What an up and down week! First the acceptance by Sophia, then the cancellation by UAlberta, both of which you can read about in the corresponding blog entries between Diary #006 and Diary #007. So what happened outside of that?
Entry #007 (Jun 06 2021)
Absolutely nothing happened on this front. I mean, I’m not taking Spring or Summer classes this year after all. The only thing outstanding is my grade appeal, but the Student Ombuds’ office had told me that I could send them a copy of what I had written and they’d give me some advice on the formatting, template, etc. I sent it to them last Friday and didn’t hear back from them all week, therefore I poked them again this Friday as there is a rapidly approaching deadline to submit the grade appeals. I’ll probably send it out early next week even if I don’t hear back from them as they’re a bottleneck at this point.
Work was framed around the acceptance and cancellation of my exchange program, as I had a meeting in between the two with my supervisor to tell him the good news, and then had to touch base with him again afterwards to tell him about the ahem, “Bad news!!!” I took a mental health day after receiving the “Bad news!!!” to take care of emails and followups, but besides that the work week was actually fairly pleasant.
I did run into a ticket this week that’s been an slowly increasing ongoing plague at our University. We have an expiry process where people’s accounts expire sometime after they leave the University, whether through inactivity (older accounts) or after a year (newer accounts that have been “offboarded”). Offboarding here means that once you stop working at the University of Alberta, they will swap your account with all its Google data and emails in it and lock that account with the department, while tying a brand new account (login, email address etc) to your original ID so as to give you access to tax slips in a year, or the actual email account if you’re an alumni as well. There’s provisions for things like current students, of course.
Because the “delete everything” faction at our University is too strong, those “offboarded” accounts are deleted permanently after a year, along with the Gmail and Google Drive accounts tied to it. The problem with this is Google doesn’t really provide tools to deal with this, for example it doesn’t lock out people with permissions continuing to edit a file owned by a disabled account, so we run into cases where a department is using and editing files that belong to an account whose owner had long left the University, and when the account gets deleted, suddenly those files are all gone too.
Most departments are fairly good about this, and have transitioned to things like Google Shared Drives, or using Secondary IDs that are not tied to any specific person to own those files, which are a way of getting around this issue. The problem is that not every department has done this, and most people are not (and have no reason to be) really aware of the issue. And so we get tickets now and then where files are deleted and we have to scramble to help the affected department retrieve the files with Google Admin’s restore/undelete function before they’re actually permanently deleted for good (which is in 25 days after they’re actually deleted). This week it was an entire Google Site owned by a department. So that was fun.
I’ve even already long proposed a solution to this that would fix most of the outstanding issues, which is to automatically rename the first and last name of all Offboarded and disabled accounts to something like “DELETION IMMINENT” because that name is what shows up in Google Drive in the owner field for the file, and that should cause the people working on the file (who most of the time would have no idea about the expiration process as it’s not part of their job) to notice it and raise a flag so we can help them before the deletion. My supervisor even said that that was a good idea and that he would pursue it up the chain. But like nearly everything else I point out or suggest, it goes nowhere because the higher-ups are more interested in implementing new, broken things instead of fixing what’s already broken to make our analyst lives easier. It’s not sexy enough to put on their resume. That or he doesn’t actually push it because it’s not urgently on fire.
Another good thing that happened this week is that our former finance director, whom I disliked, resigned from her job. Obviously sacrifices have to be made when the idiot conservative government is cutting budgets, and not everything she did was bad, but she also pulled off some bad moves and I saw her (and I don’t think I was alone) as being out of touch and always with her head in the clouds.
I cut out three negative paragraphs about her here, and will instead replace it with a positive. Hurray! She’s gone. That’s positive.
Still, upon reflection, I think I’ve lost a lot of my drive to work here long-term. I had two days in the week where I was basically planning my exit strategy and starting to count down the days to me leaving, and then I had to postpone that for several more months. This actually made me realize that the most disappointing part about having the exchange cancelled for Fall was not having the exchange itself cancelled, but not being able to leave work. Which was odd. I suppose I consider my job to be somewhat meaningless, like I’m a pawn that adds no value to the world except to balance out and mitigate bad decisions by other teams and executives.
While the date could change, I’m currently looking at a late December/early January resignation date to align with the Sophia winter program before my actual exchange starts, if that becomes an in-person thing next year, or otherwise a February-ish one if I’m going to Japan in mid-March instead. I could also leave this September if I end up needing to be a full-time student to qualify for my desired exchange, and if my department were to deny that accommodation request. They might not anymore now that this specific ex-executive is gone though, I’m not sure. The worst case scenario would be if the Winter study abroad session falls through as well though, and I have to remain here until at least next September.
