My Diary #005

This week was a bit of a bust because I was a combination of sick and blah on Monday and Tuesday, and thus took both days off work and really didn’t get much done at all except beat back the blues and greens a bit. A big part of it, as far as I can tell, is anxiety over the upcoming May 31st deadline where I’ll find out if Sophia University accepted me or not. It’s not at all guaranteed, but there’s not much at all I can do to influence the decision at this point, and my supervisor thinks that this inability to do anything to affect the result is putting additional weight on me, and he’s probably right.

Entry #005 (May 23 2021)

Table of Contents

Forge onward until…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #4
ට  Dreams
ට  Things I am thankful for this week

School

Nothing else moved on this front this week. Having cooled off, I’ve been considering submitting a formal appeal or an exam remark request for my China 302 grade still, but I think there would be a significant relationship and emotional cost to this and would still give only a 50-50 chance of getting my grade upgraded (but a 0% chance of being downgraded since the teacher’s marking was shit).

I’m leaning toward not doing it after all because I can’t deal with it on top of the Japan thing whichever way that domino falls, but I do have a meeting next Tuesday with the students’ ombuds office to at least talk to them about it.

Work

As mentioned, I only worked three days out of five this week, and next week is a long weekend as well (Monday is Victoria Day), so it’s a four day work week coming up. I’m happy for that as I need the rest — my left eye has been hurting and blurring a bit recently from overuse (and the mythical dragon trapped inside it that I have to occasionally subdue) and more rest should fix it.

Work otherwise was mostly calm. I think the most significant thing that happened this week was that the Social Committee at work held a silent auction for donated handicrafts with all proceeds going to the local food bank, and I noticed a couple anime-style digital art posters by the 13 year old daughter of one of my colleagues on a different team had no bidders, so I snapped up both of them for a $50 donation. Always happy to support young artists, especially females, and especially those whom I have some sort of a connection to, and the food bank donation (and tax receipt) on top of that is a nice bonus too!

These paragraphs are really nice and short when nothing is on fire at either work or school! I think I had a pretty good week at work, all things considered, or maybe I was just too focused on the upcoming May 31st deadline to see much of anything else.

Life

Nine days to Sophia’s decision on whether I qualify (though it might come earlier). Because I technically don’t qualify (due to grades in the early 2000’s pulling my average down) but yet have stellar current grades (above a 3.5 average over the last year), I can easily see this going both ways and I think it’s a 50-50 chance right now. I’ve played both scenarios (failing and passing) over and over in my head many times and it’s killing me argh. Still, nine more days. Well, I’m writing this part on Saturday night, so… 7-8 more days at most by the time everyone else reads this!

What else happened this week? Oh right, it snowed. It snowed! On May the 18th! Mother Nature, please behave! We’re basically a month from summer (it starts June 20th this year, apparently)! The snow stuck for many hours too and only fully melted away in the afternoon on the 19th.

I did not get much scanning done this week, as a combination of blahness, and being distracted by games, kept me away from actually working on scanning. In other words, I didn’t really feel like it. I did get a couple small albums done, but that was about it, and I didn’t get my high school yearbook page up and running either. Hopefully this will change soon, especially since the girl from my Secondary 2 class that I mentioned that I was talking to last week, Eileen, has an extra Dunman High 2000 yearbook that she’s going to try to mail to me! This is the one year I am missing from my set and so I am very happy about this. In hindsight, I’m not sure why I have the 1999 (Secondary 3) yearbook at all since I left Singapore in 1998 and wasn’t in touch with any of my former friends by then, being the terribly awkward teenager that I was.

Even though I did not upload my McNally High School 2002 graduation CD to the blog this week, I did offer it to the current principal of the school, as part of a conversation that I was having with her. I mentioned last week that I had emailed her wondering if I could go back to visit. We agreed that that was probably a bad idea right now, and I declined the offer to go visit the outside of the school only because it wouldn’t be meaningful enough to be worth my time for just that. That probably means I won’t be able to visit for a couple years though, if I do manage to fulfil my dream of studying in Japan.

