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Simona Halep Finally Receives a Harsh But Expected Sentence

After being suspended, which can be seen as the equivalent of being detained without trial, for almost one full year, the sentence in Simona Halep‘s doping case finally came yesterday, so exactly when she completely dropped out of the WTA Rankings. But, if the timing seems highly suspicious, the sentence itself, however harsh, should have been expected, at least since those other “irregularities” were added to the accusations. After all, this four-year ban is actually the result of two two-year sentences, so without those additional charges, it’d have only been two years. Or at most two years, since I’d find it likely that, under those circumstances, the ban would have ended up being for a single year, just to cover this suspension and stop her from demanding compensation.
This decision can and will be appealed, but at this point I don’t really see how the outcome could be good enough for her to actually return to the sport. If it’d have been a single four-year ban, for a single reason, maybe she’d have had a chance to have it halved, which would still be a problem but might have just allowed her to return, albeit most probably not at a particularly high level. As things stand, however, unless another group of experts would reverse the “strong opinion” expressed about the cause of those “irregularities” by the ones who took part in this trial, I don’t see that part of the sentence changing, and even if the first sentence might somehow be halved, being banned for two more years instead of three more probably won’t make that much of a difference. So, while it’d be nice to be proven wrong, I’d say that this marks the end of Simona Halep’s career.

As for the matter itself, I can only offer a personal opinion, without any expertise or detailed knowledge, whether about the topic in general or about this specific case. But my personal opinion is that this entire mess has something to do with the fact that she had just changed her staff at that point. Maybe it was a series of mistakes, involving supplements that actually were contaminated by accident and possibly some lack of care, or misunderstandings between her and the new staff regarding the procedures necessary to verify that everything that she was going to take was safe. Maybe it was something worse, someone from that new staff actually intending to give her a banned substance, possibly thinking that they could do so in a way which won’t be detected. But whether those who should check and decide what substances she should take knew about it would remain a matter for debate even so.
Whatever the case, strictly as a personal opinion which may, of course, be proven wrong, I do not believe that she was aware of the situation or had any intent in taking the banned substance… Which isn’t to say that, over the course of her career, she didn’t probably try to gain an edge by taking substances and undergoing procedures that aren’t actually banned but which generate benefits that might account for those “irregularities”, boosting certain parameters past what’d be her normal values. And, while how fair that is may be a matter for some debate, the fact is that it’s entirely normal for pretty much any top athlete, and as long as the methods used aren’t against the regulations at the time, so we’re not talking about attempts to disguise the use of banned substances or procedures, it shouldn’t be a reason for a ban. And it usually isn’t… Unless the athlete in question is under close scrutiny for another reason, as in this case…

Written by Cavalary on September 13, 2023 at 6:59 PM in Sports | 0 Comments

The New Camera and the Last Two Runs from July, One of Them Awful

Since the original plan for the post about losing the camera also included two days from July, I’ll start there, on July 17, when I left at 1:05 PM, with dad’s metro card and some electronics that I meant to drop off at Kaufland, including my old mouse, which I had finally decided to get rid of. After missing a metro by a minute and waiting for the next one, I got off at Basarab, dropped off those electronics, had a look in that Kaufland and was asked to show the contents of the backpack, where I just had some empty bags, when I asked to leave without purchasing anything. But at least I found a cart with a coin in it in the parking lot, though there didn’t seem to be any others that I could connect it to on the way to the exit, the only one I saw being full of trash, so I went back with it until I did find some others and could retrieve that coin.
My main destination, however, was Altex Orhideea, to look for what should have been a resealed Canon G5X Mark II, which was listed as available in that location and seemed to be the only one left in any store from here. Once I decided to see what new camera I could get, I ended up looking for a Panasonic TZ100 or TZ200, but the only ones that I could find were sold by other firms though eMag and overpriced, so when I saw that one there, and with such a discount, I decided to go and have a look. But I searched all over that store and couldn’t find it, and when I eventually asked an employee, he told me to wait in the TV area for his coworker… Who didn’t show up, so after a while that guy came back and said that he’ll try to look, because his coworker will be busy for a while. And when he also couldn’t find it, he tracked down a coworker who went with him, but they still couldn’t find it, so he told me that the guy who dealt with those products will look for it, since they have five or so cabinets in the back and it may be there, actually sealed despite what’s listed on the site, though the other option was that it was in service, so it was either new or broken.
Well, it seems like it was new after all, since when that other guy finally came, he brought the camera and said that it was discounted because it had been on clearance and that was the last one left, but it had in fact been sealed, though he opened it there, so I could have a look, and we exchanged a few words. I also asked him about the extended warranty and he said that I could extend it up to six years, also checking to tell me the fee, and he added the purchase to the account which I had just recreated before leaving, since I had allowed it to be deleted when they changed their system at some point, not wanting to use that store again… But this time around it seemed like I had no choice. Either way, I asked whether I could get the extension later and he said no, and when I said that I thought that it was possible, he said that it might be possible in the first 48 hours, so I left it at that, just buying the camera at that point and then putting it in the “shopping backpack”, since I hadn’t also taken the money needed for the extended warranty with me. And then I just got a nice sweet thing from the expiring products from that Carrefour, obviously not leaving the camera in a cabinet.
When I got to the metro station I needed to try a few times until the card worked, which took long enough to just see the doors of the train closing as I was getting down the stairs. So I waited for the next one and went to Crangasi, wanting to grab The Hidden Life of Trees from the Library’s location from that area and looking around until I found it. There was a bookmark in it and I let the person who was there know, but after a rather awkward back and forth I ended up leaving it in the book, saying that I’ll bring it back along with it. And then she said that another similar book was also available, handing me Brilliant Green and asking whether I wanted that one as well, and I ended up taking it. A little after walking away, I stopped to put the books and the camera in the backpack with rope straps, which I had also taken with me, but just as a little protection, since I then put that backpack back in the large one.
I continued to that Auchan, to get water for dad, but I first explored that location and found plenty of expiring products, eventually deciding to just get two things. I couldn’t find that water, however, and while there were employees in that area while I was searching, by the time I finally worked up the courage to ask, all of them seemed to have vanished. I eventually found one at the other end of the store, but she said that none of that kind was left, so I just bought those two things, letting an employee scan them since I wasn’t sure that the machines from that location were self-checkouts and didn’t try to use one directly, so I just used a machine to pay.
After adding the purchases in the backpack and getting back to the metro station, I once again watched the train just leave when I got there. I had also ordered an SD card from this nearby store before going to bed in the morning, and it was listed as in stock, so I had initially hoped to be able to make a detour and get it on the way back, which I’d have no longer had time to do at that point, but there had been no message to let me know that I could pick it up that day anyway. I still wanted to be back pretty quickly, however, in order to watch something, but I had no water for dad, so I decided to get off at Obor and dash to that Auchan as well, grabbing some expiring roes, also for dad, and then a pack of water. And when I used the self-checkout I confirmed that it does indeed round down the price to a value that’s divisible by 0.05 RON, to not use 0.01 RON coins. And stopping in order to remove everything else from the large backpack and put the water there instead, a guy stopping to help me do that, and then put the other purchases in a bag and wear the backpack with rope straps in front, at least meant that the previous train had left three minutes before I got back to the station, so if I’d have just rushed there, carrying the water, I’d have probably just missed it yet again.
It was almost 6:15 PM when I got back, with almost 17 kg… And I saw dad stuffing sausages in an already overfilled freezer and meaning to start cooking something that wasn’t what we had talked about, since I wanted to make some peas and he had said that he’ll make some as well, in a different way, which should have freed space in the freezer. And he apparently stuffed those sausages in there in a way that didn’t allow the freezer door to close properly and I didn’t check until after showering, at which point I noticed that some things weren’t properly frozen anymore, so I tried to rearrange what I could. But before going to the bathroom, to pretty much waste time on the toilet and then shower, I ate a banana and the sweet thing from Carrefour, peeled the potatoes for dad and cleaned and rearranged some things. Then I had more things to wash in the kitchen, eventually having lunch after the food was done, and at least it did turn out well. I also did the day’s squats, and then I had another look and noticed that the camera needed an USB-C cable, but I put the SD card from the old one in it, took a few pictures and then put it back in that one in order to get them on the computer and have a good look.
It was almost 1:15 AM when I got back in the kitchen and I had more to scrape off the tray and things to wash and clean. At some point I also got back to the computer and checked a few things on-line, confirming that you can get the extended warranty later, by paying the fee in any Altex location. And I still had to make some use of some sliced bread as well, so I ended up eating dinner between 3:45 AM and 4:25 AM. And I added an USB to USB-C cable to the order which had initially only been for the SD card, and then I made a separate one for some cheap headphones for dad, since he had asked me to look for some after his had snapped. Even though I didn’t floss and left a few things unwashed, it was still just after 5:15 AM when I got in bed.