As mentioned in the last blog post, I’m strangely okay with this Fall 2021 Japan exchange cancellation, actually. I guess I expected myself to be more down about the cancellation, and there was a slight dip in mood for about two days or so, but I’m not upset about it like I thought I would be, and instead I’m pleased at myself for that lack of upset.
Outside of that, my (currently primary) best friend Satinel finally got her first vaccination on Friday. Super happy about that, although not so happy that it couldn’t get done earlier (due to slow government rollout, not due to lack of desire to get vaccinated). I will be eligible to book my 2nd vaccination jab starting June 28th or so, and it will probably be the same minigame as last time where I queue for a long time in the morning, book a slot far out, and then try to keep swapping out that slot for earlier and earlier time slots later in the day.
I worked on a bit of scanning this week, partially fueled by the upcoming (even if the dates changed!) exchange program. And the realization that I still need to throw a lot of mildly useless stuff out but it would be nice to scan as many as possible of those first. Things like brochures from my trip to various places. I’d then be able to include them as artifacts on display in the appropriate Shrine of Memories history section when I get around to writing about it. I also scanned a random newsletter from my secondary school that I had all the way from March 1997, and I’m probably going to throw it up with my yearbook on my Table of Contents soon.
I also continued conversing with Eileen this week through email, and she told me that she sent a yearbook (or yearbooks, possibly) via post office and then I should receive them in a couple weeks! I’m really happy about this as this means that I will finally be able to see (and then scan) the yearbook of the year that my Secondary school friends graduated. As I probably mentioned in the past, I don’t have that yearbook since I was two years gone from Singapore by that time, though she also sent me a couple pictures of the relevant pages anyway.
I walked around outside a couple times this week since the weather was much nicer (and we even had a heat wave warning with a 31°C day and a 29°C day this week). Once to the library to return a book, once to the Asian supermarket for noodles and snacks and assorted things, and I will probably make another trip downtown next week to pick up a board game expansion pack that I had kickstarted over a year ago because it was made by a local company, and thus had no shipping cost associated with it. Plus I already owned the base game. Even though I never played it with anyone. Why do I even own the base game? Why do I own so many odd board games I have never played with anyone? Too many questions. The library also opens for in-person visits again next week so I might do that as well. I also need to schedule a haircut. And new glasses, while I have a job (and thus benefits).
The shared resident mailbox in our apartment building was moved this week. It’s very strange because the mailbox was already inside a locked apartment building, and they moved it a short distance away, from just inside the main lobby to inside a small, cramped side room beyond another two doors.. but they’re not using the original space for anything else in particular it seems. It’s as though they were trying to keep it out of sight of random people coming in to the building or looking in from outside or something, but now that it’s in a secluded side room I feel like it’s even easier for a bad actor to break open the mailboxes (which has happened in the past!) if they somehow got into the locked building because it’s in a less visible location. Plus a small room with no meaningful ventilation (and that requires two more doorknobs to get to) means a higher chance of COVID-19 transmission right now. I guess they’re hoping for security through obscurity.
On the PC side of games, Satinel and I dabbled in a number of MMOs this week. We spent a day on Soulworker, a day on Tera, and two days running around on Guild Wars 2. We also spent a day finishing up the RWBY campaign, and that was a pretty fun game overall. My quick thoughts on these games follow:
Soulworker — We entered the 3rd zone and I’m guessing probably won’t be playing this any further, as it has weird Korean-style limitations like very poor chat (short chat buffer, nonsensical profanity filter), poor predatory shops and upgrade systems, a poor anti-cheat system, and the connection and lag is so bad that Satinel has to VPN in to not disconnect after every second mission. Also, we were really upset at what they did to Catherine, an NPC that was played up as a good friend of the player character.
Tera – Too many solo missions on first feel. Feels like a reskinned WoW, and that’s NOT a compliment. I love one of my healer’s heal mechanics though, where she summons a healing orb and drops it on the ground and you can use it (pick it up) to get healed. Also, I remember next to nothing about the game, and almost everything seemed brand new to me, even though I’ve played through this area before.. compare this and this (May 27 2015) to this and this (Jun 05 2021) for example. Apparently it was pretty much 6 years on the dot since the last time I played Tera.
Guild Wars 2 – I looked at the World vs World maps and wow they’ve changed a lot, though the main keeps seem to be the same still. Base pve game is still very much flower-picking and boar-killing, so nothing to write home about. It’s a bit painful to play without mounts, which are apparently locked to the expansion packs which we don’t have yet. Compared to something like Soulworker, the convenience and friendliness of the game UI and mechanics was very welcome though. It’s a game based around doing endless amounts of busywork and slowly racking up loyalty points.. I mean daily login rewards and quests though. The things I most look forward to are the living world events. Is GW2 compelling to play long-term? Maybe, maybe not, though I don’t think we’re looking for a long-term game anyway. But my level 80 is a mesmer, so this time I’m levelling a ranger instead.
