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.

Pathetic Indian Expats

As per Wikipedia, Indians make up the biggest group of expats in the world. Also, Indians seem to be leaving their country in droves. This post is not about Indian expats in general, but about a specific group. This group lies somewhere between migrant labourers and well earning/spending Indian expats and makes up a sizeable chunk of expat Indians.

Indian Expat Roommates, PC: YouTube

This group of Indian expats doesn’t leave their home country to provide a better life to themselves and their families. These Indians want one thing only – To save as much money as possible. Unfortunately, over the years, I have met many such pathetic lowlives.

These Indian Expats

  1. Emigrate to other countries without their families. The idea is they earn in a higher-valued currency and send money back home where the family spends it in a lower-valued Rupee. Is more common among Indian women, as they see it as a way to escape their in-laws.
  2. Work for desi companies like TCS, Wipro, Infosys who pay below market standards as per the host country, but more than they pay in India. However, I have also seen such people in more reputable companies earning a decent wage.
  3. Shack-up with roommates in tiny hovels. Some are middle aged, pushing 40, but still share a bed with other lowlives like themselves in tiny apartments. Also, they all start hating each other after some time, but still stick around in the same house. Because cheaping out on money is more important.
    I have shared homes with other guys when I was in/fresh out of college, but never shared the same bed and only once shared the same room. At this age, I would rather sleep in the streets than share a room with other guys.
  4. Are all extremely miserly. Don’t spend money at all, cook all their meals at home themselves.
  5. Frequent (cheap) whorehouses to fulfil their carnal desires.
  6. Spend long hours at work, because there’s more space compared to their rooms.
  7. Assume that just because you’re Indian too, you will drop everything to help them with their work.
  8. Order around and behave rudely with staff at Indian restaurants.
  9. Are universally disliked by the local population and normal expats.
  10. Return to India after saving enough money to buy 2-3 houses and be branded “foreign return”.

Basically executives/managers living lives of labourers. Personally, I keep my distance from such people as much as possible as they depress me.

Motorcycle Parking Discrimination

Happy New Year!

Over the last year, I have noticed a peculiar trend in Bangkok. Almost every parking area in Bangkok has a separate space for big bikes/superbikes. These separate parking places are generally better than the regular motorcycle parking spaces. Sometimes they are even free to park at. Here’re some examples

Terminal 21 has a separate space for motorcycles >500cc. The floor is even a different colour and the spaces are wider than usual.

MotorCycle Parking at Terminal 21
Segregated Motorcycle Parking at Terminal 21

CentralWorld not only has a separate “SuperBike” section, but also a SuperCar section (Not even BMWs/Audis/Mercedeses are allowed). The floor has a deluxe veneer. You can even see your reflection on the floor.

River City Bangkok has a separate space for “Big Bikes”. The parking attendant took pity on me and let me park there.

MotorCycle Parking at RiverCity Bangkok
Big Bike Parking at River City

Bumrungrad hospital even has a whole separate ramp to enter the parking area for “SuperBikes”.

IconSiam‘s parking is probably the most exclusive with the cutoff at 800cc. Nothing below that is allowed.

MotorCycle Parking at IconSiam
Motorcycle Parking at IconSiam

I wonder if people are civil enough to not park at such places if their motorcycles don’t qualify, or if there parking attendant needs to check some kind of documentation to verify.

Paytm Sucks Balls

Continuing with the series, the next entry in my list is Paytm, which sucks balls.

Paytm is an Indian payment giant. It first entered the market in 2010, when payment and wallet apps were not so popular. But it was in 2016 when the Indian government demonetised major currency notes, that it gained major popularity. No thanks to a front page newspaper advertisement endorsed by the Prime Minister himself. Over the years, Paytm became synonymous with digital payments and every small vendor started accepting it.

Over the years, the app has also turned into one of the finest examples of bloatware. Opening the app takes you to its front page, 80% of which is bloat with only a single bar dedicated to something useful.

Paytm sucks Balls

Scrolling down reveals a never-ending series of advertisements and offers.

What else do you expect from someone who not only looks repulsive, but also acts like this?

“Impassioned” speech

Frankly speaking, I never understood the concept of keeping your money in a dedicated “wallet”. UPI rightfully took a dent out of this market by bringing the convenience of a wallet to any app while you get to keep your money in your bank account.

I am just glad I don’t have to use their services anymore.

Home Garden – Calibrachoa Hybrid

Ever since I moved to Bangkok, I have avoided buying new plants, because I always assumed that this was a temporary arrangement. I bought 1 Palm but that’s it. As it has become more clear that I will be here for a while, I have started considering buying some plants here. Last weekend, I got a Calibrachoa Hybrid.

The Calibrachoa Hybrid, is an evergreen short-lived perennial. Here’s a good website with more information about this plant.

Calibrachoa Hybrid
Calibrachoa Hybrid

This plant consists of a lot of dense flowers. My flowers have pink petals and orange centers.

