My Diary #004

Dear Diary,

The start of the week feels so long ago now. This is a good thing, usually. It makes life feels longer. The days, weeks, months, years, all flying by is the worst thing that can possibly happen.

Entry #004 (May 16 2021)

Table of Contents

Rage at…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Anime
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #3
ට  Dreams
ට  Things I am thankful for this week

School

As a followup from last week, I sent some emails to my Chinese 302 instructor, got a breakdown of my grades back, and some of the “errors” that I got marked down for. They were horrendous and unprofessional, things like losing 0.5% off my final exam mark because the instructor somehow averaged 7.6/9.6/9.0/9.8/9.5 into an 8.6 instead of a 9.1, and a 7.5 and 8.5 into a 7 instead of an 8. I don’t know what she was thinking, but it wasn’t pretty.

Those alone don’t get me from an A- to an A still, but other things would, and I started to write a long spiel here Friday night, then transitioned to writing a long email pointing out a number of issues (largely for marking me down nearly 3% on my final grade for things that were not on our marking guideline/rubric). I nearly sent it off to her at 3am on Saturday, thought better of it and took a night to cool off instead, and emailed the student ombuds the next day.

I still don’t know if I want to go through with this because this is going to drive a wedge between me and the department, but I only need one more Chinese course for my degree anyway and it isn’t with this teacher (and might not be for a year and a half as well if I go overseas this September). I could probably get my A- bumped up by sorting out all the math/procedural errors and then demanding a reappraisal of the final exam, which I am entitled to do, but the emotional effort and interpersonal cost is something I’m still weighing.

One thing is for sure though, it is a joke that I was thinking of giving this instructor a letter of recommendation just two weeks ago. Her classes were fun, but her response to my initial protest at the mark was “don’t let the grade define who you are”. She wrote that verbatim. I’m paying for the education, barely get any feedback through the semester, randomly get targetted and have my grade dropped due to extremely sloppy marking and penalties on things not on the marking guide, and I take a GPA hit that could impact future grad school applications or study abroad opportunities, and yet i’m supposed to not “let the grade define who I am”. What kind of a lousy instructor says that? That’s the mark of a teacher who doesn’t care about her students achieving good marks and is just going through the motions.

Anyway this section was at least triple as long as it is now in my first draft, but no one needs to hear every last thing she did to mark me down, so I cut everything else out.

In other school news, I finally submitted my claim for the Summer Connect program that I volunteered for last summer, to socialize and accompany an international student (mine was for Japan) that was stuck in Edmonton during the pandemic. This ties into the Co-Curricular point requirement for the Certificate in International Learning, which I am signed up for but may or may not achieve before I graduate. There’s a couple other things I should be doing for that as well but just have not had the time or energy or willpower to do so. I also pondered making a page on this blog (that would eventually be tied in to the appropriate section of the Shrine of Memories) dedicated to my experience with my student buddy. Not because it is particularly interesting to anyone else besides me, but because I both need to upload my photos outside of lousy Facebook, and because I need to write down the dates and events before I forget them. I might try to do this over the next couple of weeks.

There’s also some minor stuff relating to the Japan Study Abroad attempt that happened, but nothing important enough to warrant a post about yet. There should be one of those upcoming though, since I find out whether I make it to Sophia or not by the end of May (not counting a further COVID-19/borders hurdle).

Work

Amidst the burning inferno that was school, I don’t actually remember a whole ton about work this week. There was nothing extremely bad, although after letting people go at the end of the fiscal year, they’re now happily upgrading the videoconferencing in the meeting rooms at work for “when we return to work in-person”. Our team works perfectly fine remotely and I think about half of us would consider quitting if we were forced back into the office though. At any rate, it most likely isn’t happening before September, so that would be on the other side of my Japan trip anyway.

If there was anything else significant and interesting that happened at work this week, it would be that during our weekly check-in meeting at work with my supervisor, during which we chat about both work and personal life stuff, I told him (with a lot of polite qualifiers) that I thought that he valued the wishes and pain points of the people on our team a bit less than the wishes of the people on other teams, because he has so much goodwill and capital built up with our team (because he is a pretty darn good supervisor and is someone that I *have* written an official recommendation letter for!) that he knows he can smooth things over with us afterwards. So if there’s a conflict with another team, he’ll usually make us lose and take a more future-oriented view on the issue unless or until he thinks the environment is extremely condusive to his win.

This however leads to a case of many “pebbles in the shoe” — a thing where our team constantly takes hits and sacrifices and grits our teeth as some other team (generally Infrastructure Apps, the team that they want to merge us with) makes our life more miserable a little bit at a time due to sloppy work and lack of time and resources to fix our issues, to the point where sometimes it feels like we’re dying the death of a thousand cuts. This is because he knows he generates tons of goodwill and trust with everyone on our team, and so he trades it like a resource for goodwill and trust with other people around the department by not standing up to them despite our protests at how we’re being treated like the department’s doormats, and consoling us afterwards instead.

