Life – June 2017

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So after maybe one of the worst weeks of my life, and by far the worst ‘holiday’ ive ever had, i’m back in the UK after flying back from Bangkok yesterday.
Everything all seems so surreal still, especially being back home, because here in the UK it’s almost like nothing happened, except I know that If I text Cordelia, I probably won’t get a response back.

Readers who don’t have me on facebook will be glad to hear that she has made progress over the last 2 weeks, she was unconscious for 2 whole days while the doctors scrambled to ensure they knew what was wrong with her, then slowly her functions started coming back one by one each day..
Being able to follow us around the room, being able to turn her head, being able to say single words (albeit, strangely not always in English?) and then slowly regaining her ability to move. She is still in the hospital in Bangkok recovering, with her parents by her side, as they haven’t cleared her for travel home yet.

I didn’t really get much of a ‘holiday’ in the end, though my parents came over mid way through the first week and at least alleviated me from being alone the whole time, and gave me a chance to look after myself as well as her. I’ve never really had anything like this happen to me before, and found myself unable to really bring myself to eat, sleep or go out, so thankfully they were there for me. Her parents arrived on the second week and again gave us some relief, coupled with a night nurse so nobody had to stay in the room with her overnight, we were at least given some free time to go out and eat and shop a bit.

 

Currently sitting around in the UK, not really knowing what to do with myself, huge stack of games but no urge to play anything, lots of built up anime but nobody to watch it with, and lots of things to do but no motivation to do it. hopefully it will get better with time.

 

Bangkok 2017 – Day 2-? – Hospitalized

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I personally thought the time me and some friends got robbed in Ibiza was a pretty bad low point in my holiday career, thinking I had died in France while skiing was also another low point, today felt worse still. But i’m getting ahead of myself, lets rewind a bit.

I had a surprisingly good nights sleep, feeling pretty fresh at 8am. Cordelia was still feeling rough, and asked me to go get some water from the nearby shop, which I did, I grabbed some food for her as well, as it was looking like it would be another morning of bed rest for her – whatever she had, one hell of a flu or heat stroke.

We lay in a little more until around 11am, at which point I figured I should do something with my day, I made sure the gf had everything she needed and within arms reach, told her i’d come straight back if she called, and then went off into Bangkok again,

I figured i’d just do a quick day today, I had already actually seen most of the major Bangkok attractions from my last visit after all, so this morning I went to the Jim Thompson house, Jim was apparently a very influential man in getting the Thai silk industry to where it was today, an ex soldier who had fallen in love with thailand and spent his days collecting artifacts and wanting to show the world how great the country was. He mysteriously vanished in Malaysia one day, never to be seen again.

The ‘museum’ was a guided tour around his multiple houses, which had all been lifted and transplanted into a compound in central Bangkok – No pictures inside unfortunately but I had a very indepth tour of the buildings and the art and statues inside, the tour was informative, as you can probably tell given that there is some explanation this time around.

Wanting to avoid the heat stroke myself, I walked a little further along down the road to the MBK center, yet another one of Bangkok’s gigantic 7 floor malls, this one targeting a wider range of budgets – with a floor filled with Jewelery, to the upper floors which are practically filled to the brim by small stores selling pretty good looking knock-off designer clothing. I wanted to grab a small snack and drink to start, and ended up accidentally ordering the largest plate of Mango sticky rice i’ve ever seen.

I had a bit of a walk around, and found a huge arcade on the top floor, a perfect place to burn a bit of time before I head home to see if the gf is well enough to go out for dinner. There was a huge spread of games, and a bunch of titles ive yet to play – I spent around £5 which equalled 22 coins or around 7 credits, but it seems Konami have an interesting new thing where you can play one free credit if you haven’t tried the game before, So I had a bunch of those as well. I played a few credits of the latest Sound Voltex, some credits on Museca and then spammed Drummania for the rest of the day, it was the huge one with like 7 pads and 2 drum pedals – I actually started getting pretty decent at it (going from 1.2 to 3.8 difficulty), shame I won’t get to play again for ages.

