Life – January 2019

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It’s been a busy but somewhat uneventful month, I’ve spent most of the last 2 weeks just grinding through.

Healthy Mind and Body

My new years resolution is to get a six pack, i’ve actually wanted one for as long as I can remember but it’s too difficult as I just love food too much, portion control is definitely not my strong point, particularly as i’m so good at cooking (if i do say so myself). I’ve been trying to control my calorie intake to about 1800 a day, hitting the gym 2-5 times a week and doing intermittent fasting where possible. So far there hasn’t been much change, but we have a body analyser thing at the gym, and i’ve ordered a tape measure, so hopefully i’ll start seeing some positive results soon – it’s a bit of a struggle though as work have ordered in free pizza twice in the last fortnight, and i’m a sucker for that.
I’ve also decided to push myself and go for another MCSA certification, picking up a CBTnuggets subscription which is a painful $84 a month – more than 4 times what I spend on gym. If it helps me get the cert then I guess it’s money well spent, and it does seem like a good resource, but it’s certainly not a cheap service.
I’ve been trying to claw time to do it by coming into the office early for half an hour, doing half an hour over lunchbreak, and then half an hour after work – followed by 90 minutes of gym, and then coming back home to collapse due to exhaustion – on days I need to cook dinner or go food shopping as well I want to cry.

 

Cordelia’s birthday

it was the gf’s birthday last weekend, we went to the dino golf down the road, basically an 18 hole minigolf kind of thing with luminous green water features and animatronic dinosaurs, they also play the jurassic park theme practically on loop, it was goofy, cold and pretty expensive, but good fun all the same, I won in our group, kind of made me miss playing Albatross 18.
We went to a chinese restaurant in kingston for dinner called Yimchai which was actually surprisingly good, there was a good authentic selection of food and the taste was pretty spot on from what I had. We’ve already booked to go again at Valentines. I got her a silver pendant with a garnet hung in the middle – her birthstone, she seemed to like it.

 

 

Other smaller things:

  • We’re going to see Dragonball Broly film tomorrow, which should be a laugh
  • Mum bought a house, going to help on the weekend.
  • Got back into Payday2, great game, so much content, I just wish I had people to play with as the randoms can be a bit trash.
  • Had to get my tyres and some bulbs changed for my cars MOT, £250ish in total, painful, but then I spoke to a friend who said that a single tire cost him £100 and considering I had all 4 done, I guess I got off lucky due to my car.

 

Life – December 2018

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And so 2018 comes to a close.
This year was fairly uneventful as they go, aside from the 3 holidays

 

Christmas!

Christmas was a little weird this year, as my parents sold the family house and are a bit all over the place right now, I woke up on christmas day alone in my room – unsure whether or not I should open the few presents I had, or bring them to my mum’s place or leave them or what.
I ended up opening up – I got a really nice superdry rucksack, a superdry tshirt, Codenames pictures (boardgame), a steam gift card, a mug, a Yakuza series tshirt, a comic book by hiimdaisy, a bunch of cash (because buying presents is hard), some chocs/biscuits, a glass chopping board which looks like a chipset, and some socks.

We went to my mums sister’s place this year, and had a lovely dinner, followed by some gambling (went from £2 to £7, yay) and jackbox, Hailey was being a bit of a diva this year and got into a strop because nobody was paying enough attention to her, and someone thought it would be a good idea to buy them instruments (harmonica, keyboard and a recorder) so my ears were ringing by the end of the night just because of all of the noise.
Boxing day morning me and brother just hung out, we were trying to find something to play, try doing a bit of Resi6 and promptly ended up buying Lethal League Blaze instead, which we blasted for a few hours. The eve was spent at an Aunt on my dads side, and was mostly uneventful, my cousin recently bought Jackbox 5 so we went through and played all of the games in that, some of them were really good but we didn’t really have enough people for it to be a party.