However, I also did find a listing of all the current teachers in the school, and there’s literally only one teacher there that I still faintly remember, and none of the teachers that I do remember well are there anymore anyway. (I also found a virtual tour thing but it doesn’t show any places I care for nor really recognize except the main hall.) The current principal did mention that Ms. Usher, the former head of IB who was also my history teacher when I was there in 00-02, had only just retired last year and still came in to do some relief teaching now and then, and she offered to pass my info and well-wishes along to her. This made me happy enough.

Oh, and I got another letter from the management here saying that I have to prep my apartment for bedbug spraying due to some neighbour’s idiocy, probably the neighbours ron my left again like last time. The kicker is that I just did this on February 5th, and now they want to do another one on May 28th? The amount of prep work that goes into this is entirely unreasonable (unscrewing the wall plates as well as moving all my dozens of boxes when I’m a female and I live alone, and then leaving the house for the fumigation period + 4 hours — this equals 8 or 9 hours of my time and a bunch of outdoor time in a pandemic!) and I plan to go down to the rental office on Monday to complain. I don’t think this is avoidable, but it’s hilarious that it’s so important they have to spray but yet they can wait 7 full days to do so, and they have the need to disturb all the surrounding apartments as well. The last time I did this back in February I even hurt my back and had to rest the next day before I felt better, so I basically lost 3 days of my life to this crap. I feel like I’m being targetted to be forced to move because this rental agency seems to really loves new renters, and hates renters who stay in one place for an extended period of time. I do not need this stress on top of work/school and my upcoming Study Abroad decision.

I better be getting positive karma points to add to my study abroad thing in return for all this bullshit I’m going through in other parts of my life though. I’ll be mad if all these things over the past two weeks instead represent a bad streak of luck as a precursor to a negative response from Sophia.

Games

Besides the usual games (AMQ games with friends in the evenings, and a bit of PriConne on my phone), there were several other games of note that I touched on this week. Firstly, I tried Legends of IdleOn, which apparently is a game with heavy Idle RPG inspirations but also has some MMO-like aspects built in, like you can see other players’ avatars on the same map as you, doing whatever they happen to be doing. That concept was interesting, but I found the game to be really unengaging, and then I found ut it was not possible to reroll or delete your characters, which annoyed me because my first character was a test character and you only started with one character slot until you unlocked more in gameplay. I decided to uninstall it instead.

Next, in search of a game that Satinel and I could play, I stumbled upon Soulworker, which apparently was a very recently relaunched version of an MMO that had been out for a couple years already, but that had previously been published by an English publisher that was beholden to the Korean developers and thus were several major patches behind the actual game, but now the Korean developers had cut ties with the English publishers and instead published the game in the English market on their own under a different-but-similar name. Confused yet? Me too. (Although this developer-publisher relationship reminded me of Archeage — also originally a Korean games. I guess it’s a thing they do there.) Apparently a lot of players of the old version were angry at this because it meant a full account reset, but as we had never even heard of it before, that didn’t matter to us. It was released last week and we started to dabble into it this week, three or four days after release.

Anyway, the game looked cute, and more importantly allowed grouping through all the story missions, so we played this a little bit. The story writing and translations are poor, the gameplay is a little janky, a lot of skills and combinations are not adequately explained, there is occasional lag and/or server downtime, an overzealous chat filter and small chat buffer, and Satinel crashes a lot when zoning out of dungeons for some reason, but other than the last drawback, the others were bearable for me and in fact could be said to even add to the “new game” mysticism of the game in some regards. While the writing is poor, to me it’s the kind of poor that transcends into hilarity, like the writer was trying really hard in some parts but just completely gave up in others and wanted to test what would pass the censors. So far the mobs and bosses are very straightforward HP sponges though. Some of the costumes are really pretty though, although this is standard for Korean MMOs as well, from personal experience.

Anyway even though there are all those negatives, I am enjoying the game thus far and will probably play it for at least another week. It helps that my character, the closest one to a support/healer role that there is, strums a rock guitar for her skills. Like that’s her character weapon. How awesome is that?

Outside of Soulworker, and inspired by the previous week’s Sanctum 2, Satinel and I also played a bit of Orcs Must Die 2 this week. We had already 100%’d the game’s Steam achievements after a playing spree in Sep 2016 and then again in Jan 2018 though, so this was largely to mop up a few additional easyish unlocks that had gotten away from us at the time. I don’t expect we’ll be playing a ton more of this though.

