What an odd week! We had, and I’m quoting Environment Canada here, “a prolonged, dangerous, and historic heat wave” that swept through and pretty much burnt my entire week. I’ll talk plenty about it in the Life section, but the entire week was basically devoted to trying to stay cool, with little energy to spare for anything else. There’s no school section, for example, and there barely was anything to talk about for work as well, because everything took a back seat to the heat.
Oh, and Happy Canada Day (July 01) and US Independence Day (July 04) to those whom it may concern as well!
Entry #011 (Jul 04 2021)
Canada Day fell on Thursday this year, and as it is a statutory holiday, it chopped up the week into odd chunks, with three days (Monday-Wednesday) on, one day off, and then one more day on before the weekend. Plenty of people at work took either the full or partial week off, although I did not. Though who am I kidding, I barely realized that a stat holiday was coming up until the middle of the previous week, I’m that oblivious sometimes. Approved holiday spots were long since snapped up by teammates by then.
This was fine by me though, as nothing of any importance moved at all at work. It was a very light week at work and in fact I ended up really appreciating that, as the peak heat period of each day was around the 1pm to 9pm mark or so of each day, and not having a ton of work meant that I could get everything done in the morning and then safely melt into a pile of primordial goo by the afternoon.
Just as some cities down in USA are not prepared for the snow and cold at all, Edmonton up north is not prepared for heat waves at all. Most of us have no problem taking shelter when it’s -38C outside, but +38C is kind of a huge problem because very few houses here actually have air-conditioning or the like. The house my family owned before I moved out did not, nor does my apartment, nor even any of the apartments my parents have stayed in. It just isn’t really a common thing here.
Even then, when it gets really hot here, people who own a house will retreat to the nice and cool basement, and I remember doing that back at our old house as well. I do remember a couple days where it got really hot, and we moved mattresses down to a spare room on the 0.5th floor of the family house to sleep there overnight. (By 0.5th floor, I meant a floor level that was halfway between the main level/1st floor, and the basement/0th floor, kind of sunken into the ground with the eye level windows inside the room pointing out to the ground level of the yard outside. This is also not a thing in Singapore, of all the houses I ever visited, but it apparently is here.)
Anyway, here I was, stuck on the 2nd or 3rd floor of my apartment building for this heat wave, with no basement for obvious reasons, nor air conditioning unit to keep cool at all. I do have a ceiling fan, and a portable heater unit (for the winter) that had a fan function as well, but in the oppressive heat neither of those actually functioned very well. They helped a tiny bit, but I found myself wishing I had a portable desk fan. The apartment also is very well insulated, which works wonders in the winter when it’s -30C outside and +25C inside, but not so good in this historic heat wave, when temperatures outside crested 35 degrees for great swathes of the day.
My apartment also more or less lacks curtains — the windows and the balcony door did not come with any, and we were told that we were allowed to have curtains but NOT allowed to drill holes to put the curtains up. So while my bedroom window has mini curtains on a little horizontal pole wedged between the left and right vertical sides of the window frame, the balcony door in the main hall, where my computer (and bed, because who puts the bed in the bedroom?) was, had nothing of the sort and no real way to block the light and heat coming in. Thankfully, my balcony door faces northeast, so there wasn’t direct sunlight during the hottest periods of the day. There was still glare off of the apartment block across the way though, and plenty of indirect sunlight, so my house basically became a cooking oven.
The high on Monday was about 31 degrees Celsius or so, but it reached 37-38 degrees on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, before dipping to a high of 32 on Friday, accompanied by a merciful splash of rain. The hottest Besides the Wednesday night Google temperature graph in the opening paragraph of this blog post, here’s a Tuesday night and Thursday night one as well. From those, you can see that the temperature peaks start around 1pm or so and last until 9pm before they start dropping to bearable levels. According to the thermostat, my apartment usually hovers around the 25 to 29 degree mark through the day and night — toasty, just the way I like it, although the area that my bed is in, near the balcony door, is usually a cooler zone, This is especially true if I leave the balcony door open at night, which I do for nearly every night from spring through fall.
But during this heat wave, even though I closed the balcony door during the day to keep the oppressive heat out, I still watched with horror (and interest) as the thermostat reading crept up past 30, to 33, and then to 35 degrees during the afternoon on all three days. I was basically living in a toaster oven, with no real way to lower the temperature or circulate the air as both the outer door and my one outer window led to an even hotter outside world, and my front door led to an internal corridor which wasn’t any cooler (and I noticed a vent of some sort pouring hot air into the passageway not far from my front door). I stoppered up the gap under the front door with some carpets, and turned on both fans that I had for all three afternoons, but neither fan was particularly strong, and they just kinda gently swirled hot air around the place.
Now, all that sounds terrible on paper, but in reality I was never in any danger nor even much discomfort through the week, except for some discomfort from the copious amounts of sweat, as though I was in a sauna for many hours straight. Maybe it was the Singapore blood in me, but I don’t hate the heat, and knew that if I could keep cool I would be just fine. I leveraged the fact that I live alone to do things that I would normally never do to keep warm, for example shedding most of my clothes for nearly the full 72 hours, keeping moist towels on hand in a bowl of cold water next to the (really weak) portable fan that was pointed right at me, and cycling between ice cream and cold juice and water as I felt I needed them. And most crucially, taking a 1-2 minute cool shower every time I visited the bathroom, so that I basically had about 6-8 showers a day, spaced about 2 hours apart each, to really keep my body temperature down and the sweat off. And then I would come out and feel the heat palpably emanating from my metal computer chair and wooden table, which was such an odd feeling.
It was far too hot to have any sort of motivation to work on anything major besides watch some anime or play some games, but all things considered, it was still a really interesting experience, sort of like I was alone and trying to survive the apocalypse. For example, I noticed the first night that even though the temperature would drop to bearable levels during the night, my bed would still be so hot as to practically be radiating heat, so much so I had to lay a disposable pad on top of the bed and sleep on top of that instead. So by the second and third day, I had converted my towel rack into a barricade of sorts, between the balcony door and my bed/the computer, with a bunch of towels and cushions stacked on top of it and my blanket draped over everything to form a partial barricade against the sunlight. This helped a lot. It was a really unique experience, and one that I hope remains unique. It also made the rain, when it finally came on Friday night to sow relief through the land, make the world look entrancingly beautiful. I loved the heck out of those washed pavements and the juxtaposition between the lit street lamps and the sun that hadn’t fully set yet, at 10:21 pm on July 02nd.
