My Diary #009

What a great week. Do I even have anything bad to say about this week in any category? Summer starts this weekend (Jun 20, on Father’s Day) so happy Summer to everyone, especially my poor friends burning up for their collective sins down in the States (depending on who you listen to, anyway).

Entry #009 (Jun 20 2021)

Table of Contents

Merrily skip along to…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #8
ට  Things I am thankful for this week
ට  Dreams

School

Not much happened in this category this week. I didn’t get back an appeal result from the department chair yet, and I felt it was too soon to bug him anyway (even though he said he’d try to let me know within a week.) I know the appeal I sent in is kind of long and I don’t know if the appeal process involves him contacting the instructor as well, so I’ll probably give him another week before I inquire. I actually think that the longer it goes/I wait, the more likely for my grade appeal to be a success, so I don’t mind going another week.

Three cool things letters arrives from the University of Alberta international front this week though.

#1: From the scholarship coordinator:
As I understand it, you will be covered by the Rod and Judith Fraser Award for the duration of your exchange starting from Spring 2022 and a deferral would be accepted. I will check with my supervisor on this though. I do not believe you will need to re-apply, but just want to make sure.

I had actually expected that I would lose the $4000 scholarship and have to reapply, so this is actually pretty great news. It’s not confirmed, but I’m happy to see this anyway as that’s a lot of money (i.e., more than the maximum grant from the default Education Abroad scholarship, as I pointed out in an earlier blog post.) And it’s one less thing on my plate to have to coordinate for the next round of my application.

#2: From the international students volunteer:

Hello volunteers

I hope you have found great ways to be involved, from whatever corner of the world we all scattered to.

I am sorry we have not had many opportunities as of late, however that is about to change.

Please complete this short (3 min) form asking if you are still with the UofA, and if you are interested in continuing with your volunteer work.

It also asks about your interest in an upcoming volunteer role with Campus Check In.

You don’t have to have any experience or training to take on this role, all will be welcome.  There are digital and in person roles being planned for, and the form will ask where your comfort is.

I did complete the survey (link redacted) and there are in-person and online roles available. I indicated interest in in-person roles. I do like volunteering with things that I am interested in, and I am definitely interested in helping out international students. I previously helped out as a greeter in move-in day two years ago, with the Summer Connect thing last year, and I signed up and trained to be a Senior Peer too but that never materialized because COVID-19 arrived from overseas instead. I wonder if that’s a sign from the gods that I shouldn’t do something as intensive as the Senior Peer program. The one-on-one thing I had in Summer Connect was the best, though.

Either way, this year is going to be a bit weird because I’m potentially just going to be here for half the year, not a full one. I don’t know how that will affect volunteering opportunities. I’ll definitely try to make time around work though. Even outside of it being something that I want to do, it will contribute to my Certificate of International Learning, which will probably come in use if I actually seek out a diplomat-type job in the future, as mentioned in last week’s blog entry.

#3: From the study abroad coordinator:

You’re receiving this message because you’ve applied for an exchange in the equivalent to UAlberta’s Winter 2022 term at a school in either Germany or Japan and you are NOT a student in the Faculty of Education or the Alberta School of Business.

I’m emailing to let you know that the “host acceptance letter” you will need to receive once you complete the exchange school’s part of your exchange application *might* arrive late, after the add / drop and fee payment deadlines in January 2022 for UAlberta Winter term courses.

The Office of the Registrar and your home, UAlberta faculty have agreed to let students in this situation:
i) enroll and start to take courses at UAlberta during the Winter term,
ii) pay all relevant tuition and non-instructional fees to UAlberta by the end of January deadline and then
iii) drop out of their UAlberta courses past the add/drop and/or payment deadline without academic or financial penalties once an admission decision from the Japanese or German university has been received.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or require more information.

I didn’t realize this acceptance letter would come THAT late. As I understand it, registration for Sophia’s spring semester opens in September so I thought perhaps I’d know by November or December. This was actually kind of important because if I intended to take that January course in Sophia, I’d rather only commit to it if I knew that I was accepted for the Spring/Fall semesters as well. It looks like I might not have that option after all. Or maybe it varies per university since I know that some Japan universities have wildly different semester dates too.

Then again, surely now that I’ve been accepted once, I would likely be accepted again even though we had to defer it, correct..? So I guess I’m not too worried about it? That being said, if the January course in Sophia doesn’t run, and I stay until March or April instead, then this is actually a really useful thing to have in my pocket! it also shows how over and above UAI is on helping us potential international students. Great stuff.

Work

I don’t have that much to say about work, but I was really in the zone this week and it was a pleasant feeling. A ton of tickets were done, a ton of people were (or seemed to be) pleased, and that gave me a nice positive feedback loop as well. It’s still a lot of busywork that is not essential, and some of the work only exists because people never listened to my suggestions in the first place until incidents happen, but because I don’t intend to stay here long-term, I care less about that these days anyway.