From a solo standpoint, I tried the first level of Katamari Damacy REROLL on Steam with both keyboard as well as controller and hated the controls with a passion both times. Suffice to say I don’t plan to go back anytime soon. I also poked around at No Man’s Sky and found it as unappealing as ever, plus I got saddled with terrible starting planets. I’m moderately curious to play further and see what new things they did introduce, since it’s been something like 8-10 major updates since I last played, but I’m not sure if I want to struggle through an unappealing planet-side gameplay loop of resource collection to get there.
Trin also linked this charity bundle on itch.io and I bought that. That bundle has a good number of Tabletop RPGs that I don’t care for, but I was mildly interested for a little while in playing random, small indie games and reviewing them here on the blog, except I quickly realized that I do not have that kind of time to commit!
On the phone side, I’ve been a little hooked on Grim Quest the past week. It has interesting bite-sized dungeons and a form of character progression and town building without veering into microtransaction/gacha hell. You take your upgraded character into deeper and deeper grid-based dungeons as you play, with a boss every 15 levels or so, but as long as you aren’t playing permadeath, you largely just get sent back to town to lick your wounds and try again when you lose a battle, so it has more of a roguelite feel than anything, which is perfectly fine by me. You get a decent variety of choices to pick for your character progression, and since you don’t really get punished for losing, in theory even weaker builds will eventually be able to progress past any obstacle simply because you get XP and a bit of gold and items from killing things in a level even if you ultimately fail to progress past it, and can always come back and try again after that.
Plushie of the Week #6 – Billy
Meet Billy. Billy is a bear dressed up in a tiger suit, and thus has a bit of an identity crisis.
This is what he looks like from the front:
And the back:
Isn’t he adorable??? Just look at the two little puffballs hanging on a ribbon around his neck! Who’s a puddy wuddy plushie then???
The “tiger suit” doesn’t come off, but the head part can be slid back like a hoodie, freeing his unmistakenly bear-like features to the world. He looks like this when the hood is pulled back:
As bear as can be. But I think he’s cuter in tiger form, so I usually leave it on.
Billy hails from a store in Seoul, South Korea. I saw him on October 25 2015, and ended up purchasing him for my plushie army. I say that one of the criteria these days that a plushie has to fulfil to be added to my forever love stash is that it has to reach out to me from the shelf and catch me, and Billy definitely did — the design is extremely unique, and he’s cute and non-creepy on top of that.
I was with Steffy the day we met him in Korea, and I stared at him but actually bypassed him at first, for whatever reason. But then once we went back to our nearby hotel, I could still felt the pull from the memory of seeing him, and the regret from not getting him right then and there, so I decided I had to get him after all. I went out to get dinner for the two of us, and walked in the direction of the shop that I had seen Billy in. He was still there on his shelf, waiting for me with those angelic eyes, so I purchased him. This is what he looked like on the night of purchase, in our hotel room:
The purpose of my trip to South Korea at this time was also to undergo voice surgery as part of my MtF transition, and I definitely couldn’t ignore how this tiger-bear was sort of symbolic of that too — he was “born” a teddy bear but perhaps dressed up like a tiger because that’s his preferred identity. Very cute. I did not opt for the transspecies theme when developing his personality for the plushie family though, he just enjoys cosplay and that’s it. That being said, you can say that his name of Billy is part of that, as Billy can also be pronounced/changed to Billie, a far more feminine name. That is part of why I accepted the name, but the original reason he’s named Billy is simply because Discord friends named him that (1) (2).
Things I am thankful for this week
- Vaccinations in Alberta. Over 65% of people aged 12+ have gotten their first dose, and that’s much better than people were expecting since we’re a conservative province. Second doses are starting too, and there’s a social and economic incentive to get vaccinated now (70% means all restrictions are lifted), so hopefully stubborn people like my Dad go get their damned shots soon.
- Evening rain. This is an aesthetic — having an overcast sky come evening, a deep blue-purple sky with no sun in sight, and the smell of rain on the blowing wind that rustles wetly through the leaves even though the first drops of rain have not actually fallen yet… that is heaven! Evenings are the best, and beautiful sunsets amidst glorious scenery are wonderful, but a semi-quiet urban landscape with an overcast sky is mystically and devastatingly nostalgic too.
- Sophia University. Thank you for being flexible enough to accept me even though there were technically things you could have pointed to to say no. And thanks for being more flexible than my home University. Hopefully I can repay you by coming over next year.
- Eileen. Thank you for talking to me and for sending me the yearbooks. Hopefully they arrive! I’ll definitely repay your trust by scanning and uploading them for the class, that’s the least I can do. Your pets are beautiful and if I ever swing by California I’ll try to stop by to chat and catch up with you!