So yes, that was practically my entire week, and although this diary entry probably seems boring to any outside readers, the week itself was unforgettable for me and went by extremely slowly. This slow feeling is, in general, a good thing, as long as it doesn’t crawl by due to something bad happening. This is because, relatively speaking, it means my life lasts longer. When every day feels the same, and boring days turn into boring weeks and then months and years in the blink of an eye, that to me is when I consider someone to be wasting their life away.
(Jul 05 edit: There are obviously spies afoot because the very next day after posting this, Pocket gave me this article which basically says the same thing. It even talks about the benefits of keeping a journal and expanding the narrative memory that way, in addition to actively noticing new things, which is something I try to do since I think the world is beautiful and personal little adventures are hidden away waiting to be found. And things like switching up your routine and exploring your neighbourhood. Yeah, that’s me! It’s all about living in the present, as one of the comments said, and seeking out new experiences.)
Tangential to all this heat discussion, and linked to the article above, I am still on track to go down to Calgary next weekend, although I have yet to actually book my bus ride down. I mentioned last week that my free ticket was on Friday, and I was very amused when I looked at Calgary’s weather for next week. Edmonton’s weather looks like that too, rain projected for every single day except Friday, but although the actual weather forecast can obviously change, this did make me feel like there was a sign from the heavens that it was okay to make my way down for the Calgary Stampede.
I have Friday next week off from work, and I might take Thursday off as well depending on what time I actually take a bus down, since I ideally have to be at the event by 10am. I don’t plan to spend the entire day there though, as there can’t be more than 2-4 hours worth of interesting things to see since I’m not paying nor staying for the concert or rodeo, so I also will have to decide what I am going to do with the rest of my time there, and how many nights I end up staying down south. I could leave as early as Thursday afternoon, and be back Friday night or Saturday morning, or even stay through Saturday and come back on Sunday morning instead. It’s all a matter of how many other things besides the Stampede I want to visit while I am there, and how many things are actually open.
(Jul 05 edit: I do have all my timetables booked and plans sorted now, and I’ll be down there from the evening of Thursday July 08 to the evening of Friday July 09, and will shuttle home before the day is over so that I don’t have to spend a second night in Calgary, as hotel fees are expensive.)
I do think most things are open at this point though, since as promised, Alberta lifted (local) most of its COVID-19 public health restrictions on July 1st (although the joke is that no one went anywhere anyway since it was too hot). The shuttle bus down will still require a mask, which is understandable, but our province’s active cases are so low that I don’t foresee there being much risk even at the event. Either way, I am looking forward to taking this mini “vacation” down there, even though Calgary is only a couple hours away from Edmonton and I’m not staying there for long. I also hope to have a page up on it in lieu of the usual weekly blog entry, though we’ll see how that actually turns out in the end.
I mentioned two weeks ago that the current Spring 2021 anime season was coming to an end, and I wanted a place to dump my quick and dirty list of likes and dislikes from the season, so I can look back on it in the future. I know Satinel totally wants to read these, so here are the seasonal shows I watched (minus the 3-5 minute shorts), ranked from most liked to most disliked:
01. Super Cub (10/10): I loved the girls and their Honda motorcycles. A very subdued and chill show that showcased the girls learning about their motorcycles and exploring places around town. There was lots of focus on real life noises, which is kind of unique in anime and was a treat for my one good ear, and there was lots of piano music and very little talking done by the characters compared to most other shows. Lots of time for pensive thinking and the appreciation of liminal spaces. I appreciated that the characters were realistic, like the introverted MC barely ever smiled or said thanks to people she wasn’t close with, and that was just the way she was, they didn’t try to force the characters into tropes. It also hit many nostalgia spots for me, as I used to ride to/from school on Dad’s Honda (it wasn’t a cub though).
02. Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu (10/10): Vibes of Akagami no Shirayuki-hime with less drama. The main girl was awesome and resonated strongly with me, being smart and capable and graceful (but still easily embarrassed). She was also basically a healer, which I could relate to as I usually play a healer character in games. There was no “evil villain” here, which helped my enjoyment as well as I don’t like antagonists there for the sake of drama. If I ever get isekai’d, I’d like to reincarnate as her. it was a somewhat generic fantasy world, but I like that, and watching the MC and her shenanigans was a treat every weak.
03. Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (10/10): An original show that talks about AIs and human emotions and has great music. It was a complete story featuring multiple small arcs that tied together using time travelling and time skips, and lots of heart-wrenching feelings. I probably shed a few tears three times and the ending song still gets me.
04. Slime Taoshite 300-nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level Max ni Nattemashita (10/10): Drown in a sea of adorable magic fantasy characters. Lots of little cute noises and background gags (and again, no evil villain to speak of) that really enhanced the relaxing nature of the show. It’s a CGDCT (Cute Girls Doing Cute Things) show, so it basically is a playful female harem all infatuated with the overpowered female main character. Satinel really liked this fun show too, and we used a couple of the character pairings for the show as characters in other games.
05. Odd Taxi (10/10): An engaging mystery with really solid writing. It felt like watching many individual plot threads being weaved together into a tapestry, while not being too obtuse like Gekidol last season (though I enjoyed that one too). It’s a complete story, with a gorgeous scene in the final episode that gave me chills and was the best choreographed scene in the season by far for me.
06. Zombieland Saga: Revenge (10/10): S2 of this zombie idol show was even better than S1, containing lots of hilarious interactions and background gags as the reanimated zombie girls continued to hide their zombie status from their fans and save Saga Prefecture with music while their awesome producer yelled at them at the top of his lungs. A couple of the middle episodes missed the mark for me, but by and large it was excellent.
07. Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou. (10/10): One of two “age gap romcoms” this season, this one was less a romcom (barely any, actually) and more a coming of age story in the end. It was also a complete adaptation with a proper ending. While a certain suspension of disbelief is needed to watch the show, the story was pretty good and the characters were engaging, and the main male character never became creepy, so the show managed to steer clear of the many rocks that would have ruined its enjoyment for me.
