Life Lately (16/07/2014)

Life Lately (16/07/2014)

These Life Lately posts of mine are becoming a bit too frequent! At least a monthly occurrence now, it seems. I know I’ve been flaky with my blogging the last few days, but I promise I’ll be back on track in the near future! Unfortunately, not only my blogging has been suffering, but also my writing, streaming, and even my gaming!

First of all, why I’ve been gone! Last week I was visiting my company’s office in LA, California. It was a very exciting trip; I’ve been out there once before but only for a few days so a full week was a treat! A lot of hard work was done, but with hard work also comes even harder play time. So what did I do while I was there? Not only did I get to visit colleagues and friends I haven’t seen for months or even years, but I got to experience a lot of things I never got to the last time I was in the States. I tried In-N-Out (pretty good, but I overhyped it!), Californian wine (delicious!), Korean BBQ, and some delightful steaks. I also got to visit Costco after being told by my colleagues it was a “quintessential American experience”. They were mostly joking, but it was fun to visit! On Friday last week, I also went on a tour of a variety of pubs in Santa Monica, and almost made it all the way to the beach before I bugged out and went to bed at 1:30am. Not my usual Friday night, but fun with very good company and lots of singing to 90s and early 00s music! I also got to see the NA LCS. For those of you who don’t know, that’s the League of Legends esports series. It was fun, and I picked up a Pulsefire Ezreal statue while I was there. Photos of my collection later!

There was also a very fun story. My good friend Sarah had shared some “unsolved crimes” with me a few days ago, and we were both creeping each other out. I read one of them, and it was all about a woman who had gone missing and was later found in a water tank on the roof of a hotel. The tank was sealed from the outside, but they ruled the death “accidental”. Moments before her disappearance, there was a video of her in the elevator of the hotel. The elevator wasn’t going anywhere, and while she looked a little unstable, it also looked like there was some foulplay. She seemed convinced she was being followed, and the lift wouldn’t go anywhere no matter what buttons she pressed.

One night, after I went out for delicious food with some awesome people from our LA office, I was leaving the office late. They were all staying to play games, and I had just come back to use the bathroom before walking back to my hotel. I got into the lift and pressed for the first/ground floor, and nothing happened. The doors closed and the lift didn’t move. I laughed, and thought, “Just like that story!” I tried calling another lift but nothing worked, so I decided to use the stairs. I didn’t know where they were, so I followed the exit signs through an empty office (creeptastic!) and found the stairwell. I walked out into the stairwell, and noticed it had a sign for roof access. I laughed again, thinking, “I bet that’s where the water tanks are!” I was suitably creeped out but mostly smiling. Until the door shut behind me and wouldn’t open again. The panic started to sink in… I sprinted down the stairs and tried every door but…nope. I felt flustered. This is how it happened! That crime was even in LA, please don’t be a murderer in the stairwell, oh please…

I called my boss, no answer. Before resolving to just spend the whole night there, or possibly try to break out through the alarmed door on the ground level, I started pounding on the door up on our floor until I heard a confused voice in the office area. Luckily a coworker came out to use the bathroom! I got back in, thank god, but was very shaken up! And the lift still didn’t work!

All of that aside, I had a great trip. However, I am thrilled to be back. I get homesick and I’m a very easily stressed out traveller, and honestly, while I missed my routine and my PC and my own bed, I truly missed my fiancé. Our nine year (!) anniversary was on Thursday, so I have the whole week off to celebrate and make up for the fact that I wasn’t here for it.

So I hope you’ll forgive my absence! Again, I know. But I will be around more often now, at least until Gamescom in August!

Thinking back over 2013

I’ve seen a lot of delightful 2013 recaps, so I thought it was worth reviewing my own year, and seeing what I could come up with. Props to my friend Tilly at LoveTilly.com for her lovely 2013 review in photos! Sadly, no beautiful photos from me, but except some camera phone snaps below!

Thinking back over 2013...