- Fried shallot. T&T Supermarket sells these locally, they’re almost always in these big round plastic jars with distinctive red caps, although they come in several brands, and they’re amazing. They’re a great topping in anything from steamed chicken to soup to rice to porridge to whatever else you might fancy throwing them onto. They’re fragrant and a bit oily (due to being pre-fried) so probably not the best for my health, but they go so well with everything!
And finally, here’s my weekly dream diary dump. I finished off a full month of remembered dreams for the first time ever. Resolving to make them part of these diary entries, while it probably bores everyone reading this out of their collective minds, probably has helped greatly with that too.
May 31 2021
- There was a huge mud and stone building with several levels that was basically an old prison that was now repurposed into a city or country that people lived in. There were still prison guards who enforced a conservative religious sort of law, a rebel group trying to overthrow them, and regular citizens just living their life. Dad and I lived here at some point but moved away, we were not on best of terms with the government.
- There were a set of former prison cells that were used for washing potted plants, but also as a sort of neutral meeting ground between clans. Dad and I returned here with some potted plants to wash because we wanted to find out info about the rebel group and possibly join them. We picked the cell on the far side, and closed the huge metal door but left it unlocked, and tried to listen through the walls into neighbouring cells.
- Because the door was unlocked, two other men walked in with plants at some point and perched by the side of the room to clean their plants. We didn’t really expect this and were caught out because I was concealed by the front door of the cell and Dad had gone out the door on the other side of the cell, which led to an underground river that flowed by all the cells. I tried to sneak around the side of the room away from them to that far side door, but was noticed about halfway through, and at that point Dad came in as well.
- The older of the two men summoned us over, then called the guards and made a show of telling his younger companion to leave with them and file some sort of report, and that he would deal with us personally. But once they were gone, he put one finger to his lips, dropped his facade, and introduced himself as one of the rebel leaders. He had heard that we were trying to join them and was pleased to meet us.
- A couple other people came into the room at this point, a man as well as a woman, and the woman was apparently the student council president of the local school and also another rebel leader. We started to discuss some sort of rebellion plan like only rebels could.
- The scene shifted to two guards patrolling the hallway at that point, and how they could hear some words from beyond all the doors, not just ours, but couldn’t really make them out. I knew this because I could see the subtitles, that basically went … … and so on. Some of the random words and ellipses made it sound like we were discussing something carnal. But at one point, one of the random words that could be heard at the end of a sentence was “rebellion”, and this made the guards suspicious. They didn’t do anything about it though.
- We ourselves knew the guards were suspicious and would eventually make a move to try to arrest the student council president. She didn’t mind that. But nothing happened for a few months, and in fact the guards/cops seemed to start to care less about enforcing their laws, allowing people to do what they pleased, which led to the more liberal students enjoying their newfound freedoms but also meant that they were probably secretly collecting evidence for an upcoming crackdown.
- In the meantime though, I became really good friends with the student council president, and she taught me a lot of her secrets in case she ever disappeared. A time skip basically happened here.
- One day, while walking down a flight of stairs in the car park of a shopping mall, we sensed a bunch of cops waiting for us on the other side of a white door at the foot of the stairs. She kicked the door open and told me to make a run for the car to deliver my secrets to another rebel leader, and I did so, pulling out my car keys as I did so.
- I contemplated unlocking the passenger side door instead of the driver side door so she could have a chance to escape as well, but I ran past the side of the car that would have let me unlock that door, then realized it wouldn’t have worked anyway because I would have had to take too long to either crawl through to the driver’s side on the left of the car, or run around the outside to unlock that, and the guards would have caught up by then. Also, at that point the guards had already caught the student council president and were holding her down but seemed uninterested in me.
- I drove off, but ran into a huge traffic jam going down one of the stairs. My car also didn’t handle stairs well, so I basically had to brace my legs against the floor and nudge the car down one step at a time. Either way though the huge traffic jam was largely at the foot of the stairs where the traffic merged into another road going left to right, so I was stuck there for a bit.
- While there, the woman in a car in front of me poked her head out and asked if anyone around played a popular plant-raising smartphone game and if they wanted to trade or buy potted plants. These were basically Instagram photos of plants that were randomly generated, but that also grew over time if taken care of, and could be either sold outright or duplicated for another player. There was a large market for them, and I said I wasn’t interested as I twirled my finger in spirals around a table surface outside the car window, but at least three women drivers in cars behind me poked their heads and smartphones out of their car windows in interest.
