexploited locations, since it’s so easy to get the maximum amount even with fully upgraded storage and the bonus from the clicker game, but while you’re still struggling to get enough, this can be quite a problem.

Since I mentioned workers, I guess it makes some sense, but it’s still odd to see how inefficient they become as the numbers increase, the amount gathered increasing for the first four, then there’s a double increase when you get to ten, I guess the fact that it skips eight being another bug, while the following thresholds are at 14, 20 and I guess what is intended to be every 6.(6), rounded up, after that. Not that there’s much point in having this feature anyway, since the time that passes doesn’t matter, so you can have one worker start gathering and leave the computer until he finishes if need be, which also means it’d have probably been better to just do without the whole rescued workers concept and simply allow the player to decide where to gather from, and possibly also how much in case of wanting to avoid hitting the limit, and have it happen instantly.
Another oddity would be the randomized amount of materials recovered when dismantling equipment, which just means you’ll be saving and reloading a lot, and considering the small amounts obtained from dismantling compared to what’s used for forging, I see no reason why the full amount couldn’t be offered each time, or at least why it wouldn’t be determined by the level of the blacksmith. It’s also odd that the same materials are used for all weapons, differing by weapon type but being limited to the simpler ones, with the better metals only used for armor, and that all weapons, regardless of type, dismantle into two wood and three iron. And that’s another little bug, since the amount listed is two wood and two iron, just like for a shield type it says four wood but the maximum is actually five.
Also about the blacksmith, it’s nice to be able to craft equipment, but that precision clicking game used to determine the quality is annoying, and I never crafted anything other than to test how it works. Never imbued anything in the runeforge either, as I could make do just fine with what I found and later in the game you can find some items imbued with more essence than the runeforge’s maximum anyway. But speaking of the runeforge, it’s also odd that there’s no button to imbue, the only button that exists being for disenchanting, while double clicking an item switches to imbuing, while in any other building double clicking does the same thing as the button available.

As for other odds and ends, strikes me as using too much of the CPU for such a simple game, and there were times when it refused to start, the process running but nothing happening, though if I forced it closed and tried again it always worked that second time. Then, I always wondered why pressing any key was needed for the menu to appear on the start screen. And thought something broke when I first saw that experience was no longer an integer, before getting used to it. It’s also a bit frustrating that time doesn’t pause when you have a “window” open, such as the inventory or a building’s options, and if it did then that bug with the forge wouldn’t matter either. Still on design choices, I wondered how come bronze is better than iron. And being able to raise one attribute by one point when you level up quickly becomes completely irrelevant when equipment offers such large bonuses. Also, last but most definitely not least, I sure hated the dwarves’ attitude towards nature and trees, being so bothered by “green things” and saying that the only purpose of a tree is to be cut down.

Overall, you could do worse than Regions of Ruin, especially considering the price it may have on sales, but it is nevertheless a pretty simple game with plenty of technical and design problems. The developers put in a fair amount of content and had a few interesting ideas, but seem to have just kept pushing forward while seeking solutions, often not fleshing things out or polishing. In many ways, it doesn’t just show that it’s their first game, but actually feels rather like the draft of one.

Written by Cavalary on August 8, 2019 at 9:30 PM in Gaming | 0 Comments

Restoring from Backup and Continuing to Test ESET

I’ll undo the work done recently to get a better ratio of non-personal posts with a second personal one this week, getting me back to a buffer of only one, but one of next week’s posts should be the review for Regions of Ruin, which I finished last evening, so I should at least be fine for one more week. And this won’t fit here, but just as I was sending a correction for that game’s entry on MobyGames now, there was another double middle click, this being the first one I clearly noticed since July 9. But there isn’t much of anything I can do about that when it happens so rarely, which may well continue to be the case until right after the warranty will expire.

Since I already mentioned something that happened today, I’ll start here, since this morning I woke up at 8:15 AM and was out the door at 9:20 AM, since all bio (organic) products have a 25% discount at Carrefour today and, on top of wanting to get there before they’ll run out of this yogurt, the forecast listed likely rain and even storms during the day, and it was already rather cloudy at that point. Interestingly, it cleared as I was getting back and was nice and sunny for a while, though just now it seems to be getting cloudy again and the forecast still lists possible storms, though after 3 PM and the risk dropped below 50%, while when I went to bed it was up to 70% in the afternoon, and over 30% starting in the morning. But at least I got that out of the way, though I got too much yogurt, clearly needing to freeze some of it to use when I’ll make mamaliga, and spent an almost equal amount on something else I also got, and I actually needed to save all I could now. But also got bread for all of next week from there, so I saved a bit with that, and this time I pointed out that the scales displayed 140 grams when empty and the person there corrected it without a word.

To get these things out of the way, Wednesday I left around 4:10 PM and saw 7:48 PM when I got back. Felt quite exhausted while outside, and it was hot, though it also got cloudy after a certain point. But the idea was to use the remaining four trips on the found metro card I still had, which was expiring that day. Meant to check other recycling machines, and after first checking another place to confirm that I could drop off used batteries there and get some new ones in return, making a mental note of it for some other time, I went on that planned route. Cora was the first stop, and after checking the exact location marked on the map before leaving to try to get a better idea I actually found the recycling machine quite easily, realizing that I probably passed by it last time, looking the other way. Had a look through the store too before searching for the machine, but didn’t get anything. Did end up getting two little things from the Auchan next to the new IKEA though, as I wanted to check for information about recycling batteries at IKEA too and it was right there, so I went there first and then to IKEA, though that was pointless, as I couldn’t find anything listed… And it was also infuriating, as I got to see with my own eyes how they cleared the trees from that entire area, apparently to ensure that the store will be visible. Either way, after that I went to look for another machine I just recently noticed should be at Obor and found it, and also saw that it’s a different kind and has rewards listed per kilogram, including for plastic bottles and aluminum cans, with one kilogram as the minimum amount required, so I really should ask if that means they can be delivered crushed, because I do believe there are enough beer cans from dad for that minimum amount and I’d sure like to not carry air anymore.

