End of August 2021. AKA “I’m supposed to be in Japan getting ready for my new semester, thanks a lot COVID-19.”
Entry #019 (Aug 29 2021)
Volunteering week 2! As I mentioned in last week’s post, there were far more people signing up this week, after the event was advertised to some other student group, I went down on Monday, where there was only one other volunteer in the afternoon, but it was fairly boring. She was from Kenya, and we chatted a little bit, but she had trouble hearing or understanding my accent or something and we soon drifted apart to our own tables and I finished all my work and then nodded off a bit because there were only two or three International students that afternoon. I did send her and the two girls that were there in the morning a job offer for a casual, part-time student that I had seen that morning though. Hopefully one of them gets it.
Anyway, dissatisfied, I came down the next day again, this time in the morning, as I noticed there were three girls signed up, all of whom I had met the prior week and liked. They were fun, and since there weren’t a lot of customers that came, we had several good opportunities to chat too. I did see the other three exchanging phone contacts at some point too, but I was dealing with an international student at that point so I never got to do that with them. But oh well, I’m pretty much one generation ahead of two of the three anyway. I did go have lunch with one of them after the event though, and then I went back to visit my old office to take pictures, and drop off my office key on my boss’s desk. Oh, and I took my office nameplate home too, as I don’t expect to be back.
I was off volunteering duties for the rest of the week, and used that time to catch up on work (and anime), which had gotten very busy in the meantime.
The University this week also released some new guidelines, including a vaccination status self-declaration process and a number of requirements for students that aren’t vaccinated that make it as irritating as possible for them. This is good. The University isn’t allowed to mandate vaccination because idiot provincial government, so this is the next best thing. As you can see on that page, there’s some other interesting things that were announced too, like a student lottery giving away free tuition to people that need an incentive (besides, you know, the ability to stay alive and not kill others) to get their jab.
According to the University subreddit, people found out this week that some in-person classes that they had registered and paid for have started to shift online as well. This is exactly why I wanted to skip this semester, and am glad I did so. Everything’s so volatile. I don’t actually understand how they can reopen and go back to school, much as I support the concept in general. There are no contingency plans in place at all for classes if the professor gets sick and has to take two weeks off! And woe betide any student taking a full load who then gets sick and has to be bedridden for two weeks. I feel like there are going to be some COVID-19 related deaths this semester from the campus staff and student body. And will that be an acceptable price to pay for everyone to go back to school in-person?
One of my teammates, and his fiance, who also works on another team in our department at the University, apparently waited all the way until this week to get their second shot too. He doesn’t exactly go out often or anything though, as far as I know, so I suppose in that case it doesn’t make that much of a difference. But I’m not really predisposed to assume the best of intentions from him due to our interactions and my opinions of him at work in general. But, I’d still take him over many other horror story workmates I read about online, and I’m glad him and his fiance are a couple weeks away from 2nd dose effectiveness now.
Our busiest time of the year starts in a week or two when school reopens, so things have been ramping up the past week as well as everyone rushes to get their last minute lesson plans done. Because people still had some time off this week, I was quite burnt out by the end of the week and the boss told me I was on a collision course for a sick/mental health day, and suggested I voluntarily take Friday off to recharge to avoid that happening during our crunch time. I did so.
Part of what burnt me out were a number of Google tickets where the accounts had been deleted, taking out all the emails and files with it, and the departments absolutely needing the files back. The deletions happen because of a somewhat aggressive retention policy after an employee leaves the University — their account gets offboarded and access to the account is locked away for a year, after which it is permanently deleted. The problem is, Google Drive files shared out by that user are still very much accessible during that time period, and although departments are supposed to transfer away those files to a departmental account or Google Shared Drive before the time is up, most of them get no indication and have no way in principle to know when the accounts are going to expire, nor are most admin assistants and/or managers seemingly tech-savvy enough to know all the quirks with Google Drive and why accounts get deleted. Nor should they necessarily, with how custom our Google environment is and how poorly communication around this has been handled by our department for over a year.
This one year deletion cycle was implemented about two years ago, however it was partially broken up until August 15 2020 or so, when it was fixed, and when a bunch of accounts had their doomsday clocks start to tick Now a large load of these accounts are expiring and taking out valuable work with it. They can be undeleted within 25 days though, so we’ve been seeing a lot of these tickets over the past week. Correction, I have. They were alllll assigned to me, I have had five of them over the past week and change basically, and each one takes a lot of effort to do since it involves research to find out what happened, who the accounts belong to, then reaching out to various different people and teams to get the account restored and files transferred if possible, and if that isn’t enough, then getting my boss to talk to the security office so they can arrange a meeting with the original client.
And then I sit and wait while the cogs turn, before requesting the accounts to be deleted again after they’re done. All because they refuse to implement the solution that I had suggested two years ago, to rename accounts that are going to expire so that people can clearly see an indication when they access files owned by the account in question. And all because our team is treated like a bunch of secretaries, and used to coordinate work with other teams because of our boss’s attitude. It is very satisfying when we can restore an account and save someone a whole ton of work. But it’s very dejecting when we can’t because they contact us too late, and it’s exhausting to process one of them, never mind four or five at once.
Anyway, I got sick of it all, made a spreadsheet to track everything, and took a Friday off.
Oh, here’s a gallery of pictures I took while I was at the largely empty office on Tuesday, too.
The itching has largely just about subsided (except on my feet), fueled by the realization last week that it’s (probably) a sensitive skin thing and reacting accordingly now that I’m not jumping at every little sensation and wondering if it’s an allergic reaction or an insect bite. It’s still a bit off, and it’s especially acute during a shower with the jets of water on my arms and legs, but scratching by and large no longer creates wounds (except on my feet), although there are a couple leftover ones that will take a few more days to heal. It is slightly worse at night still because I can’t control myself as well when half-asleep, but it hasn’t really caused any major new wounds. The quality and quantity of my recalled dreams has returned to normal as well. Well, “normal”.