Case in point, a thing blew up recently when a former employee from 10 years ago requested access to their offboarded account to retrieve something. When an employee leaves the University, their account is supposed to get swapped and replaced with a blank one (for a year or so, for tax purposes) while the old account gets locked away for a year before being deleted. That’s the current process. But prior to two years ago or so, the being deleted after a year thing didn’t exist, so old accounts just sat there in the pool of secondary (non-personal) accounts, mixed in with project accounts, test accounts, student group accounts, and a whole load of other odd accounts.

We’d wanted to clean the mess up for ages, something like since 2014 at least, but my boss has never gotten approval to do it despite pushing for it to be a priority several times, and attempts to at least categorize them (there are over 1700) have always fallen short due to lack of time since we could only use spare time for it. Well now this request comes in, and the Office of the Chief Info Security Officer decided to balk at it and refuse the person’s request, and demanded that we clean the existing pool up so that in the future we can just say they don’t exist anyway. Of course this work falls to us.

Worse, they want to categorize all the “former employee” accounts, make a generic announcement about deleting them, and then delete them after a month or so. They do need to be deleted, but our largest worry is that those hundreds of former employee accounts still own files in Google Drive that other people are using or need to refer to from time to time, and my boss again put forth my suggestion that they rename all the accounts’ first and last names to something like “TO BE DELETED” so that people had a chance of noticing in Google Drive what files were going to be deleted, and could then proceed with transferring ownership of those files. But as I understand it, the Office of the CISO (or possibly the infrastructure team) shot that down, saying that most people will have transferred stuff over already and that the announcement will already make people check their own backyards for any remaining files, and that we’d deal with any leftover problems as they emerge.

What clowns. They themselves are not part of the “we” that will be dealing with the mess from that. They’ll just go “oops”, wash their hands, and move on to the next thing, like they did this week when they nuked a large number of old Google course groups from previous years in the middle of a semester and deleted stuff that an instructor were using in the middle of the Summer semester, leaving us to deal with the backlash.

Whatever though, I’m detached enough from the place that I was more amused by it than anything. I’ve tried to fix things and they don’t listen to me because I’m just an analyst, and both the Infrastructure Applications team (and their arrogant team leader) and the Office of the CISO (the people there are super nice but the leader is misguided and out of touch) are big reasons why I want to leave this sinking ship that is the University, so at this point I’m popcorning and watching the ship sail toward the latest iceberg with interest and readying my “I told you so” flag. -Our- team’s stuff has long been cleaned up because I’m in charge of our team archives, and figured out a lot of the existing nuances myself.

Life

I went to the stylist to get my hair cut short on Monday, because long hair is too hot in summer, it was getting really messy, and washing/combing it always causes lots of hair to fall out as I’ve told my hair roots are weak, so I always worry that keeping long hair will eventually cause me to have bald spots or something even as a girl. Plus they contribute to headaches once they get too “heavy”. Anyway I didn’t only get it cut short, I also had it coloured black (dark brown) to hide the white strands of my hair, so that injected me with a lot of confidence and gave me a lingering nice feeling. What wasn’t so nice was the price, as it cost just over $200 CAD for that (and that’s about what it usually costs for me), but now was the right time to go because if I am leaving in January to go overseas, I can do it one more time just before I leave and that will be that. if it’s March/April instead, I could maybe do one in October and one in February. Either way, 4-6 months between visits works if I went this month, so bite the bullet I did. The above shoulder-length cut curves and hugs my head a bit too closely compared to the hanging straight cut that I had envisioned, and the strands of hair irritate my neck a bit, but it isn’t much of a concern. It’s probably better anyway and will grow out.

Right now whenever I look in the mirror I am reminded of Ayane Sakura with shorter hair and without the frontal bangs, and that’s not a bad thing since I like her. (There’s better Ayane pictures of short hair that are closer to what I have, but I can’t find a good one that shows the sides/back curves too.)

My rental office called to inquire about my lack of lease renewal, as it’s up at the end of July. I had planned to go month-to-month because the office only offered year-long leases last time I asked (I tried to negotiate a half-year lease last year and failed — they said I should sign for a full year and put an ad to find someone to take over the rest of the lease if I had to leave early). But this person who called, who might or might not have been from the central office, said she’d speak to her boss after hearing my story that I was likely going to be leaving to go overseas in January or so, and called back the next day offering a 5 month lease that I had wanted. So I’ll be signing this next week, as there’s no point in finding a new place to live if I’m only going to be here for 5 more months, and signing the lease saves me $100-$150 a month. That’s at least two and a half haircuts!

This week, Alberta announced a vaccine lottery that’s fairly generous with 3 “shots” to win… well, I say generous, compared to other states/provinces, but really no one I know is going to win it anyway since the odds are so low. Still, there’s a bunch of other minor prizes too, and the point of it is because our premier wants to open for the summer and wants to hold the Calgary Stampede down south to draw out his rural Conservative support. I think he is a corrupt idiot in general and completely on the payroll of Big Business, and definitely the kind of Conservative that gives the party/supporters a bad name, but this move is still a good one to get people to finally get their shots, Dad for example had held out for this long due to waiting for “financial incentives” and “vaccine safety concerns” but is finally getting his too due to this, and i’m sure it gave a good kick to many other people around the province as well. This is a good thing.

