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Botanical Garden Autumn Cleaning and Colectiv Fire Commemoration

Meant to try writing this yesterday, but decided to clean around here a bit right after waking up, since I ended up being alone these days after all and what I did outside of my room as well will at least last until Saturday afternoon, when dad will be back. And then caught up on reading Elantris, since I definitely want to finish it this week, there are environmental protests that I want to attend both Saturday and Sunday, and I had fallen behind, after not reading the day before. So now I have to sit here and get this done this evening, somehow, though I want to make myself mamaliga again in the evening, and should also shave and shower… And just now I also signed up to plant trees on November 16. But to get right to the period covered by this post, I’ll start with the timed squats, which were 2:21 on October 26, 2:24 on October 27, 2:13 on October 28, 2:15 on October 29, 2:18 on October 30 and about 2:22 yesterday, give or take a second, since there was a replay at the end again. And, since I mentioned reading, Monday evening I decided to use the remaining $0.56 of that credit for The Count of Monte Cristo, since one edition was just this much, others being more. Realized after I got it that I likely read it when I was little, at my grandparents’, but I may give it another go now anyway, and it’s not like I had a better idea for that credit, and it was about to expire.

After being in bed at 4:35 AM, Saturday I got up at 7:30 AM, when the alarm rang, though I had been awake for a few minutes at that point, just staying buried under the blanket. Wasted some 15 minutes on the toilet before cutting my losses, since it wasn’t happening at such an early hour, and was out the door at 8:40 AM, being at the Botanical Garden at 9:20 AM, for the Autumn Cleaning this time. And it actually was 9:38 AM when Anca got us moving… Only for a few meters, since the area we had to clean was right next to the entrance, on either side of the alley going left, up to the point where another one goes right.
There were some 40 of us, which struck me as a low number and I actually said so to Anca at the end, but she said there are always fewer in the autumn and there are enough who signed up in total. Either way, she meant to split us in five groups, but despite saying there will be eight in each group, she started with a group of nine, I think because some wanted to be together and she didn’t want to remove someone she had already placed in that group, and then assigned nine to groups two and three as well, leaving too few to make two more groups, so she said that they’ll be “group 45”, anyone coming later will be assigned to them as well and they’ll handle one side of the path on their own, with the other groups getting sectors on the other side, towards the fence. They mostly had to rake on that side, while the rest of us mainly had to clear vegetation, to just leave the trees and large bushes, only a part towards the end of their area also being overgrown.
I was in group three, so I just grabbed shears, since there was a single saw for us, and got to work, spending nearly all the time cutting and pulling things. There were a lot of bugs, a lot of them being spiders, and while I had sprayed myself all over before leaving, that spray doesn’t repel those as well, and it took me a while to even get my trousers in my socks as well, to make it much harder for things to get in that way. So, between those and the ants, I expected to see quite a number of bites after getting back, yet I actually didn’t notice anything. Either way, after getting in the thick of it at first, as the break was approaching I switched to coming after the others and taking care of the smaller stuff they had missed or ignored, cutting the larger things closer to the ground if they had left stumps, and pulling out some root systems. And I continued that after the break, feeling tired but pushing through, and pushing even harder at the end, after we had pretty much finished our area and Anca said we should help with the overgrown part of the area assigned to “group 45”, to try to finish everything then, so it was back to getting in the thick of it. Only stopped doing that and switched to raking for a little bit at the very end, when Anca said we should finish up, as those carrying the leaves and branches away were about to make the last trip.
Grabbed a tea at one point, but everything else was during the break, which was at noon or so, when I had a sandwich and a cup of water, then rushed to the bathroom. Anca had mentioned cakes though, and when I got back I saw that somebody had brought quite a few boxes, some with eclairs and others with, I believe, brownies, so I grabbed one of each, and then a second eclair, since there were quite a few left and they were asking who wanted more. Meant to grab a second brownie as well, but the girls helping Anca had the last box and were just chatting and I couldn’t get myself to just walk up and take one more before they closed it to put it away. So I gave up on that idea and got back to work just before 12:30 PM.
With that last trip mentioned above being made at 1:45 PM, we couldn’t finish that last area as well, but that was that. Walked around a bit after that, searching for discarded tools, getting back to where they were being gathered at 1:50 PM, waiting with everyone else for the guys with the wheelbarrows to get back. After they did and the equipment was loaded in the wheelbarrows, I grabbed one to push back to the gift shop, and then was among the last to leave after the ending “ceremony”, only walking away at 2:20 PM and being back here at 3:15 PM.
Was thinking of taking a nap in the evening, but bumped my head while hanging the laundry in the balcony and saw quite a lump forming, though it hadn’t felt like a hard hit, so I decided against doing so. Went to bed when the hour changed that night though, so at 3 AM according to the new one, despite having stuffed myself.

Now I’ll skip to Wednesday, when I attended the march commemorating four years since the Colectiv club fire. It was raining and the temperature had dropped significantly that day, and it was dark as well, so I took the old camera and, fortunately, two pairs of batteries found in the living room, at least one of them used. Also took 20 used batteries from the box in the kitchen, to drop off at a place which should have given me four new ones in return, so I walked there first, but they told me they were out of batteries, so I only got to a metro station at 6:20 PM after seeing 5:53 PM after going out the door, and also “managed” to step in a puddle on the way and splash water, and a bit of dirt, on my pants and sock, for nothing. And then I spent some more time walking in the rain after I got off at Unirii, looking for another place that was supposed to give new batteries in exchange for old ones at that rate, but I couldn’t find it, noticing after I got back that I stopped pretty much just before I’d have been able to see it, since I hadn’t planned to go there and hadn’t looked well enough at the location on the map before leaving.
Reached the gathering place, in Unirii Park, right at 7 PM and didn’t realize it, so I squeezed in for a few pictures of the large banners, which were on the pavement at the time, and probably ended up in the shot of every news crew that was there and reporting live for the 7 o’clock news. Saw the cameras, but I was focused on getting the shots, preferably before pissing myself, so I only realized what was going on after taking those pictures, which in the end I didn’t even include in those I kept and posted. Rushed away at that point, but it was probably too late. But at least it wasn’t too late from the other point of view, since I then went to the bathroom at the McDonald’s across the road, struggling for a while due to my hands already freezing but eventually managing it and getting back just as they were about to get moving, at 7:25 PM, with the march having been scheduled to start at 7:30 PM.
Had a plastic bag wrapped around the camera at first, with four rubber bands holding it in place, but had the used pair of batteries in it and those stopped working as I was trying to take a few crowd shots in a better lit portion of the route, not even halfway through the march, and after struggling to get it off and replace the batteries with the other pair, I didn’t put it back on, just trying to protect the camera as much as I could without it. Had already ended up towards the back because of it anyway, so after taking those crowd shots I was focused on catching up to the head of the march again, just managing it by the time we got to Bucur Square, at 7:50 PM. Then I took some more pictures, lit the candle I had brought and left early, at 8:15 PM, the rain and cold driving me away, the camera acting up as well, and feeling that I was going to have to pee again if I didn’t start on the way back quickly. As it was, was back pretty much exactly three hours after leaving.

