The furlough life – May 2020

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Yikes. How is it that sitting at home doing nothing productive makes time go so damn fast? It’s almost mid June now and I’ve not been at work for almost 2 and a half months.
An email from work at the end of may suggests I may not be going back until the end of July which would make 4 full months – the most time i’ve had off in what feels like forever.

I’m still doing OK and enjoying the time off, though the honeymoon period is over I suppose, I really miss being able to just go out to the shops or get bubble tea and pho in Kingston.
I’ve been passing the time with baking, and a possibly unhealthy serving of games and TV

What have I been playing?

  • Started and finished Gris – which was nice but a little bit simple, it’s more of a walking sim than a platformer
  • Started and finished Turmoil – reminds me a bit of motherlode, one of those drill for resources and then upgrade so you can drill faster kind of games, simple but surprisingly fun.
  • Started up Middle Earth Shadow of War – which was fun for a few hours but they really went all in with the nemesis shit, it got boring pretty quick because it feels like that’s all you do in the game – just run to place, kill a dude, repeat.
  • Started and finished Swords of Ditto – Pretty boring honestly, didn’t take long to finish at least (though i’m certainly not replaying it 5 times for the true ending)
  • Finally finished off Druidstone – Was 90% of the way through and just abandoned it for no real reason, good to tick this one off.
  • Started and Finished Bloodstained ROTN – Way better than I thought it would be, pretty traditional Igavania game and that’s not a bad thing. I actually wish they would remaster the gameboy ones because they were all really good as well and I don’t think I finished many of them.
  • Started and finished Warsaw – It’s a bit darkest dungeon, mixed with this war of mine. It was decent, though not in any real rush to play through it again.
  • Finished Raiden 5 – it was shit.
  • Replayed/Finished Legend of Grimrock – I started it ages ago but never saw the end, lost my save so had to start from the beginning but nbd. Loved it, but the sequel was better (as it should be), I hope they make a third.
  • Playing through Project Warlock and Shadow Warrior – Both filling that brainless FPS need
  • Started Molek-Syntez – yeah it’s another zachtronics alright. As usual im sure i’ll get half way through and then abandon it, it may have already happened.
  • Started up Trillion – I don’t really understand the game, its like some sort of incremental game but with the same boss battle every now and then, but the boss battle is really boring…
  • Slowly making my way through Train Valley 2 – got it free from the humble, it’s actually really good, but quite hard and stressful as the game goes on.
  • Started and probably dropped Jurassic world evolution – It was fun, but quite samey after a while. I don’t think I can be bothered to make another park.
    it’s also made me realise that I probably don’t want to buy Planet Zoo at anywhere near full price…
  • Bought the Holy Potatoes! pack while it was on sale – All pretty simple games, but really good time killers because I can play it while watching Netflix, I’ve been watching shitloads of ‘Shark Tank’, I regret nothing.
  • Started and finished Dishonoured 2 – Admittedly still not the biggest fan of this series but it was alright I guess, I think my main problem is that it really wants you to play stealthy and penalizes you for not doing so, but gives you so many skills to let you kill people so there’s that constant inner conflict.
  • Then there are the months humble monthly games – which, honestly i’m really liking all of them so far. I’ve played Barotrauma with Anony and it’s been great fun (we went in completely blind without the tutorial and it was such a hilarious mess), i’m also slowly making my way through the Messenger, and I think i’m towards the end of Supraland, which is a shockingly underrated game.

The furlough life – April 2020

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So late towards the end of March, my company decided to use the government Furlough scheme on a third of our workforce. It makes sense really, and I don’t blame them for doing so – I recently changed from support to projects which basically means new installs/setups, but obviously nobody wants to invest in their IT when the economy is going down the shitter and income is drying up as everyone goes into hiding.

The scheme basically means i’m on leave for 2 months at 80% wage – which, i’m actually loving, i mean when they mentioned it and asked for volunteers I thought ‘surely this is too good not to volunteer for?’ When else in my life am I going to get paid 80% to not work?