I also do support the province reopening, and it was announced this week that because we’ve hit 70% first dose uptake, we’ll be reopening on Canada Day (Jul 1st) with all provincial-wide mandatory restrictions lifted (though local places can still choose to mandate masks and social distancing). I believe both Edmonton and Calgary will have some brand of restriction still until the second dose uptake is higher, much to his chagrin, and even though post-secondary restrictions will be lifted, most of the Universities are also still imposing restrictions and only gradually reopening in time for September. I do like this phased approach but I also like that he’s pushing for the reopening in general though, even if it might be slightly premature.

In terms of my workplace, they’re still deciding too. I don’t have much to lose, so in the anonymous survey I said that I would resign rather than come back to work full-time in a room without windows that I have to share with others. All our work can be done from home and I am FAR more productive working from home (and have plenty of extra time to devote to taking care of other life things too). Our boss agrees as well that that’s the case for our entire team. That being said, it’s ironic because classes will be largely returning to in-person in the fall, and if I’m taking any classes, I’d probably opt for in-person classes over online ones too if I had the option for both. And so if I’m working at the same time.. well, I’d probably need some physical office space between classes to crash and work at, hey.

In related news, Canada’s extending the travel ban till at least July 21st, and I can get behind that as well, especially since the Americans are busy spreading the more contagious Delta variant. Still, if the borders do open before Fall, or if I’m not taking significant classes in Fall, I might decide to travel down to the States for a couple weeks’ worth of vacation before the end of the year and me shipping myself off to Japan. There’s also Rinuruc’s wedding in late October that I could target for a trip date instead. His pre-invitation arrived this week, along with a Steam Controller that I had forgotten that I had purchased for super cheap and sent to him (USA-only shipping) for safekeeping some time ago.

Locally, assuming that Alberta stays on course to open by July 1st, and I do get my shot more than two weeks before then, I am strongly considering going down to Calgary for 1 day for the Calgary Stampede (Jul 09-Jul 18) too. I’ve only been there once with the family a couple years after we first arrived here, and I disliked it then, but I also disliked Edmonton’s Klondike Days/Heritage Days when we visited at that time, and I no longer disliked it when I went ~15 years later (two years ago). So I’m curious to go down and see if I can chronicle and possibly enjoy this event as well, as I might never have the chance to do so again from a logistics/moving point of view. Similarly, I’m sort of tempted to either go to Banff or Jasper again. Sort of. The mountains were amazing and inspiring and I can probably even work remotely from there just fine.

This is a nice segue into the next topic, my own 2nd dose of the vaccine. The initial date that I was even eligible to book a date for my second shot was June 28th, but it was moved up 10 days due to I guess a surplus of vaccine (or a lack of people to take said vaccine). So I queued on the evening of June 18th in an online line of more than 100k people, and booked a date on July 5th, 10:20 am. There seemed to be a lot more people aware of and doing the date swap trick this time around too, so there was a separate line for modifying your appointment, but eventually I was able to swap this for a July 4th, 11:50 am date. The next day, I had gotten back in line and managed to snag June 24th, 6:10 pm, but this was in the evening, which would have meant anime groupwatch and AMQ cancellation on that day. This was sub-optimal. So I went in yet again, and got a June 23rd, 2:50 pm date. Now, I’m signing my lease extension on June 22nd, so I’m not sure I want an earlier date than the June 23rd one anyway, so that’s the one I’ll probably stick with in the end (that being said, I’m still in line again anyway as I type this just to see if I can snag an earlier one because it’s gamification at this point.)  I am impressed overall though that the system can handle over 100k+ people at once without missing a beat or even really lagging at all.

And apparently my sister, who is stuck in Japan teaching, has still been unable and ineligible to get her first shot due to Japan’s government and rollout being an absolute joke. It’s not like she’s in the suburbs somewhere either, she’s pretty much in Tokyo. She mentioned something about needing a voucher to arrive even after she becomes eligible before she can go get the shot. Seriously, they’re asking for trouble down there once the more contagious variants roll in.

Outside of all this vaccine stuff, I said last week that I probably wasn’t going to renew my Amazon Prime yearly subscription because I would only be here for half the year and my student discount was ending. Well, there was a place to submit “proof of class registration” to renew your student account, and I submitted my Winter 2021 course registration on a lark even though that semester was already over (and I wasn’t taking Spring/Summer courses). They accepted it! Since that was half the price of a regular sub anyway, I opted to continue it since it will be useful for my parents even after I go to Japan, and even if no one uses it after I leave, the half price ($39.99) discount will be worth it for the half a year I will be here as I will probably have to purchase quite a few things to get ready for the trip, on top of all the other benefits.