On July 18, I wanted to have lunch before leaving again, and dad had left one thing in the fridge for a long time, so I wanted to use it… Only to see that it was moldy and had to be thrown away, which was annoying. So I didn’t have lunch at that point, going to throw a bag of trash down the chute, dashing back to wash my hands and actually leaving once again at 1:05 PM, also taking even the new camera with me, not just the invoice and receipt, just in case. And I once again had the metro card, but after seeing that I could get the extended warranty from any location and knowing that there is one at Obor as well, I went there.
I first had another look in that Auchan, confirming that they also seemed to want to get rid of the products of their own brands that have Nutri-Score labels, but only some of those products were discounted and the discounts were lower, so I just got a few things, plus some more expiring roes for dad, using the small amount that was on the store card at the self-checkout and then putting the purchases in the “shopping backpack”. And when I got to that Altex I said that I saw on-line that you can purchase the extension at any point during the warranty period, but at the other location I had been told that it could only be done during the first 48 hours, and they confirmed that it could be purchased at any point during the warranty period as long as the product hasn’t been serviced yet. So I paid for the full six years, then walked out and put the “shopping backpack” on a bench, taking out the camera and looking for a serial number or any other identifying numbers, though none seemed to have been included, the documents just listing the product code and the number of the invoice for the extension. Either way, I had my things in the middle of that bench, so when a man asked whether he could sit while I was there I moved them to one side, then put everything back and continued on my way.
After crossing the street and just checking that Mega Image, entering with everything, I went to that Penny, once again entering with everything and finding an expiring hummus that was hidden behind the other expiring products and seemed much cheaper than it should be, the base price that was written on it being much lower than the actual one, so I grabbed it, along with another pack of paper towels. None had been left on the shelf, but I found a stack and got one from there, being careful to avoid bringing down the stack, since packs of toilet paper were on top of the paper towels. However, at the checkout I was told a higher total, the hummus scanning at its normal price, but I pointed to the price that was clearly written on it and, after initially trying to explain what the machine was listing, the cashier made a call and was apparently allowed to sell it for that amount. Then I added the purchases in the large backpack.
I did put the backpack in a cabinet when I got to Kaufland, and when I found expiring walnuts with Himalayan salt at a good discount, I got two more, meaning to give one away. Then I got a couple of other things and, while I’m not entirely sure, I do think that I left the discount voucher received for plastic bottles on July 14 there that day, so on the last day when it was still valid, looking for the products that it was valid for and placing it there. Either way, at the self-checkout one of the boxes of walnuts scanned with both the discounted and the full price, the discount label not being placed over the bar code and one scanner “catching” that bar code when I scanned the discount sticker on the other. How did the machine accept two products being scanned without the first one being placed on the scales first, I’m not sure, but it meant that I had to call an employee to sort out the problem. Then I retrieved what I had in the cabinet and arranged everything in the backpack.
I once again put the backpack in a cabinet when I got to Carrefour, but I forgot that I also wanted some tea from there, so I missed that price as a result. However, I saw that the watermelons were discounted more than they should have been those days, and while they were large and most seemed to be past their best, a huge one seemed fine when I tapped it. One of the signs that it wasn’t quite ripe yet was there, but I thought that the sound was a better indicator and ignored it… And that probably turned out well, even though it really wasn’t fully ripe at that point, because it did seem to get sweeter after a while and it had 12.5 kg and we only finished it after almost a month, on August 13. On the other hand, it also had a really thick peel, so a part of the weight was in that, plus that watermelons were going to have that same price at Penny as of the next day, and that remains the lowest price that I have seen this year, even though I’d have considered it a high price even two years ago, and more or less normal last year. Either way, I couldn’t have known that, so I bought that one, then retrieved what I had in the cabinet, carried everything a few steps away and then took my time to rearrange what I had, putting just the watermelon in the backpack and everything else in a bag. Even so, I struggled to get up after putting on the backpack and a woman who noticed me just then asked whether I was all right.
After making my way back to the metro station, I got back at 4:55 PM, with a little over 19 kg. I did look for someone to give those walnuts to on the way from this metro station and did consider a guy who was sweeping in front of a building, probably actually being a street sweeper, judging by the clothes, but that thought sort of came as I passed him, plus that I mainly wanted to give something to a homeless person, so I didn’t turn back. And, to skip to the morning, it was past 5:20 AM when I got in bed.

I started reading Brilliant Green in the first moments of July 20, and in the morning I was woken up by a cramp, which was definitely bad when I was going to run that day. But at least I was already awake when, almost right after that, I received the SMS that let me know that I could pick up the SD card and USB-C cable. It was 11:45 AM and, after peeing, I wondered what to do, since it was going to be hotter and sunnier earlier but later there was some risk of storms, so I had considered waking earlier. But I eventually decided on a compromise, moving the alarm to 1 PM, though the fact that it took a while before I got back to sleep probably meant that I just got a brief nap before getting up. Then I had a banana instead of the apple, since we had some that really had to be eaten and I meant to have watermelon after the run. Then, after the usual yogurt with cereals and almonds, the sweet thing was a slice of cozonac, with added honey, and I also drank most of the tea. I wanted to leave shortly after 3 PM, but it was past 3:25 PM when I actually did, wearing the full running gear and one armband, with some things in the pocket of my tights. The reported temperature was about 34°C, holding steady.
The time was 1:23:36, with sector times of 4:27, 5:11, 6:02, 4:34, 5:09, 5:58, 4:41, 5:18, 6:28, 5:01, 5:38, 6:46, 5:17, 6:04 and 7:02, making for lap times of 15:40, 15:41, 16:27, 17:25 and 18:23. I was thinking that it’d be awesome to stay under 1:20 in that heat, but I really aimed to stay under 1:22 and thought that even that might prove hard and I may end up trying to just avoid the slowest ever time, the first one, but didn’t really believe that I’ll be that close to it. And when I aimed to stay under 4:30 on the first sector and under 16 minutes on the first lap and managed to do somewhat better than that, even if getting over six minutes on sector three was worrying, I wondered whether I could also stay under 16 minutes on lap two. And when I had an almost identical time on the two laps, I wondered whether staying under 1:21 was actually possible and thought that staying under 1:22 was quite certain… But I soon realized that if I’ll hit the wall it really wasn’t, and after two sectors of lap three that gave me hope, on the third I was pretty much done and I went well over the 16:15 that was the target for that lap. So from then on it was a matter of getting to the end and after sector one of lap four I realized that I could even be looking at my worst ever time, and the exhaustion made it hard to calculate, so I pushed as much as I could on lap five, at first not knowing whether I was aiming for 1:22:30 or 1:23:30, then thinking that I had covered sector two in 5:04 instead of 6:04 and wondering whether getting under 1:22 was possible after all, not realizing that it’d have actually been 1:23 even so. In the end, it was the worst time over this distance since March of 2018 and the fourth slowest ever, after that first one, the fourth and the third, which was on snow and ice and in below freezing temperatures.
There were some gusts of wind, even headwind, but the cooling effect mattered more. It was cloudy at first, but it cleared close to the end of lap one and I had to put looking for the most shaded route above all else. I think it was after the long straight of sector two of lap three when it got cloudy again and it fortunately stayed that way; I don’t see how I could have even finished otherwise, especially since I was pretty much done from the very next sector even so. Otherwise, completely unnecessarily tightening the right shoelace cost me a few seconds on sector two of lap one, and it was rather difficult to regain my speed after that. And the feeling that I hadn’t left everything in the toilet appeared even before leaving and reappeared, on and off, while running. But more concerning was that there were moments when my heart felt weird, I think the first coming as early as after the long straight of sector two of lap one, and moments when I seemed about to get dizzy probably started appearing from lap two and increased in frequency as time passed. And my legs were burning from sector three of lap four and I think that my arms started going numb after the long straight of sector one of lap five, and there was a spot on my left arm, right under the armband, that started to occasionally hurt from then on as well. It was just so hard to keep going, starting to feel dehydrated when I was only halfway through or so, and it was also harder and harder to think, so some of these details may be somewhat off. I thought to stop at a drinking fountain and at least splash some water on me at the start of lap four, then postponed that to the start of lap five, then gave up on the idea, thinking that I couldn’t spare the time while wondering whether I’ll be able to finish without doing that. But at least there were few people and they only caused couple of small issues, nothing notable.

