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New Finds – XX

Maybe the 20th post in this series should have been somewhat more special, but instead it’ll just be another rushed one with only three bands. But it seems that such posts, also forced by my need to come up with something non-personal to post, did help last year, as there were a total of five posted, including a total of 19 bands, and only two included what used to be the normal five bands, the other three only including three. Of course, recently the problem was that I stopped checking out that Power of Female Fronted Metal group completely due to finding it overwhelming, considering the amount of stuff that guy keeps posting, so I didn’t have any new finds, yet two days ago I decided to have another look at what had been posted over the last couple of days, ending up with two new names, and then last night I just happened to spot something else that I wanted to post right away.

To start from there, the “something” in question is No Planet B by Coronatus, which became even more interesting when I noticed that their entire new album seems focused on the issue. Now, Coronatus are very far from a new find, probably first stumbled upon them some ten years ago or so, possibly even around the release of their first full album, but after finding them interesting enough at first, I quickly ended up discarding them completely, being left with the thought that I won’t care to listen to them again, likely mostly because of only having a few songs in English. Still, I seem to remember happening to stumble upon a few more songs in recent years and wondering whether I should give them another chance, yet kept deciding against it, just listening to that one song at that time and moving on, not even adding them to the pile of names that mostly get forgotten on my list. But now I’m posting them here, and going all the way back to that first album for the second pick, since I remembered that chorus from Scream of the Butterfly the moment I saw the name again. Had it on repeat for quite a while back then…

The first actual new find is Since Ever, and since what was posted was their video for Following, I’ll go with that as the first pick. And I’ll make it easy for myself and go with the other song they have a proper video for, Alive, as second pick. But they have everything on Bandcamp if you’re interested, and in fact everything from their first, and so far only, full album is on their YouTube channel as well, so just the other two songs from that more recent EP aren’t in both places. There is much in their sound that I’m not fond of, as a matter of personal preference, but then there are the parts that got me interested, and they’re quite good at doing what they’re doing either way.

And the last band I’ll include here is RavenWord, or Ravenword, since they seem to keep switching the spelling. They’ve apparently been around for quite some time, also releasing a demo in 2011, but it was largely a different band back then and their first actual album will be released at the end of the month, so I’ll just go with what was posted, Blue Roses, as first pick. As for second pick, going with the version of Bleeding Moon that was on that demo, though it’s not really something from a different album, since it will also be included on this new one, as in fact all those old songs seem to be, albeit some of them with different names and possibly even different lyrics. Singing in English seems to be a bit of a problem now, while on the demo it was better, and there are other uncertainties as well, but also some interesting parts and sounds.

Written by Cavalary on January 1, 2020 at 8:06 PM in Music | 0 Comments

Budget Protest, Reunion, Turmoil in USR and Demos

There were various events commemorating 30 years since the Revolution last weekend, but while there were various comments and reactions and a few shared posts, I wouldn’t say that any actual event was promoted or supported by the “old guard”, so I won’t say anything else about that here. Not that I’d have much to add about that reunion that took place last Friday on top of what’s already in last week’s post either, but that was a personal post and something like that should have its place in one of these posts as well. However, that actually came right after a protest that took place in Victory Square that evening, the event page listing the hours as 4 PM to 7 PM, and at least a couple of those who attended the reunion attended or at least had a look there first, so I’ll start with that.
The protest was against the proposed budget for 2020, with a similar event taking place in Cluj and possibly others in other cities as well. Said budget includes increased funds for Defense, Intelligence, Police and related services and cuts for the Ministries of Health, Education, Environment and Rural Development, the last two having their budgets pretty much gutted, even more so for the Ministry of Environment, which on top of that now incorporates the former Ministry of Waters and Forests as well. But the event was organized in a hurry, admittedly out of necessity, and the hours picked were rather unfortunate, though it’s also true that the weekend’s events and the reunion left no other real options. Due to the problems with my nose, going was out of the question, but I see that there were about 50 participants, that number being mentioned by someone who came to the reunion from there and in some posts I saw later. And while at first they gathered in front of the Antipa Museum, pictures show that after dark they got moving, stopping for some pictures on a crossing, briefly blocking traffic as a result, and apparently managing to stand in front of the Government as well, at least long enough for a few final pictures.

As I already mentioned, that reunion of the “old guard” took place after that, in a place in the University Square area. The exact reason for it was never mentioned as far as I know, but two of the “old guard” activists, or I guess one of them in particular, created a group chat where dozens ended up being invited and made the arrangements, and I can consider it as being something done to mark five years since those “forums” of the United We Save Community were opened up to anyone who wanted to attend, since that happened after the 2014 presidential election and this was a little after this year’s. Either way, while 7 PM was the listed time, it was clearly specified that it only meant that the place should be ready to receive and seat a larger group at that time, but this was just a way for us to see each other again and catch up, not making plans or discussing strategies, and anyone was free to come and go whenever they pleased, staying as little or as long as they wanted.
It was said than 25 had confirmed, and since 22 were there at the time of the group picture, close to 10 PM, and three had already left earlier, one of them saying that he’ll likely return but not having done so yet, I guess they all did, unless of course the number of those who came without having confirmed just happened to be equal to that of those who had confirmed but failed to arrive. And people did come and go at various times, in fact I think five or so only arriving then, around 9:45 PM. And considering who those were, it seems likely that things got more interesting after that, but I was already getting ready to leave and did so at 10 PM, so I don’t know what actually happened later. Not that I know that much about what was discussed even before then, since the tables were arranged in a corner and I was sitting one seat away from one end, being unable to hear what those on the other side were talking about even when everyone was there, and the smokers left multiple times to go to the smokers’ area and talk there. Plus that, as stated and expected, there was a lot of catching up, involving personal matters and random stuff.
Still, there were some relevant things that I could hear, some having to do with the ongoing Rosia Montana situation and others with the internal battles taking place in USR and Demos. And these last things were quite surprising. I mean, I was aware of some of the mess in USR, but not of just how rotten the ruling faction is and the methods they use. And I wasn’t aware of anything at all in case of Demos. Had noticed things calming down on a group I’m also on and their recent statements and positions gave me a sense of something getting a bit better, but had no idea of the turmoil they had gone through.