This week’s run was Monday. Woke up to pee a bit before 12:30 PM and noticed the low hot water pressure, but just set the alarm to 2 PM and got back in bed, then just stuck to the plan despite confirming after getting up that there was no hot water… And despite being a bit messed up by the dream I had just before getting up, and being unable to write down details. It was about Andra and at the end I was writing a poem about the events from it, and I remember that at least a part of it actually sounded quite nice, and then I woke up shortly before the alarm rang and was “seeing” myself writing down what had happened in the dream, I guess still being sort of in between dreaming and awake, meaning to have it all “written” in my mind that way before getting up to type it… And then the alarm rang and the memories just vanished in an instant, all I was left with being what I already mentioned, that I had written a poem about it in the dream and was “writing” the details in my mind after waking up, with nothing left about what had actually happened in the dream. And then I couldn’t take a crap either, and was still feeling some joints and muscles after Saturday. But, as I already mentioned, I stuck to the plan, having the usual stuff and going out at 3:55 PM. The large spider I saw at the door delayed me a bit, but only until it dropped low enough for me to not need to lift my foot too high to take care of it. With a reported temperature of 18°C, hardly any wind and being mostly sunny, though the Sun was setting by the end, it was clearly the best day for running this week, after all, and pretty much the only possible one for me.
The time was 47:34.05, with sector times of 4:28.88, 5:08 (5:07.30), 5:53.35, 4:22 (4:21.94), 4:56 (4:55.93), 5:44.12, 4:25.32, 4:59.01, 5:50 (5:49.34) and 1:49 (1:48.86), making for lap times of 15:29.53, 15:02 (15:01.99) and 15:14 (15:13.67). Was just aiming to stay under 48 minutes and started in a rather controlled manner, but when I saw the first two sector times I was worried I’ll barely manage 48:30, so I pushed from the third sector and it worked out, traffic making me fail to get under 47:30 as well in the end. There were plenty of people, and on top of weaving and going the long way around, there was a bit of roadblock at the end of sector two of lap one, under the bridge, people walking on one side and fast cyclists coming from the opposite direction, so I had to slow and wait my turn. Then there was another roadblock, formed of people with kids moving slowly, just before the bridge, I’m pretty sure on sector one of lap two, though there’s a small chance I’m not remembering it well enough and it was actually on lap three. Either way, had to slow again and squeeze past, stooping under the branches of a willow tree. But it definitely was on sector one of lap two when I had a pretty fast runner ahead of me, giving me a target to first catch up to and then stay ahead of for a while, helping me settle into a better pace for the rest of the lap as well. On the other hand, I think it was on sector two of lap three when I breathed something in, either a bug or a little leaf, and I probably lost a bit of time as I tried to first blow it out and then sort of spit after accidentally breathing in through my mouth while doing so. My right knee, both calf muscles and some stuff around my left ankle gave me warnings, but held. And hot water was back in the evening, so I could shower too.

As for Tuesday, woke up around 9 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. Napped a bit more, but mostly tossed and turned, eventually getting up at 11:30 AM and going out a bit after 2 PM. First walked to that pharmacy, just to check prices, then took the metro and went back to that Auchan in that other part of the city, again getting off a stop early to first go to that bakery I had noticed there, getting two loaves of their whole wheat bread. Then walked to Auchan, getting there around 3:20 PM but first checking that pet shop again, seeing more of the old kind of that cat food but again leaving it for later. After that, rushed to the toilet, struggling to get things done one-handed, holding the bread in the other, and then ending up with the bag with the bread being placed in another bag and sealed by the guard at the entrance to Auchan, because he didn’t want to just put a sticker on it. Either way, just got two yogurts and shaving cream from Auchan, using the self-checkout again, and I shouldn’t have even bought those yogurts from there, though I of course didn’t know that then. Then got back to the pet shop, counted 21 packs of that cat food, so I could buy 20, getting 0.10 RON less in change and mentioning it but then saying it didn’t matter and walking away, having already found more in Auchan. Had taken it easy, after seeing 4:05 PM when I left Auchan and knowing that the next free bus of the number I needed was to leave at 4:30 PM, so I was only out of that pet shop at 4:20 PM, and the bus was a few minutes late anyway.
Due to the traffic, it took a while for the bus to get to the metro station I had gotten off at, and when it did I got off there, having noticed before leaving that there’s a Kaufland in that area as well and deciding to walk to it. Also found a shopping cart discarded in the parking lot, with the 0.50 RON coin in it, and took it back and took the coin, then got what I meant to get from there, and also meant to get one more yogurt, still not knowing that I should have waited until reaching Carrefour and seeing that it was just a little more expensive than it had been at Auchan and it expired four days later, so I could get one more. However, after grabbing the other stuff, I forgot about the yogurt, so I used the self-checkout again without issues, put the stuff in a second cabinet, rushed to the toilet again, went back in to buy that yogurt as well, still using the self-checkout, grabbed the stuff from the first cabinet I had used… And then found that I couldn’t open the second one anymore, the code not working. No idea whether something was wrong with it or I had pressed a wrong button when setting the code, as that’s very easy to do there, since they don’t even seem to be actual buttons, but some sort of touchpad, but the problem remained, so at first I told a guard, who told me to tell a Kaufland employee and then, when I ended up just looking around, quite at a loss, to ask a cashier to call someone to the information desk, since there was nobody there then. And I did that, and somebody eventually came, but she had to deal with three other people first, one of them having a similar problem. But at least she opened that cabinet as well in the end, and I could get my purchases back and finally get out of there at 5:45 PM.
Got back on the metro, getting off at Dristor and going in that Carrefour from that area at 6:35 PM, being surprised to be able to fit all my stuff in one of their cabinets, getting what I wanted from there as well… And being surprised to see that yogurt cheaper there than it had been in Auchan or Kaufland, and with some having the same expiration date as those from Kaufland, so I could have bought all three from there. Sure, it’d have just saved a little bit, but the exact amount struck me as interesting after I got back, when I saw that, if I’d have purchased the yogurt from there, I’d have had exactly 1 RON left in change. But there was nothing to do about it then and I couldn’t even get more, considering when they were going to expire, so I finally got out of there at 7:10 PM and struggled to carry everything while still rushing as much as possible, just managing to reach this nearby store before it closed, knowing from last time that it only stayed open until 7:30 PM, and getting some sour cream again, a bit more of it this time around. Took me a few moments to find the correct change and then also pick all my bags back up and the woman who was there seemed in a hurry, and she came right after me and closed the door the moment I stepped outside, and I guess the clock she had was a bit ahead, since I saw 7:32 PM on the receipt, while it was actually 7:29 PM when I stopped again, to arrange things better after crossing that street.