It started drizzling just when I finished, which probably helped me stay on my feet, but my vision was already weird after climbing those stairs and when I stood back up after sitting on a bench in order to get what seemed to be something out of my right shoe it got worse and I felt that I was about to faint. But I had to get to that store before it closed, so I was careful with my breathing, tried to stay close to something that I could hold on to if needed and kept going, managing to get there in time and pick up the order, after “managing” to mess up what should have been an easy to remember order number, then realizing it and saying the correct one, but also taking out the tiny slip of paper that I had written it on in order to confirm.
The little time spent in that store, where it was cooler, helped a lot, so I then jogged the brief distance to that Mega Image, entering with the bag with those products and buying an expiring pudding. I don’t think that I ever cared for anything of the sort before, but when I saw some there at that point, it seemed like a good idea. And the cashier rounded down the price. And that day it really helped that Mega Image stores aren’t just cooled, but pretty much cold during summer, being kept at temperatures that make employees wear warm clothes and keep complaining of the cold, and which can cause quite a temperature shock for customers. So I felt almost fully recovered by the time I walked back out, and I pretty much ran back here. Of course, the fact that it was noticeably cooler outside also helped a lot… And meant that things would have been very different if I’d had stuck to my usual schedule, going to run about an hour later, even if that’d have meant not picking up that order that day.
After getting back, I ate that pudding, finished the tea and made another, and also ate a bag of snacks. And I put the SD card in the new camera, took some pictures, used that cable to connect it to the computer, checked… At first I was worried that something seemed wrong in one spot, something strange appearing in the exact same spot on two of the pictures, but it wasn’t there on the others, and it’s not like I could have asked for the camera to be replaced with another one when it seems to be the last one available here, so checking for tiny potential problems right away was rather pointless, and in case something notable comes up I have six years of warranty.
Either way, I went out again at 8:05 PM, taking those walnuts with Himalayan salt that I meant to give away and going to the Carrefour and Kaufland that are next to each other, thinking that it may lead to having more options, since that Kaufland still closed at 10 PM. That proved wrong, but I couldn’t have known that, so from Carrefour I got some more expiring roes for dad and a bag of spoiling apricots for myself, after checking the few different bags, taking the one that seemed better and then looking for a spot where I could open it and look more carefully, confirming that the apricots were indeed quite good. And I also saw more frozen products of their own brands that had Nutri-Score labels and were at half price, including two remaining bags of a mix of vegetables that dad sometimes uses, so I had to at least get one, despite knowing that there was no room in the freezer. And I once again had to call an employee to sort things out after a product, dad’s roes, scanned with both the discounted and the full price.
After putting the purchases in the backpack, I went to Kaufland, washed my hands, entered with everything not long after 9 PM… But there was no evening discount for bread and other bakery products were only discounted by 30%, and I scanned a few labels to confirm that, so I went to get some other things until the 50% discount for bakery products was announced, at almost 9:30 PM. However, after scanning more labels I found that it didn’t apply to plenty of products, so I just got a sweet pastry that it did apply to. Some time later, I asked the employee who had placed the new labels and started cleaning about bread, but she said that the discounts were just the listed ones, so I didn’t get bread. And I went to the self-checkout when it was announced that the store had closed.
I then rushed to that Mega Image, stopping at a bench to put the other things in the backpack and leave the sweet pastry and two expiring breads for dad in the bag that hangs from my neck, and then entering with everything. A frail old man was arranging his purchases at that moment and I briefly considered giving him the walnuts, but I didn’t, also thinking that he might have bad teeth and perhaps see it as a bad joke. Either way, I didn’t find anything to get from there, so I just went in and out, and the guard gestured towards the bag when I was walking out, so I showed him what was in it and that it’s from Kaufland. He didn’t say anything about the backpack.
I had also seen an old woman sitting on a bench on the way to that Mega Image, and when I passed by her again I considered giving those walnuts to her as well, but there were other people on the next bench and, at least at a glance, it seemed that she was pretty much toothless, so I moved on yet again. But I still needed bread, so I continued to the Mega Image from Iancului, once again entering with everything… And still not finding anything to get. So I also entered the non-stop one that’s across the road from this metro station with everything, and while I still found nothing, on the way in I spotted what looked like a homeless man sitting next to that bus stop, so when I passed in front of him I handed him those walnuts, even though a woman had sat by him by then and they seemed to be talking, and she didn’t look homeless in the least. I just sort of muttered that he was sweating a lot those days, as a way to justify the salty walnuts, and walked off, feeling increasingly awkward as he thanked me profusely, then shouted after me when I had to stop at the light and thanked me again. Either way, I had a brief look in the nearby Mega Image as well, which had returned to the non-stop schedule, once again entering with everything and once again not finding anything to get.
I was finally back just before 11:25 PM. Then I selected three apricots that looked worse and ate those instead of any watermelon, put the purchases, with the exception of the kohlrabies from Kaufland, in their place, also looked for something for dad and then put back what I had taken out, and it was almost 12:45 AM when I went to the toilet and to take a bath… And I had just gotten in the bathtub when I realized that I hadn’t taken my towel or the shampoo, since I had finished the old one, so I went to grab them. It was almost 2 AM when I got back in the kitchen, and there was a lot to wash and clean, plus some things to rearrange in the fridge, so I ate lunch, on and off, between 3 AM and 4 AM, and then had dinner between 4:35 AM and 5:30 AM. I got in bed at 6:05 AM… And the following morning I got in bed at 5:20 AM.

On July 22, I finished Brilliant Green and posted the quick review, though I wrote the Romanian translation before going to the kitchen at night and edited what I posted on Goodreads and The StoryGraph to add that when I got back to my room to eat dinner, so in the early hours of July 23.