To start with USR, I knew that some members had resigned and hundreds had signed an open letter protesting against a member being excluded after pretty much doing her job, being one of those supposed to verify members and actions and having pointed out that some signatures in support of one of their main initiatives had likely been falsified or otherwise invalid and a member had submitted them while aware of that fact. Also knew that the leading faction was pushing for penalties against those speaking out against the decision and suspending a few who apparently had important positions but were lesser known to the public, probably aiming to do as much damage to the opposition as possible while limiting the public backlash. But I wasn’t aware of the methods used by said leading faction to eliminate any challenge and steer the party in their desired direction, to join with the others on the Right and pretty much behave in similar ways, and the desire to kick out those who’d disagree while protecting their own from having to answer for their actions even according to their regulations and in front of their own committees. Also heard of the “coup” staged by one of the leading members of that ruling faction to remove one of the “old guard” activists from his position, a few more things about how they’re trying to get rid of the group from Cluj, and how, after realizing that a fair vote won’t grant them control over the branches in two more of Bucharest’s Sectors, they just brought in enough new members who were certain to vote as they wanted right before the vote. And, while not really a surprise, what was said there also made it more believable that they won’t really support Nicusor Dan to run for mayor of Bucharest even though he was voted as their candidate, undermining him as he’ll run against Vlad Voiculescu from PLUS, their allies, for the position of the Alliance’s official candidate.
About Demos, on the other hand, I just knew that there was a conflict between the identity politics radicals and the rest, but not that said radicals had attempted an aggressive takeover, meant to enforce radical feminism and this new kind of “Progressivism”, focus on women and transgender people, and to a lesser extent some other minorities, allow only those as candidates and in top positions, likely leave straight men of Romanian ethnicity in particular as regular members only, and get rid of anyone and anything not fully supporting their program. They also apparently undermined Claudiu Craciun, probably explaining why he gathered so few signatures when he tried to run for president, and the one who seemed to be their most experienced member when it came to actual politics, their female spokesperson, apparently openly stated that she’ll use every means, be they within their regulations or not, to achieve those objectives. It was apparently quite a battlefield and those who opposed that group went to great lengths to keep it from supporters and the public, and I’d say they did too good a job of that, since that meant they couldn’t get any support from outside. Still, in the end it came to a vote and those radicals lost, then resigned as a result. I looked up a few more things since then, and had the general idea and the resignations confirmed again too, but I just know how many resigned and that one certain name. I believe I can quite accurately guess a few others, but can’t say how important they were as a whole, what chances such a small party has to continue without them, if even more had such important positions. But they clearly couldn’t continue with them either, and now they’re determined to rebuild, so maybe there is some hope… At least from this point of view, since their economic policies remain Center-Left concepts from decades ago instead of that necessary futuristic radical Left.

Written by Cavalary on December 29, 2019 at 10:33 PM in United We Save | 0 Comments

Honey, Other Heavy Purchases and Being Fucked Up Again

Four years ago, I was writing a post about buying honey from this guy at the Christmas fair, and said post had “Honey” and “Being Fucked Up” in the title. Well, now I bought more honey from that same guy, also at the Christmas fair, and the post title includes those same terms. However, back then the two were directly related, having to interact with him for the honey being the reason for being fucked up, while now I’m fucked up due to the situation with the network, plus the concerns about my nose and breathing. The fact that dad told me yesterday that the appointment on January 9 is for the two of us, my mother and my grandmother as well definitely made this latter part worse as well, since I haven’t seen my grandmother in close to 20 years and I don’t want to, and also really wouldn’t want to be there with my mother either. But much worse at the moment is the fact that, also last evening, he started the talk about Internet access with me, after having apparently spoken to the son of that friend of his, and the options offered were nothing I’d accept and he doesn’t know or understand what I’m talking about and I couldn’t really talk about it and then couldn’t stop and was just letting it out and I guess it went right past him anyway. For that matter, most of this post was written then, as I was trying to just sit here and focus on something else.