Written by Cavalary on November 1, 2019 at 9:13 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

New Finds – XVIII

It would appear that this need for non-personal posts does make me add more to this series, and this one actually reduces the number of bands not included in such posts despite only including three, because it would appear that the guy spamming the Power of Female Fronted Metal group, cross-posting stuff, got banned yesterday. I hadn’t checked it in two weeks, increasingly daunted by the prospect of going through all the new stuff, then went through about one week on Friday, leaving the rest for yesterday and today, but when I looked again yesterday I only found a handful of posts left in that period, and very few of them relevant, and then I looked again and found none of his anymore… Which at least means I’ll be checking that group again more, and will relatively rarely actually find new stuff, so if I will somehow keep this up I’ll actually have a chance to eventually go through some of those I had stumbled into in the past again. On the other hand, few actual new finds may mean I won’t add more of these posts after all.

Still, at the moment I do have one new find, out of the posts I went through on Friday, though the band itself is over 20 years old. It seems that Kârma were a cover band for a long time, however, and only their third and most recent album is in English, and also a metal one, so I haven’t checked any older material. In fact, hadn’t checked anything other than Path of Light before starting to write this post, and that one made a good first impression. Unfortunately, now that I’m listening to the rest of their album, which is available on their Bandcamp, I must say that it doesn’t come anywhere near the expectations created by that song. But the other better one that I can find is Sorrowful Dawn, so I’ll go with that as second pick. It seems odd to talk of potential for a band that’s over 20 years old, but with this actually being their only material intended as symphonic metal, and also their only material in English, I guess I can say that there is potential there and it remains to be seen what they’ll do with it.

Though they’re not an actual new find, don’t even have new material released this year and, while I don’t have particular reasons to complain, I can’t say that they stand out in any way either, the name of Kârma’s label reminded me of Alcyona, and since Samhain seems to be their one new song since their first album, I’ll take that as my first pick. Besides, it also happens to be quite fitting, considering the date. And then I’ll make it easy for myself for the second pick, just sticking to what’s easily available, so I’ll go with their first song, The Lost Valley.

As for the third and last band in this post, that’s Cathubodua, and the fact that they just released their first full album does offer a good reason to mention them now, even if I had otherwise known of them for some time as well. The song used to promote said new album is Hero of Ages, so I’ll go with that as first pick, and I guess Scarecrow will be the second, to have something older as well. The older sound is a bit harsh for me, but it was nevertheless good enough to catch my attention at the time, and Hero of Ages is quite obviously better, that harshness being more controlled. Haven’t listened to other songs from the album, however, so I can’t say anything more than that.

Written by Cavalary on October 27, 2019 at 7:46 PM in Music | 0 Comments

Bitdefender, New (Electronic) Books, Venetica and Two Runs

Last Friday I just quickly checked a few things after waking up and then finally restored the system from that older backup, also taking the opportunity to uninstall Flash after the updater supposedly ran twice but nothing happened, then reinstalled the updates and Venetica. Somewhat oddly, Comodo Firewall took issue with Venetica this time around and I hadn’t changed the setting to make prompts time out after ten seconds, and it just seemed to be in a loop, not forcing the program to close eventually, so after a while I tried to terminate it blindly, but whatever I actually did froze the system completely, requiring a hard reset. Since that was before making another backup, I was, and still am, worried that there might be issues carrying over, but it is what it is, and still have that older one as well, in case of need. And both are “clean” at least, since I only started the trial of Bitdefender Antivirus the next day… And that has certainly gotten even worse, as now I see I can’t even permanently disable automatic update checks, can at most do it until reboot, and that’s on top of still not being able to set it to prompt in case it thinks it finds something. And there are other oddities with the advanced threat prevention, the first being that it completely, and silently, blocks Vivaldi from starting unless it’s added to exceptions there. But at least it doesn’t seem to cause other problems with it once that’s done, at least so far…
But I mentioned Venetica, and since I did properly start it after installing it that day, the first thing I want to do now is keep playing. And the third thing, which I don’t necessarily want to do so much but know I really should, is finally finish Kingmaker, since taking another break definitely won’t help and I should be close to the end. But there’s something else in between, the second thing, and that’s to continue reading Elantris, which I started Monday, after I ended up getting it, Warbreaker and Free-Wrench Collection: Volume 1 last Wednesday, using the $10 credit I found myself receiving last month, possibly because I seem to recall syncing the Kindle software when I read Swallowtail and Sword. Couldn’t figure out why I received that then at first, especially since it was weeks later, so changed the password as well, but it may make sense in that case, since it’s possible that I had never clicked that before. And, either way, I eventually decided to use $9.44 of that credit for those three, and I may grab some classic with what remains. Or maybe not, since I’m not usually interested in classics and those things are actually free otherwise, but that amount will expire by the end of the month anyway.