On July 28, I got up when the alarm rang, at 2 PM, had the usual stuff, with the sweet thing being two of those expired nicer biscuits, with added honey, and left a few minutes after 4:30 PM, wearing the full running gear but forgetting to also take the armband. The reported temperature was 28-29°C, holding steady or maybe increasing by just 1°C by the time I finished. And the work on the sidewalk, replacing it with that pink pavement that the mayor filled the sector with, had reached just this area at that point, so I had to be careful where I stepped as I walked out. And a part of that narrow strip of greenery from that side of the building was, of course, destroyed in the process, though someone put up messages asking for that to not be done… But that’s what this mayor does everywhere…
Either way, the time was 47:44.19, with sector times of 4:19.04, 5:05.60, 5:56.09, 4:31.03, 4:58.22, 5:48 (5:47.15), 4:24, 4:54, 5:57.10 and 1:52 (1:51.93), making for lap times of 15:20.73, 15:17 (15:16.40) and 15:15.13. I covered the first two sectors of lap three in 9:18.03, but even though I clearly looked and calculated, I guess I didn’t actually memorize the time for sector one of lap three, maybe because I pushed so hard on sector two, so after sector two I realized that I just didn’t know it. I was thinking of something along the lines of 4:24.63, which would mean 4:53.40 for sector two, but that may be off. It was definitely over 4:24 for sector one and under 4:54 for sector two when it comes to the exact time, and probably over 4:24.50 and under 4:53.50, respectively, but I really couldn’t be sure. Either way, I hoped to get back under 48 minutes but really doubted it, pushing hard from the start and thinking that I was some ten seconds slower than I should have been on sector one, so from then on I just hoped to at least cover the first lap in less than 15:20… And when I failed, however narrowly, I thought that I was looking at 49 minutes and worried that even that might prove difficult if the heat will once again exhaust me. And sector one of lap two didn’t look that good, but the next two sectors were surprisingly fast and the lap was faster than the first, so I just gave it everything on lap three, wondering if I somehow did have a chance to stay under 48 minutes after all. I still didn’t really see it as possible despite the great sector one of lap three, but that shockingly fast sector two made it seem that I was safe, and the lap was actually the day’s fastest, despite a sector three that was, marginally, the slowest. In truth, it’s only what should be a normal time, but after the previous week’s awful run, I definitely needed something like this.
I had to slow and wait for a way through a roadblock on sector one of lap two, but that was the only notable problem caused by people. As for physical issues, I needed to snap my back towards the end of sector two of lap one, but I eventually managed to do so, the warnings that my right leg gave on sector three of lap two also went away after that, and I otherwise felt quite fine, though it was sunny and uncomfortably hot, so I was looking for a shaded route, and avoiding much of the lane, which was soggy and also had a few areas that were fenced off. And I’ll also add here that I passed by the Sector’s mayor on the first lap, on sector two, if I remember correctly. He was riding a bicycle, obviously with others around him, but I didn’t say or gesture anything… I definitely thought quite a few things, however…

This is how far I got before midnight, and at least it’s enough to let me stick to the original plan for this post, since when I thought that I won’t even get this far I meant to just stop before July 28. So I edited the post in order to add the part about the rest of that day, and also the one about July 31, Tuesday afternoon.

After getting back, I ate walnuts with Himalayan salt and some raspberry compot, then went out again, at 8:05 PM, taking 15 bottles and dad’s metro card and going to Obor. I put the bottles in a cabinet when I got to Carrefour, then got beer for dad and saw that they were discounting bakery products, so I grabbed some and moved on, getting some other things and then returning to the bakery area and adding a bread which had also been discounted by then. At the self-checkout, I used the voucher received for the cat litter which I had ordered on-line, then retrieved what I had in the cabinet and rushed away, since it was already 9:40 PM and that location of Kaufland was still listed as closing at 10 PM on the site.
Well, the closing time listed on the door was 10:30 PM, so I first went to put the bottles in the machine, looking oddly when a discount voucher for sunscreen, which was what had been offered in exchange for recyclables two weeks earlier, was on the floor… And then being even more surprised when the vouchers I got were for sunscreen as well. So I went in, put my things in a cabinet and asked the guy from the information desk to confirm the closing time… Only for him to say that it was still 10 PM, so I said that it said 10:30 PM on the door, at which point he said that in that case it’s 10:30 PM… You’d think that he’d know when he was supposed to get off work… Either way, I also asked about those vouchers and he looked and said that they hadn’t been changed yet at the machine, and when I mentioned that those for sunscreen were from two weeks before, he said that he knew that, and no, they couldn’t be used for a discount on ice cream, which was what should have been offered those days. However, after I sent a message on-line the following day, I received a quick reply stating that those vouchers should actually be replaced at the information desk for those who ask for it. But I didn’t know that at that point and didn’t press, just going to wash my hands and entering the store at 9:55 PM, just getting some spoiling mushrooms and another expiring product. As I was checking the refrigerated expiring products, two employees came to add more and I heard one mention “the discount hunter”, seeming to refer to me, but why wouldn’t I be?
After retrieving what I had in the cabinet, I went outside and arranged everything in the “shopping backpack”, walking away when it was a few minutes past 10:30 PM and going around in order to check a Mega Image, which I entered with everything. I found more discounted apple pastries, but I had already found and bought two from Carrefour, the price being lower there, so I didn’t get them, only getting the single Kapia pepper that I found there. Then I got back to the metro, only adding that pepper in the backpack while waiting for the train. And I once again used the route that took me past the house which had recently burned, as I had done on my way to the metro station as well, and it still smelled of burning, but I was quite impressed that the kindergarten that’s right next to it and the house that’s on the other side of a narrow alley looked undamaged, so I assumed that the other two houses that were reported as affected were behind the one that had its upper part completely burned down, since I didn’t actually go down that narrow alley to check. I did later see images that showed some damage to the kindergarten, at the top, but I’m still impressed by how much the firefighters managed to limit it.
I got back at 11:25 PM, with 13.5 kg, put most of the purchases, along with some things brought by dad, in their place, washed just a few things, ate an apple pastry, finished the compot, and went to the bathroom at 1 AM, just wasting time on the toilet and then showering. I was done at 1:45 AM, but then I spent a fair amount of time rearranging things in the fridge and adding what was left, though the cabbages couldn’t fit, so I put them in the cabinet from the balcony. I also washed a few more things and started eating lunch when it was past 2:45 AM, taking bites while working on dinner, so I finished lunch at 3:45 AM and then moved straight to dinner, which I ate between 3:50 AM and 4:25 AM. I got in bed at 5:50 AM. And my nose was a little irritated after the run, and that remained the case after getting up, while the following evening my feet were once again rather swollen, and that night I initially got in bed at 5:20 AM… Only for dad to get back seconds later, so I went to talk to him a little, actually getting in bed when it was past 5:25 AM.

