Denmark – Day 3+4 – Town and Aquarium

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Day 3 basically turned out to be the wasted day, we were all exhausted from yesterday’s late night amusement park walk, and so didn’t leave the house until quite late. We went to a nearby buffet brunch place for food, which had a surprisingly large selection of cooked and cold foods, I took the opportunity to load up on meats as well as have some American style pancakes with syrup and crispy bacon – something we rarely find in the UK.

A short ride away by bus, we’d hit up our first attraction of the day – the Copenhagen planetarium, which turned out to be really small and fairly crap to be honest, thankfully our Copenhagen card covered the cost, and got us entry into an IMAX short film which they were showing, and that cinema screen was really impressive – being so big that you literally cannot see the edges, we were shown a short space/universe video being the ‘feature’ of an underwater south Pacific documentary about… God knows what (as it was entirely in Danish). We took the opportunity to take in the video and simultaneously have a bit of a nap.
I don’t think I actually got any pictures of the planatarium as it wasn’t anything too special, and the exhibits were fairly standard space fare

The rain was full whack by the time we got outside, and so after walking to town we stopped at a coffee shop for drink and some muffins. I tried getting some pictures of the city hall in rain but I don’t think they are going to come out very well. We’d spend a few hours wandering the streets and having a shop about, we also dropped back in to see the ship, as my brother really wanted to go in again. Come evening time, most of the attractions and shops were closing, seems Denmark isn’t renowned for it’s late night shopping – stuck for ideas for things to do, we’d end up going to a shopping centre just outside of central, as it’s one of the few places around that seemed to still be open after 5pm (even then, the shops were set to close at 8pm).

Nothing too special inside and so lack of photos, had some ribs for dinner, and then had a good walk around the shops. Everything in Denmark is really seriously expensive, the restaurant we went to (which wasn’t even a posh one) was charging £7 for soft drinks, and £2.50 for tap water, with almost all main courses being upwards of £15.

Nothing much to report, once the shops started closing at 8pm we headed back home to rest and begin to pack, as we are leaving the country tomorrow.

Day 4 – Den Blå Planet and departure

We spent the remainder of our time in Denmark at the National Aquarium, not really much to say here, they did have some sea otters which was cool. Have some pictures. grabbed a shuttle bus from the Aquarium to the airport, and then set off for our flight home.

 

Denmark – Day 2 – Palace, Castle, and Tivoli Gardens

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Yet another rainy day,, the forecast has predicted rain and grey skies all day already, so after using the hairdryer on my shoes for a bit, we set out to find some breakfast.

A bakery a few bus stops away would be our choice, a small selection of Danish pastries and some coffee by the canal seemed stereotypically Danish in our eyes. The chocolate whirl was particularly nice to dip into my morning coffee.

First major stop of the day was Christiansborg Palace, the city’s main palace right next to their Parliament building. We would wander the interior, kitchens and basement ruins for a while, as they are all already included with our Copenhagen card. The rain picked up while we were inside and so we had to wait for a bit before moving on. They made us wear essentially small plastic bags over our shoes as it was raining, I took some extra in hope that I may be able to avoid soggy socks again today, as I actually had to use the hair dryer on my shoes in the morning before we set out.

We wandered around for a bit afterwards, checking out the national library called the ‘The black diamond’ and some of the neighboring gardens. The library building was impressive, though there wasn’t really much to look at, definitely seems more geared towards the locals than the tourists., as a lot of the major areas are for library members only.  We’d head off to Torvahallerne next to try and some lunch, it was a fair walk again and the rain picked up mid walk, drenching me somewhat, the rain began to seep through my left shoe again…

Torvehallerne turned out to be a collection of two big greenhouse style buildings with a fresh market in between, the buildings specialising in normal and dessert style food respectively, unfortunately only a small portion of the shops would actually serve food fit for eating ‘now’ (personally I do not deem a leg of parma ham to be acceptable lunch – and honestly even if I did, I’d have to get a mortgage to buy the thing, because Denmark), and those that did were very expensive. We spied a shop with a grand selection of Smørrebrød and bought a few of them, the bill came to a painful amount considering we were essentially buying a small unfinished sandwiches (>£7 each). We did enjoy them at least, particularly the fish and meat ones, which were topped with hollandaise and picked veg respectively and were a small explosion of flavours.

15 minutes walk away was Rosenberg castle, which wasn’t really much of a castle at all, more of a ‘small’ residence for royalty, the surrounding gardens and grounds were arguably more impressive than the interior of the castle which was quite dark and gloomy, but unfortunately it was still raining and we didn’t feel like adding mud to our attire. We were practically falling asleep in the castle cafe afterwards, and so decided to head back for a bit of rest before continuing our exploration for today

An hour or two later, we’d set out again for the nearby ‘church of our Savior’ which turned out to actually be closed for some reason, so we’d end up standing around waiting for the bus for a while instead. The weather forecast for a nice change was predicting no more rain for the rest of the day, and so after a Steak dinner we headed for Tivoli Gardens – a late night theme park which is the second oldest running theme park in the world. Walt Disney allegedly got his inspiration for Disney whilst walking through Tivoli gardens, and I have to say, it really didn’t disappoint.

Having the park open til midnight makes for some beautiful changes from the typical amusement park, with plenty of lights and carnival games as well as the larger rides in the distance glowing in the sky. Genuinely one of the prettiest theme parks I’ve been to, though unfortunately we didn’t ride much as the prices were a bit extortionate (or just Danish) – with single rides being £10 per person per ride, or a wrist band being around £40 (though we arrived too late for the wrist band to have been worth it).

My brother desperately wanted to ride one of the spinners, called Vertigo – his girlfriend recommended it to him which obviously meant that not only he had to go, but I had to be dragged on. This was one of those long arm spinners where the carriages also free spin, mid way through the ride the machine ‘locks’ and rapidly accelerates, getting progressively faster each rotation.