Since I mentioned last Wednesday, had to get bread then, and before I left dad said that we were running low on that cat food that became hard to find. So I took out the recyclables and walked to Auchan, also checking a Mega Image on the way and more or less intentionally losing a fair bit of time after deciding to go to Supeco first, crossing through a park, ending up going almost straight through instead of diagonally and then turning the wrong way once I was on the other side. Realized it quickly, but decided to keep going and explore a bit, using it as an excuse to get back too late to still have the time to restore from that backup that day. So I checked prices at Supeco, then also had a look through that Penny Market that’s next to Auchan there, then finally went to Auchan and got what I wanted from there, though the cat food was the new kind, and there seem to be some differences on top of the fact that it now has 85 grams instead of 100 but costs the same, since even now Liza keeps looking oddly at it and waiting for some time before finally giving in and eating. But she eventually does eat, at least.
Getting back to that day, just bought one bread of the kind I prefer, and two small ones of another kind that had no price listed. Since you can’t check the price for those yourself, I asked an employee and she rather seemed at a loss before telling me a price… Which price proved to be wrong, being lower than the actual one, but I bought them anyway, since I couldn’t find the other cheaper kind that I used to get. Then I walked back to Supeco and got the few things I wanted to get from there, and it was only when I walked out of there and was arranging things in my bags that I realized I had forgotten to get garbage bags from Auchan, and the kind we’re using are their brand, so they’re only available there… Or they used to be, because they don’t seem to be making them anymore, but since I hadn’t even looked, I didn’t know that then. Decided to leave it for another time though, which also meant not going back to use Auchan’s free bus either, since it’d have felt strange to walk back there and not check, but going in with all those purchases would have been an issue as well, since they don’t have cabinets, so I just walked back, getting back here at 7:10 PM.

The next day I went to the Botanical Garden again, leaving just before 3:20 PM and not running to or from the metro station, having too much in my pockets for that, which led to me reaching the gate at 4:01 PM. Had seen in the file that the gift shop schedule had changed again, closing at 6 PM, but checked the Garden’s site as well and saw that as of October 16 the closing time is 5 PM, so I asked at the gate and was told that it is indeed 5 PM, and that it applies for the gift shop as well, leaving me to think that I’ll barely have time to do anything. That wasn’t quite the case, however, since I asked the guy at the gift shop as well and he said it’ll close at 6 PM, which at least allowed me to do a little work. It still wasn’t much, since I wanted to rake as well, at least to finish the first alley, which had been worked on up to a point, but I first carried away the piles of leaves left from the day before, then swept the rest of that first alley and the central area, and that took up all the time I had, just managing to take those leaves away as well and get back to the gift shop to return the tools and wash my hands in time to leave just moments before 6 PM.
Ended up with a bit of a blister on my right hand, but other than that, the one weird moment had to do with the fact that I had left the rake behind while sweeping, and as I was getting close to finishing I saw a guy and two little girls walking to that spot and one of the girls picking it up and fooling around with it, so I walked straight to them, broom in hand and with what was intended to be a mix of a stern and questioning attitude, which seemed to be enough, as she put it down as soon as she saw me and the guy led them away, telling me that she “didn’t break anything, just did some craziness there” as they walked past.

Walked to the Auchan from that area after that, looking for garbage bags and more bread and finding neither. But I had checked the site first and had seen those bags listed as available only in two other locations, so took the metro and went to one. Actually, waited for the second train, since the first was overcrowded, but that second one, which came five minutes later, was quite full as well. And I got off one stop early, being uncertain of the exact route from the nearest stop, which also meant that I walked past a bakery on the way and had a look inside, making a mental note to perhaps get some bread from there if I still won’t find any at Auchan and will walk back. But things got a bit tricky after that, since I was reaching that area where that Auchan is at 7:30 PM but it’s a huge area with many stores, with the first one separated from the rest by a fence, and I somehow lost sight of the signs listing the other stores and assumed I had passed that entrance, turning back and going through that first store’s parking lot and ending up losing seven minutes before I got back on the road, after seeing that there was no way through that fence.
When I eventually reached that Auchan, I also noticed another one of those pet shops there, so I went in there first and saw a few more of the old kind of that cat food. Didn’t buy them then, first going into Auchan, still not finding those bags or the bread and just ending up getting some tea and some other kind of bags, using the self-checkout without problems, but I did go back for them after that, getting all seven that were left… And cutting my left hand in the corner of one, so I ended up struggling to avoid giving bloody money to the cashier.
Was wondering whether to walk back from there, being certain to reach that bakery again, or use a free bus and risk missing the stop, but since the bus I knew I needed, after having checked the routes when I got there, was just getting to the station at the same time I was, I just rushed to it, also hitting my head as I went in… And, of course, I missed that stop, so gave up on the idea of getting bread from there and went all the way to the Cora from that area, thinking to get bread from there instead.
Well, I did get off in the right place, but wasn’t sure how to get to the entrance for Cora from there, and I guess that instead of taking a few steps one way I ended up walking around that place for some time, before returning and finally finding a way in. But at least I found some bread I could get… And then spent quite some time in line, with few checkouts still open at that hour and plenty of people. Went to those for people with few products, but one of the two closed just as it’d have been my turn, the guy that ended up in front of me at the other one had plenty of products and also wanted to pay using two cards plus cash, and the paper roll finished just as it was my turn as well. Also saw I think 150 RON on the floor as I was waiting, next to an old woman standing in another line, and asked whether they were hers and she picked them up, though I have no idea whether they actually were hers or not.
After eventually leaving, I sort of followed someone out of there and ended up exiting on another side, so neither the one I had used to go in nor the one I was actually aiming for, and not realizing it, walking for a while and wondering why wasn’t I getting to the metro station already, until it was clear that I won’t be finding any metro station that way and turning back, finally reaching it at 9:35 PM. That wasn’t it for the mess, however, since I somehow “managed” to fall up the escalator when I was changing trains at Dristor. Hit my toes a little as I tripped, hit my elbows worse against the sides when I tried to catch myself, and since I failed to do that, scraped my knees a fair bit, and my hands a little more as well. Eventually got back at 10:20 PM, but that spot that bothered me after covering another half marathon distance, where I was worried about the start of a stress fracture, was definitely not happy with that fall, and it hurt a fair bit as I was walking back. But it got better since then.

