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At Least We’re Still Sending Spacecraft to Mars…

I keep adding such posts, expressing my disappointment and anger at the loss of interest for space exploration, and the fact that what is still being done focuses on nearby bodies, is in good part driven by the private sector and looks at possible commercial developments. Some of those posts are about humans getting back out there, but those from 2017 and 2014 are more relevant now, dealing with how, decades ago, we could send probes to all planets and even beyond, maintain a continuous presence even beyond Jupiter, and now we apparently can’t do that anymore. Those past posts are more detailed than this will be and include quite a number of links, so have a look if you want, I won’t repeat what’s already written there.
All I’ll repeat now is that humanity’s plans that go beyond Mars are few and far between, those beyond Jupiter even fewer and far in the future, and a return to the ice giants still pretty much out of the question. And, as I already mentioned, the involvement of the private sector and commercial interests pretty much destroy the chances that most of the missions to nearer destinations will be done for the right reasons and aim for actual scientific goals. And, of course, there’s still the lack of cooperation, nations still operating separately to a large extent, competing and even using such missions to become even more of a threat to each other and this world as a whole.
Still, I guess I should mark these recent launches, Al-Amal (Hope), Tianwen-1 and Perseverance all making use of the opportunity provided by the current launch window for Mars. Still working separately, still focusing just on Mars, and it obviously remains to be seen how many of these missions will be successful, but at least the launches themselves were, it’s been a while since we’ve had such a series, and the very fact that the plans weren’t put on hold because of the current situation should probably be noted as well. Maybe this will send a signal, possibly leading to positive developments, whether down here or up there, that wouldn’t have taken place otherwise. Humans being humans, I doubt it, but I guess it remains to be seen…

Written by Cavalary on July 30, 2020 at 6:49 PM in Space | 0 Comments

New Finds – XXV

It’s again because I need to throw something here as the week’s second post and want to avoid a pointless Sunday update, but at least I’m doing something that’s somewhat useful by adding another post to this series. It’s another rushed one, but again focuses on bands that released new material this year, same as the last one. It’s harder to decide just how many bands I should say are included in it, however, even if that may seem strange. As far as the list is concerned, there will be five, one of them only added to the list now, because I’m including it here, though it’s definitely not a new find and in fact should have no business being in such a post at all. But what makes it tricky is that the other four come in pairs, the two that are currently active being formed by the core members of the other two, after those split up, and one of these also had another stage, with another name, in between. Since that, shall we say, intermediate band only released covers, it was never actually on the list and I won’t include any of its songs here, but some may count it as having been mentioned, which means that, depending on how you look at it, this post may be said to include anything between three and six bands.

The band that wasn’t on the list so far, and which has no business whatsoever being in such a post at all, is Draconian. It’s old, clearly known by anyone with any interest in their genre, and said genre isn’t what I’m looking for. However, just last week they released Sorrow of Sophia, which is a song from the album scheduled to be released later this year, and I happened to listen to it and found myself keeping it on repeat for quite a while over the past few days, so it may be said that it’s what made me think that adding another such post may just be the thing to do in order to have a second one this week. The second, much older, pick is without a doubt Death, Come Near Me, which is a song I do occasionally return to, maybe even having it on repeat for hours when that happens. There are growls in these two songs as well, but for some reason they appeal to me, while pretty much everything else released by them that I tried listening to chases me away, the other songs that I even managed to listen to all the way to the end without wincing and needing to force myself to put up with it just to be able to say I gave them every chance being counted on the fingers of one hand. Still, for those whose preferences differ from mine in this manner, there’s some new material coming.

Next comes a band I kept meaning to add to such a post, but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Their current name is Alexandrite and the first EP under this name was actually released earlier this year, even if all four songs were in fact posted last year. However, it’s formed by the core members of Revontulet, which was apparently active for a decade but only released one album during that period, at a time when the two of them seem to have already been the only remaining permanent members. Complicating things even further, there was a relatively brief intermediate period, between Revontulet and Alexandrite, under the name of Rainheart Symphony, which released only covers. So I’ll skip over that period, but pick two songs by Alexandrite, Enough and Find the Light, and two by Revontulet, Rainheart, and The Pianist of the Darkest Night. Admittedly, can’t say I was the one who picked these last two, since they’re the only two that are posted officially, not counting any live recordings, but they are definitely good, as are all those released as Alexandrite. I’d say I’m expecting great things from them, but that will likely require finding some stability, in order to be able to focus on the music, so I hope that will happen.

As for the last pair, I’m adding it because I kept going through the list, searching for other bands with something released this year, and found that Beneath My Sins released an album. But Beneath My Sins was formed by the members of Evolvent after that band split up, and that may well be the reason why I placed it where I did in this version of the list that’s ordered differently. Not that I’m thrilled by either, but after listening to the three Evolvent songs and six Beneath My Sins songs posted officially, I must say that the former sound clearly better than the latter. Being the only one of those three from a full album, Love Doesn’t Love Me must be one of the picks from Evolvent, and it actually sounds pretty nice despite the growls, which are at least rather subdued, while the other will be Spiritual Confession. On the other hand, if I’m to pick What You Feel from that recent Beneath My Sins album, it’s pretty much just because I can listen to it, not because I actually recommend it. I tend to wince at their vocals in general, and plenty of the songs have growls that chase me away, the second pick, From the Flames, being the only one of the six that sounds somewhat better, and it’s probably the reason why I ended up adding them on the list at all, back when I did.

Written by Cavalary on July 26, 2020 at 11:00 PM in Music | 0 Comments

State Bonds, Watermelon, No New Mouse, Dad Messing Me Up Again

After deciding to not go Saturday as well, when the day’s discount at Kaufland was for watermelon, Sunday I jumped to check the time as soon as I woke up to pee the first time, seeing 8:38 AM and deciding to stay up, since I meant to go there early, that day’s discount being for citrus fruits. So I quickly got ready and was leaving at 9:25 AM, going straight there, passing through that mall this time, and getting some oranges. After getting away from that crowded area, looked around a bit, then waited for quite a while at the self-checkout, the people using those that also accepted cash not knowing how to use them and repeatedly needing help from the single employee. At least that meant that the impatient man who had placed himself behind me and was trying to slip ahead, muttering about how long it was taking, got fed up and moved to one of the regular checkouts, so he didn’t end up standing right next to me and hurrying me up when my turn eventually came, which was likely to happen otherwise. But things were definitely concerning over there, one of those using a machine that only took cards also walking right up to the employee to demand help pretty much in her face, pulling his mask down as he did so, and she had her nose out of hers as well… And then another man apparently slipped his money in the machine through the wrong place, saying that it caused him to lose 100 RON and shouting repeatedly for someone to come and take it apart in order to retrieve his money for him, also taking his mask down as he did so.
I went to that Carrefour after that, getting some things from there as well, including watermelon, which I’ll write more about later, then returned to Kaufland, to also get lemons. Needed yogurt too, and had seen a good one at a good price again when I first had a look, but knowing that it could wait another day, after the purchases from Carrefour I no longer had the money for it. What I could still afford and also get a 0.50 RON coin as change, since it’s always useful to have one and I no longer did, was pretty much exactly 750 grams of lemons, but it was too difficult to get an exact amount when it was so crowded and there were always lines at the scales. Spent quite some time among all those people as a result, trying to not stay in one place for long but nevertheless being in that area for quite a while, though at one point I went to use the scales for frozen products, which area was almost clear, to try to get closer to that amount. The closest I could get was about 770 grams though, and then a guy came to use those scales as well and I went back to the crowded area to put the larger ones back and get a few more smaller ones, again unsuccessfully trying to get as close as possible to 750 grams there, before returning to the frozen products area and managing to find a way to get 740 grams, after which I finally returned there to weigh the bag again and print the label. The wait at the self-checkout was much shorter that time, however, people knowing what they were doing even if it was in fact getting more crowded.
Left Kaufland at 11:40 AM and was back here at 12:05 PM, a little before dad woke up. Then he went to my grandmother’s, and when he came back he said my mother wanted us to buy a freezer, asking me what I thought about putting it in the kitchen, where the cabinets where we currently have the pots and pans are, with some things on the counter that’s on top of those cabinets as well. That strikes me as a bad idea, making us need to move so many things that we actually use often when I don’t even see where they could be moved, but the first issue was that I thought we had money problems and had to be very careful even with day to day expenses, or at least that’s what I keep being told, in between seeing how much they spend on the day to day stuff they get for themselves, being called a miser for how careful I am with such things and dad saying he can’t spare the time needed to save money. So I mentioned that, and also that I was thinking of something I never intended to even mention for that reason. But this is another thing I’ll write more about later.

After managing to nap for maybe about an hour and a half Sunday evening, Monday morning the alarm woke me up at 11 AM and just before 12:15 PM we were out, dad coming with me to purchase those state bonds. The walk was rather frustrating, as I had to keep my pace in check when after a while he was panting and complaining even so, and he also kept trying to talk to me, but we got there well enough and things went smoothly, the only issue I made a mental note of being that the clerk’s mask was pretty much on her lower lip. There was nobody else there at the time, just one guy came and waited his turn as I was waiting for the clerk to do what she had to do, and after dad stepped away to wait by the door it didn’t even feel too awkward. He had made it so at first, rushing to start telling the clerk what we were there for as I meant to take a moment to mentally prepare myself for it, and at first standing next to me and looking ready to pounce after I awkwardly cut in, which made her ask which one of us was actually going to make the purchase, but then I waved him away and there were no problems.
It was done at 12:45 PM, and after I took a moment to quickly read through the document, we walked out and then went our separate ways, since I meant to go to Carrefour and Kaufland again, and also check at least one Mega Image on the way. Needed that yogurt, after all, and wanted to check out the day’s discount at Kaufland again as well, since I’ll be there, but he had also told me that he wanted to cook something and needed quite a list of vegetables for it, which he’d have bought for way more from nearby stores otherwise, so I said I’ll get those as well. Did ask him to have a look on his way back and tell me the prices, just to check, and while I was in Carrefour the first time he sent me an SMS with some, not including all those he had written on the list but including carrots, which weren’t on it, and also having a price for regular cabbage when he had written red cabbage on the list. But I just went with the list, only adding carrots to it because of that message.
Since I hadn’t entered a Mega Image on the way, meant to first check prices at the hypermarkets, then go to the Mega Image from that area, make any purchases I was going to make from there, then get back to the hypermarkets, but when I first went to Carrefour I saw that they had a lot of bags of peppers of all kinds next to the area of expiring products, those peppers also being 50% off due to starting to spoil. So I had a look at the bags of regular ones, which was what dad wanted, and picked one right away, before going to check the prices for the other things. Then I went to Kaufland, leaving the peppers in a cabinet and going in to check the prices before moving on to that Mega Image… Where I found other piles of such bags, this time with various kinds of fruits and vegetables, and since we needed those things for cooking, they were good enough and I picked one of beets and another with a handful of small carrots, then had a look around and eventually got myself a pretzel as well before checking out. Couldn’t see the kind of paper bags they usually have for bakery products anywhere though, and when I asked an employee she pointed me to some very narrow ones, asking whether they’re too small when I stared in surprise, then saying that as far as she knew those were meant for pretzels, so I struggled to somehow squeeze a pretzel in one. When I broke a piece off it, I considered leaving that pretzel there and trying with another one, but I doubted it was going to be any easier to get that second one in the bag whole, while getting this one in it in pieces was at least possible, so I took it like that… Then was surprised when I was charged a little more than the listed price for those vegetables, noticing on the receipt that I had been charged for the plastic bags they had been in as well, though I was forced to use them instead of my own.
Returned to Kaufland after that, putting those purchases in that same cabinet and then buying what I meant to buy from there… Which again included watermelon, but this is still something I’ll write about later. Felt a bit rushed by some employees while using the self-checkout though, as they seemed to also want to buy some things and came to stand right next to me, commenting to each other that I wasn’t done yet as I was waiting for the machine to give me my change, but at least thanking me for rushing after I hurried to move my stuff from the machine to the floor in order to let them use it as I put everything in bags. And since I wasn’t taking up the machine anymore, I took my time at that point, arranging things somewhat more carefully, checking the receipt and counting my money before finally leaving the self-checkout area. Stopped again on my way out though, after grabbing those things from that cabinet as well, because I realized I couldn’t find the receipt from Carrefour, for those peppers, and I guess I lost it at some point, if I even took it at all. Seem to remember stuffing it in a pocket, but couldn’t find it anywhere, then or later.
Speaking of Carrefour, I of course returned there at that point, first struggling to fit everything I already had in one of their cabinets and then getting what I still had to get from there, plus one expiring yogurt which had appeared in that area by then. Then I took everything back out of that cabinet and arranged everything better in the three larger bags I had, the problem being that only one was sturdy, one of the flimsy ones already having some holes at the bottom and the other one’s handle starting to tear as I used it instead of a shopping basket in Carrefour. Also calculated what I had spent and how things were split at that point, checking to make sure I hadn’t lost any money, and was finally walking away at 4:10 PM. That handle that was threatening to tear continued to worry me though, so after leaving that mall I stopped again and moved some of the vegetables from that bag to the two small ones I had that also had handles, leaving them in it but in a way that meant the weight didn’t really pull on that handle anymore, since I was holding them by their own handles. And that allowed it to hold, so at 4:45 PM I was in front of the building without anything tearing. The other flimsy bag, the one with holes at the bottom from the beginning, seemed just about to fall apart, but it held long enough for me to get here. And yes, checked how much I carried again, seeing 15.5 kg, that time just in my hands.

There was a blackout that evening, the logs stating that it started at 11:47 PM and I let the computer run on battery for 7.5 minutes, just in case the power was going to return quickly. It only did at 12:25 AM though, so I waited a few more minutes, then turned the computer back on and got back to the kitchen, where I had been when it had started as well. So I didn’t have to make salad and eat by candlelight, but was still only back in my room at 4 AM, since I first had to finish cleaning up after dad, and after I finished eating I also had to figure out how to make everything fit in the fridge.
The far more unpleasant and depressing part came earlier though, and it has to do with the mouse. After writing Saturday’s post and mentioning those likely T1 double clicks, I had a look and saw that the store I bought this one from had it on sale, stating that they just had one left, and it seemed gone from everywhere else, being replaced with the Remastered version, so it seemed that what I had in mind when writing that post, getting another one at some point over the next couple of months, won’t be possible and I started wondering whether I could actually get that one right away, to have one that will be under warranty for two years again and keep this one as a spare, ensuring that I won’t need to worry about choosing another model for at least the next few years. That’s what I was referring to Sunday afternoon, during that talk with dad, but since I no longer have anything set aside and knowing what they keep saying about money, I assumed there was no way for that to happen and, as I said, didn’t even mean to mention it. Yet he asked what it was, I ended up telling him, and he told me to go for it, stressing repeatedly that it was fine when I kept being wary. So I ended up making the purchase after all, though the shipping had to be paid as well, since that store no longer allows people to pick up orders either and they only have free shipping on orders above 500 RON!
Well, the site stated that the one that was left was in the store’s stock, which should be updated in real time, and indeed as soon as the order was made and paid, since dad paid by card, the status changed to say it was no longer available. However, Monday I received a message telling me that it wasn’t in stock after all, and when I asked how did that happen they eventually explained that one more piece was listed in their system as being left, but it couldn’t physically be found… Either way, they asked whether I wanted to replace it with something else, which I obviously didn’t, so the order was canceled and they said they’re refunding the money. I asked if they needed an account to refund them to and there was a reply asking for that, so I provided dad’s, but then I also received an e-mail from the payment processor saying that they were informed that the order was canceled and the money will be returned to the card used, so I took the opportunity to add another comment to the order, telling them that, as it should already be obvious, I have no idea how such things work and that wasn’t even my own card, as I stick to cash, and want to again complain about the fact that they discourage cash payments, and have done so for a long time, adding another fee if you pay cash on delivery, and now you can’t even pick up an order yourself anymore and pay cash there, without that additional fee. Had already complained about the fact that they now require customers to have orders shipped and shipping isn’t free, or doesn’t at least become free if the order exceeds a relatively low value, 500 RON in fact being by far the highest threshold for free shipping I’ve seen anywhere. But, while I also told them to let me know if they ever find that one or get this model back in stock, it does seem to have been discontinued by the manufacturer, so at this point I doubt I’ll be able to find one again…

To get to the watermelon now, after deciding to not go to Kaufland on Saturday just for it, I didn’t think I was going to get any, but when the price I saw Sunday was still lower than at this nearby store, I decided to get one from Carrefour, the price of the cheapest kind being the same in both places, before dad would get another from here. However, that proved to be a bad choice the very next day, when it wasn’t only cheaper again in Kaufland, but actually cheaper than I think it should have been on Saturday. I’m not absolutely sure, since I didn’t go then and the site only listed the discount, not the resulting price, but Monday’s price was 46.5% lower than Sunday’s, while the listed discount for Saturday had been 40%. So I bought another one then as well, to at least take advantage of that price.
The truly unpleasant part came Tuesday, however, when I ended up dropping the first one, and the plate it was on, as I was about to put it back in the fridge. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but it fell out of my hands in front of the fridge, smashing on the floor, pieces of plate and watermelon flying in every direction, watermelon juice ending up on my clothes, legs, slippers… Washed the slippers a little and then spent the rest of the day with my feet in wet slippers, without socks, and it took me about an hour and a half to clean everything up, getting the worst off my clothes, washing the floor a little, vacuuming the entire hallway, since shards of plate had ended up even at the other end of it, throwing away the parts of the watermelon which had ended up right on the floor and washing the rest of it, cutting or tearing it in usable pieces, more or less along the cracks, and finding a way to fit all the separate pieces back in the fridge. Had been sort of considering cleaning my room a little that day, but definitely wasn’t going to do that anymore after that, and still haven’t.

Also Tuesday, I received an e-mail asking for permission to quote the message I had sent to The Guardian‘s The Upside, in response to the weekly report that was about population, and it will apparently be in next week’s weekly report. On the other hand, that evening dad again told me he disconnected his computer without actually doing it, and an error I saw when I checked the system logs before going to bed that night also made me wonder whether he had unplugged it before leaving that day, since I didn’t think to check when I finally finished cleaning up and went to my room to connect until he got back.
And since I got to dad again, Wednesday he brought what he said was bulgur pilaf, snapping at me for “being like a computer” and asking what did he mean instead of immediately realizing what he was referring to when he mixed up some of the letters in bulgur. It got worse when I said I was already eating something else then and won’t get to it that day, not that I wanted it in the first place. He said he was also rather upset when he saw that I had left some pastries he had bought for me, again obviously without me asking him to, for days before eventually eating them, saying the things he usually says to make sure I feel terribly guilty about it, responsible for waste and expenses. Was also angrily saying that this is how it works in families, people getting things for others when they can and want to and expecting them to eat them right away and so on. So I snapped back a few times and then walked away, being left to run the whole thing endlessly through my mind and feel even worse after that, which led to sending him an e-mail before going to bed at night, also touching on matters like what he supports, and therefore makes me responsible for supporting, through such purchases and how needing to use what he buys for me in this manner means giving up on what I’d actually want to get. He replied to that from work, again saying I’m not responsible or guilty for what he does for me but I won’t make him feel that way either, ignoring that whole part about supporting things and saying he’s thrifty but won’t be a miser like I am, and that everyone’s allowed to state their opinion but he won’t allow me to tell him what to do and make him like I am… But he apparently can force me to do what he wants in this manner… Got even more messed up after sending another reply yesterday, two of them in fact, also including things like his impulsiveness and desire for instant gratification versus my long-term thinking…

At least there was no other reply, so I could try to put it out of my mind when I ran today. Still slept poorly, however, waking up several times, though at least I also kept getting back to sleep quickly. That was no longer the case when, a little before 12:30 PM, the reason I woke up again was the noise made by dad in the kitchen, and despite trying to get a little more sleep after going to pee, the alarm being set to ring at 2 PM, I don’t know if I even got a few more minutes before giving up and getting up at 1:15 PM, when he left. Then I partially clipped a few toenails, since there seemed to be a risk of them jabbing the toes again, and ate an orange, since I’m again out of apples. Had the usual stuff plus almonds otherwise, including those wheat things with jam as something sweet, and again got worried when I weighed myself and saw a mere 45 kg, actually dropping a little below that when I weighed myself again, just in my underwear, after getting back, so I’m definitely stuffing myself tonight.
Went out at 3:15 PM, wearing the full running gear and thinking that if I won’t manage to get back under 48 minutes, I’ll go for 16 km or even a half marathon distance again, especially considering next week’s forecast, with highs around 35°C each day, even reaching 37°C. However, the reported temperature when I went out was 31°C and it was sunny, and when I felt that heat and how it was burning when I wasn’t in the shade, I gave up on that idea, just hoping to not embarrass myself too much… And I guess I didn’t, pushing all the way and managing 48:17.67, with sector times of 4:19.21, 4:57.41, 5:49 (5:48.71), 4:33 (4:32.75), 5:05.05, 5:58.46, 4:41 (4:40.52), 5:12.02, 5:54.40 and 1:49.14, making for lap times of 15:05.33, 15:36.26 and 15:47 (15:46.94). Even managed that good first lap, the fastest one since getting back to the park, though the heat took its toll after that.
I must say that there were no problems other than the heat, which definitely helped. Sure, had to weave and go the long way around occasionally, but the park wasn’t crowded and there was just one moment, on sector one of lap two, when there was a bit of a misunderstanding and I had to slow for a moment, and another one on a sector three, possibly also on lap two but I don’t really remember anymore, when I had to go on the grass and around a trash can. There was a little wind in a few places, but this time I’m not even counting that as an issue, feeling that the cooling effect helped me more than going against it hindered. The most important thing, however, is that I didn’t feel any physical problems, not even any noticeable warnings from any muscles or joints, the only issue being that I was clearly getting tired from sector three of lap two. That meant I really pushed on lap three, even more so after that slow first sector, and when sector two didn’t look good either I was thinking of “penalizing” myself by getting back after I’ll finish and handing the 1 RON I had taken with me to the busker who was sitting next to the stairs if I’ll finish three laps in more than 46:30. Since I had covered sector three of lap two in 5:58, needed 5:55 on sector three of lap three in order to avoid that and was also noticing myself losing focus and briefly dropping back to a jogging pace a few times, that seemed a certainty, yet it somehow wasn’t the case, since despite those moments I managed that 5:54 on that sector… And followed it with a final sector that was surprisingly fast under those circumstances.

Written by Cavalary on July 24, 2020 at 10:58 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

New Finds – XXIV

I need to rush this week’s second post today, and in order to avoid a Sunday update, especially since I’ll have more to add in personal posts after tomorrow, I’m going to try another rushed post in this series. Not that I checked anything since the previous one, so there are no actual new finds, but I looked over the bands that are towards the top of the version of the list that I have in a file and which haven’t been added to such a post so far, looking for those that released something this year. Somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t have to go through too many before finding three, so I can put together this post, albeit once again doing it in a hurry. Admittedly, only one of the three released a full album, and that was back in February, the other two just releasing a new single, but doing so just this month, which should be good enough, especially considering the current circumstances.

To start with the band that released a full album this year, that’s Diabulus in Musica. I’ve known of them for several years, but was never certain whether I wanted to include them in such a post or not, because they have good, at times even great, female vocals, choir parts and choruses, but other parts of their sound can put me off, and that’s even before getting to the fact that some songs have growls. That sent me away each time I wanted to try listening to a full album, so I couldn’t even say how many of their songs are like that, but I do know that there are at least some that aren’t, and I’m obviously only picking out of those. And, since I’m in a hurry, I obviously didn’t try to listen to full albums now either, so I’m only picking out of the songs without growls that are posted officially, meaning that there may well be way better ones available, but also that these may be the odd ones out and most or even all the others have growls; I just don’t know. That said, out of those from that recent album that are officially posted, I have to go with One Step Higher. Not that I like it too much, considering those harsh instrumental parts that sound as if they’d lead to growls but actually don’t, but the other two are quite clearly out of the question. There are some better options when it comes to older songs, however, and out of those I’ll go with Inner Force, though this again is only out of the few which are posted officially.

Next, one of the bands which just released a new song this month is Hamka, that song being Suffering Ages. I’m sure I ended up adding this band to the list, and possibly even actually tracking it down instead of simply happening to stumble upon it, because Elisa C. Martin is their vocalist and her voice struck me as distinctive ever since I heard it on a Dark Moor album that was among the first ones downloaded back when I started getting into the genre, so maybe once every few years, possibly after hearing one of those songs again at a time when I’m actually paying attention, I may find myself searching for any other bands or projects she worked or is working with. That said, Hamka’s sound could be way better, and she also sounded better while working with other bands in the past, for which reason I also tried to quickly listen at least to parts of most of the songs from their first full album in order to search for a second pick, but in the end I stuck with my original choice, Earth’s Call, which I had initially picked out of the few from their last one which have been posted on their channels. That choice was at first made in good part because of what it’s about, but now that I compared to some of the others as well, it strikes me as one of their best songs in terms of sound as well.

If I sounded less than impressed with the two bands listed above, that will change now, the second band I’m adding because it released a new song this month being Karnataka. That song is Forever, which gives me the obvious first pick. It has a beginning that instantly reminded me of something I struggled with for half a day before finally identifying as A Final Dream, which also led to finally finding out who actually sings that, and then a later part reminded me, also instantly and this time without any need to struggle to identify the song, of If We Hold on Together. But, leaving that aside, it’s a nice song on its own. Selecting a second one is harder though, what makes it even worse being that they don’t exactly have anything posted officially and therefore didn’t offer me the same method to limit the options as the others. I could just listen to one album though, since it seems to be the full one that they’ve been promoting more actively, and I must say that it’s just amazing. I have no idea whether the others are also this good at the moment, but when it comes to this one, I listened to all of it and was blown away, so I must state that this really is a band that belongs in such a post, and one that I truly recommend. Still, if I’m to stick to my usual rule and pick a second song, I’ll go with Poison Ivy, in part also because of the message.

Written by Cavalary on July 19, 2020 at 7:41 PM in Music | 0 Comments

Better Run, Emsisoft, Possible Tooth Problems

This week’s run was Tuesday, when the alarm was supposed to ring at 2 PM but I decided to get up when I woke up at 1:35 PM. As soon as I got out of my room, dad said we had no gas, so I went straight to the toilet and, surprisingly, didn’t just waste time. In fact, it seems I made good use of the time until the gas came back, since I tried to turn on the stove after that and it worked, so I could make tea, not having to resort to some juice bought by dad in order to drink something before the run. Then I had the usual stuff plus almonds, and part of an apple and Turkish delight pie he brought from his mother as something sweet, and went out at 4 PM, after spending quite a lot of time struggling to fit the bags and the few other things I wanted to take with me into the tights, since I meant to at least go to that Carrefour right after the run. For that reason, also considered taking the regular shoes, but used the full running gear in the end. The reported temperature was about 24-25°C and there was little wind for once, so I only felt a few gusts while running and those didn’t really bother me either. The Sun was playing hide and seek too, meaning it was quite nice much of the time, though I did feel a bit of heat when it was sunny and I wasn’t in the shade.
Before getting to the run, however, I’ll mention that, before leaving, I heard dad talking to his sister on the phone and she was apparently mentioning a sore throat, to which he said it was probably caused by her eating ice cream, so I told him that these days you don’t assume it’s something else, you isolate at the slightest symptom, ask your doctor to be tested and only think of other possible causes if the test is negative. Now, she’s been in Italy for a long time and I have no idea whether she came to visit their mother recently, or even at the same time he went there, but I’ve also been hearing him cough again, which in itself would be normal for him, but at this time is an added reason for concern, so let’s see how this will play out…
Back to the run, the target was 1:18 and I meant to push from the start, and it actually worked out again, finally! The time was 1:17:37, with sector times of 4:22, 4:58, 5:50, 4:26, 5:01, 5:52, 4:27, 4:58, 5:58, 4:34, 5:10, 6:10, 4:38, 5:13 and 6:00, making for lap times of 15:10, 15:19, 15:23, 15:54 and 15:51. That means I wasn’t just 2:15 faster than the previous time I covered this distance, but also matched last week’s first two laps overall, losing a second on the first and recovering it on the second, was 27 seconds faster than then on lap three and still did two more laps after that. Also spent those first three laps trying to pay attention to the markings that appeared on that path some time ago, going all the way to a half marathon distance, noticing that the start had 7 km listed next to it, which would be impossible if the route they were for never left that path, and that the markings for some kilometers seemed to be missing, so I was wondering whether they’re for a route that makes a detour at some point. But as of lap four I couldn’t spare the resources, be they physical or mental, for anything else anymore, and while at the start of the lap I was even thinking of 1:17, it quickly became clear that I had to manage the loss of time from that point on, as I was getting significantly slower and had to really fight for those times I did manage. Was really pushing on lap five, giving it everything I had left on the last sector in particular, probably starting to do that a little early but nevertheless managing a good time under those circumstances, and staying under 16 minutes on each lap, which was the secondary target I had set for myself during lap four.
That spot on the back of my left thigh, above the knee, was hurting a bit from the start and continued to do so all the way to the end, and my right knee gave me some serious warnings from the end of sector two of lap four, what began with some localized pain in one spot seeming to engulf the entire knee on lap five, though the intensity was dropping with time. Other than that, however, I felt better, had more energy, than I had in quite a while, and the park wasn’t crowded either. There were some people, requiring some weaving and going the long way around, but there was perhaps just one roadblock, I believe on sector two of lap four, though there may be a small chance it was actually on sector two of lap five. Either way, I’m not even sure I should really call that an actual roadblock, since there was a tight spot left that I managed to squeeze through, possibly slowing a bit as I did so. Other than that, took to the grass to go around some guys on sector one of lap two, but that meant cutting a turn a bit, then there was the poplar fluff that went right in my nose on sector two of lap two, so I probably lost a bit of time as I kept trying to blow or even pick it out, unsure of what I managed, and then there was a moment on sector one of lap three, under the bridge, when two cyclists were coming from the opposite direction, all three of us being on that cycling lane that supposedly isn’t one, and all three of us cleared it when we saw each other, the two of them on opposite sides, so I ended up facing one of them on the side with the lake and had to slow or maybe even stop for just an instant and make room.

As planned, went to that Carrefour after the run, stopping on a bench to write down the times, not that I needed to, and some quick notes mentioning what I remembered about the problems I had during the run. Didn’t plan to get much, but had taken more money with me since I didn’t have any smaller bills at the time and that proved to be a good thing, since I saw that good price for Liza’s food again, so I got as much as I could, leaving just enough to get a bread which I believe is a new kind and two expiring yogurts for myself, some single-use plastic cups dad unfortunately said he wanted, and some more eggs, since those were also still at that really low price. Wandered around for quite a while as I got those things though, and was only back at 7:25 PM.
Except the bread, which I only took care of shortly before going to bed, I rushed to put things in their place after getting back, then took the recyclables, including those things I take to Kaufland, and was out again at 8 PM. Wanted to go to Kaufland because there was supposed to be a 40% discount on all apples that day, and while I doubted I’d find Romanian ones at a decent price there in general, and finding any left at that hour on that day was unlikely anyway, I wanted to try. Of course, with the stocks usually being lower at the Pantelimon one, it was a bad idea to go there, and didn’t mean to at first, but then I ended up going there after all in order to drop those things off. Didn’t even cut through that mall, going around it instead, even though something in my left hip, probably a tendon or something of the sort, started really hurting on the way there. And, as expected, this entire part of the trip was pointless, as there were absolutely no apples of any kind left, and I didn’t get anything from Kaufland at all. There was one bundle of green onions left, with the evening discount, which actually just took it to what I’d consider to be a normal price, and it actually looked quite good, but I decided against bothering with it and just bought National Geographic from that store that’s also there before leaving, since I couldn’t find it in Kaufland.
The pain was quite a problem when I left, but I nevertheless wanted to check out the Kaufland from Vitan as well, so I went there after that… And actually used a slightly longer route, couldn’t really say why. Considering the hour, I couldn’t take it too slowly either, and was actually wondering whether it closed at 10 PM or later, because if it closed at 10 PM I’d have had very little time to look around, so I tried to protect that hip as much as I could while still pushing through it. Was also wondering whether the fact that I had stuffed the smaller bags in the little key pocket during the run had something to do with that pain, since it likely caused it to press just on that spot, but it’s not like it made any difference at that point, so I tried to use the moments when I was waiting for the light to turn green for some quick stretching exercises, hoping those would help… And ending up feeling quite a crackle as I raised that leg at one point, and then one more time a little later, though that was when I was not careful at all and tried to sprint to catch a green light, without even managing it.
Reached that Kaufland at 9:45 PM and was relieved to see that it closed at 11 PM, so I didn’t need to rush, though the employees seemed quite bothered that customers were still around at that hour, increasingly so as time passed. Still no apples, of course, but I got some more onions, then also a bundle of green ones from the few that were left there, also with the evening discount, though I think that single one left at the Pantelimon one had been better. Also got some more soy, for something I want to make, after spending quite a long time looking for it. Then I used the self-checkout with no issues, walked out at 10:15 PM… And saw an employee opening and checking the cabinets. The one I had placed the magazine in was still closed though, and remained so after I tried opening it, since it sounded as if it was unlocking when I was putting in the code, but nothing was happening. She asked whether it was stuck and, after I said it was, put in what I gather is an override code right in front of me, without asking what I had in there or for any proof that the contents were mine, and also without trying to cover the code as she typed it. The lock remained stuck, however, but then she put in a longer code and that seemed to finally unlock it, so I could grab the magazine and be on my way, being back here at 10:50 PM. Interestingly, I felt less pain on the way back.
After putting the purchases in their place, I took a bath, only starting to make mamaliga after that, which meant I only started actually eating at 2:30 AM, though I had taken something sweet and some watermelon right after putting the water on the stove. After eating, unsuccessfully chased a mosquito in the bathroom before going to bed, then noticed just how much that tendon, if that’s what it was, hurt when I woke up some two hours later, because of dad making noise in the kitchen and apparently Liza jumping on her plate and tipping it over. It was quite hard to get back to sleep because of that pain, and it definitely worried me at the time, even more so since it felt swollen as well. But I eventually did get back to sleep, woke up one more time to pee, then was woken up again around noon and had no chance to get back to sleep, the father of the downstairs neighbor wanting to cut the weeds and seeming to have problems with the trimmer, repeatedly trying to start it and seeming to fail, waking me up again just as I was starting to drift back to sleep. After this repeated a few times, at 12:20 PM I decided to get up, though that hip made it rather hard to actually get out of bed again. Fortunately, by Thursday it seemed quite fine.

After noticing the price listed in RON when I checked, even if that’s not one of the available options and only works if it’s automatically selected after the location is detected or I clear the cookie after selecting something from the list myself, I wondered whether dad could use his card to buy a license for Emsisoft Anti-Malware after all, since I had decided to go through with it, and Wednesday he tried and it worked. However, the first issue is that they now force auto-renewal and their payment processor stores the card data for that purpose, with no way for the customer to disable this when making the purchase even though they told me they can do so at any point after that, so I obviously asked for it to be done and the auto-renewal was canceled right away, but was told to contact the payment processor to delete the card data, which I’m yet to do, in part because I wonder whether a refund, possibly one immediately followed by withdrawing the amount again, may be part of the solution to the issues I noticed immediately after activating this license.
What happened was that I got a new license instead of trying to see what would happen if I renewed the one which had expired over a year ago, and this shows up as managed as part of a workspace on their cloud console or something like that, can’t add it as personal license and don’t even see when it expires or the key locally! In addition, when I activated the license another process started, which may also be the cause of the roughly 1% performance reduction I’ve been noticing in BOINC since then, and I’m seeing a message stating that it keeps trying to connect to the cloud console, but never seems to do it, and shouldn’t, since I immediately set it to local management only after activation. Was told when I asked that it was their CEO’s decision to do it that way for new licenses, though it shouldn’t keep connecting if it’s set to local management only, but when I pressed the first matter I was also told that they can still in fact remove the license from the workspace and add it as a personal one, so the information will show up locally again, and I’m thinking that doing that may make it stop saying it’s remote managed and trying to connect as well.

Otherwise, Wednesday was also another day with no visits recorded in either view, as was yesterday, but Wednesday was also the day when I got to 21 years of being a SETI@home user. Interestingly, things changed to some extent compared to what I was saying last week just in time for that, the site apparently returning on Monday, since I saw some posts from July 13 on the message boards, though I only thought to check on Thursday, after seeing that the maintenance message which had again replaced that “feeder not running” one at some point Tuesday or Wednesday continued to be returned to BOINC, making it clear that it wasn’t some sort of automated change that continued to apply at some point each Tuesday and likely get reversed within 24 hours. The data servers still aren’t back though, and likely won’t return, the server status page having now changed to no longer even list most of them or any statistics, stating that the database server is not accessible. But, while it didn’t happen while the project was still active in any way, at least it means I got to 21 years at a time when it was “properly” in hibernation and not pretty much dead, as it was last week.

Before finishing this, I’ll also mention that lately I’m seeing little brown cockroaches in the bathroom, again seeming to mainly be in the bathtub, as if they’re coming up the drain, which would be odd, so I’m checking the other possibilities. Still, last night a few were on the floor as well, and I stomped on several before finally getting in bed, a little after 5:20 AM, though a couple still escaped. Also, while I’m at potential problems, I’m starting to be quite sure that I’m noticing my mouse‘s T1 button double clicking. Much more pressing, however, is that it seems that a tooth on my upper right side is starting to hurt, and going to the dentist may be quite a problem now, considering not just the costs but also the risks involved when the number of cases is increasing in such a manner over here and hospitals are already overwhelmed. And speaking of risks, dad’s cough seemed worse today, at least in the first part of the day… As for the costs, there’s also the fact that, at least for the next month, and for up to three months if I’ll end up replacing the mouse, I won’t be able to cover anything out of what I have set aside if dad won’t have the amount readily available, because yesterday I went with him to make sure that my deposits had closed and withdraw the money, in order to put them and what I had set aside since making the last one in state bonds for a year, since the option is available this month and I decided to try holding on to this computer for one more year after all, this also being why I decided to purchase that license after all instead of moving on to some other trial. Just used the machines at this branch of the bank, not having anything to do with people, and saw that the available amount was 0.75 RON more than I had calculated, which never hurts.

Written by Cavalary on July 18, 2020 at 10:20 PM in Personal | 0 Comments