The attendant told us the ride reaches 60MPH / 100KMH and submits 5G’s – for reference, astronauts in a space shuttle are hit with 3G’s on launch. I already thought the ride was going fast after the 2nd acceleration, it would proceed to do so another 3 times – by round 4 my stomach fat was being pushed back to my back and hurting, by round 5 I was experiencing a loss of peripheral and colour vision, this ride is no joke. Theres are plenty of vids on youtube (speedup starts around 1:30) but I promise it looks more ridiculous in person.

Back on the ground after sitting for a bit to recover from my nausea, we’d finish off the remainder of the park and then come back towards the entrance where a live gig had kicked off, nobody we knew unfortunately as he was singing in Danish, but apparently the band – ‘TV-2’ is one of the biggest in Denmark – we quite enjoyed one of their songs , very catchy. The crowd was certainly impressive and made moving around pretty hard, the live music could be heard from most of the inner part of the park, so we continued exploring a little before heading back around midnight.

Denmark – Day 1 – Paper Island, Nyhavn, and Strange things

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So, super early start today, getting up for the airport at 4:30am for a flight around 7am.

Nothing particularly noteworthy about the flight, though I did accidentally try to smuggle on some scissors (I thought I had lost them, apparently they were in my luggage), the bag search lady was not too impressed.

We arrived in Copenhagen a little before midday local time, grabbed the train to Amegebro (or something like that? We actually memorised it as ‘I’m a gay bro’) and met up with our Airbnb host. The accommodation is decently sized and the beds are super soft and foamy (not sure if this is a good thing or not yet), the only real downside of the flat is that you need to walk up like 6 stories worth of stairs to get to the front door (75 steep steps)

After dropping our stuff off and having a quick rest, we were quickly off to Paper island, which has Copenhagen food street area – a covered ex warehouse or similar, huge location filled with just about every type of cuisine – the family split up and brought back a selection of nice food to the table, which turned out to be a pulled pork burger, a duck burger, some chicken… Thing, and some Korean fried chicken. All pretty good, no complaints here aside from the price, which was pretty high (though, unfortunately, just normal for Copenhagen, with all dishes in the food street costing over £10 and into the 15 range).

After eating our fill, we headed to Nyharvn – the scenic canal with colourful houses that you have probably seen in postcards or on social media feeds, it is the most distinctly Copenhagen thing that I am aware of. We would hunt around there for a little bit looking for a riverboat tour of the canals.

We found the riverboat tour after some searching around, it had been raining pretty much all day and so we were initially thankful to have a riverboat with a glass ceiling, at least we would be able to rest and stay dry for a bit after the long walk from the food street. Unfortunately the glass walls and roof weren’t fantastic at letting us actually see the sights the tour guide was pointing out, and the open air segment of the boat was crowded and wet – coupled with the fact that we had all been up since 4AMish, all of us actually ended up dozing off for some of the ride.

After disembarking the boat, we set off down one of the more lively looking streets, filled with shops and bustle – we’d spot a huge church down one of the side roads, and went to investigate…
The church was actually St Nikolaj church, though the inside was no longer being used for prayer, having been stripped down of everything heavenly and being replaced by… Something significantly stranger..

Denmark was about to get weird.

After flashing our Copenhagen cards to gain entry (tourist card) we would be greeted by a pure white church interior, some strange mouldings on the floor, and a very odd corridor looking like something from an Alien space station – there was very loud and ominous music blasting throughout the church, like industrial noises mixed with higher pitched organ soundings… It genuinely sounded like something from a horror film soundtrack. Going through the corridor would eventually lead to a staircase to upper floors, with the top one having bloodied lab coats and metallic railings and boat blueprints scattered around.. Meanwhile on the ground level, coloured polygon shapes were embedded in the ground, some emitting sounds or smoke… The staff were all dressed in lab coats as well. The whole thing felt like some sort of bizarre experiment, and I was half expecting the staff to stop us from leaving until we solved the puzzle, I’m sure a talented game dev could create a video game out of what we saw in there.

After being thoroughly baffled, we’d head back down the road and come across ‘the round tower’ (actually called that, how original), finally a more normal and traditional sightseeing structure. The interior was just a giant screw tapering, going all the way to the top where you could eventually get a 360 view of Copenhagen, there was also a hole down the middle of the entire tower, which would allow you to see all the way down from the top to the Base, complete with glass floor you can stand on – I opted not to.

And then things got weird again.

One of the side doors in the tower lead to a different ‘art’ exhibit, with floating halos and… This… Thing.
In similar fashion to the ‘ship’ we had seen earlier, this exhibit was also blasting the most ominous freaky horror film soundtrack you’ve ever heard, it would have felt right at home as part of ‘The Grudge’ or similar scary flick – the end of the room had curtains leading to a near pitch black partition with a movie screen showing… I’m not entirely sure what it was showing, but the noises and ‘music’ were freaky enough to make you not want to stick around long enough to find out.

You can check the freaky music in the exhibit below

We would head back to the flat afterwards, stopping by a Danish supermarket and shopping centre first – resting up, and then heading back out to a tiny 2 table Italian restaurant called Pasta House, there wasn’t much to eat around our Airbnb flat, with majority of the restaurants in Copenhagen apparently closing at 8 or 9pm, so were kind of happy to just be able to find somewhere to eat. I didn’t get any pictures of the inside but this was a real one man band kind of deal, with strange decoration and only enough seating for maybe 6 people, regulars would come and chat with the boss while he cooked, and then the food was rather strangely served up in one of those metal oven takeaway dishes, really not much to look at, but the food was reasonable at least.

 

Life – August 2017

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Ooooh. Almost missed a month.

Feels like it’s been ages since my last post but still technically under a month (is that good?! oh how my standards have slipped)

1/6 of Guyhouse is now married

So we’ve had our first university marriage, playboy Adam was the first and went ahead and got married in St Pauls in London. The ceremony was nice, followed by some very organized lining up to throw confetti and stuff – clearly all very meticulously planned. We weren’t special enough to be invited for food though and so majority of my group ended up in a pub somewhere to chill for a few hours. Which actually turned out to be really nice, had a lovely Korean inspired burger before eventually returning to the party to watch the dancing and further eating at the evening venue.