I keep this plant in full sunlight all the time.

The Calibrachoa requires no maintenance at all.

I water it every other day.

I fertilise it every 2 months or when it shows signs of growth.

Here’re some good tools which will help you with your gardening.

The Matrix: Resurrections-Another Chance

Few days after walking out on The Matrix: Resurrections, I realised that the movie I had been waiting for so long deserves at least a full watch. So today, I decided to watch it again, this time all the way through. I also realised that the first time, I had some expectations of what I wanted to see; which I decided to leave behind this time.

The good news is, The Matrix: Resurrections is not as bad as the first 1 hour. The bad news is, it is still pretty average and forgettable.

Unlike the original trilogy, which was a philosophical/existential story with action thrown in, this one is primarily a love story with action thrown in. In the original trilogy, Neo and Smith were 2 sides of the same coin and were shown as a (not romantic) pair. Now it is Neo and Trinity who are an unseparable pair and one cannot function without the other. This is inconsistent with the original trilogy because Neo did just fine without trinity for decades, before being freed. The original trilogy had a serious tone, this one tries to be funny more than once.

Some More Points

  1. Neo now has a new signature move where he can Jedi force-stop everything – bullets, blows, missiles.
  2. The Merovingian is now deranged and suffers from overacting. Looks like he was added for pure nostalgia reasons.
  3. The new Agent Smith is not at all menacing. He tries too hard to sound & act like the original one but comes across as silly. Also, no one knows why he is doing what he is doing. First he beats up Neo something fierce, but later on saves their group.
  4. The new characters like Bugs lack true character, although the new Morpheus is good.
  5. Niobe is a bigger bitch than she was before.
  6. Too many flashbacks from the original trilogy in almost every scene.
  7. The new Architect/Analyst sucks. The last Architect was a suave and calculating program. This one is sexist, gets beaten up by Smith and even gets bitch slapped by Trinity. While the original Architect prided himself on being a program and hence not a liar, this one is a lying, conniving crook.
  8. Priyanka Chopra as Sati with her fake American accent is horrible. I hated seeing her. She cannot compare to the Oracle.
  9. The final action sequence (swarm mode) feels like a zombie movie.
  10. By the end, even Trinity has superpowers like Neo. It is not explained how.
  11. The myth of “The One” has been debunked. Although the Architect confirmed it to be true in The Matrix: Reloaded.
  12. The background score doesn’t really match the mood of the movie.

On a positive note, The Matrix: Resurrections answers quite a lot of questions pending from the original trilogy.

Some Questions Still Remaining

  1. Why did Neo age only 20 years in the real world when 60 years have passed?
  2. How did Neo have powers in the real world in Revolutions?
  3. How is Smith still around, when he was purged at the end of Revolutions? Why didn’t the machines get rid of him, considering he was a problem for them?

Also, the end credits have this version of Wake Up

Wake UP live by Brass Against

The Matrix: Resurrections is a cruel joke

I have been a huge fan of the original Matrix Trilogy. They were thought-provoking, philosophical movies. So, when The Matrix: Resurrections was announced, I was very excited. I followed its progress for over more than a year. When ticket bookings started, I booked tickets on Day 1 and went to see it on the release weekend.

I have only one thing to say: Lana Wachowski is mentally sick and needs medical help.

The Matrix: Resurrections feels like a fan-made YouTube video, but with real big-name actors and actresses, financed by a reputable studio. From the very first scene, it is evident that the movie was directed by someone with no artistic skills. There’s no story as such, just a collection of bizarre scenes with no connections to each other. I don’t joke when I say that creatively challenged me would have made a better sequel.

Neo is back as Thomas Anderson, who is now a world-famous game developer. He is the developer of the Matrix Trilogy of games, who is forced by his company to develop Part four against his will. He is also a suicide survivor. His favourite thing is repeating “This can’t be real” over and over again and making cringey faces. Also,

  • Morpheus is somehow Agent Smith
  • Thomas Anderson’s boss is also somehow Agent Smith
  • Trinity is “Tiffany”, who people openly call a “MILF”

In the scene where Thomas Anderson meets “Tiffany” for the first time, her son asks him “Are you going to bone my mom?”.

What the fuck did I just see?

I had to pinch myself a few times to check whether I was dreaming or if all this was real. I also kept waiting to see if this was all just a joke and the real movie would start soon. Eventually, I couldn’t take any more and left an hour in. I don’t remember watching a movie this bad that I left before the interval. Even the propaganda video everyone is forced to watch and stand for was more entertaining.

I thought Chronicles of Riddick was the worst sequel ever, but this takes the cake. This is not only the worst sequel ever, but possibly the worst big-budget movie ever made.

I wonder at what point the cast and crew of the movie realised how shitty this movie is going to be and but were too embarassed to back out.

Now please excuse myself while I cleanse my brain by consuming alcohol and pretend that this never happened.

Earth bound misfit, I