I was really busy this week, but with a bit less volunteering plus the day off on Friday, I was finally able to catch up on anime and work on some other things. I restarted my yearbook scanning project, but still have a long way to go, and am slowly building a healthy dose of guilt for bending this book so much to try to get as clean a scan as possible. Which is impossible without cutting out the book spine.
Kynji finally has accepted and is setting up for a new job! Well, she accepted last week, on the 16th, but she had her final public meeting with COVID-19 infested parents this week, I think. Her last day is Sep 02, and she’s pretty excited about her new Content Copywriting job, since it promises to be focused around creative storywriting across a myriad array of different topics. Hopefully. And while it’ll be a bit less than her current job was paying out, it’s still (slightly) more than I’m making fixing crap from incompetent higher-ups! Grumble.
I’m supposed to be in Japan getting ready for my new semester, thanks a lot COVID-19. Granted, I’m glad I’m not there right now since they’re just now only hitting record high active and new cases in their major cities right now, now that the disastrous Olympics are over. Their vaccination rates are still abysmally low too, they’re still sitting at about 43% having received both doses, and 54% for one dose. My sister finally got her second dose this weekend though, so late by government incompetency rather than by choice like my teammate, but at least she’ll be safer in two weeks when she moves to her next assignment in Nagoya. (She gets to travel around Japan to teach! I should look into her job once I’m done with this schooling thing. It would jive well with a personal picture/travel blog. I think I’d like to live a couple years doing something like this.)
For some odd reason there isn’t much for me to talk about in life this week because work (and anime, and volunteering) took up so much time. I’m feeling the urge to look up local events and visit something or other again, though I’m not sure I can afford the time (and our city COVID-19 cases have now ballooned again).
Oh, and Satinel’s birthday is next week, and I always feel a bit guilty around this time that my best friend usually gets me interesting, creative gifts but I only really get her some cheapo things that a bit of money can buy, and it never feels as sincere as I wish it to be. Still, that goes for a lot of my other friends (and even my family) too, I’m not a good gift-buyer. It’s why I ask online friends for agreements not to get me Steam game gifts at Christmas, and in return I won’t give them any either, because I never end up playing them and they become guilt holes, and the money is more often better spent buying our own games that we want to immediately play.
And lastly, have a picture of a bright ball of fire setting in the evening sky somewhat near my house, from one of my evening walks. And the one single cloud in the sky.
7 Days to Die was the name of the game again this week. Though it’s rapidly reaching a point where it feels like we’ve done most of the game content and all we have left is largely looking for minor stat upgrades and collectible books. Still, it feels good playing separate-but-together as a group. I’ve maxed out quest reward perks and I’m rolling through quests during spare time, and lugging back decent amounts of ammo to supplement whatever people are crafting, though it definitely feels like it’s approaching the end of available content. Trin did mention that we would be playing until at least the end of the month though, and that felt like a good minimum target to aim for. Plus we’re all still playing way too late into the night, so it isn’t actually as boring as that first paragraph might sound!
In terms of solo content, I’m still putzing around in Honkai Impact on the phone, but very, very slowly. The game has lots of different minigames in it, and that is kind of interesting, but overall it’s a cookie-cutter F2P gacha. With tons of different currency types. So many that I feel it’s difficult to concentrate on the game. There is a mentor-mentee system, which basically gives the low level mentee some quests to do and rewards for both players, and I tentatively put my name in as a mentee (it’s an ingame button and an About Me blurb) a couple weeks ago. Why? Because that would be impetus for me to level up to max level. Social pressure and all that. (And a mentor is supposed to be someone you can ask questions about the game to.)
Honkai does have a gender flag you can set, and I did set mine and noted that I was looking for another female only, the idea being that I would be less likely to run into a creep that way. I also left my Discord tag. The only people who have ever applied to be my mentor have been guys though, largely from Brazil. And no one’s bothered reaching out over Discord. But that’s fine, I probably won’t be much longer for this game anyway, and if I was really trying I’d do some reaching out myself to people in the “want to be mentors” pool, which I have not bothered doing. I did like the anime tie-in episode this week quite a bit though, and apparently it’s even much more impactful if you know about the history the two characters have with each other, which I don’t. I should really just rush the main story, finish that, and dump the game, I’ve been caught up in a trap of doing dailies and trying out some of their other weird content recently and it’s stopped being novel.
Midweek, my main Discord server (Zomg) started talking about MMOs, and I mentioned an idea that I had briefly privately discussed with Satinel in the past, one where we picked an MMO of some kind, largely aiming at the free and somewhat bad ones, and played it for a couple weeks to a month to get to max level before dumping it and moving on, in order to get a feel and taste of what different MMOs are like and what kinds of implementations of MMO mechanics (things like crafting, gathering, housing, mounts, character levelling, F2P shops..) there are out there. With the idea that this would make memories, and also give us a base of experience to talk about and compare other future MMOs to in the future.
A couple people, largely Gibbs and Trin, did latch on to the idea as interesting, and they started running with the idea and compiling a list of potential MMOs in a new Discord thread in our Games channel. It quickly evolved to something where people (including me) just seemed to be throwing any old MMO on there, including common ones that some of us had played already, or pet games that they were familiar with and just wanted to introduce to people or something, so I cooled off really quickly on the idea, especially since we were going to eventually roll on the list to pick a game, and there were a lot of dubious additions on the list. People were also rightfully concerned about the one month duration thing that I had initially put forth too.