Afterwards I did some shopping at the aforementioned knock off stalls, buying some shirts and shorts to refresh my aging collection. Felt kind of mean asking for discounts on what were already very cheap prices, especially as us tourists are probably earning significantly more than them, but such is Bangkok – 3 shirts for £10 etc.

Starting to get late, I was planning to be home for 4pm but it seems my drumming session got a little too wild. Thankfully the trains back to the hotel aren’t too long.

I arrived home to running water, oh good, she must be well enough to shower, ready to go out for dinner.
The shower went on for a while, I eventually thought i’d check in – she looked shocked, like she had just seen a ghost, whoops, should have knocked.

Fast forward 5 or 10 minutes and the door opens, in time for her to practically collapse on me. Got her up and on the sofa, and spent the next 2 hours trying all manner of things to get her back to life, she was conscious but not particularly receptive – only able to nod or shake her head, and unable to speak or do much else. I imagined this is what I look like after 2 pints, and still didn’t think too much initially, but I shortly came to realise that she hadn’t eaten anything all day, she had eaten a quarter of a sandwich since 2 nights ago, and i’m not sure why it took me this long to realise this.

Feeding her only seemed to cause her to vomit bright yellow liquid, presumably just stomach acid and turmeric from Friday’s dinner, I rushed out to buy some sports drinks, thinking maybe it’s something to do with Electrolytes, we tried dextrose tablets, thinking maybe it’s low blood sugar caused by not eating. Eventually enough was enough, I had to call an ambulance.

But how? Our airbnb host was unresponsive, my phone wouldn’t call their emergency services number or the tourist emergency number, I didn’t have much credit on my phone to sustain any long conversation as the calls would be £2 a minute. I rushed to the lobby to try and use their phone but they brushed me off in Thai, I went down the street to find any sort of payphone but was unable to. Returning to the room, our Airbnb host finally got back to me, and sent an uber. Meanwhile Cordelia’s sister had been busy trying her best in the UK, managing to call an international hospital and getting them to dispatch an ambulance.

Good thing she did, the uber arrived but Cordelia was in no state to move anywhere, and I didn’t think i’d be able to carry her all the way.
A phone call from the hospital dispatcher, thank god. Getting the address to them over the phone was a challenge, I wondered if they knew where to go and so waited for them on the roadside.

There were flashing lights down the road, could it be? It barreled towards me before making a turn into an alleyway 3 buildings down.
I chased after it.

I think the ambulance driver saw my desperation and knew, I waved my arm as I started to run back towards the hotel, turning my phone hoping it would act as some sort of light source to guide him – the ambulance had finally arrived at the building, and the driver, 4 medics, doctor and all manner of equipment were carried into the building – the Defib unit scared me, but at least they have all bases covered, I suppose I have no idea what her sister told them over the phone.

The medics blasted into the room and set up shop like I had never seen – they must have had blood sample, pressure and an IV stabbed into her within the first 2 minutes it was very reassuring to watch. She had to go to the hospital, the gurney and us barely fit into the lift.

I’ve never ridden in an ambulance before, It’s not something I ever really wanted to do mind you, and i’d have happily not done so.
Cars don’t really give way to the ambulance in the same way they do in England, one of the medics had to play siren DJ to get them to move anywhere, spamming through all of the different siren beats and remixing them with a handset when people wouldn’t get out of the way (i’m dead serious, and it really fucking worked too).

We were back at the hospital within 10 minutes, the ambulance team promptly whisked her away to god knows where whilst I had to fill in the paperwork. They did an MRI scan on her and then sent her into an intensive care unit. Meanwhile I was stuck filling in forms and papers for what felt like hours, the papers required me to fill in all sorts of knowledge which I just genuinely didn’t have – home number? insurance details?