08. Yakunara Mug Cup mo (10/10): A half-length anime (15 min episodes) about four girls in a pottery club, doing pottery-related things. I found this show to be really engaging and relaxing, despite not caring one bit about pottery itself. There was also a 10 minute live action segment after each show where the four Voice Actresses went around the actual city depicted in the show and did actual pottery stuff, met the actual pottery club from the actual school, etc, and that was really cool to watch too! Season 2 was greenlit and I’m happy about that.
09. Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu Ω (10/10): Season 2 of an ecchi power fantasy sort of show about a demon lord in a fantasy world. Not a show I’d recommend to anyone else, and I wish it didn’t have some of the ecchi bits as it would be an even better show without it, but I do like the cast of characters and story very much and they carried the show for me. It felt like the entire season was basically dedicated to an arc that left out several of the characters from Season 1, though.
10. Mashiro no Oto (10/10): This show got a 10/10 through the music lens, as I looooove shamisen music and that was what the show was about. One of the early performances even made my eyes misty. I found the actual story kind of weak though, with the main character being a depressed, spineless little idiot (similar to what I hated about Sangatsu no Lion). And while his supporting crew of friends were fine, the other characters around him all acted like they were part of a grand conspiracy, so the writing felt really pretentious and rang hollow to me. Still, I only need to find one lens to enjoy a show enough to give it a 10/10, and the music did it for me here.
11. Shadows House (10/10): I hope this one gets a sequel, as I expect that subsequent seasons will be even more enjoyable to watch. This show was shrouded in mystery as well, with bits of worldbuilding dropped in every now and then that presented more questions than they actually answered. Children vs adults in a mysterious manor house definitely brings up memories of the tainted Yakusoku no Neverland series now, but this one feels more like a slow burn with plenty of slice of life and Power of Friendship moments thrown in as well. A really enjoyable show, though this one had strong villains that weighed down on my desire to watch it every week and thus push it down in my rankings too.
12. Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka? (10/10): This show got a 10/10 purely on the strength of the spider segment and Aoi Yuuki’s epic VA’ing. It started in Winter 2021 and was 24 episodes long, so it finished this season. The show flipped back and forth between two different segments, the “spider” part featuring the MC, and the “everyone else” part. The first part was great, as she discovered things like “character levels” and “skills” and “evolutions” and it was basically like watching her evolve in a cultivation manhua genre sort of way. The second part, well.. it felt like I was tricked into watching a second mediocre anime that was twisted in to the main one, kind of like in a 2-for-1 package deal where you can’t just buy the 1 you want. You know the directing is a hot mess when they spend 3 episodes on characters standing in one spot in the middle of a battle yelling at each other, and then end the season without actually resolving the fight.
13. Bishounen Tanteidan (10/10): I seem to like detective shows, and I like Studio Shaft’s art and camera styles and rambling monologues, so I liked this one enough that it scraped in at a 10/10 with its beautiful aesthetics despite a bit of a highbrow plot and many, many side detours. Like most other super detective shows, there were a lot of what the community graciously calls asspulls, cases that are solved based on offscreen clues that we don’t see rather than analysis of clues that are mixed in with the visible evidence presented at the start of the case, but I do enjoy these shows through a lens of “tell me your absurd story” rather than a lens of “let me try to figure it all out”, so this show ended up being lots of fun.
Misc. Mairimashita! Iruma-kun 2nd Season and Fumetsu no Anata e (both ongoing): I don’t know where to put Iruma-kun S2 and Fumetsu no Anata e since they’re both 2-cour shows and are only half done, so they can sit here between the 10/10s and everything else. Both are on pace for weak 10/10s or strong 9/10s, but Iruma-kun is more enjoyable for me thus far, while Fumetsu no Anata e is more melodramatic. The former is full of humour and is hilarious when it is funny, but sometimes the jokes fall flat and it delivers a really boring or pointless episode instead. It’s been better this season than the last one overall though. The latter tries to do Slice of Life mixed with tragedy and some sort of epic-length shounen-style tale, and it’s an interesting mix, but I’m not sure it’s really sticking emotionally nor making me invested enough in the characters. But it’s pleasant to watch and there have been a couple of really touching moments, usually in the aftermath of the tragedies. Each mini-arc feels predictable though once you’ve gone through one or two of them.
14. Tensura Nikki: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken (8/10): I gave S1 an 8, and S2 Part 1 a 10, but this slice of life side story was lucky to escape with an 8 when all was said and done. The first 3-4 episodes were extremely boring, even to me as a huge Slice of Life fan, and I struggled to finish them (and in fact found myself nodding off basically every episode). Old, stale jokes were constantly reused and it jumped around between characters in a really awkward manner so it was headed for a forgettable 5/10. It suddenly got better around episode 5 though, and delivered several solid episodes in a row before slipping ever so slightly near the end, and I’m not even really sure what the difference was (Milim, probably).
15. Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san (7/10): This obnoxious romcom also pretty much escaped with a high score and will be happy about it, since it was headed for a 4/10 halfway through the season. The show was extremely one-sided and I hated the side characters (and still do), but at some point there was some sort of development between the two main characters and I warmed up to them in a way that I wasn’t expecting to, so the show at least delivered on that regard.
16. Kyuukyoku Shinka shita Full Dive RPG ga Genjitsu yori mo Kusoge Dattara (6/10): I like isekai and Virtual-Reality-world shows, but this one kind of fell flat to me. I don’t like when the main character is pigeonholed into being a snivelling wretch with no meaningful character development, I don’t like how too many characters were mocking him and he never got a chance to redeem himself, I don’t like when shows use bodily functions like peeing in one’s pants as a major plot point, I don’t like the show’s pacing and the non-ending, and I couldn’t overlook some very obvious world-building inconsistencies that the show never explained. I did like the side characters in the MC’s party that all basically wanted to murder him though, those girls were awesome.
17. Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy (6/10) – Great cast of VAs that I love, and a romcom premise that sounds like I would like (I usually support the childhood friend), but the characters were extremely flat and one-dimensional. They did subvert the title by making *all* the female interests be childhood friends of the male MC in some capacity, which I found hilarious, but the show felt like it was trying to become an Oregairu Lite with the way that the characters talked and actioned way above their age range, except there were far too many characters, and the goals too vague, and so most of the banter ended up feeling very insincere and vapid instead. The drama club setting and backstory felt like it could have been interesting, but the writing let the show down.
18. Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood (6/10) – Ugh. I watched it for the setting (I love historical Japan) and the RAISE A SUILEN theme songs (but they didn’t do their usual double vocalist thing, disappointingly). The show was far too meandering and tangled, the supernatural bits felt contrived rather than a part of world-building, and side characters had far too many godly powers that rendered anything the MC or her friends tried to do useless. It felt like the MC was basically wandering in a daze through the 12 episodes just like the viewer was even though she had some sort of not-well-defined powers herself, and even the overarching plotline of the show in the end wasn’t really resolved by her at all. Still loved the aesthetics, and the two main characters, but the show felt cobbled together from a hodgepodge of spare parts.
19. Dragon, Ie wo Kau. (5/10): I don’t know why I started watching this. I guess I thought it would be a cute Slice of Life? I could have dropped it after the first episode as I knew it was going to be bad, but I stuck with it to the end, and it was equally bad all the way through. Boring and pointless and the punchlines never landed. A large dragon being puny and weak just ended up being really cringy, although I liked the side characters that followed him around quite a bit.
20. Sayonara Watashi no Cramer (4/10) – I ranted long and hard about this show, as it was one of my top anticipated shows going into the season. Women’s soccer in Japan was supposed to be its showcase, but the message I felt it ended up sending was one that said that women’s soccer would never be successful so why bother trying? It was more interested in dropping references to male footballers in Europe throughout the show instead, as though that gave it legitimacy somehow, with around two dozen of those.. and basically no references to actual female footballers. I really liked the main crew of girls that they concentrated on, but large amounts of screen time were given to pointless flashbacks and histories of characters from opposing teams that no one cares about in a one season show with such limited runtime, to the point that most of the people on the main girls’ team were still complete mysteries by the time the show was over. I didn’t even know more than 6 of their names out of 15-20 or so. Worse, for a show that’s supposed to showcase the beauty of women’s soccer and encourage girls to play the sport, they barely actually animated any soccer at all, even in the matches that they played, instead relying on flashbacks, stills, focus lines and close-ups of faces, cuts to the team benches, and monologues from players, all to avoid spending budget money on actually animating any part of a soccer game. And the writing was utter trash as well. The main girls team did not score a SINGLE goal on screen in a match against an opponent, and the prolific goalscorer who destroyed them in the final match was drawn with googly eyes in a comic relief sort of way and said to be a girl that liked mahou shoujo and anime in a way that made her an outcast, and that’s why she ended up taking up the sport. So the message they sent were that good female soccer players were social outcasts and meant to be made fun of! In a show that purpotedly supports women’s soccer! It was an absolute dumpster fire and made me very angry. The prequel movie was really good, though.
21. Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui (4/10): This was the other “age gap romcom” I watched, and it was really irritating most of the way through for me. I don’t mind the age gap theme on principle (I don’t mind most controversial topics in fiction if justified well), but this one proceeded to set up many reasons that it should not work out, including a pairing for both the younger girl and the older man that made more sense and actually had emotional weight to them, and even had a couple other characters themselves morally questioning the age gap itself in the show, and then proceeded to have the main characters stomp all over it anyway and declare that it would probably work out just fine in the end without providing any good answers other than “BuT LoVe”. I didn’t mind the girl being leaned into and harassed by the guy at first, as I found that really cute, but the story seemed to double down and lean into the creep factor after a bit and it felt like she was accepting him more along a Stockholm Syndrome response than actual love. The justifications for the relationship were never laid out strong enough for me, and so the pairing failed and felt forced, and thus the whole show based around that premise crumbled under that weak link.
Remind me never to watch so many long shows again in a single season. I can usually filter out the bad shows early on much quicker than this, and I would probably have dropped some after the first episode if I actually had classes or something else going on, but I still invested too much time into seasonals this Spring 2021 anime season.
A big part of why I watch shows is for the music though, and here are some of my favourite opening, ending, and insert songs of the season:
Best OP: Isekai Maou OP1 – EVERYBODY! EVERYBODY!, with honourable mentions to Yakunara Mug Cup mo OP1 – Tobira o Aketara, Slime Taoshite 300-nen OP1 – Gudafuwa Everyday, and Vivy OP2 – A Tender Moon Tempo.
Best Insert: Vivy’s Ep 13 insert – Fluorite Eye’s Song, with heavy spoilers in the long clip.
The Steam sale continues! This week, amidst the heat wave, I played a lof more Bloons TD 6 with Satinel and occasionally Thrandor. Many dastardly balloons were popped in the name of public safety. Really, I don’t know why those bloons think they just drift along in life like that without any repercussions. They’re so full of themselves.
On a personal note, I picked up four games out of the depths of my wishlist that reflected my current personal desires. They are:
DYSMANTLE – Basically a scavenging-ish game where you can break down lots of objects in the world to turn them into crafting materials to help you scavenge more and defend against angry zombies. It’s not particularly deep, but I like the gameplay loop, and I like that there’s a limit as to how much you can carry but no limit as to how much you can hold at your campfire (it all goes into a bottomless box with a very satisfying animation), and your box teleports with you from campfire to campfire as well as you explore and map the world.
Slipways – It claims to be a “3X” game, an attempt to boil down the 4X genre (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) of strategy games into one that doesn’t involve any actual extermination, just a big map of planets that you have to colonize (with a click of a button) and connect with routes to form optimal trade and supply routes. It’s great, although I’m not convinced about the variety it claims to have even with different technologies and tasks and quirks available each game. However, I love optimizing things and doing operations management stuff in general, so this game appealed to me.
9th Dawn III – I’ve mentioned wanting a top-down RPG to play in the recent past, and although I own a few others, I’ve been eyeing 9th Dawn for a bit and almost picked it up during the Winter sale but didn’t due to other choices beating it out. I picked it up now though. I like how the game seems to have a ton to do, and I like the crafting system where skills are represented by a value from 1-100 that increase over time as you use them, and I love in-game card minigames. There are some negatives as well though — for example, the AI in the card game is really dumb, and both the AI and spells seem to get caught on corners a lot in combat too. I don’t like the “paper doll” model of the main character that tilts over to one side as you run around either, as I think that’s ugly, and the game is missing a bunch of really obvious UI fixes like the Escape key closing some windows but not others. Still, the game is intriguing and I overall do like it, with the negatives adding up to a janky, rustic sort of feel so far rather than anything that seriously impacts my enjoyment of the game.
