My Diary #020

It’s diary entry 20! That’s a nice round number. The Fall 2021 semester started this week at the University. I am skipping this semester, though. Also, it’s a long weekend this weekend! Monday being Labour Day, with a U.

Entry #020 (Sep 05 2021)

Table of Contents

Wag your tail at..
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #19
ට  Photograph of the Week #7
ට  Things I am thankful for this week
ට  Dreams

School

So after passingly noting last week about missing out on exchanging contact information with any of the girls that I liked hanging out with during volunteering, one of them signed up for the final volunteering session this Wednesday, Sep 01, the one that I was going to all day. And we chatted again there and she asked for my contact information. Yay! I now have two whole friends on WeChat. I do carry most of the common messenger programs on my phone, though I try to steer people away from using Facebook or Instagram if possible (and then WhatsApp, but that one is harder to substitute). It is really interesting how people in different regions of the world tend to gravitate to different messenger apps, though. Japan generally uses Line, for example, which China does WeChat. Singapore does WhatsApp.

Anyway, on Wednesday, I finished my last volunteer shift for the Campus Check-in program, staying for the entire day (10am to 3pm). A couple of the people there were new to me, a couple were repeats, and they were all nice, although I definitely associated more with the Asians in general than the Caucasians. We were definitely busier that day than any other day so far that I was there for though, which was no surprise because the first day of class was actually in session that day.

There was also a Clubs Fair going on in the Main Quad, in-person on Sep 01-03 (and virtual on Sep 07-10) this year, but I didn’t really have time to check them out during the day, though I stopped by in the morning before the session started. It wasn’t open at the time though, but I saw all the little tents set up for the clubs in the grass field, which was different from the setup two years ago when everyone had a booth in one or two large tents. It was also drizzling in the morning and through the afternoon, so the representatives for some of the clubs that didn’t have tents instead got nicely soaked. From what I heard from a work colleague who volunteers with a club, the Students’ Union didn’t actually provide tents for most of the clubs, I guess because they weren’t expecting it to rain.

It was quite busy on campus that day though. Easily over two hundred people were visibly walking around the Main Quad on the way to class (or lined up for a free pancake breakfast) alone when I was there at around 8:45 am. Masks were mandatory indoors, and about 75% of students that I saw were masked up outdoors too.

Related to the volunteering stint, I actually found out that the Summer Connect 2020 program last year… didn’t run, according to the volunteer coordinator! It last ran in 2019, he said. And in addition to that, he said fhat the person who usually ran Summer Connect, that Brendan person, had been let go or resigned in 2020 anyway and wasn’t even here to facilitate the program! So what exactly did I take part in?? He was as confused as I am when I showed him my emails proving that I had been in touch with him and that Summer Connect 2020 did in fact run, yet he swore he had no idea even though it was a program overseen by UAI and he was basically the program assistant and main volunteer contact/coordinator. That was super strange.

I did have employee powers to abuse though, so I looked up the Brendan person and he did in fact leave in November of 2020, before my time with Ran had ended, and if he had been on his way out the past few months before that, it’d have been no wonder that he was super busy with trying to transition his work away and thus unable to answer emails or find me a second partner. I guess I’m thankful the program ran at all, since it wasn’t “supposed” to. And it even counted for Co-Curricular Activity points in the CIL program that the same University of Alberta International department runs. Talking about which, I should go investigate if this volunteer program counted. That would finish up my CCA requirements if it did.

Three other significant things happened this week. The first is that Discord school hubs launched to coincide with the start of the school year. I was wondering what it would look like, but it’s not too bad, it’s basically a list of public Discord servers related to the University that people could enroll their server into. Pretty good way of finding clubs and classes and faculty friends and random social groups, actually. I was afraid it was going to be a mess — for example, there are many programs and apps online where the first person or group to sign up using a University email address are given administrative access over the entire University and every subsequent email address from every subsequent department that signs up on that site trying to separately use their product as well. Because they’re only programmed to recognize one email domain as one entity. This causes privacy issues all over the place and it’s really weird.