So I’ll get right to that “something else”, which is what I did Monday, when I wandered around to buy stuff, the main goal being the honey, since I already knew that the guy will be at that fair again and I just wanted to get more from him. Was rather worried after I got up though, since it was only supposed to rain a little in the morning, yet I looked outside and saw worrying clouds. Still, the forecast listed 0% risk of rain after 1 PM… And yet it was just at 1 PM when the rain started again, though it fortunately stopped by the time I left, just after 2:15 PM, and didn’t start again after that.
Walked to that farmers’ market first, having a look and seeing that I could buy some apples from there, and that plenty had cabbage at a similar price to the large stores, and one for a third less. Didn’t buy from that one though, going to the nearby Supeco and getting cabbage from there, plus cornmeal and two lemons. The cornmeal bags were a problem though, since it’s that very cheap kind and one of the problems with it is that the bags just come apart at the back, so I noticed that it was spilling from the first ones I took, went back to dig through the rest and replaced the two I clearly saw were coming apart with two others that seemed fine, but when I got to the checkout I noticed that it was spilling again, and when I finally got back here and took them out I saw that two were spilling, so I used sticky tape to hold them together, and ended up losing a small quantity. Either way, went back to the market after that, getting some apples, then walked to the metro station… And saw a car crash on the way, one driver stopping at a pedestrian crossing and getting rammed by the one behind him, causing a fair bit of damage to both cars and a lot of fluid to spill from the engine of the one doing the ramming. Nobody seemed hurt though.
Once on the metro, I was wondering what to do, and the fact that I was already carrying almost eight kilograms led to deciding to go all the way to Basarab and drop everything off in a cabinet at that Kaufland. Then I bought a few things, having no issues with the self-checkout, added those in that same cabinet and walked to that Carrefour, mainly looking for red cabbage there. However, the price was about 50% higher than the one I had seen Saturday at the one next to the park, so I just got a couple of other discounted things, which were in that place for stuff that expires soon despite only expiring on the 27th, probably due to it being closed on the 25th and having shorter hours on the 24th and 26th.
Was out of there at 5:20 PM and took the metro to the fair, getting there around 5:40 PM, or maybe a few minutes later… And immediately realizing that knowing the number of the “house” where that guy was going to be wasn’t going to help me if there was no map and I couldn’t see any numbers on any of them. So I had to just wander around, searching, and then wandered around a bit longer after finding him and taking a quick look, as I decided on what to get and rehearsed what I was going to say and how it should go… And somehow forgot that I also meant to ask whether they’re doing anything to promote the ECI asking to phase out synthetic pesticides, restore biodiversity and support farmers, since they did post about it but I saw nothing there and they didn’t say anything either.
Still took my time when I got back there, allowing someone else in front of me, pretending to look at a few other things, but eventually managed to get myself to say that I wanted a large jar of linden honey and a large bottle of polyfloral honey. Had 100 RON to spend there and that worked out quite fine, with the bottle being 75 RON and the jar 24 RON. The acacia honey was now 32 RON for a large jar, so I couldn’t touch that, unfortunately. But he did give me some honeycomb for free, saying it’s a gift for buying a larger quantity. Not sure of the bottle though, since it should contain 2.85 kg, but after wandering around a little longer I found some scales that weren’t that “guarded” at that moment, the person who was there looking away, and I saw I believe 2.828 kg, if not even a bit less, as I didn’t really let it stabilize. What’s worse is that when I weighed it again after coming back, I saw 2.7 kg, though I had to use the scales for people, which may not be that accurate, the other one saying the battery was low. Either way, with the large jars supposed to contain 750 grams and costing 22 RON for the polyfloral ones, I likely didn’t save much. But at least I got the one bottle of polyfloral honey that was still fluid, so I could easily pour it in jars that evening.
Was out of the fair at 6:15 PM and walked to Unirii, meaning to check out that Carrefour next. However, when I saw the Mega Image that’s in that area I decided to have a look there as well, stuffing my things in one of their cabinets and finding onions that were a fair bit cheaper than the ones I had purchased from Kaufland. They were worse, however, so I took my time selecting pretty much all of those that still seemed fine, ending up with exactly 500 grams. Then I sort of meant to leave my stuff there and go to that Carrefour, but I ended up grabbing my bag… And having nowhere to put it once I did get to Carrefour. Access to the cabinets was blocked and a guard was standing there, saying that the keys had been lost and putting stickers on the things people were bringing in, and while it shouldn’t have even been necessary for the honey, the labels making it clear it hadn’t been purchased from there, and the couple of other things wouldn’t have been a problem, I had just dropped the onions in the large bag and didn’t feel like putting them in a smaller one and having him try to tie it and then put that sticker on it, possibly in a way that’d make me need to tear it to open it again. So I just decided to give up on that idea and get back to the metro, also buying a pretzel from there and eating it on the train, on my way back to Dristor.
From there, went to that Carrefour, passing by two carts left outside, next to each other and with the coins still in them, so I just connected them and took the coin from the one that released it, using it when I put my stuff in a cabinet. Then, found red cabbage at the same price I had seen before, so bought one, plus a bread for dad, even if that meant spending quite some time in line, being there at rush hour and also wasting a few minutes by standing in the wrong line, as the common one for most of the regular checkouts and the one for the self-checkouts, which I can’t use at Carrefour since they don’t accept cash, had just about merged and I thought the one for the regular checkouts was actually going all the way to the end of the other one. But at least there were no other issues there, which I can’t say about the next part, since I went back to Supeco for two bottles of cooking oil, as the price I had seen there had been the lowest, only to be asked for more at checkout. But I told the guy that the listed price was lower and, probably since I also seemed to be the only customer there at the time, he actually just got up and came to check, confirming it… And then using a calculator to multiply it by two. But what matters is that I got them for the listed price, so I then recovered my things, which I had stuffed in two of their cabinets, which can’t even be locked, and got out of there just before 8 PM.
Walked back to the metro after that, and finally returned to that Kaufland at Basarab, where my first purchases were still waiting, getting there around or just after 8:30 PM. And since I was there, didn’t want to just grab everything and leave right away, instead meaning to have another look inside, to see whether I could find some more discounted bread for dad or possibly something else that’d catch my eye. However, the cabinet door wouldn’t lock again after I added the new purchases in there, and it had seemed to get stuck when I tried to open it as well, even the first time, so I tried to split the stuff into two smaller cabinets, needing to search for a while to find two that were empty and had doors that locked. But I eventually did manage that, did go inside, at almost 8:40 PM… And went back out, at 8:55 PM, empty-handed, not finding what I was looking for… And forgetting to get one of those bags of pretzels that were on sale at the time, which I had meant to tell dad to take to my mother, to see whether she’ll like them, instead of what he usually buys for her.
So I finally grabbed my stuff, did what I could to arrange them better once again and went back to the metro, arriving back here just before 9:30 PM. Had calculated that I was carrying about 20 kg, and when I weighed myself, with everything, I saw 70.9 kg, which dropped to 48.8 kg after dropping the bags, backpack, jacket, shoes and phone, and then to 47.8 kg after changing to what I wear inside. So I weigh 47 kg on my own and carried 24 kg, including clothes and what I had in my pockets, and yet still only needed 12 minutes to get here from the metro station, without stopping to rest on the way. The backpack helped a lot, since I could put the honey and oil in there and not have to carry that in my hands as well, and I also had those large and sturdy bags and calculated the weights properly, balancing them well. But that whole thing really meant I couldn’t do anything else that day, even leaving some of the usual stuff I do for the next… And forgetting to do anything that’d be reflected in the files that get backed up every morning, so the script had nothing to copy.