But then thinking about it further, I realized that was far too premature and there were probably compromises that could be made to make everyone happy, me included. After discussion, the prototype of this system is something like:
- Everyone who intends to take part in the current cycle nominates one MMO and adds it to a secondary pool. By “take part’, we mean that they should have the intention to at least try out playing whatever the selected game is a couple times in good faith within the time period. Unless it costs money or something. Everyone’s nominated game can be from the original compiled list that we have, or something else altogether.
- After we have this much smaller list, we either decide on one or have someone randomly roll for it.
- We then download and try out this game over at least a two week period, as many times as people feel like. There’s no formal time requirement, although most of us play in the evenings anyway so hopefully we can occasionally form play groups. And ideally everyone will try it at least a little bit, far enough to reach out of the initial newbie tutorial segments that nearly every game has, in order to see what kind of game systems it has, so we can talk about it in reference to other games that we might play in the future.
- After either two weeks, or if everyone gets bored of a game before then, we will review the situation and restart the selection process from the top, nominating a new set of games and rolling up a new game to move on to.
- Alternatively, if most people really like the game, we can extend the two week period to a four week one, especially if there was an upfront cost to enter the game or if people decided to subscribe to it, since subscriptions tend to last about a month.
- We can also create new Discord channel threads for each one, both to contain the chaos that would be constant new games, and also so that if it is time to move on but one or two people decide to stay on in a game a bit longer, they can continue using that channel thread to organize or post information in.
Something like that, the exact details are still currently up in the air, and waiting for either people to provide their further input, or us to trial this system out a couple times and see how it actually works, in order to further tweak it. I felt a lot more comfortable with the project after this and from what I can feel from other people, I think most of the people interested in this are on the same boat and at least willing to try it out to see if we can find a good middle ground from this.
But first, we have to finish 7 Days to Die!
Plushie of the Week #18 – Aria
Aria is a female grey cat, a Ty plushie with her head permanently twisted to one side and body stretched out to make a seductive, come-hither pose. Isn’t she cute? Sort of?
She used to hang out to Tigey for a while and was, in plushie lore, briefly his girlfriend after I left the family home to live on my own, because his crush (Ally, who has not been featured yet), who had always rejected him all these years, did not come along with me. This relationship faded though but they remain friends, and Aria these days chills near the front of my army of plushies next to my bed, forming a little bit of a curved wall that Tigey sometimes sits up against at night when he’s not lying beside my pillow instead.
For a little while though, Aria did indeed follow Tigey everywhere and got brought around as one of my main crew of plushies. She also still wears a red tag through her ear as an earring, one of my few plushies with that thing still attached. Here’s a slightly-blurred picture of Aria, Tigey, and Ducky in Portland, where I went for my first (aborted) voice feminization surgery in March of 2013, sitting next to a bear and my work laptop at the time.
The most amazing part about this plushie research project is that I had no idea where Aria and a few of my other plushies were from, and I’ve been wondering about them for some time, even contacting my siblings to try to figure out if they knew of the plushies. I decided to feature Aria this week, then dug through mounds of 10-year-old receipts trying to find them to no avail. I then ran her name through my email inbox on a whim, and managed to luck upon her origin!
Apparently, she was the first of five plushies that I picked up from an online auction site called Listia. I was briefly active on this site ten years ago, where I basically sold an extra Terraria Steam game code for credits, and used those credits to pick up a couple pieces of cheap clothing and several small plushies. The site was (and probably still is) plagued by people who never actually fulfilled their orders, and I only had about a 66% or so success rate of people actually delivering what I had won, but it was easy enough to dispute and reclaim the credits for cases where the seller went AWOL, since they were, well, credits and not real life money.
Except they seem to have changed over to a new points system since I last logged in and emptied my remaining credits out. But that’s fine, I didn’t have much left anyway and haven’t used the site in nearly a decade. She apparently cost me 208 credits from a seller named owlshop, which I think roughly translated to $2.08 USD, even though you could not convert credits to actual money. In comparison, I apparently managed to sell that Terraria game key for 1210 credits, which I used to then fund most of my small purchases on that site, including the other four plushies.
The really interesting thing though was that from my auction and conversation logs, I was able to exactly pinpoint when the five plushies arrived (and thus when their “birthdays” are, as far as I’m concerned). Aria in particular was the first of the five to arrive, and she arrived on August 29, 2011. That’s right, in an amazing cosmic moment of coincidence, today’s her 10th birthday! I had no idea about this before I started writing this blog post, and had already completed most of it before I found the Listia logs. In celebration, I brought her out to sit beside Tigey, Ducky, that Portland bear, and the brain-sucking emo jellyfish featured two weeks ago (and now named Clara), in front of my computer.
Photograph(s) of the Week #6
This one is a bit of a cheat, because the first one is a photograph I’ve already posted elsewhere on the blog. However, these are probably the MOST important and precious photographs to me out of every single one I have, because these are my mental images of my junior high school friends from Dunman High School that I miss a lot, as we were a very close-knit group. These are how I generally see them in my dreams to this very day still. Therefore, I need to at least honour their presence with dedicating a Photograph of the Week segment to them.
This first photo shows my Secondary 1L (grade 7) class in November or December of 1997, when we were getting our photos taken for the yearbook. I will absolutely eventually have a gigantic page on my shrine dedicated to them, and my thoughts about every single one of them, but a quick rundown of their names:
Back row – Zhuquan, Kaiting, Jean, Huihan, Paulene, EIleen, Yiwen, Gillian, Debbie, Valerie, Jonathan
Front Row – Xuanjie, Allen, Eugene, Mrs Shu (our form teacher), Yaoxiang, Zixiang, and me
You might recognize many of their names if you read my dream diary entries. I also have Nov/Dec 1998 versions of this photo, just before I fled the country. These I have not shared yet. Here we are in Secondary 2L:
Back row – Yaoxiang, Kaiting, Allen, Xuanjie, Jonathan, Valerie, me, Eugene, Debbie, Huihan
Front row – Eileen, Paulene, Zixiang, Mrs Shu, Jean, Yiwen, Gillian
Astute eyes might notice that we actually lost one person between Sec 1 and Sec 2 — Zhuquan dropped out of or left the Gifted Education Program (GEP) after Sec 1 and transferred to a normal school.
