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Three and a Half Months of Silence, But at Least We See Opportunity Again

It is now over three and a half months since the last contact with Opportunity, but at least the dust storm has cleared enough to allow us to see her again, albeit as just a small dot that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone who wouldn’t know exactly what should be in just that spot. With an estimated atmospheric opacity of 1.3 at the time the picture was taken, this should also mean that enough sunlight should reach her solar panels to allow her to wake up and at least send back a beep, but the good news turns into bad news with every day that passes without that happening, the chances of her having been damaged in a way that won’t allow her to wake up at all, or at least not allow her to communicate again, increasing.
According to the published plan, if Opportunity is still able to communicate, she should do so within at most 45 days of the conditions improving sufficiently, which has been defined as the atmospheric opacity dropping below 1.5 twice, with at least a week between the measurements, which had already happened at the time those plans were published. This means that more than a third of that period has already passed and there are good reasons for hope to turn into concern. There is, however, also the chance that much dust ended up on the solar panels, which may allow for communications to be restored later, once some wind will clean some of it away, such cleaning events having happened quite a few times before. That is entirely a matter of chance though, and so much dust may have damaged components, while the batteries staying completely drained for so long may have reduced their capacity too much. In addition, while it was estimated that during the dust storm itself the temperature won’t drop so low as to damage components without the use of heaters, that may change as time passes, and the aging components may no longer withstand the full temperature range they were designed for in the first place.
Still, that rover has been through much already and continued to survive. With various issues, but she survived for 14 and a half years despite having been designed to last for only three months, so she may yet pull through this as well. In what shape she’ll be in if she does so will be another matter entirely, but as long as the communications systems will be operational there should still be something for her to offer regardless. At the same time, it’d be awfully sad if just the communications systems would have failed, the rover otherwise being able to wake up, possibly having done so already, and just trying to call home time and time again until the elements finally put an end to her, maybe even years from now, while we won’t know or be able to do anything about it. So, at least for the next few weeks, let’s keep hoping… And maybe send a “postcard”, if you haven’t done so already.

Written by Cavalary on September 28, 2018 at 11:49 PM in Space | 0 Comments


This will be quick, even more so than last year’s, and you see it’s not at the regular time either. Whether I’d be able to post it at all was definitely a question, since I had no Internet access between about 10:30 AM Tuesday morning and 7:35 PM this evening, but I must also admit that I didn’t even notice the date, being so cut off from just about everything these days. I guess I noticed it after running today, when I wrote a few words in a file and added the date, but had to check in order to do that and I guess I promptly forgot the day as soon as I wrote it. Checked some news before starting to write this and they all seemed from the same day to me, despite the dates covering these past three days, so I guess my internal calendar is rather stuck on September 25 and will just need to skip straight to 28 for all other purposes, assuming I’ll manage to get it “unstuck” tomorrow at least.
Was thinking of that post I still have scheduled to show up at 11:59 PM on Sunday if I don’t reschedule it by then, stating that problems with my Internet access may be what prevented me from changing the date but if you see it then I’m likely dead or in hospital… If I wouldn’t have been able to get on-line at all until then, having that show up just this week, and with no other signs of activity, be it here or elsewhere, could have led people to certain conclusions… And I guess there could be stranger moments to pick than the day marking 13 years. But, of course, that only actually had a point within the first year or so, maybe at most the first year after getting thrown back here, dying after that, however it’d happen, without something to make the increasing amount of suffering, and also wasted resources, be worth it happening first just being an increasingly disappointing potential outcome. And I never had the courage to do it then, and I doubt I ever would anyway, since contrary to popular opinion suicide takes a whole lot of courage, while the sign of cowardice is this, surviving when you’re no longer really alive, shouldn’t be, have no reason to be. I keep saying that

Unsurprisingly, this is ending up not being quicker than last year’s post on this date. Not shorter either, if I’ll include this paragraph, but definitely took me more to write than I thought. Then again, no idea how long last year’s took. They can be very easy, just flooding out, or quite hard. Not very hard, non-personal stuff is hard to write, creative stuff even more so, but hard enough, even though there’s not really anything new in them. Just posts to mark another year passing since Andra gave me one last kiss and then walked out the door, and out of my life, leaving me… I still don’t even know how. Knowing that something may indeed exist to just maybe make life worth living, and to make me more and better than I thought I was, and losing it all, being not only thrown back to the previous state but having this terrible loss added on top of it. Found some ways to escape some of it, and also to punish myself, that are definitely way better than most, including some leading to attempting, and in a few cases even accomplishing, things I likely wouldn’t have otherwise, but other than that… Not that it could in any way be worth it even if I’d be accomplishing who knows what great things. Nothing could be worth this.