The month has gone crazy fast, 4 weeks almost now, just whoosh.
I’ve been passing my time by going through my games backlog, picking up new games, catching up on anime and TV, and doing all the household chores and experimenting around with food a little more.

So what have I actually been playing this month?

  • Started and finished Dead Rising 4 – fun but ultimately pretty forgettable
  • Started Catherine – Enjoying it, but the puzzles are actually really stressful, I wish I put it on easy or something because i’m playing it more for the story than the climbing segments.
  • Started and finished Doom Eternal – Great FPS, and much longer than I expected, though I actually think I prefer the simplicity of Doom 2016.
  • Finished off Shantae and the Pirates curse – Eh, it was OK, nice characters but kind of weak as a metroidvania goes.
  • Started and finished Hitman 2 – and by that I mean i’ve done all missions once, I bought the DLC and finished those as well. I’m still doing some extra runs to play around and see the other outcomes, but I suspect i’ll get bored way before I run out of content, I played a fair bit of Hitman 1 and unfortunately the progress doesn’t carry.
  • Started and finished Forager – Bought this one while it was on sale as I had my eye on it for a while, I’ve been really craving a crafting/automation style game and this scratched the itch
  • Started and finished Resident Evil 3 (remake) – Bit disappointing after playing REmake2? Still enjoying it I guess but it felt like they just did the bare minimum required to push the game out. Really short, only 6 hours for my first playthrough and I would say I was taking my time.
  • Started up Final Fantasy 7 remake – Absolutely loving this so far, like way more than I thought I would, I had the opportunity to play it for a while but had no urge to, thought I may as well seeing as I have the time right now and I’ve been totally sucked in. The music was amazing, the characters and graphics are stunning, Tifa’s side boob in chapter 9 probably has more polygons than the entirety of everything on screen in the original and god bless.
  • Continued playing Call of Duty MW Warzone – this has replaced Apex for me for now, really loving this BR and it’s so much fun to play with friends, the gunplay feels really good.
  • I’ve also given Valorant a try after getting a beta key, if i’m honest, i’m not really impressed, I like the idea but the art style or something about the way things are conveyed on screen just isn’t satisfying, like getting kills or shooting ingame doesn’t feel as fun as in counter strike.

Life – March 2020 (COVID19 update)

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Poor neglected blog, As usual in my life, doesn’t really feel like theres much to talk about, but I figured given the current situation in the UK, I may want to look back and reflect at some point.

Jan:
Was Cordelias birthday, we went out for a meal I think, also got the car serviced and MOT’d which turned out to be a few hundred quid for brake pads and disks, i’m hoping i’ll be able to switch to another car soon but I kind of want my own drive first before I get a ‘nice’ car.
MHW Iceborne came out and I clocked another 100+ hours on the content, really good expansion though I wish more of my friends were playing it.

Feb:
Nothing of real note, did a fair few extra weekends overtime to get some extra money, hoping to save up for a PC as this one (Sanshiro3) is starting to struggle in some CPU heavy games like Modern Warfare (2019).
My birthday at the end of the month, but didn’t really get much of note, just some money and small bits

Mar:
After some extreme frustrations at work and having to take a day off for my mental wellbeing, they moved me to another department, so i’ve switched from the servicedesk to the projects team which is more based around new installs or implementations rather than just troubleshooting day to day stuff. It’s shocking how much management can affect the simple day to day feeling of your job, even if nothing had really changed requirements wise, just the change in management made me hate every minute of work.

The rest of the month, as you may or may not know, has been all this Coronavirus/COVID-19 shit, which has been super interesting but also a bit shit. I’ve loved seeing the natural human reactions and quick devolution of the british public, the underlying racism which has bubbled to the surface, and the sheer stupidity of some of our citizens. It has however made food shopping quite frustrating, and the now forced quarantine is a bit annoying as I can’t go out to town and have a shop around etc, or even see my own mother on mothers day (as she is high likelyhood of having it, due to work).
They have switched us to working from home which is equal parts nice and not, I love being able to wake up 5 minutes before work starts, and use my own peripherals, however it does also feel a bit lonely at times and it feels like i’m in the same spot all day. It’s also caused havok and stress regarding our next holiday, which was due to be Portugal in mid May – which is now looking very unlikely, I guess i’m just glad that it wasn’t a larger holiday as our investment in this was only a few hundred quid.