As mentioned last week, the Fabled Lands game launched on Steam this week as well and it’s awesome, although the caveat is that it is basically a TTRPG-style engine port of the original books that doesn’t really add much more of its own except for a hex-grid-style combat system to replace the simple dice rolls before, and a bunch of character skills you can buy and collect as a money sink. This is both good and bad — it’s good for nostalgia and I like that they’re faithful to the book, but on the other hand I would not actually recommend it to any players that have not actually played the books before because I don’t think the charm would translate well — the books have a lot of unbalanced areas and random events where you can randomly suffer or die from a bad roll of the dice. You can buy things to defend against this, and that’s supposed to be part of the time sink, but this isn’t obvious to new players (of the book or the game) and that’s always been part of the problem of adapting the books “as is”. There’s always save-scumming to get around this issue too, and the game makes it decently easy to do, but again you have to have the lens and experience of playing a gamebook already to know where your personal line is for doing this. Anyway, the game is in Early Access and includes two books (the original books 1 and 4) out of the seven so far.

Other Steam games that I was severely tempted by this week incude Katamari Damacy Reroll, which I already own, and the newly-released Mass Effect Legendary Edition. I’ve completed the first couple games a couple of times before, and the third game once, as standalone games, but it’s been a while and I have really fond memories of the Citadel and Normandy, and I kind of want to revisit (and earn all the Steam achievements while I’m at it). The Citadel in Mass Effect is one of the most iconic computer game locations to me and the aesthetics of the place really strike a chord with me and make me dream fondly of humanity’s distant future.

Oh, and in terms of phone games, the Revue Starlight ReLive game announced a Symphogear collab this week, so I hopped on that train to check it out. I rolled the special gacha character quite easily with my stored gems (F2P player, but I suspect returning players have a pity modifier built in), and then took her into the actual event. She was really overpowered compared to my regular girls. Even though my regular maximum stamina was 167, and the cap for stored stamina was 2000, I somehow had about 7000-8000 stamina stored up so I burned through all of it, fully levelled and upgraded her, and pretty much finished the event within a day.

I don’t plan on going back to the game after mopping up some leftovers though, until the next collaboration that I’m interested in comes along, since it’s annoyingly full of ads and other irritating factors now. It did remind me how bad the PriConne story writing are though, especially compared to how good the anime was, even though the gameplay is better than Revue’s. It’s like a male self-insert harem fantasy and thus fairly distasteful in that regard. I wanted to finish all the character stories first before I go but I might just up and quit instead.

Plushie of the Week #4 – Cruiser

There’s a mood piece from a currently airing anime, Yakunara Mug Cup mo.

Cruiser is a Ty plushie that was, I believe, given to my sister as a birthday present (or something similar) back in the early 00’s, by a high school friend of hers called Angela. Unlike the one in the picture, this one’s neck is really floppy in its natural resting state.

The stuffing can be “pushed” back up into his neck though, at which point he’ll look like a natural plushie again, but eventually, after a few hours or a day or two, it will sink back into a forlorn flop.

While this plushie actually belongs to my younger sister, he’s been passed around between us three siblings a couple times since we all moved away from each other, and I currently have custody of him. Tigey likes this, because Tigey considers Cruiser his noble steed that can take him to far away places.

But instead of faraway places, they mostly perched like that every day for hours on end on my computer table, back when us siblings all lived together with the family nucleus. We had several other turtles in our plushie stash as well that you will eventually meet, but Cruiser was the largest one of the bunch and thus considered their eldest sibling to some extent.

He also had a somewhat passive personality, which led to him being often bullied by the other plushies, particularly Ducky, as he’d knock over Ducky’s book accidentally and cause a storm of rage and pianos from the petulant duck.

Overall, despite the occasional floppy neck, age has been kind to Cruiser and he looks as cute as ever. There was a period of time in the past where the threading of his right eyebrow came loose and was basically like a loop of thread hanging down from where both ends went back into the material, but it eventually got tightened again, although I don’t remember if someone had to intervene to fix him or if it just sort of naturally happened over time, as his eyebrow mishap lasted for quite some time.

It’s perfectly fine now though! Mostly, you can still see it’s a little bit loose.

