Thais have weird requirements from their Dentists

I have found yet another Thai quirk! Recently, I realised that I needed some Dental work done. I asked a few Thais to recommend some dentists. In parallel, I looked at reviews on Google maps to find one.

While scrolling through Google maps, I noticed a disturbing trend : How many reviews mentioned the cuteness of their dentists. This is one example, but all Dental clinics have such reviews.

This pattern has boggled my mind. I can’t seem to make sense of it. Hundreds upon hundreds of such reviews. Why?

No, Google really isn’t better

As of writing this post, Google has a 91.46% market share in search engines. As such, I understand straight away that this post would be controversial; but hear (read) me out.

For the last 2 decades, I have regularly used bing as the search engine of choice. I don’t remember why I started using it, but it must have had something to do with my Microsoft ecosystem phase. Either ways, I did dabble with a few different search engines (Read: DuckDuckGo, Ecosia) for a while, but used Bing overwhelmingly.

Over these 2 decades, I got used to people ridiculing me for not using Google. Recently, I started to wonder what I was missing out on. So I decided to bite the bullet and see what I was missing out on. I decided to use Google exclusively for a few weeks.

I was overwhelmingly disappointed.

Google doesn’t respect Wikipedia

I am a big fan of Wikipedia and refer to its articles multiple times daily for reference. Google just doesn’t want to show me Wikipedia results, for whatever reason. Here’re the search results of a popular tourist place on Google vs Bing

Where’s Wikipedia?

Google takes up more than half of the page to show me news reports from Chiang Mai. Then it takes up space to show me useless questions about it. Only when I scroll to the second page to I see a Wikipedia article about it.

Bing, on the other hand shows me some ads, but the Wikipedia entry is right on the first page where I can see it. I love how Bing shows Wikipedia results at the top of most search results, exactly how I would want it.

Irrelevant Image Results

Let’s say I want to see photos of the scientist Werner Heisenberg. Here’re the image search results from Google and Bing

Irrelevant Search Results

Its because of irrelevant results like this that people end up embarrassing themselves this way.

Integration with Office Intranet

Bing has this nifty tab called “Work”.

Work Search Results

Clicking on it shows search results from the company’s own Intranet. I find this immensely helpful while using Bing at work.

Porn

I don’t think I need to share screenshots, but Bing is much better for this purpose, trust me.

Beautiful Images

Bing shows beautiful wallpapers on its homepage. Google has its doodles but I prefer Bing’s wallpapers. Although if you search directly from the address bar like me, you would miss it most of the times.

Overall, I don’t think I would be changing my default search engine any time soon.

Anxiety Medication Withdrawal Fail-2

To continue the series of posts about my battle with anxiety, I bring the latest medication withdrawal fail story.

As I wrote here, after my last misadventure with SSRIs, I stopped taking them altogether. Since I felt fine for the next few weeks, I assumed that I don’t really need them and forgot all about them since.

PC: Verywellmind

However, ever so slowly, my anxiety started to creep up back on me. There weren’t any drastic symptoms. Just things like worrying too much about work, thinking about work at night or during weekends. Also, the ever present feeling of dread that something will eventually go wrong.

I was very proud of myself for having successfully(?) given up this medication and wanted to prevent another medication withdrawal fails. So I decided to continue without it.

After I spent 3 successive weekends obsessing over work and dreading Monday, I decided I would keep my mind open about resuming the medicine and gave myself 1 month to decide, till my next doctor appointment. I didn’t last 1 month.

Last weekend, after dreading work all Saturday and most of Sunday, I decided to give up and go back on the medication there and then. I called the hospital & requested to see the doctor the same day. Thankfully they were able to put me on the waiting list and I saw the doctor within the hour. He took pity on me and put me back on Lexapro.

After bagging the medication, I immediately felt better. The world looked brighter and life seemed more beautiful. Of course this was a placebo effect as the medication takes up to 2 weeks to work. Over the next day or so, the placebo effect wore off, but a week since starting the medication, I already feel better.

Second reminder to myself, to not mess with medication that work well.

Also, it’s not worth avoiding medication (and for what?) if it works for you and makes you feel better

LinkedIn is worse than Facebook

LinkedIn is supposed to be a “professional network”. However, as you can see below, it is anything but. I have posted about it before, but now I will go into more details

People posting personal news/updates instead of Facebook/Instagram.