That’s all for now, we’re all fine and healthy still, plenty of food in the fridge, tons of loo roll in the cupboard, just waiting for it all to blow over so I can visit my local bubble tea shop again.

Insomnia in the UK

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So I’ve had Insomnia on and off for what feels like ages now?
I’m not really sure at what point it goes from ‘difficulty sleeping’ to actual clinical ‘insomnia’ but im going to go ahead and use the term anyway.

It feels pretty bad, not gonna lie, wake up every day and just feel exhausted by 2pm, struggle to stay awake at my desk, look like shit, tired and scared to drive after 8pm from fear of falling asleep at the wheel (yet if I actually go to bed instead, don’t get any sleep until midnight).

I started to wonder how many other people must go through the same thing, and so, I thought i’d document was has and hasn’t been working for me, in hopes that at the very least, I can help someone else.

I’ll update this every now and then

Sleeping Aids

Tea – Twinings ‘Sleep’

Trash? Doesn’t seem to help at all.

Tea – Herbal elephant stuff

My mum gave me some of these, believe they are french.
No benefit so far.

Tablet – Nytol Herbal

Nytol Herbal – Valerian root, passion flower, hops
No beneficial effect for me, smelt AWFUL, like you would open the box and wonder if they fed the ingredients to a rat and then just dried out the poop, and then you’d take the pill and the smell would waft up your throat and into your nose jesus christ it was so bad.

Tablet – Sleepeaze (Diphenhydranmine Hydrochloride )

Boots UK Sleepeaze – Diphenhydranmine Hydrochloride 25mg – Inconsistent, wouldn’t put it any better than placebo

Tablet – Sominex (Promethazine Hydrochloride 20mg)

Sominex – Promethazine Hydrochloride 20mg (bought from Boots for about £4)
3/4 success rate so far, though the sleep doesn’t seem to be any deeper than usual

Tablet – Melatonin Gummies

Natrol Gummies – Melatonin 5mg/10mg (bought from Biovea, about £10 ex shipping)
Bought a pack of these from the states, apparently Melatonin is a prescription only drug in the UK but the yanks get it over the counter. It seems inconsistent but I think better than nothing. I’ve only tried 5mg so far, though the packaging says you can take 2…
The first time I had it, I had an intense wave of drowsiness after 20 minutes – i’m talking “jesus christ I need to lay down now in case I pass out”, ironically I then spent the next hour staring at the ceiling.
4/8 success rate so far
https://www.biovea.com/uk/product/detail/13318/melatonin-gummies–strawberry-5mg-90-gummies/?deptid=1&cid=22592&mid=0&kw=

Supplement – ZMA’s (Zinc Magnesium Aspartate)

Recommended by a bodybuilder friend, I didn’t notice much difference in my sleep.
https://www.supplementcentre.com/testosterone-boosters/matrix-nutrition-zinc-magnesium-aspartate-test-booster

Other – Earplugs

These do help, for obvious reasons.
I’m going to go ahead and rep the ones I buy on amazon – They only a little over £1 a pair, and I get a good few months use out of one pack (though, if you have wet earwax your mileage will be significantly less I presume). I’m on my 3rd box personally
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quies-Pair-Foam-Earplugs-Pack/dp/B009FAJVEW

App – Calm

Free version of the android app has 2 audiobook things that last for about 25 minutes. It made me realise just how restless I am while I lay in bed, the book had a character who at one point got into bed and felt calm, relaxed, still, and all of these other words spoken in a gentle tone, and I was listening while rolling around in bed trying to get comfortable.
0/1 so far, I was awake through the whole audio clip and only fell asleep half an hour later it ended.