Since I’m still using Kaspersky Anti-Virus, its limited functionality mode seeming good enough for the time being, Wednesday it asked me to reboot for a program update and the fan speeds ended up stuck again after that, which may be taken as a confirmation of the fact that this is something that may just randomly happen when I reboot, same as getting stuck on the boot screen and requiring a hard reset. Since it’s quite cool these days, actually intended to leave it like that for a while at first, but a few hours later I did turn the computer off and back on, which seems to be the way to fix this.

As for today, the plan was to run, and I did. At first I was also thinking that I’ll get signed up for next year’s half marathon and marathon this evening, after using this run as a final test to try to determine whether I’ll have any chance to still run then, since that appointment is after the deadline for the minimum entrance fee, which is December 31, and I had talked to dad about it yesterday, before he started that other discussion, and he had agreed, but there was no chance of being able to handle dealing with him again now. Since last night I sent him e-mails with the information and options I had for the Internet and that made me want to avoid him even more from now on, was even worried about him possibly getting back too early and finding myself unable to get myself to even leave with him around, or needing to just run back to my room and stay here right after coming back, but he only got back as I was about to finish taking food to my room. Unfortunately, that was a few seconds before and not after, so I had to quickly close the door to the kitchen and couldn’t avoid saying something even so, because he asked whether Micky was in there with me before leaving again for a while, but at least it was nothing more than that so far. Did see a reply to my first e-mail after sending the last one last night, but obviously didn’t read it and hope that nothing will be decided until at the very least Monday evening, and most preferably even later next week, so I’ll have some time to recover before putting myself through that again.
To return to the run, went back to bed after waking up to pee around 11:30 AM, setting the alarm to 1 PM and getting up after it rang. Then I ate an apple and made the usual tea, but had my cereals with one of those creamy “Greek” yogurts, with 10% fat, instead of a regular one, since I had found and purchased one that was discounted due to expiring soon and saved it for this day, though it had expired yesterday. And for something sweet I had a large doughnut with jam and honey. Then I went out, at 3 PM, wearing the training shirt over the undershirt and t-shirt I wear inside, with the jacket also on me for the walk to and from the park, and that thing received the last time I planted trees in a pocket, putting it on when I took the jacket off before starting to run.
With it being quite sunny and a reported temperature around 7°C, plus a bit of wind that didn’t really bother me under those circumstances, only feeling it a bit early on and then again towards the end, I ended up quite sweaty, but I wasn’t taking any chances. Or none other than running and wearing that thing in itself, I mean, since on the first sector I was thinking I won’t manage it like that, feeling like I could hardly breathe with it covering my nose. But after I started breathing out through my mouth and changed some positions and angles a little, things were much better… Until I felt something tickling me on sector two of lap four and got my finger in there to scratch and try to take it out, and moved that thing as a result, then put it back somewhat differently. At least my right nostril was often closing even before then, but it wasn’t that much of a problem, with the controlled pace I had, yet after that both nostrils were closing and it was hard to breathe, and after I tried to fix things at the start of lap five it got even worse and I could hardly breathe at all, so I took that thing off for a bit, stuck a finger up my nose a couple of times, tried to put it back on in different ways and eventually found something that sort of worked again, allowing me to finish, though I found myself needing to stop and gasp for breath as soon as I did.
Yes, I mentioned laps four and five, which means I went for 16 kilometers again. Since I didn’t want to go through those problems with my nose again, meant to stick to a very controlled pace, just under 16 minutes per lap, aiming only to stay under 50 minutes if I’d have just covered ten kilometers, but started considering doing 16 kilometers as I went out and after getting used to breathing with that thing on and seeing how I was feeling and what times I was obtaining, I decided to just go for it, thinking that, while just staying under 1:20 for 16 kilometers will also be embarrassing, it’ll be less so than just staying under 50 minutes for ten. Briefly considered even going for a half marathon distance, albeit at a slower pace after five laps, but that’d have been too much of a push and it’d have gotten dark as well, and then the breathing problems on lap five made it clear that it wasn’t an option at all. But at least I was a bit faster than the planned 1:20, as after three laps I started thinking of pushing just enough to stay under 1:19 and did so by quite some margin, the time being 1:18:42, with sector times of 4:24, 5:18, 5:59, 4:34, 5:11, 6:00, 4:33, 5:13, 6:02, 4:36, 5:09, 6:03, 4:37, 5:08 and 5:55, making for lap times of 15:41, 15:45, 15:48, 15:48 and 15:40. Made a point of not memorizing exact times, so don’t have any, but those lap times sure show how much I controlled my pace, with eight seconds between the slowest and the fastest lap, the third and the fourth being covered in the exact same time and, despite those problems with breathing and the time lost trying to sort it out to some extent during its first sector, the last one being the fastest, albeit only a second faster than the first.
There were a fair number of people, requiring weaving and slowing and squeezing through, but since I wasn’t trying to be fast, I just did what I could, sprinting for a gap a few times but probably more often taking it easy when I noticed roadblocks ahead, and a fair number of times not really searching for the most efficient route through. There was a moment, clearly on a sector two and I believe on lap four, but it’s also possible that it was on lap five, when a girl turned and meant to run across right in front of me, forcing me to quickly avoid her before her mother held her back, which seemed to have done something to a muscle in my right leg, since it bothered me for a while after that and I had to run somewhat differently until it got better. And that different posture was likely the reason why, as I pushed on sector three of lap five, my right knee seemed to be failing, the pain going all the way down to my toes and making me struggle a fair bit just when I wanted to sprint to the end… Not that I could have done much more either way, considering the breathing problems. Still wonder exactly why that thing was making my nostrils close like that, and how did its exact position influence that, seeing as it got so much worse after I only slightly changed that position, and then a fair bit better after changing it again.