The second other significant thing that happened is that Exchange applications for the 2022/2023 Fall/Winter school year opened. I think this means I can apply for the second half of my Spring/Fall semester with Sophia (special exception, which is usually not on the list) now, although in all actuality I don’t have time since we’re really busy at work this week, plus I have a couple other things I need to check first because I’m not sure Japan will be vaccinated enough in time to open their borders anyway. It should be open for quite some time though. The Winter 2022 portion is open until Nov 09 2021, I think, whereas the Fall 2022 (and if needed, Winter 2023) portion is open until Jan 26 2022. I have to gather some details still but I think I am meant to apply to both terms together in order to create one single full year application on the Sophian side.

And finally, the last thing is also Sophia-related — their January session course offering that I was looking at was announced to be online only (or at least, this was the week I noticed that it was announced, last time I checked it hadn’t been updated yet). This ultimately doesn’t really affect my overall path to go for the Spring/Fall semesters, but it does at least mean that I won’t be leaving in December 2021/January 2022 for this, and it’s more likely that I leave sometime in March or April of 2022 instead, at least if I continue along this path.

Work

We had several more “please undelete my account!” tickets at work this week, but what was also interesting was that the doomsday clock hit on Friday, when the accounts that were mass deleted on Aug 14 2021 could no longer be restored, because Google accounts that are deleted can only be restored for 20 days, which ticked over at about 2am on Sep 03 2021. We had a pretty major ticket that slid in to us just past this deadline, and so we were unable to restore quite a lot of important files and the clients are probably mad. I had to send them the apology on this ticket, though they haven’t replied yet.

Still, at the end of the day, it’s partially their fault too for not offboarding the accounts properly when the original owners left the University. Those accounts were actually supposed to have been deleted back in Feb of 2021, so they even had nearly 7 extra months to do so. Who keeps important work in accounts of people that no longer work at the University?? (Apparently a lot of departments, including many teams internal to our department, we’ve learnt.) it’s failures all around though because our department (and/or the Office of the CISO) has also been really poor in how much messaging they’ve ever sent out about the issue. A catastrophic data loss or two might bring the issue into brighter light though.

Two other really big things happened at work this week. The first is that it was announced that one of my colleagues, Matt, was leaving the team to join another team in the department as their team leader. That’s a promotion, woo! He was definitely a workhorse for the team though, and was also the best by far at things like documentation and meetings with certain other teams, so that aspect will be sorely missed. We’re finally hiring one person to fill his shoes, but the posting is internal only, which boggled my mind (although there are one or two great candidates that will probably make the cut and fight it out among themselves for the spots anyway, even if it were externally posted). Funny thing too, he was still considered the new guy on the team, even though he’d been working here for 6 years. That’s how little movement there’s been due to budget issues.

Talking about budget issues, our team was already really small, and we’re being cut from a team of 5 to a team of 4 with him leaving, not counting our supervisor. This is happening on the busiest period of the year for us as well, the September start of school period, and even with him around we were already down 1 person from last September and 2 from the September before that, due to Conservative government budget cuts, so we were already majorly feeling the pinch. Our unassigned queue is already something like 70+ tickets deep and going to get worse before it gets better, and projects, even those in flight, are pretty much off the table for a few months at this point as the new person will need time to get acclimatized even if they’re an internal candidate. Plus the spectre that is my on-again, off-again, possibly leaving soon situation has really been hanging over the team, especially Ronnie, my supervisor, for some time now.

That being said, the other interesting thing that happened this week at work was that queue monitor duties got shifted over to me, despite (as my supervisor puts it) me having had one foot out the proverbial door for quite some time now as far as he’s concerned. He noted that he definitely had been hesitating before giving me big things to work on, but that he knew I had never mentally checked out despite all the uncertainty and changing timelines, which he appreciated, and this one seemed right up my alley and something I’d probably actually enjoy.

Sure, it’s the worst time of the year for it, as our queue is a disaster right now, but I am indeed nothing if not really organized (see some of the other nonsense on my blog), so I created a 30 minute mock draft of how I was going to deal with the queue the next day after our initial meeting, which was approved, and to some extent I do consider this a fun task and am largely looking forward to it. Jeremy, the previous person who had the task, is the one who is ideologically the furthest from me on the team though, so there might be quite the paradigm shift in terms of the way the tickets are doled out between us, but Ronnie seemed willing to try it, and Jeremy seemed to support the idea of me taking over the queue monitor system too.