Life – November 2019

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What the actual hell, where did the time go?

I haven’t done a proper post for months because honestly, life has just been really uneventful outside of a few outlier days.

Tough Mudder 5k
So I did a tough mudder event back in October, which was great fun, I really enjoyed doing all of the obstacles and it was quite nice to actually do something physical for a change, going to the gym is nice and all but it doesn’t quite compare to actually doing a human pyramid, climbing up walls, hanging from poles, etc etc etc.
I really did not enjoy the running unfortunately, and after I finished (even though I was wearing a knee support and an ankle support) I found it pretty hard to walk for a few days due to the pain in my right knee, this is kind of something I’ve had for a while but it only seems to manifest after I do heavy squats in the gym. I wonder what’s wrong with it…

Shiny new shoes
So after the above, I figured maybe it was because my current gym/running shoes are absolute trash, i’ve had the same pair for maybe 5 years so felt like I would be ok to invest in a better pair this time.
I went down to RunnersNeed in Kingston, they were really friendly and helped pick me out some shoes after analysing my gait, sizing up my feet, and bringing out a bunch of different shoes for me to try, which was so different from the usual of going into the shop, and you explicitly asking and they bring it out, this one was the guy bringing out shoes, and me saying yes or no. Highly recommend them if you’re in that market, though I did end up spending over a hundred in the end on some fancy new trainers (Brooks GTS19’s if that means anything to anyone).

EGX 2019
EGX was over in october, I went with my brother and we had a great time wandering around and playing all the games. All of the big games had massive queues but I did get to try Switch fit adventure thing, Nioh 2, Kakarot, and a bunch of other games, as well as reliving some old times in the retro corner playing DJ Hero.
I’ve really missed being able to go to EGX with my bro, so i’m very happy it’s returned to London.

New kit and upgrading to Win10
After rocking windows 7 til it went out of style, and then some, I’ve finally had to upgrade to Windows 10.
I was suckered into buying the new Call of Duty and that game basically runs at half FPS on windows 7 (Literally, if you cap the ingame fps to 60, it plays at 30 – you have to run the game at 120fps to get 60 real), I think this is due to it being DX12 only, so alas, grabbed a new m2 SSD and installed win 10 pro.
At some point I also impulse bought a new monitor as well, an Asus VG287QR which runs at 165hz, and oh man, the high framerate thing is bliss. It’s really nice and you can definitely feel the difference, it’s actually quite shocking how choppy 60fps seems to feel once you get used to it.
Would defo recommend upgrading if your PC can handle it, but be warned that you really do need a bit of a beast rig to run at full speed on it, i’m now having to start considering a full PC upgrade to take advantage, even though I don’t really want to spend more….

Silverstone Classic

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Was lucky enough to get some free tickets to the Silverstone classic event this weekend (apparently normally £70 entry?). I can’t say i’m really into cars that much at all, but seemed like a fun day out and something a bit different so we made the drive up and spent a half day looking around.

Was really interesting, never been to anything like it before, so many car brands ive never heard of (many of which stopped making cars ages ago) and loads of old and new vehicles and strange shapes and sizes.

Life – May 2019

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Fairly uneventful month…

 

Chiropractor

As I get older, I feel like my back pain is getting worse, I imagine going to the gym is both helping and contributing to the issue but who knows which side is winning out.
I colleague of mine recently went to a chiropractor and had good results so I thought I’d go and check one out myself.
https://www.surbitonchiropractic.com/ – This is the one I went with in the end, a really friendly american guy who has apparently been practising for years – the treatment and diagnosis was interesting, he says I have a disk bulge in my lower back, my right leg is slightly longer than my left, and a stiff neck.
He proceeded to knead my back like bread and try and roll my spine back in to place, and did his best agent47 neck snap on me as well – which, “Jesus Christ” actually just blurted out of my mouth while I was on the table. Never experienced a bone click like that – and regardless of the treatment efficacy, worth it for that experience alone.

