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.

 

 

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.

A terrifying foray into Bitcoin

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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.

Life – November 2016

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Hey guys, remember when I said I was going to try and blog once per week?

ahahahahahaha.

 

The past month has been a really steady routine of going to work and then coming home to eat and smash out some video games. In rather typical fashion I went from basically nothing to play to all of a sudden just too many things to play. I was already pretty hooked on Battlerite but then last week there was a free weekend for Rainbow Six Siege, I gave that a bit of a go with uni friend Ed and I think both of us were just completely sucked in from the start.

R6 Siege to me just feels like Counter Strike 2, it takes a bunch of the innovations that counter strike made – the ability to shoot through walls and light materials, multiple entry points, a 1 life per round system, no healing, tactical smokes and flashbangs, and an asymetrical map – and just really combines it all together with the modern tropes we’ve come to expect like exp/money, cosmetics, gadgets, perks and so on. The wall breaching stuff really makes it so that there is never a defined expectation and you’ll very rarely find yourself in exactly the same clusterfuck mess twice – as enemies can breach and shoot through most major areas.

And then, at long last, tomorrow we have Planet Coaster coming out, which i’ve been eagerly awaiting for months.The launch trailer looks super awesome and I really cannot wait to sink my teeth into this one. I feel a bit sorry for the girlfriend who is inevitably going to be completely ignored this weekend.

 

I’ve started trying to do a bit of christmas shopping, but as usual i’m throwing up some blanks already and am not sure what to get for people. I’ve grabbed gifts for my brother and father already, but typically all of the women are going to be harder to shop for.

Perhaps i’ll find something in Austria or Prague when I go? It’s shocking to think that my holiday is only 2 weeks away now, and will technically be my third holiday of the year and 4th consecutive one with the gf. I’m surprised she isn’t fed up of me by now. That said, I’ve only managed to do small cheap european holidays this year, changing jobs mid way through the year didn’t really help as I didn’t have sufficient leave to book anything long. My leave refreshes on new years though, and I think we’ll be looking at maybe Taiwan as a destination? Given that it’s been almost 5 years now, maybe Japan is due a revisit soon as well? Not sure i’d do central tokyo again next time though, as there’s just so much to see in this world, and so little time to see it all!

Week 40 2016 – New best endeavours

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Poor blog has been neglected a lot this year, I guess maintaining it was never going to be easy once I got out of education and into the ‘real world’ but this year in particular it’s taken a real back seat since I moved out of home and started my new IT career.

And so, Starting from this week, i’m going to try and make, at minimum, one blog post a week which will focus on life stuff. Weekly posts will likely come out every Sunday, unless i’m away doing other things or have another post scheduled.

Games

The past month has been fairly uneventful but i’ve managed to get plenty of hours in with my bro GrantDN in various games, we played a ton of The Crew (maybe 30 hours) or so and completed the campaign, bought the DLC, completed some of the new mission stuff, did some extra shit, bought drag cars, drifted round mountains at night, and all that good stuff. Genuinely had a blast with that game, it reminded me of the best parts of Fuel and little bit of the joy from Midnight Club.

We also picked up the very entertaining and intense Battlerite, a 2v2 or 3v3 arena brawler, best described as a game build completely around MOBA teamfights. Have had a lot of fun with it, but god is that game hard. The small teams make it really hard to pin blame as well, as losses will almost certainly have something to do with your own competence – be it just a missed skillshot or not positioning properly. It’s currently a little bit steep at £15 but I believe it’s going free to play eventually, best enjoyed with a friend though, im not sure i’d want to play this solo.

On the games backlog we also have Indigo Prophecy, which I started with bae but then we haven’t picked it up in a little while, I also started playing Quantum Break – which is fantastic, and then there is Mirrors Edge Catalyst as well, which I started yesterday but it didn’t really strike me as anything too special.

TV

Oh man, TV, Did you guys see Stranger Things yet? holy shit that show is good. go watch it.

Mr robot is fantastic as well, though I’ve still not had a chance to finish season 2.

