Life – July 2018

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Been a while since one of these, so long that i’m not really sure what to put in here.

Meeting old friends

Managed to catch up with some of my oldest friends, people I’ve known since secondary school / college. We unfortunately don’t really meet up as much as we should so it was a nice change. It’s mad how quickly everyone can drift apart in such a short time, similarly it seems crazy how much things can change in only a few years. We had a lovely dinner at Patty & Bun (still the best burger chain, imo) and then had a nice little romp through central london.

 

Back to studying

Been working hard towards finally getting some microsoft certifications, i’m currently aiming for an MCSA in office365, mostly because it’s the shortest path to getting qualified. After a few weeks of study I passed the 70-346 exam this week, meaning I just need to pass one more to become properly certified.
On the plus, technically by just passing one exam, you turn into a microsoft certified professional. Yay.

 

Games

Man, i’ve had hardly any time to game lately, I honestly have no idea where all my time is disappearing to, I suppose between full time work, trying to study for exams and cooking/cleaning and doing normal living stuff, doesn’t leave me much time to do what I want.
I’ve finally managed to finish off the holiday photos from my recent Taiwan and Dubai trip, so hopefully I can claw back a little more time there.
I’ve borrowed the fantastic God of War from my brother, which I wasn’t actually expecting to enjoy as much as I am, I thought it would be another overrated Dark souls lite style game but i’ve really enjoyed just exploring the world they have created. It surprisingly feels a lot like the gameplay of the recent Tomb Raider games, but with the combat mechanics more closely matching a (easy) souls game, I love that it gives itself leeway to throw Kratos to different environments as well – though saying more would be spoilers.
I’ve been really missing Rainbow6 siege but it feels like I just don’t have the time nor reflexes for it anymore, perhaps this is a sign of getting old? I feel like I just can’t be bothered to play games that frustrate me to a huge degree.
I picked up Titan Quest as my mind numbing game, something to do while listening to music to just unwind after a day at work. I totally forgot how long it is, I’m coming towards 10 hours now and i’m still at the start of Act 2, and i think there are 3 or 4 including the DLC. I’m playing a warrior with some fire enchants and am currently around the level 15-20, if anyone wants to team, let me know.

 

Gym switch

I’ve officially left the Easygym, and will be starting up at the Virgin active at the start of next month. You don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone, it used to feel like a chore but since I haven’t been able to go, I’ve been really itching to just pick some heavy shit up and put it back down again. Y’all know how it is, right?
The new gym will have a steam room and a room full of punching bags and stuff, which sounds fun. One more week to go.

Mayfield Lavender

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On the Sunday, we went to the nearby Mayfield Lavender farm, a huge field of growing lavender bushes. We wanted to go last year actually, but time restraints meant that by the time we got around to visiting, the Lavender had mostly been harvested. It was pretty busy when we went, not surprising I guess, for a hot Sunday with the sun in the sky. They forgot to charge us entry to the car park, so I spent the money on getting a small tub of Lavender ice cream instead – which, I’ve never really eaten lavender, but it somehow tastes exactly as you’d imagine.
Would definitely recommend a visit for those nearby, though those scared of, or allergic to bees should probably steer clear – we were wandering through the lavender bushes and somehow found ourselves in the middle of a really overgrown field of it, and there were bees fucking EVERYWHERE. That buzzing around your head, coupled with the thought of there being no escape, even the most direct route out was a good few minutes walking through thick lavender and involve kicking bees out of the way as you move through, I never realised I was so scared of bee’s until that point.

London Zoo nights

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For the first time in a while, it feels like I actually had an exciting weekend.

An old good friend had some spare tickets to the London Zoo ‘Zoo Nights’ event, which can basically be summarised as a trip to the zoo but adults only and all of the stores sell alcohol, and then some additional neat stuff like live DJ, street food stalls and just a generally more chill atmosphere.
I’ve never actually been to London Zoo before so that was really cool in itself, it’s not a huge zoo but big enough for us to have a wander about for 3 hours or so before the park started to close in on us – like a Fortnite dome but with security guards and zoo staff who want to go home.
It’s kind of mad how efficient and calm everything can be without children, it was like a huge congregation of civil adults, queuing and positioning themselves in ways to not block the exhibits for others, and even though there was a bag search, the entrance queue went by in a flash, many of the stalls were card only as well, again I presume in an effort to keep things moving swiftly.