Twerps posting sob stories for sympathy.

People posting inspirational quotes or unasked wisdom

1-click AI generated messages wishing people on their work anniversary.

Peddling Religious shit

The worst kind, as per me. People who have taken a contract (theka) to share breaking news with the rest of the world.

I am not currently looking for a job, so I don’t need LinkedIn as such. However, deleting the account makes me feel insecure. As if that perfect job I always wanted will somehow evade me.

It is pathetic, however, to see that people don’t understand the difference between networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Kind of people you see at a Thai Gym

A few months ago, I joined a gym. I was not getting any younger and thought I should take better care of my health. I started going 2 months ago, and thankfully am able to maintain discipline. In these 2 months, I had a chance to observe the other patrons and categorise them.

The Gym Bodybuilder

The bodybuilders are serious about working out. One look at their physique and it is clear that they have been working out for years. They don’t come to the gym to undertake in any kind of nonsense; they know exactly what they want to do, do it and leave. They hardly talk to anyone.

The No-Forms

Mostly men, the sole aim of these guys is to lift as much as possible. Form be damned. Looking at them, it is clear that they are lifting way beyond what they should. In fact some of them have movements which are borderline funny. Almost like dancing. Or like fits.

The Gym Grunters

These are mostly men and with each rep, they let out a savage grunt which can be heard well outside the gym. The surprising thing is that they grunt like this even when lifting lighter weights. The only reason I can think they do this is for attention. They want everyone to look at them while they are lifting, so end up sounding like cavemen. At the end of each set, they also throw their barbells/dumbbells with such force as to shake the floor.

The Social Media champs

These people spend more time on their phones than working out. Most of the time they are glued to their phones and in between their social media chores, manage to do a few sets. They also ask the trainers to take pictures & videos of them working out.

The Technical Guys

These guys calculate everything. They calculate exactly how much time it took for them to complete a set. Time their rest period to the second between sets. They also obsess over their heartbeat rates and select their weights according to it.

The Busybodies

These guys are always busy doing something. Between sets they are always fiddling with their weights continuously or doing some light exercises. They never sit still and always fidgeting around.

The Swole Ladies

These ladies are seriously ripped. They are the female versions of the gym bodybuilders. They are no nonsense and take their workouts very seriously.

The attention-seeking ladies

Mostly Thai women, who spend at least an hour getting ready for the gym. They all come in expensive cars and have personal trainers at their disposal. They spend less time working out and more time being massaged/fondled/chatted up by their trainers. Most of them are already in good shape so for them, the gym is just a social get together. I find them the most irritating.

The Gym clean freaks

Mostly Thai men and women, they use sanitisers to wipe the bench/seat before and after every exercise. Not only the benches, they also wipe the dumbbells/barbells/handles. They have accepted that no one except them will go to such lengths to maintain hygiene and are cool with it.

The Fatties

These people are morbidly obese. They confine themselves to the cardio section of the gym and rarely waddle into the weights section. They dress inappropriately as per their body shapes and are always dripping with sweat. Strangely, they don’t exercise too much. They move very slowly on their treadmills/bicycles/rowing machines; their exercises are very low intensity. However, they are in the gym for hours. When leaving, they always act as if they had a very intense workout and are beat. It doesn’t bother them that they have made no progress in months.

Why are people so insufferable on Facebook?

Ok, so I know I promised I will never be on Facebook again. But I have a good excuse. I ended up with a lot of things I didn’t want and the only way to sell second-hand stuff in Thailand is on the Facebook marketplace.

I thought I will use Facebook only for the marketplace, not for social networking, but I received a few friend requests, ended up sending a few. One thing led to another and I ended up just like last time.

Basically even the most decent people in real-life become insufferable on Facebook.

Some start thinking that they are celebrities

Facebook sucks
Public Figure! Hah!

Why does this guy have his headset inside his mouth?

Facebook sucks
Reminds me of Zomato delivery guys

Some people cannot step out of their homes without letting the entire world know.

What about those 1-tap fake AI generated birthday greetings designed to make you feel special?

Facebook sucks
The guy spent less than a second sending you a birthday greeting

Some people think they look cooler than they actually are.