They made me sign a deposit of 300,000 Thai baht for the treatment – even the goddamn hospitals here you can haggle the price, the number originally listed on the form was $400,000 but “you just need sign only $300,000 now ok?”. Not ok? thankfully I managed to grab some credit card details from her family, as I didn’t bring mine on holiday with me, and I certainly didn’t have £7.2k GBP worth of Thai baht on me to pay it cash.

We got through it in the end, and they let me up to see her in the ICU, where she was still not doing great, but at least able to open her eyes and whimper at me a little bit. I stuck around an extra hour or so as the nurses danced around her ensuring her vitals stayed stable. I eventually I had to leave as it was getting too late, I started walking home but 10 minutes into my 40 minutes walk through what seemed like the ghetto streets of Bangkok, it felt like if I didn’t get a taxi home, they were going to mug me themselves.

and so here I am, sat at 1am typing this, while my girlfriend recovers in an intensive care unit – the doctors said that her MRI came back clean, and that the cause was high blood sugar primarily, perhaps even my fault as I fed her the dextrose – though in my defense, the previous cases of her (or myself) collapsing have been low blood sugar.
The thought of high blood sugar didn’t even occur to me, considering she hadn’t managed to keep down any solid food for almost 2 whole days.

 

Bangkok 2017 – Day 0+1 – Arrival and Solo adventure

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Day 0 –

After a painfully long flight we arrived in our first destination for this holiday, Bangkok. It’s not been a particularly long time since I was last here, with my last time in the city being only a few years ago but I was excited to be back nonetheless.

Our airbnb for this trip was in Rama XI, named after a king of course. The train wasn’t particularly long from the airport, but the walk trying to find the flat afterwards was on some third world level pavement, and accompanied by a sweaty 33 degree heat.
We eventually found the condo, however our host was nowhere to be found, despite some texting. He eventually showed up, and asked us to basically go back outside and go to a convinience shop, where he’d pick us up and then bring us into the apartment – on the next day we would find a sheet of paper in the lobby saying ‘renting the room is punishable by 1 year in prison’, so that’s probably why – though the process of going back out to get stuck in traffic coming back in again felt completely stupid.

Our accommodation for the week is looking nice, a reasonably sized room with partition, a balcony for drying, and a patio door which literally leads into the condo pool (rolling out of bed and into the pool is an actual possibility here).

We had a good freshen up (hadn’t brushed our teeth in over 24 hours due to travelling) and then headed out to explore the local area – ending up in Central plaza shopping mall where we’d have a walk around before finding dinner at a thai specialty restaurant.

We went a bit crazy, though I think it was allowed and expected given that our last 3 meals were in the airport or on the plane. I ordered up some spicy papaya salad and tom yum noodle soup, and we also had some deep fried mince dumplings, crab something or other and Cordelia’s curry.

We considered heading to the nearby night market, but ultimately decided to have an early night, we were both pretty jetlagged and so didn’t feel up to it, instead heading back to the hotel and stopping off at a nearby 24hr supermarket for supplies.

The whole week had actually been predicted thunderstorms, so we were pretty glad that the sky had been clear and blue for most of the day. The weather snapped while we were grabbing drinks, going from light spitting to full on torrential downpour mode – the shop is less than a minute walk from the flat and I got absolutely drenched head to toe. We would spend the rest of the night trying and mostly failing to photograph the massive lightning performance from the safety of our room.

 

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Day 1

After failing to rouse the girlfriend from her slumber multiple times, I headed out to grab some breakfast from the mall again – the food court there uses a smart card style top up system which is equal parts convinient and kind of annoying if you are just after a single meal, but I figured we’d be coming back a few times as it’s just down the road from our hotel, so I took the opportunity to grab a card and throw some cash on there. Breakfast itself was some hainan chicken rice, and a welcome change from my office usual of fried eggs. Grabbed some watermelon on the way back, only to find out that the girlfriend is infact ill and not just being lazy – too ill to go out unfortunately.