Written by Cavalary on September 27, 2018 at 10:03 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

A Third Year of Statistics After Starting Over

As the title states, this is just a post with the site’s statistics for the third year after I started over. The first column covers the entire period between September 21, 2015 and September 20, 2018, the second covers the period since the previous such post, September 21, 2017 to September 20, 2018, while the third is the usual one I add at the end, covering the last month, so starting on August 21, 2018 and also ending on September 20, 2018. Not that it should be of any interest to anyone, of course, especially considering the low number of visits, but I’m posting it nevertheless, largely for my own use.

Field Last three years Last year Last month
Visitors 7608 1848 165
Visits 8326 1938 172
Pageviews 11151 2613 204
Top countries 1. United States: 50.65%
2. United Kingdom: 7.98%
3. Singapore: 4.10%
4. Romania: 3.93%
5. Canada: 3.84%
6. Australia: 2.74%
7. Germany: 1.97%
8. China: 1.32%
9. India: 1.31%
10. Indonesia: 1.18%
1. United States: 51.70%
2. United Kingdom: 8.36%
3. Singapore: 5.11%
4. Romania: 4.44%
5. Canada: 3.92%
6. Australia: 2.27%
7. Philippines: 1.81%
8. Netherlands: 1.60%
9. Indonesia: 1.34%
10. Brazil: 1.19%
10. Malaysia: 1.19%
1. United States: 38.37%
2. United Kingdom: 12.21%
3. Singapore: 8.14%
4. Brazil: 4.07%
5. Romania: 3.49%
6. Netherlands: 2.91%
6. Philippines: 2.91%
8. Canada: 2.33%
8. Indonesia: 2.33%
10. Australia: 1.74%
10. Denmark: 1.74%
Top traffic sources
1. Google: 74.81%
2. Direct visits [2]: 19.24%
3. WordPress Tavern: 1.31%
4. Facebook: 1.15%
5. MobyGames: 0.85%
6. Bing: 0.60%
7. Yahoo!: 0.43%
8. Gret.ro: 0.19%
9. GOG.com: 0.12%
10. DuckDuckGo: 0.10%
1. Google: 70.12%
2. Direct visits [2]: 20.69%
3. WordPress Tavern: 4.49%
4. Facebook: 1.60%
5. MobyGames: 0.88%
6. Startpagina.nl: 0.31%
7. Bing: 0.26%
7. Gret.ro: 0.26%
9. Simply Bucharest: 0.21%
10. GOG.com: 0.15%
1. Google: 87.21%
2. Direct visits [2]: 9.30%
3. Facebook: 1.74%
4. Gret.ro: 0.58%
4. OkCupid: 0.58%
Top landing pages 1. Now I Know What Having Your Bowels Turn to Water Means…: 59.57%
2. Site index: 7.51%
3. Perfect World International Information Dump: 6.95%
4. Blog first page: 3.04%
5. Answers for the Forsaken World Searches – II: 2.45%
6. Hackers “Killed” The Adrenaline Vault: 2.39%
7. Evidence for the WP-SpamShield Mess: 1.18%
8. Healer by Jason Engle: 1.09%
9. Answers for the Forsaken World Searches – I: 1.04%
10. Why Ruin It with Growls?: 0.98%
1. Now I Know What Having Your Bowels Turn to Water Means…: 55.78%
2. Site index: 11.35%
3. Perfect World International Information Dump: 6.50%
4. Evidence for the WP-SpamShield Mess: 4.44%
5. Answers for the Forsaken World Searches – II: 3.30%
6. Blog first page: 2.68%
7. The Golden Compass Daemon Test: 1.81%
8. Review: Tropico 4: Collector’s Bundle: 1.50%
9. Healer by Jason Engle: 1.44%
10. Tactics for Empires of Arkeia: 0.93%
1. Now I Know What Having Your Bowels Turn to Water Means…: 62.79%
2. Perfect World International Information Dump: 8.72%
3. Answers for the Forsaken World Searches – II: 5.81%
3. Site index: 5.81%
5. Review: Tropico 4: Collector’s Bundle: 4.65%