Written by Cavalary on December 27, 2019 at 9:28 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Network Worries Confirmed, Test Results, Even Faster Squats, Nose and a Reunion

Unfortunately, and frighteningly, my fears about the future of the network I’m in were proven correct on Thursday, when dad finally got around to calling the guy to meet and pay, after I pestered him about it for weeks. When they met, he was told that those health problems are serious and he can’t deal with this anymore, so he’s taking the opportunity to let us know that he will keep it running until January 5, but that’s it, so we need to move by then. And he also said that we and the son of that friend of dad’s living in the other part of this building, around the corner, are the only ones left in the network in this area, which I guess means that he couldn’t work anything out for the ones from the next building, which I seem to remember were six, after the work started there and they kept cutting the cables.
Needless to say, I’ve been quite a mess since then, not sleeping much that following morning, having quite a hard time the next one as well, and I guess being exhausted enough to fall asleep relatively quickly this morning but then being unable to fall asleep again after I woke up to pee around 11 AM. Dad obviously doesn’t seem to care, blew me off again when I said I was worried about it, and I can’t even talk about it without being quite sure that I’ll lose it completely. And an even bigger problem is that we don’t really have all these days until January 5 to find a solution, because tomorrow and next Monday are basically the only full workdays until then, with the Tuesdays being short days, and questionable even then, and the Fridays being declared free as well. Admittedly, that’s for state workers, but wouldn’t rely on such things being handled then anywhere.
People sure don’t understand how fragile any sort of balance and “functionality” I somehow maintain actually is and how much effort it requires, and that certain things absolutely must stay as they are, offer a clear stability that I must know I can always rely on, any concerns about those crushing me completely. And at the top of that list are my living space, which mainly means my room, but also a few other things I regularly rely on around here, and my computer, which of course starts with its own functionality, both hardware and software, but the way in which I access the Internet comes immediately after that. And, while being in such a network is “only” a very strong preference, no longer being able to do so being certain to cause me to feel terrible for a long time, likely significantly worsening my depression permanently, but I guess something I could eventually live with to some extent, the details are absolutely mandatory. And by “details” I mean having a fixed IP and direct connection for my computer, without requiring any sort of equipment or installed software, nor any settings or tweaks that may conflict with something else I have or simply with how I prefer to do things. And my computer must have that IP and connection on its own, not sharing it through a router with dad’s or anything else we may have, and it must all be wired, without any wireless function. And these things were standard for these networks, and still are for the few that still exist, but there don’t seem to be any left in this area and the companies that took over the market don’t offer them at all, not even for an additional fee, for home users, but only for business accounts. And the medium-sized companies in the field don’t seem to deal with home users at all.
Though they seem to mainly focus on business operations for quite a number of years now and I’ve seen cables cut and simply left to dangle all over that area as work started on those buildings as well, there was that trace of hope left from that other network located a few streets away, since I also noticed a few cables reappearing on buildings where work was completed and they still had that location and some hours listed, even if they seemed to have been reduced a fair bit. However, I passed by it yesterday and saw the place pretty much barred, with a “for rent” sign on the gate, and several notices all around stating that as of February they will move to a new location. Don’t recall the address, but there was also a map pointing to it, and showing some routes from the current one to the new one, and while I’m not sure of the scale, it’ll definitely be a fair bit farther away, and possibly much farther, towards the center of the city. The good news is that moving means they plan to continue, aren’t closing as well, but the bad news is that it quite clearly means that they were driven out of that area, possibly giving up on any remaining customers in order to either do what plenty of other former networks ended up doing, giving up on any home users left and dealing only with business customers, or possibly finding an area spared from such work for the time being, where they’ll be able to operate a while longer.