So while it sounds cold, I went out on my own today (not like me sitting around in the flat is going to help make her well, especially if she’s just in bed the whole day). Cordelia actually did all of the planning for the Bangkok side, so I didn’t have a damn clue what to do – of course I also already covered a bunch of the most touristy sites last time I came.

I ended up grabbing a train and just walking in the direction of POI’s on google maps, though it turns out google doesn’t allow offline download of bangkok so the plan quickly went to hell when I found out I only had a small portion of map cached on my phone.

I picked a random attraction on google trips and headed in that direction, taking the train to the end of the line and hoping to walk the remainder.

I got lost.
I ended up at the Wat Traimit, a rather grand white and gold structure housing a golden buddha at the top, the view left a lot to be desired, but was actually kind of useful given that I couldn’t find further attractions on my phone, from there I would just wander around and investigate anything which looked interesting, there were some signs around for tourist sites so it wasn’t all bad.

One of the roads was filled with street sellers, selling all manner of ancient stuff – Broken looking PS2 controllers, old mobile phones, carved wood, loose batteries and generally all sorts of things you could probably find in your local waste disposal centre. There were some food vendors and fruit stalls as well but I dared not try them lest I end up bedridden too.

A walk later and I found myself at Dragon temple, a chinese style temple filled with the scent of incense. Inside there were people offering bags of rice to the gods, which was a little bit different to the norm, I wonder what they do with the rice afterwards? (These were huge bags of rice for the record, like 5 or 10 KG)

Fatigue was starting to get to me at this point, perhaps my body was still jet lagged, or I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I considered grabbing a tuktuk back to the station but ended up just walking back again (turns out, right nearby was a wealth of other stuff 1 road down, but I had no idea because no data connection).

From there I thought I should go to a mall for late lunch and a cool down, the weather was forecasting heavy rain again and I didn’t feel like a redux of last night.

I ended up getting sidetracked and checking Lumpini Park, one of the larger parks in central Bangkok, just had a little walkaround to enjoy the weather while it lasts, ended up finding a few quirky things like an old man playing football for the entirety of the time I was there, as well as an entire outdoor gym.

Lunch time at last, after figuring out Bangkok’s 2nd rail system i’d arrive at the gigantic Siam Paragon – Which has one of the largest food areas i’ve ever seen, a full basement level with dozens of restaurants, tons of smaller gourmet food stands, and then a full food court as well (of which accepts their metro card for payment). I was lost in Siam Paragon multiple times, the first time I was lost trying to find something to eat because there was so much choice, and then later on lost again when I tried shopping because the department store is too damn big (I spent 20 minutes trying to find the exit).

Ended up having Hokkaido Cheese toast (super stringy and milky cheese inside a crisp butter toast) Beard papa custard cookie puff, and some mango sticky rice. I spent maybe half an hour running around connecting to every wifi hospot I could find, hoping to check in on Cordelia but I couldn’t find any free wifi anywhere, I even tried scavenging a receipt off a table to connect using the password but it wouldn’t work. I’d spend a few hours walking the shops and exploring, but didn’t end up buying anything as Siam Paragon seems to only have quite expensive shops – their womens floor is filled with designer labels, and their mens floor has shops with porsches and lamborghini’s in, so i’m guessing i’m not their target audience.

Headed back to the hotel at this point, to check in on gf and rest up for the remainder of the day (incase we decided to do the market again).
A nap later and we just ended up getting dinner, Cordelia still too sick to even eat so I ended up having 2 dinners.

Life – May 2017

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As usual, not too much to report… infact, struggling to think of anything noteworthy which happened this month.