Television

Holy crap that game of thrones finale though, if you aren’t watching GoT you should probably consider doing that, at least you will be able to join in on the office conversation. Other than GoT, the third season of Rick and Morty has been a great watch and is more of the same.
In terms of anime, I’ve only really been watching Ballroom e youkoso (Welcome to the Ballroom) and ‘In a fantasy world with my smartphone’ which is semi trash but entertaining enough to be watched during dinnertime.

Poor attempts at socializing

Haven’t really been out too much this month, and the social encounters I have been to have been with Cordelia’s friends.
We were invited to a rather nice BBQ towards the start of the month, the sort of couple that buys finest range burgers (aka. the good shit) – they are clearly aiming to buy their way into our hearts and i’ll be damned if it didn’t work. I wish I had brought more corncobs though, BBQ corncobs are the best.
Of interesting note, spied a steelbook copy of Persona 5 in their games room, I think we can be friends.
The bank holiday weekend just went, we met up with another one of Cordelias friends, a nice girl called Laura who i’ve allegedly met before, she turned out to be way nerdier than expected, the kind of normie person that doesn’t reveal their full power level until comfortable in their surroundings – conversation went from travel to chocobos over the course of a few hours as we got to know each other a little better.
Oh, we met up for cakes at ‘Lanka’ around Finchley road in London – a french dessert bakery with a Japanese head chef, the cakes we had were delicious and oh so very instagrammable, a slight shame about the price though which made my wallet cry. I’d recommend it though, their website is here – http://www.lanka-uk.com/

The Vidya

I’m more or less finished with Yakuza 0 at last, and by that I mean i’m nowhere near close to 100% but I think i’ve cleared as much as i’m willing to clear without slogging through additional content for trophies and dumb shit. Just in time for the sequel then? I ordered Yakuza Kiwami today – £23 for a brand new game didn’t seem too bad to me, i’m basically going to pretend it’s just DLC for Yakuza 0, and i’m totally okay with this, because I loved the main story and substories of the prequel. Seems a great time for me to become a fan of the series as well, as Yakuza 6, Kiwami 2, and a Fist of the North star spinoff have all recently been announced. Hell yeah.

I started up Final Fantasy 15 over the long weekend and have enjoyed what i’ve played so far, it does kind of feel a bit MMOish though, ferrying my car between quest markers and hunting monsters with the sole purpose of turning them in for some money. I’m only at Chapter 3 so far and unlocked the chocobos last night, I wonder if it will branch out more as we go – kind of like how FF13 was in tutorial mode for essentially the first half of the game.

Pretty hype for the new Rainbow 6 content next week, the new operators look awesome and honestly i’ve been kind of waiting for it so that game can suck me back in all over again. I still wish I had more people to play with though, the few moments where you really coordinate with team via voice chat, spot for each other etc is so good.

I tried Town of Salem the other week, a pretty fun variant on the werewolf game you may or may not have played in a real life party scenario. It adds an absurd amount of roles, almost too many even, but it’s a great bit of fun if you have 20 minutes to burn during lunch – you can play it from a browser window as well so you can probably play it from the office – did I mention it’s free? http://www.blankmediagames.com/

Back to the gym

So oddly, after playing through Yakuza 0 (and probably at least somewhat influenced by all of my colleagues going to the gym and talking about it every day) I felt a huge urge to hit the gym and get a body like Kiryu – I suppose when you spend 50 hours watching a buff dude punch people in the face and get topless for boss battles, you kind of just want to join in the fun. And thus I’ve joined the Easygym near my workplace – I’ve only been going for a few weeks so far, and honestly, every day since I’ve joined that gym, is pain.
I don’t know if i’m just going WAY too hard or what, but holy shit the DOMS (muscle soreness) is absurd.
The first week I was struggling to put on a seatbelt or scratch my head after doing triceps
Second week I came into work looking like I had been hit by a car – my inner thighs took such a beating that it took a week to recover…
And today… well, i’m not sure yet, but i’d almost guarantee my arms are going to be a real state tomorrow morning, because i’m already struggling to lift my elbows enough to type. I’ve actually had to get an additional pillow to sit on, just so that my arms are naturally higher and it’s easier to type.
I only hope that i’m burning off the calories i’m eating, because since I started working out, I’ve had an insatiable appetite.

Life – July 2017

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What a fast month. and what a lack of blog posts as usual!

Cordelia

So, the question i’ve probably been asked most the last month or two is ‘how is Cordelia’, and the answer is she is still recovering, we are going into 2 months later now, and I really kind of hoped she would be 100% again by now, but she’s not quite there yet, though a whole lot better than a month ago. She can get by on her own now, just not quite fast and strong enough to go back to work yet.

 

Gavin’s Graduation

So gavin graduated this week, and it’s been crazy to think that he is functionally supposed to be a real adult now. The ceremony itself was every bit as boring as I remember my own being, but actually they seemed to be much less organized and have less festivities than I remember – I at the very least remember gathering with everyone from my course to do the celebratory hat throw picture, but that didn’t seem to be the case for Gavin, whose thing was pretty much get gown, take picture, get cert and then give back gown and gtfo.

 

Gaming

So I caved and grabbed a PS4, a small reward for having to put up with a shitty quarter.
So glad I did, for the money, the amount of fun i’ve had with this thing is great – shoutouts to Grant for allowing me to access his library.
Persona 5 is pretty much everything I hoped for and more, and Yakuza 0 has been a massive surprise which i’ve also been enjoying.
I’ve still got a copy of FF15 on my table that I haven’t even started, and of course a bunch of other titles which i’ve been wanting to play for a while but not had a chance to – Disgaea5 is on my shopping list, as well as Horizon0D and a bunch of PS3 classics which I missed out on (TLOU, Heavy Rain, etc).