6. Tactics for Empires of Arkeia: 2.91%
7. Blog first page: 1.74%
8. Finishing Disciples, Getting New Running Shoes and Books: 1.16%
8. The Golden Compass Daemon Test: 1.16%
8. Won a Nice Backpack, Got Silenced on Patook: 1.16%
Top viewed pages 1. Now I Know What Having Your Bowels Turn to Water Means…: 45.74%
2. Site index: 6.11%
3. Perfect World International Information Dump: 5.84%
4. Blog first page: 3.81%
5. Answers for the Forsaken World Searches – II: 1.98%
6. Hackers “Killed” The Adrenaline Vault: 1.84%
7. Fantasy Art Gallery index: 1.43%
8. Fantasy Art Gallery front page: 1.18%
9. Healer by Jason Engle: 1.04%
10. Evidence for the WP-SpamShield Mess: 0.95%
1. Now I Know What Having Your Bowels Turn to Water Means…: 42.40%
2. Site index: 10.03%
3. Perfect World International Information Dump: 5.43%
4. Blog first page: 4.59%
5. Evidence for the WP-SpamShield Mess: 3.48%
6. Answers for the Forsaken World Searches – II: 2.56%
7. The Golden Compass Daemon Test: 1.65%
8. Fantasy Art Gallery front page: 1.61%
9. Review: Tropico 4: Collector’s Bundle: 1.15%
10. Fantasy Art Gallery index: 1.11%
1. Now I Know What Having Your Bowels Turn to Water Means…: 53.43%
2. Perfect World International Information Dump: 8.82%
3. Site index: 7.84%
4. Answers for the Forsaken World Searches – II: 5.39%
5. Blog first page: 4.41%
6. Review: Tropico 4: Collector’s Bundle: 3.92%
7. Tactics for Empires of Arkeia: 2.94%
8. Fantasy Art Gallery front page: 2.45%
9. Finishing Disciples, Getting New Running Shoes and Books: 1.96%
10. The Golden Compass Daemon Test: 1.47%
Visit depth – One page: 91.40%
– Two or three pages: 6.16%
– Four or five pages: 1.01%
– Six to ten pages: 0.80%
– 11-19 pages: 0.28%
– 20+ pages: 0.35%
– One page: 91.23%
– Two or three pages: 6.35%
– Four or five pages: 1.19%
– Six to ten pages: 0.77%
– 11-19 pages: 0.26%
– 20+ pages: 0.21%
– One page: 90.12%
– Two or three pages: 7.56%
– Four or five pages: 2.33%
– Six to ten pages: 0.00%
– 11-19 pages: 0.00%
– 20+ pages: 0.00%
Top browsers 1. Chrome: 48.77%
2. Safari: 33.98%
3. Firefox: 8.16%
4. Internet Explorer: 2.80%
5. Opera: 1.27%
1. Chrome: 51.39%
2. Safari: 33.18%
3. Firefox: 5.26%
4. Samsung Internet: 3.10%
5. Internet Explorer: 2.79%
1. Chrome: 55.23%
2. Safari: 30.81%
3. Firefox: 5.23%
4. Samsung Internet: 3.49%
5. Internet Explorer: 1.74%
Top operating systems 1. iOS: 35.02%
2. Windows: 29.45%
3. Android: 28.91%
4. macOS: 3.58%
5. Linux: 1.66%
1. iOS: 34.26%
2. Android: 29.67%
3. Windows: 27.76%
4. macOS: 4.02%
5. Linux: 2.01%
1. iOS: 36.63%
2. Android: 36.05%
3. Windows: 26.74%
4. Firefox OS: 0.58%
Top screen resolutions 1. 360×640: 19.31%
2. 375×667: 16.12%
3. 320×568: 9.02%
4. 1920×1080: 7.67%
5. 1366×768: 7.28%
6. 414×736: 5.45%
7. 1024×768: 3.35%
8. 768×1024: 2.76%
9. 1440×900: 2.37%
10. 1600×900: 2.26%
1. 360×640: 17.29%
2. 375×667: 15.27%
3. 414×736: 6.86%
4. 320×568: 6.76%
5. 1920×1080: 6.71%
6. 1366×768: 5.93%
7. 1024×768: 5.26%
8. 1440×900: 4.08%
9. 375×812: 2.68%
10. 360×740: 2.32%
1. 360×640: 19.19%
2. 375×667: 15.70%
3. 414×736: 9.88%
4. 1920×1080: 7.56%
5. 375×812: 5.23%
6. 360×740: 4.07%
6. 1366×768: 4.07%
8. 320×568: 2.91%
8. 320×570: 2.91%
8. 412×846: 2.91%
8. 1024×768: 2.91%
8. 1536×864: 2.91%