 

Ham house Christmas walk

Cordelia booked us on a ghost tour of Ham House – it was mostly uneventful unfortunately, though the interior was nice. I wasn’t really expecting much, but it was purely a ghost story kind of walk, rather than a haunted house kind of experience. I remmeber going to a ghost walk a long time ago as a kid and they had actors burst out of coffins and all sorts, but the Ham House ghost tour was just “sometimes you can hear this….” followed by everyone going silent, and nothing happening. Bit disappointing, especially given the high price of admission (£25 pp)

 

 

Book Club Christmas Dinner

‘Book club’ threw a Christmas dinner on the weekend before Xmas, it was all surprisingly organised, with teams for mains, dessert, drinks and decor – I was on the mains team, but the host ended up preparing basically everything so my only real role was to deal with the turkey – which was almost a disaster, the turkey I bought and had been defrosting for 2-3 days was still part frozen, so we ended up having to source a replacement. I was taught how to rub butter underneath the skin of the turkey, which was a very odd sensation, literally crawling in it’s skin – all turned out to be good in the end though, however it was much harder and more tiring to carve than I expected.

 

 

10 Years since Warwick University

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Just came back from our big 10 year anniversary reunion meetup, we rented a house on the border of Wales and England for the weekend and went to reminisce about easier times, drink lots and just try and forget how old we’ve become.

It was really good fun and so nice to see everyone again, getting the entire group together, at times it really did feel like nothing had changed, everyone still split into their smaller groups, the heavy drinkers downed their drinks, the usual suspects were useless at boardgames and ring of fire as normal.
Christina and Ian did some ‘organised fun’ which actually turned out to be really good – a quiz featuring general university fact knowledge, a ‘what happened next’ round with pictures, a university era ‘name that track’ round, an elaborate lab / bakeoff setup where we had to try and recreate a university favourite cocktail from their individual components, and a round where we had to write our first opinion of someone, and then we went around and guessed who they all related to etc.

The house was nice, if a little dusty,  I do wish there were more bedrooms though, we had 13 beds and only 4 bedrooms – I narrowly missed one of the better rooms which unfortunately meant I had to go into the room with all of the noisy people. I retired early on the first night due to too much alcohol, and was promptly woken up at 5am by a combo of incredibly loud snoring courtesy of Ronak and Sonal – I actually anticipated people would snore so I had already put my earplugs in but it was genuinely a case of as soon as they fell asleep, I got woken up. After 5 minutes of thinking if I could fall asleep in that noise, I ended up having to relocate to the lounge and sleeping on a spare duvet, thankfully not as bad as you might think, but the floor was pretty hard.

On the second day we went for a hike in the forest, really hilly around that area, and it had been raining the previous day, so conditions were pretty ripe for people to slip over or get coated in mud, thankfully no major casualties, though after half an hour of walking we did decide to take a shortcut down a very steep slope which ended up in a few of the girls falling over (Liz and Annie). Later that night we played Codenames (infamous ‘sport 3’ incident courtesy of Sonal) and Murder in the Dark which was really fun but slightly ruined by Luke and Ian being too drunk and basically just trying to ruin the game for everyone else – we were basically all just stumbling around in the pitch black trying not to grope each other.