Before going to bed on the morning of July 31, I started The Hidden Life of Trees. And after waking up at one point in the morning, I decided to set the new camera to film me if I’ll get back to sleep, wondering if I snore or rock myself, at which point I found that there’s no option for a lower video resolution and filming time is limited to 29:59… And the first attempt, which ended when the maximum duration was reached, resulted in an apparently empty file, with a size of zero, when I tried to copy it on the computer. However, if that time I didn’t try anything else, just deleting that file, when I tried again on another day, I saw that the camera could play such a recording, even though the file still seemed to be empty if I tried to copy it on the computer. Either way, a second attempt made that morning ended after less than 14 minutes, when the battery died, so it can film a total of about 45 minutes on a full battery, if it’s not used for anything else at all during that time. That seems awfully little, and I’d still want at least an option for 1280×720 at a normal frame rate, and most preferably to be able to select 640×480 as well, or 640×360 if the 16:9 ratio is a requirement for video.
Either way, July 31 would have been a really good day to run, but the forecast had listed storms, so I didn’t plan to run and didn’t, even though the storms were only in the morning, while during the afternoon it was cloudy but it only drizzled a little. On the other hand, that day I somehow finally got myself to try to do something that I had been meaning to do since April. The plan had been to install the last 32-bit Linux Mint on the old computer, to see if and how it worked, seeing as I keep considering to install it on this one as well, and I still didn’t do that, but at least I connected that old computer to the monitor, keyboard and mouse from dad’s, so I won’t mess anything up with mine, and saw that it still worked, at least after I made the proper BIOS settings again, since it had forgotten them, the battery having obviously died after such a long time, that computer just staying in the corner of my room since the end of September 2016. And it has Linux Mint on it, albeit version 18.0, which I installed on it back then, and I used it to verify the USB stick that I had placed version 19.3 on, but when I saw that it still worked normally, I was wary about deleting something that I might have placed on that HDD back then. I really doubt that there was anything at all on the system partition, much less anything which may still prove useful in the future and which I didn’t copy back on this computer, but I couldn’t get myself to do it, and in fact just doing what I did was enough to make me need to rush to the toilet.
As for that night, I ate dinner in the kitchen. Since I was going to cover a half marathon distance, which is a matter for another post, I meant to also have some peanut butter, but I gave up on that idea and ended up eating more of the mix of cheese and sour cream that was obviously spoiling for some time. I was actually wondering whether mold had started appearing on it, since it looked somewhat strange, but there was no change in color that I could see, so maybe there was no mold just yet.

Written by Cavalary on September 10, 2023 at 11:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

New Finds – XLII

I guess it’s time for another really rushed post in this series, and I’ll move on straight to the bands, starting with Imaginature, which I recall considering to include in such a post before but putting it off until their album was no longer a recent release, so I’m going to get to it now, just a week under a year since the release of their latest single… Even if that single actually just contains new versions of two of the songs from the album. But the improvement is significant in case of Edge, so that’s my first pick, while the second one is their very first release, Through the Cellar Door. Their songs are otherwise quite a mixed bag, but they started well enough and can release good material in their current form as well, so there are reasons to also expect good songs in the future.

Next comes SideQuest, which is another act that’s better described as a project rather than an actual band. I’m not sure if I’d have included them in such a post at this time if I wouldn’t have been rushing like this, but their most recent releases are also a little less than a year old, so I’ll get right to it and say that my first pick is Matter, while for the second I’ll go with Stargazer. As expected for such projects, the songs are once again a mixed bag, but there are a few other interesting ones, plus that those from the first album have the sort of structure and vocals that I’d be more interested in, the problem being that the quality of the recording leaves much to be desired and the lack of experience definitely shows, so I just skipped through them this time around.

The third band, Aresea, just released one EP, in early 2018, and doesn’t seem to be active anymore, but in that case they fall into the category of former bands that I don’t want to skip over and the two picks are Lightning Lullaby and Beyond the End of Time. The lack of confidence and experience are quite noticeable, but there’s great potential, which may be realized elsewhere, since checking the band’s fate led me to something that I’d have looked into if I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to post something this evening. For the moment, however, I’ll just say that, despite the lack of recent activity and probable disbanding, and being such a small and, probably, short-lived project, they’re the band from this post that I have the least doubts about including.

Written by Cavalary on September 9, 2023 at 9:24 PM in Music | 0 Comments

The Remaining Odds and Ends from April

Considering the number of runs that I’m yet to write about, I should catch up on some of those, but after Friday’s awful long practice run, I just can’t do that, so I’ll get back to old odds and ends, starting with April 14, when I was making a note of the fact that there were no more ants in the bathroom, so my assumption that they had used something in the building’s basement that initially made them rush away but then probably killed them was probably correct. Either way, after making some more calls that had to do with the lost camera, I did 200 squats and left at 7:50 PM, the fact that I wasted a few minutes with a little detour to a pharmacy that I saw had closed earlier that day meaning that I wasn’t yet in Park Lake when the guy from the Subway Police called back. Then I found a couple of things to get from Carrefour, the cashier taking away the receipt when I gave it in order to use the voucher received for previous purchases.
After putting those purchases in the backpack, I continued to Auchan, but the bread had already been gathered and piled up in six carts. Three were still accessible, so I joined a few other customers who were also trying to look through them, but the other three had already been pulled into the area where the bakery equipment and employees are… Which employees didn’t bother to help the customers who asked them to. Either way, since I couldn’t spot that bread that I wanted for dad, I just got him two of that other kind that’s cheaper there than anywhere else, though still more than that one. Then I added a few other things, also used what was on the store card at the self-checkout, and took some time to arrange the other purchases in the backpack, leaving the bread in a bag.
I had also quickly glanced at a few discarded receipts at Carrefour and Auchan, but it was only after I reached Kaufland and grabbed several from the trash bins that I found one that included that egg dye, to make up for the one that dad didn’t get and enter it in the contest. In fact, I found that one quite quickly, then grabbed some more because I wondered whether I’ll find any others, though I didn’t. Either way, I put my things in a cabinet, washed my hands, and entered the store a couple of minutes before 10 PM, not seeing anything left in the bakery area that was interesting enough to get when the discounts were at 50%, which I confirmed by scanning some labels. But I got most of the wild garlic that was left, which had an evening discount, and bananas were also really cheap, so I dug through them and eventually got a few that weren’t quite as bad as the rest. Then bakery discounts of 75% were announced, so I scanned a couple of labels to confirm that, since new labels were never placed, took a glove and grabbed a few things, including a bread that seemed new and didn’t have any ingredients listed. Then I grabbed more egg dye and would have also taken eight of those yogurts, since that tiny discount was still listed, but when I scanned one I saw the regular price and I didn’t bother to complain over such a small difference, just putting six back and only taking two. And then I decided to also get red onions after all, even though finding a label on the crate that stated that they were from Netherlands despite being listed as from Romania had made me give up on that idea at first.
I was at the self-checkout a few minutes before closing, but the receipt fell behind the machine and I didn’t notice, thinking that it somehow didn’t print it, and by that point the store had closed and the employees had wandered away. I kept holding my hand up, but even the couple of employees who did pass by said that it wasn’t their area and, after opening the printer and checking whether it wasn’t stuck in it, told me to wait for someone else. So I did, and when someone finally came along I explained what happened, also asking whether it might have fallen behind the machine, though I had tried to look and hadn’t seen anything. However, the employee did find the receipt behind the machine, after reaching in and feeling around, though she wanted to make sure that it was mine before handing it over, so she asked what I had purchased, being satisfied after finding the first few products I listed on that receipt. I did feel rather embarrassed after she asked whether that was all that I had “bothered” her for, but after I said that I couldn’t open the gate to leave without the receipt she said that it was no problem. And I also arranged the purchases after retrieving what I had in the cabinet, and after walking out I used one of those tables to check that I had everything and arrange more carefully, so it was past 11:10 PM when I walked away. And on the way back I stepped into that non-stop Mega Image, but when I saw no bakery discounts, I didn’t actually enter.
I got back at 11:55 PM, with 13 kg… And learned that dad had thrown away some food that Liza hadn’t eaten instead of at least taking it to the cats that are behind the building, saying that he won’t go out just for that, so I retrieved it from the bag that he had thrown it in, really struggled to open the building’s back door, left that food there, then struggled to lock that door again. Then I just ate a banana and put a few things in their place, so it wasn’t yet 1 AM when I went to take a quick shower, being done just after 1:15 AM. Then I ate an old sweet pastry, washed what was in the kitchen, put the remaining purchases in their place, dealt with the wild garlic and with my bread, and finally started eating dinner at 4:10 AM, finishing at 4:40 AM and getting in bed at 5:25 AM.