Moving on up

Little to report, had my annual review which went pretty well, practically got a promotion and moved to the big boy desk with the other senior engineers. I miss hanging with the rest of my pit brothers, who are now a little further away but at least I am closer positioned to those whom I can actually ask for assistance.
We’ve had 2 new joiners recently, an entertaining young guy called Andrew who appears to be raised in the hood, and some other guy called Michael who only just turned up – seems friendly enough though. Had a nice little work social after a company meeting and the boss bought us burgers and beers which was nice of him – good little opportunity to just chill with colleagues and not have to answer any damn phones.

 

Farewell Cartoons

I finished up Gravity falls a week or two ago, and man, that show gets pretty crazy. I kind of wish it were longer and there was more Wendy but it was short and sweet, with just the right amount of plot and episodic content. If you haven’t seen it, it’s like 40 episodes and well worth your time. I think we finished up Gumball as well, which is a huge shame as I loved that series too, I can’t believe I romped through the whole 5 seasons or whatever in a month.

I’m on the look out for my next casual show – basically something I can watch in the background while i’m playing video games – I’ve given bobs burgers and Archer a try but honestly wasn’t too entertained by either, similarly Stephen universe seems a bit meh.
If you have any ideas on stuff i’d like, hit me up.
at the moment, i’m considering maybe Futurama or Teen Titans?

 

Phone game addiction

Ed introduced me to this dumb game called C.A.T.S by Zeptolab, which has turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable. Think robot wars but you select the parts and then the AI does the rest. Mostly RNG but surprisingly satisfying when you finally get some good loot and make something which just dominates the tournament you are participating in.

This month has also seen the introduction of the new builder bases in Clash of Clans, which i’m actually a really big fan of – The base is basically completely separate from your main base, and doesn’t get raided while you are away – only when you battle. The twist is that you will only get big money when you conquer other bases, and then game pairs you up 1v1 style to see who can wreck the other better. The main appeal for me is that your trophy score (MMR) actually influences your income, so you can actually just focus on designing a good base and beating other dudes, rather than playing the waiting game that is required in the ‘main’ game. Give it a try, you might find you enjoy it.

 

Cleaning up the backlog

Spent the last month mowing through some games i’ve had on my ‘to play’ list for a while –

Legend of Grimrock 2 , a 3d old school style DND dungeon crawler with lots of puzzles – 5/5
I actually loved the first game but never got around to finishing it, the 2nd game seems to expand upon the first by changing up the areas whilst still retaining the same great dungeon crawling and non-handholdy puzzle solving from the first game. Grimrock 2 actually takes it even further by throwing in a ton of riddles, buried chests, fake languages and tons of hidden walls. 5/5 for fans of dungeon crawlers and genuinely hard puzzles.

Steamworld Heist , a 2d turn based tactics game which plays out like a skill based XCOM.  – 5/5
SW Heist was a surprise for me, I expected it to be decent but what I got, I actually enjoyed more than all of the past XCOM games i’ve played, even though conceptually they are very similar. You run into the level, scout it out, hide behind cover and take shots at the enemy until they die – but the elements Heist introduces like Alarms, random loot and character specific perks really work well together to make the game thoroughly enjoyable for the 10-15 hours you spend with it. I’d actually say it’s just the right length too, with the campaign finishing off just as you start to lose interest. Must play if you enjoyed XCOM.

I also bought Black Desert Online which I’ve not played too much of yet, but that game seems absolutely insane in it’s scale. My main complaint right now is that I don’t actually have enough to fight as all of the enemies die too quick to my characters insanely flashy somersaults. I picked a dude who looks like a good looking version of Seymour from FFX, and plays like Gene from God Hand – If I press Q he does a shoryuken, and i’m pretty sure at high level he gets some form of Kamehameha.
The world seems gigantic, and there seems to be an absolute ton of economy stuff which i’ve not really scratched the surface of yet (something about buying nodes which produce resources, which you can trade with other towns, and assign your builders to work on or something?). It was £4 on steam and I think i recouped my costs in like the first sitdown I had with the game so, yeah.