These photographs were taken in the front foyer of the school, just in front of a vast grassy quad area in the middle of the school. You can see the brown roof of the pavilion in the quad beyind Xuanjie (back row, 4th from left)’s head in the 1998 pictures, and there was a pond next to it as well. Behind that and to the left, on the ground floor, was our Secondary 1 classroom. But now that we were in the 2nd year, our classrooms were now on the 2nd floor, and if I recall right, our two GEP classrooms, the 2K and 2L ones, were the ones above Yaoxiang’s head (back row, 1st from left), since we were at the very end of the class letterings alphabetically and so had classrooms that were also at the very end of the corridor. His head should have been right by the 2K classroom, and the door on the very left of the picture on the 2nd level would have been the rightmost exit of our 2L classroom (each classroom had a front and rear exit).
The long corridors in the middle of the pictures lead to the administration wing of the school on the right, with which housed things like the staff room, the discipline master’s office, and I believe the library, computer labs, and health room too. The assembly hall was above this foyer that the picture was taken in, and the school canteen, grass and track fields, and club rooms were accessible through a walkway out the left side of the picture.
One of my biggest goals in life is to one day be able to revisit this school, not only to see how much has changed but also to see how much has stayed the same. I want to see the classroom where I grew up in, where Tigey was pinned up onto the wall in, and where I left so many of my dreams and friends.
Things I am thankful for this week
- My printer-scanner, the Epson Workforce 323. The one I’ve been using to scan in all my photographs and old memories this past year. It’s not a terribly GOOD scanner — for example, if a document or book is placed too close to the edge of the glass scanning bed, then the edges of it won’t scan and that irritates me. It also makes ratchety old noises every time I scan it, gives a clock error everytime I turn it on, and the lid of the scanner is loose and practically on the verge of falling off, but I appreciate it anyway for how much I have been able to get done with it, even though its printer component no longer works (well, at least, I’ve long been out of ink, and “official” printer ink is basically a scam anyway, but I think it stopped working nonetheless). I stumbled across a receipt for this thing while hunting through old receipts to see if I could find one for Aria, and apparently I had bought this printer-scanner from Best Buy, on September 10 2011, for $57.51 after taxes and some odd fee. So that’s cool that it’s been around for nearly 10 years to the day.
- My email logs. And my Gmail address. I actually regret not keeping my old Hotmail account active, as I’ve been curious what sort of email logs I would have had on it from my childhood. I also had used email addresses on other email servers, both from our old Singapore ISP as well as from now-defunct vanity web URLs, that are now long gone as well. Never, ever use ISP email addresses if you care about memory and data preservation! You lose those when you change ISPs! But anyway, I’m thankful that I signed up on Sep 09 2004 for my Gmail account, and got a nice Gmail address as an early adoptee as well. I didn’t really start using the account until 2006, so that’s as far back as my logs actually go, but there are many, many really important and significant conversations in there that maybe I will share parts of some day. I also have a Yahoo account that I signed up for on Dec 09 2001 that I’ve never let lapse either, so I also have lots of emails in there that are really important to me, and lots of (somewhat cringey) memories to look back onto. However, both of those were created after I left Singapore for Canada in 1999. The one that’s missing for me is my Hotmail account, which would have contained some emails from my Singapore time period and my secondary school friends, but has long since lapsed. That one I regret! (Although as I recall most of the communication was actually done on my ISP email address which has obviously also long since lapsed since we moved out of the country over 20 years ago. That ISP itself also seems to be gone now).
- Discord, the instant messaging program, that I’ve used to keep in touch with friends for a long time now. We started to move to this on Nov 12 2015 from Ventrilo, and it’s done wonders with its (relative) ease of use and ability for people to catch up on conversations that they were offline for without requiring someone else to recap it for them. The log search has also been a godsend for me, although I am slightly wary of the fact that there isn’t a way to download a log of all the messages in your server. That’s also kind of understandable though. But I do wonder about their data retention costs and the security around that whole aspect of things. Still, from a user perspective, a consumer version of Slack with a lot of user-friendly chat enhancements has been great, and I only wish that this had been around in earlier years as well, as manually logging the Ventrilo chats that we used to use had always been a big pain. (Though those have also turned out to be really valuable on occasion for my various history projects.)
- Anime. This probably needs a proper writeup page one day, though this isn’t high on my priority list and it will be far in the future if it ever takes fruition, but I won’t deny that it has had a huge impact on my life direction and has provided me with opportunities to look at life in a new light and met several friends that I wouldn’t ever have met otherwise. And more importantly, it’s been a source of inspiration (and great music) both in terms of daring to dream and in terms of thinking about myself and what I want to do. I don’t think this blog would actually have existed, nor would I have been thinking about going abroad anywhere to study in general, without various shows really teaching me what it means to dream big, and also making me confront the ghosts of my past in regards to my life in Singapore before moving here, that had held me back for so long. And of course I can draw a line right from Anime to Satinel, who got me started down this road by casually recommending that I watch what turned out to be my gateway anime, Demi-chan wa Kataritai, back on Nov 23 2018. In three months it will be the third anniversary of a very busy life that I have had since then, filled with many different bright colours and goals that were just not there before.