I would also like to tell a story of an adventure I had this week. I was out on a walk enjoying the bright and gorgeous end-of-spring Edmonton day when I decided to wander over toward a small strip mall I had never been to before to get lunch. It was a 25 minute wait, so after ordering, I decided to take a walk around outside. I noticed an old man walking around in the direction that I was headed, so I decided to follow him, and was surprised when he turned right off of the road and went toward what I had assumed was a boring dead end. So I detoured (original) along with him. To my surprise, there was an Italian grocery shop tucked away in the corner there. I had time to kill, so even though I am not interested in Italian cuisine in general, I figured there was no harm in walking around a bit. Long story short, lots of cheese, pasta, and wine.

Near the end of the trip however, something really caught my eye. UFO secret sauce! Okay, it was a bit expensive, but the name was catchy and interesting, so on a whim I purchased it (something I would never have done if I were leaving in September instead of December/January, so I have my trip postponement to thank for this too). How bad could it be right? The packaging case (1, 2, 3) and tube (1, 2) claimed it was vegan and healthy and all too, so I wasn’t really expecting much from it nonetheless, but it was actually amazing! I’m not sure how to describe it, but it felt fairly close to something like tartar or mayonnaise, except lighter and sweeter, and allegedly a lot healthier too, even though the taste made me worry that it was fattening or unhealthy, that’s how good it was. I put some good globs of it in with various meat, noodle, and rice dishes and it’s gone pretty great with everything so far. If this is how the UFOs are going to take over planet Earth, I’m perfectly okay with it!

With Summer just around the corner, the Spring 2021 season in anime is about to end, and I’ll probably list the ones I liked and didn’t like next week or the week after even though I no longer have a dedicated weekly anime sub-section. There were definitely some goooood shows in my picks this season, and many more bad ones than usual as well (spoiler, every single rom-com was awful) in my book.

Finally, this is more of a declaration of intent than anything I did this week, but I really have to get going on my spring-cleaning now that the weather is so great. There’s plenty of stuff I need to clear out before winter because I hate throwing things out in winter and letting my things freeze in the dumpster bin. I also continued scanning my Secondary 2 (1998) yearbook this week, and got to about 120 pages in out of the 160-170 pages. This should be completed by next week, and then I am going to try to finish scanning the family albums first before working on the other yearbooks.

Games

Satinel and I played a bit more of Aardwolf, before she decided she hated the game and MUDs in general due to their propensity for confusing zones, zones that made no coherent storyline sense, and zones that involved “guess the keyword” games, so we drifted on to other things instead. I really liked the game but found some faults with it that I was not fond of too, particularly their death respawn system if you were not in a clan. Still, I had discovered my love for mapping zones again and will probably go back at some point to at least finish mapping the main city. (Online maps exist though but lack the level of detail I like) It was rather disappointing that we won’t be playing more MUDs but I guess at some point I was coming into them from a wealth of experience and nostalgia and unfairly imposing them onto her.

We then ended up at a game called stein.world, which is apparently both on browser as well as Steam. The game story and gameplay itself are nothing to write home about, and arguably even boring, but I’ve wanted to find a top-down world that ther two of us could explore for quite some time and this one seemed to scratch the itch at least a little bit. We’ve had relative fun working through the first few quest hubs in the game, while trying to figure out the mechanics and the quirks in the game. The occasional lag is annoying though.

I have a theory that most games have a unique quirk or mechanic implementation in the game that you’re hard-pressed to find anywhere else, and Satinel found one fairly early on — because weapons are not equipped, but rather items that you put on the hotbar and used in order to make an attack, and because weapons generally have a 1.5s or so personal cooldown and a 0.5-0.75s (varies by weapon) global cooldown, you could actually output double the damage against mobs by putting two weapons in your hotbar side by side and rapidly swapping and swinging them. It doesn’t seem to be a well-known trick as far as we could tell either, but she was impressed with herself for finding that and I was proud of her and highlighting it here for the world to see.

The character generation was kind of simplisitic too, but we made themed characters to play together — or at least borrowed their names. A surprising number of player names were taken for how unpopular the game seemed to be. The other thing that was really unique about the game was that it has an online spectator system that randomly swaps to a new player every minute. Although it also sometimes breaks and just sits on one player/screen for unknown reasons. Anyway, that was really cool as online spectator systems are really rare, the only other one that immediately came to mind was Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, where you have the option of playing online, and anyone clicking into a server has the option of spectating you.

Anyway, while the game seems bland at first glance, it’s been a lot of fun playing together as the mechanics more or less support group play much better than Aardwolf does, and if we continue playing this, there’s a curio collection system thing that I’m really looking forward to. The spectator system made it clear that there’s plenty of new blood every day but not that many players at higher levels though, so it doesn’t seem like it has a high retention rate among players who try it. It also is really tempting me to return to some top-down games with sprawling open worlds that I had bought in the past and really want to play eventually. Games like the ones Spiderweb Software makes, though there are others too.