[1] Obvious spam sources not listed, of course.
[2] Even though the help states that one’s own domain should automatically be added to exclusions, ever since switching to the new Analytics code I ended up with a number of entries listing my own site as source, some of those likely being direct hits from returning visitors who had last visited a different section and many being incorrectly registered new sessions from visitors who landed on the site index and then went to other sections. I have since manually added my domain to the exclusions list and this eliminated the issue, but the only thing I can do about the past statistics is what I’ve been doing since this started happening, which is to add these visits to the number of direct ones and leave the inflated numbers as they are otherwise.

I hope I didn’t make any mistakes. Of course, it is possible that something slipped through despite checking quite a number of times, but I’m definitely not going to go over it yet again now.
As for the records, those are unchanged, namely 169 visitors and 180 visits, set on the old site by that large spike on August 16, 2009, and 333 pageviews, set on March 3, 2013. And here are the usual graphs for visitors, visits and pageviews for this period as well.

Written by Cavalary on September 22, 2018 at 9:25 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Receiving Lords of Xulima and Losing Money

Ran twice this week, Tuesday and yesterday. Tuesday’s time was 48:20, making it the slowest for ten kilometers since getting the new shoes, and also the only one over 48 minutes since then. Sector times were 4:30, 5:02, 5:54, 4:30, 4:57, 5:59, 4:31, 5:05, 6:05 and 1:47, making for lap times of 15:26, 15:26 and 15:41. Yesterday was better though, the time being 47:46, with sector times of 4:25, 5:03, 5:52, 4:28, 5:01, 5:55, 4:25, 5:00, 5:47 and 1:50, making for lap times of 15:20, 15:24 and 15:12.
Tuesday sure showed that I didn’t run last week and it’s been three weeks since I last tried to maintain this sort of pace, since I knew I was in trouble after the first sector, when I thought I had been too fast and noticed that I was actually quite slow, and after that it took all I had to just stay under 48:30 in the end. There were some people to make my way around later on, but definitely not enough to slow me down by over 20 seconds. Yesterday, on the other hand, I wanted to clear my head a bit after Wednesday’s mess, so I just pushed every step of the way, and even more so on lap three, and despite walking a fair bit the day before I got back under 48 minutes quite comfortably, and also managed one of the fastest times for lap three. Didn’t think I’ll manage it after the first lap, but the second wasn’t bad and then I saw that I really could push harder and harder on the third.

Back to the beginning of the period covered by this post, Saturday I went to that science and science fiction fair, and there were supposed to be telescopes to look through, which could have been interesting on a night with just about everything on the sky. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t agree, being even worse than the forecast of clouds and some risk of showers later, since it started raining minutes after I left and it quickly got quite heavy. Could still get back at that point, maybe get my jacket, but looked up and saw where the clouds ended, then stopped in a more sheltered spot to determine wind direction as well and realized that it was helping move the rain away, so just kept going, only crossing the road earlier than I normally would since it seemed a bit more sheltered on that side, and the rain eased and eventually stopped just before I got there.
Since this time around everything was outside, they were busy setting things up again, but most seemed to have done that quickly, only a couple of tents remaining closed and one space being completely empty, leading me to believe that those from an IT store which should have had a gaming area there had decided to stay away completely due to the weather, since I didn’t see any sign of them anywhere. So I just had a look around, paying more attention while checking out the books that were on sale, but those that had some that I might have had a bit of interest in were pushy, and the author of those books, who’s also the owner, was also there, and when I picked one up I was asked if I wanted him called over, so I said no and got away, not even asking about the price, since those seem to never list the prices. Those selling used books had a fair bit of fantasy in English, on the other hand, but it was mainly heroic fantasy, “old school” stuff. So I moved on, listened to a Romanian researcher living and working in the USA after they finally managed to establish the connection, then slowly made my way away a bit after they had started talking about observing the sky. The guy was saying that it might yet clear enough to be able to spot something at least occasionally, but I was still wet and starting to feel a bit chilly, so didn’t feel like waiting when it could very well be for nothing anyway. Since I hadn’t planned to return so early and I got back here just as the free bus to Auchan should have arrived, I considered taking it and going there to grab a few things, but decided against it and went to take a bath straight away.

