My Diary #002

This is my second entry. It is currently 8:36 pm on Saturday May 01, as I start to type this. My balcony door is flung wide open, the evening temperature is great, the evening light is slowly dimming, and the gentle wind is bringing with it that certain freshness and petrichor after a spring shower. I’m feeling at peace with the world right now, as though I can do anything and nothing will ever go wrong again, so I decided to get a bit of a head start on this week’s diary entry.

My second pass through this diary entry was started on Sunday May 02, 8:48 pm, and boy am I glad I wrote most of this yesterday since I am tired and have a bit of a headache today.

Entry #002 (May 02 2021)

Table of Contents

Walk on by…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Anime
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #1
ට  Dreams
ට  Things I am thankful for this week

School

Not only has there been absolutely no news in terms of grades from my teachers, all my courses are gone from the online class platform now so we can’t see any of the marks or comments for things that had not been marked from weeks ago yet. It’s kind of unfair that we have to grade our instructors (through the USRI system — aka Universal Student Ratings of Instruction, an anonymous survey that gets sent out for each of your classes) on the second last week of classes, which isn’t late enough to capture all these marking shenanigans.

On a similar note, I still have not heard a thing from Sophia University either regarding my hopes of going there to study abroad. I’m not actually expecting to hear until the end of May, but since I had submitted everything by late March, the wait is excruciating and a little exhausting. It’s probably a good sign that I wasn’t rejected immediately, but I am aware that there’s a Stage 2 of study abroad applications as well that ends on June 1st, so I’ll be mad if they reject me late in May after sitting on their thumbs for two months, since that would not leave me enough time to pivot to something else.

The spring semester, which I am not taking any courses in, supposedly starts on May 03, but most classes actually are pushed back to start May 10th due to pandemic adjustments. Still, tardy marking from instructors can cause issues for some people, since sometimes these courses are prerequisites for other courses as well. Plus if those instructors are teaching spring/summer classes too, then they’re going to be just as busy on top of the stuff that hasn’t been marked already.

I get that they’re busy on top of everything though, but my belief is that if the instructor has too much homework to mark and is consistently falling behind their grading during the semester, that’s a sign that they’re giving out too much homework to the students to begin with.

Work

Another week, another bout of frustration. With the 2FA circus last week and having to re-log in to two of our major work apps many times each day, the solution by the chief security officer for this after a week was to not touch one of them (this one expires 15 minutes after you log in and we often have to log in once or twice a day), and to extend the other one slightly (this one used to expire after 30 minutes of inactivity — this allegedly has been extended to 60 minutes.) And 2FA also covers our online grading and class signup system (BearTracks), which was not in the scope of the pilot project, but they allegedly can’t fix it due to it stemming from a combination of a poor implementation of Peoplesoft/Bear Tracks and a poor implementation of the 2FA system, so this 2FA rollout is affecting my student life as well. (2FA only currently applies to employees from our department and a few other selected people, not the general student or staff population yet.)

I had a long five or six paragraph rant here but deleted it after due consideration because I’m not actually that angry or frustrated with work or my boss to warrant that. It’s hard to take work seriously when I feel like I’m on the way out of the door, and though work does sometimes feel like we’re dying a death of a thousand cuts from little annoyances that pile up and that we’re told to grin and bear, these days it also feels like I’m kind of on the outside looking in and that detached feeling has put a damper on any particularly strong emotions I have either way. And these days, when I’m feeling frustrated, I can just step away from the computer and take a nice walk outside.

I still think that I’m doing my best, and actually am the best on my team, at talking to clients and making them happy, but it’s all entirely running on personal pride now and the desire to leave a positive mark on the world, and not at all from being proud of or loyal to my workplace. That’s all eroded to zero under the current administration and situation, and I can’t see myself staying here longer than next September even if all my Study Abroad attempts fall apart. The place has really crumbled under the Conservative provincial government’s budget cuts.

Life

Enough unpleasantness! Life has been really pleasant in the last week, although I started the week with a lot of sneezing and it felt like my nose was so irritated and hurting that a strand of hair falling in the wrong place would cause yet another sneezing fit. That’s mostly all fixed up now, though. I went out for food and a walk three times this week, one of which was to the main Chinese supermarket in the city (T&T) where I picked up a bunch of my favourite instant noodles as well as some new and old snacks to try. Nothing spectacular for snacks except for these Madam Chef peanut cookies (local). These things are awesome! They’re also a familiar sight from Singapore, not necessarily that exact brand, but it was one of the nicer sweets that one could find when doing the rounds visiting relatives’ houses during Chinese New Year. Mmm. Childhood. I hadn’t had them in ages but I knew I had to grab them once I saw the picture on the box.