Dreams

Another nice 7/7 week. There were definitely several tie-ins to real life this week. For example, the May 17th dream about ice hockey playoffs match real life, although not the exact round. The May 18th dream about Mom and Dad having a wedding likely tied in to all the scanning that I had done recently, as there are a lot of wedding photos in there too. On May 19th, besides the gender bending/focus (which my dreams tend to include since I’m transgendered), the group chatroom thing likely tied in to the last or second last episode of an anime I had just finished watching the night before, Kono Bijutsu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!

May 20th’s dream doesn’t directly tie in to any recent experience I have had, but I thought it was a really cool dream nonetheless. Although that reference to Taichi from the Taichi Lunch Box was a Chihayafuru one, the one anime that has made the largest impact on my life in terms of how much I’ve associated with/written about it, and there was also a recalled memory during the dream of the issue with my China 302 class from previous blogs. May 21 might relate to a game that Satinel had outlined to me the previous week and said she had a dream of making one day. May 22 of course contains references to the real life Israel-Palestine conflict going on and all the news about it. And finally, May 23rd has a potential tie-in to Great Pretender, which my group watch group had, similar to the one on May 19th, just finished watching the prior day. Of note, there were also several violent dreams this week, more so than I usually have, which maybe reflects my level of frustration in real life with various things.