Moving on, somehow… Last Wednesday I had the blood tests done, and also left a urine sample. Was supposed to take a stool sample as well, but of course I can’t shit in the morning, and the attempt to do so before going to bed didn’t go well either. Something did come out, but I allowed the first bit to fall in the toilet on purpose and then tried to do the second in some toilet paper, yet accidentally dropped it in the toilet as well, and then nothing else came out even though I was there for some 45 minutes and was getting really worried that I’ll end up bleeding after all of that. So I walked there with dad and he asked whether he’ll be able to bring that the next day… Which ended up being a rather pointless question, since the test apparently required three samples, from three consecutive days. The problem was that the clinic doing the tests closes at noon and the third day would have been Friday, and the last sample obviously couldn’t be kept until Monday if I was going to take it in the afternoon, but we were told that if there will be two samples taken Thursday, one at the normal hour and one perhaps at night, if possible, it will be fine, taking both over there on Friday, and that’s what we ended up doing, with him going back Thursday and Friday to drop off the samples.
Otherwise, it was drizzling as we walked over there, but raining quite seriously on the way back, and a car also splashed water from a puddle on my pants. But I also bought National Geographic on the way, just peeling away from dad to do so as we had to stop at a light anyway, and then didn’t have long to wait. In fact, likely spent more time inside than waiting for my turn, since I guess I was in after some ten minutes and then the woman who was there took a while to enter all the tests I had been given, and I seem to remember her saying that there were 28 of them in total, a few requiring payment. I think she took four vials of blood, though I obviously wasn’t exactly looking. It took a while for the blood to start flowing though, was barely trickling in the vial at first, until I guess she managed to calm me down a little more and it got much better. Then, as I already mentioned, the walk back was quite unpleasant, and what was even more annoying was that the rain stopped almost completely soon after we got back, so we were out at exactly the wrong time to catch the worst of it… And then I had another unpleasant moment when I ate some more of the pasta I had cooked and found a piece of plastic in it. No idea whether it was from the pasta bag or the grated kashkaval, but I wonder how much of it had completely melted into the pasta and I ended up eating…
Either way, Friday, so two days ago, I got the results, and they were much better than expected. Nothing odd about urine or stool samples, and nothing indicating kidney problems again in the blood tests either, and that was what I was worrying about the most, apparently for no reason. All I’m seeing are a number of indicators showing signs of a slight anemia, or possibly just a lack of iron and some vitamins. Other than that, somewhat lower levels of ionized calcium and albumin and slightly higher direct bilirubin, these last two striking me, after quickly glancing at some explanations, as possibly being related, and possibly also related to those other indicators I already mentioned and their cause.

That doesn’t do anything about the breathing problems I’m still noticing, and which have in fact gotten worse. Actually, my nose has most clearly gotten worse, but before that happened and I stopped timing them, I managed to do the squats even faster, in 2:06, on November 14! Really went for it, at full speed from the beginning, caring for nothing else, seeing 1:04 at 50 and getting tired around 70 but just giving it everything for speed alone, seeing 1:48 at 85 and 2:00 at 95, just putting every bit I still had into it and managing that, though I was shaking and somewhat out of it after I was done. The other times I have are 2:11 on November 13, 2:27 on November 15 and probably 2:09 on November 12, the fact that I wasn’t certain about this time actually being the reason why I pushed for a new record, since there was a replay at the end again and I was so close to that 2:08, seeing 1:03 at 50 and 1:48 at 85, which had me on pace for 2:07, but then 2:03 at 95, just before the replay started.

Considering the weather, meant to run twice this week, but was obviously left just with Monday’s run. The alarm rang at 1 PM, though I was already awake for a little while, and I went out at 3 PM, still not getting back to eating those wheat things before a run. Had my jacket on for the walk, but it was tied around my waist during the run, the reported 13°C obviously meaning I ran in the t-shirt, with the undershirt under it. It was sunny too, but the wind bothered me a bit, mainly early on, and there were some people to weave around as well, though there were no notable problems caused by them.
I was worried about breathing, the whistling sound I had been noticing, mainly on my right nostril and mainly when breathing out, and the feeling that something was blocking the air there, and even though I didn’t actually feel there was a problem with breathing while I ran, it seemed hard at first, so I was thinking I may need to settle for just staying under 48:30 and was worried even about that. But I started pushing from sector three of lap one, harder from sector two of lap two, and times started looking better, and I felt somewhat better too, though I remained concerned all the way to the end of lap three. Nevertheless, the time was 47:38.64, with sector times of 4:23.15, 5:06.73, 5:51 (5:50.47), 4:28 (4:27.70), 5:00.45, 5:48.33, 4:27 (4:26.57), 4:59 (4:58.66), 5:46.47 and 1:50.11, making for lap times of 15:20.35, 15:16.48 and 15:12 (15:11.70).

The problem was that my nose was awfully irritated after that, that spot in my right nostril bothering me quite a lot, and while having an irritated nose after a run isn’t unusual, that was unusually bad and didn’t go away in a matter of hours, or even one or two days. My stomach was hurting as well after I took a bath, but the nose was really bad, if I tried to breathe through that nostril I’d start sneezing, my right eye would start watering, stuff would just start dripping out of that nostril, and if I kept at it I’d even start to feel it affecting that part of my upper gum, the ear, even that side of my throat, and eventually giving me headaches as well. And I looked, and then also asked dad to look, and we both thought we saw something that looked like a small injury in there, much to his surprise, since he obviously didn’t believe me at first. And the feeling wouldn’t go away at all, I pretty much had to avoid breathing through that nostril unless I was under the blanket, using a hand to keep it closed as much as possible, so for the next few days I didn’t do much, though I guess I should mention that on November 17 I saw no visits again, in either view, and then only went to bed at 5:20 AM, and maybe also that Thursday night I finally finished the last vegetables I got in exchange for plastic bottles, since I had saved a Kapia pepper and a kohlrabi for this week’s planned runs and cut them in half, using half Sunday night and being left with the other until then, obviously being in no condition to run again those days.