But it does work to some extent, although it’s not the way I’d do things, nor do I feel that it is the correct answer a lot of the time. I do largely trust him on this though. However, as he’s fairly conservative from a personality standpoint, he reserves his power plays against others for the “truly important” issues, which means that every little pain point inflicted on us tends to build into permanent features because they’re individually not important enough for him to push back against, unless enough of them build up to cause some sort of a fire. There are literally dozens of these things that we could (and have, in the past) come up with a list of, a couple of which I complained bitterly about in the first two weeks of this diary. And they add up, and add up, and add up over time, and impact the quality of our work life.

At any rate, after telling him what I said three paragraphs ago, he acknowledged that there was probably some truth in it, and pensively noted that he thinks that that is probably the overarching reason that I was going to be leaving, because I hadn’t satisfyingly or positively won a conflict in ages, either on issues that personally affected me at work, or on causes that I champion (like how doing the best we can for students and staff should be a top priority that reasonably trumps most other things), and that gave me a bit of insight I didn’t have before. I also despise most of our current executives, but that wouldn’t usually cause the level of irritation and lack of satisfaction that I often feel at work on a day-to-day basis, even though work is generally “going well”. I think his explanation kind of managed to summarize it in a nutshell though, so it gave me a pause and left me thinking afterwards.

When did this all start happening? Probably the entire debacle around the implementation of our University’s Identity Access Management software, a three year long horror show orchestrated and danced to by various clowns inside and outside the University, at the end of which saw several people who should have lost their jobs still keep them. And the cynicism that flows through my team has flowed like the rum on a doomed pirate ship since then. This should be a really interesting post once I get around to writing that part of the Shrine of Memories, possibly after I leave the University so that I can name names without repercussion.

Life

As mentioned in my last post, and confirmed in the following week, I had absolutely no side effects from the first Pfizer dose except for the sore arm for about half a day, and chills that lasted all of 15 minutes or so. I did note to myself at some point that although I had gotten needles stuck into me for quite a few blood tests over the past decade, and for some stuff relating to my surgeries, I do not think I have actually gotten a vaccination jab since I was in primary school all the way back in Singapore, since I never fancied the yearly influenza shot or anything similar to that. I also found my old Health Books from Singapore, which detail my vaccinations and various other things in them, and I’ll probably scan and post them (with some parts blacked out) at some point too for posterity’s sake.

The most significant thing that happened during the first half of the week was that I finished scanning my Dunman High 1997 yearbook, uploaded the entire thing onto this blog, and made a page to house them. You can find it here. And when I eventually make my Shrine of Memories section of the site, it will be linked off of there too.

This did mean that I didn’t get much of a chance to put more than a small dent in my other scanning projects though. I still have between 20-25 photo albums of my family to scan before I can return the entire box that’s been sitting in the middle of my living room obstructing foot and plushie traffic for far too long. They’re mostly small albums at this point, but I need to do them. I also desperately need to scan a lot of other things before I run out of time to do so though.

(Time here largely refers to the September deadline before I go to Japan, if that happens, but also in general to the fragility of life and the fragility of my old scanner, as well as any future life events and projects that might come along and demand attention. To me, when someone tells me that they have hundreds of browser tabs open, that is a sign that the person is overwhelmed with a ton of projects and wishes and interests that they will never get done, and they’re kind of bad at being able to be strict with themselves and pour their concentration into whatever is more important to them. How’s that for a random segue!)

Anyway, once I scanned that book, I also looked at my other yearbooks, and noted one in particular that was my grade 12 graduation CD from my McNally High School in 2002. I don’t know if there was an actual yearbook, I certainly don’t seem to have it if there was one, but it was possible that this CD took the place of the yearbook back then. Except attempting to open the CD (with an old, external USB CD drive that requires two USB ports, no computer has an internal CD drive these days..) gave me a .dir file and a bunch of .cst files. And these weren’t Outlook files or anything like that, oh no, file analysis showed they were created by Adobe Director 8.5, which had already hit End of Life quite some time ago. Still, some digging around gave me what I needed to rescue the files anyway, and I am happy to report that the CD is now fully digitized (the original quality isn’t great though), and likely will be uploaded and linked on next week’s blog.

Despite it being popular perception (in my head) that I don’t remember much from my high school years compared to my Singapore secondary school ones, it was actually shocking to see that I could actually recognize and remember two to three dozen people as classmates and somewhat-acquaintances still, considering that prior to scanning and looking at the pictures, I could remember and name only five. It did inspire me to email my high school and inquire if I could visit the school, especially since I might be leaving the city soon, but they said it wouldn’t really be possible under pandemic conditions. All my teachers except one (whom I barely remember and who had just started there at the time) were long gone anyway, though. Still, despite the miasma of depression I was sinking into during that time period, I did like aspects of the school and some of the people I met, and perhaps I might volunteer there in some capacity at some indeterminate point in the future if our paths should cross again.