In other food related stories, I found a cheap store that sells really nice Cantonese noodles on my takeout app and I’m happy about that. I also made soup with some new meats and veggies from T&T today (Sunday), with leftover stock that will go into Day 2 Soup tomorrow, so I’m happy about that. I call this Immunity Soup — throwing whatever ingredients I have into the pot, consuming most of it, and then having the leftovers serve as part of the base for another batch of soup with slightly different ingredients the next day, and so on. Soup these days often seems to give me a bit of a headache in the evenings though, probably because I often gradually consume the pot of soup to cover both my lunch and dinner on that day and am too lazy to make any other solid food (like rice) to pair with it.

Our province’s daily new Cov19 cases are up to 2000 now, and there are something like 23k active cases in the province, with 6000 of them in Edmonton. The vaccine rollout is still excruciatingly slow, even for the first shot, though anyone 40+ is eligible for one of the shot types (AstraZeneca) now so most of my older co-workers and team members have gotten their first shot. I’m not that old yet though. Suckers. Anyway I’ve been on a “one hour” waiting list for my nearby pharmacies for two or three weeks now with no sign of a shot yet, though it will almost certainly happen this month.

Japan is worse off though, their vaccination rates are embarrassingly low, with only 1.6% or so of their population having received at least one jab, whereas the US is at 36% or so and Canada is at 29%. This doesn’t bode well for the final hurdle for my study abroad program, if my application progresses that far. I wonder when the borders will reopen?

Closer to home, the weather has been excellent this week, with temperatures high enough (low teens) that I can finally keep my balcony door open most of the day and, depending on how low the temperatures dip at night, sometimes the night too. I can venture outside in short sleeves as soon as the temperature hits -2 Celsius or higher, and skirts with bared legs not far above that, but my ideal temperature range for outside weather is somewhere around the 14 to 17 degree mark, and our daily highs are now basically in that range, which is stupendous! Gorgeous! Exhilarating! Insert happy Shiara noises here!

Tigey had a bath this weekend. He hadn’t had one since just around the start of the year, and he usually only gets baths two or three times a year, so this was around the right time and marks the halfway point between his last bath and his potential final bath in Canada before I leave for Japan if that happens in late August/early September. He was starting to really stink though, and now he smells delicious. I mean delightful. His bath consists of being stuffed into a laundry bag with the other white clothes (even though he’s grey from age these days) and tossed into the washer, and then the dryer afterwards. I’m always moderately worried that every bath will be his last, and that there will be beads all over the washer or dryer when I open the lid. So far he’s been fine though, even if he takes an extra day or two to work through his sulking afterwards.

Talking about September timelines, my lease expires in July, at which point I have to move to a month-to-month plan, which will cost me about $100 more per month ($1285 per month instead of $1185 if there’s no other price hike). But the other choice is to sign a lease for a year, which I can’t do while my plans are up in the air, so everything is in a holding pattern right now. I do eventually want to move though, because the rental company I am with, Midwest Rentals, is one of those companies that offers really cheap prices to lure new residents in, but then constantly raises the prices on long-time residents instead of giving them loyalty discounts or anything like that. I’ve had several fights with them over rental issues, but also have had several really good expriences with them, but I still probably plan to move out either in August/September this year or the next year, depending on how study abroad or work exit planning goes. Anyway, this is going in the same pile as my phone and cable contracts, in that I am paying a little bit more for those too because of the uncertainty on whether I am going abroad or not, and thus am unable to sign yearly contracts for the discounts right now. And as a tangent to this, I also think that I might start to do some spring-cleaning this year, getting rid of some old clothes and papers and stuff in preparation for an eventual move.

My credit card also finally came of age.. I mean, it literally expires this month, May 2021, so they finally sent me a new one. I was itching to get it sooner so that I would have a buffer month to change over payments, and I even visited the bank to inquire about it, but they were having none of that. My previous card got compromised and had its life cut short with a pair of scissors though, so I’m glad that this card made it to the end.

I’ve been again slowly, and curiously, trying to see if I can develop a tulpa. I had started last April (2020) before I got waylaid by Fall and Winter courses and other distractions, but I had already planned out an initial name, appearance, and traits for her, just nothing really came out of it at the time. There’s a lot of differing literature on it, but they mostly seem to agree that an important step toward this is to spend time actively and passively “forcing” this new mind and personality to appear by thinking about them a lot, so that’s what I’ve been trying to slowly do as time permits — trying to will my imaginary friend into existence. I also did get to thinking that I already give Tigey so much personality and head-speech that maybe I should just try to will him into existence instead, since I already often imagine him talking to me. But he’s kind of small. And lumpy. Ow, don’t bite me. Still, I’m not convinced the whole thing is real, but between exploring this, lucid dreaming, and memories of past lives, I have quite an interest in the inner workings of the mind and what sort of potential might lie there to be unlocked.