May 17 2021
  • The ice hockey semi-final playoffs were on. My team, the Edmonton Oilers, were up 3-1 against our opponent, whereas the other conference had either Saskatchewan or Calgary up 3-1 against an American team as well.
  • One of the Canadian provinces whose team was eliminated by the Canadian team in the other conference, was still cheering on that team against the Americans despite the team being the one that had knocked them out. The cheering province was either Sasketchewan or Manitoba.
  • They showed their support by buying a full KFC ad that was plastered on the side of chicken buckets that people ordered during this promotion period.
  • There was a “moral of the story” theme here in the dream as well that was highlighted, where even though that province had wanted to win badly, it was still OK for them to cheer on their rivals after they were defeated.
  • The hockey matches itself were played out like soccer matches, complete with a large goal, lots of players, and a goalkeeper dressed in standard soccer attire. I could see a game through a camera following one of the goalies from inside the net behind the goal line. I saw the opponent kick the soccer ball past him to score as he stood still, caught off guard or off balance and unable to react.
  • Snippet: The dream might have had a tie-in somewhere along the line to two people on a journey together, and this journey involved magic as well as a snowy forest (or at least an area of snowy trees) at some point.
May 18 2021
  • There was going to be a wedding in my family! To be precise, Mom and Dad were going to be wedded again. People from our extended family (both sides) in Singapore were here, as well as friends from my Secondary 2 class and also people from my current workplace.
  • Some of our relatives came to our 4012 house to stay, which annoyed me a bit because I wasn’t really close to them and some of my classmates were already going to be staying there. The relatives would take a couple of the rooms downstairs though and mostly leave us to our own devices. They either wanted to butt into our card games that we played sometimes though, or had done so in the past on a prior visit, and that part annoyed me.
  • Someone (Spaling from work?) said that they could earn points with us kids by watching the Street Fighter finals that were going on at that time. I told them that this wouldn’t work as I had no interest in Street Fighter.
  • My Secondary 2 class was returning to our classroom after Phys Ed class (which involved us walking through a number of other classrooms) and when we got there, we saw that someone had written out a riddle challenge on the board. It was basically a three or four word substitution cipher and we needed to figure out what the message said.
  • It was lunch time, so some of us (including me) had lunch from our lunchboxes as we tried to solve it. Eventually, someone did solve it (perhaps accidentally) and moved away from a certain section of the room to trigger something there. That absence of a person triggered a trap mechanism which trapped the evil Riddler (from Batman) nearby in a cage.
  • A group of us travelled to my home after that using a combination of train and van. We waited for people to arrive the next day, which was to be the wedding day. The first relatives started appearing outside the window around 5am before the first rays of dawn had even appeared yet, asking to be let in.
  • Mom and Dad were among the first group to leave the house for the wedding place, as they wanted to get there to take more photos to add to the collection of wedding photos that they already had and that I had already scanned IRL. They left in a van.
  • On the contrary, I was in the last group to leave, along with a couple DHS friends. The three of us left on motorcycles, each riding one. We swerved in and out of traffic but it never felt dangerous. We also stopped by a couple places on the way to the wedding, and I wondered when we’d get there.
  • We did witness a major accident on the way too. A police car sped toward us on the way to some call or other, and it clipped the side of an ambulance that was speeding the other way and trying to get to a hospital. The ambulance flipped over, crashing into a building at the side of the road, and we saw the word “Death” flash up and fade away twice through the walls and debris, kind of like damage texts in an MMO over a mob’s head, indicating that the patient and a nurse had just died. I gestured to the police car, pointing accusingly at them to let them know that they had done that, and the car skidded to a stop and pulled over to go to where the ambulance was.
May 19 2021
  • Snippet: At some point, I visited the female washroom but noticed that I was using the male urinals in them. A couple other girls came in, but they looked more confused at the room having both types of stalls than at me specifically.
  • Snippet: There was some sort of a magic box and a person fell out of it, exhausted.
  • Snippet: Three of us were at an airport saying goodbye to each other at some point at the departures check in area, with 1 of us already past it and in the security area while the other two waved from outside.
  • There was a group of 6 made out of my Singapore secondary school friends and me. I remember Allen and Eileen, not sure about the other three. There was a team profile screen I could check where I could see name, picture, our gear, and our named weapon. The weapon names were two words each and had an edgy fantasy tone to them. At one point one of the weapons was renamed.
  • I realized that our group chatroom name was named after all the first letters of our preferred names (Except there was a slight typo and one of the two n’s got turned into a p at some point along the way).
  • The overall game seemed to partially involve an evil person that could control cameras and was trying to root our planted spies in the organization out while we were trying to secretly help them while avoiding detection ourselves.
  • For example, in one part of the game, we were travelling first by car, then by hot air balloon, remotely driven along by the leader of the bad organization on his way to ferret out a spy that he had figured out, and our quest was to try to figure out a way to convince or trick him or his cameras and save the spy’s cover along the journey, or to alert the spy of our impending arrival so he could make good his escape.