Wayward – Another top-down game, this one tile-based, and apparently featuring co-op as well. But it’s a fairly brutal survival simulation to start off, and I’ve restarted a couple times but not really gotten very far in it by myself. I get a bit further each time though, and have sort of learned how to create fire, at least. With optional permadeath, optional real time mode, and a really intriguing “balance of nature” statistic, this promises to be a really interesting game if I ever have the time to sit down and sink my teeth into it, possibly after watching a few videos. It also represents skills using a 1-100 scale and increases them on use, much like 9th Dawn does.
There are a couple other intriguing games out there, but I’m not sure if I’ll pick up any more this sale. I’ll probably do one last sweep through my wishlist and down rabbit holes and see if anything else catches my eye at some point in the next few days before the sale ends. However, one other game that’s jumped up my to-play list over the last couple days has been Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead, a free post-apocalyptic roguelike that I’ve partially gotten into in the past, before being distracted by other things. It’s received a rare new update recently though, and also has heavy scavenging mechanics that appeal to me, especially since you can do things like turn off all the zombies and enemies and play it purely as a scavenging simulation, and do things like build vehicles into death machines or mobile bases that can transport lots of things. Or just quietly live off the land away from civilization indefinitely.
On the mobile end of things, it’s really been too hot to do much. I have been poking around with a game called Orna that is based around building a kingdom and fighting random monsters (that come to you) on a map based upon the world around you, and you can walk around and visit neighbouring players and look for boss monsters and such too. There’s actually a fairly big abandoned kingdom right next to me from a former player who doesn’t seem to be active, and it is just close enough that my generated kingdom space doesn’t actually overlap my block due to the way that lining circles up next to each other leaves space between them, but that’s fine as it gives me plausible deniability if anyone that plays the game ever somehow tries to look for me anyway. There’s also a dungeon next to me where the shopping mall is, and that’s.. that’s apt.
Anyway, it’s mildly interesting, but turned out to be a bit samey past level 75 or so where I just found a combo that nearly always works just fine. The game is extremely unbalanced, with tons of skills and spells and items that seem to be just there to be traps that no one in their right mind ever uses, because they in no way compare to other things that are very easily gained. It also, for some reason, makes my phone battery very hot, far hotter than anything else I’ve ran on the phone, so I’ve been worried that this is damaging the lifespan of the phone. I did find it funny though when I went down to Calgary with my Summer Connect Buddy last year, I was playing Pokémon GO, which is basically the same sort of GPS-based game. And this time it’s Orna, unless I find something else in a hurry. And yet, at no other point in my life have I ever touched or had an urge to play a GPS-based game, nor travel down to Calgary. Make of that correlation what you will.
Plushie of the Week #10 – El Paca
Meet El Paca! Although maybe this plushie (of indeterminate gender) needs a better name now that Odd Taxi has finished airing.
As mentioned last week, this is the other plushie picked up when I was in Minnesota for Summer Games Done Quick, though this one predates the dragon by a few days. El Paca was picked up when I visited the Mall of America on July 05 2017 (birthday tomorrow!) for $31.12 (after tax) from a shop called Alpaca Connection which was selling (allegedly) genuine alpaca fur products on the top floor of the mall. They also claim to be eco-friendly and humane and that the alpacas were not harmed (merely shaved) to create the products. The alpaca plushies came in many different combinations of white and brown, and you can see several on the shop website above, but I liked this one as the brown was more or less uniform and added to the plushie’s cuteness factor, instead of being splashed or streaked across the body.
El Paca is very, very, VERY fluffy.. touching the fur is like touching a wispy cloud even after all these years, although El Paca has a solid interior beyond the fur that feels like a wadded up plastic tube in the shape of an alpaca. Here’s some pics of this beauty:
El Paca is a little too tall for Tigey to ride around as a steed comfortably:
But works perfectly well as a chair!
Things I am thankful for this week
Virtually everything this week has to do with the heat in some capacity. Heck, I’m kind of thankful I got out of that without much problems in general, as that sort of heat could have been (and likely was) deadly for someone older or weaker.
- My body. And by this, I do mean that while it’s not perfect and I’m not a supermodel or anything, I’m glad I’ve gone through my transition and have reached a point where I don’t hate my body. I’m not overweight either, nor am I unlucky enough to have a disability besides my one deaf ear, and all this together meant that I could strip down in the intense heat and not feel mentally icky and depressed about my body like I used to be.
- Cold showers. Or at least, cool showers, not necessarily the freezing cold kind. Where would I have been this week without it? They’re great for regulating body temperature and feeling fresh. Especially in conjunction with me having cut my hair recently (which I already thanked in Diary Entry #009), so I didn’t have to get my hair wet too. It made me think of my Singapore days, where we’d shower 2-3 times a day instead of the 1 that I usually do here in Canada.
- Ice cream. If you told me two weeks ago that I’d soon be thankful of ice cream, I’d have looked at you weirdly. I don’t have a sweet tooth, and I generally avoid consuming much in the way of junk food or snacks, which helps contribute to the continual maintenance of #1 above. A regular tub of ice cream usually lasts me over 6 months. But this week, knowing that the heat wave was coming, I stopped by the Asian supermarket on Monday. While I was there, I decided to try a tub of San Miguel ube (purple yam) ice cream (local) that was on sale, a flavour that I had never tried before, and it turned out to be amazing! I finished the entire box in the three days of the heat wave as part of my rotation of cool consumables, and it definitely played a big part in keeping me cool.
- No bugs. I saw a little beetle scuttling around on the bathroom wall earlier this week, and while I steered clear of it (it thankfully didn’t have wings), I did come to realize and appreciate how little bugs there are in places that I’ve lived in general, but especially in this apartment, where I have a bug incident maybe twice a year at most and generally don’t even see little flies of any sort around. Ants thankfully aren’t a thing here either. And on a larger scale, though they’re pests and not bugs, Alberta is apparently virtually rat-free and that’s pretty amazing as well. (Usually someone who thinks they’re really smart chimes in at this point in Reddit threads on the topic and says “except the one in power”)
- Lastly, I am thankful that the heat wave was only essentially 3 days long, with a “rather hot but not heat wave” day on either end of it. It did burn my entire week, but it could have been a lot worse if it lasted longer than that. Thankfully rain will apparently blanket the province several times over this week and this should make it impossible for any significant follow-up heat waves to take hold. Then again, from personal experience, I know that the first week in a hot and/or humid climate is by far the worst week, as your body adjusts to it, and you feel like the climate is completely unbearable. After a week, your body more or less adjusts and you feel fine, so maybe a longer heat wave would have been fine anyway. I’m thankful I didn’t have to find out though. There’s plenty of time for heat waves once I go to Japan.