- My dream diary. This week is the anniversary of my dream diary, which I believe was a project that Satinel encouraged me to start and which eventually tied itself in to the goal of trying to lucid dream or create a tulpa (neither of which I have been able to fully do). Regardless, keeping the diary and looking back at some of the stronger or more memorable dreams has been very interesting, illuminating, and just plain cool! I really recommend everyone does this. Transcribing it onto a blog takes forever though, but I hope to someday finish uploading it somewhere onto my blog.
As mentioned, this week is also the anniversary of my dream diary! My first entry in the journal is from Aug 25 2016, and I am happy to report that despite several long gaps in the interceding years, the diary is still going strong overall. And my entries are still as weird and wacky as ever, with lots of double recalled dreams in a night to boot. The highlight of the week’s dreams for me was the 2nd dream on Aug 27th, with the ping pong balls and cool special powers and the rabbit ears that forced me into cute anime poses. Really now, subconscious. What are you trying to tell the world about me?
Aug 23 2021
- I was walking through an MMO zone that was a desolate industrial wasteland. I was the leader of a party of 5, made up of my school friends, and there were also two God characters accompanying us that were played by teachers acting as game mentors to us. When we reached the zone with the final boss fight, it was delineated by a chain link fence surrounding the zone that was only broken by the start of the only entrance, a long white road. When the two God characters tried to cross the threshold of the zone, they just got teleported away, whereas the five of us could pass it with no problem at all. So it looked like they were not able to come along to help us even though they had helped us through the rest of the game thus far.
- It looked like we had 22 minutes left in the game to defeat the final boss and save the world, so I said we probably had one shot to defeat the boss ourselves. We picked up items on the way in to strengthen ourselves — every set of 3 items we found on the ground gave us an XP bonus, and there were also fishbones lying around, and every set of 5 of those gave us bonus damage vs the final boss. While strengthening ourselves, I checked the time again and noticed that we were wrong in our estimation and we actually had 1.5 days left before we would fail the game, not 22 minutes, so we actually had plenty of attempts in which to learn and defeat the boss.
- Snippet: A teacher was giving out exam results in a closed-off room that we had to visit and enter for some reason.
- Snippet: We met a girl who had access to some sort of firewall skill. This was somehow related to us keeping inventory in a room, moving blocks around so that as many of them were on display as possible. Some blocks represented items like laptops, others represented people, and we hoped that two of the people blocks in particular would get along after we placed them by each other.
- Snippet: I have a note that just reads “Spicy foods question on sign in the middle of a backyard field”. I don’t remember the context of this one.
- Snippet: Similarly, I have a note hastily scribbled down that reads “Pales compared to 2 hen/nincompoop, boss wouldn’t have had us. Lots at work. 5342 over inventory.” It was badly scribbled so I think some words are wrong there.
- Snippet: There was an outdoor exhibition going on. Everyone had to build a skill by combining 5 letters on a handheld signboard to form a word, then hold the sign up above their head. Most people’s were things like “white” or “black”. Whatever mine was, my effect was really strong, and I was told to help others to make theirs stronger as well.
- Snippet: I was flying a helicopter, and the controls of the helicopter allowed me to raise or lower its nose to control the direction, and propel the helicopter forward, and that was it. I had a couple other people on the helicopter and had to drive them somewhere, and I thankfully had a save game from just after we lifted off as well, as I crashed a couple of times trying to figure out how to fly the thing. Once I learned how though, we flew over some mountains and got to Russia.
- Snippet: We were exploring a basement when a little anime girl with pigtails that looked like a ghost or a mage of some kind appeared behind us, holding up a sign that said “Where is Makin”. But that was her name, apparently, and it felt like she was showing off rather than trying to scare us, so there were no scary vibes at all. We found something in the basement to do with Makin’s Assorted MP3 summonings, which was obviously whatever the ghost was referring to, then we held up some signs in return to talk to the ghost girl, before putting down a block to act as makeshift stairs, and climbed out through the basement window into the sunlight.
Aug 24 2021
- My dream took place at an arcade with several machines in it, where two machines rotated out on a weekly basis and the other machines remained the same. I was there over a long period of time and at one point tried to complain to the management that some of the rotating machine were defective and not giving good scores to a friend playing it elsewhere in the city, but they threatened to ban me instead of fixing the problem due to a lack of budget. This was very reminiscent of my University workplace.
- At another point I was leading people through the arcade and we were upgrading random machines using wood as we went. They didn’t enjoy the arcade at first but really enjoyed the upgrading part, and had a great experience overall by the time they had to leave.
- At another point, a wild horse, white with shades of purple, wandered by the field outside of the arcade and then wandered into the arcade itself. I called Mom to tell her to come see the horse, while I also went to the fridge and pulled out some raw carrots to feed it. I asked the horse if it liked the raw carrots and it nodded yes.
- I don’t remember what most of the arcade looked like but there were several other events that took place in there, and there was a feeling of travel between different areas, or biomes, when going from one end to the other.
Aug 25 2021
- Satinel and I were playing a versus game on a large football field-like map with lots of different terrain, divided into two halves by some barrier that both of us could nonetheless cross. She was the pursuer, I was the pursued, and her goal was to try to defeat me or make me surrender or something like that while my goal was to evade her and survive for a time. She had a small motorbike she could ride and chase me with, and a bomb that she could throw down to summon 8 green-clad ninjas. There were also zombies on the map kind of shambling around uselessly.
- At one point, I was lying on the ground while she was charging at me on a motorbike. She skidded to a halt and accused me of not trying my best. I said that even though I looked lazy, I was feigning and was actually laying a trap for her and was going to scissor the front wheel of the motorbike with my two legs when it got close, and flip her off of it. I told her go back and to try charging at me again. She did. I scissored it just as planned. I then stole the bike and rode it away into a corner of the field, leaving it there without destroying it.