 

Travel tips for Taipei / Taiwan

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We found constant conflicting information during our research for Taiwan, and many details are omitted, even forum posts on tripadvisor for certain subjects were being closed off without real answers, so here are some travel tips and infobits that you might need if you ever decide to visit Taipei.

 

Do I need to know Mandarin to visit Taipei –
It certainly helps, but I only know the number system and ‘thank you’ in Mandarin and we just about got by. It would have certainly helped and made us feel a lot more comfortable, but there are many places to eat/order where you can just point to pictures and thrust cash at staff. The younger generation can speak some broken english though your mileage may vary, especially depending on how touristy the area is. English numbers, small, large, etc are generally understood universally. Most staff behind counters at MRT stations speak very good English, similarly anywhere with a visitor centre/tourist info.

 

How much money per day in Taipei –
Food and metro system are generally very cheap, some average sample costs of things we would commonly eat/do are below, though some souvineers like pineapple cake are quite expensive, similarly any designer shopping is quite expensive as a lot of it I think is import. A number I saw being thrown around was 1000 TWD per day, and i’d say that sounds about right. Most attractions in taipei are free anyway.

Sit down restaurant (mid-range) = 600 TWD for 2 people
Most expensive restaurant we went to (Premium buffet) = 1600 TWD for 2 people
Bubble milk tea = 50 TWD average
Shaved ice dessert with mango = between 100 and 200 TWD
Food from street vendors = Between 30 and 100 TWD
Deep fried chicken breast = 70 TWD
Tray of sushi from metro = 100 TWD
Most Metro journeys = 16-20 TWD
Long metro journeys = 50 TWD? (Ximen to Tamsui)
Most buses = 8 TWD
Express Train from/to airport to/from Taipei Main = 160 TWD

 

How’s the wifi in Taipei? –
Free wifi on metro trains, stations, many department stores.
Which is just as well because my data roaming wanted to charge me £3 per MB.

 

Storing luggage in Taipei station –
Really easy, and there is an abundance of lockers available. There are loads dotted around the high speed rail area, and even some in the metro mall.
Prices are 70 TWD for 3 hours, if you collect after 3 hours, you have to pay before it’ll release your luggage.
Locker sizes go from backpack size to fullsize plane luggage.
There were english instructions on ours, but the general directions are – Fill locker, press number on keypad for locker, put money, close locker, take password receipt. Unlock: Press number for locker, enter password, pay remaining balance.

 

Paying for transport –
Near everything accepts Easycard, you can grab them from vending machines at airport and taipei main, or buy one at info counter. 500 TWD, 100 of which is deposit.
You can use the easycard on buses, trains including Pingxi line and airport express, Maokong Gondola, and I think some shops accept it too.

 

Taxi fares –
Are metered as far as I know, pricing starts at 70 TWD, we only took 2, but an example we did was Lovers bridge in tamsui, to Tamsui main station, which is about 10-13 mins drive (4km) and cost about 200 TWD iirc.
Fares to go to Jiufen from the nearby train station is fixed though I can’t remember how much i’m afraid, much cheaper to take the bus.

 

Weather / indoor things –
Weather reports are not to be trusted in Taipei, we went during supposed monsoon season, and despite it being forecasted to rain every day, we got a few spatterings and one major downpour over 9 days. There are plenty of metro malls (attached to Taipei main station) to visit, you can also waste your time in Hyper gamer in Ximen, The miniatures Museum of Taipei (1-2 hours) or just grab an umbrella/poncho like everyone else does.

 

Travel Tips for Shifen / Pingxi and Jiufen which would have been useful to know:
– Pingxi is both a town and a district, while you can ride the pingxi line to Pingxi itself, the lantern experience most people describe can easily be had at Shifen, which has the waterfall as well.
– Approx 40 mins to Ruifan Stn from Taipei Main Stn, and then 20ish mins to Shifen, i think
– Cost from Taipei Main to Shifen was only 61 TWD
– Lantern cost anywhere between $100 and $350, ours was $200 but they charge based on colours and include photography and paint for you
– Shifen waterfall walk is about 30-45mins maybe? There are toilets and food/drink along the way
– Bus to jiufen from Ruifang Stn is route 827 or 788, catch it from next to the police station – Exit main entrance and take a left at the Wellcome supermarket, police Stn on opposite side of road. Bus itself takes about 10-20 mins
– The train to taipei from Ruifang will be written just past the main gate, the train might be flagged as a North destination line even though it goes to Taipei.