I got a rundown of the philosophy behind how the queue was ran, and how it was more important to not burn out the current team than to try to hit 0 on the queue all the time, so that’s something I’ll always have to be conscious about. It’s a really interesting Operations Management game (I use this term lightly) though, and I’m good at those. Jeremy’s also going to remain as the queue monitor for the other team that is getting merged with us for now, since they get far less tickets in general, so that’s one further plus point that helps me too.

The only real issue for me that I have identified so far is that while I’ve managed to survive working from home in the pandemic so far despite not setting an alarm clock on most days, this has to probably change. Our team’s morning meeting is at 9:00 am, even though work officially starts at 8:00 (suimmer hours)  or 8:30 (winter hours), and usually it’s been good enough as long as I make it on by 8:45 am or so to look at my daily assigned tickets (sometimes they even arrive as late as 8:55 am) to see if anything has to be brought to the morning roundtable. However, as the one dealing out the tickets now, I have to (and want to) be on top of the queue and dole them out a bit earlier, which means I have to be ready to actually go at around 8:00 to 8:15 am, at least until the queue dies down a bit. And even after that, there is always value in being on top of the queue and understanding what is in it and thus how to best dole out the day’s work. To do this, things like a ticket difficulty ranking system are probably needed.

This is apparently also something Jeremy tried though, and it quickly got out of hand really quickly, taking forever to do each day, which is why he defaulted to a simpler system of first in, first out. That also comes with its own set of issues though, which is why I think they’re looking to me to do the queue, especially during this heavy time, because I’m known for being good with numbers and optimization. I think, maybe. And, forewarned by the recounting of his experience, I am likely going to be extra wary of how long this is taking and find a process that doesn’t take hours each day to do.

So that I don’t look bad in the eyes of future audiences, I should also note that a large reason that my morning start time is so variable is not because I wake up late, as I generally have no issues waking up normally, around or before 8:00 am, occasionally as late as 8:30 am, even without an alarm clock. I have slept in past 9:00 am maybe 5 times in the past 7-10 years or so, generally only when I stayed up really, really late (3:00 am or beyond) and yet didn’t use the alarm clock the next day. Even then, it’s usually just slightly past 9:00 am before my brain kicks me out of bed. Sleeping in is just not something I’ve been wired to do since my mid- to late-20s otherwise, not even on weekends, holidays or vacation.

Instead, the reason I am occasionally somewhat late for work is because of my dream diary! The longer entries in that thing sometimes take upwards of 30 minutes to write, especially if I’m poring over hastily-scribbled notes in my physical notepad, trying to figure out what the heck “5342 over inventory” means, and that plus the rest of my morning routine can easily push me past 8:30 am.

Life

Here’s a mood piece from anime this week:

Yes, that’s why I do this.

This week was notable to some friends — Satinel had her birthday, Jahandar had a hurricane scare in Louisiana while Nak had a tornado/flood scare in New Jersey, and Kynji had her last day at her old job (and is starting her new one next week!) Everyone made it out of their personal traumas fine though. How exciting!

Our conservative government in Alberta announced a $100 debit card incentive reward for people who get their first vaccine shot in the next six weeks. It’s a bit funny, I guess Dad was prophetic when he said he wanted to hold out for an incentive reward before being vaccinated (although he thankfully didn’t hold out this long, as it was never worth it.) There’s people arguing about how this is a bad precedent and rewarding the idiots, and I know their feelings, but at least it’s still a route leading to the right destination in the end, regardless of how bad the route is.

I appreciate that the idiot conservative in our premier’s seat is still far better than the ones down south in places like Florida. He’s pleading with people to go get vaccinated because we’re “only” at about 70% of eligible people.vaccinated. So he wins points in my book because at least he seems serious about it and isn’t pandering to the uneducated masses like down south. Now if only he’d bend and allow a vaccine passport, and the Universities to mandate vaccinations before being allowed on campus. But at least we’re arguing about the path rather than the final destination, and that’s leaps and bounds ahead of where some other places are.