I have also made significant progress in my scanning project, and have basically completed all the large albums in my family’s photo album box. There’s still about two dozen small albums before I’m done, but I’m defiintely over halfway done now, and I’m happy about that. Several of the larger albums involved photos that were glued to pages that were in turn attached to the album by a large metal coil, and so to scan those I had to uncoil the metal spring, scan all the individual pages like sheets, and then gingerly coil everything back together. That was a pain! There are a ton of pics of my mom in her younger days, but very few (so far) of my dad. The scanning project has also brought back a lot of memories (some of which will be written down in my Shrine/history section of this blog eventually), and raised a lot of questions which I sent off to my parents to answer.

Along those lines, I also started working on my blog again this week. Yes, the same blog that these diary entries are hosted on. I’ve been pondering a makeover for my Shrine section for a couple months now, as I really didn’t like the way I used dropdowns to divide the sections under each life phase (like personal, location, etc) for various reasons. Instead, I am in the process of splitting them off into their own separate page now, one main page for each phase of my life. I’m not sure if I’ll actually start with content for the blog as well, or if I’m going to wait until I finish my scanning project first, though. I guess we’ll find out by next week.

I am also making slow but steady progress in Level 4 of my Wanikani journey and am not far off from unlocking Level 5 now. Although I’m in no hurry to do so, because too many reviews queued up at once can be overwhelming. This has helped assuage the guilt in not taking Japanese courses though, because it has been really helpful for the relative stage of Japanese learning that I am currently at, where I understand a fair amount of the grammar but feel like I am being held back by vocabulary. My knowledge of Chinese helps here as well since a lot of the kanji share similar meanings between the two languages.

Anime

What have I watched this week? In terms of seasonals, Odd Taxi‘s episode 4, Super Cub‘s episode 4, and Vivy‘s episode 6 were all superb, out of the 20-something airing anime I’m watching, but there were some very good shows just behind that too, and I’m still very happy with about 75% of my seasonal lineup.

On a group watch note, we’ve finished Zakuro from last week and finished Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! today, which has been quite the hilarious and fun and occasionally melancholic watch. I am purposely trying to avoid doing reviews in these diary entries, but I think Nak described it well when he said that it has a lot of quirks that make it more interesting than your standard CGDCT show. I love that genre(?) anyway, but this one definitely has taken one of the upper spots even within that genre for me. Mei, the straight-laced tsundere, yelling deadpan at the cicadas outside the window to shut up was a hilarious moment that cracked all three of us up, for example. The claymation ED song, Lucky & Happy, is just so cute and calm and just a little tinged with nostalgia around the edges. While it does some things that would be considered cliche these days too, I largely gave it a pass on those because the show was made in 2007, and the manga itself started in 2005, and this predates a lot of its counterparts out there (in comparison, something like K-On! started its anime in 2009 and manga in 2007). It looks like our next show is Uchi Tama?!, which should be interesting too.

Samurai Flamenco (with Satinel and Seren) has sure turned a corner since the last diary entry as well. At that point, we had just done episode 6 — now we’re done episode 11 and some Extremely Unexpected Things have certainly Happened. I really liked a certain scene in episode 10, as I have an odd fondness for good characters undergoing (and then hopefully overcoming) a descent into madness experience, and that episode kind of touched on the possibility of that happening in this show, though it’s unconfirmed as yet. Tenshi ni Narumon (with Satinel) has moved from episode 11 to 17, and that one has been consistently fun too, now that the slight annoyance factor around the two main characters has faded away for me.

On a personal note, I began watching Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou and it started out pretty terribly due to confusion and oblique storytelling and an entire episode spent chasing after underpants, but most of the initial confusion has been explained away by some gradual plot reveals, and it seems to have turned into a fairly decent show after 6 or 7 episodes. It still remains to be seen what they’ll do in the second half of the show though, it could go either way right now into good show or bad show territory. I’ll probably find out by next week. The opening song is really catchy, though.

I’ve been pushing forward on Erin, past a couple episodes that I frankly didn’t like, and one that I really liked. All the political parts in the show are tiresome though, and they committed a serious storytelling sin in episode 44. Anyway it has 5 more episodes to pull out a worthy ending. With that high of a MAL score, it better be something amazing and heart-warming.

Games

Outside of AMQ, I haven’t played much this week. I did play a few more tutorials of Amazing Cultivation Simulator, and it is still very Rimworldy, with a side of madness that looks like random mechanics thrown together. I haven’t actually started a proper game but probably will at some point. There’s still several more tutorials to go though.