 

Other stuff

This season’s anime is mostly trash… I think…. Though honestly i’ve been struggling to keep up or find any time to watch anything, because i’ve been playing Persona 5 so obsessively.

 

I grabbed a water flosser thing from amazon – basically a handheld water jet that you use to spray inbetween your teeth, it makes a right old mess, here’s hoping it helps, because I think maybe all of my teeth have metal in them now….

 

We have booked a holiday to Copenhagen (Denmark), just a short one, but a good chance to get out there and take some pictures and enjoy the holiday I didn’t get previously. I think I still have 5 annual leave days left, so may plan another small Europe trip at some point…

 

Went to see how much I would be able to borrow for a Mortgage the other day, they said the maximum they can lend is only £130k, which is pretty good! Think of all of the fantastic places I could afford to live in. Not sure what my next plan of action is, guess i’m going to have to just sit around and hope my crypto explodes in value or something.

 

Went to my good friend Nash’s wedding a few weeks ago, I had never been to an african wedding before so I didn’t really know what to expect other than that there would maybe be some fried chicken (there was, by the way). It was a lovely wedding though with significantly more singing and praising than I expected, nonetheless we had fun and am glad we went. Was a bit of a surprise to see that there was actually no alcohol throughout, stark comparison to the next wedding i’m going to (a white one) which is already talking about alcohol just on the paper invitation. Nash if you are reading this, wishing you all the best.

 

Saw Spiderman Homecoming yesterday, pretty decent film, though the scripwriting was a little bit too on point – the characters are meant to be 14-15 year olds, and the things they say and the way they act really does feel like they are kids, little egotistic know-it-all teenage kids. I was kind of rooting for the villain for half the film and cheered a little when Stark told him off for being a dumb kid.

Also saw Beauty and the beast (remake) and that was better than expected, I look forward to seeing what they do with the Mulan remake.

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.

Life – April 2017

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Wow so uh, it’s the end of April already and really nothing much happened.

Bank Holiday Super weekend

I took great advantage of the double bank holidays by taking some annual leave, 4 days of leave resulted in 10 days off in a row which was pretty damn nice.
Not that I did much productive of course, we went up north to Birmingham to see my brother who is finishing off his degree, chilled at my family home for a few days and then basically spend the rest of the time off at home watching lots of TV and playing video games.

Since then the weeks have really flown by without much noteworthy happening, the days have been long as we’ve been kind of understaffed from people on leave.

 

Video games!

Over the bank holiday week I picked up and basically mowed through the entirety of Dark Souls 3, taking my ungifted character from Gundyr to the soul of cinder in around 22 hours – Which is actually pretty damn fast as non-speedrun Dark Souls 3 runs go, I had previously played through up to Pontiff in Irithyll of the Boreal Valley so everything pre ‘that’ was kind of in my head somewhere but I couldn’t quite remember how stuff went – Prime example was that dude with the gold rings which was like “im sure something bad happens if I’m close but…”.

Other than DS3, I’ve recently picked up Heroes of the Storm again after it’s 2.0 update, which has made the game much more approachable, and is very rewarding for new players right now – the big thing is that added loot chests for every level of progression, and they have given out 20 free heroes (for comparison, I had 2 before this update). I forgot how enjoyable HOTS was, and as they have doubled the amount of characters since I last played, there is plenty of new content for me to see and play.

Speaking of new content, Factorio also recently had it’s 15.0 update, which added tons of new stuff like Nuclear power plants, and changed up and rebalanced some older stuff – as a side effect the game is now effectively maybe double the length it used to be – which is fantastic for those who love to build gigantic sprawling bases. The below picture is me after maybe 20 hours into a new game.

 

Cartoons

Did I mention that I was watching The amazing world of Gumball? I picked it up randomly last month maybe after seeing this short clip on Reddit – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rQPdWwv3k8
T
he show is genuinely funny and has an incredibly interesting and unique world and art style, the tone is ridiculous whilst not being childish and similar to the previous clip, the show often feels like it’s targeting adults over kids. If you are interested, i’d recommend maybe watching a few episodes in Season 3 to see if you like it, before checking Season 1 or 2 – as the later seasons are definitely better in their humour and direction.

I also recently picked up Gravity Falls, as I was looking for something easy to follow with English spoken language, so that I could watch it in the background while playing Factorio. Whilst not as funny as Gumball, the show definitely has a certain charm to it, and I’ve been enjoying it as a background show with it’s strange stories. The screenshot below is taken from an episode where he essentially accidentally summons Ryu.

 

 

Anime: What you should be watching this season – Spring 2017

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Okay so, Upon watching most of the things this season, I have come to the conclusion that near everything is trash.

Real talk, there are maybe 2 or 3 new shows that i’ll be following this season, which is super low for me.
Thankfully there are at least some 2nd seasons to very good shows this season – Attack on Titan Season 2 is shaping up to be super interesting already, and My Hero Academia returns for a 2nd season as well.

Least worst of the bunch:

This is actually in the show.

Eromanga Sensei
7 – This seasons ‘I hate onii-chan show’, with manga writing big brother and erotic artist little sister

 

Sakura Quest
6 – This season’s PA Works anime, about a useless girl sent to the countryside to become a tourism ambassador. First episode was ok

 

Renai Boukun
7 – ‘Kiss Note’, whoever’s names are written will fall in love. And by the end of the first episode we already have a harem love triangle thing happening, including a Yuri sis-con, a Yandere and an idiot character. It’s literal trash, but i’ll be damned if it isn’t entertaining trash.

 

Everything else is kind of trash:

Hinako Note
6 – Opening and ending videos consist of adorable anime preteens dancing and making kawaii uguu faces =^_^= , also one of the girls looks suspiciously like konata from lucky star. Shy girl from the country moves to the big city and wants to start a theatre troupe with her friends. Seems to have some potential if you are into cute girls doing cute things.