On Tuesday of last week, Kynji linked this article about an ice cream flavour that was only found in Canada, called Tiger Tail, that is “a creamy orange flavour “striped with a black licorice ripple””, according to the article. That felt like a challenge, so I went out hunting for it in the local Safeway. While I did see various ice creams from Chapman and Nestle, I didn’t see this specific flavour (although I would not have bought it from Nestle anyway). I did find this Lucerne knock-off brand though, called Tiger Tiger, that seemed to be basically the same thing, so I bought it just to be able to say that I tried it, especially since I haven’t had any licorice before as far as I’m aware. I didn’t particularly like or dislike the flavour though, out of the small amount I’ve consumed of it so far. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so the flavours don’t really do anything for me.

That being said, I was a little amused that the ice cream aisle had both Lucerne and Compliments ice cream flavours, as I recognize them both as basically in-house brands belonging to the same supermarket chain/parent company. It made me think about how companies I want to morally avoid, like Nestle, also own a bunch of other brands like Häagen-Dazs, and it’s one thing to avoid the main brand but quite another difficult task to know and avoid all their sub-companies.

Anyway, on my way home from Safeway that day, I also found the clothing donation bin that I had mentioned I was not being able to find a couple of months ago. I guess either it was not there at the time, or it had just been moved. It was near the other recycle bins but not quite where I had remembered it before, and I’m not sure I looked for it where I found it this time, at that earlier time. At any rate, I hope to clear out some clothes and stuff in the next month, before the winter chills arrive.

Another thing happening in my neighbourhood is that there’s construction happening down below in the shared yard between all the buildings in my complex, just outside the back door of the swimming pool. I wandered down there to take a picture of it but have no idea what they’re building there, since it’s raised slightly higher than the grass level around it.

Other things on my near future to-do list include getting a new pair of glasses as well. I did my eye prescription test a couple of weeks ago, but I never turned that into a new pair of glasses because I was waiting on a sale, the test results for the glaucoma thing, and also what to do with the camera glasses that I ended up sending back. I am seriously thinking of picking up a Go Pro though, since the latest model (Hero 9) is on sale now in preparation for the next model launching later this September, so it seems like a good time to pick up the second newest one for a discount. But it’s still nearly $500, and big purchases always give me pause.

I finally found a bit of time to start tinkering with my Shrine of Memories as well this week, although it was only really one evening and thus nothing substantial was really done with it. Still, thanks to gaming with friends, I had not found any time to even touch it in the past month, and this has been eating away at me. There’s a lot I need to do before I move, but my friends just won’t leave me alone! Tempting me with all these evil co-op games. (Note: i have been very complicit in this crime as well.) I also continued scanning my 3rd yearbook, and it is the most painful thing in the world to have to compromise between trying to scan a book and trying not to break the book spine or cut out the pages, since most of the pages can’t be pressed totally flat, and thus the inner margins are usually blurry or have a dark smudge. This disturbs me so much.

Talking about Shrine of Memories, I got Discord message pings from someone on one of the Reddit-based Discord servers I (used to actively) hang out in, the /r/chihayafuru server (based on the anime). Turns out this person, going by the alias Bodhi, had written a fanfic story based on some of the personas of the people in the Discord server that he had met when he was more active there, and (vaguely) some anime titles that he likes. It’s no Pulitzer, and probably shouldn’t even really be broadcast out to the larger world in general since it’s full of silly inside jokes that will make no sense to anyone else outside the community, and it’s probably something he’ll look back at in 5-10 years and cringe a bit like we all do, but it did trigger some old memories of similar communities, friends, and stories from the past.

This is noteworthy not only because this is the second fanfic story that he’s written (this is the first), but also because I remember some other similar tribute-type characterizations being written when I was active in the /r/girlgamers Discord server about, oh, 6 years ago. I dug out the old (collaborative) document and found that it was not much more than literal character descriptions. However, the important part of having that document is that I had since long forgotten most of those names in the intervening years, and just looking at that document alone brought back a rush of familiar sensations.