The shock, in the good way this time, came when I got on-line after taking that bath, when I saw that one of the two who had won a game of their choosing in another massive giveaway done by someone on the GOG.com forum had refused the prize, these two having been special prizes announced by the guy at the end, when he posted the results of the draw, without having been mentioned as possible prizes at first… And I was the one selected to get that prize in his place. I knew I hadn’t won anything, so this really surprised me, and made it really hard to decide what to ask for, or whether to ask for anything at all, especially since the person doing this giveaway is the same one I won The Witcher 3 from.
Took me half an hour to persuade myself to open the chat and another hour to decide how to reply to his message. Kept changing my mind, seriously considered refusing as well, also considered just asking for a cheap game, maybe City of Abandoned Ships, but at the same time I kept thinking of Lords of Xulima: Deluxe Edition. I obviously couldn’t ask for something I’d just set aside for later and this was one of the very few games I thought I’d start playing right away, due to both level of interest and the fact that it should run just fine on my computer, and which also doesn’t have a regional pricing scheme where any region pays more than the base price, as I’d never actually purchase one of those or ask anyone to purchase one for me, and it’s also probably the only game from there that I can say both those things about and which is also still too expensive for me to buy even on sale. So, quite awkwardly, I eventually did ask for it, but specified that it’s available 75% off every so often, so he really can wait for the next sale at that level… But he just sent me the code right away, and I redeemed it that night, before going to bed, feeling quite rotten about it. Considering these massive giveaways this guy is making, as there was one more, that I know of, in between the one I won The Witcher 3 in and this one, I guess money is not the issue for him, but I still felt awfully rotten about it either way.
But at least it didn’t take me long at all to actually start playing, as I woke up around 10:15 AM the next morning and decided to get on the computer and install it, thinking I’ll get back to bed after doing that, then that I’ll do so after having a look through the guide and just starting the game to make sure it worked… And then finding that it was 4:20 PM when I finally quit, and that only because I was out of money for blessings and couldn’t quite continue. Found a way around that problem later, but the next evening I really thought I was completely stuck, every way I thought was available being blocked by enemies I didn’t have the slightest chance against. So Tuesday I checked that part of the walkthrough included in the guide, but couldn’t see how to go where it said I should have gone well before going to an area I had already reached. Looked for a let’s play video including that bit, and when I saw that the entrance looked different I thought I had experienced a bug and was really stuck, but eventually found the proper entrance and could finally continue. Just finished all of that part last night though, yet still highly doubt I’m strong enough to get past any of the enemies that blocked my way before, so not sure how I’ll keep going… And also not sure I’ll manage to finish a fifth game this year if I’ll be struggling with this and setting Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic aside yet again.

Back to Monday, went to Auchan, and also finally took some of those plastic bottles which had gathered while the recycling machine from there didn’t work, filling three bags with them, though the largest one still wasn’t here. Thought I had missed the free bus, but didn’t check the time just as I went out the door, so not sure whether I went out faster than I thought or it was late, but it drove past me as I was close to the next stop, which is in fact the previous one for it. Hadn’t quite reached that spot though, so I didn’t try to wave to let the driver know I wanted to get on, but meant to walk anyway. So I got there, had the machine accept all bottles without problems, and bought some stuff, including another watermelon which proved to be very good.
An interaction which could have had a bad effect on me but didn’t was with the cashier, likely because she was a young woman and she didn’t sound in any way threatening or angry when she told me to take my headphones out when being talked to. Had asked what had she said when she told me how much I still had to pay after applying the small discount for the bottles, which she first looked around for help about before apparently deciding she could handle, but that was because I was paying attention to the amount displayed and calculating, since I hadn’t quite done it, not that I hadn’t heard. So I told her I could hear her through the headphones anyway, she made a little quip about that, but the whole interaction seemed comfortable, and I remained comfortable after accidentally giving her more money than I should have and then asked for some back to give her the exact amount after finding the small bill I needed, and she was about to give me some back anyway because she had realized it as well and looked surprised as she started counting again. On the other hand, definitely wasn’t comfortable enough say anything to the guy who had gotten up before me on the bus back, which I had to run to manage to catch just as it was leaving, since he moved to the door well before my stop and told the driver to stop somewhere, but he was referring to the next stop and I didn’t quite understand what he had said, so I waited behind him, saw my stop come and go without the driver stopping and just resigned myself to get off at the next one and walk back.