Tsuki ga Kirei
6 – High school romance show, about a shy boy and girl. Very vanilla and quite realistic so far, which is a good thing because so help me if they get magical sword powers by episode 2.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho (Grimoire of Zero)
6 – Perpetually hunted manbeast meets powerful loli mage. They team up to be persecuted together. Seems watchable, if not particularly new or innovative.

Sagrada Reset
5 – Has potential maybe, town where everyone has powers. One boy has 100% memory, whilst another girl can rewind time up to 3 days. From there they solve crimes or something I think. Episode 2 was kind of dull though,otherwise I might have rated it higher.

Rokudenashi Majitsu Koushi to akashic records
4 – Useless teacher in a magic school. Kind of painful to watch such an irritating character take centre stage, the shows only saving grace is that the school uniforms appeal to a wide range of fetishes

Tsugumomo
4 – Japanese deity comes saves schoolboy and lives with him, probably goes shows up in his class as a transfer student in episode 2. That sort of show.

Sekaisuru Kado
4 – Stories of an “Ace Negotiator”, whatever that means. First episode kind of boring, not sure where it’s going to go.

Fukumenkei Noise
4 – Kind of dull school music/romance story? Has a really awful animation style where the main character ‘sings’ with this face :O and it totally doesn’t match.

Clockwork Planet
4 – A planet made from clockwork, though it looks suspiciously like normal japan but with androids and a strange fixation on gear based furniture. It’s a sudden girl appearance at it’s core, with an extra helping of generic battle show.

Re-Creators
3 – Reverse ‘teleported into a video game’ story, with characters from an Anime teleported into the real world. They still have powers though. First impressions were not very good…

Granblue Fantasy
3 – Generic fantasy show based on mobile game. Interesting character design but not a whole lot else.

Gin no Guardian
2 – Not a goddamn clue. Superpowered schoolkid show again? It tried doing some strange storytelling stuff and I wasn’t interested enough to pay attention so I have no idea if they showed 2 separate shows cut up, or if the schoolboy is somehow linked to the superpower dude fighting monsters in an apocalyptic world.

Kabukibu
1 – “lets make a school club based on crossdressing men who wear makeup and perform theatre”. I’ll be honest I couldn’t be bothered to hit 50% of ep 1.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine
1 – “Royal Tutor”, show about some shorty who gets appointed to be the tutor for 5 handsome but asshole princes who all have bad attitudes and annoying quirks, Wasn’t really funny or very entertaining so i’m not sure if it’s a bad comedy or boring serious show. MIght be targeting women?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crystal Maze!

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We did the crystal maze in london yesterday, we actually booked it LAST april because it was sold out for absolutely ages.

The experience itself was great fun, a 90 minute reimagine of the 90’s gameshow.

194

Whilst in the maze, the game actually runs concurrently with 3 other teams – so each team is in a zone at a time, and then every X minutes the music kicks in and everyone runs screaming through the halls to the next zone and the teams kind of rotate – it also means at the end you are pitted against all of the other teams.

Our maze master was quirky and entertaining, but obviously the stars of the show was our team itself, which were at times quite painful to watch, especially in the games where you couldn’t assist in any way. Our team of 8 managed a sad 7 crystals out of 17 games….

Me: XO
Luke: XXX
Chris: XX
Alice: XO

Ronak: XO
Ed: XO
Ian: OO
Matt: XO

The zones and games themselves were similar to those in the show, only with a little less impressive decoration and many of the rooms were relatively small.
The two games I got to play, the first involved throwing a ball around from below and above was a maze which only my teammates could see, the second was like a typical escape game style scenario involving searching around a room using a blacklight – unfortunately didn’t clear this one as  I just couldn’t find the UV writing in good time.

A selection of some of the other games we had to play include:
Guiding Luke through a laser maze while he was blindfolded
Watching Chris struggle to assemble an electrical circuit
Watching Alive solve a murder mystery to find the correct key and lockbox
Watching Ronak last 10 seconds before getting locked in with the physical game
Laughing at Ian as he rolled inside a giant tube to transport Cannonballs across a room

Right at the end of the evening, you all get herded into a room with loud music and an announcer and get to see the other teams and how many crystals they grabbed, everyone cheers for each other and it all feels very gameshow in the best kind of way. Then you everyone takes turns to go into the crystal dome and do the paper grabbing. We actually got the least amount of crystals in our timeslot, with the other teams getting 8, 10 and 12 respectively

It was fucking frantic in there, everyone crowded round the mailbox flailing their arms trying to grab at gold paper, literally peeling it off my face to put into the box. They announced the winners afterwards and we actually grabbed the 2nd highest amount of tickets, though allegedly some of us cheated rofl. There were no actual prizes, and honestly it was hilarious to come 2nd when the other groups beat us in crystals.

All in all a fantastic night, though I wish I got to play more of the games myself – unfortunately a lot of it is watching other people struggle, but it’s a team game at the end of the day, and really makes me think that I need to get down to one of those escape rooms again sometime. It was a little bit expensive for the length of time that it lasted, though I can kind of see why because it’s not easy work to coordinate and the maze masters really put a lot of effort in to make the experience fun (not to mention all the staff you see sneaking around in the background trying to reset the puzzles without you noticing).

http://the-crystal-maze.com/ 

Life – March 2017

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Getting my moneys worth

So my company recently introduced a kind of rewards thing called Perkbox, which gives me access to tons of money off things, percentage discount on groceries, near half off on cinema tickets and stuff like that. Which is really just as well because i’ve been getting completely shit on in terms of my finances lately. After booking plane tickets to Thailand/Taiwan early last month and then car insurance due this weekend, i’ve basically wiped out an entire months paycheck without much to show for it. I’ve actually recently applied for a cashback credit card, and am hoping to start using more of those cashback websites and things like that to try and save a bit more money where I can – in the hopes it all makes a difference in the long run (I imagine it will, 5% off all food shopping is sure to add up over a year).