Steam’s Golden Week sale started as well, and I have my eye on Trails of Cold Steel 1 and 2, which are within my acceptable price range for something in a franchise that is beloved to me and that I plan to play eventually. I have finished and 100%’d Trails in the Sky 1-2, but I never played the third one, even though it’s supposedly a shorter game with a different main character and a much larger focus on dungeon crawling, compared to the other two. There’s also two non-translated games (although both have English fan patches) in between Trails in the Sky 3 and Trails of Cold Steel 1, but I’m not sure that I plan to play those. Anyway, for now I installed Trails in the Sky 3 and might give that a shot soon.

Satinel and I were discussing various games this week and found ourselves on a site that runs browser-based gacha games, Johren. They apparently have both PG and explicit versions of most of their games, and we ended up taking a brief look at Magicami. I also took a look at Touken Ranbu, which released this week on the 27th, as I had also been led there previously by a /r/HobbyDrama post on that game. I found it interesting that two different paths had led me to two different games on the exact same site. Neither of them looked particularly interesting though, and the site just doesn’t run very well on my browsers.

In terms of phone games, my current game du jour is still Princess Connect: Re:Dive. It’s getting stale though as I have unlocked most of the main story and event stories and there are way too many character stories to read. I’ve been poking around a couple others, in particular something called A Girl Adrift, though so far it seems like a semi-idle game and reminds me of another game I briefly played and liked earlier in the year, Guitar Girl. We’ll see if it has any sort of staying power. Apparently something really interesting happens around rank 40, to the point that the A Girl Adrift subreddit requires that all posts talking about post-40 stuff are spoilered.

Jah Stream Night this week was this Home Sheep Home game. Watching Jah play puzzle games is always entertaining because of the pulling out hair factor, and the story for the game was actually pretty neat. I didn’t like the puzzles though and some of the physics seemed wonky. The largest negatives in the game were the time-based stars in each level (and the achievement tied to getting them all too). That’s a game mechanic that can’t die out quickly enough.

We played a bit more of Valheim, although we held off on killing the current last boss (plains boss) again as one of our group is currently in the hospital for something. Several members of the group are looking at new replacement games since we’re winding down from Valheim, and suggestions have included Eco and some Tabletop Simulator stuff, but nothing has really interested me. I’d like to have the option of taking a break from co-op gaming if nothing strikes my fancy, since we had a strenuous couple months of Minecraft (Valhelsia 3 modpack) right before that which half of them didn’t bother to play in, and both Valhelsia and Valheim strained my old computer to the point where I constantly got frustrated at the lag, but they seem to be having none of that, and if I don’t agree to their suggested games I’m apparently in charge of finding a new game instead. Oi.

Plushie of the Week #1 – Tigey

Tigey is an anthropomorphic white tiger plushie — despite being a white tiger, he has two well defined “legs” and two floppy “hands” and sits down on his bum next to me to watch whatever I’m watching. He was one of four types of tiger beanie babies that were given away by Esso in Singapore as part of a gas station promotion back in 1997 or 1998, and several of the boys and girls in my Secondary 2 class brought them to class to play with and to induct as honourary members of the class. They were all affectionately called Tigey, the name wasn’t unique to this one I have.

I remember Allen and Eileen leading the charge on this one in particular. Imagine that, a bunch of 14 year old boys and girls playing with little plushies in a non-destructive fashion. A couple people like Eugene and Huihan would gently torment them, but everyone, even the boys, respected their presence and they were never in danger of being destroyed or lost or damaged even though they were often passed around the class to sit with various people during lessons. That’s how close we were as a class. I remember during an exam, we had four Tigeys in attendance that day and we placed one on each corner of the teacher’s desk, all of them looking toward the teacher’s chair. I think the teacher in question was our history teacher, Ms. Pamela Lim, and I remember glancing at her about halfway through the exam and noticing her curiously examining one of them.

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed playing with them too (imagine that, a boy playing with plushies), and I definitely tried to monopolize at least one on a daily basis. So when I was visiting Allen’s house one day during June summer vacation in 1998, long after it had been informally announced among us classmates (but not the teachers) that I was going to be leaving the class at the end of the year to go overseas, he gave me this extra(?) white tiger to bring home with me.

Fast forward 23 years later, and Tigey is a bit greyer than before and his sideburns are all stiff now, but he is the beloved (if somewhat often teased) ruler of my plushies and apparently of the entire universe, if you listen to him speak. I’ve also managed to meme him enough that a couple of my groups online are familiar with the name and willing to join the Cult of Tigey, which is part and parcel of his plans for world domination. He has followed me to the USA, to South Korea and Montreal for my surgeries, camped by the side of a river with me, and climbed to the top of a mountain with me.