On a personal front, I’ve mostly been slowly working through ANOTHER EDEN on the phone again. I’m done through 4 chapters of the main story now, and there’s time travel and apparently eventually time-travelling cats, so that’s cool. There’s a cat following my party around as well but none of my party members seems to notice or comment on it for some reason. The mechanics are really simplistic (there are lots of random encounters and you basically auto attack every round where possible to save mana) and the writing is extremely subpar (I mean, look at this chat log — these two panels are connected and this person has “just a scratch” and then dies from fatal injuries five lines later in the same conversation with no one having moved an inch…) but the controls are easy, the graphics are fine, and it’s still a step above your average gacha game, so I’ll probably play through at least the main story before dropping it.

Steam also seems to be having an event called “Next Fest: A Celebration of Upcoming Games” with a bunch of playable demos for, well, upcoming games. I initially wanted to download a few and try them out as well but decided that this wasn’t my sort of thing after all, so I passed on this event.. at least for this week!

Plushie of the Week #8 – Egg!

Egg! was ordered on Feb 17 2017 and arrived at my house on Mar 03 2017, so she shares a birthday.with Mom, I guess! This was a picture of Egg! when she first arrived:

See how big she is compared to Tigey. Here are some more recent closeups of her and her tag:

She’s a bit lumpy, but that’s okay. She’s in better state than the website on her tag, that no longer exists.

The story behind Egg! is that Trinstar, a good online friend from my Lotro days and someone who’s in my main Discord now, used to work for a company called Nix Hydra, and one of the games they made was Egg!, a sequel to another game they had called Egg Baby. Egg! the plushie was a character in Egg! the game, and Nix Hydra’s online store at the time sold this huge plushie for $22.

The game wasn’t very interesting to me, and from what I could tell from Trin’s accounts, the company management at the time was fairly terrible (but they have since been replaced, so don’t hold it against the current iteration of Nix Hydra). But either way, at the time, I picked the plushie up to support them and her and because, external issues aside, the plushie was cute. Look at those eyes! Trin’s since moved on to make other games too, and she made the Signs of the Sojourner game on Steam that I also briefly talked about back on the Plushie of the Week #1 – Tigey writeup, and according to her she also has an Egg! plushie in the proverbial closet somewhere. There are apparently “a few hundred” of these plushies in the world, but this one is mine.

The other interesting footnote about this plushie is that I took it to Japanese class as a prop in our end-of-semester Japanese group skit for Japanese 102. I needed to hand out a carnival prize to one of the characters in the skit, and Egg! played that role perfectly. This was in August 2019, and that Japanese class only had 7 students (plus 2 TAs and 1 teacher) because it was a really odd summer semester class, although it was a fun class! Our end of semester class photo was on the same day as the skit, so Egg! got to be in it. See, here’s Egg! and friends.