 

Employee of the month

So as a nice little bonus from work, I got £100 amazon gift card the other week, which is a pretty nice gesture and pat on the back for myself. I consistently close the most tickets per week and so I guess this is his way of tiding me over before I start asking for a payrise. One of the sales guys actually came over while I was eating lunch and was like ‘I hear you hold the helpdesk record’ so i’m not entire sure what my manager has been saying about me, but I’ve had little comments from the directors and managers so it’s good to know im in a better spot than my previous job with the thankless Barton Technology (who appear to have downsized even more since I left).

 

28th Birthday

It was my birthday at the end of last month, and whilst work was fairly uneventful, the girlfriend spoiled me a little in the evening and we stuffed ourselves with five guys and then watched the relentless John Wick Chapter 2 – which was more or less just Keanu Reeves shooting people in the face for 90 minutes or so (with the remainder being a montage of him picking out guns and getting a tailored suit). I got a backpack, a boardgame called Pentago (looks like a mindfucky version of connect 4) and some video games.

 

RIP headset

My old Corsair HS1 headset started to die on me mid month, with sound only coming out through one ear unless I whip the cable around for 5 minutes. I checked my warranty only to find that I had actually been using the headset for around 5 years before it packed up. Playing R6 Siege and only being able to hear through 1 ear was a real headache so I ended up just biting the bullet and buying a new one (even though I really would have rather not this month).
I picked up the Corsair Void Wireless headset, which was a little on the expensive side, but i’ve kind of been wanting a wireless headset for a while now and so the extra £30 seemed like a reasonable investment for the freedom of movement and insurance that I won’t tread all over the cable or trip on the cable and fuck up my USB ports (again).

 

Bitcoin is still terrifying

So remember how I bought Bitcoin and it was going up £40 per day? This is what happened later that week (Note that I bought in at around £840 per)

Now, I don’t know if any of you guys have tried your hand at investment (particularly when investing thousands of pounds) but seeing your investment a few weeks later suddenly seeing your investment plummet is not fantastic for mental health. Thankfully, the prices have since recovered and hit an all time high (it actually hit £1000 per unit for the first time ever earlier today) but the thought that if I had waited 2 weeks before buying I could have functionally gained an extra £800 is kind of sad. Oh well, if r/bitcoin is anything to go by, it’ll all be small fry in a few years. (Dudes on there are saying it’ll be worth $3k to £10k in 3 years, but I highly doubt that)

Life – February 2017

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Been a while huh.

Kind of depressing how boring and routine life becomes after you finish uni and get a ‘proper’ job.
Here are some things that happened.

 

Holiday Booked!

We’ve booked another Holiday! Come June we’ll be heading back to Bangkok, Thailand for a week, before jetting over to Taipei, Taiwan for a week as well. More excited than expected for Bangkok considering i’ve already been there once and seen most of the major sites, but the thought of being able to indulge in all of the authentic thai food really makes me salivate – Mango sticky rice and Spicy Papaya salad are definitely must haves before you die.
Taiwan will be completely new to me, the rest of my family went last year without me, and so i’m sure they’ll be giving me lots of advise on things to do and eat, i’ve heard there are plenty of night markets there and they love their street food. Just the other month I got to try taiwanese style fried chicken and it was pretty damn good – a full butterfly chicken breast bigger than your face, fried up with panko style crumb and sprinkled with a spicy seasoning. Oh, obviously it’s also the birthplace of Bubble Tea!

 

Cordelia’s Birthday

Went out for the girlfriend’s birthday where she got drunk, was definitely an exercise in social interaction, as out of the 20 or so people that turned up, I only knew a small handful of them (and by that i mean, met once or twice, tops). The night was planned to be a pub crawl, but obviously we ended up spending the entire 4 or 5 hours in one pub. I got her one of those Brita water filter bottles as well as a 2 player board game called ‘Hive’, which is supposedly like an abstract version of Chess featuring insect hexagons.

 

Diet and Fitness revival

So once again, went home for the weekend and stepped on the scale to find I had gained 3/4 of a stone somehow. Probably from eating shitloads of junk food while living on my own, because lets be real, it’s way easier to do chicken strips and fries (and they taste amazing) than it is to make a salad or healthy meal.
I tried doing low carb for a little while, but then I realised I have no idea how to do that and my body just gravitates towards unhealthy shit naturally – I was on a strange diet of salad followed by a quarter roll of biscuits. Over the last week or so i’ve started being stricter, going for practically keto again, and starting up a fitness plan of push ups, planks and jogging.
I’ve never really been good at jogging or anything paced, I can sprint pretty damn well – and used to do the 100m dash back in school for sports days, but any of the ‘races’ that involved more than 200m were basically hopeless for me. Starting last week was painful, I didn’t realise that jogging works your thighs so hard, my route is only 0.6mi (1km) but I was honestly struggling to do half of it without having a hernia, today however seemed to be a bit of a breakthrough, somehow managed to jog the whole thing in one go before practically dying at my doorstep for a minute or two.

 

Resident Evil 7 is not a Resi game

Thanks to good friend GrantDN, and some other friends helping to spur me on through the scariest segments of the game, managed to push through and complete Resi7 in 8.5 Hours. it was a great game, honestly very scary and atmospheric, fantastic visually, good sound effects. The last 1/3 started to drag a little bit, and you can tell they definitely front-loaded all of the best parts of the game in terms of atmosphere and detail, but nonetheless it was a satisfying ride and tense from start to finish. My main complaint is that outside of the inventory and item selection, it’s not really a resident evil game at all, though I suppose one could argue that everything past code veronica falls into the same category. I’m actually kind of upset that it wasn’t an original game as I think they could have done more with it, and the way they try to tack it on to the resi universe just felt forced and lame (spoilers: hardly any reference to umbrella, existing characters or the universe). It’s a massive shame that Silent Hills was cancelled because judging by RE7, that game would have been terrifying.