And to leave the worst for last, I’ll mention here that after yesterday’s run I went back out to get some more things, first to this pharmacy and then to the Carrefour from that area. Dad wanted some things from that pharmacy too, but I couldn’t find what he was mainly interested in and the other thing would have required standing in line a long time and breaking the large bill I had taken specifically for what he had asked for, so I didn’t try to get that either and just gave that bill back when I got back here. Either way, after getting what I wanted from the pharmacy I also got another Paysafecard code from the nearby machine, because I really want to drop something in the Community Giveaway to at least make up for a part of what I received. Then got to that Carrefour for the cat food I hadn’t found at Auchan the day before and one other thing I wanted to get from there not just because it was on sale but also because buying products from that brand from there these days supposedly generates donations for the organization behind those events with volunteers at the Botanical Garden. Interestingly, the cat food was cheaper than it had been at the Carrefour I usually go to the day before, and since this other one tends to be more expensive for things not listed as on sale I wonder if it wouldn’t have been even cheaper here, since they change prices Thursday. But one issue was that I had been asked to get seven cans of one type and could just find five, though the rows for all the other types were full. But dug around and spotted a few cans fallen over behind a box of a different kind of cat food that was next to this kind, and after struggling to reach in and pull them out I found the two more I needed.

Wednesday, on the other hand, didn’t go well at all. I guess it can be taken as proof that I should listen to myself when I have a bad feeling, but then again if I always did that I’d hardly do anything at all. Still, after saying I’ll go to all three and things going well as I took out the paper and plastic and got some things from Carrefour and Kaufland, even if I had to carry a good 11 kg back, I did mean to say I won’t go to Auchan that day after all, meant to leave it for the next, yet eventually decided to go anyway, parents wanting things from there too and having given me money for them. I guess it could have still been all right if I’d have just taken what was on the table and stuck to refusing to take more after being told I should when I pointed out that the entire list would actually cost more than what was left there. I mean, we had already agreed I won’t get one thing from there, and without that it’d have been fine, but in the end I did decide to grab another bill, and if I wouldn’t have done so maybe I wouldn’t have lost it.
Since I took all the remaining plastic bottles, filling the two largest bags, which had just been brought back, and a third one as well, I did mean to take the free bus that evening, but I went out five minutes before it’d normally arrive here, expecting to have to wait about ten since it was rush hour, and waited for more than 20 for nothing. After about ten minutes, so just about when I thought it should have gotten here under those conditions, I did seem to spot something that looked like it turning away in the distance, possibly skipping this stop and somehow cutting the route in order to reach the end more or less on time despite the traffic, but I can’t be certain. What I do know is that I once again meant to come back and leave it all for the next day, getting to the corner, looking towards the building… And eventually once again deciding to go anyway. Not like it’s a problem to go on foot, even with all those plastic bottles, but I had wasted quite some time and feared the end of the schedule of anybody maintaining the recycling machine, worried that even if it’ll have no other issues it was likely to fill up and there would be nobody to empty it, and thinking that if anything’d be wrong I’ll turn around and go to the other one I now know of, to have another chance of knowing for sure that they were collected properly and also at least getting a little discount for my trouble.
Well, the machine did say that it was full after I put all of seven of the bottles in. Opened it myself, since it’s still not locked, and saw that it was indeed full. Tried to move some of the stuff around, to make a bit of space, but it didn’t seem to matter, though there was a time when it displayed a message asking to wait a moment and checked again as soon as it was closed, while now it said to press reset once it’s empty and I couldn’t spot any such button, nor the bar that I saw workers push when just making some room at some point. So I went to a guard and asked him to call someone to empty it, only to be told that it didn’t work. I told him it did, took some bottles and said it was full, and he looked surprised but said he’ll try, and did pick up the phone to tell someone something, though he was also talking on his phone and with another worker at the same time and didn’t tell me anything else. So instead of walking away and heading to that other place where I now know there is one I went back to wait, set all the bottles and the one can I still had on and next to it, tried to have another look inside after getting bored, went to the bathroom to wash my hands after doing so, and still nobody came, so I eventually said I’ll rush in to grab a few things I can grab quickly, then get back out to see whether anything changed, just mentioning as I walked past that guard again that nobody came.
What I could grab quickly was another watermelon, which I’m actually yet to try myself, and two kinds of cat food, as I couldn’t find that third one that I ended up getting from Carrefour yesterday. Didn’t use a regular checkout, so also didn’t use the tiny discount ticket for those seven bottles, but what may be more notable is that when using the machine to pay I took out both the 100 RON bill which had been left for me and the 50 RON (about $12.57 or €10.75) one I had taken myself, wondered which to put in and decided on the 100 RON, so I won’t be left with it unbroken when I’ll use a regular checkout later. So after getting my change I was left with two 50 RON bills and the small pile of small ones, most of which I already had and had placed separately in my pocket. At that point I placed everything received as change, including the 50 RON bill, along with those smaller ones, but I already don’t know what I did with that other 50 RON bill, the one I had decided against using then. I must have at least placed it separately in my pocket, thinking I definitely won’t need it, but whether I even did that or somehow missed the pocket, or tried to just throw it in a bag until I’ll get out and either missed the bag or forgot about it and somehow had it fly out at some point, I have no idea.
Still, it is entirely possible that I did just place it in my pocket then and I may have checked that after going back in, as I doubt I wouldn’t have checked my pockets for so long and definitely wasn’t concerned before paying the second time. But the one thing I do know I lost then was the discount for the other bottles, as when I went back out to the machine I saw that all had been cleared away, which I guess is not a surprise if somebody did come to empty the machine while I was away. But at the same time the machine displayed a message saying it was temporarily stopped, which happens when it’s reset, including to check that it was emptied, and that message wasn’t going away, and I noticed that it was still there when I eventually left, much later, so I guess it did break down again, making that guard right.