I really enjoyed a dream that I had this week, on July the 2nd, with a time travel dream that involved me travelling back and forth several times and basically ended up with reincarnation. Though I was a bit sad that I could not remember the exact name I saw on the sheet. On the flip side, I’m surprised I could sleep well and remember anything at all in the midst of the heat wave earlier in the week.
Also, how awesome is the name of that Scroll of Burnplanet that Satinel found in my June 28th dream? Talk about a prophetic dream, with the heat wave that came along the next day.
Jun 28 2021
- I was introducing a virtual reality game to a cousin, Terry, and we were playing it together. We were doing so while sitting in a bathtub in a small washroom located just off the main kitchen of our family’s house, because that bathtub doubled as my save game bin somehow, and so I told him he could just use that, as it had a facility to let us play together while keeping our save games separate. I lent him a console, which was a spare pair of VR goggles, and we both sat down and began plugging in.
- After he plugged in, I noticed that the tap was dripping and wetting his shirt, even though that had no effect in the VR world. I paused my game while leaving him plugged in, and switched off the tap tightly, moving him a bit out of the way to do so.
- In game, we were busy visiting houses and destroying monsters in there to collect experience and loot. I found an optional house with deadly, high-level enemies, and I toggled into preview/god mode to fly around and check out the house because I knew the game often had a lot of large, annoying gargoyles on the roof of these sorts of houses, together with purple void slugs that dropped some sort of crafting item. We didn’t need them yet though as he was low level, so I flew around on the roof and oneshot them all while in preview mode, so that we could go into the actual house to level up there.
- At one point, we were basically playing a tower defense board and we had a limited number of different types of pieces that we could arrange on a 6 by 10 grid or so to defend against waves of things trying to reach the right side of the screen. We had sniper pieces and policeman pieces and a few other types, and the enemies entered the map in five rows from the left side of the screen. I was slow placing them down though, and ended up stacking all the policemen pieces on the second column since the enemies came too quickly.
- At another point, Dad came along and asked why we were playing in the bathtub. Winston told Terry to come out to the living room, and he bought him a copy of the VR game to play on the couch instead, even though I said that that wasn’t necessary and everyone could just save money if they used mine. Winston said there was no need for that, and I got angry at him and the “religious right” for butting in to our game.
- Winston apparently had a console of his own too, so they ended up playing on a server of their own, apparently administered by someone they knew, and Satinel and I went to join them to check out their server. She found and killed a rare wasp nest, which dropped a number of rare items, like four plastic petrified wasp toys, fresh venom in an ice pop tube, ashes, and a few other things. These would normally be valuable, but here there was loot from a previous nest, that someone had killed on a previous respawn cycle, that was scattered on the floor beneath the nest, which showed that this server’s players didn’t consider them valuable.
- Satinel checked the item stats and found out that it was useless on this server due to custom crafting recipes that the owner had put in, and the item that one would normally cast with that, the really powerful Scroll of Burnplanet, was actually just crafted from four other scrolls on this server and was trivial to make.
- Editor: There’s a bit of Bloons in there with the tower defence bit and limited number of units of each type you could place down, as I had played a bit of Odyssey mode the night before which was basically the same thing. Winston is actually Terry’s father’s brother in real life, and Terry isn’t a cousin, he’s a grandnephew. Due to age differences between my mom and her elder sister in the maternal side of my family, Winston was actually one of my two maternal cousins, and the rich one in the family, but their children, my nephews, are actually the ones around the same age as us (Terry is slightly older than me), not them. The ice pops are these Singapore snacks — frozen juice things you suck on the end of to get the liquid out.
Jun 29 2021
- There was a game show pitting teams of 3 celebrities against each other in some sort of trivia quiz. My sisterhad just returned from a long hiatus away from the showbiz business, so she had applied to the show, and had to go through the auditions which had 8 teams of 3 or 4 competing against each other.
- Justin (from high school) was also there and was one of the successful applicants, he was asked what other teams he thought made it but didn’t have a good answer for it. He was also asked what lessons he learnt from it, and he said that it was important that teammates cheered each other on, for example when one person was on the spot and got a question correct, their teammates should be clapping for them.
Jun 30 2021
- Snippet: One dream featured a game with “super” dream pieces that I could place to guard a lane running vertically down the middle of the board/screen. It was a very expensive piece, and it had multiple upgrade paths, so I bought one and upgraded it down its most expensive path. I knew it wasn’t enough to guard the street from anything that might appear however, as the piece couldn’t see stealth/invisible, so I needed at least one more piece.
- Snippet: I was trying to decide on watching some sort of anime, but I was hesitant to start because the anime I was thinking of had a really long original series and then a reboot that I was thinking about, and I felt that I would want to or have to watch the original series before watching the reboot.
- Snippet: I was watching ice hockey with some other people, and someone suggested splitting the best player into 6 so that each one could do a certain task, possibly in the name of having 100% uptime. We said that that was not possible.
- Editor: The first snippet is definitely a reference to the super monkey in Bloons TD 6.
Jul 01 2021
- I was explaining a discovery about two of the girls from my neighbouring Secondary 1-2 class that I had made, to someone or other in my dream. I had discovered that the two girls, which I believe were Antonia and Arlena, were actually related, and practically sisters. As proof, I brought up the address list of everyone in both classes that I had made, and pointed out how their addresses were really close by each other — they lived in the same apartment block, just on different floors, which was already an amazing coincidence in itself. In addition, when someone in one of their families was getting married recently, the both of them took time off of school to help prepare for it, and I showed the others a side view version of their apartment block that somehow showed both of their apartment doors open (they were about 8 floors apart) and people bustling in and out of both apartments.
- Editor: None of this is actually true, but I was so earnest about it in the dream that I was a bit confused when I woke up, and I wondered if I had just forgotten about it until now. I actually do own, and will scan, those address lists at some point — I made and maintained a list of everyone and their data in both classes.
Jul 02 2021
- I could time travel between two versions of a school, but I was a student of neither version even though I was a student there at that school in general.