- I think I ended up winning the game, and we hung out a little after the game as well. There were lots of weird snippets surrounding the world just outside the game.
- For example, we spoke to some of the spectators in between the games, and one of them was a college girl who was living for the first time on her own. But she complained that her computer was always really slow from about 9am to 6pm or so. Upon investigation, we found that although her parents had given her the computer, her father had installed some sort of program on it (it had a five letter proper noun name) that restricted the Internet access on it during the day to encourage her to concentrate more on other things. I tried to google up a fix for it (this involved Googling its name, and then the phrase “tap water” after it) but there were no hits on it, so it must have been a very obscure/new program.
- She said it was fine, but I was mad on her behalf because I learnt that the money for the computer came from her winning a youkai stage recital competition, and so her parents had taken the money and then bought the computer but then bought something to hinder it without her knowledge too. Justin from work was here too and said something in support of the parents, so I ignored him and promptly forgot whatever it was he said.
- Her father was also eventually present and fell in love with one of the coordinators of the game, and there was a side romance between the two of them.
- Also, there was some sort of a meeting at a restaurant that was the 2nd shop from the left of a row of shops lined up against a street. The meeting was for the members of the society that ran the game, but most of the people there for the meeting were middle-aged men with beer bellies. I wasn’t comfortable joining them as a girl (and they didn’t seem to recognize me) so I pretended to be a regular customer and sat down at another table to order some food.
- There were other snippets like a tiny, floating jellyfish that slowly propelled itself through the air by contracting and kicking its tentacles like a swimmer, something about chicken karaage, and something about a rope and someone’s attempts to hang themselves, but I’m not sure how they all tied in to the overall plotline of the game.
Aug 26 2021
- This dream involved an outdoor arena area belonging to a circus, where children were running along wooden block platforms. Tasks needed to be done to machines on the ground along those platforms, so they’d occasionally run to a part that curved down toward the ground, and tend to the machine there without actually touching the ground.
- Another part of the dream took place within a HDB apartment in a flat, the latter of which was really high-class. The former owner of the apartment where we lived in, which for some reason was there hanging out with us, was pointing out to a TV program that he was being interviewed for how neighbouring units had things like fancy-coloured, ornate front doors, statues standing outside front doors, and bay windows that jut out of the walls.
- We had just moved on but were short on resources at some point so I figured we didn’t actually need a functional front door for now and could use the resources for that elsewhere instead, until we had more things to work with.
- Editor: The first bit definitely was a mix between our current group anime, Michiko to Hatchin, and our current group game, 7 Days to Die.
- This dream took place around a shopping centre area, where inside, a 2nd year University math lecture was about to take place in a lecture hall to go over answers from a test that I had also apparently done but understood nothing of when I looked at my paper and another student’s paper.
- Outside the shopping centre, a couple friends I was with, Harvey and Jonathan from high school, were supposed to follow me into the shopping centre and into the lecture hall, but they were distracted outside playing with a bear. I yelled at them to come in, because bears were dangerous and couldn’t be communicated with.
- But Jon remained outside and seemed to be having lots of fun, while Harvey came in and said that they could totally sort of communicate with the bear, and if I didn’t believe them but was interested, he’d give me a piggyback ride during class break so I could get up close to the bear too. I said no thanks.
- The professor entered and started the class around here, and Harvey and I went into a corridor at the back of the lecture hall, just out of sight of the professor and class. Harvey decided he was going to skip class, and waved me to follow as well as he stepped out the corridor to the right side (in full view of the class and the talking professor) and headed for the door. I shook my head and instead left the corridor on the left side to settle down in a seat at the back of the class next to a Muslim girl in a headdress.
- Near the end or just after class, I talked with a female friend who was from Singapore but was an international student in whatever location the dream was taking place in. She talked about how the Geylang neighbourhood in Singapore was usually really pretty at night with lights and all, although thanks to COVID-19 and the lack of tourists, they had switched off all the pretty lights for over a year now.
- I said that I had visited the area before my grandma passed away when she lived near there and also asked if she knew what other pretty night areas like that there were in Singapore. She thought a bit but didn’t give me an answer.
- Snippet: At some point, I remember helping a group of people prepare some food. In particular, I filled a pot with some item, and then filled it with water, in a methodology similar to washing rice, but the water turned green due to the food inside the pot instead. I did this a couple times at a sink to get rid of the particulates in the pot while a girl waited her turn behind me to use the sink.
Aug 27 2021
- My memories of this dream started out with me and some friends in a house, reinforcing it against a horde of really slow zombies ambling up to it 7 Days to Die style. This was part of “work”, and everyone at work had the ability to repair and build, but our team specifically occasionally got work tickets from a newly hired person from some other team who had no idea how to use their ability to build or repair, and we apparently had to train them each time.
- Connected to this dream world somehow was a train system with 3 stations and train tracks leading out from each one to meet in the middle, together forming the shape of a 人. The first station was the one we were at, the second one was a Goblin station (henceforth referred to as Gobstation), where they only spoke Korean and Japanese, and the third one was also another Gobstation where they did speak English. Part of the story had us making $20 payments to the goblins at various intervals, which could be done at either station. The English Gobstation also contained a museum we could visit.
- Each train that ran between these three stations would also slow down and stop at the junction where the three tracks meet, in order to manually adjust which track it was going on to next. Therefore, people also used this as a makeshift fourth stop, where they could jump down or board the train.
- People could even make their $20 payments at the junction instead of heading to either Gobstation. The $20 payments we made were part of a quest, and doing it at one or the other station would trigger some sort of effect, possibly similar to favour with the Gobstation. However, making the payment at the junction had a different effect altogether, that involved not alerting either Gobstation that the payment was made, and this was sometimes beneficial depending on the payee’s ultimate goals.