New anime season started last week, blog post to be written very shortly, I skipped last season, but this season everyhthing is garbage so it’ll take me like 15 minutes to gather photos because nothing is worth watching.

On the korean front, GF and family coerced me into watching ‘W’ Which is actually kind of a neat concept, it’s about a comicbook artist who is trying to kill off his character so he can end the story, but he manages to keep resisting death, eventually people from the real world get sucked into the comic world and shit happens. It’s a really cool concept, but because it’s K drama I can almost guarantee that it’s just going to turn into a generic romance story eventually.

Life

Did I mention i’ve got a trip booked for the first week of December? We are going to Vienna (Austria) and then getting the train over to Prague (CzechRep), should hopefully be really good.
However I’ve been kind of worked hard lately, so a few weeks ago I thought i’d try and get a quick holiday in before my real holiday (as you do), some quick deciding later and we’ve decided to go to Belfast for a few days this coming weekend. We’ve booked an excursion out to do a game of thrones sightseeing thing (apparently a bunch of castles and stuff were filmed in northern ireland) and the tour also includes the incredible looking Giants Causeway.

Life – July 2016

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Yet another month flown by,

Though I suppose this one has been a particularly eventful one.

Work:

A few weeks ago I had to leave my job, the reasons were complicated but the tldr is that the job I applied for was no longer existent due to them outsourcing the helpdesk to another company.

I was out of a job.

I started looking for a new job on the 11th, and was lucky enough to be found by one of those agency recruiter dudes who forwarded me for a few roles, roll forward a few days and i’m having a telephone interview, followed by a face to face interview, and then on the 19th or so I was offered a job!
I’ve been working there for a month now, and honestly it’s kind of mind blowing that I managed to get so lucky again, my last two jobs ended kind of abruptly and yet i’ve somehow managed to roll my way into a new job fairly quickly. I was particularly dreading this one as there were reports that Brexit had killed the job market by about 70%, and I didn’t even think that IT jobs had that much demand (due to everyone and their grandmother nowadays having IT degrees, and me not having one).

So this is the end of week 1 at the new place, they’ve been breaking me in sort of slowly but it’s ramping up pretty steadily, also I still can’t remember hardly anyones names. This office/company is much larger than my last one, with the engineering team alone being around 20 peopleish, compared to the 4 of my last job…
It’s really nice that I can actually escalate support tickets or ask for other people’s help now, because honestly I was the end of the line before, which is kind of terrifying considering I was taken aboard with practically no remote IT support experience.
The office environment is pretty nice, though we’re genuinely pretty busy. I do really enjoy seeing the senior team members (like 30s-40s) talking to each other and being like “Windows 10 upgrade? Yeah client sure, go fuck yourself”, just because it’s so unexpected.

Games:

Evolve is pretty gud, it has some problems for sure but for the price of free, it’s definitely worth a check.
I’ve been playing it more or less daily for a few weeks now.

Anime:

Lots o garbage this season, I can’t really be bothered to write up a recommendation list, even though I should because it’ll be about 5 lines.

Beckonscot Model Village

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Went over to Beckonscot Model village yesterday, my first time there so didn’t know what to expect.

It was kind of neat I guess, though I was a little miffed at it’s 4.5 tripadvisor rating.

The entire area was significantly smaller than I expected (even for a model village) and it looked like a lot of it could use some repairs or general cleanup, just about every water feature had thick forests of algae for example.

Some of it was pretty cool though, with an impressive amount of detail on some of the buildings and rooms, and little things like moving cable cars and a smoking building with firetrucks outside.
It was also rather entertaining seeing gigantic fat pigeon nestled in among the tiny figures, and similarly some huge koi carp swimming around underneath the tiny bridges – beckonscot would truly be a terrifying place to live.

Life – June 2016

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Oh my god where did June disappear to?

I can’t really think of anything particularly eventful that happened this month.