And now I’ll get to the things that messed me up even more these days, starting Thursday, when that issue with Vivaldi happened again, since I just noticed the incomplete loading bar for the page I was on as I was about to close it and couldn’t stop myself, and that caused it to no longer start again. And since there was no update available, trying to reinstall it didn’t fix the issue, since it would appear that something locks a file and the reason the update fixed it last time was that the new files were in a new folder, since it makes one with the version number and then deletes the previous one, which previous one I then noticed was still there, as it hadn’t been able to delete it that last time.
A reboot might have fixed it for the moment, but I didn’t want to do that, so I tried uninstalling it, but that didn’t work either, since nothing was showing up when I tried to do that either. So I started searching for solutions, tried deleting the sessions and tabs files, then renaming the whole Default folder, then the whole User Data one, but nothing made any difference. It was only when I tried renaming the Vivaldi folder in Program Files that I realized that some file was locked, though none showed up as being open when I checked Resource Monitor. And after I later went through the folder to delete the files I realized that the file in question was vivaldi_child.dll, which I could delete for an instant, but then it reappeared almost immediately. It’s possible that the same thing happened with vivaldi.dll when I first deleted that as well, but after the second try it didn’t show up again.
Noticing exactly what file was the culprit came after reinstalling it again though, and that came after renaming the Vivaldi keys in the registry, so it’ll act as if it wasn’t already installed. But I highly doubt any of that had anything to do with why it worked after doing that, the reason almost certainly being that I installed it per user, not for all users, so the files were created in the user folder and it no longer tried to use that one from Program Files. And then I confirmed that settings had nothing to do with it by copying the whole User Data folder over the new one and seeing that it still started. Then I cleaned up the old Vivaldi entry from installed programs, telling it to delete it when it realized there was nothing to uninstall, but was left with the Vivaldi icon pinned to the taskbar and I could neither get rid of it nor use it. I could remove it after reinstalling it the first time that day, but after the second time it seemed that it put the original one there again, as trying to click to unpin it did nothing at all, clicking to use it resulted in a message stating that it can’t be found, and clicking to remove it in that prompt did nothing either. Even looked up other ways to remove such icons and deleted a link file from a listed location, but that did nothing either.

All of that made me decide to actually do what I had actually planned, not simply uninstalling ESET Antivirus after the trial period, but restoring from the “clean” backup made before installing it, to make sure that no traces of it will be left, including when it comes to security certificates and keys. Also apparently made me manage some very fast squats, 2:19 on Thursday, but to get back to the matter at hand, this was even more important after realizing that ESET was probably the cause of those Vivaldi problems, and likely related to Internet Explorer often using one CPU core fully for quite some time. But Internet Explorer either recovered on its own if I waited or, if it didn’t or I was impatient, I could immediately see which process was doing that and kill it, and it never refused to start again, regardless of how I closed it. Vivaldi, on the other hand, didn’t give me any indication of what process should be shut down, in case that was somehow the solution, and didn’t seem to recover on its own either, and then it of course refused to start at all if closed in that state. Sure took me a long time to figure that out, only doing it quite some time after the trial period had ended, but since I had neither uninstalled nor purchased it yet, it was good enough. Was actually just about to purchase a license, for two years too, but hadn’t done so yet.

Either way, despite being awfully scared of going through that again, yesterday I did restore from that backup, again formatting the system partition and the associated “System Reserved” one first, and everything seems to have gone well. Also, after being wary of checking other sites without security software at first, since I don’t remember Vivaldi freezing in such a manner if I was only using it for GOG.com, I did so for a while and the problem didn’t reappear without ESET installed. And then I installed it again, and started another trial, which may be unfair but is necessary in order to decide what to do. However, this time I started the trial from the installer and didn’t change other settings either, so it was active right away and apparently that already caused it to create that certificate and turn on filtering for secure connections as well, and Comodo Firewall didn’t notify me about it either, though it had done so when I enabled that setting last time, seeing that it wasn’t enabled at first. Whether that was because it wasn’t active, since I looked through the settings before starting the trial, or they changed the defaults between then and now, since there has been a program update, I’m not sure, but what I did notice was that only svchost.exe and Internet Explorer showed up right away as programs being monitored in such a manner. Now I have no idea whether Vivaldi would have showed up as well after I’d have started it the first time after reinstalling ESET, but I disabled that sort of filtering before doing so… And that seems to have resulted in it not having any power over Vivaldi, since if I added a site to be blocked, one which normally shows up in an iframe, it’s still blocked in Internet Explorer, albeit with an error, including errors appearing in event logs whenever it happens, instead of ESET’s message, but at the moment I’m writing this it seems to remain accessible in Vivaldi.
Either way, Vivaldi continues to work, that problem didn’t reappear even with ESET installed, now that it doesn’t actually do anything to it anymore, and at least up to this moment when I’m writing this I haven’t noticed Internet Explorer using up one CPU core in that manner either. But I don’t like the price for this, and I confirmed that it blocks HTTP connections to something it detects, but for HTTPS, which is nearly everything now, it’ll only react when the files are being saved. Even if I keep reading that it’s bad practice to allow security software to intercept secure traffic and it’s supposedly safer to let browsers handle it while the security software should stick to scanning files once they end up on the computer, which was what Emsisoft limited itself to as well, I really want that sort of “interference”, and the browser being stopped from accessing something potentially malicious in the first place, in the rare case that I may stumble upon anything of the sort. But, more importantly, I also want to be able to block things I don’t want to load through the security software, and by that I mean just such a regular, “Antivirus”, solution, not an “Internet Security” one, to be able to continue to pair it with Comodo Firewall, since the fact that Emsisoft was no longer able to do that for anything loading in an iframe, and for anything not visited directly in Internet Explorer, was an important point against it.
But another issue now is that, since I activated ESET from the installer and didn’t change any options, that initial scan started, and it’s still running, after close to 19 hours at this point. A quick search revealed even worse cases, and I see what it’s doing, using the most thorough settings and really working through installers, stopping for several seconds at DLLs too but spending even 30 minutes or so, maybe even more, on large installers, or those of complex programs, and I have all the games from GOG.com plus installers for various other software and drivers. But it’s those games that are the worst of it, and while it goes faster through some, reporting an “unsupported option”, and also goes quickly over those that just have a smaller executable and separate files for the actual content, those that are in a single, executable file take an insane amount of time, and there are plenty left. And it’s not like there’s anything for it to find, but by this point I’m curious how long it’ll end up taking if I just let it do what it wants to do.