  • At some point, one of us (that looked like an avatar from Soulworker) had to enter a room and seduce a bad guy with words. She succeeded but was shaking her head and facepalming in disgust once she left the room.
  • A part of the game also involved something about using skills on a really strong opponent to trick them and tagging out with another member of our team after a while so he couldn’t figure us out. At the same time, we were both creating a miniature 3D city on a grid placed on the ground in front of us.
  • The game would summarize how we were doing with a popup screen now after each game. The summary screen for one of our team’s players was a picture of a frog character’s face.
  • There were green, white, and purple blobby monsters to kill in another part of the game.
  • When casting a spell, the camera view would briefly change into a screen where you could see only the character’s narrowed eyes, and a lot of focus lines radiating out across the rest of the screen from the eyes, as though it were some sort of JRPG ultimate ability.
May 20 2021
  • I was trying to order food from a canteen stall that was in my apartment block. I had seen Huihan and a few others in front of me order their desired lunch dishes from the proprietor just fine. But when I queued up and tried to order, he didn’t seem to understand that I wanted a dish from the lunch menu too, the exact one that Huihan had ordered. He kept trying to offer me some scrambled eggs from the breakfast menu instead. I wanted the lunch menu item because I was going to bring it home and save it for later.
  • Although he eventually understood what I meant, he still couldn’t understand which dish I wanted. I forget the dish that I wanted to order, but it was $13, and there were other dishes worth $13 on the menu too like Pad Thai. But the proprietor instead put a $25 Taichi Boxed Lunch in front of me and waited expectantly at the cashier for me to pay him. I looked down at the $100 note in my wallet and seethed at him and was suddenly reminded of my China 302 teacher and debacle from school.
  • When I reached back to my HDB apartment upstairs, it was night and my parents were in their room with the door shut, arguing about the cost of a Costco membership and how we never used it but it was several hundred dollars per year. I was unpacking a package of some kind, some item I had arrived that I didn’t care for any longer because it took so long to arrive.
  • A friend was there with me, she put my feelings and my parents’ words together and decided she would help me hide the package from the parents, even though I told her there was no need to. She took the box, sealed everything back up, and dragged it outside the apartment door into an external storeroom that was conveniently situated there in an angle that would have been blocking the corridor in reality. The door squeaked twice as she opened it and shoved the box in and then shut it again, and I wryly noted that I’m sure everyone could hear what she was doing perfectly fine.
  • My younger brother, Jonathan, was sleeping beside me, and I was studying all night at a table in the main hall or something as I watched over him. I fell into a fitful sleep and woke up drenched in sweat in the morning, as Mom had come by and put a sweater with long sleeves on me and then a scarf around my shoulders. I tried to take it off but Mom protested, saying that they were symbols of the country. I said I didn’t care and that I was mostly dry now but still hot. She eventually at least let me loosen the scarf and I told her I would just take both off the moment that her and Dad left the house (and they were indeed preparing to leave for work). She frowned.
  • Once they left, it was just me and Jon left. I closed the front door’s grille but left the door itself open, so that I could peek out of the house down the hallway in both directions. There was a piece of white cloth that covered the front entrance too, on the inside of the grille, and it would flutter in the wind sometimes.
  • I understood that it was important that no one heard me or saw me, so I tried to be really quiet around the front door area as well as when using the kitchen sink.
  • The backstory at that point had changed so that while we were still a family, I was also a heroine slated to protect the kingdom, and a male friend that had mysteriously arrived into my apartment was one of the other two heroes. The current princess/queen was in an apartment suite across the corridor living a really normal life, to the point that even her kid, the crown princess, was happily playing in the corridor while we watched both sides for threats while hiding from her.
  • Jonathan was my child in this scenario, and he represented the “next generation” of heroes. I told him he should go out to play with the crown princess and befriend her, but he said he had to go attend kindergarten. I told him maybe he could go play with her later that afternoon when he returned, since there was no hurry, this arrangement would last for years. He agreed.
  • The third hero arrived via a magic portal after some time, he was a brash, muscled hero that spoke English and I also saw a logo that featured all three of us heroes — I was some blonde heroine that was scowling but was also really pretty, and was on the front right side of the circular logo, whereas the first male hero was standing beside me while the brash hero that had just arrived was towering above both of us from behind.
  • Anyway he said that the kingdom was doomed, and the two male heroes kept on talking about how they hoped the next rulers of the kingdom would be better than the generation before us, even if they weren’t as good as the current generation’s leaders. I didn’t understand it and they wouldn’t tell me the details, but I told them to stuff it as I didn’t think everything was lost yet.
  • Snippet: At some much earlier point, there was a classroom scene where we were swapping letters either on a board or outside a doorway of some kind, to try to form a word or figure out an acronym of some kind from the letters.
  • Snippet: Some business I was working at or some place I was staying at came under new ownership, and we were told we were not wanted anymore, and that the new owners themselves didn’t plan to stay there long and were going to move away.