Near the end of the week, I started to reconnect with another old and precious classmate and friend from my Singapore secondary school days, Eileen, thanks to another friend whom I was exchanging emails with, Huihan. You’ll recognize these names and others if you browse my dream diary with any regularity, especially if I ever get my four years worth of existing entries down on a blog like I’ve been planning to for ages, or if you stick around long enough to see my Shrine of Memories (which I have given myself 3 years to complete). She’s the 7th person in the group of Dunmanians that I have reached out to via the contacts network of existing contacts, and the 5th to have replied to me. I’ve exchanged emails and occasional chat with Kaiting, Zixiang, Gillian, Huihan, and now Eileen, and did send emails to (but never got replies from) Rachel and Eugene. There are many more I still need to reach out to, though, especially to the ones that were in my 1L/2L class.

In the middle of the week, I noticed that something bad had happened — a good luck charm that my sister had sent me from a temple in Japan had fallen off my bag and was nowhere to be found. Most charms and other random trinkets that i hang on my bag come with a closed-loop elastic strao that I can easily secure to the bag, but this one came with an open-ended cord that had to be tied on. Even though I triple-tied it, it had been hanging on the bag for several months, and must have finally fallen off at some point between my vaccine appointment last Friday, and my trip to the grocery store on Tuesday, though it is possible that it had fallen off even prior to that and I just never noticed it. I was really upset about it and retraced my steps the next day to see if I could find it, but I could not.

One of my beliefs is that luck, while real and tangible, is also partially a product of the mind and how confident and good-spirited you are, and that’s one of the reasons that feeds in to my wish to seek out things that make me happy and to try to avoid things that bring negativity to my life. This is a positive feedback loop at the best of times, which is a good thing, but it can also turn into a negative feedback loop during events like this, that can spiral out of control pretty quick.

So in this case, I did believe in the power of the charm, and although I don’t think it was superstition (I don’t believe that I would be cursed or anything just for the act of losing it), I did respect it and its symbolism and I was really bummed at losing that “power” and how disrespectful it was to the potential protective spirit tied to it. I could feel the bad luck and negative expectations on my part oozing into the various things that I was doing. Satinel, knowing me well, quickly managed to flip this around by giving me a viewpoint that I had not considered — that perhaps it had fallen off in a way that saved me from something. Like the Cov19 virus before (or during) the day I got my shot. Or else some other danger in general. This chopped off the negativity at the head and I think I largely recovered most of my luck from the loss by a day or so after that, so thank you. This is what I keep you around for! Also, my sister mentions that she does read these entries as well, so thank you for reading and I’m sorry for losing that omamori! I still feel like I might someday see it again, even though the chances of that should be rather slim.

(This is her birthday week too. I’m the worst. The rest of the main family nucleus have our birthdays in Feb/Mar, hers is 2-3 months further out and separate from everyone else, and I’ve always wondered if she felt left out in some way due to that.)

That really annoyed me though. I used to lose my wallet and a couple other things a fair amount in primary school, so I developed a habit of being quite careful about not losing my things in general, so it disturbs me when I let something slip between my fingers.

Safeway this week changed their bags from the regular plastic bags to reusable bags that they were selling for 50 cents a pop. Or at least, they made the change on May 5th, but this week was the first week I actually visited Safeway since then and thus I was a bit blindsided by the change. I’m all for saving the environment, so it seems to be a good thing. I don’t know that it is actually is solving anything though. The cost isn’t a problem, but the bag quality is, as it seems really flimsy. The cashier estimated that the bags can be used up to 15 times each, but the material is so thin (and some of the groceries are so heavy) that I highly doubt this is the case. And while I don’t actually know my materials very well, it’s not cloth, nor cotton, so it’s some kind of polymer, which itself has a slightly higher environmental footprint. Hopefully the bags last long enough to offset this, but I doubt I’ll have a way of telling.

In addition, I reuse all plastic bags for trash collection at home, and while I still have a stash of bags to work through, cutting off part of my supply chain for them makes me annoyed because it’s not something that any old bin liner can replace since I don’t use bins for my my kitchen garbage, just bags with handles hanging on cupboard doors, and I let them pile up a bit sometimes before disposing them (especially in deepest darkest winter). It’s very easy to go bleeding heart and say that plastic bags hurt the environment as a blanket statement, but this could be just pushing off the environmental cost somewhere else as well since there’s no effective, not too expensive, and not too inconvenient replacement for the hangable bags that I know of.  I’ll literally have to try random and pricey bin liners until I figure out one that works.

Talking about respecting the environment, I came back from Safeway that one afternoon to find a freaking potted plant hanging on my doorknob. An oregano plant. And it wasn’t just me, there was one on all my neighbour’s doorknobs too, along with a Telus advertisement pleading us to switch our internet over to them. This annoyed me a lot because a plant is still a living thing, and what were we supposed to do with it? I’m not equipped to take care of one, with neither the knowledge nor the space for it, nor was I going to throw it out because that would be killing it. It felt supremely arrogant of the company, like some idiot Telus executive thought that a publicity stunt like this would just cost a bit of money and the lives of the plants weren’t a factor at all. And why would they do something like this in a pandemic of all things? It’s yet another unnecessary vector for germs.