Written by Cavalary on August 3, 2019 at 3:04 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Bite, Embarrassment, Guilt, Botanical Garden, Shutting Down

This post will start right after the previous personal one, because I mentioned that bite on my shoulder to dad after coming back from the run and he told me to be careful with such things, which got me worried and thinking about tick bites, considering the rash around it. Looked up the symptoms, but since I couldn’t really see that well there either I ended up asking him who could have a look and we went to the infectious diseases hospital nearby. Also wondered what I had exposed myself to while there, with the guy who was there before me eventually being told that he just had a cold but the other one who was getting checked out at the same time I was being worried of hepatitis, but when the doctor had a look at the bite and she said it was just a spider I was embarrassed for having wasted her time, and then even more so when she wrote me a prescription with several things on it anyway. It got even more awkward when the nurse asked for some information to write down and the doctor, who had already congratulated me for volunteering when I said where I believe I had gotten the bite, told her not to register me since they’ll have to charge me and they don’t charge volunteers, yet the nurse did so anyway, telling the doctor that she’ll just tell me to state that I can’t pay and did just that, asking me to write that down and sign.
Since the doctor had said that the prescription was so the effects would go away sooner and not bother me as much, I had calmed down and had no intention of getting those things, thinking to at most use the first thing she wrote, since I knew that we had some already. There was another thing, which she had said was an allergy medicine, which I thought might be a good idea to have around in case of one of those wasp bites I had been warned of, but definitely not to use for this, and didn’t want anything purchased right away. However, dad insisted, asking what I had decided to do when he came back after stopping on the way for a beer but completely dismissing my answer and going anyway despite me repeating that I didn’t want anything purchased, won’t touch any of it if he will buy them and feel awfully guilty about it.
That completely messed me up, I was feeling so terribly guilty for all of it, the doctor’s time, the expenses, creating demand that will justify production that will use even more resources, all of it for no reason, just me getting scared again. So I completely ignored him when he came back with the things and I decided to literally not touch them, not even the little paper bag some of the things are in, so they’re still in the middle of the kitchen table even now, as he’s not putting them away and, as I said, I literally will not touch them for any reason… Not that it helped much, and that night I didn’t even go back to the kitchen to eat, just sitting here rather in a daze, hugging myself, and eventually getting in bed by 4:20 AM, this obviously also leading to Sunday’s post… And also to still doing without something I wanted to ask him to buy the day after that mess, as I definitely couldn’t do that anymore, and still didn’t, and I don’t have enough set aside for it, not to mention it plus any regular purchases that should be made these days, plus that I’m not sure I can purchase it with cash, and while I’m in no way certain about the decision, the matter is quite pressing.

Moving on, since it wasn’t a tick bite, I decided to volunteer at the Botanical Garden the next day as well, again just between 4 PM and 6 PM. Again meant to leave at 3:10 PM and again was a couple of minutes late, but actually got there a bit earlier than last time. Also took a training shirt otherwise worn around the house with me this time, though the pants were still the running ones. And at the entrance I did catch a guard’s eye and told him that I should be on the list, but he told me to tell the one who was next to him, eating in the guardhouse, as he should know better, and that one just waved me through, not checking anything.
When I got to the gift shop, a car was just parking there and a guy started carrying some packages in just as I went to that bathroom to look for gloves, at which point I noticed that Anca was also there, but I got out of there quickly, then had to go back after noticing I had taken two gloves for the same hand, but eventually found a pair and went back out, finding that other volunteer already watering. She handed me the hose again right away though, and went back to cutting weeds, which I guess was also why she was so fast, compared to me actually pulling out the roots. She also seemed in the mood to talk a fair bit until I was getting too far to hear, and after we ended up next to each other again at a later point she eventually said that she’ll let me meditate, since she noticed that I come for peace and quiet and don’t like talking. So I watered the plants up to the point where the two hoses, or more exactly the second and third segments, are joined together, and also quickly washed the legs of the benches and the trash cans, though I couldn’t also wash the solar benches, only carefully spraying the legs of one a bit, since a guy sat on the other all that time and I risked spraying him even if I tried to wash that one properly.
When that second hose, the third and fourth segments, were no longer needed, we separated it and meant to gather it, so I could help as well, even though Anca had said that she’ll help gather it when it’ll all be done. The thing is that the other volunteer said she had no time to gather it properly on her own last time, since it takes a very long time, and she put it in something, which led to Anca getting angry that it’ll get damaged that way, so it seemed a good idea to try to do it this way… And I sure saw how hard it is. Not sure that the way she taught me to do it is the right one, but that thing definitely doesn’t seem to work as you’d expect it to and we couldn’t get it to fit, struggled for a while, then pulled most of it back off, then tried again, saw that it wasn’t any better the second time either and she eventually wrapped what was left of it around the top and took it back that way, which Anca at least said was good enough. My pants were dirty by then, as the hose had rubbed against them, but other than trying to wipe with a bit of water there wasn’t much to do about it. It was 6:25 PM by the time I left anyway, due to struggling with the hose for so long, and I was back here at 7:15 PM.