I’ve not been back since, and unfortunately not seen much of an improvement – I only found out afterwards that Chiropractic is apparently a form of alternative medicine – and while i’m sure it’s more effective than homeopathy or anything involving chakras, I do think some of the logic seems flawed. Who knows, maybe it does work, but I don’t think I want to pay the extra £480 on 12x 20 min sessions to find out.

 

Eurovision

Had a little Eurovision party over at a friend’s place, which has always pretty much just been an excuse to sit around and eat/drink.
We thought we’d be exciting and make some gyoza from scratch – both vegetarian and pork versions.
Was a pretty fun little exercise, I don’t think I’ve made gyoza before so looking up some recipes online and adapting it myself was pretty fun, as well as trying our hardest to fold/crimp them properly. They came out pretty well in the end, and the gyoza meat mix works impressively well just for making mince pork patties in general.

 

Dental

Minor note – Had my first dental checkup in like 5 years which didn’t result in a filling or being told they need to amputate my mouth. Sometimes, it’s the little wins.

Keto begins

Countdown to my next short holiday in Barcelona began a few weeks ago, and I told myself I was going to burn some fat before going – my ‘eat whatever I want’ diet has been going pretty great for weight training and bulking up, I think I’ve certainly put on some muscle – however the bodytrax scales at my local gym also say that my body fat % is the highest it’s ever been as well, skirting around 18%.

So, it’s back on the keto for a month, it’s hard going, but im almost used to the lifestyle at this point, and it really is a good way to keep away from the sugar and sweets – though god is it upsetting when it’s the boss’s birthday and he brings in 48 krispy kreme donuts.

We’ve been on a mad hunt for sugar-free treats and ended up buying a bunch of sugar-free jelly, and ‘wheyhey’ ice cream which is basically carb free (all polyols).

 

 

 

Lights – Skin and earth tour 2019

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Had the pleasure of finally going to see Lights ( https://www.iamlights.com/ ) in London, I remember seeing the tickets go on sale for the last time she was in the UK but decided not to go for whatever reason (probably because I didn’t want to go alone) – wasn’t going to let that stop me this time, though to my surprise, Cordelia said she wanted to come as well despite only really listening to some of the music via my car stereo.

We got there pretty early and had to spend aaages waiting outside the venue, and then a further 2 hours or so waiting around the stage for the action to start.
The support act was a girl called Lizzy Farrall – who was lively and full of spirit, but unfortunately the audio levels were all over the shop – microphone turned up so much you couldn’t hear the lyrics, drums and guitar so loud they drown everything else out. Felt pretty bad for her honestly because she was asking us to sing along and nobody knew the lyrics (because nobody had heard of her) and even if we wanted to, we could barely understand anything she was screaming into the mic.

Finally at 9pm – ( right on time I might add, I hate when musicians make you wait for ages or don’t come out until everyone is cheering and screaming for 10 straight minutes) Lights came out and totally rocked it.
Was really an impressive show, the talent was real – I don’t even think she needed the microphone her voice was so powerful, and she was also performing while playing guitar or piano.
She played through more or less the entirety of the skin and earth album, as well as a healthy dose of songs from previous albums (Last thing on your mind, Toes, Banner, Running with the boys, up we go) and then some unexpected covers: Lovefool and Cher’s Believe – the latter of which turned the song from a dance song to a slower more powerful version and was honestly really cool to vibe to.

Life – April 2019

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Yikes! That was a crazy fast month! Practically in May now. Where did all the time go?

 

New House!

So I’ve moved out of my single room shared house place, and into a rented 2 bedroom house. A house! how exciting, I hope I get to own a house someday but jesus they are so expensive. The particular place we’re living in, I looked online and it’s probably around the £300k mark – which is a bit depressing considering how small it is. Ah well.