I reasoned that the rental office had to have explicitly allowed this though, since our apartment building is normally locked, so I took the plant there the next day to demand that they take it back without throwing it out. I was right, the front desk took it without any sort of pushback, and there was a table in the staff area (that I could see behind the front desk) with a pile of identical plants in bags. That at least was the best that I could do for the poor plant. I hope the Telus executives all get reincarnated as little potted oregano plants in their next life. I shudder to think how many of them just immediately ended up in their assigned household’s bins.

And yes, both this new reusable bag event and the potted plant event happened on the same day that I realized I had lost the lucky charm.

Anime

After trying it out for a couple weeks and thinking about it, I’m going to kill this section unless I have something really interesting to say, which might mean a note at the start and end of the seasons as to what I will be watching/did watch that season. Or maybe not even that. Otherwise it’s duplicative at best and pointless at worst because I do not plan to do reviews or spoilers in this space, so all I can really say about shows is what I am watching and whether I liked them or not. I already obsessively track what I am watching, when I start and end my watch, and my enjoyment ratings of a show, on my MyAnimeList profile using an automatic scrobbling app named Taiga though, so why did I want to do this here again? I have no idea.

Although, my main group watch is doing Great Pretender now and there’s a Singapore arc in that, which is rare in anime, so that is kind of neat, even if they aren’t actually showcasing much of the city. I really liked the Singapore arc in Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho too.

Games

I also considered doing the same to the Games block that I am doing to Anime above, but this one actually seemed a little useful, largely because Steam does not keep track of playtime the way that MAL/Taiga does for anime. That is to say, it is desirable to me, for me to be able to find out what I played during a given time period in history, and Steam doesn’t natively track anything of that sort, since it only tracks last played date and total hours played.

So what did I play this week? As alluded to last week, I bought and played through Rainy Season. It was short and terrible, felt like an incomplete school project, and none of the nostalgia landed at all. The special sequences in the really short game were cool though, but there were only six of them and that’s all you’re paying for.

Worse, it quickly gave me a really intense headache from motion sickness due to poor implementation of graphics/settings, and it was very easy to click through text too quickly and entirely miss a section of text because I was trying to click on an item and clicked through an unexpected bit of text that popped up, immediately moving forward to the next line before ever showing the full text of the previous line, with no chance to replay or scrollback. And there was no voiceover in the game. The text display method the game chose was the kind that faded each individual line into the screen from the left to right over a couple seconds, as though the characters were being “typed out”, but with a feature where you could click to immediately show the entire text. But the timing always felt off, and it seemed like a certain random point, clicking would not actually immediately complete and show the entire line, but instead immediately jump to the next panel, again forcing the player to miss snippets of text.

The best part of this game was the main menu, which had some falling rain visuals and sounds. And there’s better sites on the internet for that. Avoid this game.

Besides this, I played a little bit of Sanctum 2 with Satinel, and immediately remembered how amused I was by the ingame text to speech engine in the game, where you could type something and the characters would actually attempt to vocalize your text, and you’d hear what other players (characters) typed (were saying) as well. Obviously this is bad in public rooms, but among friends it’s hilarious. [colon close parenthesis] The game itself is okay. Compared to a similar game in the past that we also played together, Orcs Must Die 2, this one felt like it gave a lot less freedom to build and defend, and made you even more reliant on your weapons and active gunplay than OMD2, but it had its own charm anyway. I’m 10 levels higher than Satinel due to having multiple aborted attempts at playing this in the past with other people though, so I’m not happy about that.

Nothing else besides evening rounds of AMQ, and the odd phone game (mostly PriConne), was touched by me this week in the world of games. I’m feeling a slight urge to try out some free, casual Steam game or other though. But still, my scanning projects, and anime on the side, and all the crap with school that I had to deal with, are still chewing up large chunks of my time.

Oh, but the Fabled Lands computer game (basically a graphical representation of my favourite gamebook series) is slated to launch into Early Access on May 20, this upcoming Wednesday! My siblings and I spent countless hours in the actual books, and they were so formative to me that they appear many times in my dreams too (not recently though, but they are certain there if you look through my full dream diary.) They’re some of the most precious physical books that I own. This one is going to be a launch day purchase unless it’s too exorbitant, even though it’ll only have two books to start.

Now, on to my…

Plushie of the Week #3 – Carrotblade (working name)

Yes, Carrotblade (working name). The first two were two of my oldest plushies, so to change things up here’s one of my newest ones. I get lazy with naming the plushies that I acquired after I moved out, as unless a name feels very right to me, I usually either leave them nameless or give them temporary names. I always enjoyed naming our plushies in collaboration with my younger siblings instead. Anyway, this guy:

is Carrotblade, and look how huge he is! He’s larger than my pillow, dwarfs Tigey in size, and is fatter around the top that even my bolster that’s lying next to him (although the bolster is longer and snugglier). He has these two floppy leaves at the crown of his head (if I extend them out he’s about 3 feet long), and a big goofy smile that makes me return one in kind.