The next day I was supposed to buy cat food again, and I did go, but at first I pretty much shut down. I was eating something before leaving when dad asked about the bite and that was that, didn’t answer, didn’t answer his next question either, and was whimpering as I rushed back to my room. So I waited a bit longer than I meant to before going out, but that also meant I was still here at 3 PM, when ESET Antivirus otherwise deducted a day from the time left on the trial, but it still said it was active then, so I hoped it’ll be different on that last day and remain active until midnight… Yet when I got back it said the trial had finished, though it still seems active in itself even now. Didn’t update it since then, of course, and it is the pressing matter I was referring to above, as I rather mean to just purchase it, without also trying BitDefender or perhaps Kaspersky, or even both, but I don’t know what will happen in the end.
Either way, went out the door just before 3:10 PM, but once I was outside I realized I didn’t have a cap on and ran back to get it. Then I first walked to what I consider to be the big Mega Image from the area, where I hadn’t been in a long time, and checked the prices there. After that, walked to that Kaufland, being surprised to see one kind of cat food on sale, though I hadn’t seen it on the site, so I made a mental note to buy that from there, and another one about the price of another kind at a pet shop from that place, considering how much its price has increased in hypermarkets. Kept going after that, walking to the Auchan from that area and finding that second kind of cat food at a slightly better price than at that pet shop, but they seemed to have every kind except one of the two I was supposed to buy, so I bought some of the type they did have, then took the free bus to that Carrefour… After a rather uncomfortable exchange with the driver, even more so considering my state of mind, since when he got in I asked if he was the one leaving then and he rather snapped at me, saying rather aggressively that there’s no point in asking, and when I said that sometimes there are two cars he said it doesn’t matter, each has his own schedule, which was just my point, wanting to know whether he was scheduled to leave then or was waiting for the next listed time.
When I got to that Carrefour, I also checked to see whether they still had the cooking oil that was listed on the site as a limited offer, then went to that farmers’ market and got some cheap plums, leaving apples for some other time. Got a bit confused after that, meaning to go to that pharmacy next but being unable to figure out how and eventually deciding to get back to Kaufland first, walking back there and buying the cat food I could get from there and the other kind from that pet shop. Interestingly, the listed price for those snacks from Kaufland that Liza is addicted to was higher than normal, but when I scanned them they showed up as still being the regular price, and it’s very unusual for the real price to be lower than the listed one at Kaufland, or anywhere except at Auchan for that matter. I guess they’re about to increase the price and somebody changed it too quickly, perhaps.
Walked back after that, finally getting to the pharmacy, going around the farmers’ market since I had wandered around inside it for a while before getting those plums and didn’t want to perhaps appear even more suspicious by showing up again. Then, after getting what I wanted from the pharmacy, went back and into the Carrefour Market that’s next to that farmers’ market, having a look and seeing that cooking oil available there as well, at the same price, even if they just had three packs plus one single bottle and the list left by my mother mentioned two packs. So I bought that as well, then stopped to rearrange everything in the bags, bought a pretzel from a place that’s just there, and walked back, actually managing to only stop twice on the way. Admittedly, took a couple of minutes each time, giving myself a bit of time to recover and rubbing my arms, but it was nevertheless something to get back here with just those two stops, walking what Google Maps says were 1.4 km while carrying a third of my weight, 16 kg compared to my 48, as I weighed myself and the stuff right after getting back, at 7:35 PM.

Saturday’s only notable event happened soon after I got up and could have been ugly, since I again ended up being on the toilet longer than it took the water to start to boil and it ended up putting out the fire. Judging by the smell, the gas was left on longer than the first time, so I was a bit concerned, but immediately turned it off and opened the window, waved the newspaper I had been reading on the toilet around for a while, then just gave it some time and eventually turned the stove back on, carefully trying the electric lighter next to the window at first. Just like last time, after that I also lit a candle and carefully carried it around, raising it in some places around the apartment to check for any small pockets which might have ended up there, but there was no sign of anything, and no real risk of anything of the sort existing anyway.

As for yesterday, I ran, in good part because the conditions were good and the forecast for the rest of the week seems split between heat and storms, but also in an attempt to clear my head to some extent, still being a mess, hiding from dad around here and not wanting to speak, wanting to avoid dealing with people enough to not even have a look at the protests that took place these days, after Alexandra’s murder. I also didn’t do laundry until today, so yesterday I had neither my running pants nor either of the t-shirts I run in, but I just ran in the clothes I was wearing inside then, and it was rather fortunate that I had the biggest t-shirt on and you couldn’t see much of my shorts, because it’d have been rather weird otherwise. And since the “equipment” was so unusual anyway, I also took the regular shoes, not the running ones. In addition, due to avoiding dad, didn’t even drink anything before going, managing to make tea but not getting back in the kitchen to drink, and didn’t eat any of those rice things either, since I didn’t go there to put jam on them. Even took me two tries to take a shit, as the first time he got out of the living room as I was in the bathroom and went to use the other one and my muscles just seized and I couldn’t get anything out anymore.
Still, got up from the computer at 4:05 PM and went right out. Was a bit worried about the wind on the way to the park, but it died down and there were just a few small places where I felt that I was running against it, and nothing relevant even then. And, even though at first I didn’t really have any target other than to stay under 48:30 and after the first lap I was worried that I may fail even that, I ended up being faster than last week, the time being 47:18.90, with sector times of 4:19.69, 5:04.09, 5:49 (5:48.90), 4:24 (4:23.86), 4:54.24, 5:47 (5:46.31), 4:26.21, 5:03.09, 5:47.05 and 1:45.46, making for lap times of 15:12.68, 15:05 (15:04.41) and 15:16.35.
The keys were one problem, really swinging in the pocket of these shorts, and making the shorts move around a lot as a result, but that didn’t last long, as they fell or flew out before the end of the first lap’s second sector, since I noticed a tear in that pocket but have no idea whether it was already there or they tore through. Either way, after obviously losing a few seconds to retrieve them, I held them in my hand the rest of the way. After that, the next issue was on the second lap’s first sector, when I had to briefly stop and wait for a way to go through, when I was about to go around two people, one holding an umbrella with the pointy end dangerously to the side, just as a cyclist was also going around all three of us and another cyclist and a skateboarder were coming from the opposite direction, and we couldn’t all fit in the same place at the same time. And then, on that lap’s third sector, as I went wide to let three runners coming from the opposite direction stay on the inside, I felt my back starting to hurt in a way that I didn’t think could be fixed while running, by finding a way to snap it. Tried a few times, but had to accept the situation and keep going like that, and while the pain lessened after a few minutes, it still hurts to some extent even now. However, despite these problems, with a lap two that was faster than the first, I realized I could manage a better time and pushed on lap three, not really aiming for anything more than to stay under 48 minutes but realizing on sector three that I had a small chance to even beat last week’s time. I rather doubted it, but just kept pushing, also on that final sector, and actually made it with several seconds to spare.

As for the clear timed squats during this period, those were on July 24, 2:38, and July 28, 2:21. On July 27 and 29 I tried to time, but there were replays when I finished, and while yesterday it was a short replay and I can say it was about 2:26, give or take a second, the 2:25 estimated for Saturday is quite rough. And I waited to post this after doing today’s squats as well, but once again there was a replay just when I finished, so I again have to estimate and I’d again say about 2:25, probably give or take no more than a second.