Price wise for us, not too bad at least? Relatively speaking? Rent is £1200 a month, which is actually the very lower end of non-shithole places in southwest london. The place came unfurnished, and as we didn’t have any furniture, it was a real stressful move in week because we literally had no bed, nothing to sit on, etc, literally all we had was kitchen stuff and a TV cabinet, I had to sleep on the floor for a good week or so, eventually after some shopping around, we hit up IKEA and basically bought everything we needed, and then I grabbed a new desk chair off amazon. The total price of all the furniture was maybe around £1300? Which isn’t toooo bad I think, considering how long they will hopefully last?

Here are some pictures! I’m basically fully moved in and comfy now.

 

New Games + The Long long weekend

So I took 2 days off either side of the double bank holiday, which lead to a delicious 8 day weekend – though, I had nothing to do!
Thankfully, with a little help from some friends and family I suddenly had a plethora of games to play, literally spoilt for choice. I had been waiting to get my hands on some of these for a while so I literally spent the whole 8 days just vegging out and gaming, to the point where my eyes started to hurt.

Sekiro – Goddamn what a game, they really doubled down on the combat portion and as a result some of the things I really enjoyed about Dark souls got pushed aside, stuff like character customization and builds, or being able to choose weapon. The counter for this at least is some of the most fun boss fights and some really satisfying combat, it’s nice to not have to worry about a stamina gauge either. At points however the game does seem to devolve into boss rush mode, which I wasn’t really a fan of, mostly because it can be easy to get stuck on them. I’m currently about 20 hours in, and almost at the end I think? With just a small handful of bosses left. I really struggled on Genichiro Ashina but surprisingly managed to breeze through a lot of the bosses after that (and by breeze I mean only dying 1-5 times)

Resident Evil 2 (2019) – Turned out to be waaaay harder than I expected – I kind of had to play through on hardcore mind you, as the normal mode doesn’t even have ink ribbon saving, which just seemed sacrilegious – I think having ink ribbons and limited saves really enhances the survival aspect of the game, as you need that fear of dying to be properly immersed in the game – dying and having to repeat 15 minutes of gameplay and exploring is much scarier than dying and reviving at a checkpoint at the start of the room.
I’ve completed Claire A and have Leon B yet to beat, Mr X stressed me out so much that I actually ended up playing Sekiro to ‘cool down’. Really enjoyed the game though and certainly recommend to anyone looking for a legit survival horror experience, I still don’t think it beats the original REmake, but it’s certainly the best one in a long time for me.

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Coming into this game late, I can certainly see both sides of the arguments for and against it. Yes, it’s a really good game, the world is gigantic, the missions are fun and the stories are interesting, but the overanimation of many factors really bogs the game down and makes some things a bit tedious, there are also some really strange design choices and options missing for the player. I have no idea how far through the story I am, but i’ve just been run out of Saint Denis if that helps people who have played it. I do kind of wish there were more things to buy like in GTA5, after doing some heists and so on I’ve bought everything in the camp and have so much money I don’t really know what to do with it, it’s made a lot of activities like hunting seem a bit pointless.

 

TV

So many spoilers out there!
Avengers Endgame was awesome, and the recent episode of Game of Thrones was absolutely mad as well.
Likely going to see Detective Pikachu and John Wick 3 in the cinema next month as well.

In terms of anime this season, really slim pickings unfortunately, i’m only properly following One punch man s2 and some trash harem show (Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai), though apparently Attack on Titan is resuming now?

 

Quitting D&D for now…

I think i’ve had enough of playing D&D with my work group for now, I’ve always been a fast learner and playing D&D has made me realise that I am an incredibly impatient – like this isn’t news to me don’t worry, I already knew I was impatient but the severity only recently hit me as I sat twiddling my thumbs waiting for colleagues to choose who to attack and how. People who make me wait have always been at the top of my shitlist.
So, goodbye, Combo, the level 5 Human Barbarian
You had some good times, with your immense wealth, your 16 longswords and your disgusting damage numbers, you’ve done well, now it’s time for some retirement.

Life – Feb/Mar 2019

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I started writing this thinking I had plenty to talk about and it turns out I really don’t.