At work they have made the decision to get us to start working from home, so the office is currently in cleanup mode. I’m a bit torn on the idea of working from home – on the plus side, it’ll be slightly less stressful, I won’t have to commute, I can listen to my own awful music instead of the office radio and things like that. On the other hand, I’m worried it’ll go back to being very lonely like my old job, as I won’t be needing to go into an office (they say they’ll still hold meetings every other week), I obviously also have issues with desk space at home, and my chair is rubbish and i’m not sure they’ll let me buy an office chair to put on expenses…

One of my housemates moved out today, very impartial about their leaving as I’m an unsocial git and rarely say more than a Hi every now and then, that said at least it was a girl – we’re getting a bloke called MIchael moving in so it’s going to be dirty sausagefest 2016.

I celebrated my first year anniversary with Cordelia on Tuesday 28, we went to Thorpe park over the weekend, and then on the day itself we went out for dinner at a japanese place and then saw Xmen Apocalypse – Which was imo very mediocre as a film, and Sansa stark’s stupid face was irritating me throughout.

I’ve been spoilt for choice with games lately, after buying BF4 for £5 earlier in the month, i’ve wanted to play that, but also have had Danganronpa 2 on my plate to finish (I’m up to the 5th case now). Factorio Ver.13 also just came out which has loads of improvements and achievements now, so I would love to dive back into that at some point. And just yesterday, Zero Escape 3 came out, which is the finale to the fantastic 999 / Virtues last reward saga – i’ve taken a quick peek but I really want to finish off some other games before jumping into what will inevitably be a big twisty story game.

I also went to VEGA’s quarterly rhythm game meetup in London last weekend, which was pretty good fun, lovely to see the community as always (or well, most of them at least). They had 2 new games there as well! England finally has Jubeat and a Reflec Beat cabinet, which is an amazing step for our community, we actually now have most of the big rhythm games aside from Sound Voltex (which I have a home setup for anyway).
Corin was nice enough to give me a PS2 memory card with freemcboot on it as well, so i’ll hopefully be able to make use of that next time I go to the girlfriend’s place – though I only found out recently that you need specially burnt/patched disks to be able to run them via FMCB, which is of great annoyance as I have some 200 games at home for my PS2 which are thus incompatible (I think my PS2 was hard-modded with Matrix or infinity or some edgy name like that)

New Forest

Spent majority of the weekend down near southhampton in New Forest national park.

Only last week at the aforementioned strange BBQ, was invited to go camping with some folk down at new forest, didn’t have anything already pencilled in, so I thought I’d take inspiration from that Jim Carey film ‘Yes Man’ and signed up for it, despite not really knowing how to camp.
I don’t think i’ve been camping since my days in scouts or primary school.

So we set out on Saturday morning and hit the camping area around 10:30ish, to which everyone was like “alright, time to go hiking to the nearest pub!”

2 hours and a hell of a lot of walking later, we finally arrived. Nice little lunch, drink and lay down and we were back on the long trail to return to camp, we took a different route of course.
Of worthy note is that one of the guys with us, Tim, had an OG paper map and compass, and without him we would have been very very lost, as google maps doesn’t really have hiking trails on the map, and tbh we weren’t following the paths all the time anyway.

Finally returned to camp around 6:30 (we left at 11:30), literally stumbling out through the forest and straight towards a beautifully timed ice cream van.
I was absolutely exhausted after all the walking, I think we totalled approximately 10 miles (up and down hills, over streams, through woodland and all sorts).
We didn’t actually bring any food with us, so we popped back in the car and went the local shop to buy some food, and came back with one of those disposable BBQ’s, Meat and Ciders. We threw the tent up with everyones help and then got to BBQing (the charcoal didn’t catch fire very well, so it was a lot of effort fanning the flames).

We were sitting in the dark for fairly long until maybe 11pm or so, when a sudden shower started and we were all forced back into our tents.

The night went about as expected, fairly hard ground coupled with a sleeping bag which was simultaneously too cold and too hot, the real problems began around 5am when I was woken up by birds and the sound of rain on the top of the tent. Needed to piss really badly because of the cider but oh my god the rain just refused to let up. Thus ended up laying in bed drifting in and out of sleep until 7am or so. God those birds were noisy.