- The girl in front of me showed us some of the plants that she had. One was a plant in the shape of a 人 character that she had rescued from someone who didn’t play the game anymore but was willing to let her have a copy of it, so she basically managed to save it from extinction that way and was spreading copies of it around for the low price of $5.99 to ensure it didn’t become extinct again. She also had a super rare plant that had been randomly generated to look like its stem and leaves formed a face. She had bought that from someone else as well and was willing to sell copies of it to others for $79.99.
- Editor: I thought this dream was really interesting, though a bit sad that I lost a friend. I also note the double symbolism of the potted plant in two separate parts of the dream but have no good explanation for that unless it’s linked to that oregano plant that I received from Telus and then saw in the rental office front lobby last week. Also, I drove a car! That is incredibly rare — usually I’m on public transportation, or driving a motorbike, if I am travelling in my dreams.
Jun 01 2021
- Earth was under attack by UFOs and at one point I had even accidentally become a stowaway on board one of them but managed to escape.
- As part of the plan to fight them, we had to craft movies. Single-use recipe for crafting them could be bought on the Auction House, and then we had to combine the recipe with a list of crafting materials, as well as a short clip of the movie itself. The AH had filters for owned recipes, craftable ones, etc.
- People would occasionally come to some central location to complain about the content of some of the movies.
- I led a police raid that seized a large amount of those “short movie clips”, the third crafting component for those recipes, from some warehouse location. There was some sort of justification for people needing them and someone illegally hoarding them, and a question of how they could have so many clips from movies that were not even crafted yet.
- At another point I came as a guest to some event and ruined a plot that involved someone’s access to some memories.
- A lady whom I/we saved as part of that offered a bunch of sweets as a reward to us. The organizer of the event was originally going to eat those sweets as part of a ploy to destroy some evidence of a relationship he had had so he wouldn’t have to make some payment. The ploy might have had something to do with illegal games.
- At one point, possibly part of the same event above or separate, I was part of a team of five girls that went to a sweets shop for a celebration after successfully completing some task.
- At another point, I was in a toilet cubicle and saw what I thought was an old friend outside through the slit of the cubicle door, but it turned out to be someone else. I knew he had entered this same (co-ed) toilet some time before though, and I wondered how he was doing now.
Jun 02 2021
- I was trying to bring a large stack of cards to school to donate them. Each card represented ways that a different animal species was dying, to raise awareness for nature conservation efforts.
- At this stage in the world, the pandemic was either in its end stages or just over. I was walking to a train station to get to school by train. Some old man engaged me in small talk, and I replied to him, before he wandered off.
- When he left, a younger man and his kindergarten-aged son engaged me, the parent talking about the old man who had apparently tried to make small talk with him out of the blue too. He said the other man was probably just being social due to the pandemic having left him homebound for so long. I said I didn’t mind a bit of it sometimes.
- We barely missed a catching train at our station, and the next one was in 30 minutes. I could have walked to school but decided to stay to chat with the man and his kid. His kid seemed interested in me, but a little wary, as we all sat down around a small, round table outside a coffeeshop that was next to the train station. We all chatted for a little while.
- I needed to visit the washroom, and the coffeeshop didn’t have one. I noticed I still had 20-odd minutes left, and I remembered that the school I was headed to was on the top level of a shopping mall, which was large enough to basically span the next two or three train stations after my current one. The mall also had “sponsor toilets”, which were basically washrooms which various individual companies had donated money to build. They were also restricted to students who the company had sponsored to attend that University though, sort of like airport VIP lounges.
– I scratched my name and made a silly laugh and wondered who my sponsor was. The young man took my student ID card out of my purse and showed me where it stated that. I went oh.
- For whatever reason, I decided to leave my bag and the cards in the care of the parent, take my purse along with me, and run to the mall (which was probably my final destination with the cards anyway) to visit the sponsor toilet, hoping to make it back in time.
- Some classmates were wandering around in the shopping mall too since classes had not started yet. I didn’t or couldn’t interact with them though, and instead I headed for the sponsor toilets, after consulting a map on a wall in a food court. But it turned out the queue was too long, and I only had five minutes left at that point, so I instead ran for a stairwell that looked like it was identical to the residential stairwells from HUB Mall, used it to get to a station on the bottom floor, and started running back to the station the man and his kid were at.
- I passed by another station on the way with 4 minutes left, and noticed a train headed in that direction I was going, with passengers disembarking. I gestured at them to hold the train door so I could board, thinking that this would let me travel back to him faster. But then I noticed the train was a different colour, a light green train, and I learnt that it was a global express train and would have taken me out of Edmonton and right to Tokyo if I were to board it.
- So I continued running instead. I never did make it back to know whether I was successful or not, but I knew that if I were late, he and his kid would ask the conductor to hold up the train so that I could get back in time for boarding, which would be embarrassing for them, so I tried my best to make it back in time.