Written by Cavalary on July 30, 2019 at 8:28 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

The Guilt of Being Alive

The particular event and the particular ways in which it made me feel even more acutely guilty of being alive and of the inherent negative impact of this is a matter for the next personal post, but I kept thinking of writing something about this guilt in itself and this is a good time to try. I’m sure most will disagree, that’s the case for nearly everything I stand for, but I think things would be much better if people in general would feel just as guilty, struggle just as hard to justify this impact, to themselves first of all, especially with the system as it is, without each person being granted their fair share, knowing what that is, without damaging the environment or harming or taking away from others, including other species. Or, of course, in case of the childfree, and even more so in case of those who are militant, without at least knowing what the share they should be entitled to in order to have a comfortable life, a decent standard of living, would be, regardless of the current overpopulation problem that would make offering everyone that utterly unsustainable.

There’s also the fact that life inherently causes pain and suffering and unmet needs, not to mention desires, for the person being alive, all of it getting worse the more that person thinks and feels, but that’s a different topic. This is about the negative impact being alive inherently has on the environment and on others: The resources used, including others’ time and even this completely virtual “resource” called money; the pollution and the harm caused; taking away resources and products from others who may need them more, or perhaps even deserve them more; creating demand and causing even more resources to be used in a certain manner when it might have been far better to use them otherwise, or better yet not exploit them at all in order to allow the environment to regenerate and create better conditions for other species. It’s a zero-sum game and using something in one way, for one person, takes it away from some other potential use, or uses something the environment, other species or other people can’t spare, or at least shouldn’t be made to do without.
This isn’t about any need of “earning a living”, of “being a productive member of society”, in order to somehow earn or deserve to have such an impact, to justify it in such a manner. Quite the opposite, being “productive” generally means having even more of an impact, using even more resources, often generating even more pollution, taking even more away from others and other potential uses, adding together the impact of the product or activity itself, that of recovering from the effort, that of trying to make up for the time used in that manner by saving time when it comes to other things, and that of feeling entitled to gain and use more due to having supposedly accomplished something. This society and this system only worsen this negative impact not only by offering people easy ways to justify it, but by pretty much forcing them to do so, and rewarding them for having an ever greater one, and for competing to take ever more away from others and other potential uses.

Much would be fixed by a different system, one that would determine each person’s share in such a way as to avoid environmental damage and ensure that none would take anything away from another, directly or indirectly, without a very good reason, and that would find the most efficient ways to exploit and use the resources, produce the goods and offer the services in order to maximize each person’s share and cover as many desires as possible, on top of the needs, while minimizing the negative impact in every way. There would still be the problem of numbers, and until and unless that will be solved either the total impact will remain far too great or people will be allocated far too small a share, or too many will be allocated much reduced shares without such a measure being sufficiently justified, or, most likely, all of these will happen at once, but at least it’d be clear what each person’s reasonable, rightful impact should be and those not guilty of adding to the numbers could be allocated that much, while the rest would pay the price for their part in worsening the world’s worst problem until such a measure would no longer be necessary.
As it is, however, challenging people not to find justifications for what they earn, or otherwise obtain by whatever means, for themselves, but to truly see and understand the negative impact they have, what they take from others, what damage and harm they cause, could go a long way. Moving the focus on the negative, on taking instead of obtaining, and on others and the world as a whole instead of oneself, generates the awareness which in turn results in this guilt, at least for those capable of analyzing things to a sufficient extent and of some degree of empathy. And I truly believe that many things would be much better if more would feel this way, as it would lead to an inner drive to minimize one’s impact, make up for the harm you do cause and demand changes to society and to the system in order to ensure that this will happen without the burden lying on the individual.

Should probably also mention that, perhaps paradoxically, this guilt for being alive does not lead to one wishing to die. Definitely should make everyone want to not put another in this position, which obviously means not have children at least until and unless all those changes would be implemented, and possibly not even then, but when it comes to one’s death, on top of the fact that we can probably agree that it, and the process of dying in particular, is in itself generally undesirable once one is alive, this guilt makes the prospect of dying even more disappointing, for lack of a better term. For the individual, there may perhaps be ways to make up for the pain and suffering and unmet needs, not to mention desires, that are inherent to being alive, to say that it was all worth it, even if that’s only true for very few. But there’s no way to make up for at least some parts of this negative impact, for some of what one took away, and while it’s true that being alive longer will almost certainly only worsen this balance, dying while being aware of it means dying with the terrible guilt of not having done more, for the world and for others, and thinking that maybe you would have found ways to do more if you’d have had more time.

Written by Cavalary on July 28, 2019 at 6:52 PM in Society | 0 Comments

Another Record, Deposit and Annoying Talk, and Back at the Botanical Garden

Wrote most of this Monday, but since I didn’t finish it then, waited until today, to be able to post today’s run as well. Had some of those rice things to eat before going again, and the conditions seemed good enough, with a reported temperature of 28°C and not too much wind, but it’s really sunny and it felt hot, and there were some areas where I had to run against the wind, feeling it a bit at the start of the first sector, mainly on lap three, at the end of the second on lap two and, most notably, around the middle of the third, on laps one and three. And there were also some people to go around and a few cyclists rather getting in the way, especially a guy who turned right in front of me on the first sector of lap two, forcing me to briefly stop and sidestep. And I also wore that regular t-shirt I used to run in, since the running one is still in the laundry, and I’m also noticing that my right running shoe is getting increasingly worn at the back, so I guess it won’t be too long before these will start causing some problems too, but I don’t know what to do about that, seeing as it’s quite clear that my right foot is a bit smaller than my left and will cause this to happen if the shoes are the same size.
Either way, the time was 47:25.25, with sector times of 4:10.06, 4:59.88, 5:53 (5:52.39), probably 4:21.16, probably 4:59.40, 5:51 (5:50.44), 4:29 (4:28.80), 5:05.47, 5:55 (5:54.81) and 1:43 (1:42.84), making for lap times of 15:02.33, 15:11.00 and 15:29.08. I believe those times on sectors one and two of lap two are correct, but after finishing sector two I found myself uncertain about the first, not sure whether the 21 I had in mind meant a 4:21 sector time on the first sector, so a 19:23 total time at that point, or a 19:21 total time, so a 4:19 sector time. The first option seems more likely, so I’ll go with it, but I’m not sure.
Didn’t really have a target other than the usual 48:30 at first, especially after I noticed how hot it seemed, but did mean to try to stay under 48 minutes if I’ll manage a 15-minute first lap. And since it was close enough, I went for it, having some doubts after sector one of lap two but thinking that the second sector made it quite clear that I’ll manage it. Did spend much of sector three of lap two wondering about those times for the first two sectors and somehow ended up with the fastest sector three time of the day in spite of that, so on lap three I just meant to maintain a good enough pace… Until I saw how it worked out after sector two, realizing that if I really gave it everything I had a chance to even stay under 47:30, so I tried that, pushing hard on sector three and thinking I was just short of what I needed at the end of the lap, but continuing to push on that final sector and managing it after all, with a few seconds to spare too.