He’s touched most of my classmates in Singapore, my entire immediate family, my boss and most of my officemates at the University, the Japanese exchange student whom I was showing around Edmonton last summer, Kynji and Frotswa’s former cat, Chai (although I’m not sure if K and F themselves actually touched him), Steffy when I met her, a friend that I met at SGDQ in Minnesota, and likely more people I don’t remember, like a few people at the Math camps that I’ve been to in the past. Point being, he acts as a conduit for me to feel connected to my history, as he’s been with me through my migration, my depression, my surgeries, and all my other major life events. And although he’s been washed many times since and his stripes aren’t what they used to be, it comforts me to know that many people whom I consider close friends have touched him before, and in a sense I am reminded of my connections with them and my life experiences that made me who I am today, whenever I touch him as well.

I have many pictures to share of him, and they’ll probably end up somewhere in my Shrine of Memories eventually, but in the meantime here are some of his more popular ones.

This first shot of Tigey was taken on Nov 24 2012, and shows him with two of his prized possessions, the first being a (now rusted) blue bell attached to a blue cord that used to tie around his neck, but which is now stowed away somewhere because the frayed cords no longer reach around his neck, and the second being a pink, purple, and blue corded friendship band that was meant to go around a human wrist, but instead has been appropriated as a necklace that he wears around his neck. Both were give to him in 1998 by girl classmate friends in Singapore — I believe Eileen gave him the bell and Huihan gave him the friendship band — and he has carried both with him to this day. You can also see how his hands and feet are very plain — no actual hands and feet, nor paws, just little round ends that I can squeeze and poke and turn inside out. His head is filled with some tough stuffing, and his body is about half filled with beads. He’s very squeezable, and the beads can be pushed up to make his hands or legs flabby or solid as a rock. I also love how his nose is slightly off-center, and there’s twin threads coming down from the middle of his chin/neck that one can kind of see in the picture as well, definitely the end part of the sewing process, but it looks like a necktie on him..

From this picture taken tonight, you can see his back — there’s a line of stitching down the back that keeps his beads in, and I pray that that never comes loose while he’s in the washer. At one point when our entire family was still living together in Edmonton, we had a spare bead from somewhere that we stuffed into one of the stitchings and worked into his body, so we can technically say that he’s put on a net weight of about 1 bead over the years.

He has many friends among the plushies, though one of his closest friends is Ducky here. While not technically a plushie, Ducky is part of the core team and will definitely be getting his own Plushie of the Week writeup at some point soon. This picture just shows Ducky’s favourite place to sit, nestled in the shade of Mount Tigey. Two other plushies that Tigey is especially close with are Cruiser, a Ty beanie baby plushie that also gets bullied within the animals and that Tigey uses as a mount to get around, as well as Ally, a female alicorn that Tigey is in love with, but who has rejected him many times and now lives with my sister. Sad Tigey noises..

Tigey also has had many accessories over the years — a folded white box that he used to sit in, a pink bag thing that he’s sitting on right now, a shawl that he wraps himself with, and this igloo, among others. It’s a nice flexible prop that he can nestle in or peek out of.

This is Tigey on August 30 2020 near Banff, staring out over Lake Louise and contemplating his life choices that have led him to become probably the most well-travelled beanie baby of the entire batch made for Esso’s promotion. He’s sitting on the pink bag mentioned earlier.

And lastly, this is a stylized version of Tigey created for him as part of the Kickstarter rewards for a game I backed, and that released on Steam last year, called Signs of the Sojourner. Dyala, a good online friend of mine, developed the game, and Tigey is listed in the credits of the game, courtesy of the game’s artist, Holly.

Dreams

I had an amazing 7 entries out of 7 days for my dream diary this week! Some of them are kinda short though, sadly. The entries are as follows:

Apr 26 2021
  • I was on my way to a class, which consisted of people from my Sec 2 class as well as people I did not know, I completed some task or other that led to me winning a soccer ball and a pair of black soccer shoes as prizes.
  • The classroom was a small lecture theatre filled with three columns of long desks, but most of the seats were taken already. I wanted to sit near the back because most of the people did not know that I had transitioned.
  • I sat down in the back right row next to a girl I had never seen before and she said that Jah and someone else usually sat in that row as well, but there were 4 seats in that row so it would be no problem. I put the soccer ball and shoes that I had won under my chair.
  • The teacher wrote down a Chinese kanji character on the front board and tried to teach us the word. I had no trouble reading it, but had lots of trouble trying to actually write it, although I managed to do so after several tries. The kanji character was 范 with another radical of some kind (possibly a 子) beneath it.
  • She then also went through the answers to some homework questions. I had only partially done my homework problem (in fact, part of the problem looked familiar, as though I had done it in a previous recent dream) and basically spent my time copying down the answers instead, half from the board and half from the girl beside me, who had offered me her notes.
Apr 27 2021
  • It was Election Day in America, and it was basically Hillary Clinton vs one of the girls from the Trump family. I was a floating spectator following Hillary about and occasionally taking control of her as she ran around on the banks of a river (and occasionally waded across it) next to a small open-air voting booth where a small but constant queue of people were voting.
  • I could also see a live tally of the voting count floating in the air, although the number of voters only came up to 7 digit numbers on both sides.
  • As expected, early in the evening the Republicans built up a lead but as the evening went on and prime time swung west across the country, the Democrats easily overtook the Republicans with more people still to go.
  • Votes here were not one per person though, there was some sort of coupon redemption system going on and the counter would increment anywhere from a single digit to up to several thousand at a time depending on the voter.
  • However, since they were coupons, there were also people buying and selling them too, and once it was clear Hillary/I was going to win, I went to write down on a chalkboard in the voting room that I would buy opposing side’s coupons for $1000 per. At least I was going to, but then when I went to do so I noticed that someone had already put up a mysterious offer to buy or redeem tickets, and I wasn’t sure who or for which side.
  • I did meet some people I know, specifically I ran into Paulene and she had 3,535 tickets that she was using to vote third party.
  • There were guards in a western city that hadn’t voted yet but were going to and would bring several thousand more votes to the Democrats. For the moment they were basically guarding the eastern and western gates of a walled city across the river though.
  • There were several subplots that involved visiting places of some kind, one I remember was some sort of amphitheatre where we could connect with kindergarten children from Edmonton through a digital movie or something.
  • Another was some sort of fire that ripped through something and then our attempts to aid the people from there.
  • At some point late in the dream, I thought about how cool it was that American politics was finally going to let someone from out of the country (me) win.
Apr 28 2021
  • I drew the aggro of some swimming, carnivorous lizards from someone else with magic and led them away from the victim who was in some sort of gridded arena, and let them chase me away out of the arena to the north. All this happened using a top-down view of the map and I was able to plan out my escape and then eventually use a teleport spell to neatly escape the chasing lizards.
  • The lizards and the reluctance to reveal my power that I felt definitely were some sort of variation of the plot of a Kemono no Souja Erin episode that I had watched last night.
  • Anyway, this was apparently the first stage of some competition, and I was apparently entered into it by virtue of my action to save the victim.
  • The second stage of the competition was something to do with composing a song within an hour, with possibly a magical component to it as well. Instead of composing a song I came up with alternate lyrics to an existing song, but they accepted that and I ended up winning a spot in Day 2 of the competition, much to my chagrin.
  • My mom and sister were impressed by my feat, but I still wanted no part of it. Day 2 involved yet another song creation and I was again considering songs to parody. In particular I brought up the lyrics of the Backstreet Boys’ I’ll Never Break Your Heart to mind, and started to make changes to it.. but then I decided that I didn’t want to play along any longer.
  • I told Mom, who was hovering around nearby, to give me some space and that I’d let her know the result of the competition later. The scene shifted from me in our 4012 home to me being on a moving public transit bus as I applied to some guild in this huge game that we were apparently playing, which was somehow connected to this contest as well.
  • The guild application required a minimum gear score of 202 out of 300. I asked if I could boot up my laptop to look at my gear score, they said yes, and I retrieved it from my house’s couch, apparently within walking distance of the moving bus, and then walked back over to the bus, set my laptop on a table, and opened it.
  • I had been playing and raiding with a smaller guild all this time so I had a decent gear score, the best in the guild, and when I checked my gear score was 208.
  • I also had no intentions of joining this more hardcore raiding guild though, but I had to do this to kill some time so that I would fail the other musical contest with the half-completed lyrics. So I did the application and then put on a Shiara name tag and started pleasantly talking with the leader, who was a friendly guy and a hacker of some kind. He seemed to like me and had no problem with me wanting to join the guild.
  • There was someone else applying with me at the same time and the guild officers really liked him too, and called him an all-rounder in terms of the leadership stats that he had. But he had to prove himself by jumping on another bus that was moving by, and he failed the first time. I convinced them to let him try again and he jumped on fine the second time and was accepted.
  • Apparently I didn’t have to do any test like that, but I told the leader to contact me if they were interested and I would help them out, though I had no intention of doing so and planned to ghost them instead.
  • They said okay and let me disembark from the bus. The leader said he had set a floating camera to follow me around but that it would dissipate in five minutes. His mom, who was apparently also present on the bus, told him to remove the camera now as it was inconveniencing me, a guest, and he rolled his eyes but started to comply. They started arguing about the ethics of hacking and it came out that she apparently had hacked a major bank before.
  • Anyway once I disembarked, it was just after the time of submission and the results announcement of the original competition, so without checking to see what had happened, I contacted my mom in a quiet place and told her I had lost and it was time for all of us to head home.