Public displays of affection by wife and husband to force the world to see how much in love they are

Facebook sucks
No one cares

Finally, the worst kind. People who think they have taken a contract (Theka) to be the first to update everyone with the latest news.


Anyways, the purpose of this post is to remind me why I shouldn’t create an account the next time I am tempted.

The Serotonin Misadventure

Recently, I had a misadventure with my serotonin levels. As I posted earlier, I have been on Neuris 1mg- An Antipsychotic & Lexapro 5mg- An SSRI for my Generalized Anxiety Disorder since I moved to Thailand.

Now, the Lexapro, in Thailand costs 15 times what it cost in India. Always one trying to cheap out, on my last doctor’s visit, I asked him if he could prescribe me a cheaper alternative. He prescribed me Fluoxetine 20mg instead and I happily went on my way chalking this up as a win.

After a few days, I started noticing signs of heart palpitations and sweats through the day. I had recently joined a gym so I chalked this up to the workouts. However, the palpitations became worse with time.

It was not until my family left for vacation leaving me alone with my dog at home that the symptoms hit hard.

I was in a state of constant anxiety. My heart felt it was going to burst out of my chest. To make matters worse, I took a Lexapro, too. It really pushed me over the edge and after suffering all day from a constant state of agitation I dumped my dog with the neighbours and went to the ER.

Serotonin Misadventure
Saw many such alerts throughout the day

They said I have Serotonin Syndrome, from an overdose of SSRIs. They shot me up with a sedative and sent me home with a few pills of Ativan. Ah! Bliss!

I slept for 11 hours and woke up the next day feeling much better. Things didn’t go back to normal immediately, but I could feel the improvements over the next few days; all I had to do was not take the SSRIs.

Lesson Learnt : Don’t mess with medication that work, just to cheap out.

PS: On SSRIs, I used to have vivid movie-like dreams. After stopping the SSRIs, the dreams stopped, too.

My Worst Purchases-iPad Pro 11”

Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the iPad Pro 11”.

iPad Pro 11″, PC: Wikipedia

So it had been only a few days since my last folly and the palms of my hands started itching already. So I decided to buy the iPad Pro 11″. I justified it by telling myself I deserved it for my birthday.

This time I didn’t get the Smart Folio Keyboard. I again got the 512Gb version with cellular. Like before, I ran out of money so I couldn’t justify buying the Apple Pencil.

I got into a feverish rage on my birthday and woke up early to stand outside the still-closed store to buy one.

This one was just the right size and OK for one handed use. Like before, the device was gorgeous in every way. The body was awesome and the display was mind blowing.

By the second day, I started having serious misgivings about what I had done. All day, I tried coming up with use-cases for the iPad, but came up empty. This time, I even considered buying a Mirrorless camera to use the iPad as an image processor. Luckily, that moment passed without more expenses.

On the third day I bought the Apple Pencil but it failed to spark any creativity from within me.

By the fourth day, I realized that the device was more suited to professionals and people with creative hobbies and I could do nothing with it. I promptly listed it for sale and sold it the next day to someone at a significant loss. After that I slapped myself on the face 13 times.

My Worst Purchases-iPad Pro 12.9”

Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the iPad Pro 12.9”.

iPad Pro 12.9"
iPad Pro, PC: Wikipedia

So it had been a few months that I had bought a new gadget and the palms of my hands started itching. Lately I had not been truly happy with my iPhone (declining battery, low storage). So I decided to get an iPad to supplement the iPhone.

I wanted to read magazines on it, so I got the biggest one at 12.9”. Also wanted to blog on it, so I got the Smart Folio Keyboard. I wanted all my cloud content available offline, so I got the 512Gb version. Ran out of money so I couldn’t justify buying the Apple Pencil.

I got into a feverish rage last Sunday and woke up early to stand outside the still-closed store to buy one.

My first impression of the iPad was that it was huge. And heavy. Bigger than my wife’s MacBook Air, and with the smart folio, heavier, too. But I found it awkward to back out at the store so I handed them all my money and took the iPad.

My second impression was that the device was gorgeous in every way. The body is awesome and the display is mind blowing.

At home after setting everything up, I decided to read a magazine. Far from the experience I imagined, I had to hold the iPad with both hands and it still felt too heavy. I tried blogging on it and it felt weird, switching between the touch screen and the keyboard.