Either way, nothing to do about it, so went back, this time using the other entrance so I won’t get to that guard again, showed the guard who was there what I had in my bag, since the watermelon made it impossible to seal, and he just placed a sticker on the watermelon and then spotted the receipt in there as well and said I’ll be fine as long as everything that’s there is on it. So I got the stuff that was left, the next moment when I may have lost that bill being after getting the toilet paper, as I was trying to figure out how to carry it when I pulled the list I had been given out of the same pocket I had the money in, and I guess it was possible to have missed that it wasn’t the only thing I pulled out, if that bill wasn’t with the others. But what I did after that may make some say it served me right to lose that bill, since as I weighed some frozen things I decided to make up for at least a part of that discount I felt they had taken away from me by taking those bottles, placing a fingernail underneath to make the weight appear less by a small amount, saving about half of what I should have gotten for those bottles, or maybe a little over half… And less than 2.5% of what I ended up losing. Also pulled my phone out, possibly twice, around that time, and since that was in that same pocket as well, that’s another moment when I may have lost that bill, and for once I’m actually not sure I checked before getting to the checkout. I’d normally even pull the money out to count them, to be absolutely sure, especially since I usually don’t have much more than I need, at times calculating my purchases to just about exactly match what I have, but since that time I knew I had much more than needed and was also rushing to catch a free bus, I may have skipped checking at all.
So I got to the checkout, being absolutely certain that I got past those “fast” ones and reached a regular one. So I set the products down, along with the ticket for that tiny discount and what I thought was one of the 50 RON bills, though it may have already been the only one I still had at that moment. It definitely was the one that was with the smaller ones, but whether I still had the other one, I have no idea, but I didn’t realize that anything was wrong just then. Also most definitely didn’t realize I wasn’t at one of the regular checkouts after all, though I’m not sure how much I was still “processing” anything after the cashier had a good look inside my bag to make sure everything that was in there was on the receipt I already had, that interaction definitely not feeling comfortable in the least. So I may not have been ignoring her on purpose when she seemed to indicate I couldn’t use that ticket there and only realized with some delay that she told me I don’t pay there after seeing the bill I had placed there. I guess I was “that” customer, but I couldn’t quite think anymore after she checked like that, so I just stood there silently and waited for her to realize that it was a regular checkout after all and I could in fact use the ticket and pay, only finally hitting me that I was wrong after she called someone to check and telling me they confirmed those tickets only work at the regular checkouts. So I said it’s all right, it’s too small of an amount to matter, and got my stuff to go to a machine to pay. Whether I also took that bill I had meant to pay there with or not I have no idea, however. I just can’t recall that moment…
Still not noticing anything wrong for just one more moment, I went to one of the machines and first stopped to finally check the money in my pocket… And that was when I definitely noticed the problem, seeing that I only had one of those bills. It was set aside from the small ones, but if I did take that one back then it’d have been set aside as well, as I’d have just quickly stuffed it in my pocket, so this doesn’t tell me anything about which I lost and when. Rushed back to that cashier then, asked whether I had left my money there, she said I hadn’t, the next customer made a bit of a show of just barely lifting some of her bags to let me look under them as well, but of course either of them could have easily pocketed the bill in those seconds before I got back if I had indeed left it. So all I could do was get back to my things and start searching, taking everything out of all pockets, checking inside my bags, looking around, but still finding nothing. Then things got even worse when I finally tried to scan the receipt and pay, as there was nothing else to do, and the machine said it was expired, so I guess there’s just a very brief amount of time during which you can scan and pay.
My options at that point were to head back to have a cashier scan the items again, head back and to a regular checkout to at least be able to use that tiny discount, just drop the things purchased then and leave with just those purchased the first time… Or try to use that first receipt to leave without paying for these new items, the total being just under half of what I had lost. But of course that didn’t work, the machine at the gate recognizing that the receipt had already been used and a guard immediately appearing next to me and asking what had I done and whether I had scanned it twice. So I just mumbled that it was possible and that I’ll use another exit, turned around and just walked away with a confidence I didn’t in the least have. But at least that meant I got to a regular checkout after all and could use that ticket for just a few coins. And that cashier didn’t care that I had another bag in the least, not even glancing at it as I walked out with it and not saying anything even as I stopped after a couple of steps and took everything out yet again, to look one more time for that bill. She must have seen that what I took out was more than what she had scanned, but just didn’t care, as I’m sure I’d have had guards next to me right away if she’d have mentioned anything, especially since I’m even more certain I was being watched quite carefully by then, and for good reason for once.
After that, I waited for the next free bus, since I had obviously lost the one I had meant to use and even those coming ten minutes after it, which I can still make some use of, and got back here a good three hours after leaving and completely messed up. Did take the amount lost out of what I had set aside, giving it back to my parents even though my mother kept saying I should keep it, that it was no problem and so on, and then also to not tell my dad. But it was my fault, I had to take responsibility, and what dad had to say was sort of similar anyway, largely that I shouldn’t worry about it, though what he actually thought may be different. Then again, my mother had also given me more than I had lost the day before, saying my grandmother had given her that amount to give to me, so it can be said that I ended up splitting it with them, though in fact I actually split it with whoever ended up grabbing that bill I lost, and still was left with more than I should have had set aside. And I guess splitting it in some way makes me feel a bit less guilty about taking those money, though I was still just as angry about the fact that they were given to me like that in the first place, since giving me a gift I didn’t specifically ask for, even if it’s money, is after all one of the very few things that are pretty much certain to anger me.