- At one point, I headed over to the English Gobstation, paid my $20 there, and then entered the museum. Because I had paid there that time, the goblins were friendly, and the goblin children wandering around the museum smiled and waved at us as we wandered past a room full of artifact display cases into a second room, where we were about to try to steal some specific artifact from.
- At another point, I headed to the Korean/Japanese Gobstation and got to hang out with Kana Hanazawa on the train there, who proceeded to softly sing me a nice song in Japanese. We were both on the train, and we were each holding on to the same vertical pole on the train with a hand, and those hands were basically touching up against each other, Because we had the same birthdays, people on the train whispered and pointed at us and wondered if we were going to cause a black hole to form. We paid our $20 at the Gobstation and left without any metaphysical incident though.
- There were also events that took place back at our home station. For example, at one point, just like in real life, Johannes, Sandy and Ronnie (but not Matt!) started a D&D 5th Edition game and started prepping for a game session. I was not interested in joining them but did watch them prep. As the DM, Johannes suggested that during play breaks, the three of them could all go to the train junction to volunteer.
- We also hired a new person at some point to our team, and taught him the trick to pay at the train junction, and told him that for now until he understood the system better, he should start with that.
- Editor: Kana Hanazawa is indeed a Japanese singer and my favourite voice actress, partly because we do indeed share the same birthday (and so I consider her my spirit animal of sorts), though she’s five years younger than me.
- This one took place in a shopping centre. I was seated there at a round table in the middle of one of the side corridors, eating lunch and doing some work or something while waiting for classes to start. Mom and Jon were there too, but each was at a different table.
- The two of them got up to walk across the mall to buy some snacks, and although I wasn’t explicitly invited, I also got up a little bit afterwards and trailed them, about 10-15 metres behind them. They reached a KFC and ordered some potato as a dessert snack, while I sat down on a high-backed chair nearby to partially conceal myself from them, although I was wearing a bright pink shirt and so felt really noticeable anyway. Indeed, once they were done the order and were heading back, Jon waved to me on the way.
- I waved back and let them return without disturbing them because no one was tending to our laptops, especially Jon’s, and the faster they got back, the less likely that it would be stolen. Once they were gone, I myself joined the queue to the store.
- There was a rotund male cook and a female attendant or two in the cramped stall, and one of them was trying to wave the line of people into two lines. She waved at me to ask me what I wanted but I said I was still looking at the menu. She tsked at me. They had a potato dish as well as several types of meat dishes, and I eventually settled on the potato dish. The male cook took my order and started openly flirting with me as well, and I politely laughed at his jokes.
- On the way back, I somehow ended up with someone else and we both peeked into a room where a club of female students were playing ping pong, and they saw us and invited us in. I was reluctant but followed the other person in because they were interested, and I was accompanying him because I had either some sort of power to safeguard him or some sort of responsibility to take care of him.
- The club was obviously trying to recruit me though, and the leader stood on the other side of the room and fired ten ping pong balls toward my way and the open front door without any explanation. Without even really trying, I caught eight of them with my bare hands or between my fingers, deflected the other two, and also found a ninth ping pong ball sitting on the floor somewhere that I added to the 8. She said it was perfect and begged us to play a game or two.
- We had to wear cosplay outfits to play though, even though all of the other club members were just in their PE uniforms. The person I was with was given a nice animal outfit or mask of some kind, possibly a lion, but I was given a pair of long, pink ears attached to a double-layered cloth strap that was meant to be placed on the top of my head, with the cloth straps trailing down over both ears and tied off below my chin. This partially obscured my field of view, and I could also smell a very faint, but not unpleasant, sweaty scent from the previous user of the ears.
- This was obviously meant to be some sort of handicap and yet also a training device at the same time that would make me much stronger. Also, as punishment, whenever a point was scored against me by my opponent, the tips of the long bunny ears would crinkle and fold over to point forwards, and the magical ears would then force my fingers to bend like claws and my hands to act like paws, and I would then be made to say Meow in a cute anime girl sort of pose. This was embarrassing, but I also found this strangely liberating. And due to this last feature, the club called this headband/mask Nekomimi, or cat ears in Japanese, even though the actual ears were shaped like rabbit ears.
- After I untangled myself from that club room, the world outside had shifted to a side-scroller platformer, though one where I could only really see half the room at once at most. My game character had transformed into a unique bonus character which had two special passive abilities — the first was that if I was ever in the room with someone else, there would be a 4 second countdown timer, after which I (and possibly the other person, that part was unclear) would have the lower half of my body pixellate and crumble into a mass of small, overlapping black boxes, slowing my speed until I moved out of the room. The second was that the game would also automatically roll a 6-sided dice for me against the person I was in the room with, and if I won the dice roll, I passively stole an item from them. This happened several times even though I was largely trying to avoid people, though many people simply had no items to steal.
- I “left” the immediate zone that the shopping centre was in, and headed out to some NPCs that I had been to earlier in the dream. I ended up outdoors on a hillside with wide-open meadows all around, although the outside world was also still vaguely partitioned into “rooms” that one had to travel between, computer game style. There was an anthropomorphic bunny there living in a burrow house carved into the hillside, plus a mole and three other characters there in the room as well. The house had a cute little circular porthole window with a cross over the hole set next to the door — or rather, where the door should have been, as it had been stolen earlier in the game and I had skipped it at that point because I had no way of finding out what happened to it.
- Now, however, I figured I could help him, and for some reason I did not pixellate in the room even though there were five other characters there. Possibly because they were NPCs, although I thought some of those I pixellated and stole against earlier were, too. It turned out that a crow had stolen the door and was flying somewhere up in the top part of this zone, and the crow had also stolen a bunch of research notes that the rabbit had made about the stars. He was really upset about the notes, more so than the door.