Things I am thankful for this week
  1. Dad. Mom got her nod (and vaccine) around Mother’s Day, so Dad gets his nod (and vaccine) around Father’s Day. My most prevalent memory of Dad these days isn’t really a happy one because he used to be a really smart person, but became brainwashed by Fox News since coming to North America and then growing older. I haven’t talked to him about politics since before Trump came to power to know if he’s changed, but he’s the last person I’d have thought to have fallen prey to their nonsense, since, y’know, disagreeing with conservative politics was the damn reason I was ripped away from my Singapore life and friends to move over to Canada in the first place! I do have many good memories of him though, like how he used to bring me back home from school every day on a motorcycle at one point, and that’s a pretty strong memory I do cherish. There should be plenty more memories that will surface in my Shrine of Memories section once I finish that. Thanks for raising us children. And as mentioned, Dad finally signed up for his vaccine shots this week. So, while this might unintentionally be a bit of a backhanded compliment, I am also thankful that he finally is getting them, since I and everyone else in the family have one less worry on our plates. He’s the oldest in the family unit and the most susceptible to adverse effects from the virus, and thus was a big cause of worry for everyone else.
  2. My rental housing company, Midwest Property Management. I have some issues with them, but really the staff here locally at the rental office have always been pretty fabulous and caring, any maintenance issues I have had have always been fixed really quickly, and I really appreciated the person that called me this week to give me my five month lease as that also removes another worry off of my plate.
  3. Haircuts. I used to hate them as a guy, especially since my lingering memory of them in Singapore is that my parents loved to ask the barbershop to cut it abnormally short, and it was always distressing and weird to me even though I didn’t know then what being transgendered meant. I had a couple fights with my parents about wanting to keep my hair in the early 20s too and that was actually one of the reasons I moved out (because they said something along the lines of as long as you’re staying here, you’ll cut it the way we want you to cut it). But as a girl I’ve been to the salon a few times and I love the experience. It takes a rather long time, and it is horribly expensive (I don’t love that part!), but the great euphoric feeling I get from the cut, as well as the confidence boost I get for a couple months afterwards as I know the white/silver strands of my hair are all dyed away, are very much worth it. Probably.
  4. My life experiences and my broadened world view. I had a moment of appreciation that I reflected upon while walking around the community earlier this week. Even though a lot of what I would call crappy things have happened in my life, a lot of good things have happened too. And even more importantly, a lot of other crappier things that have happened to other people have NOT happened in my life. In addition, all the things that have happened, like moving abroad in the middle of my schooling away from my best friends, the transgendered thing and a couple bouts with depression, the nostalgia and pining for things that have gone by, and so on — they’ve all eventually come together to serve me with a far broader world view and hunger to do things than I would ever have if I had led a “normal” life back home. I still feel that I can do something satisfying with my life, and that I am fairly close to figuring out what this great thing is. This blog might be it, or might be part of it (and i’ll probably save thanking the blog for another week because I don’t know how I’m going to come up with 5 things each week otherwise), but I won’t know for sure either way until I complete it.
  5. Wind. I’ve done spring weather in Edmonton (week 2), evening rain (week 7), and i want to gush all about the weather here again, but I know that at some point I’m just reprising old things that I’ve already been thankful for. But seriously, the weather here in Edmonton is *excellent* from April/May until October, and I just spent several minutes before writing this in complete serenity, staring at the deep cerulean evening (10pm) sky outside, and listening to the wind gently swishing through the trees across the courtyard outside, feeling a breeze wafting past my balcony door and caressing across my face.. is this heaven? It smells so nice. It rained four days this week too, including earlier today (Saturday), and that blend of wind that comes just before the rain and that carries the scent of rain with it is simply amazing. As is the “wet sound” of the rain rushing through the trees before or after a rain shower. I literally have songs on my music playlist where my mental image/connotation of the song is me walking along with joy in my heart as strong gusts of wind blow my hair around. The wind gives me hope and encouragement for chasing my dreams, the same way it chases little fallen leaves around in circles. And chase them we shall!
Dreams

My dream memory this week was actually kind of weak. I think without a journal at all I definitely would have drew a blank for a couple of the days. I’m not sure why, I guess the ability to remember my dreams comes and goes.

I had an exchange dream this week as well (amidst a usual barrage of regular school dreams), but again, no reaction from my subconscious about the trip being delayed.