- Editor: Those cards were similar to Akashic Records cards from Soulworker, which have a person’s face and story on each of them, except mine had animals. This dream (and the previous two) were the three nights that I had after Sophia‘s acceptance and before UAlberta‘s rejection, and this was the closest that I got out of the three to seeing my subconscious react to that joyous event.
Jun 03 2021
- I was in a small cramped classroom with about 25 seats or so, 5 rows of 5 facing the front board, and it largely featured the boys from the Dunman High Sec 2 classes, as well as some unknown people. Jonathan, Justin, Eisen, Zixiang, Yaoxiang, and more. The class was an art class, but was taught by my grade 12 history teacher, Ms Usher.
- Each row of 5 was always a team for the day. I sat down in the middle of the back row and there were several combinations of teams that went by in the dream as the days changed.
- The classroom would occasionally become a bus as well and travel from stop to stop picking students up.
- At one point, Yaoxiang backed up a bunch of files from online and I helped him duplicate the backup as well so that we both had a copy and it was even safer. He thought it was a bunch of operating systems, but Ms Usher saw it and noticed that one of the folders was a bunch of Fortran programming language code. Yaoxiang then asked if it had the capability to handle IP addresses and thus create routing tables.
- Jonathan often sat beside me in the back row since he was really tall, but during the specific dream configuration that I remembered the most, he sat in the rightmost seat in the 3rd row instead, which caused a few problems for the couple people behind him. That day, Justin sat beside me on my right instead, with Yaoxiang two seats over to my left.
- Zixiang was often late for class but he could draw really well, and on the day before this class he submitted an art piece on behalf of Yaoxiang by putting his name down on a second art piece that he created. He wanted to give Yaoxiang some credit in the teacher’s eyes but Yaoxiang himself had already submitted his own art piece as well (Zixiang did not expect him to) so it just left the teacher confused.
- Ms Usher returned our pieces at any rate, Yaoxiang got back his original and I got back a completed two sided jigsaw with pieces of different thicknesses so it created a bumpy texture on both sides. I had presented this piece to the class the day before.
- After returning the pieces, Ms Usher took us on an excursion to the school gym. She led our specific team of 5 and we headed off first. I’m not sure who led the other four teams but they apparently would come at their own pace afterwards.
- The dusty gym had been recently renovated in such a way that I recognized the underlying basketball court floor markings and patterns on the wall but there were lots of boxes and other items lining the floor of the gym, and someone on my team was really excited at seeing some of these items. For example, there was an obelisk about 2/3 the height of the basketball net pole that was set up by one side of the room that he pointed out to me.
- Ms Usher led us to a back room on the far side of the gym that was as long as the width of the gym and basketball court but only about six feet or so wide. It had multiple whiteboards on both long walls and a bunch of tables and boxes packed in there as well.
- Ms Usher spent some time furiously searching the room as I watched another team enter the gym on the far side and start walking over to us. She said she was looking for a 10-pack of black markers because everyone knew that she burnt through them really quickly when she was writing excitedly due to how hard she’d press down on the board while using them, plus she never remembered or never bothered to retrieve the pen once she was done using it, and would leave it on the whiteboard’s marker tray for future users instead of putting it back in the pack she had pulled it from. I found a half-used pack of 8 or so and offered it to her, but she shook her head and wondered if she had left her 10-pack in the classroom instead.
- Editor: This was the first dream after I got the rejection, and… well, if there’s any proof that I wasn’t too beat up about it, it might be that my subconscious had absolutely no reaction to it, heh. Not just tonight, but in subsequent nights as well.
Jun 04 2021
- I was in a group of 3 in a top-down MMO with a square grid map. I and one of them turned on our yellow commander tags. That made the tags visible symbols on the map, and a large group of players ported in to our vicinity as we were fairly famous and this usually meant that we were about to tackle some quest.
- This quest was a trial that involved testing out some weapons that were the final result of some research or other, and also somehow involved some kind of fortune-telling as an action that the player had to take part in.
- It had to be done in the early morning and would give us some sort of reward, and the results of the trial were later given out by a renowned leader NPC that was also the brother to someone even more important than him.
- I saw banners that were marked as Temple of Leviathan Banners, which either were the sponsor of the tests or were the summoned enemies that we had to defeat. Test portals led into a palace courtyard of some sort, and we all entered into them and defeated the enemies within.
- After the results were given, we visited a rewards NPC who was dressed like a refined lady. She was one of the most popular NPCs in the game, and a lot of the players liked her because she was a short and cute girl, aloof and standoffish but also easily embarrassed and cute, and they liked the gap between her look and her personality. Either way, she offered a number of great weapons that we could test out and then choose as a reward for our characters.
- There was another reward as well where we could test out (ie temporarily act as) part of the role of the current prince or princess, who was also the child of the owner of the MMO that we were playing (and thus the king in game). He was a 4th generation leader and about to step down soon, and was holding this trial to try to find a heir or successor who would become the 5th generation leader of the game.