His (working name) was originally inspired after the Carrotblade from Neopets, although since I have some time put into the Princess Connect phone game now and Mimi is one of my most levelled heroes there, her carrot sword has pretty much taken over the imagery that comes to mind when I think of the word Carrotblade, since it’s shaped a lot like this plushie.

But the real reason I knew I needed this plushie when I saw it was not because of Neopets or PriConne, but instead because of Uma Musume. While an anime about anthropomorphic horse girls derby racing on a track sounded weird and awkward at first, it’s actually one of the best sports-themed anime I’ve ever seen, with tons of faithful nods to real life horse races as well, and lots of cuteness, personality, background gags, and unexpectedly emotional moments. And since they’re horse girls, the characters are obsessed with carrot paraphernalia, including giant carrot plushies.

So when I was at the mall next to my house on Jul 28 2020, and saw that carrot plushie on sale for a mere $25 CAD from a Quilts Etc./QE Home store, I knew I had to rescue it. I actually had to choose between that one and this octopus (local), and I had to apologize to the octopus for not selecting it in the end. Though it’s interesting that Carrotblade is nowhere to be found on the QE online site now, even though the octopus still is, as of time of writing anyway. I think the staff in the shop did mention that the carrot was really popular and the one I was holding was the last available one they had in stock too, which no doubt was a clever way to make me lock in my purchase if I hadn’t already made up my mind long before that point.

So yes, Carrotblade (working name). He’s a male but doesn’t have much of a personality or voice outside of that, because I’ve had no reason to make one up for him. He sometimes is balanced up on a chair or drawer beside me as I work on the computer, and sometimes (like now) is confined to lying down atop a plastic box at the foot of my bed. But with the number of times he’s made me smile over the past year, he’s been worth every penny.

Dreams

I had a third consecutive week of 7/7 dreams, so I’m having quite the nice streak going, even if some of the entries are a bit weak. The physical notepad that I started placing beside my bed last week has really helped with this.