 

 

Other notes
– There are still squat toilets at some places, might want to practice or read up on technique
– Stand on the right, walk on the left
– The Taiwanese are surprisingly good at queuing in an orderly fashion
– Wufenpu shopping district is the best for cheap clothing

Ian’s wedding

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So the third wedding i’ve been invited to, and yet another reminder of how old I’ve become. This one for one of my university housemates Ian and his now wife Alice whom he met after we left uni (he did a 4th year).

Wedding itself was up in warwick so we headed up in the morning, and gave it some extra time as it was actually snowing really heavy around London – of course the snow quickly disappeared and we ended up an hour or so early – oh well, at least we were guaranteed a parking space.

It was a pretty nice venue, an all-in one huge functional hall, bar, dance floor and hotel/rooms situation all in one building, actually really good for weddings I have to say. The ceremony was nice, thankfully no hymns or songs and so we got to skip that awkward bit and just generally fast forward a lot of the procedings in general – not that I don’t enjoy a special day etc but lets be real we’re all just sitting there to see you say “I do”, so that we can cheer and go back to drinking and celebrating.

Nice little glass of champagne on exit, and we soon got a tip-off that the brides father had put money on the bar and so free drinks for us there too.
Was starting to get a little drunk as we hadn’t eaten lunch yet and i’m admittedly quite the lightweight. Luckily dinner came along just in time, a nice little prawn salad, leg of lamb dinner, coupled with rapid fire quiz gameshow thanks to small boxes of random trivia left on the table – actually kind of a genius way to get everyone to socialize and oh so very Ian (who is basically pub quiz king). I don’t know how much thought actually went into the table seating but actually quite good as we had a few loud people to compensate for the more introverted people on the table.

Dessert, more drinks, cake cutting, first dance (way better than I could have done) followed by a night of drinking, dancing, and meat/bread/cheese/cake buffet.

Made the mistake of driving home afterwards, I was sober enough but underestimated how tired I was, and unfortunately Cordelia was drunk to the point of being K.O instantly upon sitting in the car. The 2 hour drive home, in the dark, with heavy snow, while tired, is one of the worst drives I’ve ever had to do – and this is coming from the guy that used to have to drive across the country in the middle of the night for work.

All in all, a fantastic wedding, and I suppose one of many to come.

 

Close friend wedding status:

Schoolfriends: 1 of 4
Uni housemates: 2 of 6

Life – Jan-Mar 2018

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Oh jesus, where did the time go!

Things which have happened over the last 3 months (that i can remember)

 

Go-Karting!

Got to have my first Go-Karting experience with work, we went on a weekend after a team meeting, an indoor track around the London docklands with teamsport racing. After a super edgy introduction video which almost seemed to border on satire, we were off to the track – 2 sets of 12 or so people.
I was literally first off the bat for the qualifying round, and was surprised at how fast those little karts can go – obviously no idea how to take the corners and so span out on the tight U bend on my first go around. The steering on those things were really heavy, and at parts, the track had little bumps and so it would feel like the kart was on the border of losing traction and just exploding.
The qualifying round arranged everyone by time and then separated drivers into basically a fast league and a slow league – I placed somewhere towards the end of the fast league, so still in the top half at least. My forearms and hands were already aching after the first race, and so wasn’t looking forward to the second.
Started 2nd from the back for the second race, and while I didn’t break any speed records, consistency let me gradually overtake most of the pack to finish at 4th place.

 

Mayfair Meals

Valentines and my Birthday were made special with visits to Mayfair for dinner. Never really had much fine dining before, and after those 2 meals, i’m not really sure it’s for me. For V day we went to the Athenaeum hotel restaurant, Cordelia had recieved a red letter day for a 3 course meal for 2. Similarly my dad took me to Coya in Mayfair which is a peruvian restaurant. The food at both were good, no doubt about that, however for the price we paid and the amount of food we received I couldn’t help but think we could have gone somewhere else and really eaten ourselves to a coma. We actually went to have a second dinner in Chinatown after Coya because we weren’t quite full but didn’t want to spend another £60-100 for a few more tapas size dishes.