- Editor: The commander tags are a feature from Guild Wars 2 that Satinel and I are currently playing, though there aren’t any yellow ones as far as I know. The rewards NPC was definitely inspired by Victorique in Gosick, an anime that Nak, Satinel, and I are currently watching.
- In my dream, I woke up from another dream in my bed in the hall next to the balcony where it actually is IRL, as I heard some noise on the balcony. I saw a small form outside and grabbed a blanket and a peashooter or blowpipe before I realized that it was a little Black baby, one or two years old, standing on his own two feet, and wearing no clothes, tapping at the balcony door.
- Behind the baby, I saw either a black hand wearing a white ornament, or the head of some sort of a black snake, withdrawing from my balcony over the visible top of a ladder that was propped up against my balcony from below to give someone access to my suite even though it was on the 3rd floor. The ladder was soon withdrawn and removed by an unseen force as well.
- Taking stock of the situation and noticing that I had some sleep paralysis, I strained a bit and managed to get out enough of a yell to wake my two younger siblings who were next to me, and then my parents, who were asleep in another room.
- I opened the balcony door and carried the poor baby in. He still felt warm to the touch, so he obviously hadn’t been there long, but I asked him if he was alright and he just answered “Cold.” Closing the balcony door, I carried him over to where I had a folded and used blue bed liner, unfolded that and placed that on my bed, and then laid him down on that before covering him with a blanket.
- Now that he was safe, there was a time skip — I apparently had to go to school and back, and the next thing I remember was being pinned at the back of a cramped bus due to too many people on it, and surrounded by people from the other Secondary 2 class that were talking to each other — Antonia, Leong Wai, and someone else. I didn’t really know them too well and so I didn’t chip in to the convo. I did see Huihan two spots away on the other side of Leong Wai but she wasn’t looking my way so we didn’t chat.
- When I arrived back to my apartment, it was from the side of the house where my balcony was and where the ladder must have been placed. I pulled out my phone and took several landscape and portrait pictures of the outside. I then returned home to the suite and noted that I was all alone; my parents were out at work, siblings hadn’t arrived home yet, and the baby had presumably been brought somewhere else.
- After a bit, the door knocked, and I checked and noticed that I had actually left the front door ajar and the knock was a courtesy knock from a deliveryman delivering a small package. I took it from him and thanked him.
- Behind him were four people, three men and one woman, that were a mix of police inspectors and apartment rental staff. I let them in, and they began asking some questions about the baby and what I had seen.
- Before I answered their questions, I made them play a minigame. Off to one side was a weird outdoors area where I could find and collect cooking ingredients, and I asked them to help me pick some. The area was like a long strip of grass with two generic harvestable points on either end of it, although the southern one was concealed. One of the inspectors went to the northern one and was put at the end of a long line of faceless holograms that were also queued up, whereas I showed him and the others the existence and emptiness of the southern harvest point, and held up a dead chicken by the neck to show that it also could produce pretty much any ingredient I needed.
- Anyway, we then phased back to the house. I invited the inspectors into my main room. One of them commented on how I had so many boxes of stuff around, I said the unit had just recently been fumigated, and one of the other inspectors offered his condolences.
- I told them my story, including the time of day when this had happened (around 4:30 am). I noticed that my bed wasn’t here, and I checked the bedroom. Sure enough, my small twin bed mattress was there, as well as my parents queen or king mattress. Neither one had bedsheets, so I guessed that they were being washed after the baby was sent home. Either way, I described where the bed usually was and pointed out at the balcony.
- They fingered the person living in the unit as the probable culprit, as he was also a Black guy. He lived alone though and was also a professor of some kind at my University, so I had my doubts about it. But as long the baby was safe, that was probably good enough for a preliminary investigation and they could go talk to him separately to figure it all out.
- This involved a lot of train rides and four girls from my Secondary school days again. I was taking train up and down to various stations on a fictitious Edmonton line for some time (South Park was a station name, for example, though there may have been some Singapore stations names too), and they also were coincidentally getting up and down at the same stops at me. I would hang around the station for a bit and head back. It wasn’t clear who was following who at this point.
- At one station I found a discarded bolster that looked like mine, and a black trash bag beside it that looked interesting but in the end was just discarded toys and gloves that I didn’t care for, not plushies or anything.
- In the very last scene we were both long aware of each others’ tendencies, but I was headed home and in the front carriage of a train which required skills to be used to unlock the door. There was about five skills per carriage that one could use. They were too far behind me to get on and so settled for a carriage behind mine, and once the train passed the third last stop, they tried to guess which stop I would get off at. They decided to try to split into 2-2 and Antonia, who was going to the 2nd last stop, told Huihan, who was going to the last stop, that if that were the stop, then I would be getting off at one specific door and she could engage me by holding her cards out in a fan in her hands, and touching me with them as I stepped out, to declare a card battle.