That I think is the true value of works like this, and why even though in the moment they may seem silly, they’re actually really valuable resources to hold onto for 5, 10 years from now and beyond, because friends come and go and get forgotten and buried in the sands of time sometimes. I no longer actively participate in the /r/chihayafuru server, and the people there will soon fade away into an occasional fleeting memory of odd usernames lost in the wind somewhere, but things like this act like a snapshot from someone’s youth, capturing a specific group of people with a specific mindset/mental age, actively coming together during a specific span of time, that contributed to the culture and history of the server in a way that can never be exactly replicated again. That’s what I wanted to say about this event, and why I really appreciated what Bodhi did, outside of the actual content of the story itself.

Before I transition into games, I took a nice late evening walk early in the week when the weather was great, and I basically just picked a direction and started walking about 15 to 20 minutes in a straight line before finding a nice park that I had never been to or even really seen on the map. Actually it was less of a park and more of a school field, but there was a park element to it too, and I really liked the place. Wide open fields, beautiful evening skies, warm wind (please pretend you can feel that as you look at the pictures), gentle lights on in nearby houses, and a school football team practicing late into the evening, their parents watching on as the veil of dusk settles over them.

Games

Our main game this week is still 7 Days to Die, and I think we plan to finally wind down on this this weekend. There’s basically only minor gear and skill upgrades left to get, and no major goal left to work toward, so I think people are just finishing up whatever puttering around they have left on their to-do list before we can finally move on to something else together. That something else likely being the MMO roulette thing that I mentioned in last week’s diary entry. For my part, I’ve been flying around to different vendors looking for skill books for the rest of the group, since I have all my stash and discount perks maxed out, and that’s helped inject a measure of fun by giving me a goal, but I can only do that once every 3 ingame days or so, and spend the in between time kind of standing around.

Flying in this game is such an Experience. It’s so unintuitive and unrealistic. It’s basically like you’re on a bicycle with wings. But it works, I suppose, and isn’t too bad once you get used to the quirks. In the future, I think we might come back to the game and either try out new mods or a public server as well. I don’t expect to still be playing this game by the next writeup so this might be the last you’ll hear about this game for a bit, dear diary!

Besides that, there’s not much to report this week. I didn’t have time to do much on the phone, nor play any personal games, besides our near-daily rounds of Anime Music Quiz on the browser. But that one has been a constant in my life since (apparently) April 04 2019. I did fire up Revue Starlight: Re LIVE since they were giving away enough store currency for a free gacha 10-pull, and I pulled the newest character, who seemed overly strong, after a couple of tries with saved up currency. It’s kind of sad though. I got fairly close to maxing her out and noticed that she was already about 50% more powerful (in terms of a power rating score that every character has) than my previous top character, a fully maxed out character from the last time I played, which means that there has been some severe power creep going on in the game over the past year or so. Typical of an Asian F2P/P2W phone gacha game though, I suppose. It did nothing to rekindle my interest in the game.

I have had hankerings to play some random solo Steam games though, although I have no idea where in my weekly schedule I’d ever fit something like that into.

Plushie of the Week #19 – Tibbers

Tibbers was a bear that I bought on Aug 16 2015 from Riot Games, and he arrived at my house on Aug 25 2015, making that his birthday. I’ve been surprised at how many July and August plushies I have, between El Paca on Jul 05 2017, Ralph on Jul 09 2021, Munsch on Jul 10 2017, Winnie on Jul 28 2014, Carrotblade on Jul 28 2020, Clara on Aug 12 2021, Aria last week at Aug 29 2011, Starmiya on Aug 29 2020, and now this one, all having confirmed July/August birthdays. That’s 9 of the 19 plushies I’ve featured so far, and a few more that I haven’t featured yet. I guess I tend to go out to places and buy plushies during the summer.

Tibbers was an online purchase though, and his arrival, along with another plushie from Riot Games that I have not featured yet, also marked the day that i returned to full-time work after nearly a year off due to depression and other issues at that point too. So he’s been a positive symbol in my life. He cost $30 USD, and is actually still on sale in the Riot Games online store. There was $13.03 of shipping and duties between him and the other plushie, so I’m splitting that cost between the two of them too, placing this guy’s ticket value at $36.52. Here are pictures of him.

Front:

Back:

Other side of tag:

He’s huge! He’s probably my 2nd or 3rd largest plushie, after Carrotblade and maybe Munsch, and usually sits near the foot of my bed.