  • Snippet: At some point, I was playing a first-person over the shoulder camera version of Civ with Zixiang. I was setting up my capital city in the middle of the map, next to a river and adjacent to a really rich tile that looked like a really complex river delta with tons of smaller rivers. That tile was a Wonder and was named Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Life, and would give me big bonuses for settling down there.
  • Zixiang had actually reached that spot before me but was unable to settle down there because he was playing the Zombie civilization. He looked a little forlorn as he trudged off so I tried not to look for him so that I wouldn’t know where he was and would then be able to immediately crush him. But the map wasn’t very big and the camera was over my shoulder so I couldn’t prevent myself from seeing him trudge off to the very corner to settle his capital city there.
May 21 2021
  • Two of the girls from my Secondary 2 class were organizing a reunion meetup for the classes in a gazebo in a park. We were told to feel free to bring along 1-2 family members.
  • I found out about this through one of the people that I was still in contact with, but he or she didn’t leave the location, only the date, and I realized I had forgotten to ask him at the time.
  • On a school trip to some location, however, while I was walking around the area and looking for lone patrolling NPCs to isolate and kill while avoiding guards, I met two girls from the class handing out flyers for the event and I told them I’d be there. I remembered to ask them where it was this time and they told me and said they hoped I could make it.
  • The patrolling guards had terrible AI and would stare at me accusingly but not actually be able to accuse me if they stumbled upon me in a room with a blood stain and/or corpse as long as they didn’t actually see the kill I made.
  • At one point during the school excursion, when we were all together, a school teacher from my past came to observe one of our meetings. My “group” was basically Ronnie and a bunch of people from work though, and Ronnie was leading our meeting. We strayed off-topic from the meeting agenda and laughed a lot, which really irritated the teacher who was not used to others having fun, and felt like it was time-wasting.
May 22 2021
  • I was with my mom and younger brother on a train platform on a day off from work, waiting for a train. From the elevated train platform, we could see a lot of the landscape around us in hex tile form, and in particular not far from the station weas a river, and city hexes ran along both sides of the river, five or six hexes in a row on each side.
  • Two of those city hexes, five tiles apart, were dirtier-looking than the others, and I knew that one was Israel (Jerusalem) and one was Palestine (Gaza). The dirty look was due to smoke from the unrest in both cities. I knew that the real life holiday that gave me time off work was a public holiday in Israel, which was the nearer hex.
  • Suddenly there were a series of loud explosions in the Israel hex as tall buildings collapsed and fire broke out. There was a lot of screaming and a lot of panic at the station, although we were fine as we were two hexes or so away.
  • Soon after that, an airplane that was above the Israel city hex suddenly lost control, flying vertically downwards and crashing into the city hex, exploding in a fiery ball and sending a shockwave through the surrounding region as well. This hit the station in the form of a visible shockwave, tinged with fire. I dropped to the ground and protected Jonathan as the fiery shockwave barely missed us.
  • From where we were, we could see firefighters in the Israel hex spraying water to try to contain the fire and rescue citizens.
  • The train station was packed with panicked people at this point and we realized that the train was probably not going to be easy to get onto, it would be packed and also in danger of taking damage from any future explosions. A man at the top of the escalator in the train station yelled that news vans were nearby and offering rides to people in exchange for their story. Mom decided it was better for us to take that, and I agreed. I retrieved Mom’s handbag from a kind passerby lady who was watching over it for us after we had taken cover during the explosions, and we headed down to the van.
  • Snippet: At some point, there was a large school gym and prisoners (basically students) were held hostage in the gym by enemy soldiers, each student crouched down about ten feet from each other, collectively forming the shape of a grid. There was only really one guard though, and I saw a couple scenarios where the guard was murdered by a student who had a sharp weapon or stone hidden on them, which allowed several of them to try to escape.
May 23 2021
  • Snippet: Dad warned me/us siblings not to visit New York in the summer as it was too hot and too crowded, though I said that I liked the density of the place and wanted to move to somewhere like NY or Tokyo.
  • Friends were staying over at my house and I showed them my scanner and the software on my computer. It turns out that the icons on my computer had been rearranged overnight due to a reset though, and that part was a bit embarrassing to show them. There was also something about there being too many real/official apps that were visible or that appeared on my desktop, and this somehow “broke open” some of my other programs.
  • There was either an older teacher character or a master thief (like Laurent from Great Pretender) that we were learning from in this group of people at my house too.
  • There was a three-storey school building with many doors that we were in, and a neighbouring school next to us as well, I was a custodian staff of some kind that was in charge of doing something through the building, but we had to largely stay out the way of the students and try not to befriend them because the administration would come down hard on us.
  • A large part of this dream involved creative ways to stay out of curious students’ way due to locked doors and such, or by running up a really long flight of stairs with a student in pursuit, and then teleporting home, leaving them stranded far away from me.
  • At one point though, I did just chill in a room with three other students and we tried to talk to each other for a bit, but weren’t really able to communicate for whatever reason.
Things I am thankful for this week