As I mentioned in my Christmas 2013 Recap post, I’ve been stressed out almost every Christmas holiday, including New Year, for the last few years. This has generally been self-inflicted, but almost always linked to work. This year has been different, and in fact, I’ve noticed a vast improvement over my entire year!

The beginning of 2013 was a bit rough with some family troubles and my uncle ended up in hospital, but he made a full recovery, which is the positive side of that story! I moved into a documentation/technical writing position at work, which involved writing FAQs and helpful guides for players with issues who visited our support website. I got to do a lot more writing which was great! I also dyed my hair bright purple, which I loved and hope to return to sometime.

Thinking back over 2013...

I did a lot of travelling and events with work this year. I attended ArcadeCon and hosted our work event with a colleague in front of a crowd of about 30 to 50 or so. I even got to meet Virginia Hey from my favourite series, Farscape! In August I went to Gamescom and got to not only host a lot of the contests on stage (in front of much larger crowds than at ArcadeCon!) but also cosplayed as Pentakill Sona as part of the Pentakill band performance. It was so exciting.

I also visited the Caribbean for the first time on a trip to Punta Cana. It was absolutely beautiful; we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which was all-inclusive. I really want to get to a point in my life where I can feel like I can walk into any restaurant and just eat, without worrying about the cost. Even if I simply go on more all-inclusive holidays to get that feeling! Waking up at 6:00am to the beautiful sunrise, eating a lovely breakfast and swimming in the pool before relaxing on the beach, sipping complimentary cocktails all afternoon, was just one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, especially as I got to share it with T and some good friends.

Thinking back over 2013...

Towards the end of the year, I found the wonders of Final Fantasy XIV, got horribly addicted, and reached level 50 as a white mage with my Relic+1. I’m now in a wonderful Free Company called Cake with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in gaming. I genuinely enjoy hopping on for shenanigans with them, and helping them out whenever I can as they’ve done the same for me! Now all I have to do is convince T to join me and I’ll be pretty chuffed.

I made peace with an old friend and embarked upon a whole new friendship that I really appreciate! I also got promoted to Associate Project Manager at work, so I’m looking forward to digging in on that when the new year hits. It’ll be an entirely new experience and I can’t wait to get started! I took part in some fantastic training in the last few months as well, all of which have helped me to overcome my stress levels more, learn how to leave work at the office, and helped me improve my own time management and people skills. I foresee 2014 involving me honing those skills further, getting more focused with my writing, and potentially starting to plan a wedding, as last week we agreed on a provisional date!

Home is where the heart is.

While I am extremely pleased about my independence, and love living with my fiancé (seriously, we should not be allowed to live together without adult supervision!), sometimes there’s nothing quite like a family visit. T’s sister picked us up in Dublin and we had a mini roadtrip, complete with games of I, Spy and 20 Questions, and after getting lost a few times we arrived home around 8:30pm. I’ve made great use of my childhood bedroom, cosying up with my laptop to play a few games of Hearthstone in my PJs, and today I headed out with my mum.

Lunch at South African restaurant, Makhulu 5. Delicious ham hock with mashed potatoes and gravy.

We went to Makhulu 5 for lunch. It’s a South African restaurant, complete with wood burning on an open fire in the open kitchen. I ordered the world’s biggest ham hock, with a brown sugar glaze, and I was utterly shocked at how big it was. We were ordering off the lunch menu! I’ll take something that size for £10.95, including a starter (ribs, of course) and dessert (hello chocolate fudge cake, where have you been all my life?). I had to get a doggy bag to cart some of it home…

Mummy Psyche driving her new car! My grandparents' little girl cat, Buzz. Yes, as in Lightyear.

We headed out to visit my grandparents, and Mummy Psyche drove me around in her new car! It’s pretty and purple, like my hair used to be (which I miss, by the way). I’ve always found it hilarious that my grandparents’ cat is a little girl called Buzz, as in Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.

I know this is a little different, but I thought why not keep everyone up to date on what other things are going on in my life, even if they aren’t especially geeky?