I think I was already awake when the computer did the daily backup, at 8 AM, and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so a little after 8:20 AM I went to pee, just in case, then tossed and turned, finally getting on the computer a little before 9:15 AM. I had been meaning to reboot it, so I did that, and also read the first chapter of Doomdark’s Revenge: The Icemark Chronicles, once again in order to be able to use the quick review as the week’s first post, since I hadn’t touched Fire and Blood for a full week, since that ill-fated bus ride. Then I got back in bed, but I still tossed and turned for a while, though I eventually did manage to fall asleep again, waking up again as dad was getting ready to leave. He was supposed to leave at 1 PM, but I didn’t check the time, and since I caught another brief nap after he left, then stayed in bed a while longer and saw 1:54 PM when I actually got up, either he left earlier or that nap lasted mere moments.
After getting up, I checked what money I had left after the previous day and noticed that one of the 0.50 RON coins was one of the anniversary ones for the Revolution, so I set it aside. Then, since what we put in that bin hadn’t been thrown out since then, I thoroughly dug through the trash, pulling everything out, to make really sure that I hadn’t somehow thrown the camera there. Then I washed the eggs that dad was going to dye and did a few more things in order to leave less for him to do when he’ll get back and start cooking, and since he got back just when I was about to have lunch, I took a break from that in order to help with one more thing. But I was so awfully depressed, and as time passed it was harder and harder to even move anymore, though at least I managed to finish that short story and write the quick review. And when I saw the glass baking tray on the stove even though I had told dad to put it on a cutting board, I once again started whimpering harder and felt even worse. He said that he had placed it on the cutting board while it was hot and then moved it, but I had no reason to believe him.
Still, I had offered to bring “light” from the church that night, since dad wasn’t going to be home, so after cleaning up some of the mess he had left in the kitchen, eating a banana and doing the day’s squats, I left at 11:50 PM, getting back less than 20 minutes later. Then I ate a large doughnut, with jam, while reading some things on-line, and at 1 AM I went to the bathroom, pretty much wasting time on the toilet, then showering. My feet were somewhat swollen, but that might have been a consequence of the April 13 run… Which remains my last good one, unfortunately. Either way, it was after 1:40 AM when I got back in the kitchen and I ate dinner between 3:20 AM and 3:55 AM, after also trying to get Liza to eat the food that dad had given her, after getting a different kind, but he had given her both kinds, placing them next to each other, so of course she ignored the new one and I couldn’t get her to eat it either.

On April 17, I managed to sleep for a few hours before getting up to pee at 9:30 AM, but there was no chance to get back to sleep after that, so at 10:40 AM I finally got back to reading Fire and Blood, finishing a chapter a couple of minutes before noon, then going to pee again. Dad was getting ready to leave at that point, so we exchanged a few words… And after he left he came right back and asked me to bring him a card that he had forgotten, saying that it was above the TV, but I just saw others there and brought them to him at the door, asking whether it was somehow among them. It wasn’t, of course, so he rushed in and grabbed it, snapping that he hadn’t wanted to turn back and that there are more places above that TV and I should have looked in all of them, not just in one, then rushed out again… And I crumbled even worse, just dropping on the floor and crying my eyes out. I managed to get up after some 15 minutes and washed my eyes, but I immediately started crying again and rushed to the computer to send dad a poorly written apology by e-mail, then threw myself in bed and kept crying my eyes out, only managing brief pauses if I held my breath. I have no idea how long it was until I could sort of stop, and I might have eventually napped just a little, but probably mere minutes. And when I got back on the computer and saw that dad had sent a reply to say that it was his fault, not mine, I just started crying again, though at least I could stop again quickly. But there was such a foul smell and taste in my nose and mouth, my abdomen seemed swollen, there was pain, probably reflected from my back, there were pins and needles in my legs… I crawled back in bed and stayed there, whimpering, for what was probably another hour and a half or so, before somehow crawling out.
In the evening I made mamaliga, with some things in it, and I rather burned the cast iron pot, possibly making it worse when I saw that what was stuck on the bottom wasn’t going to rise and give me a chance to try to peel it off, so after pouring out the rest I covered the pot and turned the stove back on for a minute or two, hoping that some heat would help, and then I left it there while I ate the rest. Of course, it was really stuck when I got back, so I struggled to scrape some of it off for a long time, also using a spoon and a knife, trying to be gentle but quite clearly adding some scratches. And when that obviously wasn’t working, I put water in the pot, left it for a little while, ate what had softened even though the taste was nasty, then heated the water and once again tried to see what could be scraped off… And when I poured out the water I burned a finger. Actually burned two, but just running some cold water on one seemed to be enough, so only one had it somewhat worse. And I still couldn’t leave the pot alone, so I ate what the heated water had helped me scrape off, which at least had a more normal taste, then I put it in the sink to soak, but still kept trying to scrape off what I could. At least I used something made of wood at that point, but even that might have added a little damage.

After initially falling asleep, I woke up at 6:50 AM, when dad got back, and he had sent an e-mail to let me know that he’ll bring something to put in the freezer, so I got up and struggled to find a way to make it fit, somehow also exchanging a few words, even though it was awfully hard. I got back in bed at 7:25 AM, but it was clearly past 8 AM when I fell asleep again, since I heard the computer doing the daily backup, and at 9:30 AM I got up to pee. At least I got back to sleep much faster after that, getting up when alarm rang, at 11:45 AM.
I left a little after 1:10 PM, at first just rushing but after a while switching to jogging and continuing like that for most of the way to Unirii metro station, so I jogged about half the way. And I also used the route that took me past the recycling center where I last took the stacked paper, seeing that the reward had returned to that old value after having been 20% higher when I had previously passed by that place, so I missed that moment. Either way, I already wrote about going to the Subway Police, so I’ll move past that and to the fact that I then went to that Carrefour. I had taken a mask with me and finally took it out at that point, but then I thought that I might just go in and out, so I put it away again… And ended up being there for quite a while, finding a lot of discounted bread, so I got some better bread for dad and also a bag of oranges for myself, searching through the spoiling ones for one that was better. I used the voucher received for previous purchases at the self-checkout, but I forgot that I also had that 10 RON one, for doing that survey. Then I put the oranges in the backpack, arranged the bread in a bag, and used the other route to get back, to also go to that Penny, and on the way I also found and grabbed another one of those bottles that went towards that 10 RON voucher from there. And, after putting just the bag in a cabinet, I decided to keep the mask off in Penny as well, getting a couple of things… And then realizing that I had walked away without retrieving the bag, so I turned around after a few steps and did so.
I initially meant to get back here after that, but after hesitating a couple of times I decided to turn back and also go to the pharmacies after all, finally putting on the mask when I approached Tei. Then I once again only put the bag in a cabinet, found the teas that I wanted to get from there and, surprisingly, also those boxes of that magnesium and potassium supplement with ten more pills for the same price, calculating carefully in order to make sure that I had enough left for what I wanted to get from the other pharmacy. However, when I got there and looked, I saw that the listed price of the tea that I meant to get from there was higher than what was listed on the site, which would have been a problem. But I first asked about those pills for dad that I hadn’t bought on April 10, from that other location, and bought them when the price that I knew they should have was confirmed. And then I also asked about the price of that tea, and once again it was confirmed that what was listed on the site was correct, not what was on that label, so I could also buy two of those.
I got back just after 5:10 PM and went straight to the toilet… Where I ended up just finishing a newspaper, oddly enough. Then I took a quick shower, after which I ate a banana and something sweet, sliced the ends of dad’s breads and somehow found a way to stuff them in the freezer, taking out one of his older ones, then had lunch and read some more. And when dad came back, late in the evening, he brought some more things and wanted to put some of those in the freezer as well, which I really didn’t think was possible, but I somehow found room for some of them. And that night I also washed the cast iron pot and another large one, so I could leave the glass baking tray in the sink, since I had emptied it when I had lunch. Even so, I might have still been able to start eating dinner at 3 AM, but I noticed that an onion was soft and when I cut it open I saw that everything except one outer layer and a part of another was rotten, so I dealt with that… And then I realized that dad had gone to bed and left things in the living room, so I cleaned after him, ending up starting to eat dinner at 3:10 AM. It wasn’t even 3:40 AM when I finished, however. And when I put the cast iron pot back I confirmed that there was at least one tiny chip on the enamel on the inside as well, and also a clear crack on one of the handles. Of course, on the outside it got much, much worse since then, showing how poor its quality is, but at least it’s still usable. Either way, I got in bed at 5:20 AM.