It’s kind of shocking how uneventful life has been lately, but sometimes boring is good too.

 

 

Budapest

Was great fun! Cordelia took me there as a birthday present, there wasn’t really enough there to keep us fully occupied for the 5 days or so we were there, but it was a nice change of pace to have a holiday where we can come back to the hotel and have a nap without feeling like we’re wasting the day away.

 

Another exam down

Passed my 70-740 Microsoft Exam, one of three for the Server 2016 qualification. It was pretty hard, I actually thought i was going to fail when I was mid exam, though I somehow managed to pass with 82%

 

Apex Legends

Oh my god Apex came from seemingly nowhere and has eaten maybe 100 hours of my life, I’ve never really seen the appeal of battle royale games due to my short experience playing Fortnite but this is completely different. It’s a shame i’m not very good at the game of course, maybe it’s my age catching up to me?

 

New home

I’m moving again at the end of this month, to a small 1.5 bedroom house, really looking forward to not having to share with other people, I can totally deal with cleaning up mess, but I fucking hate cleaning up after others. I’ll be sure to post some pictures after i’m moved in.

 

 

 

Budapest 2019

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So, initially I actually wanted to try and use my phone to do a vlog or video overview of my holiday, but I don’t think I really took enough footage to do this, coupled with the fact I don’t actually have any gopros etc, didn’t shoot any of my meals, and apparently I don’t even have Sony Vegas on my computer.

So instead, have a quick summary, some pictures, and some travel tips

 

Oh, I want to add that this is the first holiday in literal years where i’ve not taken my Canon DSLR with me, all these pics were just shot on my new phone, is it super obvious? I didn’t touch them in post either, I know the phone does some weird filters and stuff also so some shots aren’t artistically mine!

 

Day 1 – Arrival, Airbnb, went for dinner and then went to sleep because I felt a bit ill

Day 2 – Walked around the park, saw Vajdahunyad Castle, did a loop around the outside of the spa, saw Heroes Square, home for a nap, Went out to catch the sunset over the danube, walked along the danube for a bit just taking in the sights, saw the Budapest eye, went to Caviar & Bull (£90 per person, most expensive meal of my life, #3 on tripadvisor)

Day 3 – Went over to the castle district, Fishermans Bastion (very cool), walked around trying to find some gardens before it started raining, went to Central Market to have a look around, was going to eat there but way too busy, went to a local hungarian place for Goulash, Went out to a huge ruin bar, there was a small food cart street nearby where we tried Langos (traditional hungarian snack) and some chimney cake

Day 4 – 6am Wakeup to go to the famous Budapest Spa (no pictures), went over to St Stephens Basilica, food at Meatology (#6 on tripadvisor) where I had an amazing pork belly burger, long walk across to the other side of budapest to see the church in a cave, dinner at a Thai place

Day 5 – Lazy morning, tasty BBQ beef sandwich at Smokey Monkeys BBQ (#11 on tripadvisor), went to the highly disappointing 3d museum (0/10 would not recommend) and then went over to see the parliament building before starting to make our way back home.

 

 

Travel tips:

  • Széchenyi Spa ‘Cabins’ are actually just a changing room that you can use to lock your stuff in, the lock seems pretty robust and so you’re probably safe, they say you need to have slippers but nobody called us out on it
  • Cash is king for smaller businesses, but larger restaurants and chain stores do all take card – the rate on ,my revolut card was actually much better than the exchange rate when we tried swapping cash.
  • Budapest is very walkable, but I do suggest grabbing some travel tickets, we used 10 in 5 days (each), the shuttle bus tickets are separate
  • Budapest is pretty affordable as long as you don’t go fine dining, most nice meals with a drink will cost less than £10 per person, if you want to go really budget you can easily do £5 per person per meal. We saw beer as cheap as £2 for a litre.
  • Whilst you can technically get lunch at Central Market, I’d recommend making a plan B as it was mental while we were there

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.

 

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