Sunday I decided to go get onions, so I left at 1:35 PM and was back a bit before 3:10 PM. Took out the recyclables, including the stuff I take to Kaufland, but went to Carrefour first… And caught a spider web on the way, and I’m not sure whether I still had bits of it on me on the way back or I caught a second one then as well. Either way, left those things behind the cabinets and got some more of those croissants for dad… And dropped them as I was waiting in line, since I hadn’t taken a basket. That led first to an older woman offering to help and handing me a plastic bag to put them in, which I quite angrily told her to take away, moving a bit away as well, to make it clear that I wanted to sort things out on my own and definitely not use even more plastic. But apparently it wasn’t clear enough, since after she walked away, another woman came and also handed me a plastic bag, which I refused even more angrily, turning away again. An employee stopped next to me then, coming to that computer that they have there, and I heard a “hello?” after a few seconds, but I ignored her, tried to calm down and eventually managed to gather them again. Then I grabbed those things that may or may not be recyclable again, dropped them off at Kaufland, and got onions from there, using the self-checkout without any problems. Picked up a few coins I found, but that was less than 0.20 RON and I left a total of probably around 0.50 RON where they were for some reason.

The more concerning thing that happened Sunday, however, was that my back started hurting in the evening. And then, after struggling to find a less uncomfortable position to sleep in, at some point Monday morning I had quite a bad dream as well, something about a bad flu or something of that sort and my mother sneaking into my room to perform some ritual while I was sleeping. Recalled something about the numbers 27 and 38, 27 apparently being my age when that was happening, and the whole thing left me both furious and frightened. Nevertheless, the plan was to run that day and I meant to do so if at all possible, so I eventually got up at 2:30 PM, had the usual stuff I have before a run except the sweets, for which I used some more of those raisins in chocolate, which I mixed with the yogurt and cereals, and went out a bit after 4:10 PM. The reported temperature was 25°C, it was sunny and there was hardly any wind, but my back still hurt when I moved in certain ways, my knees were scraped and I was still worried about that possible potential for a stress fracture, so I was thinking that 48 minutes would be great, 48:30 good enough, and I might even take a worse time if necessary. Instead, I ended up with a new second fastest time on a ten-kilometer run, if not necessarily over the distance, 46:24.86, with sector times of 4:24.11, 4:56.04, 5:41.33, 4:19 (4:18.71), 4:53.37, 5:36.31, 4:21 (4:20.90), 4:53 (4:52.40), 5:37.54 and 1:44.15, making for lap times of 15:01.48, 14:48.39 and 14:51 (14:50.84)!
There were some people in the park and, while it was usually just a matter of weaving or going the long way around, I probably lost a little more time than I otherwise would have because of them, since I was always careful when turning right and tried to avoid sudden moves, being careful with my back even though it didn’t hurt while I ran, and in fact got much better after that. The only more notable moment was on sector two of lap one, when a kid was pretending to be asleep on his bicycle, weaving a lot and ending up blocking my path completely just as he ended up in front of me, so I had to briefly stop and go around. But, after a cautious first sector, I was already pushing on that second one, and even more from the third, and just kept doing so all the way to the end. On lap two I was wondering if I’ll manage to complete it in less than 15 minutes, after being so close on the first, but still assumed lap three was going to be slower and was only thinking that maybe I had a chance to get under 47:30. But I could just keep pushing, and there was also a pretty fast guy who ended up in front of me towards the end of sector two of lap three, so I had a target to overtake and then stay ahead of, and after that sector I was certain of getting under 47 minutes and wondering about 46:30. Highly doubted it even at the end of the lap, but in the end I managed it with a good five seconds to spare.

Went to bed at 4:30 AM that night, but I’ll make this the “odds and ends” section and mention that, after I showered that evening, the remaining bathroom LED tube died too, after having been blinking in one spot for a few days. Temporarily replaced it with the one from the small bathroom, but I’m still waiting for dad to see what the problem is there, to make them burn out one after the other like this. Otherwise, the timed squats during this period were 2:18 on October 19, 2:22 on October 20, in the kitchen again, 2:20 on October 22 and 2:22 today.
I’ll also mention here that I went to Auchan two more times, Tuesday and yesterday. Tuesday I had to go for cat litter and realized that the free bus would come soon after I got up, so I just got dressed, peed and went out just after 12:15 PM, catching the one going to the other location, which came a few minutes later. Added just two biscuits, which I could cover from what change I still had, but when I went back out I saw that I had just missed even that other bus, leaving ten minutes later, so I went back in to stand around for some 20 more minutes and then went back out to catch the one dropping me off right here. As for yesterday, we were going to need detergent soon and I saw on the site that they finally had a somewhat good price on the largest bag, containing 13 kg, again, so I went out again at 7:45 PM. Meant to use the free bus again, but the one heading for the main location didn’t show up at all and the one going the other way didn’t stop when I crossed the road when I saw it coming and waved. So I ended up walking to the usual location and getting the detergent, but with ten minutes until the next bus at that point, I didn’t like my chances, so I decided to get a couple more things and stand around for a while longer before heading to the checkout. And I’d say that was a good thing, since I reached the bus stop eight minutes after leaving the checkout area, carrying that bag. Admittedly, took it slowly and stopped twice, but I doubt it could have taken me less than five even if I’d have rushed, and I still have to watch my back.