And this is how far I got before midnight, while what follows was only added Thursday evening, but I really wanted to get through all of this in one post, since the next odds and ends that I skipped over are from May 22.

In the early hours of April 24, I managed to start eating just before 3 AM but only finished at 3:55 AM, and in fact, after somehow managing to find room for my bread in the freezer, it was a quarter of an hour later when I spotted a small slice which had fallen on another plate and ate that too, without anything on it. I was awfully, painfully bloated, the problem starting in the evening, after eating an orange and an old chocolate egg and drinking most of the tea.
After getting up, I noticed old cat foot scattered around the garbage can and when I looked I saw that the plate from dad’s bedroom was empty, so I asked about the scattered food and dad said that he must have dropped some when he fed Liza. So I then said that it looked like the old one which had been left in his bedroom and he said that the food from there had been thrown away, once again not taking responsibility to actually say directly that he threw it away… And I froze again, said that I was going out that day and had told him that in an e-mail sent at night, so I could take it to the cats that are outside, but he said that he had forgotten how long that food had been there and he should take care of others’ health as well, not give them everything that’s old… Not that he really cared, of course. Either way, I asked if he at least threw it in the bag instead of the can and he initially said that he didn’t know, though after a moment he said that yes, it was in the bag. I didn’t see it in the bag, however. Nor in the can, for that matter, but I could only see what was at the top of it and those small pieces would have easily fallen through the other trash.
That caused me to break down again, squatting on the floor and whimpering and hugging myself, and when he finished eating and got to the kitchen he just ignored me, then started humming after walking away and I couldn’t handle that, covered my ears and hyperventilated, needing quite a while to be able to get up again. I was at the sink when he came back to the kitchen and, as always, searched for large bags under that seat, even though they’re under the sink. So I moved aside when he asked for those bags, but the noise he made while searching through them and muttering about them stunned me, I just stood there, hands tightening on the bowl that I had meant to put something in, until he was done and left. Of course, he just ignored me until just before walking out, when he said how long it should be until he’ll get back when he’ll leave again after that. And I needed some time before being able to move again, then tried to focus on what I had to do that day.
I went out just after 3:55 PM, without a mask and with 14 bottles, six of them going towards that 10 RON voucher, plus three more of that brand, but of sizes that shouldn’t go towards that voucher, and two of them also being quite crushed. So the first destination was the Penny from Decebal, but when I put the bottles in the machine there was nothing on the screen to tell me how many had been recognized as going towards that voucher, and it accepted one of the crushed ones but not the other, and for some reason it rejected another one as well. So I dropped that crushed one that it rejected in the plastics bin from there, but kept the other one, and put in five of the six that I knew should go towards that 10 RON voucher, since that was how many I still needed in order to get to the total of 20. However, on the receipt I saw that it had recognized six, so it either recognized the crushed one that it accepted or the other one that was of that brand but not of the correct size. The problem was that the receipt was like those from the location that’s close to that somewhat newer Kaufland, not split in two, so I couldn’t tear off the part that listed how many I had for that 10 RON voucher and keep the rest for the raffle.
The bigger problem, however, came when I tried to get that voucher. I first asked the guard what to do, she told me to ask the cashier, I did, but she didn’t know either, saying that she thought that I had to make purchases of that value and then get the discount by using that receipt from the machine. I said that I was quite sure that’s not how it worked and read to her what it said on that receipt, she asked through the headset and had a confused conversation with someone else who also didn’t seem to know, during which she kept saying that I had to make purchases and then get the discount like that, and I eventually wandered in the store while waiting for more from that other person. A moment later I saw another employee who seemed to be heading to the checkouts, so I made eye contact, asked if she was the one the cashier talked to and showed her the receipts, but she said that I needed 20 on a single receipt. I pointed out where it said that you get the voucher when you have 20 on one or more receipts, but she said that it means more receipts with 20 of those bottles on each of them, and also that I shouldn’t have torn them, they’re not valid if torn, even though those from the other locations were specifically made to be torn, with a dotted line with scissors between the part listing the total number and the one listing the number that go towards that 10 RON voucher, so I had just taken that part of those ones with me. So she was definitely wrong, but I couldn’t keep arguing and left it at that for the moment, just buying a bag of bagels.
I entered that Mega Image with those bagels in my hand, and also with the bag with the remaining bottles, and bought some more products of their store brands that were at half price. Then I decided to also check the larger Mega Image from this area, putting the purchases in a cabinet and leaving the bag with the remaining bottles next to the cabinets, since it didn’t fit. I hadn’t seen the kind of cat food for Rocky that was on sale at the other location, but I saw it there and confirmed that the sale price did apply to it… But only if you had the store card, and dad hadn’t left it for me despite saying before going out that he wasn’t going to need any of the cards, and I had written to him the previous night to mention that we had to decide which of us will look for that cat food, since it required the store card. And I didn’t find anything else to get, so I retrieved my things and walked out.
Dad was just coming down the stairs when I entered the building, so I mentioned that card and he said that I hadn’t said anything about it. I couldn’t get myself to say anything else at that point, but he gave me that card and I got back just before 5:50 PM, ate the bag of bagels grabbed from Mega Image, and left again just after 7:15 PM, that time with a mask, and with seven bottles, three of them straightened. I looked for more bottles on the way to the nearer Penny, and the second one I grabbed had some dirt on it and also seemed to smell, so when I found more in a bag that was near some trash cans I left that one there… But the machine from that Penny was not working. I asked the guards and they told me to go in and use it, seeming annoyed that I had bothered them, and when I showed them that it didn’t work I was initially told to ask a cashier, and then that if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and that they hadn’t seen anyone using it that day. And when I went through the other door, to get straight to the checkouts, and left the bottles next to the cabinets, one came after me and asked what did I intend to do and what were they going to do with those bottles, apparently assuming that I meant to leave them there for good. But he left me alone when I said that I wanted to ask about something else.
When I asked that cashier about that voucher, she also said that she didn’t know and asked through the headset, and the other employee who came and looked at those receipts was also confused, definitely mixing the raffle and that voucher. She told me that nobody had asked for those vouchers, then asked whether I could come back the next morning, to talk to the store manager. When I said that I’d rather not, she called the store manager and tried to explain the situation, but did it very badly, kept saying that I had many receipts and she didn’t know what to do with them. Since I had taken a screenshot of that part of the rules and saved it on my phone, I showed it to her and she tried to read it to him, but still didn’t seem to understand, and when he told her that the campaign ended the next day she was tempted to say that it was pretty much already over, even though the vouchers could be used until June 1. So I eventually asked whether I could talk to the manager myself and she handed me the phone, probably rather relieved. So I explained the situation to him, and while at first he also said that I needed 20 on a single receipt, after I read that part of the rules to him he asked how many I had and I told him that I had a total of 21, split among six or seven receipts, so I should get one of those vouchers and then keep the receipts for the raffle. That finally seemed to clarify the situation, and he said that he couldn’t understand it from what his coworker was saying and he’ll tell her to give me a voucher, so I gave her back the phone. The guards seemed annoyed with her at that point, calling for her to do something else, but she eventually came back with a voucher. However, she didn’t mark those receipts or ask for my information, so I could have used them at another location to get another voucher, but I was fair and didn’t.
I saw another one of those bottles on the way back and decided that I might as well grab it. It had what I hope was just some water inside, and my hands were still a little dirty from that bottle that I had picked up on the way to that store, so I washed just a little with what was in it, then took it. And then I checked that Mega Image as well, leaving the bag with the bottles next to the cabinets and spotting bakery discounts, even though it was still early. And two of those apple pastries were there, both of them in the same bag, so I grabbed them. Then I looked for that cat food and found ten or 11 cans, and while they were discounted individually as well, every third one was free, so I got nine. I also spotted some nice cereals of their own brand that were listed as being at half price on the shelf, but there was no such sticker on the actual bags, so I tried to buy all of them but told the cashier that they should be at half price and the other cashier told him to check whether they had Nutri-Score labels. They didn’t, and scanned at full price, so I didn’t get them, but at least I figured out the reason for the discounts. Either way, I then put the other purchases, including the pastries, in the backpack, and retrieved the bag with the bottles.
I then decided to go back to the Penny from Decebal, to at least put the bottles in the machine, for another chance in the raffle, but on the way I also checked that non-stop Mega Image that’s close to the metro station, entering with the backpack and finding more of that cat food. I also spotted some zacusca that I could get for dad, but it had no price label, so I asked and an employee tried to check on her phone, but she said that there was a problem with the signal inside the store and walked around until it worked, at which point she told me a price that was much higher than I thought it’d be, so I just got more of that cat food, actually finding more of it in another spot and getting 27 cans, since there were 28 or 29 in total. Then I threw that cat food in a bag, continued to that Penny and just put ten bottles in the machine, only taking the time to arrange everything in the backpack after that. And then I entered that Mega Image one more time, with the backpack, and got all of the four bags of those cereals that I saw there, since those had that discount sticker. I didn’t get a receipt, and when I tried to reach over and pull out what the machine had printed, it seemed to be something else, or maybe the printer wasn’t working, so I walked away.
It was late, but I decided to also check Kaufland after all, and since I rushed but didn’t jog, it was past 9:50 PM when I got there, quickly washing my hands and entering with everything. A bunch of plain bakery products were left and at very low prices, but I had no interest in those, so I just got the one bun of another kind that was still there, and also very cheap, and three bundles of green garlic, which had an evening discount. I went to the self-checkouts, which had moved, when it was announced that the store had closed, but the lines were huge, and I ended up talking with two older women while waiting, and also going to ask an employee whether the benefits card that one of them wanted to pay with would be accepted by those machines, since she was asking about that. And after I told her that the employee said that it would be, she asked whether I’ll help her use the machine, though when her turn actually came she asked an employee to do that. And when it finally was my turn, the machine wouldn’t accept the green garlic as the correct product, so I had to call an employee to override the error, then I added those purchases in the backpack and walked away when it was almost 10:25 PM.
I only had some coins left, but I still went to Auchan as well, entering with everything and grabbing two bottles of water for dad. But that assumed that there was more left on the store card, since I couldn’t recall how much should be there, and things became awkward when I tried to use a self-checkout but an employee called me to the one she was at, so I couldn’t check first and had to ask her how much was on the card, and the low amount meant that I had to tell her that I’ll only get one bottle, and then I needed to tell her one more time to use that little amount that was on the card, since I just gave her the rest, in coins, and she was saying that it wasn’t enough. But at least I got that bottle, which I then threw in the bag where I had the two remaining empty ones.
I got back at 11:25 PM, though I’m pretty sure that I then went back out to throw a bag of trash down the chute. Then I ate an orange and a small lunch, with what was left of a bag of corn puffs opened some time ago instead of bread, put the purchases in their place, and went to the bathroom, to use the toilet and shower, when it was almost 12:45 AM. I was done at 1:35 AM… And found that the kitchen light bulb had burned out during that time. Admittedly, I had been noticing flickering for the past few days, and more of it just before going to the bathroom. So I looked through what light bulbs we still had and replaced it with the most powerful one, though it was only a little more than half as bright, and had warm instead of neutral light, so I expected dad to say that we needed to get a new one right away, but he surprisingly said that it was fine and I only replaced it about a month and a half later, when I happened to find others at a good price, and then I replaced the one that works from my room with that one, since it should have the same brightness as the old one that I had but use less power. But, to return to that night, I ate dinner between 3:25 AM and 4:10 AM, though I had licked something in the kitchen before that.