Had to go out on Friday though, some of the “old guard” activists arranging something of a reunion that evening, at a place next to University Square, and if there was any way for me to go, I wanted to, even if obviously just to listen to some discussions and see some people again, and even if it was clearly just supposed to be a reunion, not a meeting where plans will be made or anything else of that sort. The problem was that, after seeming a fair bit better Thursday evening and night, my nose was bad again when I got up, to the point that I was seriously considering going to a hospital, even by myself if necessary. Still allowed for the possibility when I went out, if it’ll be necessary, but it ended up going much better than expected and I even checked out a vegan fair before going there. Had been meaning to have a look, since it wasn’t far, and before going to bed, when things seemed so much better, even considered making that detour despite walking all the way, since I thought dad was going to need the metro card, but then the fact that he ended up having different plans and leaving me the card after all didn’t seem to compensate for how my nose was and I meant to give up on the idea, before deciding to at least try when I actually went out.
So I went out at 5:50 PM and reached that fair at 6:20 PM, leaving at 7 PM. I almost didn’t go in at all, seeing something about a 10 RON fee on the door and thinking that there was a fee for visiting the fair, before I noticed others just walking in and following them, figuring out moments later that the fee was for a show that was also taking place there that evening. However, I also just listened to what those others were being told, pretty much without looking around at all, and when they were told that there was a food court downstairs I also turned to go there, only noticing the room next to the stairs, where some NGO fair was also taking place, having a quick look around there and then going to that food court, being left thinking that the few stands that were there were the actual fair and therefore taking the opportunity to go to the toilet and then going back up, meaning to leave quickly. But at least I did look around at that point and noticed the actual fair and went in the right way, having a look all around and tasting a handful of things, though I had a hard time persuading myself to do so and skipped plenty of others.
On my way out I stopped at a stand with jams, tasting a few and finding an interesting one, dried plums filled with nuts, the jars also seeming larger than the others, yet the woman who was there said that everything was the same price, 15 RON. I found that strange and looked better, seeing 25 RON written with a pen above the sign for that kind, and when I pointed it out to her she said she hadn’t even noticed, and considering that she also couldn’t tell me the size of the jars, it’s quite clear that she was just there to sell, and doing a poor job of that as well. Still, she repeated that everything should be the same price, and I said I’ll think about it as I walked away, actually considering turning around to buy one of those jars as I stood next to the door for a while, before finally deciding against it and leaving.
My nose had bothered me quite a bit when I first went out, despite wearing that thing received the last time I planted trees so pretty much only my eyes were visible and often holding a hand in front of my nose as well, but by then it had gotten better and I wasn’t that concerned anymore as I walked to the meeting place, getting in at 7:15 PM. And at some later point, as I was sitting there, I realized that my nose was quite fine, having started to get much better after I went in and eventually hardly bothering me at all anymore. It did give me some more warnings when I was back outside, after leaving, but nothing too serious even by the time I got back, just before 11:15 PM, after wandering around a while longer after leaving that reunion, which I did at 10 PM.
Returning to that reunion, it had been said that it’ll start at 7 PM, but that was pretty much the earliest hour when people should come, as it had been clearly specified that anyone could arrive and leave whenever they wanted and the whole point was just to see each other again, even if some won’t be there long. So I ended up just sitting down somewhere, one seat from the end of one side, the tables being arranged in a corner, which resulted in not even being able to listen to much and just focusing on the few around me, as I couldn’t hear what those on the other side talked about. Considered asking the guy who was on my right to switch, and he seemed to be considering the same thing more than once, since we often found ourselves looking in opposite directions, with him being more interested in the discussion between the one in front of me and the two on my left while I was more interested in those who were in front of him and to his right, but neither of us did. Probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference for me either way, one seat, and most went out to smoke multiple times as well, ending up talking in the smoking area and just leaving the, shall we say, non-smoking minority there, with me rather isolated in my spot, since I didn’t move even then.
Still, heard some interesting inside information about USR and Demos, and also about the ongoing Rosia Montana situation, plus of course various details about the personal lives of those who were around me, and was still there when the group picture was taken. Two had left even earlier, one saying he’ll try to be back, and I meant to leave after the third, at 9:30 PM, but decided to stay a bit longer and just as the girl who had sat in front of me was also about to leave, around 9:45 PM, a few others arrived and that group picture was taken, possibly including everyone who was going to come except those three, since I counted 22 in the picture and the one who had set up the reunion had said that 25 had confirmed that they’ll be there.
It’s possible that things only really got started then, especially considering who was in that last group, but I nevertheless left at 10 PM, since at that point I was quite sure my nose was well enough to allow me to also stop at the Carrefour at Unirii, look for a few things and still catch the last metro leaving from Dristor, so I won’t have to walk back from there. And I did just that, taking the metro to Unirii, getting off there, buying a few things, getting back on the metro and indeed catching that last one after switching. Actually had to wait for several minutes for it to leave, so I’d have likely been back sooner if I would have walked, but despite feeling much better I obviously didn’t want to force my nose any more than I had to.