- Amidst cries of how tragic and how much of a setback it was for all the star data to be stolen away, I discovered that I had apparently been stealing passive abilities as well, perhaps from the creatures that had no items, and one of the abilities that I could toggle on was the ability to fly. So I flew up into the top half of the zone, past some odd rafters that held up what must have been an invisible “ceiling” to this room (despite the room being an outdoor, open-air room with a clear view of the stars), and looked around for the crow. I didn’t see it, so I figured it flew off into one of the adjoining “rooms”.
Aug 28 2021
- I had boarded a train with two friends, but even though we all got on on the same time, somehow I got separated from them into a different train after some time, even though the trains were running basically parallel to each other toward the same destination. Instead, I sat down next to an old woman, and began talking to her.
- She was around 100 years old, and I had a vague sense of her presence being similar to my grandma, even though she was a completely different person in the dream. She said that she had no ID card, and had long forgotten the details of her birth, and I told her that she should get an ID card and that no one was ever too old for that. I told her I would help with the process, and looked out the window as the train crested through the sky over a grand building, the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. I pointed to it and said that it was a sign, and she could use that as an approximate birthplacec when signing up for her ID card since she didn’t remember exactly where she was born.
- We were taking the train to a fair as well and she wondered why we were coming today, Wednesday, instead of tomorrow, since the fair had a free admittance day on Thursday. I said that that was true, but that also meant that it would be a lot more crowded on Thursday. She ahhh’d. We looked out of the window at the fairgrounds down below and saw lots of people walking around like ants, but also plenty of empty space between them, that would allow for social distancing.
- I returned from a faraway place to an outdoor fair where I was living, and one of the things that I could do/needed to do in the fair was to buy a new smartphone. There was a new iPhone model or something premiering at the fair, however it was too pricey for me and after shopping around for alternatives, I found a Sanyo phone that I had never heard of before, that looked new but cost only half the price, about $400 or so. I suspected it wasn’t actually new though, and this was reinforced when I noticed that the phone not only could play MP3s, but also had an ejectable cover in front to insert a cassette tape into.
- At one point, I found a removable floor tile in the fairgrounds and open it, slipping down into a secret room below where there were a bunch of paintings by famous celebrities who were not actually painters. A couple people I knew also found their way into that room through different means, and we stayed there a bit until we were rescued and brought out by a passing staff member on a vehicle.
- At another point, someone I was with needed to get his COVID-19 vaccine at the fair, and he ended up getting it from a rather sketchy store in order to skip the lineup or something. We questioned the validity of the jab but he said that there was a legitimate doctor there and he had received the jab after asking about the vaccine even though it wasn’t the official booth.
- Snippet: There was something about a job involving bedframes, there was only one worker required a day this week and I was only given one shift in the week. The next week I was scheduled three times, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but next week’s jobs were considered “weaker” or less strenuous jobs.
- Snippet: We had to pick a door out of several doors with different types of defend quests tied to each one. A mage girl in our party, jumping the gun a little, picked the most difficult one without enough discussion on our part, but we forgave her as she was still just a child. The quest still turned out to be very much doable anyway.
Aug 29 2021
- I was following a group of five workmates or friends being led by Jeremy around a building as we completed daily work tasks, but I didn’t like how he was either not wanting to do something or just plain lost at one point, so I somewhat forcefully took over the group leadership and brought everyone down some corridor to a room where we were supposed to do some sort of test, explaining out loud where I was going and what we were going to do as we went.
- This test was Part 2 of one that we had done earlier in the dream, and the sheets of paper from the first part were still sitting in a folder in a side room attached to the classroom. They were unmarked, but the folder itself was seated on some sort of strange white panel and screen on a desk. I couldn’t find the test sheets for Part 2 of the test and asked Jeremy if he knew where it was. He smiled and said he’d tell me for $5, I smiled back and told him that we would all get $5 tomorrow morning after we finished both tests and submitted all our daily tasks, and I couldn’t give him an advance on that fee.
- An attendant of some kind appeared to break the tension between us, pressing a button on the panel that the folder was on, which caused a piece of paper to appear on top of it. This was the Part 2 test, and she showed me the sheet and asked me, as the leader, to quickly vet the questions to see if they looked correct before she took it off to the printers.
- She was apparently from an organization that helped teachers generate tests based on a syllabus that the teachers provided them, and what we had provided them was some sort of general science curriculum. They had generated a test with a bunch of true/false and short answer questions, and although I couldn’t actually understand any of the questions, they felt right so I nodded to her and she took away the test.
- I noticed from the answer key she left behind that the answers for the true/false segment were TTFFTTFFF, but that answer key was rapidly disintegrating on its own since the attendant had now left, so that’s as far as I saw.
- In another part of the dream in the same world, I led the group to a darkened rooftop where there were a bunch of storage chests with items that hadn’t been brought over to our “main base”. We had set up here once long ago, and had thought about moving all these items over to our main base at first to consolidate our rseources, but decided to leave them here so that we would still have some resources and items we could use if our main base got wiped out or became inaccessible somehow.
- While on that darkened rooftop, I also saw a lone student that we had met elsewhere earlier in the dream cycle up to the rooftop and place his bicycle and an item in a personal chest of his that was set slightly further away than all our other chests. While he hadn’t touched our chests, he was using them as a protection in numbers thing to help protect his own chest.
- Snippet: My family, particularly Jonathan, were involved in one part of the dream that also had something to do with baths, and waiting for something or someone, I think. I don’t remember the details though.
- Snippet: In another part of the dream, a woman had a giant hippo stuck in a vertical pipe in her house, and was illegally feeding that hippo something to create a white liquid of some sort that trickled out of the pipe for her to collect. It was very tasty and was prized by other people as it was supposed to be no longer producible.