The following night I ate dinner between 3:15 AM and 4 AM, after dad wanted to make mamaliga on his own after all, despite once again getting back at a late hour, and he rushed it and also messed up my plans for those days, and I couldn’t figure out what to do, so after washing what I could in the kitchen I spent some more time in my room and eventually decided to just ignore that mamaliga that day and the next, since the next day I wanted to make some myself once again. As a result, that night I had a regular dinner, but I went to the kitchen some 20 minutes late, and since dad took a bath while I worked on my dinner and finished just as I was about to go to my room to eat, I went to clean up a little in the bathroom as well.

Written by Cavalary on September 3, 2023 at 11:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Football Should Learn from How Handball Handles Playing Time

With all of the recent controversies regarding the increased amount of extra time in football matches, which I’d say have just culminated with the statement that this season’s Champions’ League matches won’t be “burdened” with these norms, I’m just going to say that football should really learn from handball’s handling of playing time. If the target is an effective playing time of 60 minutes, then that’s what the time should be, making how much playing time is left clear for everyone, pretty much getting rid of controversies about how much was added and removing the pressure of this decision from referees.
Yes, handball isn’t overly strict about it, so the effective playing time is less than 60 minutes, but not by too much and what makes it much better is that the rules do a great job of getting rid of time wasting. The time is stopped if a medical team is called or a player otherwise seems to need help, if there’s a problem with the playing area that needs to be sorted out, if the referees want to watch a replay or discuss something with each other, other officials or the players, if there’s no ball to play with, if a player is sent off and in a number of other such moments. And if the referees are far more lenient earlier in the game or when the difference is greater, for example not stopping the time when players are getting ready for a throw or penalty or need more than a couple of seconds to retrieve a ball that went out of play, they’ll get increasingly stricter towards the end of the match, especially the score is tight, even setting back the time by a few seconds if it wasn’t stopped the instant play was stopped.
What’s more, the rules severely penalize players who even try to waste time, because stopping play can offer some time to rest and get into position and also break the opponents’ streak or concentration. Let’s set aside the fact that even wasting time while the ball is in play is forbidden, passing the ball more than a handful of times without shooting being banned, since that’s a rule that can’t have a place in football, but everything else probably should. Players who don’t immediately drop the ball and let the opponents take it when they’re required to lose possession are penalized, players for whom the medical team entered can’t return for a certain period, the play isn’t stopped for substitutions, so they must take place pretty much instantly or the team will be one or more players down…
This does bring me to some other rules that exist in other sports, including handball, and which should probably be also adopted by football, such as temporary substitutions or suspensions, and even to wondering why does football dominate so thoroughly in terms of popularity and interest, and also funding, in a good part of the world when other sports are, in truth, more interesting. But that’s a different matter, and this post is just a quick comment about these current discussions and controversies. So I’ll just end it by saying that I do agree with this push to increase the effective playing time, and the fact that it’s just now reaching 60 minutes out of 90 shows how desperately needed it is, but there are much better ways to do it. Sure, these would be bold, drastic changes, but I’m tempted to say that their time has come.

Written by Cavalary on September 2, 2023 at 11:30 PM in Sports | 0 Comments