  1. Mynoise.net. Of all the ambient soundscape generators online, this one is my favourite by far due to the number of generators it has as well as the amount of customization you can do for each one. And how they claim that it will always be slightly different each time you run it due to some randomness thrown in — even though the variance isn’t very large, that gives it a Mono no Aware sort of aesthetic that does appeal to me. I don’t really have issues sleeping most nights, though I used to in the past, and that period in my life was when I started keeping an eye out for good ambient noise generators, as I found that it helped me a ton. Back then, I used a phone app called Taomix that I really liked, and it was around then that I fell in love with rain and city noises as well (see /r/aestheticrain). I can even fall asleep to the rumbling of train noises nearby, it’s all very soothing to me. But anyway, the sequel/working version of Taomix, as well as most of the other phone apps, are absolute garbage because they require monthly or yearly subscriptions in order to gain access to their content, and I just cannot support that model for this type of product.I also tried Ambient Mixer at one point, as that was another one near the top of the Google search list, but that site is unreliable and often times out with an error when you try to do anything on it. Mynoise.net however runs solidly, has a business model that is just an optional one-time donation, and has a lot more sound and customization choices to boot, so it’s long overtaken all the other choices for my favourite ambient soundscape generator out there. I suggested this site to my sister last week as she said she was having troubles sleeping, and she apparently really likes it. One of my favourite soundscapes on mynoise.net is this one. It’s very outer spacey and promises freedom and exploration to the brave. Another one is this one, which I sometimes use if I feel myself stalling out while writing or working.
  2. The Year-round Public Christmas Tree. If you take a look at that winter photo I attached above, you can see a brightly glowing tree sticking up above the roof on the left. That tree is fully lit (and fenced off) with strings of Christmas lights, and it has been that way since late 2018 or so. They did it for Christmas that year, I suppose, and haven’t taken it off since. Instead, every evening and night, that tree is turned on and the glowing top half of the tree crests over the roof and shines its twinkling light through the darkness like a beacon. I can see it from where I am seated at my computer desk by simply turning my head left, and it’s brought a decent amount of good feelings to me, even though I used to hate Christmas with a passion (and still have not completely warmed up to it these days). Jahandar even took my initial splutterings upon first seeing the tree back in 2018, and turned it into a fancy poem.
    I expect royalties.
  3. Tsubaki shampoo/conditioner. Before getting these, I had never really cared much about my hair, and would just get some 2 in 1 type shampoos that were on sale, or not bother with the conditioner part at all, especially since I always kept it short. The longer it gets though, especially during the pandemic when the hairdressers are usually closed, the more irritating it gets after a couple of days due to the oil buildup and such, and I usually end up shampooing twice a week or so. I had always tried to replicate the great feeling I would get when visiting a hair salon, because I did love that feeling of being free and clean but it would cost upwards of $100 or $150 each time (I would get a cut and sometimes a dye at the same time), and I only visit the hairdresser’s three times a year at most anyway. Anyway, I bought these two from T&T Supermarket in January of this year for $26.70 for a set of two, and they’ve been awesome. Though my hair is kind of weak (I shed quite a lot of hair, I think, especially when I give my hair a good scrub. I wonder if I will ever go bald?), and I have lots of white hair (they’ve been slowly appearing ever since I was 20), these make my day and leave me feeling extremely fresh for a full day and a half thereafter, and I look forward to these bath sessions bi-weekly.
  4. Rambalac’s walking videos. This guy has a Youtube channel of him walking all around places in Japan, with no commentary whatever, just him and a stable camera walking around and enjoying the sights, occasionally stopping to look at interesting things or buy a drink from a vending machine. I’m kind of interested in doing video walks myself at some point in the future and it’s seriously all his fault, even though no inobtrusive camera that I’d be willing to wear can produce such nice video quality that his videos have. It’d be good for chronicling random areas for future generations though, since one of my issues with living in Singapore in the 90s is that due to that being a pre-cellphone and Internet world, there aren’t any decent videos like this of the places I grew up in.I particularly love his night-time walks, things like this or this or this or this. This one was the first video of his I ever saw. I really appreciate that he doesn’t talk, and that he doesn’t just walk the popular, busy streets, but will also take detours down residential lanes, stop at quiet shrines to donate, and such. They’re really nice, peaceful videos to have up on the second monitor while doing other activities. He also has many videos of walking through festivals and aaaah. They’re so pretty. Heck ,I watched one while I was writing part of this diary entry.
  5. Lastly, and this is more of an aesthetic thing, but I love the sound of random music drifting into my home through the open balcony doors, from someone else’s home. This is especially true if the music isn’t based around having too many bass or drum beats, or loud screamy music, although those are fine too as long as the home is an “off in the distance” thing. I remember experiences in Singapore where sometimes there’d be some event going on and the music or drums would be so loud at 12am or 1am that I couldn’t get to sleep. That generally doesn’t happen here in Canada with people more spread out and tougher noise laws in place, but nonetheless when there is someone else’s soft audible music drifting in, it summons a sort of feeling of impermanence and beauty for me, like there’s proof that other people’s lives are happening around me.

    The ice cream truck’s music doesn’t count, though.

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