 

Farmville V2

Did I talk about stardew valley here yet? Goddamn that game was addictive. I picked it up over christmas because I had nothing to play on my laptop, and quickly ended up dumping a shitload of hours into it. The progression, exploration and just generally all the things you can do in that game is awesome, and while it can start to get repetitive eventually, sticking with it for another few hours usually provides the next item you require to trivialise whatever was slowing you down previously. Strongly recommend, and honestly if I had played it during 2016 it might have made my 2016 list – or at least I would have had more content to make a top 10 instead of top 5.

 

Other Games

Still playing a ton of R6 siege, and actually just bought the Year 2 season pass, that game has so many layers of depth and i’ve clocked so many hours already that I think i can justify spending the extra £20. Also I got the most badass C4 kill the other day, randomly throwing it onto the roof and exploding it and getting a kill. Hopefully didn’t get reported for it, because I genuinely just took a guess and stuck it to the ceiling.

Got to play ABZU the other day as my brother gifted me a copy (think he got a spare in humble monthly), really nice game, though i’m not sure it’s worth the hype it got. For 90 minutes though it’s an incredibly beautiful ride.

Picked up Disgaea 2 PC as well while it was on launch sale, I played it a little bit on the PSP I think but I don’t actually think I ever got very far – either on PSP or original PS2.

What you should be watching this season – Winter 2016/17

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Small but solid collection of decent shows this season, or maybe i’m just getting lazier in terms of watching and filtering the trash.

 

QT Vampire Tier

Interviews with monster girls (Demi-chan wa Kataritai)

Featuring a teacher in a school with a bunch of demi-human girls and his journey to learn more about them – a vampire, a dullahan, a succubus and a snow woman. Comedy with a touch of harem and featuring some adorable schoolgirls. Definitely recommend giving the first episode a watch at least to see if you like it.

 

Also worth watching I suppose

 

Little Witch Academia

Think anime harry potter but with more emphasis on comedy, and animated by studio trigger. Little witch academia is a joy to watch, just like the films which precede it. Each episode seems pretty self contained as well, if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

Masamune-Kun’s Revenge

A former fatty gets buff and decides to take revenge on a girl who broke his heart, by seducing her only to break her heart back.
That description actually makes this show sound way more hardcore than it actually is.

 

Scum’s Wish (Kuzu no Honkai)

A rather dark and serious romantic drama – saying much more would be telling, but it’s lewd and way more serious than I thought it would be. Best to go in blind.

 

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

As bad as this show sounds, with it’s plotline of ‘a dragon which becomes a maid’, this show is actually surprisingly entertaining and adorable. Won’t be winning any awards, but quite enjoyable to throw on in the background.

 

 

Reminder: Konosuba Season 2 is airing as well.

A terrifying foray into Bitcoin

posted in: blog | 0

So a close friend of mine works at a Bitcoin casino and one day around new years he mentions to me that Bitcoin was on track to hit $1000 USD per BTC.

One long shit and a shower later, I started doing some serious research into bitcoin value and how it all works,

This is what looks like, it was actually around 450 USD mid 2016, and then suddenly it practically explodes and skyrockets.
What caused it I wondered, and then remembered. Trump.

So if the graph looks like this and Trump isn’t even officially in the whitehouse yet… what will happen when he actually starts making changes?
This coupled with similar worries about our own country in regards to brexit and a british pound which could crumble if Theresa May waves her arm too hard, and it got me thinking that I should maybe invest in some bitcoins before it’s too late.

Breaking into the market was terrifying, my friend hooked me up with some reading material https://bitcasino.io/bitcoin-info which was a massive help in finding out where to grab coins from, however without knowing anyone who had actually been down that route, I was somewhat on my own to find out, and finding out in this game means risking some big money.

After reading some reviews I ended up on Kraken.com which is apparently legit, the only problem is that the only way to buy the coins is to transfer money… to luxemborg. Couple this with the fact that it was Sunday before the bank holiday, and the fact it takes 1-5 days for the funds to reach and be registered on the website, and i’m actually sitting here £510 out of pocket, with money in the ether somewhere between international banks and nothing to show for it. I’m hopeful that the money will go through fine and i’ll eventually be able to do something on the Kraken, but sitting and checking the bitcoin value every day was driving me crazy – the value was still skyrocketing and would go up £20 while I slept, I needed something faster if i was to properly capitalise on this opportunity.

I dug around a little bit more and had a peek at Bitstamp and Coinbase, but didn’t end up going too far with either.

Back to work on the Tuesday, and I realised I did know someone who had purchased bitcoin after all…
One of my colleagues had to buy some on behalf of a company who had fallen foul to some nasty ransomware – the cost of the ransom was something like 3 or 5 BTC. I asked him where he got it from and he recommended me to the site i’m now using – Localbitcoins.com

This website was shockingly easy to use compared to Kraken and Bitstamp, both of which required pictures of your ID, proof of address and so on, localbitcoins you trade with other users rather than with the website and so each of the traders will have their own requirements – some of them want you to have X amount of previous trades, a certain amount of reputation or a selfie with ID. I found what appears to be a pretty trustworthy group of traders who work for bitbroker.co.uk who only required a selfie to be able to trade with any of their members. It also allegedly has buyer protection, essentially taking the bitcoin from the seller and giving buyers advantage in terms of safety.

The first transaction was the scariest, though I wouldn’t say any of them were particularly enjoyable to take part in.
Clicking the buy button takes you to a chat screen where they basically send their bank info for you to pay into (direct bank transfer between UK banks) and then you click a button to say you’ve sent the money and then… you wait… and pray…
The first transaction I didn’t know whether to hit the button which says ‘i’ve paid’ – scared that If i hit the button and wasn’t meant to, that it’d flag to the site and close the transaction as complete , turns out the trader had already released the bitcoin by the time I mustered the courage to push the button and so it was no problem though.

I performed multiple transactions with the group, all went off without a hitch, and now I have some bitcoins.It’s a very strange concept knowing you’ve sent off thousands of pounds to another bank account to be awarded with a single digit number.

Here’s hoping my investment pays off,
If things go sour, I won’t be too upset, after all without risk there is no reward.