Keto Diet and the strangest BBQ I’ve ever been to

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i’ve started trying to get in shape (again), there is no gym round the corner this time, so i’ll likely just be doing some kettlebell/bodyweight routines and then trying the keto diet – which is pretty much minimal carbs and lots of meat/fat, the logic of it being that your body switches from burning carbs to burning fat instead. I’ve actually wanted to try this diet for a while, but living at home or not having enough money was a bit of a struggle, as you wouldn’t get to pick your own meals or I wouldn’t be able to afford the necessary food due to it being so meat dependant.
I’m about a week in so far, and i’m not sure how I feel about it,
– I absolutely adore being able to eat pork scratchings and pass it off as part of my diet
– I love bacon and eggs in the morning
– I love being able to add salt to my food because I need to for my diet
However…
– I miss cake and chocolate, especially because there is ALWAYS something sweet to eat in my office
– I miss crisps and being able to eat whatever I can get my hands on
– Girlfriend is diabetic, which as you can imagine, is a bit of a pain when she comes over and i have fuckall carbs in the house.

 

While we’re talking about food, I was invited to a BBQ the other day, it was pretty close by and I thought it would fit in well with my diet so we went, the host was vegetarian (why even host a BBQ) so we had to pick up our own meat to cook.
We turned up to a lovely roaring fire pit and grill so that was nice, she put on some tofu, potato and veg skewers and promptly burnt them all to a crisp… Whatever, I aint judge.
So we basically put on all of our food afterwards, I practically ended up taking over the BBQ. There were about 10 people, I had brought 13 chicken legs, 8 sausages, 4 burgers and 8 mini corn-cobs, expecting other people to bring stuff too. Nobody brought anything! Okay then, whatever, we have enough to share anyway.
Throughout the night we cooked off all the chicken, corn and sausages… The other 8 people at the BBQ/party ate a total of about 5 chicken legs and 1 sausage.
Literally ate about 4 or 5 chicken legs, 2 sausages, and 5 Corn-cobs, along with whatever cake, crisps and chocolate that happened to appear in my hands.

I can say with 100% certainty that this was the first BBQ i’ve attended that was bring your own food, bring your own mixers (she only had spirits), cook the food yourself, and eat it all yourself because nobody is hungry. Why have these other people even turned up? Was it even a BBQ or was the fire just there for a centrepiece? Did other people just get told it’s a birthday gathering? I’ve never been so confused…. The corn was hella fuckin good though.

Life – April 2016

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So my contract with the last landlord ran out, so I had to relocate, i’ve moved to Tolworth – near Kingston, and only really like 10 minutes down the road from New Malden where I was living before.
The new house is a little nicer, it isn’t a live in landlord so at the very least the boiler can at leats be left on, and I have a bit more kitchen space this time round. Unfortunately it’s a double edged sword, and now there is nobody to take out the rubbish. You never really realise how much of a grown up you are when you constantly find yourself complaining about the childish attitudes of the people you live with, even if they are in their twenties as well – like for fucks sake is it so hard to take out the bin? Maybe if you don’t fill it til it’s literally overflowing… Fuckin kids.

New room is nicer, bit bigger and with a double bed and some windows, I took the opportunity to buy myself a TV that I saw on sale, as I thought it would be nice to be able to sit on the bed and watch TV with the GF, or otherwise just sit back and be able to play games on a big TV – It’s set up to the PC so I can mirror display whenever for some tasty 43″ Dark Souls action, the refresh rate and response time is actually really good as well, I can even play beatmania on it without changing my offset from my monitor.

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This also means i’ve hit 3 months at my Job, wasn’t able to negotiate a raise sadly, our company has been having some changes and lately and the boss claims he doesn’t have enough money to do so… hmm. Well, if it hits a year plus with no change, then at least i’ll have significantly more experience.

In other news, we’ve booked another Holiday, just a short one for 6 days in Malaga, in the south of spain, Cordelia’s best friend apparently has access to a villa timeshare which would otherwise be going unused, so we’re going to piggyback off it and go with them, meaning the price of the holiday is more or less just going to be flights/travel and food/booze, that’ll all be happening in the last week of May, which as of time of typing, is about 3 weeks away.