May 10 2021
  • I was sitting on the front left seat of a classroom, with Zixiang at the table beside me, and various people i knew or didn’t know scattered around the room. The female teacher at the front of the room was teaching history or something like that, but we couldn’t really read the chalkboard due to glare from the light coming through the classroom door on the far side. I could read one word clearly — COMPULSORY, and then something that seemed to be describing some sort of assignment to describe our previous life or something.
  • Zixiang tried to write something down but paused and asked to borrow a pencil. I gave him a mechanical one but noticed he already had a regular lead pencil that was sharpened on both ends. He used the eraser end of the mechanical pencil to erase something as he had forgotten his eraser. I told him he could just use my actual eraser the next time — I had a regular, slightly grubby rubber split in two, as well as an eraser pen stick.
  • There were complaints from other students about the glare too, so she had Huihan, who was seated near that door, to stand up and close it. This didn’t really help though.
  • Eventually she let us stand up and come to the teacher’s desk in front to get a better look at the board, but by that time she had already replaced some of what was on the board with an announcement about a festival or some event going on nearby, and was encouraging us to sign up for it.
  • Apparently day 1 of the fair involved games that would give out plushie prizes, so Huihan thought that I would be interested in them.
  • We asked the teacher about the Compulsory assignment that she had written about, but she stared at us confusedly and could not recall what we were talking about. I pointed to the area of the board that it was at, and we could even see half-erased chalk marks under the festival announcement that was now on top of it, but all I could make out from that seemed to be words related to an earlier accounting class.
  • Someone brought in a large pot of chicken noodle soup and everyone had some to mix in with their regular lunch. I let others go first, so when I got to the pot it was basically empty. I poured the remainder of the droplets into my bowl to show the other person hanging around the desk that it was empty, and someone said that a new pot would be brought in.
  • I used a piece of tissue paper to clean the rim of the pot, then briefly sucked on that tissue to make sure the wet part wasn’t dripping into the ground. This caused part of the tissue to crumble and stick to my lips though. I then had a vision of someone famous doing the same thing in the past and people commenting on that as an idiosyncracy that made him seem weird.
May 11 2021
  • I barely remembered anything overnight today, just something vague about me and someone else visiting a large building that seemed like a shopping center, except there were 6 different versions of it (each one in a different time period). Our goal was to find something in the building to upgrade or renew our magical skills, and there was something about a button of some sort that I could press to activate something, but that button also physically moved between the 6 versions of the buildings.
May 12 2021
  • Sis and I were wandering around a grid world. There were boss fights that we had to defeat — the bosses came in groups of four or five but could be defeated/weakened first by us playing minigames located some distance away from them.
  • One minigame involved a square plot of farmland made out of little grid squares. Some squares were dirt soil with supporting sticks stuck in them, as though for the growing crop to climb up. Other squares were darker and more gravelly and some of those even had treasure buried in them.
  • There were also little bees flying around that farm plot that we had to avoid. I put on two pieces of a beekeeper’s suit — the head armour and chest armour — but realized after a little while that I forgot the leg piece and was still wearing a skirt. I didn’t get stung though.
  • Another minigame involved a little fenced in area with 6 worm-like monsters thrashing about, with each one containing a marble-shaped heart buried in the middle of their length. We had a friendly pet monster that liked to eat them. However, that pet monster was also prone to being crushed or eaten by those worms.
  • We could reset the worms and pet whenever we wanted, but the objective was to let the friendly pet monster eat all six worms without being devoured itself, largely by trying to divide the worms in different sides of the pen and isolate one or two of them at a time. We only ever managed to score (eat) four out of six worms though.
  • There were several other minigames too but they’re all forgotten now.
May 13 2021
  • Somehow a foam figure of the number 3 was involved, and that foam figure was being stretched by someone.
  • There was also something about getting and verifying credentials, as well as a train ride, but I don’t know how it fits in to the rest of the dream.
  • At some point in today’s dream, it felt like I was writing down or rehashing yesterday’s dream. I believe this wasn’t actually true, but I had that feeling anyway, and a bit of a depressed feeling washed over me for some reason.
  • The main dream that I remember again had a game where it felt like I had to complete a dungeon in order to renew or upgrade my magic skills. This time, the game was a dungeon with a bunch of doors opening into passages that led down into the earth and would eventually lead to more rooms with more doors. Each room had two or three doors, and there was no sense of danger or difficulty, just a question of speed of completion.
  • There were other people running through the dungeon too — Kellie was there again but we split up fairly early. At one point one of the doors I took opened up into a room with a ledge where I could see the dungeon continuing far below. Several people were there resting and admiring the view as well.
  • At some point after the dungeon I also boarded a bus home and although I was standing up, I was wrapped in a blanket cocoon due to worries about COVID-19 or something, and leaning against a pole in the middle of the bus. It was shaped like a sleeping bag, so the only hole for it was around my head.
  • I knew that it was really important not to let go of the blanket — I was holding it up with both hands around my neck, and if I let go of it it would fall down to my feet. I was worried about staining part of the blanket too because my feet were standing on part of it, and so that part was touching the dirty bus floor. I resolved to dust it off later.
  • Oddly, I had no issue keeping my balance even though the bus would turn from side to side, it felt like there were some strings holding me steady.
  • The bus route was changing slightly today and I knew some of the people on the bus, even though they were older ladies and such. One of them might have been one of my secondary school teachers, Mrs Low. Either way she or the female teacher was retiring and it was her last trip ever on the bus, so the bus driver ignored that the route had just changed and drove her to her usual stop before letting her off.
  • At some point after this bus trip, I had to pick from a selection of princess dresses, and was flipping between two of them that were slightly different shades of pink.
  • There was also an assassination attempt made and I was looking from the perspective of the assassins in a car waiting for someone (me?) at a bus terminal. There was a male and a female character, and after a bit the female character had to go, so she left the car and started walking away from the terminal.
  • The assassination target then showed up, but as the male was about to kill her, the female started screaming over the radio and yelling at the male to bring the car over, and to come pick her up, right now. She was extremely panicked and so the male assassin tch’ed and drove the car away toward wherever she was instead.
May 14 2021

Tons of unrelated dream snippets today!