Mentioned above that I went out again yesterday because that was after running again, making use of this great weather to add to the buffer. Got up at 1:30 PM, a guy who visited dad still being here then but leaving just a couple of minutes later, so I could start getting ready quickly. Also quickly got even more annoyed, when dad said my mother will be here next week, while he’ll be away and I hoped to just be alone. But I had a goal and focused on it, having the same things as two days before and going out at 3:55 PM. The reported temperature was 22°C, it was again sunny and there was no wind to speak of, I really can’t recall the last time I really didn’t feel anything like that, but I felt a bit tired from the start, that scrape on my left knee still bothered me a bit, my right hip sent me a few warnings early on as well, even if that didn’t last long, and there were more people as well. Still, while not like Monday’s, 47:17.46 is still a very good time, and the sector times were 4:23.00, 5:02.71, 5:47 (5:46.43), 4:23.71, 4:56 (4:55.50), 5:46.29, 4:24 (4.23.55), 4:54.59, 5:52 (5:51.68) and 1:50.00, making for lap times of 15:12.14, 15:05.50 and 15:10 (15:09.82). During the first lap, and even the first two sectors of the second, I was thinking I’d do well to even stay under 48 minutes, but sector three of lap two made me think of 47:30, knowing I’ll have to push hard for that and doing so right away, from the start of lap three, ending up aiming to be less than a minute slower than Monday after sector two of lap three and managing that in the end.
Other than weaving and going the long way around, also had to squeeze past people a few times and a dog went for my legs on the very first sector, I think even touching my pants before being pulled away, which probably led to me losing a few seconds, likely more on the next sector than on that one, as I was trying to see whether it had managed to tear them, albeit without stopping. Did briefly stop and sidestep on sector three of lap two, when I was going through a pretty narrow space, with people with kids on either side, and a cyclist coming from the opposite direction was aiming for the same opening. I would have had time to clear the way for him if I’d have reacted immediately, but I again had a brief “deer in headlights” moment and that resulted in needing to quickly get out of the way in that manner. And then there was a roadblock on sector three of lap three. Actually, there was an odd moment just before it, with a young couple, when I’m not sure whether she tried to step in my way and he pulled her back or he was the one who pushed her, but she was laughing and I managed to avoid her, yet just as I got past them I had other people on one side and a guy with a dog on either side, coming from the opposite direction, on the other, leaving no room and forcing me to briefly stop before being able to get through.

Written by Cavalary on October 24, 2019 at 8:05 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Facebook Redesign May Mark the End for Internet Explorer… And Not Only…

Meant to write this last week, but with the opportunity for another quick non-personal post so readily presenting itself, I put it off, though the changed notification made me worry that the redesign may be launched soon and the post will end up coming after the fact, which I wanted to avoid. But, despite leaving this for the last day of the week, that hasn’t happened yet, so it worked out well enough… For this one post, at least, because the issue itself won’t be working out at all.

Now I know it’s very popular to hate Internet Explorer, and it has been pretty much all along. For a while, it was a reasonable attitude, for a number of reasons, but after it stopped making a point of being different, adhering better to the standards, and it also stopped representing rotten practices used against competitors, allowing the browser “market” to become more open, that changed. For years now, the new dominant browser, Chrome, represents those rotten practices, both it and the main alternative, Firefox, do things differently, accepting browser-specific commands, with prefixes, and now they’re even using more system resources, which was another reason for the complaints against Internet Explorer.
Of course, there is the fact that Internet Explorer stopped being developed quite some time ago, and even before that time it developed at a much slower pace. But for me that always was a good thing, pushing against this insane quick release cycle that’s now the norm, and which the other browsers fully embraced. And, as long as security updates will keep coming, to patch vulnerabilities, I’m very fond of the idea of having a browser that doesn’t otherwise change in itself, especially considering the direction of the changes in software for the past decade or so, possibly even more. Also very fond of that being the rule for the operating system and pretty much anything else I regularly use, as long as I’m able to find something that suits me to begin with.
But that’s not what those calling the shots want, is it? Everything must keep changing, and according to their will, being under their control, regardless of the users or anything else. And the Internet perhaps most of all, sites apparently “needing” to use the newest technologies even if, with every change and redesign, they only get worse, becoming less usable, especially on desktop computers, and requiring more system resources. So, instead of getting back to simpler sites, which would work on any system and nearly any browser, or at least having simpler, more static, versions offered as alternatives, there’s this very active push in the opposite direction, and any browser that doesn’t keep up, even some that are still being developed, such as Pale Moon, are being left behind in the dust, and so are their users.

Why am I writing about this again now? Because, while a few other sites went along with this insane push for “new web technologies” earlier and stopped supporting Internet Explorer over the past year or so, the major ones generally continued to function well enough. But that’s about to change, because a Facebook redesign is coming and those of us using Internet Explorer have been seeing a notification at the top of every page for some time, first merely recommending using another browser, supposedly for a better experience, and now stating clearly that it will no longer be supported soon and instructing us to switch to the latest version of our “preferred” browser, with links only to Chrome and Firefox. So, leaving aside the fact that the few images I saw of the new design follow the same pattern of things always getting worse, and screwing desktop users more and more in particular, with a lot of empty space and a good part of the rest being taken up by large “flashy” things, the day when that redesign will hit and Facebook will no longer be accessible with it will likely be the most appropriate choice for the “death” of Internet Explorer… And, as I already mentioned, possibly of other alternatives that also don’t follow this dreadful trend as well.
I wonder how long it will be until that redesign will hit, and if those of us still insisting on using a browser that doesn’t support it will be allowed to stay on the current one for a while longer. If so, I doubt it’ll be for too long, but I also saw that some have been forced onto the new design already, so maybe they’ll at least time it to more or less match the end of support for Windows 7 or something along those lines. And then there is the simple m.facebook.com, and I have used it in the past when they were changing things and there were issues for a few days, but that’s much simpler than it needs to be and wastes an awful lot of space on a monitor, being designed for feature phones.