But enough about that, as the truly notable run was last week’s, on July 16, when I managed a new record on ten kilometers! The time was 46:09.15, with sector times of 4:08.57, 4:50 (4:49.68), 5:40.00, 4:17.43, 4:55 (4:54.48), 5:38.18, 4:17 (4:16.84), 4:52.34, 5:47 (5:46.92) and 1:45 (1:44.71), making for lap times of 14:38.25, 14:50.09 and 14:56.10, so I have no new lap or sector records, but could keep it up, this also marking the first time other than when I set my record for 16 kilometers when I managed to cover three laps in a row in less than 15 minutes. And that run’s also the one I really have to compare this one against, because my record for ten kilometers might have been 46:32, but I clearly covered that distance faster that day, the problem being that 16 kilometers mean five laps while ten mean three laps and then that final sector, to the exit, so I didn’t actually have the time at that point and could only estimate something around 46:24, give or take a few seconds. But since this is 15 seconds faster than that, it’s clearly the record.
The thing is that I didn’t aim for this at all when I started. I mean, after getting under 47 minutes twice last week and considering the good conditions, it was a possibility, but I was content with those two times, there was some wind as well, plus a few spots where I lost a bit of time due to other people, and I didn’t think of it until lap three. I did decide to see what I could do on the first lap, but had no real target until I saw that it had been the third fastest I had ever managed, at which point I decided to aim to get under 47 minutes again. It was only after sector one of lap three that the idea of a new record really got in my mind, and after sector two it was quite clear that I was going to beat that 46:32, but I needed to get below 46:20, if not even 46:15, to be really sure that I had a “real” new record. The time shows that I was starting to tire on sector three, and I was actually still on sector two when various things started hurting more, but I just pushed through it, sector three was good enough and I could also still push on that final sector, ending up with this safe margin over that estimated time… And also close enough to 46 minutes to think that a time under that may also be possible, though I don’t know when and I’m definitely not getting any younger.
At the end of sector two of lap one, under the bridge, there was a moment when I was about to pass a kid on a tricycle, who was on the bike lane, with I guess his mother taking up the space to the right of that, but a cyclist came from the opposite direction just then, going off the bike lane to go around the kid and taking up the left, leaving me to need to squeeze past on the very edge of the path, careful to avoid stepping on the sloping area leading into the water. And there were a few other places where I had to go wide to get around people, including at the very end, when going around four people walking in a line meant I couldn’t get my steps right for that sort of jump I tend to make to what I consider the “finish line” to be. Other than that, the wind was getting poplar fluff in my nose even when it wasn’t strong, and there were a few stronger gusts, I’d say most notably on sector two of lap three, maybe the start of three as well, when it suddenly got cloudy too and the wind picked up more.

After leaving at 3:40 PM, I was back from the run at 4:50 PM and then left again just after 6 PM, to a reading event in Cismigiu Park. There are also some activities scheduled, generally having to do with creative recycling and most being mainly intended for children, plus live music and documentaries, but those are only every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during this period, Monday to Thursday the area simply being open in the evening if people want to come and read there. So I wondered what that’d be like and found the place at about 7 PM, after looking around for a bit at first, since I was uncertain of the exact location, and it was 7:06 PM when I sat down and started reading the book I had brought, after glancing at the books available there, being a bit surprised to also see a few in English and French, though otherwise unsurprised that most were either meant for children or nonfiction, and old and worn.
I obviously picked the one corner without children, and the three people sitting next to me quickly got my attention, as I noticed two of them speaking French, with the other girl talking to them in English. I’m not entirely sure the guy knew English, or how well he knew it, since I believe I heard him say a few words at some point but the English-speaking girl mainly just talked to the other and there was a moment when the French-speaking girl was talking to both and switching languages just about every sentence as she alternated between them, with a fluidity that was actually rather impressive. Either way, when the obvious couple, as in those speaking French, gave up on the idea of reading, got in a tickle fight and were growling at each other and what not, they ended up making more noise than all the children, prompting me to look at them with raised eyebrows and a smirk and the other girl to point at me after she told them that they’re scaring people and was asked which people. Was tempted to tell them to find a room, or at least a bush, but of course I didn’t and they settled down after a while, the other girl calling them “kids” before starting a rapid-fire chat with the other girl that included a variant of “fuck” every third word or so from each of them. As that was going on, the guy got a call and walked away to speak, also in French, and when he got back it seemed that he had been told they had to go, the English-speaking girl quickly putting her stuff away, getting up and firmly repeating that they had to go as the other was making quite a show of being reluctant to get up.
At least it was easier to read after they left, though I didn’t stay much longer either, leaving at 7:50 PM and getting back at 8:35 PM. But they seemed rather fun, with the English-speaking girl seeming to be the “adult” of the group despite appearing the youngest, possibly even still in her teens. The whole thing also made me wonder at their relationship, whether it was a couple visiting a friend or they were a triad, the couple visiting another partner. And I actually started wondering about that quite quickly, so when, possibly even before the tickling, though I’m not certain anymore, the two French speakers tried to get a foot behind their neck and then the other girl did the same, saying that she used to be so close while seeming to me that she still was just short of managing it, I was tempted to comment that the flexibility may come in handy when they’ll get home. But I of course stayed quiet then as well.