 

Of interesting note, During the window which I was buying yesterday, the price fluctuated £10
I woke up today and it had gone up £40
I went to work, came home, and it had gone up another £40

If I had somehow bought 10 BTC on the first day, I would be literally £1000 richer only 4 days later – not far off from a months wage after tax.

The best PC games of 2016

posted in: Games, Highlights, top 10 | 1

Notable PC games this year: Overwatch, Dark Souls 3, Owlboy, Stardew Valley, Battlefield 1, The Witness, Inside, Dishonored 2, Gears of War 4, Titanfall 2, DOOM, Abzu, Planet Coaster, Hitman, SUPERHOT, Overcooked, The Division, Zero Escape 3: ZTD, Mirrors Edge Catalyst, COD Infinite, Steep, Quantum Break, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Firewatch, Civilization 6, Darkest Dungeon, Thumper, Dead rising 4, Oxenfree, Watch Dogs 2, Street fighter 5

 

Top 5 Games of the Year

5. Battlerite

How the hell did this sneak on here?
I may have mentioned before that when I bought Battlerite a few months ago, I literally set a timer so I could decide whether or not to refund it just before the 2 hour mark. I’m now at 61 hours or so, which is more than everything else on this list. It’s a MOBA arena game which just manages to do everything pretty well – Any complaints of ‘not enough characters’ and ‘shit cosmetics’ will almost certainly be resolved later on down the line, as will the ‘high’ price tag of £15.

 

4. Planet Coaster

It has been X years since Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, and naturally we were itching for a modern release (as, let’s be honest, RCT3 was pretty barebones in terms of 3d graphics). Then just at the right time, along comes Planet Coaster, with all of it’s gorgeous visuals, it’s curved paths, it’s ‘how fucking many?’ Rollercoaster types and practically infinite ways to decorate your park and shops (provided you have the time). Aside from optimization and maybe some more variation in shops/rides, it’s hard to really think what else could be improved on in Planet Coaster as far as single player experiences go.

 

3. Zero Escape 3: Zero Time Dilemma

Kotaro Uchikoshi does it again. Whilst not quite on the same level as it’s predecessors, ZE3 has some great puzzling, and interesting branching story. Best of all, even though you know there is some weird shit going on, the revelation moment will still manage to catch you off guard and give you that holy shit moment. I have to say though that eric in team Q is literally the most irritating character i’ve come across.

 

2. DOOM

Doom did not mess around, it threw you into this linear world filled with hellspawn, gave you a shotgun and then proceeded to just wail guitar and dubstep noises at you relentlessly until you finished the game. It was in your face, dumb and myself and just about everyone else who played doom fucking loved it’s straightforward nature. Shoot things in the face, move on, repeat – No cover, No long story sequences, No vehicle traversal between areas. Anyone looking for a fantastic singleplayer FPS campaign should give this a play.

 

1. The Witness

The witness undoubtedly gave me the most ‘holy shit’ moments in gaming this year, whilst I wasn’t particularly fond of the ending, the puzzles and the unique ways in which you need to approach them are absolutely amazing, similarly the world and it’s mystery and secrets provided plenty of additional things to do between getting stuck. I also really loved that the game basically doesn’t tell you anything, even the tutorials I don’t remember the game explicitly giving me any directions but rather ‘here is something simple, figure out the rules for yourself’ – and I love that, especially in an age of videogaming where developers feel the need to really hand hold the whole way through out of fear of losing the player, Blow’s masterpiece does the polar opposite and sets off with or without you. I’d imagine anyone who has played through the game will agree that it’s puzzles are genius in both creativity and design, and those who have played through and doesn’t probably didn’t ‘get it’, which is of course is a big problem in a game where all of the enjoyment is derived from eventually ‘getting it’.

 

Bonus!

Just missed the list:

Inside – Short and sweet, I completed it in a sitting or two and it was a fantastic experience throughout. Didn’t really do anything groundbreaking but it was incredibly polished and had just the right quantity of mystery to push you forward.

Hitman – A fantastic return to form for the series, it’s a shame there are so few levels, but the levels that are there are some of the best in the series. The new detection system works well too, making more sense than the old blood money system while not being as daft as the absolution ‘ima just hide my face’ system.

Dark Souls 3 – More of the same, and that’s hardly a bad thing, though I have to admit it’s not gripped me quite as well as it’s predecessors.

 

Biggest Disappointment:

Titanfall 2 – I absolutely adored the first Titanfall, hitting the level cap multiple times over, so when Titanfall 2 was announced I was super hype, the potential for basically the same game with new maps, more weapons, more abilities, customization and so on sounded awesome. And then the beta dropped, and somehow they had just gotten everything wrong, the movement was slower, they changed certain mechanics, and whilst the retail version of the game has fixed some of these changes, the result is still more ‘Call of Titanfall’ than the Titanfall I fell in love with. I’m yet to really clock much time with it because I just have no urge to play, the gunplay is as solid as ever but it feels like TTK is down, the titans are crazy fragile and rarer, the new abilities are rubbish, no custom titan loadout choices, can’t change the AI voice and the maps are all really forgettable and boring. A cry everytime.

 

Best Singleplayer Experience:

Titanfall 2 – Okay so yeah I just finished talking about everything I’m not keen on with Titanfall 2, but you’ll notice there was no mention of the campaign that they added. The campaign was awesome, i’d actually argue better than DOOM’s. It was literally the opposite of everything I just said in the paragraph above. Awesome level design, titans feel satisfying to play with the added shield, clever use of game mechanics and a super interesting part which you won’t see coming. The short but sweet campaign was memorable and great fun.

 

Most Overhyped:

Overwatch – I’m still struggling to see the appeal of Overwatch, the time i’ve spent with it was ‘okay’ at best, lacking much satisfaction when you do well and being a real slog if you are on the back foot.

 

 

Game whose servers are going to be empty by this time next year

Steep – Calling it now. that game is boring, people just haven’t realised it yet (or maybe they have?).

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