Interestingly, as you can see in the statistics, over the past year I actually had a significant increase in visitors using Internet Explorer here, admittedly nearly all of them from China and Japan. But I guess something happened there, possibly some instructions coming down, because while I keep getting far more visits from those countries, and from China in particular, than I used to get before, in recent months those visitors are using Chrome as well… Or Chrome or something that presents itself as Chrome, at least, since I believe that for example Vivaldi does that, supposedly because of Google‘s rotten practices, blocking any other browser from certain features on their sites even if it’s one based on Chromium and supports them, something that the developers of these alternatives get around by changing those user agent strings, eliminating themselves from reports and artificially increasing Chrome’s apparent market share in order to be able to show that they actually can indeed fully support those features.
Speaking of Vivaldi, that is my alternative of choice, and in fact the only one I grudgingly started using regularly, after GOG.com stopped supporting Internet Explorer, a year ago, but even it wouldn’t be something I’d actually choose to use. Does check a lot of the right boxes, having a large number of clear options, not something like that unexplained pile of values Firefox has, allowing a lot of customization from there, without requiring extensions, also allowing the basic fact of setting the new tab page to be the same local file as the homepage and quickly seeing a list of recently closed tabs and reopening any of them, and being better aware of privacy and users not wanting programs that keep “calling home” and gathering and sending stuff. But it is still based on Chromium, which is a huge red flag in itself. Past that, for example it doesn’t seem to have something as basic as a working popup blocker! You can enable the function, but that’s apparently a Chromium feature that doesn’t actually work in it, and when I asked they said they can’t help me with that. And it also seems to have issues with the major security software products, as I now know that for some reason ESET frequently makes it stop loading pages and if it’s closed without first closing all those pages and trying to open a blank or local one it’ll be messed up in a way that won’t allow it to start at all anymore, and Bitdefender completely blocks it from starting unless you add it to the advanced threat defense exceptions.

But, to return to the matter at hand, as I already stated, I guess that redesign will pretty much be the end of the road for Internet Explorer, and possibly for those other browsers as well, unless they’ll change to follow Google’s “orders”. I mean, even Edge did, completely, so the future looks grim, with Chrome taking on Internet Explorer’s role as the browser “villain” from the days when it actually was ever more, and in fact being much worse than it ever was from multiple points of view, but nevertheless having far less anger and hate directed at it, and far fewer trying to push back. As with anything, a few big corporations just care for control, power and money and already have enough of each to get away with pretty much anything, some of those in the business, in this case developers and webmasters, are drawn to, and possibly trained in, that mindset and aid them by also enforcing their mentality on what few potential alternatives might appear, and the masses just don’t care, just taking the path of least resistance and readily allowing themselves to be herded, possibly even lashing out against those who might try to push back, for stepping out of line. Meanwhile, those of us who know what we want and won’t just follow the crowd, whether what we want is something entirely new or, as in this case, preserving something that used to work and still should, are being battered from all sides and trampled over.

Written by Cavalary on October 20, 2019 at 6:43 PM in IT & Copyright | 0 Comments

Another Half Marathon Distance Before Turning 35

Turned 35 today, but that doesn’t mean much; just this ball of metal and rock that we keep trashing so dreadfully being pretty much in the same spot on its orbit as it was when I was unfortunately thrown onto it through no choice of my own one more time. May say that it’s a somewhat round number, but that doesn’t matter much either, so I’ll pretty much leave all of that aside…. Unless you want to consider the fact that I covered a half marathon distance again yesterday as a way to “honor” this and not the marathon that took place the day before and which I didn’t take part in, but that’s your choice and your problem.

To get the other odds and ends out of the way before getting to yesterday, Friday I did start Venetica, but just to test that the actual game starts as well, without saving, so it doesn’t count and the plan is still to finish Kingmaker first. Still on the topic of software, but this time referring to security software, my trial of Arcabit Antivirus expired Saturday afternoon, but it does continue to function, only without getting more updates after that point, so I could delay restoring again from that backup and switching to something else and am in fact still delaying it. The plan would be to get around to it tomorrow, but it is, as always, a scary prospect. But to return to Saturday, that was the only day during this period when I timed the squats, but did two rounds then, in 2:13 and 2:17, respectively, even though the second time it was in the kitchen, not long after the first and just after eating a little. As for Sunday, that morning I really didn’t mean to wake up to watch the race, but I nevertheless ended up waking up right at 8 AM, hearing the sounds the HDDs make when the backup script runs, and I knew I’ll just keep thinking of that and be unable to get back to sleep anyway, so I watched it after all and went back to sleep after it, and then spent more time in bed in the evening, even if I only actually slept for another hour or so, wanting to rest before Monday’s run.
On the other hand, again noticed something odd while breathing on Friday, and while it eventually lessened, it continued since then as well, this feeling that I occasionally have for quite some time now, that something is there and my right lung is struggling, feeling partially as it does when I have a bad cold, as I almost always feel the problem mainly on the right side and pretty much radiating from that same spot when that happens. But the results I get while running obviously show that it’s not something bad, or at least not yet. And I hope the fact that I lost a toenail when I was cutting them Saturday evening won’t become a problem either. It’s that one which had a bruise under it multiple times and I kept being worried of losing it, but I thought I had been in the clear for some time, yet that time it just came right off, the whole thing, revealing another one underneath, albeit an obviously thinner one and with an odd shape, so put a bandage there then and kept it until after yesterday’s run and now it remains to be seen how it will grow and what will happen next. Should probably have some tests done again, for a number of reasons, and I guess you can connect this to turning 35, and I believe the request must be made during the month when your birthday is to get, or at least to have a chance to get, them done for free, so let’s see. Fear the results though, of course, especially when it comes to my kidneys.