By the second day, I started having serious misgivings about what I had done. All day, I tried coming up with use-cases for the iPad, but came up empty.

By the third day, I realised that the device was more suited to professionals and people with creative hobbies and I could do nothing with it. I promptly listed it for sale and sold it the next day to someone at a significant loss. After that I slapped myself on the face 3 times.

From Xbox Series X to Playstation 5

I bought an Xbox Series X (from a scalper) around a year ago. I played GTA V (which I finished) and lately Microsoft Flight Simulator (Which I got bored of) on it. Started looking for new games to play but couldn’t get into any. So eventually, I decided to sell the Xbox and get a Playstation 5 (From a scalper) instead.

After playing on it for the last few days, here’re my thoughts on this switch.

Aesthetics

The Xbox Series X had a low-key monolithic design. You put it on your shelf and then you don’t look at it again. The Playstation, on the other hand is on-your-nose and hard to ignore. Not to mention, it is much bigger than the Xbox, thought it takes up less shelf space because it is thinner. I don’t care much about designs, but I prefer the aesthetics of the Playstation 5.

User Interface & System

The Playstation menus and controls are confusing and lack visual consistency unlike the Xbox. I much preferred the intuitive user interface of the Xbox Series X. Also, there seems to be no way of entering text on the Playstation using the PS App on your phone and typing using the on-screen keyboard is a bitch.

One major win for the Xbox is that it supports Fast game switching. You can easily switch between your last 5 games on the fly and resume playing with zero loading. This also survives console reboots and even software updates. It is disappointing to see that the Playstation cannot do this for even a single game. Closing a game means you start from the last save slot next time.

Graphics

Although the Xbox Series X has a more powerful CPU and GPU than the Playstation 5, most games don’t have a discernable difference in graphics quality that I can notice. Both console have stunning 4K graphics with ray tracing in supported games. Also, the Xbox Series X supports Dolby Vision which the Playstation doesn’t.

Sound

I don’t have a sophisticated sound system in my living room, so couldn’t notice any differences in sound quality between the 2 systems. But I would give this one to the Playstation 5 just because it can output sound effects via the controller. It makes the games just a bit more immersive.

Controller

There’s no comparison for this one. If the Xbox controller is a Suzuki Swift, the Playstation 5 Dualsense Controller is a Ferrari. It is at least a generation ahead of the Xbox controller. While the Xbox controller just has vibrations, the Playstation controller has amazing haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and a useful touch pad. Words cannot describe how much better the Playstation controller is, it has to be experienced to be believed.

The Dualsense controller has rechargeable batteries, so that is another plus.

Store

The Xbox Series X has a better store overall. It is easy to see which games are backward compatible and which ones are enhanced for the current generation. I found the Playstation store a bit confusing overall.

On the Xbox series X, if you buy a game and don’t like it after playing a bit, there’s an easy web option to cancel the purchase and ask for a refund, which is normally processed within a few minutes.

On the Playstation, there’s no way to ask for a refund after you already start a game. Even before that, the process is convoluted. You have to send an email to your country support account and wait days for them to reply. I bought Spiderman Miles Morales and immediately afterwards found a bundle which combines both Miles Morales and the previous version which I would have preferred. Now waiting for them to cancel the first purchase so that I can buy the bundle.

Games

Most cross-platform games play similarly on both platforms. One big advantage on the Xbox was you could play First Person Shooters using keyboard and mouse. The Playstation doesn’t support that, so playing FPS on it is out of the question for me.

The Xbox does backward compatibility properly, too. Most games from 4 generations back are compatible. The Playstation can only play some games from 1 generation back. Although I don’t expect to spend too much time on older games, it would have been nice to be able to play my favourite Playstation game – Rogue Trip-Vacation 2012 on it.

The decision to choose between these 2 consoles eventually comes down to console exclusives and which one a person prefers. The Xbox had Forza, Halo & Microsoft Flight Simulator as exclusives. The Playstation has God of War, Gran Turismo & Spiderman.

Xbox does have the gamepass where you pay a subscription fee every month and play a selection of games for free as much as you want. Playstation doesn’t have that. Eventually, I find the Playstation 5 exclusives more fun and engaging to play.

Overall, technically, I think the Xbox Series X is a better console, but the Playstation 5 has better, more engaging and fun games.

Earth bound misfit, I