Jun 14 2021
  • I met Matt in a large school canteen and we briefly talked about something at work that he was in charge of organizing and editing with a secondary login account. He asked me if I thought that something should be done a certain way, and I said it was up to him, but if he wanted that change then I would be happy to help bring it up in our next meeting with Ronnie. I told him I wouldn’t edit it though, he said why, and I said it was because I knew all edits needed to be done through that secondary login that he had. He went oh, right.
  • Matt and I also talked about the effect of COVID-19 on the school. He said he hoped that the school would shut down so that we could study from home, and he could use that as an excuse to buy video software for his computer. I told him that my high school in Canada, McNally, had shut down near the end of my grade 12 year due to the pandemic, as less than 20% of students had showed up for school. I showed him statistics on how many students were registered in the school at the time (it was around 836, according to my dream). He asked what happened to the rest of the school year, and I said that there were only 4 weeks left of school before finals at that point so we just completed it from home.
  • That school canteen was packed with students and I walked around in a few times prior to meeting Matt. Of note, I remember a table on the southern end where an Indian girl had a large tray of bread products that she was trying to sell to passing students for 35 cents per loaf. She sold some for sure, but the next time I walked by the table, she was gone and her boyfriend was finishing up the leftovers from the tray that didn’t sell.
  • Snippet: At one earlier point in the dream, I and someone else were kiting slow shambling monsters around a small square room as we tried to figure out how to defeat them properly. There were over two dozen of the monsters but as long as we kept moving in a large circle they barely couldn’t reach us. This was part of some larger ongoing game or quest.
  • Editor: The bread tray was probably from Occult Academy, an anime my main anime groupwatch group was watching at the time of the dream. We did lose a few weeks at the end of our high school grade 12 year, but it was due to a teacher’s strike. And apparently my high school’s enrollment now is 1050 or so, so the dream numbers probably weren’t too far off for 20 years ago.
Jun 15 2021
  • School canteen again, but a completely different one this time. Something about me and some others being part of some sort of student leader group that was going around distributing something to the various student groups. The one group that the dream was focused on had a person in a box running backwards in large circles, and by doing that, they were able to maintain a 201/200 count in some metric or other that had to do with the gift or their eligibility to receive it.
Jun 16 2021
  • I saw Mom and Dad’s car roll up to the carpark of the HDB flat we were living in, as well as Ronnie’s car arriving separately a little bit after. I went down to the carpark to meet Mom and Dad and help Dad carry a large rolled up mat of some sort back home. There were many other people randomly walking about their daily lives.
  • We entered an elevator and I tried to hold the door open to wait for Ronnie as I knew he was coming eventually as well, but whatever he was doing was taking too long, and my parents had no idea who he was, so a couple other people came in instead and the elevator door closed as it was at its safe social distancing capacity of 5.
  • The elevator was a horizontal elevator instead of a vertical one, and took us in a wide, circular, clockwise arc around the carpark. There was a vague sense of danger on this trip, and about 2/3 through its trip, alarm bells sounded because the elevator sensors detected that one of us had just randomly acquired a contagious fluke disease. A scan started on all five of us, and I put my arms around Mom and Dad and guided them to a corner of the fairly large, rectangular elevator away from the other two.
  • It was indeed one of the other two that unluckily acquired the disease, which was revealed to be “8/10 Salmonella”. The other person in the elevator isolated herself from the unlucky person as well. Once the elevator reached the destination, that victim went to see a doctor for medical treatment.
  • I formed a group with Mom and Dad and the fourth person, as the plot had turned into a sort of deliver quest by then. We all had horse pieces, two columns of 3 horses or so each leashed together like chariot horses, and everyone else put their horses on follow on me. Navigation was done by an overhead map, and I took a southern road that swung by a cliff and one of the horse pieces fell off the edge. I apologized for being careless and picked up the horse piece from below the cliff, while the owner of the horse, which was the random fourth person from the elevator, apologized for leaving her horses in such a loose formation instead of keeping them tight with the group.
  • There were enemies to fight along the way as well, two groups of fierce hellhounds or something that were near the edge of the road. In order to make the roads a little safer, I purposely went slightly off the road in order to bump into them and start a battle, which we won thoroughly. We then reached some sort of central city on the map, where we finished our deliver quest.
  • NPCs along the way also had mini quests that they were offering, as well as envelopes beside them that had old, expired quests in them. I looked in a couple envelopes and they had quests from 2013-2014 that we could no longer do.
  • Somewhere along the way, we had also picked up a side quest to deliver something to Hobbiton, which was to the west of the town that we were in, for 90 gold. But our next actual deliver quest took us east instead, so I decided with my group to skip that side quest.
  • Through the journey, but especially around this town, we saw many other adventuring parties of 3-5 people. And at some point around the town, there was a snippet where I was watching over the entrance of a semi-darkened room, cooled by air-conditioning, where my parents and siblings were all sleeping in.
  • Later on, I was in a group of 5, possibly different from the earlier group but definitely on the same map/game. We were defending a castle from its parapets in a game. We did this by assigning tiles that were being automatically and steadily drawn from a bag at random. There were 100 pieces in all, and they came in different shapes — there were at least some tiles that were shaped like 1×1 squares, 2×1 vertical pieces, and 2×2 squares.
  • The 2×1 and 2×2 ones were units. The 1×1 ones were resources, though there may have been some units in there too. There were some tiles that could be assigned as units for defence, and others with unknown effects. The resource tiles needed to be spent to actually summon the unit tiles from the board into play, and once used, the resource tiles would go back into the bag to be drawn again. The unit tiles had timers after they were drawn before they could be played, and timers after they were played before they expired and had to go back into the bag as well.
  • Anyway, there was a moving army marching onto the tower, and the others took up roles of deciding which units to play or where to assign the units. I sat with my back against the parapet, facing away from the incoming army, and sorted the tiles as they appeared, grouping them by type and size and timer.
  • Editor: Horizontal elevators are, for some reason, also a somewhat rare recurring motif in my dreams, considering they don’t exist in real life and are not inspired by anything that I know of. Hobbiton is a town in Lord of the Rings (Online). The way the tiles were drawn from the bag reminded me in-dream of Speed Scrabble, which is a game involving anagrams that my secondary school class used to play.