- To start off with, I was in the current version of the school but was unable to enter “my” class, which likely had some secondary school friends in it, because all the tables were filled and the teacher was already delivering her lesson. Furthermore, the corner of the blackboard at the front of the class had the date and today’s class rep (which rotated daily) written there, and I knew that I couldn’t pretend to join as long as that existed because I would be found out eventually.
- I then travelled to the old version of the school. In this version, a photobook that I knew about from the new version of the school was being compiled by a girl who was a student rep. It contained a photo of nearly everyone in school, as well as some clubs. I didn’t slip a photo of myself in the book, however I did give the girl a couple photos that I had found from two small photo albums tucked away in a disused building that had been given to me by some friends I had met there, and who had shown me around the school and chatted with me when I had first arrived. I then asked if she wanted to see the rest of the albums, she said sure, and I then took her and a couple people from her team to the building.
- The disused building was shaped like a short U, with the door being at the bottom middle point of the U, the two end points being square rooms, and the rest of the U being a narrow corridor. I took her to the right room and showed her the albums, and she was surprised to see photos that she was unaware of, and apparently this were photos of people that had played truant and skipped classes, and their clubs. She took a couple to add but said that the albumbook was full and she couldn’t add most of them in, so let’s just pretend we didn’t see them. I was happy with the couple friends that I had managed to get her to add, though.
- I travelled back to the new version of the school, and that same old U building was now used by people from the Infrastructure Apps team at work, with James, Lucasz, etc having taken it over from the school. The right end room was used for computer servers, and there were lots of cords leading out from the right corridor, into the U, and curving out toward the left room. There was an alcove along the right passage which had a computer, monitor, and a chair with manuals on it set into the alcove, that was connected to the main server as well, and James said that that was there to satisfy Melanie, from the ITSM team, as she was in charge of either the audit or something similar to the photobook from the old version of the school.
- I travelled back to the old version of the school. Here in the U-building, I met Dad, and he took me to the left end room of the U. He had just finished turning this into a personal den, complete with an armchair, a TV, eight amplifiers, and other old TV/music technology stacked up behind the armchair. I looked up at the ceiling and noticed that it was kind of rickety, with a “new” ceiling attached below the old roof so that it looked nice and bright and new, but yet it didn’t reach all the way to the walls at the edges of the room, instead leaving a small gap between the new ceiling and the wall most of the way across.
- I asked if this would be fine and pointed out that the old ceiling probably could not fully protect against rain, and since the new ceiling didn’t reach all the way to the wall, the first time it rained, his amplifiers would probably become wet. He said that that was fine and he was willing to risk it. I walked outside with him, and told him that I would time travel 40 years forward to the new version of the place and ask him what happened with it. He said okay, and for some reason we both began to laugh.
- I travelled back to the newer timeline on that exact same spot and saw Dad waiting for me there. I asked him what had happened with the room and he said that I had been right, and the first time it rained, most of the amplifiers had been ruined. However, TV and technology had advanced so far that those things had quickly become obsolete anyway, so no big loss.
- I travelled back to the older timeline, and for some reason the story then transformed into a scene where I was running or riding a vehicle along a road, as though in a marathon, even though there was an actual marathon being run ahead of me. There were hundreds of doctors in doctor outfits running behind hundreds of nurses in nurse outfits who themselves were running toward some goal. I understood that they were not real, and it was some sort of game where I had to get ahead of them to a point and also not get followed though, so this became a target practice situation where I (or my vehicle) had some sort of a gatling gun and I had to mow everyone down, first the horde of doctors, and then the nurses, as I overtook them. I had to slow down at one point to make sure that I had actually eliminated everyone else as there were stragglers that I missed. Then I turned a few street corners and got to my destination alone.
- After that, the scene transitioned back to the newer timeline one last time, and I was now a female Japanese student in class on the first day of middle or high school, seated by the window on the leftmost column of the room, 2nd from the back. I had the feeling that my actions in the previous race had rewarded me with this scene, and a general feeling that I had just reincarnated. The teacher was calling out names and I could see the roster and a Japanese name on it that I knew was mine too, and I remember being impressed that the teacher knew how to read many of the kanji names. When mine was read out as part of attendance/introduction, the girl in front of me turned to me and greeted me by name in a friendly manner.
Jul 03 2021
- I got angry at Ronnie in my dream. In an effort to impress his new boss, he gave up our offices and made us shift desks a couple times a day without really telling us about it. He also sacrificed our lunch break and forbade us doing anything fun like games during that lunch break because it showed that we had too much free time.
- My office spot went to a cheerful lady who was really understanding of my confusion as I hadn’t been told about her taking over my spot, until I called up Ronnie. I threatened to quit and said that this was yet another reason I would be leaving at the end of the year, but he didn’t budge. He said it was only several times a week, as the lady was a temp and had nowhere else to sit, but the rest of the team had already adapted to it and were sitting in an office on the other side of the floor we were on, therefore I should adapt to it as well. And that I could use a random desk and chair located in the hall outside that office.
- The office doors were also locked during lunch and he said we could call up his boss and request they be unlocked if we had a work proposal we wanted to do in them, but not if we were just playing games. Still, Johann, Sandy, and Matt were making plans to present a work proposal to do during lunch, and then play some D&D once they actually got access to the roon. I pointed out to Johann that that was unnecessary, as both him and I actually had office keys as well anyway and could just quietly unlock the doors ourselves.
- Jeremy had left for lunch after checking in on me and my work, but not before accidentally dropping his sandwich on the table right in front of me and nearly walking off without noticing. I called out to him and he returned and picked up the sandwich and thanked me.
- I ended up turning on a tiny, hidden television located on the floor beneath a very short and wide cupboard, and watched that over lunch break with a couple other people, even though that wasn’t technically allowed under the new regime either. I didn’t care and neither did most of the other people on the floor.
- Someone who had the same authority level as Ronnie, and could have reported us, stopped by toward the end of lunch and noticed what we were doing. He also didn’t seem to care, and instead started moving the tables and chairs next to the television around a little to clear them out of the way and prepare for the post-lunch period. He was careful not to block the TV though, instead stacking the furniture next to it.
- At another point, I was coming in to work but decided not to actually go in to work as the trains were really crowded and I still disliked what Ronnie was doing. Instead, I got off at an earlier stop, Hong Kong station, and texted mom to tell her not to worry as I’d be careful of the political situation there and run at the first sign of the Communist Party of China cracking down on the citizens.