- I stepped out at the 2nd last station though and apparently managed to escape just fine.
Jun 05 2021
- Today’s dream memories were very abstract, and I had trouble writing it down. Vaguely, there were three groups of people, each with our own point pools — I and another person were in a leadership or investigator type role, there was a second group of regular people, and a third group that were either nefarious in some way or somehow considered lower caste or lower tier or just more unfortunate. The other two groups were collecting points doing something or other, though there was a concept that they shouldn’t get points that exceeded a certain number. The other leader-type person and I had our points stored in a magical, floating star-shiney container that may have represented a game review, and we were giving out points, but not directly to the other groups.
Jun 06 2021
- I dreamt that the /r/chihayafuru Discord server was hosted in a physical lecture hall in a school, amidst other classrooms. Heather and Chris were in there and at one point the server went down due to being overloaded, and Heather asked Chris to see if he could figure out what was wrong and restart the server. Chris was busy or off-hours though, so he told Heather to call support instead. She didn’t want to at first but eventually did it.
- This did bring the server up, and they also created a new channel for people to broadcast loot messages in, as that was what had crashed the initial server, as the channel they were using had become too full with hundreds of spam messages from people opening hundreds of loot bags at once.
- Outside of those two, the school had several other people that I knew for sure — Eisen, Justin, and Jackson from my Sec 2 class, Jahandar and Satinel from online, and Kel as well. None of them played huge roles in my dream that I remember, although I remember staring right into Eisen‘s face from very close up at some point.
- The school in general was under some sort of conflict or revolution, there was a rebel faction of people trying to shut down the school. They succeeded twice, though it was reopened soon after both times.
- Just before the first time, my sister and I were each on some sort of moped-like vehicle travelling around the school trying to get to our class. The school itself was divided into three circular regions, a middle indoors “core”, a roofed but wall-less middle ring around the core, and then an unroofed and open outside ring surrounding it.
- We were travelling around the outside, but I tried to cut through part of the middle ring to save some time, with Kel following me, and found my way blocked by a short flight of stairs. This made me realize that the outer circle was actually sloped slightly to handle a change in elevation that was very visible with these stairs, it was just very broad and so difficult to notice outisde.
- We threaded our way back through some debris out to the outer circle, but on the way out, I noticed some flying pegasi that were basically the size of little faeries floating around, and puddles of water nearby on the floor. Kel warned me that this was a sign of danger, which we would later learn was planned by the other faction, and that the puddles of water would give us rashes if we went too close to them. We instead fled, and the school soon shut down to deal with this.
- The second time the shutdown happened, it was some sort of a power outage. I had no idea what caused it, but the rebel faction had also blockaded the road leading to the school. I had accidentally stumbled past the roadblock right into the middle of them, before realizing that the road in front of me was sealed off with police blockades and red digital walls that indicated it was close. The rebel faction turned and raised their guns at me but I yelled out for them to wait. I apologized and said I hadn’t realized it was closed, and then I would voluntarily leave, and they let me walk off without further incident.
- After the power got restored, we walked back to school for the second time along a ruined road. I was walking with some strangers and they were talking about what they were going to do tonight if the faction triggered an evac warning at night, since the school also usually served meals and gave us places to sleep. They felt that the night evac would be dangerous. I mentioned that I would probably just log onto an alt and sleep in that alt’s house instead.
- They were horrified and said that was against the rules! I wasn’t allowed to have alts and/or use them in that manner. I said those rules were outdated and replaced some time ago, and if that were actually the case then why did we all have 5 character slots per account?
- Either way I quietly resolved to sleep on the roof of my alt’s house with her character instead, although I then realized that that was a bad idea because I would be able to hear a lot more strange night sounds from there, as a catgirl with great night hearing, and would have to go down and investigate each one.
- Also around that time, the cord holding my multipurpose folder shut got tangled with the earphone cord of a Black girl that I was walking next to. I wished that Jah was here to fix the issue as neither of us could untangle it at first. Eventually she grasped hold of the cords and tugged on them hard, and that somehow separated the two without breaking either.
- Once back in class, but before any sort of classes had started, we saw a computer in the class flashing a warning that the danger level of the school zone, which was reset to 0% when the power came back on, had risen to 15%. We groaned at this as it looked like the faction was again up to their old tricks. I noticed that the danger level rose due to a car robbery, but the timestamp of the security video showed that this had taken place two evenings ago on Sunday, but had been saved up and was only reported now, likely so they could combine it with other incidents and fabricate a third lockout due to a perceived “danger spike”.