 

Room Hunting

I’m unfortunately having to move houses again, my current landlords recently got married and thus want to move back into the house to remodel and live in it.
Really annoying for me as, even though I hated the house and everyone inside, it was very convenient for work and personal life, close to a train station and supermarkets, had a drive, large room, and came with furniture for me to use. I initially thought i’d use this opportunity to find a flat or something to try and live on my own, but jesus christ the costs for a 1 bed flat or studio apartment around here just made it not viable at all – typical costs for a room in a shared house at £600 to £700 including bills, while a solo flat would be upwards of £1k excluding all bills (of which, probably like £100 pcm for council tax and then another £150+ for bills and internet).
So, after 2 weeks or so of searching, I found another room, still in a similar area but unfortunately a bit out of the way.
The room was actually originally going for £700 but was recently discounted to £675, I said i’d take the room if they’d let it go for £650 and to my surprise the landlord agreed.
I’m still waiting to sign documents, and i’m slightly worried that im going to get some shitpiece bed or that there won’t be any furniture at all (the room was unfurnished but property keeper said he could source me some furniture), time will tell, i’ll post some pictures after i’m moved in – it’s a huge converted lounge room with a fireplace though.
With any luck, this will be the last time I have to move into a shared house, hopefully by this time next year i’ll be considering moving in with gf or maybe even getting a place of my own – though i’ve had thoughts about moving away from London just due to how insane the housing costs are.

Goodbye 2017

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For me personally, 2017 has unfortunately been more eventful than I would have liked.

I can easily say that 2017 may be the worst year of my life thus far: I lost a 2 week holiday, I thought my girlfriend was going to die, and more recently some family issues at home has unfortunately caused all manner of depression.

I was kind of hoping on 2017 to be a lucky year, almost all major events in my life revolve around the number 28, and so my 28th year on earth was to be no exception – it is a shame however that the major events were almost all bad ones.

 

For the more positive stuff, I attended the 2 weddings and i’m sure there will be many more in the next few years, I got closer to old friends, and strengthened bonds with new ones, I took a gamble on cryptocurrency and won, and added one new country to my visited list (Denmark).

 

As far as 2018 goes, my goals are:

  • Consider buying a house
  • Get some IT qualifications
  • Continue to hit the gym, attain a 6-pack
  • Win the lottery and retire

 

Mengs guide to trading cryptocurrency

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Step 1 – Pay lots of money and Acquire Cryptocurrency

Step 2 – Watch the price drop

Step 3 – Cry and have anxiety for a while, watch other crypto’s rise in price while yours falls

Step 4 – Trade your crypto for another one

Step 5 – Watch your new crypto start to fall in price while your original begins to rise

Step 6 – Cry again

Step 7 – Come back in 6 months and realise how much money you could have had.

 

Real talk, I am not an expert on buying or selling cryptos AT ALL.
Infact, literally every single time I have bought or sold, I have made a massive mistake
Here are some times I traded, obviously nobody can time the market but If I hypothetically just waited like a week before making some of these decisions, I could have been up by £30k or more

 

January – Bought bitcoin at the peak, proceeded to watch it fall 30% over the next week

February – Bought Monero instead of more bitcoin

Summer – Traded bitcoin for Ethereum at it’s peak, Ethereum then dropped in price and bitcoin exploded in price.

Autumn – Traded Monero for Ethereum, Monero proceeds to explode in price whilst Ethereum doesn’t do a whole lot

December – Traded Ethereum for IOTA, Ethereum proceeds to increase by 50% over the next 3 days.

 

And so, my actual guide? Look into what the coins are, understand how they work, and then make an educated guess on whether it’ll take off or not. Buy some of your chosen coins and then hold on for dear life and be careful about trading or selling. Assume that any money you invest into crypto’s is going to be gone because mentally you’ll be better off that way. I’d also recommend trying not to check the price too much unless you are considering selling or buying more – keeping a close eye on how your bet is doing is a surefire way to just give yourself anxiety.

i’d also advise not doing what I did (on every occasion) and buying during an upward rush.
If the price is exploding, it’s going to come down soon, give it a few days and you’ll (probably) find yourself with better rates.