- I overheard some schoolgirls talking about how they had friends that had walked from nearby Shanghai all the way to Tokyo during either lunch break or before school in the morning, and I followed them up an escalator to get to the surface, and then followed them toward a hawker centre. They were looking for some Thai cuisine and the hawker centre had food and drink stalls aplenty, although most of them were currently closed.
- Later on, I went on a tour to collect items for a scavenger hunt game. Some of the items involved straight up visiting and collecting, some involved puzzles. The ones that involve puzzles had an end item called a “remnant of witch’s soul”, which were two to three white circular spots forming the shape of a triangle, and the white spots would begin to float toward your hand when you reached out toward it.
- I was doing this part with Kellie and Jon, and the one I am most impressed of was a remnant that could only be seen in the reflection of a pickup (owned by an indigenous shaman and with shamanic items and markings all over it) against the car parked next to it. Kellie found the white dots but had no idea how to actually pick it up, as reaching out toward the mirror image in the adjacent vehicle did nothing, and looking directly at the shaman’s car did nothing as well. I figured out however that keeping my eyes locked on the mirror image and using that as a guide to reach out for the spot on the actual shaman’s car where the remnants were caused a tiny door in the shaman’s car to open and allowed us to retrieve the remnant that way.
- Snippet: I was participating in an art exhibition with a bunch of weird people who looked like they’d belong in a western cartoon, with flashy clothing and angular faces. Focus shifted back and forth between those people as another group of people “interviewed” them in ways to try to draw out some sort of superpower or response from them.
- Snippet: Mom was standing at the head of my bed, holding a paper dragon that looked like a kite and was attached to the wall with a string. The dragon’s head contained a little cup that acted as a seat. She wanted to put a plushie inside, so we tried putting Tigey inside, but the cup had no actual bottom and so Tigey just fell right through to the floor. She instead took up Tizilla, because his arms could keep him wedged in the bottomless seat just fine, and she started to take off his clothes rather roughly, but I yelled at her to be careful as that caused part of his jacket to start crumbling, and she was displeased at the little bits of fake leather all over her clothing. Anyway, once the clothing was removed, she put Tizilla into the cup and the dragon kite “came to life”, even though it was still clearly made of paper. It started to glow like a lantern and float up toward the ceiling with Tizilla riding in it like a hot air balloon. There was a second dragon kite nearby as well, and after a bit I managed to figure out how to activate it without needing a plushie to ride in it.
- Snippet: I was in a class of 6 people or so, 3 male and 3 female, and one of the other girls was the class monitor and was trying to root out people going to a nearby carnival or magic show after class. The other students would put their possessions on the table in front of the class, and upon her instructions I would rotate and zoom in the dream camera and focus on any objects she found suspicious. We found an envelope inside a package belonging to the third girl, for example, because the camera could detect something sticking out of the box inside the package wrapping. That envelope was sealed with a purple and black wax seal that was the face of the flamboyant owner of the event, and indeed contained a ticket inside of it.
- Snippet: I was running through and in and out of a forest surrounded by plains and a river at night, looking for something or other. I would run into random animals and things in the forest, for example I saw a pair of gleaming eyes at one point and burst through the trees to find a tiny lynx kitten staring at me. There was no danger though as nothing was actually reacting to me and my search. At another point, I burst into a clearing and found a mad scientist of some sort hunched over some nefarious project.
- Editor: Satinel said that the last bit sounded like I was running around in a MUD zone, ahd she’s right.
Jul 04 2021
- A group of friends/family and I, 5 in total, were robbing the base of a criminal gang on the western end of a city. This was part of a computer game and I could toggle the map and camera between first person mode and top-down mode.
- The base was large, and the inside of the base was designed out of white cubes that made the whole structure look sterilized. We entered at the top level of the base, and it had basements that extended down about 3 or 4 levels. The entire structure was nearly empty, with no furniture or anything, but there were occasional chests randomly located around the base, and we hurriedly looted the place as best as we can.
- The gang members were out and had not left any guards, but we knew they would be back soon, so at some point someone in the group called out that that was enough, and we started to head out of the base. Someone commented that the loot was really weird, like there were a lot of dubious trinkets that probably wouldn’t sell for much.
- Looking over the edge of the walkway I was on, I saw an untouched chest two or three levels down on the bottom floor, so even though it was time to leave, I decided to jump down to try to get that chest. I first clambered down over the edge of my current floor, using my hands to hold on to the ledge as I dangled over the side to reduce the falling distance as much as I can, before letting go and plummeting the rest of the way. I landed fine, even if I was a little unnerved at myself at the move. The chest contained a gem, and I grabbed loot from yet another nearby chest on the way back up and out as well.
- Once out, we had 4 cars with us and loaded them with our loot. 3 of the 5 members jumped into one of the cars and drove it toward our destination on the east side of the city, whereas Mom hopped into another and started to drive that off. But that left me with two cars, and I tried to yell at one of the people in the first car to no avail.
- Mom did hear me though, and asked if I could take turns and drive both cars to a train station not far from here so we could at least park it safely there first. I agreed, and drove the fancier car eastward toward the station first.
- Once at the station, I saw a couple other friends, one was in a queue to buy tickets while the other was seated on some stairs next to him. I drove the car into a little side avenue and then gave control of the car to the one buying tickets, asking him to look after the car from me. He agreed, so I left and started running back to the other car left behind at the base.
- I was in top-down map mode at this point and accidentally unpacked or triggered a plane, and then inadvertantly got into it and flew it westward, overshooting the flashing location marker a little bit. This still saved me a lot of time on the journey, however. Approaching the car, I noticed that two members of the gang had also returned and had just broken into the car, but it was still nearby and within range of a vehicle summoning skill I had. I used it to summon the car next to me, gangsters and all, and opened the door to punch them before tossing them out of the car unceremoniously. Before they could react, I then jumped into the car and drove that one off too.
- Snippet: At another point in the city, I was waiting with a girl for the temperature of the zone to drop, at which point some cubes would change colour and we would also be able to claim some item or vehicle. The girl I was with watched with amazement as the cubes started to change colour, and seemed very happy to be able to see that. An npc then floated in and told us to be careful because this colour change meant that the temperature of the city had dropped to at least 7 degrees below its normal range.