Written by Cavalary on September 21, 2018 at 11:25 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Quick Review: To Walk in the Way of Lions

Note: The review refers to the edition included in Sword, Steam and Sky: Four Book Fantasy Bundle.

Still like the writing style, the author really is a storyteller, though she’s also still in bad need of another pair of eyes to look over the text and do something about the many typos and even less easily explainable mistakes left in it, which is something I’m not sure how I forgot to mention in the quick review for the previous book in the series. But speaking of that previous book, the first half of this one can be described as largely more of the same in the good way, if anything perhaps even with less of the issues found there. The setting is still intriguing and the postapocalyptic aspect can still pretty much be ignored, the characters and their interactions remain interesting, believable, with layers and at least moments of depth, and you’ll probably care and cheer for them without even the possible exceptions which may have existed before.
But all of that applies to the first half… The second starts with the postapocalyptic aspect of the setting being explained and becoming impossible to ignore. Still far less problematic than what you’d normally expect when you see the term, but I assume it’ll only get worse in the following books and it was quite an issue even in this one, seeing as I dislike the genre. In addition, the story and the characters get pushed too hard, stretched too thin. Actions and events don’t quite add up, things are happening too fast without getting explained, or with the provided explanations being far from sufficient or, in some cases, even reasonable. And that’s worse, since missing explanations may be provided later, but explanations and motivations that don’t add up will continue to not add up. And it’s probably not a case of lack of skill or ideas, and it may not even be due to rushing to finish, but possibly due to this infuriating drive to make books shorter and cut out anything deemed unessential, even though in plenty of cases, definitely including this one if this is what happened, those “unessential” elements are actually anything but.

Rating 3/5

Written by Cavalary on September 16, 2018 at 7:21 PM in Books | 0 Comments