On the gaming front i’ve been enjoying Dark Souls 3, and more or less only that – though I did briefly play the DOOM mp beta a week or two ago, and i’ve played a bit of the new Hitman level too (Ep2: Sapienza), I guess i played some of the devolver humble pack as well, but I havent really had enough time to go through and play them all.
Dark Souls 3 is pretty good so far, though certainly after 2 games, a lot of the magic is gone, with the only surprises really being the bosses. the environments are very uninspired and generic, the enemies are fairly tame so far, and the difficulty is less than previous games (though I guess experience plays a big part). I’m only up to ice land so far (about 11 hrs i), so god knows how much further I have to go,

Few other bits and pieces, but if I type any more on this post it’ll just be a wall of text :)

I’m going to try and make a bit more of an effort to blog again, or at the very least take some more pictures, I ordered a bluetooth keyboard and a phone stand today so I’ll be able to easily blog from Malaga.

Life – March 2016

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Legitimately feels like I slept a couple of times and a month just passed me by.

I’m now almost at the end of 3 months at my new job, and by extension, my new life.

Past month or so has been a little more relaxed? Work has calmed down a little bit, with only the occasional crisis, our workload has gone down a lot as well and I feel like i’ve had more chance to bond with my colleagues so we can have more of a laugh now – I’ve always been the type to take a while to open up to new people, so it’s not surprise my new workmates were no different.

The car has come in very useful, both for work and personal life, I can now actually go shopping, visit family, go on day trips and so on without needing to think about the logistics too much, it averages around 12p a mile, so it’s more or less ‘how many miles is it?’ and then divide by 10 to get rough cost of petrol in pounds.
It’s also made travel to work and to the girlfriend’s much faster and easier, I can get to work in about 10 minutes and gf’s in 30 (used to take 1 hour), so I feel like i’ve regained a little bit of extra time in my day thanks to the car.

Not having to worry about jobhunting and stuff has given me a chance to game after work as well, finished a bunch of games that I’ve had on backlog for a while (rise of the tomb raider, grim fandango, some others). Have also been playing some new games, most recently Hitman 2016 and Helldivers, both of which are pretty damn good. On the mobile games front i’ve gotten into King of Thieves lately, which is kind of half supercell style base defence and half super meat boy platformer – the idea being that you make a dungeon for other players to challenge, and then invade other peoples dungeons to steal their gold and gems.

We’ve booked another holiday! I’ll be going to Malaga in spain for around a week towards the end of May, Cordelia’s best friend apparently had a rented villa in a resort there for free so we’ve taken her up on the offer. Price wise not too bad, around £90 for return flights, and then we’d only need to pay for transport to the airport, and food/activities

As a final note, I’m going to be moving out again soon. my contract on this current room runs out in 10 days, i’ve found another place to live in Tolworth, the room is slightly larger and has a double bed and more amenities nearby – ‘so much room for activities!’ as they say. I’m going to be awfully tempted to put a TV or something in there when I move in. The contract for this one is 6 months, so I guess i’ll be more inclined to get comfortable so to speak. The rent is more expensive at £600 a month but hopefully the room quality and such will make up for it.

RIP bank account

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Not even a week into March and i’ve already almost the whole of my paycheck, and then some.

Where did the money go?

Well, it may have been this delicious pile of german sausages

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Or it may have been this car

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I never really realised the hidden costs of purchasing a car, this thing was second hand and cost me five thousand something, and then the insurance was obscene on top of that (way way closer to a grand that I would have liked because I dont have no-claims bonus)
Then to top it off they don’t even give you the fucking thing with a full tank of petrol so that cost another £20 >_>

Foolishly I also decided to buy a handheld vacuum, some board games, and a speed rubix cube (which still hasn’t arrived yet).

So i guess you could say i’m basically broke AF right now. Time to sit indoors and play video games until payday.

 

As an aside, i’d like to mention that this has been an amazing weekend spent picking up new car, eating good food, playing shitloads of Factorio, and watching Netflix’s Chef’s Table series.