The next day I went to make another deposit, exactly six months after the first one. It was just as small, since that was the amount I had managed to set aside again, and the original idea was to make it for just six months, to withdraw both on the same day, but considering how things look right now, I doubt that the components I’d want to get will be available at the start of 2020, some rumors stating that some may even be delayed to 2021, so even if support for Windows 7 will end in January, I’ll stick to it and to this computer a while longer anyway and could therefore get a little more from the interest. For that matter, considering the increased interest, it’d have been better to not make that first deposit and just deposit the full amount now, but the difference is negligible and the interest for six-month deposits may increase until January too, as the plan is now to make another deposit then, out of that first one and what I’ll set aside until then, just for six months, to withdraw the full amount on the same day.
Had asked dad whether he’ll come with me again and he said yes, if we’ll be back by 5 PM, but the day before he said some things had changed and we’ll have to leave at 2 PM, and to be awake and around earlier so he’ll be able to let me know if things changed yet again. So I set the alarm to 1 PM but eventually got up one hour earlier, after sleeping poorly, after 10 AM or so also due to noise from outside… Only for him to only wake up just before 2 PM, when I was all ready to leave, and when I reminded him what he had said he also reminded me that he said that things could change and told me not to pester him about being on time. So I read nine pages while he got ready, then we left and made the deposit, and while I was there I also noticed that the bank also still uses Windows 7, or at least that’s what the lock screen I saw looked like. After that, since he had given me the metro card, I went straight to the Carrefour and Kaufland at Obor, having a list of things to get for my parents and getting them, along with a few things for myself, including some cheap corn and some green onions as I went through that farmers’ market on the way back.

Since I mentioned dad, had another annoying talk with him on July 11, after I again stopped the water flowing in the toilet after he flushed. There’s also a problem that makes some water still flow all the time, and occasionally a lot of it even if you flush properly, so you have to wait to see what happens and know how to stop it if needed, but he obviously flushes in some way that causes that to happen most of the time and doesn’t care, so there are times when it keeps flowing at full force even for hours, until I get out of my room and hear it. Well, that time I told him that he needed someone to go after him and stop the water and, correctly assuming that I was referring to the environmental impact of wasting so much water in that manner, he replied by saying that there was an idea that used to be quite appreciated, that the planet’s just fine and it’s humans we should worry about. I tried to say that humans are great at making others pay the price for their actions, so by the time humans will go extinct most other species will be gone and the planet will just be a wasteland, but he just kept saying that the planet’s been fine for billions of years and will continue to sort itself out, if species vanish others will take their place and it’s only the good of humans we should think about. He was walking out of the kitchen after that, but I snapped back to say that humans are only useful if they’re good for the planet and he threw over his shoulder that what I think is my problem, that’s what he thinks and he’ll only do what’s good for him.

Getting back to the chronological order, I had scheduled myself to volunteer at the Botanical Garden again on July 18, after having been told not to come the first time, two weeks earlier. Just one other person was also scheduled, unlike that first time when there were two, but that person was that older woman who seems to be the most experienced and dedicated volunteer, as she seems to come from 3 PM every Thursday, making Thursday afternoon a very good time to go and help with whatever she needs help with, knowing that she knows where everything goes and what needs done, will usually stay later and put things away and should also have a better chance to sort things out if something doesn’t go right. For that matter, unless she’ll remove herself from the list later today, mean to do it again tomorrow, again staying only until 6 PM.
To get back to that day, meant to leave at 3:10 PM and was a couple of minutes late, but still got there a couple of minutes before 4 PM and could just walk in. Didn’t take a backpack or even my phone, choosing to wear the running pants and therefore having much less room in pockets, but had my ID card and the small badge from the inauguration of Magnolia Alley, and even one of those passes received for volunteering there before, in case that won’t be enough to get me in, since I was worried about that, not knowing what I should say or even if I’ll manage to say anything at all and not just freeze if confronted. But I just walked through the gate while a group that included someone with a t-shirt with the name of an NGO was there and just kept going, pointing in the general direction of the gift shop and telling nobody in particular that I was going that way, and nobody said a word or moved to stop me.
After reaching the gift shop, I looked around for that other volunteer and she just came out of a toilet right after I passed by it, so I asked how I could help, prompting a confused reaction, as she later explained she first thought I was the biologist. But after I said I was also a volunteer, she took me to the gift shop’s bathroom, which is actually a storage room with two sinks, not toilets as well. There, she gave me gloves and asked if I was protected, and when I pointed to my shirt with long sleeves she pointed out that she had a jacket on as well, despite the temperature, and explained that it wasn’t because of mosquitoes, but because of wasps, which had stung her badly and caused such swellings that people were running away when they saw her. I hadn’t thought of that, having just sprayed myself with that mosquito repellent before leaving, so that made me quite worried, but the wasps were fortunately not a problem that day, at least. Something did bite me though, and I have no idea whether it was a mosquito or something worse, because it’s on my right shoulder, so between the areas I had used that repellent on, and it still itches very badly and quite a large area around it is quite red. It’s also possible, in fact quite likely, that there are multiple bites close together, which may better explain the reaction.
Either way, she had laid out the hose already, having worked out a very good route for it, so it easily reached all the way to the other corner and there were still a couple of meters to spare even though Anca had said it might be a bit short and a bucket might be needed for the last couple of plants. So we turned on the water and then she showed me the shortcut to the other end, so we actually ended up beating the water, but then also realized that the pressure was very low, so I went along the hose to look for spots where it was twisted and found one, but she gestured to say that it was only so and so after I straightened it and asked whether that was better. Kept going as a result, but couldn’t find any other such spot, so even took out the other end, and then also separated it where the first two pieces are joined, to make sure that water got that far, but after struggling to put it back with the water flowing and pushing the parts away from each other, I decided to run back to her before trying the other two spots as well, and when I got there she said it was flowing normally, so I didn’t need to check any more, though I have no idea what I did to fix it.
After that, she let me use the hose, telling me how and to also wash the leaves a little to get some things out of them, and later to also quickly wash the legs of benches, and the solar ones completely, and the trash cans as well, plus a pile of rocks that’s also there, she said in order to make it more likely for something to grow between them. As I did that, she started pulling weeds out and digging around the plants a little, easily staying ahead of me, so she was past the central area when I got there, just when some people came, that guy with that t-shirt with an NGO’s name among them. Nobody had been there until then, yet they came just when I needed that place empty, so me and the other volunteer exchanged some looks and gestures, then she came to tell me to at least water the flowers around the central magnolia, then move away until the people leave. But they left right after that, so I could wash the benches and move on, and a bit later she asked to switch, so I got to dig up weeds while she watered the plants… And I was obviously really slow. I was also thorough, and she pointed out that I was really pulling out the roots, but she was quickly catching up to me and I only cleared a few meters before leaving.
It was just before 5:45 PM when we heard some music from somewhere and she asked whether there was a concert nearby, possibly thinking that it was the reason why I wanted to leave at 6 PM, telling me that I should go if I wanted to, but I said I’ll stay a little longer… Only for her to tell me again that I could go almost right away, when the alarm she had set at 5:45 PM when I first told her I’ll stay until 6 PM rang, but I stayed until 5:55 PM. Was feeling increasingly awkward though, since she kept praising me, and I understood that others which had listed themselves even failed to show up, or didn’t do much when they did come. Was about to tell her that she risked having it go to my head, but I just rather awkwardly said goodbye and went back to the gift shop to leave the gloves and wash my hands.
While I was in that bathroom, I heard the employee telling someone she was talking to on the phone something that made it seem that she was falling for a scam intended to get access to her card or account and I again wanted to say something but didn’t. She was still on the phone when I got out of the bathroom anyway, and in the other room, so I just walked out. Did have a look at a yellow cherry plum tree on my way out of the Garden, again thinking to pick some fruit, as I had kept thinking on the way there as well, looking first at the trees on the way to the metro station, but decided against it every time and came right back. Had also considered taking some money to get some apples from that farmers’ market on the way back, but had given up on that thought before leaving.