Apr 29 2021
  • It was my last day in Singapore before I migrated to Canada, and also the last day that my Mom and Dad would have the freedom to make a major trip for fun because, while they could still travel around for work, attractions were the same in every country and they were getting too old for them.
  • For this last fun trip, we visited an overnight carnival or festival of some sort held at a school as our last event, and where Hayao Miyazaki was introducing all the Ghibli members to the audience one by one and having them walk through the crowd and shake people’s hands.
  • Apparently most of the Ghibli key members were Indian, there were 6 guys and 2 girls in all, and they really couldn’t decide whether to go clockwise or anticlockwise around the chairs to start. After those eight, Miyazaki started introducing all his other staff by alphabetical order.
  • My plane flight was 8:30 in the morning however, and so I couldn’t stay too long. I left before the first 8 even reached our chairs, as I needed to go visit the library to say goodbye to the librarian and also use the computer there for its Internet one last time as our home Internet had already been disconnected.
  • I dropped a tupperware of cooked rice, which was the equivalent of my school lunch, while preparing to leave the event to head to the library, and knelt down to scoop up as much as possible into the bag that held the tupperware.
  • Heading to the library, I told the librarian this was my last day and she said that she knew. I couldn’t use the public computers because her part-time staff members were doing something on it, however. But after some distractions she let me use the one at her front desk to conduct my business instead. I logged in to some Internet service to make a data transfer of some kind.
  • There were a couple of those distractions, one where she was trying to teach me how flushing a toilet bowl worked, another where she was hoping to have me help her sort some books before I left.
  • I then looked at the time and realized that things didn’t add up. The flight was at 8:30 am, but it was now 7:30 am, I was 90 minutes away from home via public transport, we hadn’t packed up most of the house yet, I still needed to take a shower, and it was another 20 minutes from our home to the airport after. I had the impression that Mom and Dad only needed half an hour’s notice to get ready, or were leaving on a differently-timed flight.
  • I texted Dad on one phone chat program and then Mom on another one, asking if they could please come and pick me up and bring me home. They agreed. I tried to calculate how I could save time and still make it on time, which included just bringing along whatever was already in my suitcase, living rough for the first week or so, and having someone else send everything else over later.
  • Another was that I could cut the 20 minute duration down to 10 if I ran and if I didn’t mind the slight embarrassment and risk of having my name called out over the loudspeaker at the airport as part of the “last call” routine that flights do.
  • I had a brief vision of a dorm room where I would be staying in for that first week.
  • I also had a brief vision where my plane would disintegrate and crash into the ocean, while some engineer back home apologized for letting the plane fly even though they noticed that one of the parts was making an eerie screeching noise but couldn’t figure out why.
  • I did survive this second vision though, since I saw a sped-up vision of me climbing onto some flotsam, a broken off part of the plane, and waiting out the sharks there until rescuers came.
Apr 30 2021
  • There was a company that specialized in things that could be hung up like a picture on the wall, this included actual paintings, written notes, and other things. You could edit them or send them in for editing by lifting up the object from the frame, and underneath the object the top of frame was painted the same colour as the item mounted in it so that it looked like it blended in.
  • There was also something about trying to trace down a guy, possibly some sort of criminal. This involved some sort of chase up a flight of stairs in an apartment building, and possibly an umbrella and/or some poison as well as other police officers.
May 01 2021
  • I was sleeping in the same room as Ronnie, Sandy, and other workmates. We each had our own mattress on the floor.
  • I woke up and noticed that it was already 10 am, and I was late for work, so I went oh, I guess I’ll be taking the day off today unless there was a ton of work. Ronnie was still in bed too but he was doing work there already. I had the vague feeling that there wasn’t a lot of work and half the team was off as well.
  • Sandy was working at a desk and also watching some American football or something, and upset that his team that was up 16-12 was suddenly down 50-16 and it was only half time.
  • We had to explain our work hierarchy to someone from a different department at work, and basically said that we all reported to Ronnie, who reported directly to Shelley and that we were all from “that part of the org chart”.
  • We discussed setting up some sort of cellphone in the office as a contact point, so that people could call that number and we would get the message even though we were working remotely. For some reason there was something set up so that people couldn’t call us directly otherwise.
  • At some point I was wandering around in the field and there were lots of people walking around slowly. I was able to see people’s titles and part of the objective was to go around and touch the titles that people were carrying, which would unlock them in my collection list. The titles were in English and Chinese and possibly other languages as well. I eventually unlocked an ability that let me figure out what some of the Chinese ones meant even though I didn’t understand the specific characters.
May 02 2021
  • Part of the dream involved something similar to an AMQ game in a karaoke booth, except it wasn’t just for songs and we were naming things (and justifying the names) that would appear on the screen.
  • I don’t remember much detail about what happened exactly but this was somehow related to classes, and I was playing the game with two others. At one point we had to AFK for some time to take care of something else, and by the time we came back the game had bugged out. We could still start the first song on the list, but the screen was full of words, basically song names and lyrics, scrolling across the screen at the same time as the game, and the game was forever stuck on this first song/video after that.
  • At another point, a different person we were playing with (Nak) had to leave early, so I tried to set the game guessing interval to 2 seconds each from the default 20 seconds to try to accommodate him and still manage to squeeze out a game. The game promptly bugged out though.
  • Another similar related “game” had one of my friends held hostage, and the captor testing us to see how well we knew him by giving us a list of answers to a question about the victim, and each of us would have to pick the right annswer and justify why that answer was so.
  • Not everything was about a game, at one point I was in my parents’ house (our 4012 house) and I was talking to Mom about all the photos I had scanned. I said I would like to talk to her about many of the photographs once I had finished scanning them, and she said sure, bring them back to the house and we could talk about them there.
Things I am thankful for this week