 

Life – February 2016

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Still alive!

My bad y’all, blog has been practically shelved since I started my ‘new life’ away from home.

Life:

Not a massive amount to report? My routine for the past month or so is working weekdays, coming home and watching some anime and maybe playing games for an hour or so, rinse repeat. And then on the friday after work I head over to the GF’s house to hang out, play games and watch TV. I’ve been starting to look into buying a car, i’m maybe looking at something small like a toyota aygo, hyundai i10, or kia picanto but i’ve not had much actual time to shop around.

Games:

I bought a bunch of small games at some point recently, as I still don’t actually have my proper gaming PC in this new house, so I’ve been limited to what my laptop will run. Half of them were ‘couple’ games in hope that I can slowly brainwash the gf with them and get her to play games with me – We already played through the brilliant Life is Strange and The Witness, both of which we really liked, though the endings of both were a little bit weak. This new batch included more active stuff – ibb & Obb, Never Alone, and Grim Fandango, the latter of which we ended up playing for a good few hours the other night, ol’ Manny Calavera is quite the charmer. I also bought Factorio today, and have been playing a bit of Danganronpa thanks to ol’ steam family sharing and a very generous friend. Oh, I’ve been playing Paint is back too, which is basically a PC version of Picross.

We’ve also been getting into board games a little bit as well, we’ve been playing card game Sushi Go! and co-op adventure Forbidden Island which are both pretty good, I ordered 2 more recently as well from america (because it was way cheaper to get it shipped across the ocean than to buy it here), these were Iota – similar to Gyul Hap from korean gameshow The Genius, where you need to play cards that confine to a particular ruleset that is already present, and the other one was some sort of tetris block style game versus game.

Other:

Man I really want to play rocksmith! I don’t know where this urge came from, but I’ve been so tempted on multiple occasions to just spent the £100 or whatever it would cost to just buy the game and an electric guitar to play it but I’m not sure I can justify the buy-in right now… Maybe when I move to a bigger place?

Recently i’ve also had weird urges to play chess? I have no idea why.
I also ordered a speed rubix cube after seeing it mentioned on a reddit thread of hobbies for under $50 https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/46v4y5/whats_a_fun_hobby_you_can_get_into_under_50/, I’ve never really known how to solve a rubix cube, but seeing people saying that beginners can solve them in 5 minutes, and eventually drop to times of under a minute… just sounds really badass and impressive, I want to be able to do that, I bet it’s already really fun when you get good at it.

Work:

Going strong? The work is varied and really challenging, and every day brings its own ridiculous cases and stories – especially for someone like me who is punching way above his weight in terms of knowledge. It’s kind of crazy change from my previous job where we would rarely be required to take action on anything without running it through someone higher up the command chain, or we could always call someone if we needed technical advice or assistance. Now however? There’s basically no escalation point, I am the final line of IT support, aside from escalating to suppliers, which is honestly kind of terrifying, but nothing at the same time, it means I can’t run away from anything, and have to eventually face it head on, which is great for learning.

 

I’ll try and update more often If anything interesting happens!
ps. Go play the Witness! it’s amazing!

Life – January 2016

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Bit of a whirlwind week for me, they say everything happens for a reason and perhaps my departure at FJ really was for the better.

I’ve moved to New Malden and am living with an old korean lady along with a few other people who i’ve honestly still not seen in a week of living there. The room itself is of reasonable size, but the desk is too small for my gaming PC and the room in general is in a range around that of which liquid mercury freezes, the bed is firm at least, and it’s only a 40 minute bus and walk to work.

The job is a second line IT support role, the team is super small and so, for better or worse i’m a key part of the machine here. We have a manager, 2 apprentices, a senior engineer who is leaving soon, and then me – So as you can imagine things get a bit nutty from time to time as I’m still fairly new to the remote support game.

The work itself is interesting though, and i’m learning way more about computers than I was at FJ – even if they aren’t going out of their way to train me, just being thrown in at the deep end and getting paid to resolve stuff is a great learning opportunity, even if it is stressful.

 

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