Jun 17 2021
  • Snippet: My work team was going through tickets that had tasks like “Draw a straight line!” and other odd tasks like that, though with some sort of computer-related excuse behind them.
  • Snippet: I was hunting for 12 key-like things that were scattered across a zone that some of my friends were in. I found nine of them and when I asked Johannes to check his inventory, he had two more.
  • Snippet: I visited a school to look at my secondary school friends. I saw some of them (Eugene, for one) socializing around the school canteen, and knowing they were OK was enough to give me peace. Most of them didn’t recognize me, though a couple seemed to recognize me from a distance when I was taking a crowded train to leave the area.
  • Snippet: Two people stowed away on the back of someone else’s van in order to get away from some location to somewhere else. They were eventually caught by the police.
  • Snippet: I visited Mom and Dad and Jon, and sat in their TV room as Mom took and played some TV discs from a huge shelf on the wall that surrounded the TV on all sides. I told her I’d like to burn and upload everything on the shelf for backup, discs and books and all. She said that was fine but pointed out three old travel guidebooks about travelling across Europe that they had bought 30+ years ago, and said not to upload those due to copyrights, they were so rare that it wasn’t on the internet at all. I said that it was thus even more important that I back it up but that I would agree not to upload them until my parents passed away or no longer cared about the copyright.
  • Editor: The 12 keys probably referenced a zone in Aardwolf, the MUD that Satinel and I had played the night before. We had to do 12 zodiac subzones within a larger zone and it involved finding many keys and unlocking many doors.
Jun 18 2021
  • Something about building zones in a somewhat futuristic town populated by humans and robots.
  • There were other people building zones as well, and at least one of them was a maid girl. At some point I presented one of my ideas to a group of girls that were standing at attention in a line.
  • At another point, I was on a motorcycle travelling beside (and possibly racing) another person on a motorcycle. But right at the start of the race or right after we crossed a traffic junction, I dropped a device that I needed for buffs of some sort. The other person on the motorcycle had one too, and the device gave an AOE buff, so I could in theory stick next to him and still complete the journey/race, but after hesitating for a few seconds I decided to abandon that race/journey and instead stopped my bike, and backpedalled through oncoming traffic until I reached where the device was on the ground to pick it up again.
  • I did a lot more travelling on the motorcycle in this part of the dream as well.
  • Snippet: A bouquet of flowers was important to the story at some point too, but I don’t remember how or why.
Jun 19 2021
  • A chunk of the dream revolved around comparing and judging people’s songs. There was a device that looked like a weighing scale, which was divided by a cross into four equal segments. The two left segments were videos of adult renditions of the selected song, whereas the two right segments were still photo slideshows of children renditions of the selected song. The people holding the device could then judge which rendition of the song they liked the most.
  • Somehow, there was also the concept that the scores for the two left adult segments were shown in a clear screen and were unchangeable, whereas the scores for the two right children segments were shown in a translucent screen and were changeable, as though the children could edit their entries over time as they grew or something (except on a much faster time scale).
  • Snippets: There were bus, motorcycle, and airplane scenes, a scene involving an airport, as well as one involving renting an AirBNB home. There was also a volcano in the city that never actually played a direct role in the dream but did cast a red sky across some of the scenes.
Jun 20 2021
  • I was attending a class that was a mix of Japanese students studying English and English students studying Japanese. Kind of like double exchange students meeting in the middle in a combined class. Students were seated on chairs around long white tables, with each table representing a group.
  • The girl on my left was a Japanese girl who had been at University for 15 years. Apparently this was a normal length for Japanese students. I cringed a bit when I Found that out since that was longer than I had spent all the way from Grade 1-12 and through University thus far. The person on my right was a guy that spoke English, but I did not actually know him.
  • The current class was a Japanese one and the teacher was asking us questions. I was able to answer the vocabulary questions that the teacher asked the class, so I was proud of that. The boy beside me was asked to stand up and go write something on the chalkboard/whiteboard at the front of the class. After that, the teacher told us to do a piece of group work and we all pulled out worksheets that we had prepared, and started reading them to the rest of our group.
  • Later on, the scene shifted to a student who nearly always skipped class. He was a handsome, young guy with short hair, dressed in a school uniform but with the top button undone. We saw him by a picnic table outside his rural house that was set on a grassy plain with no other houses nearby.
  • The dream went through several iterations of him and his excuses he used to skip class. They usually involved his girlfriend who would come by every morning to pick him up. But either due to nervousness or due to wanting (and failing) to impress his girlfriend, he usually ended up doing some sort of stunt that made him unable to go to school.
  • Examples of stunts included at least two occasions where he tried to eat chalk, one time gnashing the chalk vertically between his teeth while he reached for a cup of hot water, and another time popping the chalk right into his mouth before grabbing the water. Both times, not only did he get sick from the chalk, but the water splashed all over his face and down the front of his shirt too, ruining his uniform. Another time, he instead spread the chalk dust all over his right shoulder, and then grabbed a pitcher of water and poured it over the shoulder, thoroughly ruining the uniform as well. Yet another time, there was no chalk involved, just water, but he again ended up wet. Every day.
  • Eventually, there was so much water on the ground that it formed a tiny flowing brook that flowed from the north of the scene down to the south. He dropped the styrofoam cup of his latest attempt at playing hooky into the brook and watched as it started to drift south very slowly.
  • A swimmer then came splashing down the brook, even though it was so shallow that he could barely submerge his face in the water if he tried, and he was more kind of crawling on the ground like a worm than actually swimming. The swimmer reached the cup, then elongated himself into a narrow and thin form and tried to swim through the cup, which itself also elongated. The end of the cup broke, but the sides of the cup held firm, allowing him to swim through it, before he continued his way downstream.
  • It turns out that he was an adventurer and TV host that was always looking for new ways to traverse the connecting rivers in the country, and would try to swim rare routes from point A to point B. This truant had inadvertently created a tiny new river by his daily actions and the adventurer said on his next TV segment that it was now a shortcut between two hills that saved him a large round trip, so he really liked this new river even though it was difficult to traverse, and he hoped that it would continue to grow in size.

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