I thought i’d take this opportunity to also list some of my personal favourite memories from my university days:
– My first night drinking on the piazza with a bunch of strangers
– Sprinting full pelt through the cryfield corridors
– Corridor slip and slide (even if Jamie ruined it)
– The first time I went to Oceana in birmingham
– The outdoor slip and slide
– Waiting for Gemma in her room and her appearing in a towel and screaming
– Roaming around cryfield and going into someone’s garden, after heavy snow, with Gemma
– Playing around with Ben’s DJ setup and learning how to do a basic mix
– Playing Halo with Duncan and learning the MLG map callouts to be able to understand and play with him better
– Many nights playing Rock Band/ Guitar Hero
– The entirety of the Ibiza holiday, which I still remember vividly – from our ridiculous long walk to take the girls home, to water party, to London bar and Kate teaching Phil how to pick up girls, to getting way too drunk in the russian bar and being woken up by a european guy trying to sober me up with a glass of water.
– Ed having to ‘Wait’
– Royal Fish Bar and their battered chips
– Visiting the girls house and laughing at how ridiculous their hallway shower was
– Ronak’s house party, drinking too much and passing out in the biomed bed, waking up mid coma to see Gem half dressed
– Walking up that damn hill every morning to get to lectures
– Many nights in ‘Crash’
– playing Mao in one of the first weeks with Tim, Luke and others
– ‘Sitting in the dark and talking about our feelings’
– Going to a halloween house party dressed as an ensemble of tetris blocks
– Seeing ‘Drag me to Hell’ at the student cinema and us all pissing ourselves laughing and screaming because of how loud it was
– Frog Disection during labs
– Playing with the liquid nitrogen for my final year project
– Ronak’s bed in the tree
– Eventually heading over to Gemma for a long talk on the night I broke up with Frances, after aimlessly walking around Leamington in the cold dark. It was a shitty night, but im glad I had someone to talk to.
– My 21st birthday party,. where we somehow made an absurd mess after deciding to antique people with flour
– Standing outside the kitchen window one night, and scaring the shit out of Ian – his double take after he saw me outside in the dark is something i’ll never forget.
– The few times I heard others having sex in the house – gross but hilarious and something I suspect I won’t forget.
– Archery Club
– The random time we were invited to play Octopush in the swimming pool
– Pub Golf night
– The ridiculous room pranks, from the alien egg in Ian’s room, to ronak’s room being filled with plastic spoons, to entire rooms being relocated to common areas.
– Trying to freeze duncan’s toothbrush in a block of ice

 

 

Life – Oct 2018

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Ooops.
That awkward moment when you forget about your blog for 3 months.

God, time goes fast though huh? We’re almost towards the end of the year and I’m going to be a very old man soon.

So uh..
Whats happened in the last few months?

 

Parents have sold the house

Obviously not our choice or decision, but one which had to be made, I’m going to have to head back in a few weeks to clean up the last of my stuff so they can properly move out.
I don’t live at home anymore anyway, but mum is moving to Orpington while dad is staying in Essex.
I’ve not actually seen the new house, but it’s only a 2 bed.

 

My stuff broke

Not having great luck with tech this year, I had a hard drive suddenly die on me, then my keyboard, and my power supply did some really funky stuff as well, where it just wouldn’t turn on, and then after a few days started working as normal – I decided to RMA it anyway because it’s still in warranty, I’d rather take my chances with a new unit than keep this one which has stopped working in the past.

 

I gamed my heart out

Yikes, probably one of the main reasons why I forgot to blog post, I’ve just been so overwhelmed with games lately.
We absolutely binged Monster Hunter World for a good month, and that was some of the most fun I’ve had in years, it was great being able to play with everyone again into the early hours of the morning, and it’s been so long since I’ve played a game that I’ve actually taken time off work to get more hours in.
Unfortunately a lot of the hype has died down now and there’s only 2 of us playing (down from 6), which is a real shame as I still enjoy the game, but playing with randoms isn’t as much fun – I guess my own expectations have gone up as well and I get more annoyed with people who have no idea how to play.

Since then, I’ve also been playing the fantastic Hat in Time DLC, and more recently have started up Opus Magnum, and The Surge – both of which seem really good and will probably keep me occupied for a fair while.

Oh I guess there was also God of War which I finished, and I’ve been playing some Spiderman and Yakuza 6 on PS4 as well – all courtesy of my brother who buys too many games.

 

Other stuff

uhhh…
– I sold my Sega Saturn for a hundred something quid
– I spent 2 weeks commuting to Watford for work (emergency on-site cover)
– We had a small LAN party thing at work
– I went Axe Throwing and came 2nd place in our group of 12
– I became a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
– I went to a trampoline Park and realised how unfit I am

 

 

 

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.

 

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