  • Snippet: A stadium bordered a place named Canadia (or it might have been in Canadia but bordering another country), and a policewoman not far outside the stadium was confused as to what to do with people who were leaving the stadium and were bringing sheathed knives home with them, as it was a custom in Canadia but not from wherever she was from.
  • Snippet: I was part of a troupe, but needed to download our own songs for a parade of ours that we had done, and I had no idea how to do so. There was the vague feeling that it was illegal even though it was our own songs, and I was trying to download it off the Internet to listen to in tandem with some sorting event that was going to take place.
  • Snippet: I was standing up on a moving train or bus with passengers all around me. I tried to turn on my phone, but everytime I did so, a couple 3-4 year old kids sitting on different seats near me would get really upset. I learnt that they were sensitive to the “radio waves” coming from my phone, and wondered how many other kids in the past were affected like this from being near me as I unknowingly used my phone.
  • Snippet: I remember there being a skill to kill or absorb energy from those around me, being relevant in one of my dreams.
  • Snippet: I was looking at a list with arrows leading to names and ages of people, it was something about a test or performance that was going to be held, and the age of the participants was supremely important because it would decide performance eligibility and the order in which they performed.
  • Snippet: I remember being present when a group of people cut down a white birch tree, which fell into an undergrowth but was still very much visible. Zixiang was there too, and he commented how the tree was basically the tree from Minecraft or Black Desert Online.
  • Snippet: At one point, there was a thing that involved taking a microphone and literally shoving it into someone else’s face and interviewing them to earn approval ratings. I think the interviewer and interviewee were considered to be on the same player team and the interviewee had to be of legal age.
  • Snippet: There was a character named Detective Ari, or Detective Are, in one of my dreams.
  • Snippet: There was something involving expanding or upgrading fighter jets that were piloted by (again) someone that had to be an adult/”of age”. Some planes could fly unmanned, however, and might have been shaped weirdly, with wings that looked like legs.
  • In one of my dreams, my much older nephews on Mom’s side, Winston and Wilson, were at my house, which was modelled after our 4012 home. Winston was giving me speech therapy of some kind, and had a stack of paper with assignments that he wanted me to do. I joked about working ahead and finishing some of the non-speech related ones first, and he said he’d make me do an extra written and oral final essay. I said that was fine.
  • Winston and Wilson then left, and I didn’t stop them although I didn’t want them to go. The evening sky rapidly darkened after they left and I was alone, and a storm started outside, with howling wind and beating rain. I sat in the middle of the floor, hugged my legs, and wished that others would come home, while thinking about the front wall of the house collapsing from the rain and wind.
May 15 2021
  • While walking home from school after University classes, I was talking with a friend (I think from Sec 2, possibly Paulene or Gillian) about volunteering experiences in the past, since the friend used to be a prolific volunteer. I asked her what her reason for volunteering was, and I said that mine was that I enjoyed seeing new places and meeting new people, but also enjoyed talking with people standing on the street handing out event info cards and stuff, and that that was the bulk of where my volunteering gigs came from, peddled to me like they were giving out tissue packs. I really enjoyed connecting with those people and agreeing with them on a subject matter though.
  • I did mention that my last volunteering experiences was at an old folks’ home but that I really enjoyed the weather and view of the area, especially around a four-way traffic light that was next to the home.
  • We reached a 4 way intersection ourselves, with bus stops on either side of the road. I asked her which bus stop we were waiting at and she said the one on the side that we were on, but yet we crossed the road when the red light hit. We were initially going to just cross to the side with the other bus stop, but once the car traffic on the moving lane stopped, she instead pulled me along and we did a semi-illegal diagonal cross to the island diametrically opposite the bus stop we needed to be at instead, away from both bus stops.
  • But then the buses started arriving on both sides, there were buses #6 and #8 and a two digit bus similarly to a #71. I realized we needed to be back on the other side to catch our #6, and so on the next traffic light, we tried to cross back. I took the initiative and tried to boldly cross diagonally this time, waiting at the midpoint of the 4-way intersection for the traffic to complete before running the rest of the way back to the right bus stop.
  • It was also drizzling at this time, so once we reached the bus stop, we took off our tops and started to change out into dry clothes. In particular I had on a black tanktop or spaghetti top under my top layer of clothes that I took off.
  • Some Russians that were at the bus stop scolded us, asking us if we knew what we did wrong. I guessed that they meant the diagonal crossing bit that we had done to get back here in time. They didn’t confirm but they said that little kids were watching us and we should set a good example.
  • There were some little snippets that were connected to the plotline of this specific dream as well but I don’t remember how. Firstly, before or while meeting the girl, I also had to put together an online submission to some student group or awards department at the University, which involved submitting a physical stack of papers and a physical trophy in a little virtual sunken box area on a flat surface, then hitting a submit button, which would somehow alert them of the submission and allow them to remotely view the items in the sunken box. I made a minor change of some sort after submitting, and I somehow knew that someone on the receiving end was already aware that I was making changes and was waiting for me to complete, so I hit unsubmit and resubmit on the submission to alert them that I was done.
  • Secondly, there was a really narrow building full of ruined stairway landings, possibly 120 floors or higher. I was moving from level to level in that building, looking for something to do with my magic power. This building was likely on the University campus and happened not long before I met the girl above, and it definitely involved other characters/a team of some sort doing something.
  • Thirdly, there was a scene at some point while we were walking and talking, where I opened my Spotify list and saw a compiled statistic that showed all the artists on my favourites playlist, as well as how many top 20 popular songs they had covered (or perhaps how many covers that had been made of their own songs by other people had reached the top 20 chart). The top entry was Mariah Carey, with something like 51 covers, whereas on the lower end there were a number of 2’s and then a single 1. I thought it was interesting that every artist on my list had been covered by (or had done a cover of) someone else at least once.