As for yesterday, went out again, since dad wanted to stock up on cat food, and we were actually completely out of one kind and Liza doesn’t seem to touch the other stuff he had bought instead of it, after I had mentioned that it should be similar. I guess it’s not similar after all, and he also bought five of those, and from some nearby pet shop, at a higher price, instead of just one, to see whether she’ll eat it, but I guess that’s his problem. Mine was the fact that I was obviously still worried about the nose, plus of course the situation with the network, which had those effects on my sleep, and going out during a sunny day and with a reported high around 10°C meant I didn’t exactly want to wear that thing again. Had it with me, in case it’ll be needed, but it fortunately wasn’t, and I can actually say that the problem with my nose mostly went away by now. I still feel it a little bit, but it’s not something I’d pay attention to otherwise, so I guess going out actually was a very good thing, though I feared it’ll make things worse. I’m noticing the issues with breathing again though, the way my chest feels, and that’s actually even more worrying, but I have an appointment to check out my nose and possibly throat on January 9, so maybe I’ll find out more then… And maybe things won’t get that bad again after next week’s run!
But to return to yesterday, I left around 2:15 PM, taking the recyclables out, this time including the glass bottles, and then walking to the new Supeco, opened instead of the Carrefour Market next to that farmers’ market. Just checked prices there though, spotting a couple of things that were cheaper than elsewhere but not wanting to carry anything all around and obviously giving up on the idea of returning there at the end when I decided to use the free bus from Auchan to get back. So I then walked to the Carrefour from that area, buying a bag of three kilograms of oranges, actually finding one with good ones… And also ending up paying 0.50 RON less for it, since the cashier asked whether I had smaller bills or coins, I said I just had 2 RON like that, which shouldn’t have been enough to make a difference, and she said that was fine, giving me 5 RON as change instead of the 4.50 RON she should have given me at that point, and saying that she had nothing else when I asked whether she was sure.
Then I finally started actually looking for the cat food, first walking to that Auchan, getting a pack of that cheap kind of yogurt I used to get in the past, since the one I returned to recently got back to its usual price, plus a kind of cat food, which again proved that pricing errors really are mistakes at Auchan, since it was cheaper than the listed price, while on the other hand I gave up on one of the kinds of tea I meant to get since it was more expensive, the problem there being that it had been placed in the spot where that kind of tea from another brand, which they seemed to be completely out of, used to be and the price labels hadn’t been changed, which I only noticed when I checked more carefully, after scanning it and seeing the different price. Also meant to buy more popcorn from there, but forgot. On the other hand, ended up getting an anniversary 0.50 RON coin that was recently released here as change from the machine, and since it’s the first one I stumbled into and had ended up receiving that 0.50 RON more as change from Carrefour anyway, I’ll be setting it aside. But this was about cat food, and that only took care of one of the kinds, and in fact the one that wasn’t urgent, so I then walked to that Kaufland, somehow “managing” to get a bit confused on the way but figuring it out well enough eventually, and getting a few expiring things from there before going to that pet shop for all the rest of the cat food.
That meant I was carrying over 15 kg on my way back from there, and I didn’t want to have to walk back with all of that, so I just walked the much shorter distance back to that Auchan and used their free bus, getting back at 6:10 PM… And forgetting about the pack of yogurt, since the oranges were on top of it and I went right to my room at first, the priest being in the building and getting here minutes after me, so I only put it in the refrigerator around 7:25 PM, after taking care of the dishes, putting all other things in their place and finally seeing in there, and I can only hope that it won’t spoil earlier because of that. And while I’m at it I’ll also mention that my trial of Kaspersky Anti-Virus ended while I was out that day, but that means it switched to the limited functionality mode, which still seems to do a fair bit, so I’ll wait a while longer before moving on to something else. And it does actually remain an option for purchase, though not the one I’d prefer, for a number of reasons.

And before finishing what should really be this year’s last Sunday update, I’ll also mention that last Friday I made an account on Indiegala to grab Ascension to the Throne for free, this being a game I had ended up being somewhat interested in after discovering Zoom Platform and having a look at what they had and GOG.com didn’t. And Thursday I unpacked it, since it was delivered as a simple archive, without an installer, and started playing, the problem being that if I keep doing so I’ll clearly have no chance to finish the Kingmaker campaign in Kingmaker by the end of the year, as I’d really want to. Of course, I’m close to the end and would likely be able to finish it in one day, if not one sitting, if I went for it, but keep putting that off, pretty much dropping it again in late October, just doing a few more things on November 10 and then leaving it at that. But I really should try soon, now that I also finished the last book I meant to read this year, which ended up being Warbreaker, and wrote the quick review for it. Venetica can wait, though the fact that I quite suddenly stopped playing it last month, when I guess I stopped playing anything again until now, may make it harder to pick back up if I’ll allow a long time to pass and play multiple other games before then.

Written by Cavalary on December 22, 2019 at 9:09 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Quick Review: Warbreaker

It’s unusual for me to even be able to stand a person, and next to impossible to actually like one, so finding characters infuriating, human or human-like ones in particular, tends to be the norm. Therefore, coming from me, it’s high praise to find it hard to name a character I disliked, and even more so to have actually been quite fond of most, seeing them as worth supporting and cheering for and simply wanting to know more about them, for them to be featured more prominently. There was probably Treledees, and the God King’s priests in general, but nowhere near the level one would expect, and of course there are things to be said about that as well. And yes, Vivenna was frustrating much of the time, but I could understand her as well, see where she was coming from and how she was developing. The others, whether intended as heroes or villains, if one could even tell which was which, gave me few reasons for complaint, and the exchanges between Lightsong and Blushweaver were quite delicious.
Otherwise, Sanderson does what he does best, creating and explaining detailed magic systems that are much closer to a form of science than one would generally expect. In addition, despite being a single book and therefore needing to focus on what is directly relevant, Warbreaker doesn’t do a bad job of explaining the important elements of the world it takes place in, and even finds space for some philosophy and wisdom. And it definitely keeps you on your toes, at first with some smaller twists and turns, but eventually turning everything around a few different times, in ways that are likely to baffle at first but which definitely make sense in hindsight.
There are some things about the ending that seem somewhat forced though, yet that and the fact that it is, at least at the moment, a single book and therefore can’t offer nearly as many details as the world and the systems, and also the characters, would deserve are pretty much the only complaints I have.

Rating: 4/5

Written by Cavalary on December 21, 2019 at 10:51 PM in Books | 0 Comments