 

Good luck.

Life – November 2017

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I’m still alive! I just have nothing to report!

Being an adult is impossibly boring compared to my university days.

 

Days out:

Went for a day out to bushy park to photograph the autumn colours.

Also went for a day out to Enchanted woodland in Syon Park – which was a bit of a disappointment compared to last years Magical Lantern festival, but still interesting and a bit different. That said, I don’t think ill be doing it again next year.

 

 

Health:

Mentioned last blog post that my car was making screechy noises, turned out to be the brake pads as expected – about £130 to repair, so not great but it could have been worse i guess.
My poor teeth on the other hand didn’t do so well at it’s last checkup, and they had to drill 3 more holes, fml.
I also went to the opticians to try and work out why I was getting so many migraines, and whilst im not sure it helped, they did identify that I needed a more up to date prescription, so I grabbed some nice new hipster glasses – as my last pair were over 7 years old from before I even started university. They look super hipster, especially if i’m wearing my hat.

 

 

 

Games:

Started playing Witcher 3 after grabbing it on sale (I think it was the GOTY edition for £15?), also started playing Battlerite a fair bit again after the new free to play updates came out – Having a knowledge advantage is quite a lot of fun, there are loads of bad players, and I have no problem taking advantage of them.

 

That time I got caught up in a terror attack scare

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So, a kind of eventful weekend for a change, took my car to get fixed up and found my brake pads were 95% worn, got a haircut, and went to Bluewater shopping centre and we thought there was a terror attack in progress.

Wait what?

So we were in John Lewis at the time, just shopping as you do – Me, my parents and my brothers girlfriend Scarlett, when suddenly there seemed to be a lot of commotion from outside (the entrance to John Lewis, from the shopping centre), we suddenly started seeing LOADS of people start running into the shop and people shouting, like 50+ people suddenly just running in our direction. So naturally, so naturally – herd mentality and all that, we started moving as well.

My family were somewhat more distraught than I was, I remember hearing my mum shouting for Scarlett, and my dad yelling for me whilst I was trying to work out what the hell was happening. The scene was a bit chaotic, with parents yelling for their children, and a few people had fallen over whilst running in the panic. Hundreds of us streamed through the store while the staff looked baffled, I saw a bunch of them retreating into staff areas. Towards the end of the shop, a large revolving door had stopped because people were pushing on it, and a couple dozen people were ‘trapped’ inside trying to get out (protips: use the fire escape doors, not the revolving doors…)

As we gathered outside, many people were trying to find their families and loads of people straight up just left – got in their cars and just got out of there. We all got out safely and without injury and looked on as people continued to stream out of the building. We were fairly sure it was a false alarm, as there had been no sirens or fire alarms sounded yet, so we began to walk the perimeter of Bluewater to get to the next exit (map) over by the Village. It was really interesting walking around and hearing people talk about the situation, and see it all develop, majority of people had no idea what was happening, but similar to us, just saw a crowd start running and went along with it – better safe than sorry and all that. The rumours and Chinese whispers ranged from gunman, to ‘suspicious package’ to ‘bomb’ to ‘fire’.
Protip #2 : Twitter is awesome – I basically got all my info from twitter whilst we were walking outside, the #bluewater tag suddenly flooded with loads of tweets from ranging from urging people to stay away, to people talking about ditching their KFC, as well as the more useful stuff like what actually happened. 5-10 minutes later we heard police sirens, and then 5 minutes after that I started seeing some retweets from the Kent police with the actual updates.

The cause then?
Apparently a kitchen appliance went off in Nandos and made a loud bang with smoke, a fire alarm was pulled, and then someone shouted bomb and then began asking people to evacuate. The crazy thing is that, for anyone who has been to Bluewater, Nandos is pretty damn far away from John Lewis, so it must have really been a major reaction of people following other people running for it to have gotten to us.