  • I also remembered that I had seen this list before a couple days ago. This was in one of the other previous dreams and I’m only recalling that memory now, so I’m not sure which day it was. It wasn’t enough to turn my dream lucid, though.
May 16 2021
  • Snippet: I remember that at one point I was trapped in a room that was basically a large white box, or maybe a large square rectangular room with white flourescent tube lights making a complete loop around the walls, with one other person. The room had a sort of translucency to it and I could also look into the room from above like a sort of cross-section, and see the both of us.
  • In the main dream that I remember, we were visiting the apartment of an Indian family friend (Uncle Droy), to reciprocate a visit that they had made to our own house earlier in the dream.
  • Their house was located on the 9th floor of a HDB flat, and we took the elevator up from the ground floor to reach them. The elevator had a sign that said the limit was 2 people and 200 lbs, and there were five of us in the family, so I was afraid that it would get stuck, but either Mom or Dad indicated that that was just a suggestion and we would probably be okay.
  • On the second floor, the elevator stopped and a woman got on as well. She wanted to go down but the elevator was going up, so she said she hoped that the elevator would go down after reaching the 9th floor.
  • We reached the apartment and entered the house, taking off our shoes just inside the door. I whispered to Mom that officially we were here for the social visit, but really we were actually happy to be here for the food — there was a pile of food prepared on the kitchen table for our meal and I really looked forward to it.
  • While our parents talked to them, us three kids (me and my siblings) wandered off into the parents’ master bedroom, and the adjoining kids’ rooms that led off from the master bedroom. I had a vision of how difficult it must have been to move all the furniture in when they first moved into the apartment.
  • In the kids’ room, we found a second Tigey there, one that we had given the children earlier. It looked slightly gray and slightly shabby and basically identical to our Tigey which I had brought along as well.
  • We apparently had given away this little Tigey to the family’s kids at some point in the past, and had also given their parents a young man who was a Japanese novice taro cook to work for them as well. We hadn’t seen the cook, but we had a list that looked like a list of torrents, except this was a list of plushies, and this specific Tigey was basically flagged like an incomplete torrent in the list because he had not checked in to the main network in a long time.
  • We children brought the Tigey to some sort of open field area that somehow adjoined the childrens’ bedroom, and we placed the Tigey down next to my actual Tigey. We also set a small camera to hover in the air to record the scene as the family’s Tigey bowed and apologized to us for not checking in more often. There was an aura of clandestine to this meeting.
  • Suddenly the Japanese novice chef appeared from behind a pillar to confront us, and at the same time the scene shifted to show that a helicopter with a larger camera had taken off from the roof of the HDB flat into the air, then immediately cut its power so that its rotor blades wouldn’t make any noise. Four flying magical girls of different colours had then lofted the plane + camera on their shoulder, and flown it over the field where we were, positioning it higher up than our own floating camera so we couldn’t see it, but where its camera could still point down at us and see us.
Things I am thankful for this week
  1. Airbags. A good friend from my main server was involved in a car crash this week that totalled his car, but he managed to walk free with only minor body aches thanks to his airbag deploying. Including Thrandor, Mell, Eralain, and Alex, and not sure if I’ve missed anyone else, too many people in my Discord have been involved in car crashes over the past 3-4 years. Thankfully they’ve all escaped injury.
  2. My smartphone wallpapers. I think a good phone wallpaper goes a long way toward keeping one happy and inspired, whether it be of their loved ones, or of things they like. My current lock screen uses this photo, and my actual home screen uses this one, and both give me energy. And when they stop doing so, or if I ever find other pictures that call out to me more loudly, they will be summarily replaced with fresher ones. And yes, I’m more thankful about my smartphone wallpapers than the actual phone itself.
  3. Lists, and my penchant for making them. I’m a list-phile and have lists, and collections, and spreadsheets, of all sorts of things. That sort of mindset keeps me organized and has partly driven the creation of this site as well, since it feeds into a chronicling mindset. But they have been so useful over the years for me in various ways, not only to help me keep track of things and organize my thoughts but also for me to go back and see what I thought of something, or what I was doing, back many years ago. There are some really old lists that I’ve come across from digging through my personal files that have allowed me to connect with my past self and the tons of hours I must have poured into some of them back in the pre-Internet era that I grew up in.
  4. Anime Music Quiz. I basically mention it every week in the Games section, but 2-3 friends and I have been playing a couple rounds of this nearly every day for the past year and a half, and it’s basically come to define my anime-watching and give me a purpose and drive to seek out shows to watch, and a different avenue from which I can appreciate (or not) certain shows. More importantly though, I believe that if I reach old age in this lifetime, I have a fairly decent chance of running headlong into dementia, but I also believe that music is a really good way to train and retain memories, and will help curb the chances of that dementia ever happening. And this is a great tool to help with that. I’m thankful for my friends who put up with my nonsense and let me drag them along to a little bit of this every day. But erm I guess I’m more thankful for the site even existing, since I chose that to be the #4 entry here instead of them? Noo, I’ve written myself into a corner…
  5. Ronnie, my supervisor at work. A good boss goes a long way toward making a bad workplace tolerable, or a tolerable workplace good. A bad boss, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. While we don’t agree on everything, there are many little things that I appreciate, from having the freedom to speak my mind without any repercussion, to the fatherly protection against some of the bullshit that comes down from above, to the mutual trust and all sorts of flexible allowances and accommodations that we can get if we need to and ask for it. Our weekly 1-on-1 meetings on Thursdays are the highlight of my work week, and they always go long without fail because we have tons to talk about. If there’s one thing I’ll miss after I leave the job, it will be those sessions.

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