After getting back that evening, at 6:50 PM, I boiled that corn, and later I wrote the quick review for the book, which I had finished the day before, again having the version on Goodreads in both Romanian and English… And, in between, had another LED tube from the bathroom burn out. It’s the older one, not the one I recently got as a replacement, so maybe there was something wrong with that lot, but I’m also thinking that there may be something wrong with the wiring there. I had noticed something with the switch which dad said he fixed, but that might not have been the only problem, or it’s possible that it had damaged it before being fixed and then it failed for good a while later. The thing is that I had first noticed a problem with it on July 10, which was actually after a few days of getting the impression that there was less light there, what I had noticed then being that a small part of it, right in the middle, was dark. I really didn’t dare to go back there and ask for another replacement so soon though, so I hoped it’ll last a while longer… And it didn’t, and now it really burned out, as in I heard a pop and there’s a black spot there, and it really smelled of burned plastic when I took it out, so I highly doubt they’ll replace it either way. Dad told me to just buy another, and one more as a spare since they’re cheap, but I for one won’t put another one there until he figures out how to check things to make sure nothing’s wrong, so for now we’re left with half the light, and hoping that one won’t burn out as well.

The following day I got up at 9:40 AM and decided to go to Auchan early, since I really needed tea and wanted a better chance to find some of that bread too. So I quickly grabbed something to eat and was out at 10:25 AM, taking the free bus, in which one woman seemed to be coughing her lungs out, so I hope I didn’t catch anything. Either way, did find tea and bread, and some of those rice things at a good enough price again, and then walked to Supeco. Didn’t find what I was looking for there though, so I then went to that store from that farmers’ market, trying to go straight instead of taking the longer route that I knew and actually managing to end up exactly where I wanted for once. Still didn’t see any more of that bio (organic) yogurt though, so just got the regular one again, then walked back, getting back here at 12:40 PM.
Less than three hours later, a bit before 3:30 PM, I was going out again, with a list of things to buy for my mother. Checked prices on Auchan’s site first and a few things did end up being cheaper there, but only slightly and since I hadn’t been given the list in time to know about those things when I had been there earlier, I took the recyclables out and just went to Carrefour and Kaufland, getting everything from there. Also got two expiring small yogurts of a kind I hadn’t seen before from Carrefour, since I was curious, but when I looked it up I saw that they’ve been around for quite some time, just that major stores don’t carry them, Carrefour supposedly being the only one, though I can’t say I recall having seen them there before either. Either way, was back around 5:50 PM, but only crawled in bed for a nap at 8:10 PM and barely got one hour of sleep even then, getting up to pee at 9:15 PM and then still feeling like I needed to go, which sometimes happens when I’m exhausted. Stayed in bed, but there was no way to get back to sleep, so I eventually got up after some loud noise from outside, seeing that it was 10:17 PM when I did so.

As for July 20, there was a weird issue with Vivaldi, when I was using it to open a number of sites for that day’s post and it again stopped loading pages at one point, and it wouldn’t start again after I closed it directly, without first closing the tabs, not even the one that refused to load at all and the one that was probably partially loaded. Been doing that recently, no longer loading until I closed it and opened it again, but it hadn’t done it for several days at that point and it definitely never refused to start after doing it, though I believe I always got it down to a single blank tab, since it wouldn’t load the homepage either, before closing it. Either way, when I tried to open it again after that, I saw many processes, more than normal, starting, but nothing appearing except an empty window outline. Eventually fixed it by downloading the installer again and running it, which it recognized as an update, so it’s possible that it was a good thing that I hadn’t installed the latest one before then, and after that it started normally again. Interface language was oddly set to Afrikaans in settings, but everything else seemed fine.

The timed squats during this period were 2:30 on July 9, 2:27 on July 11, 2:25 on July 14, 2:37 on July 15, 2:24 and 2:30 on July 17, since I had skipped the previous day, 2:29 on July 18 and 2:33 on July 21. And since I’m going quickly through days in this paragraph, I’ll also mention here that on July 9 I noticed a couple more double middle clicks, but that it was the only time I noticed that during this period, that Google Analytics again reported no visits in either view on July 17, and that I tried that game on Carrefour’s site again on July 10, the last day of the campaign, and it worked again, actually allowing me to use all receipts I hadn’t been able to play with, recognizing which was which, replacing the zeroes with the scores obtained then and only marking them as used after that, but I still didn’t win anything anyway.

Written by Cavalary on July 24, 2019 at 5:09 PM in Personal | 0 Comments