It was a really interesting though kind of scary experience, a useful ‘drill’ if you will – and an interesting look at how everyone naturally reacts to these sort of events, it’s unsurprising to hear that apparently over the food court, it was complete chaos – with food being thrown about, overturned buggies and chairs and all sorts. I found myself surprised at my own natural response, which was to stay calm but alert – perhaps just the gamer in me, but my first reaction was to break line of sight with the entrance and put some shelving between me and the front of the shop, which in retrospect probably wouldn’t have saved me if there were an actual bomb situation occurring.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5003953/Faulty-oven-causes-bomb-scare-Bluewater-Shopping-Centre.html 

Life – October 2017

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Oops.

I may have accidentally neglected the blog for a month. not that much has really happened mind you.

 

Screechy Car? :(

So about a week or two ago my car started making some hella squeeky/screechy noises from the left side, and I don’t really know what it is or how to sort it out – I’ve booked it in for a look this coming weekend, and i’m hoping it’s just a brake pad which needs to be changed or something. The obvious bit is that it screeches when I brake, but the more confusing bit is that it makes the same (less pronounced) screeching when i’m cruising at low speeds (around 20mph), so i’m wondering if it’s the axle or something because the brakes shouldn’t really be doing much unless i’m braking… right? Not looking forward to that diagnosis though, as I’m going to assume changing brakes is going to be over £100 at least. Being an adult is hard yo.

 

Migraine

I’ve also rather annoyingly been getting migraines during work over the last 2 weeks. It’s been quite a pain because I end up going to work and then just being in a state of death after work – leaving me with not much to do but go to bed, getting my physical rest sure, but i’d like to do some other stuff other than work, cook and eat. I kind of assumed it was maybe my eyesight dying on me, but I went for an eye test today and to my surprise, my eyesight doesn’t seem to have gotten any worse over the last 8 years or so. The last time I actually had an eyetest and got a pair of glasses was before I started university, and i’ve certainly done a lot of stuff since then which could potential affect my eyesight.

 

Board games at Luke’s

We had an awesome little meetup at a friend’s for boardgames, we played a game called Dark Moon – which played a bit like the game Tharsis on PC, but with people trying to sabotage the game secretly, basically it’s co-op but a few people are secretly bad and try to sabotage the mission but trying to make it not look obvious. It was a good bit of fun, though quite tricky.
We played codewords too, which I really enjoyed but we unfortunately only played one round of it – basically a word association game but team based, defo recommend giving it a try if you get a chance.
We also tried to play Avalon but unfortunately one of the dudes at the games night had too much to drink, and our host was too kind to him, trying to include him and it all just kind of fell apart as one team was effectively man down with a complete wildcard.
I hope this turns into a regular thing, maybe I should look into joining that London on board group (London boardgaming society)

 

Games

Have been thoroughly enjoying some of September/October’s games thanks to Steam family sharing,
Cuphead is a 5/5 masterpiece : amazing visuals, very polished and fun boss fights, interesting characters, good music… It’s an absolute blast to play while it lasts, though sadly for me it was over a bit too quickly, lasting only 4 hours or so.
A Hat in Time is also an amazing 3d platformer, easy 6/5 though let down by it’s relatively short length – or more likely, it’s just nowhere near as long as I wanted the game to be – for a 3d platformer though it really has an amazing mix of levels and objectives, you’ll be racing to a marker in one level and then the next will suddenly have you in a stealth murder mystery, it feels like the development team had a ton of neat ideas of levels and just went ahead and made them all, I pray there is a sequel at some point.
Human Fall Flat was an unexpected surprise, I nabbed it for $1 from a humble bundle, and it turned out to be an incredibly enjoyable few sessions with the girlfriend, which was a huge surprise because she sucks at games so I have no idea why she stuck or was so entertained by what is actually a pretty difficult game in terms of mechanics (think QWOP but 3d puzzle platformer), she usually gives up rapidly after getting frustrated yet somehow managed to spend 30 minutes trying to nail a jump staircase thing. Definitely recommend playing in co-op if you have a partner even vaguely willing to play games.
I’ve also given Elder Scrolls Online and Borderlands presequel a go recently, the former i’m not too big into yet, but borderlands is pretty fun playing with my group (though a bit too easy). Unfortunately i’ve not been able to play too much due to the migraine situation.

 

 

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.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.

 

 

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