And finally, things that made me happy this week!

  1. Tigey. My dear plushie friend, who has been on my side through thick and thin since around June 1998. Looking at him and pretending to care for him and nurture him makes me very happy. I wonder what will happen to him once I pass on?
  2. Jahandar. Firstly for hosting this blog and the Shiarapedia wiki for me, which is turning out to be a key part of my memories preservation project. Secondly for Jah Stream Night every Friday, and thirdly for being someone who I seem to have a nice understanding with and could probably form a comedy duo with. I just wish we were a bit closer in some of our other views, but we seem to be able to compartmentalize and put that aside when needed and work on things like the Bernardo bot or hosting the IRCbot together, and it’s really nice to feel trusted.
  3. Spring weather in Edmonton. Winters here are terrible (though seeing others’ reactions to how bad it is is kind of nice) but everything from spring in April/May to fall in about October or so here is a treat. I love keeping my balcony door open and I love taking walks outside. I love feeling the wind and the fluttering skirt against my bare legs.
  4. ScanSpeeder Pro. I don’t know if it’s the best out there, but I really like the features it has and how easy it’s made scanning. The edge scanning and detection actually often fails, despite what the website says, and the manual controls for them aren’t as precise as I’d like, and it’s also missing a quick preview scan option and its hotkeys are bad (you can’t tab through the filenames field, for example). But besides little annoyances like that, the ability to multi-scan is amazing, and I also like being able to import earlier scans or PDFs and append new scanned photos or effects to those. More importantly, I found and submitted a minor bug to them this week and they replied back really positively, and said they would roll out a fix for it soon even though I had found two acceptable workarounds for it as well. That impressed me, and so they get a shout out here. I also like that it’s just a one time fee, although updates and support are only good for the first year apparently, but being able to use the paid features after the year is up anyway is frankly enough. Subscription fees are the devil.
  5. This one is going to be hard to describe, but east of my house, right around here on Google Maps, is what I affectionally call a Power Spot. It’s a pavilion, you can see it from Google Street View here (local), I have a closeup picture of it here from last year. While it isn’t actually part of my apartment complex, I enjoy walking past this spot in any weather and stopping to look up through the hole in the middle, at the sky above. And I don’t know how it quite got this way (it isn’t even a Pokemon Go pokestop or anything like that, not that I ever played that regularly), but in my imagination at least, this is where all the ley lines in the area converge and where natural energy shoots up into/down from the sky. And for me, I really do feel a surge of power, courage, positivity, and satisfaction by walking over to this pavilion and stopping for a moment in the middle to glance up. It’s a really quick ritual for me at this point, but I’ve completely convinced myself that this recharges me, and so it actually does that. I’ve only been doing this over the past year since the pandemic started and I’ve started to take walks to not stagnate at home, but I’ve done this several times in bright sunshine, in rain, and even in pouring snow, and it feels really good each time. It feels like I am entering a sacred place and briefly looking through a window to the sky and touching the ancient power that thrums through the earth. It’s literally a private highlight of my walks if I happen to be heading in that direction from my house, and I love the thrilling jolt sensation that it gives me.

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