Yesterday I had set the alarm at 1:30 PM and meant to leave at 3:30 PM, yet got up at 1:15 PM and still only left at 3:45 PM. Had an apple, added the few raisins I still had around to the yogurt and cereals, ate the last part of the baked pumpkin, which I had saved for this, made the usual tea I tend to make when I run but drank all of it before leaving, and also had an energy bar I had been saving for such a run, though it had expired in July, and one clove of garlic, taking two more with me. Also meant to weigh myself before leaving, but forgot, but I barely had 47 kg with clothes on after I got back. Felt something of a cramp in my left thigh at some point, but it seemed all right by the time I left. And the weather was fine, sunny and with little wind, though it’d have been better if it’d have been cooler, since the reported temperature when I left was 26°C. Dropped a little by the time I finished, but couldn’t have been by much.
The time was 1:43:15, with sector times of 4:19, 5:02, 5:55, 4:29, 5:01, 5:47, 4:32, 5:06, 5:54, 4:32, 5:09, 5:59, 4:29, 5:11, 6:03, 4:36, 5:15, 6:04, 1:53, 6:07 and 1:52, making for lap times of 15:16, 15:17, 15:32, 15:40, 15:43 and 15:55, plus 9:52 on that final portion. Being 23 seconds slower than the record makes it a very good time that’s also not frustrating, which it would have been if I’d have ended up very close to 1:43, and even more so if I’d have been under 1:43 but not by enough. Still, while anything under 1:45 would have been acceptable, especially considering how little I had trained for this now, and any new second best time, so under 1:44:04, would have been good, I did try to aim for a new record, having those lap times memorized and hoping for a more controlled run with that target, knowing I won’t be able to keep it up if I’ll start so quickly but aiming to lose no more than 30 seconds on the first four laps, about 25 of them on the first three, and then gain that time back on laps five and six, with a similar time on that final portion that would have ideally allowed me to just squeeze under that 1:42:52. But I never really felt that I could do it and, while it actually worked out to being exactly 25 seconds behind at that point, the lap three time and the effort required for it made it quite clear that I had no chance, and then lap four pretty much destroyed even what traces of hope might have remained. Still gave it all I had, but instead of gaining I ended up losing two more seconds even on lap five, and despite managing a new fastest lap six, and also the only one so far under 16 minutes, and a new fastest final portion, that only meant gaining a total of 18 seconds.
There were a fair number of people, oddly enough causing more problems on the first lap and a half, the next three laps or so after that seeming clearer, before things went as expected and it seemed to get more crowded again as I was about halfway through lap five. But it was mainly a matter of weaving through them and going the long way around now and then, with few moments when I had to slow or really squeeze through and just one that I clearly remember when I had to briefly stop, on sector three of lap one, when a man and a little girl riding bicycles were passing in between a woman with a pram and another with two dogs, and since the girl was alongside the bike lane, not in front of the man, on it, that pretty much left me with nowhere to go for a moment, before I could squeeze between her and the dogs. Do seem to recall another brief stop, perhaps on lap six, but I don’t have the details anymore, just the face of a woman right in front of me, and I wonder whether I got confused, considering how tired I was at that point, possibly mixing some older memory with the moment when I just managed to squeeze past what was almost a roadblock. Either way, the people did cause me to lose some time, but it probably wouldn’t have been enough for a new record. A temperature more like last week would have probably made the difference, on the other hand.
In terms of physical issues, my calves seemed to mean to cramp a little at first, though they were eventually fine, my right leg being what I again had to manage more, again starting on lap four, when the knee again started to bother me, and at one point, briefly, that hip as well. But I did manage it and it also got better after a while. It seems likely that I did that by favoring that leg a bit too much, as now I feel some pain just above my left ankle, on the left, and wonder whether I should watch out to avoid a possible stress fracture or it’s something else, but at the time it meant I could focus on the fact that I was starting to feel that I was about to crap myself from sector two of lap five, despite having done so quite thoroughly before leaving. But that was what the garlic was for, so ate that at the start of sector three of lap five, likely losing a few seconds because of that, and after a few of the expected cramps that also got better. In fact, on lap six I had a quite obvious case of runner’s high, feeling like I was flying and everything was fine and briefly thinking that I might yet have a chance… Until I saw that first sector time, proving that I obviously wasn’t flying in the least, but instead getting a fair bit slower, and just pushed to stay under 16 minutes on that lap as well.
Was quite lucky with the shower I took after getting back, since the water suddenly started getting colder as I was rinsing myself, so I finished it with it starting to pretty much feel just lukewarm despite being all the way towards hot, but I did finish it like that… And then realized that even needing to finish it with completely cold water would have been somewhat lucky, as I saw posts mentioning the water turning off completely, both hot and cold, in a pretty significant part of the city, not too far away, the fact that we stopped getting hot water for a while here as well being a consequence of that. Seems to have been fixed later in the evening though, so I wouldn’t have needed to go to bed without showering either way, but it’d sure have been a strange and unpleasant situation.

As for today, since I had decided to order Oathbringer to use that code and some additional little discounts obtained for the few reviews I had translated and posted on that store’s site and had received the message stating that I could pick it up yesterday, I meant to do that now, and also go buy some stuff while I was out and had the metro card as well, the idea being to probably get back just before the match. However, after sleeping poorly, having the upstairs neighbor make noise as well and eventually getting up around 12:40 PM, after dad left, I found a note from him which, among other things, mentioned that I should get back by 7:30 PM, since a meeting of those living here was to start at 8 PM and I’d have to pass through them to come in, therefore likely being stopped or at least asked to call him to attend, which he didn’t want to. And the note also mentioned needing one kind of cat food, for here and for the cats at grandmother’s as well. So I had something more to look for and a good two hours less to do it, meaning that something had to be taken off the plan, and it wasn’t until after I actually went out, just after 2:45 PM, that I made up my mind.
The original plan had me go to Auchan first, since one thing I definitely needed was bread, but since I couldn’t connect that to the others and do still have bread for today, that was what I gave up on, going straight to that store, which I reached at 3:30 PM, leaving some five minutes later with the book. Then I just ignored the Kaufland I passed by and went to that bigger Carrefour, which I reached at 4:25 PM, buying a few things but seeing that the kind of cat food I needed wasn’t that cheap there anymore. So I then went to that other Kaufland and the pet shop that’s there, buying the cat food from that shop and just carrots from Kaufland, the self-checkout again complaining that the wrong item had been placed there even though I didn’t try to cheat in the least this time, but the employee didn’t even wait for me to say something, coming right over and overriding the error, so I wonder if it wasn’t some known problem. Not quite sure when I got to that Kaufland, but left with everything at 6:10 PM and I’d say the whole thing probably took me about half an hour, or possibly just a little less than that. Then I also passed through the farmers’ market from that area, reaching it at 6:25 PM and just getting one kilogram of apples, deciding to accept the offer of the person selling them, who saw me looking and offered a price of 2 RON instead of the listed one of 2.5 RON. Did tell her that I’ll look a little more and checked out those sold by another person first, but then I went right back, not going to others as well, to leave more quickly. Considered passing through the Carrefour from that area as well, looking for some bread from there, since that bigger one didn’t have anything I could be interested in, but eventually came right back, getting here just before 6:55 PM and needing to go out again tomorrow.

Written by Cavalary on October 15, 2019 at 10:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments