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Climate and Live Animal Exports – November 29 and December 2 in Bucharest

Friday there was another climate march, again as part of the events taking place around the world on that date, with several cities in Romania participating as well. However, with the planting taking place the next day, I didn’t attend and, if I stumbled upon relatively little information about the events that took place elsewhere in the world, likely indicating that it was a much more subdued affair there as well, about the Bucharest march I hardly found anything, despite searching. More exactly, I found a single report, showing up in the exact same form on a few sites, and a handful of pictures that I guess were posted as something of an “official” album, plus a post announcing, just after 5 PM, that the march was going to start in ten minutes. Otherwise, saw a few “old guard” activists sharing the event and Greenpeace Romania stating that they’re joining it, but no indication that they or any other established environmental NGO or group took on organizing it again.
As such, there’s little additional information I can add here and am mainly writing this in order to mark the moment, but I will mention that people were asked to gather at the fountain area in University Square from 4 PM and the march ended at the Parliament, or more exactly across the street from it, at Izvor Park. That report mentions a few hundred participants and the pictures clearly show that they marched on the sidewalk, but there’s also one indicating that a die-in was staged at some point, though I can’t quite say when or where. The event was listed as ending at 8 PM, but exactly when the end was called and people scattered, I have no idea.

On the other hand, I did attend yesterday’s protest demanding a ban on live animal exports, though it was scheduled to take place between 4 PM and 7 PM and I only got there at 4:23 PM and left at 6 PM, when one of those leading the chants said that he had to go and the Ministry of Agriculture officials, since that’s where the protest took place, drove away as well. The Ministry’s hours actually end at 5 PM and the delegation that went inside for a discussion did come out around that time, with others, probably regular employees in the Ministry, leaving in two groups, the first one around the same time and the second a fair bit later, but those at the top seemed to take their time, even spending some time in the cars after leaving the building. However, they also seemed to want to make a point of not avoiding the protesters, leaving through the front gate, with the windows down and throwing a quick greeting in passing. Representatives of those raising sheep for export also took part in the discussion, vehemently opposing any ban.
Since I was there, have some pictures of my own and can say that about 100 people were present during the time I was there, the total likely being a little higher, since some left before others arrived. There were plenty of signs and banners brought by the organizers and those from one or two other NGOs that attended, plus a few regular participants who had made their own, and the organizers also brought a large screen and speakers, footage depicting the horrors of live animal exports, including some obtained during the rescue operations following the capsizing of the Queen Hind, which was what brought the issue again into the public eye, playing in a loop. Not all of it had sound, but some of it did, and that did cause some problems when the chanting started, the two regular loudspeakers being no match for the speakers and the shouts and chants tending to fade away a short distance from the point of origin, even if the participants were gathered in a small area. And since I mentioned the small area, this was probably the one protest that was aided by being required to stay inside the area fenced in by the gendarmes, for obvious reasons.
According to the statement released by the organizers, the discussions didn’t result in anything new or more favorable, the official position remaining that already stated by the Prime Minister, which is that live animal exports should gradually be replaced with meat exports, with a goal of banning live animal exports “in the medium term”, but the only promise on the table at the moment is more thorough checks for these transports, attempting to ensure that they comply with the existing norms in terms of the conditions offered to the animals. Otherwise, the talks centered around the income brought by these exports, the fact that the price for live animals is much lower than that for meat being dismissed as the representatives of the exporters stressed that they’d go bankrupt without them due to the vastly insufficient capacity of Romanian slaughterhouses, and especially considering the fact that the main markets for live animals are Muslim countries and only a small part of even those slaughterhouses have a halal certification. While pointing out that this will take time to produce visible results, the officials promised significant investments in the animal farming and processing sector, which obviously displeased activists as well, some of them even firmly promoting, and demanding, veganism and the rest basing their stance on the obvious reality that most people should eat less meat, and possibly animal products in general, for health reasons, and that, considering the current population, people in general definitely need to switch to at least a primarily plant-based diet for environmental reasons. On the other hand, the activists were at least satisfied that the 180 sheep still alive out of those rescued from the vessel are currently safe and, while the ownership situation is still uncertain, the authorities promised to do everything in their power to hand them to NGOs that will care for them for the rest of their days.

Written by Cavalary on December 3, 2019 at 11:49 PM in United We Save | 0 Comments

Planting Trees at Videle for the Fourth Time

Did have to make use of another one of those old book reviews to make room for this, but there was no other way now. Struggling to get it posted before midnight anyway, and in the end had to post it partially and add the rest a bit later, after only getting up at 4:25 PM today and spending the evening making mamaliga again, and with that thorn that I’ll mention at some point below still in my finger, which makes some things rather tricky. Also means I’m wondering what to do about it, because it may develop into a worse problem than it first appeared if I can’t get it out, which problem may well be worsened just by my attempts. I mean, after showering last evening I used the normal method, trying to get a needle under it, but it seems to go straight down, so I opened up the bit of skin above it but that was it, and while sleeping I had a bandage which I had put vinegar on, after reading that vinegar was one of the things that could draw splinters out, but that didn’t seem to help in any way either, and I quickly gave up on using my small pair of scissors to try to grab it, as there didn’t seem to be anything to grab. Of course, passed the needle and scissors through fire and medicinal alcohol, but they may still cause problems, and not happy with how my finger looks now, after removing that bandage, possibly because of the vinegar as well.
One annoying thing is that I was awfully fast while doing the squats this evening, but don’t have the exact time, since there was a replay at the end. I really don’t think I matched that 2:10, but it was awfully close, and I had noticed how fast I was and was wondering whether I actually wanted to try for a record. Sort of decided against it, but I nevertheless saw 1:59 when I looked when I got to 90, so 2:10 would have meant an average of 13 seconds for ten and 11 seconds for the last ten, making it unlikely. And I did try to accurately count those first few seconds after finishing, before I could open the clock and match the seconds there with what was on the screen after the replay, and this is what leads me to say that 2:12 is the most likely time. 2:11 is also possible, however, and that was what I thought at first glance, before checking again, so being a mere second off would mean that there was at least a chance that I matched that 2:10 after all.

But this post should really be about planting trees again, for the second time this month, after doing so at Vanatorii Mici two weeks ago, and for the fourth time at Videle, after going twice in the spring of 2018 and once more last autumn. And yes, regarding the issues mentioned in the previous post, I did finally get a reply, confirming that I was indeed on the list… Only to not find myself on it after all, so it’s a good thing it didn’t matter, since that list only circulated after we were already on the bus and got to me just minutes before reaching our destination, so nobody said anything or, as far as I could tell, cared that I just added myself at the bottom, after a few others who had done the same.
That reply came Friday afternoon, after I quickly checked again when I woke up to pee, around 1:45 PM, and decided to send them a private message as well, since there were still no replies to the e-mails or comments. Napped a bit more after that and it was close to 4 PM when I finally got up, at which point I saw that confirmation… And it probably helped just enough for me to avoid breaking down completely, since I was increasingly worried and not feeling up for it, for being around people again in itself, plus again being functional in the morning and working on hardly any sleep. And dad didn’t help either, since he came back from wherever he had been earlier just as I was getting up in the afternoon and then started moving things around in the living room again, still being there and awake at 3 AM when I finished eating, though he had finally gone to bed by the time I also did so again, just after 4 AM. Having him around, and moving around, when I was in that state only made it worse, of course, and while I was in the kitchen at night I was shaking and even getting a bit nauseous and out of breath, so I’m quite surprised that I did manage to catch another brief nap, though I was actually awake again a few minutes before the alarm rang, at 5:30 AM. But the fact that it was much closer to my usual time obviously had much to do with that, since when I tried to catch another nap in the evening I ended up trying every method I could think of for at least one and a half hours before finally managing to get at most 45 minutes of sleep. Admittedly, I might have fallen asleep earlier, but I believe I was just drifting off when something fell, not sure if because of what dad was doing or in the apartment above, and I was sitting up and with my heart thundering right away, after which point trying meditation techniques backfired, as I was even more acutely aware of both noises and sensations.

At least the morning went well enough, and I was out a bit after 6:35 AM and getting to the meeting place a bit before 7:15 AM, though I did go to the toilet in that park first, actually getting there some five minutes later. I was awfully worried on the way though, since when I reached the metro I suddenly stopped being certain that I had to get off at Eroilor, wondering whether it was there or in fact at Izvor and being unable to really make up my mind, though it was fine in the end. And, as I already mentioned, the fact that nobody checked the names on the list before getting on the buses meant that there were no more reasons for concern once I was there.
What was interesting was that I ended up not just going there again, not just on the same bus, but actually on the same team with both the guy who was my teammate a year ago and the one who was, or at least intended to be, my teammate the first time I went there, and the organizers formed two teams in each bus, one for each side, though people who wanted to be on a certain one could switch. Didn’t spot the latter myself, so only noticed him when he came to me as we were walking to our area and asked whether we had seen each other while planting there before and I took one glance and told him we had been teammates last spring, but my teammate from last autumn stood out while waiting to get on the buses, being tall and with that ponytail, and I rather waited for him when I noticed that we were heading for the same bus when we were told to get on. With people crowding at the front door, he went in through the middle one and I waited my turn there, but with people already sitting in the seats in the front part of the bus and not wanting to ask whether those next to them were free, I had a good excuse to sit right in front of him and ask whether I knew him from there. That was all the interaction, however, since he said he doesn’t even remember what he did last week, much less a year ago, and when we started working I didn’t try to ask whether he wanted to team up again, just trying to go at it on my own again at first.
Either way, we left at exactly 7:45 AM and had a lot of stuff to fill and sign on the bus, the contract and other forms being separate this time around. What can be read from what I wrote while the bus was moving isn’t my problem, but the nausea caused by reading and writing under those conditions was, so had to take breaks and look at the horizon now and then. As I mentioned above, the list of names that we were supposed to find and check ourselves on was the last thing that reached me, minutes before arriving at the destination, so the fact that I wasn’t there proved to not be an issue. And, since I’m at what happened on the bus, our kits were given there as well, and the backpack was the same, just the name of the NGO differing, yet the supposedly reusable bottle was made entirely of plastic this time around, so pointless and even harmful, and the hat was of that kind that you need to tie at the top in order to wear as one, and otherwise can use to protect your neck, or mouth and even nose if you want. Stuck to wearing the one received two weeks ago though.

After some confusion due to some roads being closed in Videle, we reached the destination at 9:15 AM and walked through the mud to the tents. I was among those who walked next to the unpaved road leading to them, since it was way less muddy there, but after a point that wasn’t an option anymore and doing so before that point led to quite a number of burs sticking to my pants, so I had to take a few moments to get them off. Since there was one that I only noticed after I started working, I’ll probably need to have another look at my clothes before washing them, since I’m yet to do so.
Getting back there, there was a stage and it was still being set up, but the sandwiches and tea, and also coffee for those who wanted that, were waiting for us, and the sound system was soon operational as well. One of the first songs was Nothing Else Matters, so I found myself nodding along, with my teammate from a year ago and a couple of others doing the same, but then there was some rap and some electronic music or something of that sort and many others started humming or even singing along and even doing some dance moves while we quickly moved away. Can’t say that I heard anything else I might have been fond of among the songs played before the live band took the stage, but also can’t fault the selection, seeming that they really tried to move through the genres and have something for every taste. The band really wasn’t in the least for mine, however. And, either way, being driven away at that early point meant I was among those having a look at the area we were to plant in before the speeches, and noticing the threatening clouds all too well, as you can also see in the pictures I took, albeit once again just using my phone and mostly before and after the actual work. Those who spoke said that it won’t rain until the afternoon, but the forecast said something else and quite a gust of wind brought dark clouds, and also the smoke caused by the lunch starting to be cooked, above us, prompting someone to say that we may even end up with a tornado.
Nevertheless, we started planting at 10:30 AM and I wasn’t left to go at it alone for long. Not that I’d have managed to do much if I would have been alone, since the ground was very soft but there were a lot of roots and, at least in some areas, some rocks as well, but I did mean to try, yet a man quickly approached me to ask whether I wanted help and took over digging. And he was there with his son, who was planting, leaving me with little to do… Which became even less when the woman who had sat next to me on the bus joined us as well, and four was definitely a crowd, even if one was a child. Plus that he told her that he had quite a cold and had taken everything he could think of to be able to come and work that day, adding another very good reason for me to not want to be around him if I could help it. So from that point I sort of flit around, not trying to dig anymore but looking for places where I could plant, sometimes getting back to help what I guess was sort of my team, sometimes helping others, as often as possible planting on my own in holes dug by others, since some seemed to just dig, occasionally gathering discarded markers or moving bundles of saplings closer… Seem to recall someone, probably that guy who offered to help, accidentally hitting my head at one point, but forgot exactly how and thought it was a very light hit, though now that I thought of that I just noticed something that may be a lump and therefore indicate otherwise, though it’s at the back of my head and I therefore can’t exactly check. Either way, flitting around like that also helped me avoid much of the interaction, though I had to struggle to avoid a breakdown even so, especially when the coordinator came to me a few times to teach me how to plant properly, seeming determined that I wasn’t doing it well.
Rain started soon and, at first, stopped again, but once it started again it didn’t stop anymore, though at least it remained quite light. So we kept working and actually finished our area quite early, so we moved to help those working on the one next to it after that and were just about finished there as well when the lunch break was announced, a bit before 1 PM. Since I had a spade again after we switched areas, I insisted on digging and planting one tree completely on my own, but otherwise didn’t count how many I was involved in planting at all. One thing I obviously know, however, is that at one point I ended up with a thorn in my finger, a part of it still being there after I removed the glove, and the very tip still being there even now, as I already mentioned, probably because I pulled that part out too hard instead of working it out gently. Kept thinking of asking the medical crew for help, but couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I’ll see what will happen now…
Back to the lunch break, I went to the toilet first, so there was a long line for lunch by the time I got in it, and it was hard to keep my hands clean for even a moment, with mud all over my clothes, including inside my jacket’s sleeves, and also on my phone, so after having washed twice before getting in line I ended up spending a fair bit of time wiping them with a napkin and rather holding them up, since the moment I lowered them they got all muddy again. And while I’m on the topic of waiting in that line, another interesting thing is that I ended up being just behind the girl who had asked about Sapiens two weeks ago, and we had recognized each other early on, but I didn’t mention that message I sent her then either, and she’s yet to reply, or probably see it at all, filters being what they are. Also in line, the woman who had sat next to me ended up next to me there as well, though she walked away after a while and didn’t seem to return, or at least not next to me again. But while she was next to me I noticed that she had one foot in a plastic bag, and when I asked about it she said that the bottom of one of her shoes had fallen off, and when I mentioned the times when I had the same thing happen with my boots she said she had thrown it away, so nothing to do about it anymore.
As I was finally approaching the tent, I heard something about the first person to go to the area for vegetarians and those fasting, and a moment later the guy who I guess was the main coordinator came to say that those who don’t want meat can go there directly, and there’s no waiting in line either. Of course, the moment he said that, a line did form there as well, plenty switching, myself included, and I’m not sure I saved any time, since I was quite close to getting the regular lunch at that point. But I had been considering going for the meatless courses anyway, if possible, being kept from actually trying to figure out how to do so before that moment by the fact that I thought they had a more limited quantity, just for those who had specified wanting vegetarian or vegan food when registering, and I hadn’t done so.
The food was good though, and the servings were quite large, unlike two weeks ago, and you could also ask for a mix of the main courses, which most seemed to do, myself included. Alongside that, there was a mix of cooked, possibly baked, vegetables, two choices of salad, and pie as dessert. In addition, as I was eating, having finally sat down to do so even though the benches were wet after having first eaten the pie while standing, the main coordinator came to the tables to say that anyone who wasn’t full and wanted more can go get more, and a bit later did so himself, announcing it as well, which was again quite the opposite of what happened two weeks before. The plates and utensils were strange though, seeming to be made of wood, thin and light wood for the utensils and possibly wood shavings for the plates. I heard something about the plates being edible though, but they didn’t seem to be to me, and since they were single use either way, it was probably worse than using plastic.
Unfortunately, if they did have tea ready when we got there, by the time I finished eating they were out, so I couldn’t get more then, that first cup remaining the only thing I drank while there. And what was strange was that I saw quite a number of volunteers walking to the buses when I asked about the tea, so I asked the guy who had been my team’s coordinator, who was at that tent at the time, whether we were supposed to leave and he said that another bus will leave when 50 more will want to, but 50 had wanted to leave then and they did. So I stepped back away, uncertain what to do next, and eventually got another bun and a piece of one kind of steak. Had been wondering about it and, between the main coordinator saying so, quite a number of things, mainly from the main meat courses, still being there, and my teammate from a year ago snatching a piece just as I was considering doing so, I worked up the courage and then just placed the steak on the bun and ate it while standing. The steak left a rather bad aftertaste, which lasted for hours, so I was a bit worried for a while, but I seem to recall that sort of aftertaste after eating similar kinds of steak, probably brought by dad from his mother or bought from somewhere, so it may have something to do with the sauce or spices used.
After I was done, I saw that some had gotten back to work, though the conditions were quite miserable. The organizers had given some flimsy raincoats to those who had wanted them, but it was just too rainy and muddy, yet some people tried and, after considering it for a few moments, I retrieved my gloves from where I had left them and joined them. What I did was plant trees in holes that were already dug, focusing mostly on those, a fair number, which were too shallow and didn’t have much around them in terms of earth which had obviously been dug out of them, leading me to believe that some had started digging them before lunch and had stopped at that point, resulting in the insufficient depth and most of the earth which had been dug out having been rained on for about one hour. But I did my best, trying to dig a bit deeper with my hands when necessary, since I hadn’t taken a spade again, filling as well as I could and keeping at it until 2:20 PM, when the main coordinator came to tell us that it was enough, we had already done more than they expected under those conditions, the weather didn’t allow for more and we should head to the buses.
So I cleaned up a bit more, quickly trying to wash off some of the worst from the sleeves of my jacket as well, then went to the buses, trying to search for the one I had arrived in, though I wasn’t certain I could recognize it anymore. Went first to one that seemed about to leave and asked a guy who was next to it, but he said we won’t return on the same buses, asking me whether I even remembered mine, and to just find one that still had free seats, since that one was full, and make sure it gets back to the same city, since there were one or two coming from others. There was another bus alongside that one at that time, but the guy ignored that one and told me to try those that were still behind, so I went there… Only to be turned away by my team’s coordinator, since I found him on the way and asked him as well, having him confirm that we won’t return on the same buses but saying that those that were behind were almost full as well, directing me back to where I had been, to that one which had been alongside the one that was about to leave. So I turned back around and hurried, overtaking many from the group which had started in that direction before me, and then also managing to very quickly change my boots with the shoes before climbing on. The driver was giving people some of those things to put on shoes so you won’t get the floor dirty, but had run out before my turn came anyway, and I managed to change before all seats filled up, so it was fine.

We left at 2:40 PM and the trip back was uneventful. There were no more lists or speeches, no confusion, the others were mostly quiet and plenty of people, including the one I ended up sitting next to, actually slept. The driver was chatty, but mainly with a person sitting right behind him, after noticing that they were living on the same street. We were back just before 4:10 PM… And when I got to the metro station the card gave an error. I had kept it in the notebook, which had been inside both backpacks, since I had placed mine in the one I had been given, and the sweater I had taken with me was above it, but the machine had taken several seconds to read it in the morning, so I guess something might have been wrong with it already, and either because of the moisture or because that machine couldn’t properly write on it in the morning, or because of a mix of the two, it became unreadable. But when I told the woman from the booth, she just waved me through, not even checking that it was still valid, and I was back here at 4:45 PM.

Written by Cavalary on December 1, 2019 at 11:56 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Catching Up Before, I Hope, Planting Trees Again at Videle

Writing another post to catch up before, I hope, planting trees again, since if things will work out that way I’ll need to be up and out even earlier Saturday, so tomorrow I’m even more determined to try to sleep or at least stay in bed as much as possible. At least last week’s second post was not personal and came easily, so I managed to delay making use of another one of those old book reviews a bit longer, though at the moment I don’t like my chances of doing so one more time. But that’s a matter for Sunday, and right now I guess I’ll start with this period’s timed squats, and with the fact that Saturday I listed 2:23, but I just opened my eyes when I finished and it may be likely that it took me a second to find the time on the screen. The next day I did them in about 2:21, though there was a short replay right at the end, and then it was 2:22 Tuesday, 2:13 yesterday and 2:18 today. And since I’m at odds and ends, Sunday I again noticed another double middle click, after quite a long time without any. Can’t say I noticed those issues when scrolling up anymore either recently, though I also didn’t look for them.

Before going to bed Saturday morning I sent an e-mail to Elena G., for her birthday, which I hadn’t done in quite a number of years, obviously expecting no reply. But I did get one, just to thank me, which really surprised me, and I kept thinking whether I ought to push it and ask how she’s been… And I keep thinking that, but since I didn’t then, I guess that’s that. On the other hand, since I’m at things other people did that day, in the evening I got nominated for I am not a Monster: First Contact in the Community Giveaway on the GOG.com forums, but before going to bed I refused, being very uncertain about that game at the moment and put off by the fact that I saw someone say that you can’t save during missions, so I didn’t want to take it away from someone who’d really want it, or at least want it right now.
Also Saturday, went to that Cora again, looking for fabric softener for my mother and meaning to also get one of those “refills” of cloves I had seen there last time, so I went out at 5:30 PM, got those, then came back the other way, changing trains at Unirii and getting off at Romana in order to go to that pastry place I had finally bought something from earlier this month. I had asked my mother, since she was here at the time, whether she wanted something from there, so I got two things for myself and the rest for her, though that wasn’t that easy. At first I wasn’t even sure whether the place was still open, since there was no movement inside and it was almost dark, though the products that were left were still lit, but as I was looking the guy did glance at the window, so I saw that he was there, probably busy with something and out of sight otherwise. Stepped away at that point though, as I hadn’t decided yet and couldn’t talk without properly preparing what I meant to say anyway, so I took my time thinking and calculating, rehearsed saying what I had to say in my mind, and eventually went back when some other customers were also there. It still didn’t work quite right on the first try though, since he had apparently given me only one pumpkin pie when I had asked for two, so I paid what I thought I had to pay and he said a lower amount, at which point I expressed my confusion and we went through the items, figuring out what the problem had been. At that moment I rather intended to replace that second pumpkin pie with a sweet cheese and raisins one, to keep getting one of each for her, so she’ll see how what they make is, but since it wasn’t part of what I had rehearsed, I couldn’t say it, just taking that second pumpkin pie and walking away.
The problem was that I was rather stuck thinking about that, which led to me being rather lost in my own mind after I got back on the metro and missing the stop where I had to switch, getting off at the next one and taking the next train back. After that, since I had 1 RON left, I also bought a pretzel for her from this Mega Image across the street and was back at 8:30 PM… Only for the power to fail at 8:44 PM… And to recover about a minute after I had finally turned off the computer, after waiting for some eight minutes. Wondered whether it was just a momentary problem, the result of a failure in another area, and that did indeed seem to be the case when I called, the recorded message mentioning an area that’s quite some distance away, but it also stated that the power was to be restored there at 10:30 PM, and even though these estimates tend to be very conservative and it was indeed likely that our area was collateral damage and will recover sooner, if it didn’t recover within the first few minutes I assumed it’ll be a while longer, and then was quite annoyed. But at least there were no problems when I turned the computer back on, and Kaspersky Anti-Virus started normally as well, despite those two logged errors when I installed it, and didn’t seem to cause any conflicts when starting up either.

The next day I left at 1:05 PM, first going to vote and then meaning to go to other Cora locations, since my mother had asked for a couple of other things before going back and that was the best place to get them from. However, I first stopped at Unirii, after having learned the previous evening that a campaign offering free lung tests was taking place. It had apparently been going on for a while, every weekend, and that was the last one, so the last day, but considering the fact that I was going to go to the doctor the following day, being worried about breathing, it seemed like something I couldn’t miss. So I went there, waited my turn, went in and had the test done, the values shown for breathing out being above the normal ones, up to 145% for one of them, so the person who was there said it shows when I told her I run. However, the values for breathing in were low, but she said that as long as those for breathing out are so good it means my lungs are fine and the problem is probably elsewhere, possibly having to do with acid reflux that damages something on the way, so she recommended having that checked out.
After that, checked out the two other locations of Cora that can be easily reached by using the metro, different from the one I had been to the day before, since I already knew a package I had seen on the site wasn’t available there. However, though the site did list it as available at both, I couldn’t find it at either, so I just lost a bit of time in each place, and also getting a bit lost in that shopping center the first one’s in, which tends to happen if I somehow end up going there. Got off the metro at Titan, walking back from there and being about to enter the building at 4:35 PM. Then I did what I should have done from the beginning, asking dad to make an account there and order the products on-line, for me to pick them up the next day, since they don’t charge for that service, like Auchan does now that they introduced it as well, nor require the payment to also be made on-line, like Carrefour.

The next day I had the appointment, so the alarm rang at noon and I left with dad at 1:20 PM, walking to the clinic and sitting down to wait by 1:50 PM. I was third in line at that point, though the first person was outside, but that doesn’t mean that much, since this doctor my parents chose as our family doctor not only doesn’t schedule time slots, but tends to have people go in out of order as well, if she knows them, so what’s clear when you have to go is that you’ll be spending hours waiting. And that day it was almost 2:30 PM when she arrived, though she should have been there at 2 PM, and she also took a couple who had in fact been the last to arrive first. Then she took the two who had actually been there first, both at once since one supposedly just needed something for medical leave, and then, a bit after 3:15 PM, it was my turn to go in, though she also asked a man who had arrived later to come in with me, since he only needed a prescription, so she took care of that first and my turn actually came after that. But at 3:35 PM I was out, so you can say that I actually got off very easily that time, though it was frustrating that after a point I couldn’t exactly continue reading, since I had taken National Geographic with me but could barely get through a few more short quotes and picture descriptions after four of those around me started discussing politics, one being from Moldova and speaking a little about the situation from there and the other three approaching the situation from here from positions that were different, conflicting, but equally stereotypical and almost equally annoying.
To return to the actual appointment, the good news is that she also said my lungs seem fine, after listening to them, and looked over that test result as well and rather dismissed the issues with breathing in too. Not that I trust her in any way, but she said that I probably didn’t breathe in correctly, so the machine couldn’t give a good result, and I was actually considering that as well. And she also asked whether I have symptoms indicating gastritis or acid reflux and wants me to be checked out by a specialist, and dad already made the appointment, for next Friday at 1:30 PM, though I keep wondering what that will actually entail. Other than that, I’ll be doing the regular blood tests as well, also next week, plus that one for that stomach bacterium, so let’s see what those will say. Dread to think about what they’ll say about my kidneys, for one…

After we got out of the clinic, dad checked to see whether he had received confirmation that the order made from Cora could be picked up and, after seeing none, called them and was told it was indeed ready. So, as planned, he went his way and I headed for the metro station. However, when I saw the back of the mall that’s close to that clinic, I realized I could cross through it and then go to that Auchan, where the margarine my mother wanted was cheaper. But I couldn’t make up my mind in time and eventually used another street, then did go the right way for a while, but my mental map had already failed, so I wasn’t sure of it and became even more uncertain, even panicked to some extent, when I reached an intersection where some work was being done, had to walk on the street, and then cross with the traffic lights not working. But I recognized that intersection, and it was close to the Kaufland from that area, so, after first crossing the wrong way and then having to cross back, I had a look there as well. Didn’t find anything interesting though, so just went to the toilet, got back out… And went the wrong way again, though I realized it while still in that lot and turned around, finally heading for that Auchan and buying that margarine, getting out just before the free bus I’d have needed should have left… And finding none when I reached the stop, so I asked a woman who was also waiting whether it had left and, when she said it hadn’t even arrived yet, I decided to walk… And my failed mental map bit me again, as I just uncertainly picked one way where the road splits, thought it had been the wrong one when I was in fact almost at the metro station, went much of the way back to the split, only cutting a bit by using another street, went to the end of that other road and then had to get to the metro station from there, only reaching it at 5:20 PM.
When dad made that order, he selected 5 PM to 5:30 PM as the time when it would be picked up, and I was at Cora at 5:45 PM, but that didn’t matter, since they say they keep orders until the end of the day and it had been ready since before he had called. So I didn’t try to pick it up right away, instead putting the margarine in a cabinet and rushing inside to also get the olives my mother also wanted, then was at the information desk at 5:55 PM… Only to be sent outside when I asked, as orders are picked up from an entirely different area, so it was just after 6 PM when I got there, after passing by their recycling machine and seeing that apparently they offer 0.05 RON per plastic bottle again. Was rather odd when I did get there though, finding an apparently deserted place, with a pretty faint light outside and darkness inside, the door saying access was forbidden. But there were instructions on it, so I read and followed them, using the intercom on the other side of that small area and giving the last three digits of the order number when asked. That surprised me, since the instructions said you should read the number and I was getting ready to read it from the beginning, so I asked whether I had heard that right and then just said those last three. At that point a faint light came on inside as well and a moment later a girl came out to hand me a bag with the stuff, telling me the price… And then not even taking the full amount. It had been 52.91 RON and I first gave her 52 RON, then pulled out most of the change, handed her a 0.50 RON coin and was about to pull the other one out, since I hadn’t the first time, telling her that I was going to do so, when she said that was enough, repeating it after I did pull that coin out, tried to hand it to her and asked whether she was certain. Then I came back, again getting off at Titan and entering the building at 6:50 PM.
The contents of the bag are another thing that surprised me though. For one, we had ordered two packages of two pieces of one product, that being what I had been looking for and not managing to find in the stores, those packages supposedly having the second one at a 50% discount, and they just gave me four separate pieces, being listed on the receipt as having a 25% discount each, making me think that they had sold out of the actual packages before the end of the sale period but still honored the sale price that way if the site had still listed the packages as available. And then there’s the fact that, when I looked in the bag while she went to get me the receipt, I noticed some additional products in there, sweets and soft drinks, and when she returned and I said those weren’t mine she very cheerfully said those were gifts. And indeed, after later checking the order form she had given me I saw that some gifts were listed there, no idea why, but that three brands were listed and I had received products from two of them and two others, some of them having “sample” labels and some not having them, and a box of candy seeming to have been partially opened, though likely not enough for someone to actually be able to access the contents.

Tuesday I was feeling quite down, but decided to go out again, as I had seen that the yogurt was still very cheap at that Auchan but was rushing and forgot to actually get it, and also meant to use another 10 RON code I had for Carrefour. Was looking for expiring stuff first, and had the metro card, so decided to go to that bigger Carrefour first, where I didn’t find anything interesting where they put the stuff that’s discounted because it expires soon, but did find some good kashkaval that was on sale and asked for a piece that ended up costing just under 10 RON, so at first meant to get that and one or two lemons, which were listed as one of the day’s special discounts, but eventually put the stuff back and went back to the metro, deciding after getting in to check out the one at Obor as well. Not that I found anything interesting there either, but on the way, on that more secluded alley where some usually sell cheap lemons, I found really cheap ones of the kind dad likes. But those people seem rather intimidating, and I don’t like that kind anyway, so I just made a mental note to let dad know, in case he’ll want to go there, and went to Dristor, walking to that Auchan and buying yogurt and also another tofu, since it was on sale there now. And then I walked to that Carrefour from that area as well, since I was at the free bus stop ten minutes before the next should have left but none were there, and I don’t think any passed me on the way, and finally got some of that kashkaval from there, the piece being a bit larger than that first one and costing a bit over 10 RON in itself, plus a very small expiring yogurt, after first seeing three of those in that place and then finding just one last one left when I checked again. Got back at 6:15 PM, feeling even more depressed.

And this week’s run was today, getting out at 3:30 PM after getting up at 1 PM, when the alarm rang, though I’m not sure whether I managed to get any more sleep after waking up to pee at 11:45 AM. If I did, it was only very little, possibly falling asleep up to a few times but waking up again after mere moments. Had the usual stuff otherwise, plus some baked pumpkin, and there was hardly any wind, but with a reported temperature around 10°C and dropping a little by the time I finished, a partly cloudy sky and, also by the end, a setting Sun, it was the first time this season when I took the jacket with me. Also wore an undershirt under the running t-shirt, and of course the jacket was just tied around my waist while I ran, but needed to wear it for the walk to the park and back.
The time was 47:07.37, with sector times of 4:19.02, 4:57.81, 5:51 (5:50.98), 4:25 (4:24.67), 4:59.15, 5:46.32, 4:25 (4:24.20), 4:54 (4:53.96), 5:44 (5:43.99) and 1:47.27, making for lap times of 15:07.81, 15:10.14 and 15:03 (15:02.15), so I was once again faster than the week before. Of course, the conditions helped, the fact that there were quite few people also being important, as I only had to go the long way around a few times and rather squeeze past just twice, the first of those moments actually involving the truck. It was right at the beginning, as I passed the bridge on the first lap, when I heard something that sounded like a vehicle moving too fast to be going through the park, so I assumed it was something passing on the bridge above only to suddenly see the truck turning the corner and coming towards me at a speed that really didn’t seem safe when going through a park, and I had to briefly take to the grass to avoid it. But that was pretty much it, and I felt something of a runner’s high from sector one of lap two, the feeling having moments when it was leaving me on lap three but not ending up feeling drained as a result. In fact, I pushed even harder on lap three, deciding to try to get under 47:30, and managing it very easily in the end. My hands were quite frozen by then though, had started freezing around the halfway mark, and it was getting hard to press the buttons on my stopwatch, but I managed, though I wasn’t quite sure I could still control my fingers well enough at the end of lap three.

As for why I said I just hope I’ll be planting trees again, that’s on the one hand because yesterday I received an SMS asking me to confirm my presence by replying to it, I sent an e-mail with my confirmation, including my information, so they’ll identify who it’s from, and an explanation as to why I can’t reply by SMS, and ended up receiving another SMS informing me that the registration deadline had passed and there will be other events in spring. Sent another e-mail to ask what that was about and so far received no reply, so earlier today I also posted a comment on the relevant post on the organizers’ Facebook page, asking for clarification, and there was no reply there either, and in fact I see no replies from them to anyone who posted anything there. And then I also noticed a comment on the event page from someone else who had a similar experience, having received the SMS asking for confirmation and then another stating that the deadline had passed, so something definitely got messed up. But at this point I’m wondering whether any of this is still relevant, because Saturday’s forecast for Videle seems to have changed, now listing showers almost all day, which would make it impossible to plant anyway.

Written by Cavalary on November 28, 2019 at 10:09 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Keeping the Current Evil in Office to Keep the Greater One Out, Easier than Ever

As it was certain to happen, Klaus Iohannis easily defeated Viorica Dancila, being elected for a second term with about two thirds of the votes, Dancila’s sole goal having been to get that second place and advance, which she managed much more easily than anticipated. If you exclude 1990, this makes the result comparable only with the one from 2000 in terms of difference, and also the first time PSD, in any of its forms, has suffered such a heavy defeat. But, of course, seeing as it was PNL‘s representative who defeated them, it just means keeping the current evil in office to keep the greater one out, and doing so at a time when, with PNL now forming the Government as well, said current evil increased significantly, no longer being there to fight against PSD’s worst moves, but to empower PNL in theirs.

Looking at it like that, some may, and have, been inclined to think that it’d have been better to have Dancila in that office after all, to keep them fighting each other and maybe keep each other’s most dangerous plans from becoming reality. But, ignoring the fact that there was never any chance of that happening, the way the system and people work means that, when it comes to those with real chances at the top positions, it’s almost always a choice between evils, and usually between great ones. It other words, it obviously has nothing to do with any hope or expectation of anything good, but merely a matter of choosing your preferred enemy, of fulfilling your obligation to vote, to express your opinion, out of the available choices, when the authorities actually go through a lot of trouble to ask it of you, in order to obtain the right to complain, to demand to be heard, the rest of the time. And, taken like that, no matter how much I am against the Right, I’d much rather have those who are openly on the Right instead of those representing an oligarchic, if not even sort of feudal, Right masquerading as the Left, just throwing some scraps to those in need to keep them captive and utterly trashing the whole concept of the Left, taking it to such lows in the mind of many, and of many of those seeking alternatives in particular, that any actual Leftist initiative is doomed from the start.
Other than that, both represent the current political class and PSD and PNL are the two largest parties, which should be opposed as a matter of principle, and of course neither of them is an environmentalist, but that’s pretty much all that they’re level at. While neither is suited for such a high office, Dancila is far worse. She’s also quite a nationalist, a soft euroskeptic, socially conservative and making a point of being religious, while he’s pro-EU, not a nationalist, and I’d say quite neutral when it comes to the other two issues. And he also has far better international connections, image and, to some extent, support. What those connections are, where that support comes from and what it implies, are different matters and an important reason why he also represents a great evil, but having them is crucial under any circumstances, and especially when, according to the Romanian Constitution, the President primarily deals with external affairs.

But, of course, the fact remains that, while elsewhere the major parties are being pushed aside, we’re pretty much where we were five, and ten, and 15, and even 23 years ago, still mainly struggling to find a way to stop PSD, in its various incarnations, and being unable, and unfortunately in the case of some also unwilling, to push against the entire system maintaining this situation, to build and support real alternatives. Admittedly, in terms of the negative consequences of this behavior we did come a long way from the disaster that was the period between 1996 and 2000, and also, as someone put it, when you constantly have to struggle to keep the mountain from falling on top of you, it’s impossible to also build, to lay the foundations for the future. But we need to, we can’t just keep staying where we are, we can’t just keep focusing only on pushing back the greater evil and buying time when there’s no more time to be found, the clock ticking so loudly… If the final hour didn’t pass already, that is.
I recall some fliers someone was spreading five years ago, calling Klaus Iohannis emergency medication, with significant side effects that need to be accepted by the patients, as taking it, in a single dose, is necessary to stave off the plague coming upon us. The problem is that we’re now at the second dose, the side effects are likely to be worse, the plague’s still there, and an actual cure is still nowhere to be found. And no, I don’t see USR, and even less so PLUS and their alliance with each other, as even a potential cure. Leaving aside the fact that they remain irrelevant on the political scene, I don’t even see Demos as one, though I guess they at least have the beginnings of some good ideas, the problem being that they’re at a level that belongs decades in the past and even those ideas are mixed with quite a pile of crap, albeit a very different sort of crap than what other parties put forward.

Later edit: My first question for Iohannis now would be, well, long, but go something like this: Many Romanians, perhaps most, the vast majority of those in rural areas, many from small urban areas and a significant part of those from large urban areas as well, live in poverty and social exclusion or are at risk of it. They lack access to the resources, goods, services and infrastructure needed for a decent standard of living, they aren’t connected with the world, they don’t and can’t have a decent level of information and education, not necessarily formal but that which is needed to have a good life and be active citizens. You say, and I completely agree, that PSD does not care for these people, merely throwing them the occasional “bone” to keep them captive, as doing something to actually pull them out of that state would result in losing them as their voters. However, these “electoral alms” are at least some sort of direct, immediate aid, which is what these people need, first to survive and then to be lifted out of their current state. You represent, and at this point can be said to also lead, the Right in Romania, and also claim to be the president of all Romanians. Other than disdain, insults, humiliation, and maybe some talks about some abstract growth and development from which they may perhaps hope to have a few drops trickle down to them, what does the Right have to offer these people who need direct support, right now, and how do you intend to be their president as well?

Written by Cavalary on November 24, 2019 at 11:02 PM in Politics | 0 Comments

Planting Trees at Vanatorii Mici

Yesterday I installed Kaspersky Anti-Virus, the installer still saying Comodo was incompatible with it but allowing me to continue without uninstalling it, and at the moment I see two errors about creating registry entries, don’t see any entries to make it run on startup and the active protection doesn’t seem to work locally, but web protection does, including for attempted downloads, so I’ll need to look into that more. This comes after the Bitdefender Antivirus Plus trial ended Monday and I couldn’t even try to stretch it out a bit longer because I tried to update it a bit too late. I thought I remembered that it should have ended Monday afternoon, but it didn’t list an exact date, not to mention time, and actually clearly said that it ended “tomorrow”, so after finally installing this month’s Windows updates and its program update that had been available for a while and rebooting, I tried updating again right away, saw that there was no other update available, then between laundry, eating a little and going to the toilet, I forgot to try again before the time when it should have ended according to what I recalled and did so maybe half an hour later, at which point it disabled itself. So in the evening I uninstalled it, though that took a few tries, the first attempt saying it had errors, the processes in fact still running, then the first attempt done in safe mode again saying it had errors, but after manually removing the registry entry making it start, which seemed to be the only obvious trace left, and running the uninstaller again, it finally said it had been successful.

But the main part of this post has to be about planting trees, though I should start with the day before, Friday, when I meant to sleep as much as I could, but was awake at 2:50 PM and went to pee, tried to get back to sleep, saw I couldn’t and eventually got up at 3:30 PM. And then I decided to make one more trip to that Carrefour, being out at 4:15 PM and back 40 minutes later. Saw a beer bottle on the way, but two men were there, possibly the ones who had just thrown it down, so I didn’t pick it up. Had taken 16 bottles that time though, yet the two of wine and one of liquid soap were rejected by the girl who was also holding the bag I was putting them in, a second one just looking on, as there were three of them there then. Mentioned I had been told that they were fine as long as they were clean, transparent and not of oil, but they said they had new rules, so I took those back and selected 13 vegetables. Some areas were empty, so I guess it was a pretty bad time to go, but I saw celery again, with leaves, and dad had said he wanted some when I asked, so I took four of those, four more kohlrabies, still with leaves, one of those better lettuces, and the usual four Kapia peppers, weighing 485 grams, so the smallest ones yet, though there were some bigger ones in another area, not the one the girl picked from. She used two of those paper bags for all of that, and I said that was also a waste, since I had my own bag and she didn’t actually need to use any, but she said they were required to do so… And then forgot to give me the second bag, or in fact the first one she filled, so I had to remind her.
Tried taking a nap after 7 PM, but gave up after half an hour, since nothing was happening. And then, later that evening, I ended up leaving my computer without checking that Internet Explorer had closed properly after a tab had frozen and I just refreshed and moved on instead of waiting to see whether it’ll recover or forcing the process to close, so it was left using almost all CPU power for some four hours, if not more, SETI@home hardly being able to do any work until I finally got back to the computer, around 1:20 AM, and noticed the problem. As for getting back to bed, did that just after 3 AM, after wasting close to one hour on two attempts to take a shit without anything happening. Felt like it might a bit later, so I got up again and made a third attempt, but just wasted even more time, getting back at 3:35 AM. Then I went to pee again around 4:40 AM, not because I really needed to at that time but hoping it’ll help… And it didn’t, my body just sticking to its usual schedule, so it was around or after 5:30 AM when I finally managed to fall asleep.

Set the alarm to 6:30 AM, but was awake at 6:20 AM and got up, leaving at 7:40 AM, after wasting some more time on the toilet, again without success. Since the meeting place was Victory Square, I took the metro from here and was there at 8:05 AM, looking at one of the “old guard” activists which I had recognized on the metro to figure out which exit to use. Sort of waited for her while climbing the stairs between the two stations, but she seemed to frown at me when I turned to greet her, so just turned back around, not trying to figure out what that was about, and went to the toilet first, to pee one more time before the trip, as by then I had a good enough idea of the exit she was heading towards. And since I mentioned activists, recognized a few others I had seen at protests over the years while there, including two more from said “old guard”. Couldn’t recall the name of one of them though, I guess because he had, shall we say, mostly removed himself from the activities earlier than most, so I looked at him a few times during lunch, trying to remember, and he probably noticed, since after we were both done and left that area he came to greet me. The other one was obviously going to be there, since she works for the NGO that organized this, and it is possible that I pissed her off with some messages I sent, but I’m not sure and she didn’t say anything along those lines when she did reply, so also don’t know whether the fact that she gave no sign of recognizing me was due to simply not noticing or actually trying to make a point.
Getting back to the morning, I stood around for a while, until our names were checked off the list and we got on the buses. Though the organizers said at the end that about 700 volunteers did take part, this being the number which had registered, after they had increased the limit from 600 due to the number of requests, that struck me as rather surprising, because the buses seemed rather empty. Yes, people could get there in their own cars and quite a number did so, but the form asked whether one required transportation or not, and the confirmation e-mail again asked whether there had been any changes regarding that, so they should have known how many bus seats were needed and there seemed far fewer people gathering there than the six buses could hold. Admittedly, only have the exact numbers for the one I was in, but I believe I counted 57 seats and there were only 28 volunteers and the coordinator, meaning exactly half, if I counted correctly. And six buses with 56 seats for volunteers in each would make for less than half the total anyway, so most would have had to drive there even if they’d have been full, which seems rather strange to begin with.
But I guess they know better, and we didn’t leave that much later than announced, the schedule stating 8:30 AM and the first one in fact leaving at 8:33 AM, while most, including the one I was in, followed at 8:40 AM, getting there at 9:30 AM. The only things I’ll mention about the trip are that nobody sat next to me, which was nice, that the driver had a strong air freshener with a very sweet smell, which made me nauseous, and that I kept thinking I knew one of the girls who sat in front of me but couldn’t figure out where from, until it eventually struck me, only on the way back, that she looked a fair bit like Alexandra, so it was just a matter of my mind playing tricks.

Once there, we picked up our kits, which were made up of a backpack containing a hat, a thin vest, gardening gloves and a reusable bottle, and then moved to the area where we were supposed to plant. Water, tea and coffee should have been available while waiting for things to be ready, but there seemed to be problems with the generators and the heaters, so there was only cold water and, while at first we were told we’ll have to wait about ten minutes, the situation hadn’t changed even some 40 minutes later, when the first speeches started. And there was also the fact that cups were made available and I definitely got the impression that they should be used instead of the bottles, and almost everyone who wanted tea or coffee did use them, so I saw few people actually using the bottles, and only for water. Add the fact that cups, tea, coffee and sugar were placed in different spots on the tables but people were just crowding together, and that the cold water was available both on and behind the tables and the water heater was also behind the tables, and you had a bit of a mess, with someone calling it “a real adventure” to get something. I didn’t even notice the exact moment when the speeches started due to being in the crowd gathered around the water heater, just seeing that another crowd had formed a bit away when I looked around after it was clear that there were still no chances of hot water and going there to check out what was going on, returning after that for a cup of tea with water that was still pretty much just cold.
After drinking the tea, I finally walked to what was the area for the team I had been assigned to, not catching the instructions given from the beginning but not really needing to, after having planted trees before. And then, after also signing that we had attended the safety training, which had been one of those first speeches, we could finally start planting, at 10:55 AM or so. We were told to make teams of two though, and of course I didn’t ask anyone, and this time nobody asked me either and nobody just happened to be next to me with a spade and without a teammate without one, so I was left alone and without a spade, looking to the coordinator, which wasn’t the same one from the bus, for a solution. When that girl who had sat in front of me also came to him, I thought we were the ones left alone, but I asked her and she said she had a teammate, just no spade, so the coordinator first sent both of us to bring saplings from the pile, then just sent me to bring three spades from the next area.
So I started working on my own, pleased that the ground was wet and soft, and that there were few roots on that row, so digging was surprisingly easy. The coordinator did go look for a teammate for me, but returned to say everyone had paired up and that maybe he’ll ask me to help him with some things, since it’ll be hard to plant alone, but I said I worked alone the first time I planted and could manage something even then, albeit slowly, so he left me to work, just returning a few times to ask how things were going. And I actually think I did quite well, planting 15 trees on my own until someone else came on my row and, if I counted correctly, ending up with a total of 27 planted on my own and 34 that I was involved in planting. Four of those remaining seven came after I saw others on my row, coming from the other end, as I dug four more holes before they caught up to me and one of them helped me plant in two of them while the other, I guess her daughter, planted in the other two. The other three were towards the end, when I helped someone plant two and also planted one in a hole dug by someone else.
When that woman first came to my row and planted a tree at the end, she started shouting at me, but I didn’t pay any attention when I kept hearing “boy”, “kid”, “what’s his name” and so on, only looking up when I was getting annoyed and just wanted her to shut up, at which point she said I owed a tuica for that, repeating that when she came to help me plant, and also gave me some advice which contradicted what we’re usually told about planting trees, telling me to trust her because she’s a farmer when I pointed that out. But since I didn’t really need help and definitely didn’t want it from someone who was chatty, after we finished with that row and moved on to look for other places to plant in, I went back to working on my own, only switching roles to be the one helping at the very end, as I mentioned above.
There was an even more awkward moment though, involving the coordinator which had been on the bus. She had been busy with those things we had to sign at first, possibly leaving to check that everyone had signed when we started working, and I only saw her again around 11:40 AM, when she brought doughnuts and I took a quick break to grab one, then went back and had another when she said we should take a picture with the doughnuts, that actually being the only one I saw myself in. Well, after finishing with the doughnuts, she got to work as well, and after moving to search for other rows I ended up next to her and she asked me whether she was doing it right and I pretty much shrunk away, saying that I expected a coordinator to know more than me. But she insisted, saying that she hadn’t been there when we had been given the instructions and showing me that the roots, since that area did have plenty of them, caused her to dig holes that were rather hard to plant in, and also adding that it was just a matter of working together, not of asking me for instructions. But I just sort of mumbled something, really feeling like I couldn’t possibly tell her what to do, and focused on working, trying to look for other spots where I could go next.
It was around 1:30 PM or so when we finished, and I was among the last to leave, being in that group searching for any holes left to fill and having a quick look at the trees planted in the area we were in. And then ended up being the very last after I noticed a spade left behind and ran back to get it, needing to keep running to catch up to the rest. Then, though I had been struggling not to piss myself since around 1 PM, I went to have some tea first, since there were lines at the toilets, getting another cup and this time having hot water, so hot that I couldn’t drink it right away and ended up taking it with me in the toilet and then placing it on that thing that was there for washing hands. Kept the cup that time though, putting it in my pocket and using it again when I had some more tea after lunch, so I won’t take a third one then. Other than that, just wandered around for a bit, taking a few more pictures and as a result missing any instructions for my team and even the team’s group picture. I did notice that they had gathered for pictures and ran there in time to be caught in some of them, but I guess one of the first ended up being used, since I couldn’t see myself in any except that one with the doughnuts. As for the two bigger ones made with the drone that I see in the “official” album, I can’t recall whether I noticed when those were taken, so rather doubt I was in that group at all.
Either way, after seeing that others had already left for lunch, around 1:45 PM I went there as well. We had been told at the beginning that teams will go to lunch in groups, depending on when they finish their areas, but at that point I had put the concept of being in a team completely out of my mind, just doing my own thing without even realizing until after the fact that such instructions would still be relevant. And what I did keep in mind proved to be the wrong thing, since when we had first gone to that area, to pick up the kits, the gate that was farther from the field was the entrance and the one that was closer the exit, while for lunch they had apparently been reversed, but when I saw the area with the tables cordoned off on the side of what used to be the exit I just assumed they were the same and went in the other gate, ending up right at what was the head of the line, though at least there wasn’t that much of a line left at that point, many from the earlier group already being at tables. Nobody said anything though, so I only realized what I had done after I had finished eating, the next group came in and they were told which entrance to use and that the area was cordoned off so the line would form around it.
Was confused about the plates and cutlery as well, pleased to notice that we had normal ones, as in reusable ones, not plastic stuff, but seeing all the different types of plates and wondering which to take and what for, ending up taking my cue from some women who were asking each other the same thing and concluding that they should take a bigger one and a smaller one. We were apparently supposed to only take one, for all the food, either putting the dessert there as well or placing it on a napkin, but the first time I heard that was when the next group came in and the announcement was made for them. And I only noticed that the options we had for food were written on a blackboard after I had already taken everything as well, needing to ask what I could pick when I got there and choosing goulash, cabbage salad and two pieces of apple pie, then finding an empty table to sit at and eating quickly, finishing soon after the guy who had been the coordinator for my area and one other joined me, so I quickly got away from them. Can’t say that they were the reason I finished so quickly though, the main one being that there had been so little food, what seemed like a splash of goulash and two spoons of cabbage, and I was actually wondering whether we should have picked more than one dish, because it seemed too little even for me. And I did hear others discuss getting more, and sending each other in turn, but it didn’t seem like something that would normally be accepted, so I decided against trying, though I did just grab another doughnut after putting the plates and utensils in the place for dirty ones, the guy who was there meaning to say something but giving up once the deed was done.
That done, picked up a plastic bottle with some water still in it, using the water to wash my hands again and then putting the bottle in the backpack, changed my muddy boots with the shoes I had taken with me, and was left just standing around, not knowing what else to do. Those who had arrived in their cars were already leaving, just letting the coordinators know and walking away, but the schedule listed a couple of other events after lunch, so I wondered what was going to happen until it was finally announced that nothing else will happen, those who don’t want to keep their kits can drop them off in a box to be reused for other events, those who drove there can leave and those who came by bus can go back to the buses to wait for everyone to finish. So I just left the vest, after having obviously left the dirty gloves in the pile after I finished planting, the backpack, hat and bottle being useful, and then went to stand around the bus for a while longer, until a few others went in and I followed them.

It was a long wait though, since I went in at 2:35 PM and our bus only left at 3:15 PM, and during that time I kept wondering whether I should pee again. But when I saw the first bus move away at 2:50 PM, I kept thinking we’ll leave soon as well and didn’t risk it, and it was fine in the end. Still, that first bus seemed to return after a bit, some others seemed to leave at 2:55 PM, at least some possibly returning as well, and it was also strange when our coordinator just stepped in to say that she had to stay with the others and won’t return with us, that moment also being when some others congratulated the organizers, through her, for how the event had been organized, which struck me as irony and I reacted accordingly, actually laughing out loud and starting to comment before suddenly realizing that they were being serious and looking around in utter confusion. But, either way, the coordinator did return, when the last group of volunteers climbed in, saying that she couldn’t leave us alone after all, which should have been obvious. There were just 26 volunteers returning in the bus though, two announcing that they’ll go on another one, to be with their friends, which probably violated at least some regulations, if not actual laws, but I’m quite sure it would have been illegal for the bus to leave without the person responsible for it.
The girls around me started talking about books, but it seemed to just be non-fiction stuff and not topics I’d exactly care for either, or if I did care then I took issue with the views they expressed, so I mostly just listened, only speaking up to say that mine are like new when they mentioned how they don’t care for their books, usually damaging them quite badly and as a result not loaning any, knowing that others won’t be pleased with the state they’re likely to return them in. Also said a few words about Sapiens when one asked whether anyone read it, and then tried to look her up after getting back and sent her a link to my quick review for it, obviously using the Goodreads one to make the link more trustworthy, and also so I won’t point her here right away. Not that I’m sure I identified her correctly, and there was no reply, though it’s of course very likely that the message wasn’t even seen, filters on Facebook being as they are. I guess that would have been resolved if I’d have agreed to that exchange of information attempted by the coordinator, who asked for our names to add us as friends and to a group, but that just led to another awkward moment after she sat next to me, since I said I don’t add anyone and explained a little, after she seemed confused by the concept at first but then appeared to get the idea quite quickly and said she was sort of the same for a while, before the work made her need to connect with many people.
An odd moment was when the bus just stopped at Pacii metro station, that woman who had helped me, jokingly saying I owed her a tuica, speaking up to say that was as far as we had paid for and the rest of us, the coordinator included, taking it as a joke before realizing that the driver actually did mean to drop us off there. Since that was actually where I was going to go after that, for me it worked out just fine, and apparently for that girl sitting in front of me as well, but that wasn’t the plan, so the coordinator went to have a quick talk with the driver and, when everybody was ready to get off, we got moving again, being told we’ll get back to Victory Square after all. He did drop off that girl and I believe one other earlier, around that big Carrefour, but I didn’t react in time to follow them, so I wasted a fair bit of time, but that also allowed me to make a better plan for later, so it wasn’t a complete waste. On the other hand, the time spent getting around the area that was closed to traffic, also around that big Carrefour, was definitely wasted, and the driver had been unaware of the closure, so he tried to look for a way around, ended up blocking traffic for a few moments while trying to turn where he couldn’t, and eventually went all around, managing to make a joke about taking us sightseeing after he had figured things out.

At 4:21 PM we were finally back in Victory Square and I picked up another bottle I saw in that parking lot, then went to the metro, getting off at Basarab, to go to the Kaufland from there, having passed by it on the way making me realize that it was the much better option. It was just the first stop on my route though, so I just put the backpack and the bag with my muddy boots in a cabinet and checked prices, also noticing that I might in fact be able to buy some more cereals, depending on how things will work out with the cat food. Then walked to that big Carrefour, leaving the backpack and boots there, to pick up again at the end of the planned route. Just checked prices at Carrefour too, finding nothing worth coming back for at that time, and then decided to walk to Politehnica metro station too, though in doing so I realized that it is likely a bit faster to take the metro, even if it’s odd to go for one stop, switch and then go for one more. But that evening I just took the metro for one stop from there, so it’d have been two from Eroilor, to the Cora from that area, and since I went out the wrong exit and had to walk back the length of the station above ground, I also had a quick look inside a Mega Image I happened to pass by, ending up getting searched on the way out, the guard still patting me down even after I took out the bags I had in my jacket’s outer pockets and the folded backpack, notebook and small bag from the inner one. Then, in Cora, I was surprised to see one of those “refills” of cloves which I hadn’t seen in a long time. But I only had a 200 RON bill with me, having wanted to be able to easily hide the money away and not worry about them, and they seem to only get ready to put in self-checkouts, since I saw signs but no machines yet, so I felt it’d have been too awkward to use that for something costing just 3 RON and decided to return for them on the way back.
Finally got to that metro station where the driver meant to drop us off the first time after that, walking to that huge shopping center from there and first heading to that pet shop, getting there at 6:50 PM. Didn’t find any more of the old kind of that cat food though, nor any new ones of that type for that matter, and I actually asked an employee and he checked and said they didn’t have any at all, so I guess the last stock ran out. So I next went to that Auchan, deciding to leave that food for another time, though it’s otherwise cheapest there if the new kind is acceptable, and just got that one that Rocky likes, since my mother had sent me an e-mail asking for another box of those. Their self-checkouts say they’re for less than ten items and a box contains 24 though, so I asked the employee whether I could use it, only going there when she said I could, just needing to wait my turn. The right way to enter a number of items and just scan one slipped my mind just then though, so she came to help me do so before I could figure it out, but there was no other issue and I could then go back to that pet store for that other kind, which I guess all of them eat.
It was 7:31 PM when I was walking out and just missed the free bus I meant to get, actually asking a guy about it when I reached the station and having him say that he didn’t know, since he had only been there for a few minutes, but that it probably did pass, considering the time. But I saw that I could use one of the 7:45 PM ones as well, so I decided to wait… And it came three minutes late, making me wonder why couldn’t the first one have done that instead. Either way, after sort of inviting each other for a moment, I was the next to last one to step on, followed by a woman who said she’ll get off at a certain store which didn’t tell me anything, so I said where I thought I should get off, thinking it’ll be closer and sitting closer to the door, but the driver said that stop will be after hers. But it actually worked out just fine, since I had just been guessing, meaning to go to that bakery as well, and the stop she got off at was actually the one I needed as well, so I followed her out, mumbling something about needing to go to a place that was in between anyway when the driver shouted after me to say that it wasn’t my stop and he’ll stop again at the next one for me.
When I had first passed by that bakery, I had noticed that they were out of one of the kinds of bread I wanted, but by the time I got back there they had a new batch out, still warm, so I got two of those and one of another kind… And then struggled to get them in a bag until the guy who was buying something after me helped, though after I got out I took them out and arranged them better anyway. Then I walked back to the metro and returned to Cora… Only to be turned away by the guard. I had a lot of purchases and couldn’t find cabinets to put them in, so I asked him where to put them, since it’d be too much for sealed bags, and he said they don’t have such places there and there’s nothing he can do, and since they also sell those things he can’t let me in like that. Now I’m sure he could have found a solution, but if he didn’t care enough and I was just going there for those cloves, I just walked away, taking the metro back to that Kaufland. Once there, at exactly 9 PM, checked that my stuff was still in that cabinet, moved it to the larger one where I had placed my purchases, and bought two bags of those cereals, ending up waiting for quite a while at the self-checkout, since some people working for on-demand courier services were using them and they had long lists and seemed to keep having problems. Then I picked up another small bottle that was outside, having noticed it on the way in, deciding to leave yet another one where it was due to it still having liquid in it, and got back to the metro. Rearranged the stuff in the bags and backpacks before getting back out, ending up carrying the backpack I had received sort of under the one I had taken with me, to get more weight off my hands, and was finally entering the building at 9:55 PM.

After all of that, Sunday morning I was up at 8:10 AM and decided to get the part about the bottles over with, since it was the last day of that campaign at that Carrefour and I had asked dad the previous evening to look through those he keeps around and leave any he doesn’t think he’ll actually be using again soon, which easily got me to the limit of 20. So at 9:10 AM I was going out, and once there I had to stand in the longest line yet, which I guess was to be expected. An older woman was saying that she had talked to some employees and they said they hadn’t yet received the vegetables for that day, so what was there must have been left since the day before, but considering the line, I highly doubted that. But when one of the girls called to ask for more things to be brought, the two who were ahead of me stood aside, saying they’ll wait for the new vegetables and asking me whether I wanted to get something from what was still there. And I said I did, though the new stuff actually arrived just as I was leaving. So I got the usual four Kapia peppers, weighing just over 540 grams, four Bianca peppers, weighing 435 grams, four tomatoes, weighing just about 695 grams, four bundles of green onions and, after deciding against more kohlrabies, just what ended up being five cucumbers. Should have received four, of course, but they were tiny and I noticed when I got back that the girl had given me five, though even so they weighed just under 180 grams put together. Looking at all of that, I actually had the feeling that the fact that I had accepted what they already had instead of waiting for the new stuff hadn’t escaped her, and she had actually tried to pick the better ones, only the green onions being a bit worse.
After that, bought a few things from there as well, and on the way out exchanged five more batteries for one new one, and also had a look at the event about food, or more exactly food waste, that was taking place in that festival’s main area at that time. Had actually been wondering about that, having seen no information on-line other than the name, so started reading the information, becoming more interested when I noticed that it was organized by the NGO organizing the tree planting taking place on November 30, the same one which had organized all those three I went to last year. Since I was the only one there, one of the two women approached me and I talked to her about the event’s topic for a bit, but then I asked for some more information about the planting, at which point the other one stepped in and mainly just told me what I had already seen in the message received from them, which she mentioned multiple times, saying that it must have been how I heard of it anyway. One thing I asked about which wasn’t mentioned there was the time when we’ll get back, but she said there’s no fixed schedule, it depends on when we’ll finish, but since we can’t plant after dark, we should stop by 3:30 PM and start getting ready to leave if we won’t be done earlier. Still, despite the lack of additional information and the late date, which makes me worry about the weather despite the very warm autumn we had, Monday evening I registered for it, so I’ll be planting twice this autumn. And, to return to Sunday, was out of there at 10:55 AM and back a bit before 11:15 AM… And finally got a bit more sleep, albeit only some four hours, in the afternoon, staying in bed a while longer but not sleeping more just then.

Moving on, the only timed squats during this period were Friday, 2:14, in the kitchen, and Monday, 2:26. And this week’s run was Tuesday, when the alarm rang at 1:30 PM and I went out at 3:30 PM, after having had a pretzel instead of those wheat things. The conditions were nice, seeing 16°C reported when I left, dropping a little by the time I got back, and with the wind only enough to let me feel that it existed in some spots, without being an issue. And there were few people as well, and some of them actually paid attention and cleared the way, so the losses were negligible, making it unsurprising when you think about it that I was faster again, the time being 47:23.04, with sector times of 4:26.03, 5:00.22, 5:51.46, 4:23.15, 5:03 (5:02.17), 5:48.18, 4:26.56, 4:58.16, 5:45 (5:44.21) and 1:43 (1:42.90), making for lap times of 15:17.71, 15:14 (15:13.50) and 15:09 (15:08.93). Nice to see that each lap was faster than the one before it, and the final sector was great as well.
Still felt a bit tired and my right knee also bothered me a little at first, so I was just aiming to stay under 48 minutes, and I started more slowly than I meant to due to my keys sitting badly in my pocket, making me think they’ll fly out, which resulted in some seconds lost as I first tried to arrange them better while running and then took them out and arranged my pocket before putting them back in. The one roadblock I ran into was also during that first sector, but slowing to wait for a way through allowed me to arrange things better then, so I don’t think it caused any additional loss of time. And with my knee also getting better after a while, I could push harder, yet it was only after the third lap’s first sector that I thought to target last week’s time. And then, since it was so close, after the following sector I thought of 47:30 as well, pushing really hard and managing it in the end.

A few minutes before 5 PM I was back out, rushing back to that Auchan in Militari. But since I went there again after what I saw when I went to the Vitan one the day before, I’ll start there, where I mainly went for cat litter. Also took out the paper, noticing that the bin next to the school was gone and using another nearby one, then waited for several minutes for the free bus and, since I had also taken one liter of used cooking oil with me, dropped it off there and received dishwashing liquid in exchange, the exact type actually being better than what was listed for this quantity. Then I got two bags of cat litter and checked the cat food, seeing that what I had noticed on the site was indeed true, Auchan having also increased the price for that kind a fair bit despite also only having the new ones, that have 85 grams instead of 100. Then I waited for close to 20 minutes for the free bus to even get there, which meant that it only arrived after it should have already left again, and only left ten minutes after it should have. And the driver also apparently didn’t hear me when I asked him to also stop here, so I had to say it again after he passed the spot and he dropped me off a bit farther.
So I was wondering whether they still had that cat food at the old price in Militari, the site listing it as unavailable there when I knew I had seen it. Rushed on the way to Dristor, but didn’t run, so I was there at 5:15 PM and out of the metro at 5:40 PM, continuing to rush and reaching that Auchan at exactly 6 PM. Found plenty of that food, so grabbed 25, along with the box, which I eventually put in a recycling bin on the way back, then used the self-checkout without issues and it wasn’t even 6:10 PM when I was out of the store, not exactly rushing to the free bus stop, since I was using the exit that was closer to it and could see if one would arrive sooner. However, while one that I could use should have arrived at 6:15 PM, there was still no movement even at 6:23 PM, when I decided to cut my losses and just walk. Kept glancing back at first, to see whether any of them got moving, but then I picked up the pace again and hurried as much as I could. Had the food in an old bag I had used for some of those plastic bottles I took to Carrefour, one that for some reason had 2007, 2008 and 2009 written on it, and one of its handles ripped pretty much right as I started walking faster, but I just carried it in my arms and kept pushing, and didn’t see any of the free buses pass me by the time I reached the metro station, at 6:41 PM, and I doubt it’d have even been possible, considering the traffic and that none had moved the last time I looked back. Was back at 7:25 PM, just in time for the start of the match… And badly burned a few biscuits I tried heating in the microwave, mainly because dad had placed the thin bag they were in on the tray some meat came in. Parts were fine, but others were just charred, and I threw away much of one, though I just ate the rest.

Believe it or not, this actually isn’t the longest post I ever wrote, at least one being a bit longer, but if I won’t cut this paragraph short that may no longer be the case. So I will do just that, after mentioning that I actually only wrote the part about Saturday today, the rest of it being written yesterday, and that the water I took a shower with when I took a break, after getting to the buses returning to Victory Square, was quite brown. And no, I don’t really know what the week’s second post will be at the moment, and I could have split this in two, stopping after Sunday, if not even after Saturday, but a second personal one would mean using up another one of those old book reviews, and maybe there’s a chance I’ll avoid that for one more week.

Written by Cavalary on November 21, 2019 at 9:50 PM in Personal | 0 Comments