Since it’s from the Riot Games store, he’s of course a plushie from the lore of one of their games. Specifically, he’s a bear plushie of one of the heroes I liked from League of Legends, Annie. The character carries this bear plushie, Tibbers, around in game, and her ultimate skill involves her throwing him on the ground, at which time he turns into a giant bear and terrorizes any adults around. Now her bear is with me, and has been given a nice, loving home that his tragic owner never had.

Photograph(s) of the Week #7

The two photographs this week are of the third family home that I remember, the one I call Tampines 294. This was our last family apartment before we came over to Canada, but there are again precious few pictures of it in the family albums. These pictures were taken as part of a real estate evaluation that a company did before we sold it and came over here though, and although they’re missing several parts of the house (there was a third spare room too, as well an area in the hall where the computer was), they’re still very valuable pictures to me as I don’t have other picture versions of most of these rooms.

The first sheet has two photographs on it, the top one being our childrens’ bedroom (my younger sister slept on the lone bed on the left, my younger brother on the bottom of the double decker, while I slept up top), and the second picture is of my parents room. In the first picture, you can see our Santa Claus plushies mentioned in an earlier blog post as well. These pictures are dated Jul 09 1997.

In the second sheet, the top photograph points towards our living room and balcony, with my fondest memory here being the phone on the right/far side of the TV, and how I’d sit down on that blue footrest-cum-chair in the corner and talk for hours with my best friends over the phone while my parents watched TV from the main couch and listened in to my conversations. Neither of the posters up on the balcony door currently ring any bells, oddly.

The second photograph is a shot of our kitchen, with the toilet out of view on the far left end of the kitchen. Some of the things bring back memories — the blue water container and the yellow/red pot next to it on the right side of the picture, as well as the sink and dish rack on the far side. The green pot on the stove, as well as the blue rack with onions and potatoes on it. The washing machine on the left. Mmm. I don’t remember the stove, but I’m pretty sure it was a gas stove (like all our other stoves in Singapore at the time), and on the right side of the stove, to the right of the oven door, there is a little cupboard-like structure.

If it is indeed a gas stove, that “cupboard” can be opened, and its use was to store these blue gas cylinders (local) that pretty much everyone used for their stoves. We’d order a new gas cylinder every week or every other week, and I’d sometimes help drag the old one out to the front door to the friendly gas delivery man who would exchange it for a new one. That would be brought in and placed in the cupboard, and a hose inside connected to the top of the cylinder, allowing the stoves to be lit. They seemed to be fairly safe, at least I never really heard of them exploding or causing fires even though over a hundred families live in a single apartment block and many apartments were often packed together. I’m sure it occasionally happened though.

The only other pictures I have of this house are from Dec 27 1998, foru days before we migrated to Canada. I’m also adding them here since it’s on the same topic:

The first picture is of half of the living room, as well as the front door. You can see the TV and the footrest of the couch set on the right side. That big marble table on the right was the living room table, and also occasionally our dinner table, though we usually had meals in the kitchen.

The second picture is from the balcony, back out over the living room, between the doors and over what look like bamboo poles with clothes hanging out to dry on them. You can see the computer area on the far side there, as well as in the third picture (featuring Mom, Kellie, and half of Jonathan in the kitchen) and the fourth one as well (featuring the orange training pot that all three of us siblings used while growing up.. I wonder why it was still around since Jonathan was 5 by then, did they plan to have another kid?)

The fourrth shot also has our Buddhist talisman thing hanging on a hanger on the far wall, as well as doors leading off to the three side rooms — parents’ bedroom (Sheet 1, Picture 2) on the near right, our bedroom (Sheet 1, Picture 1) on the far right, and a spare room with no known surviving pictures on the left. It also contains a modem on top of the computer case on the near right side, and a phone by the dustbin — I’m pretty sure our modem was still dial-up at this time, and it used that phone’s phone number, which wasn’t our primary number, to connect to the Internet. There was supposedly a fax machine in the mix there somewhere too but I’m not sure where it was.

Things I am thankful for this week
  1. Summer Connect 2020. After hearing my coordinator’s story in the Campus Check-in volunteering sessions that I did over the past 3 weeks, I’m shocked that it even ran last year and thankful that it did, and that I caught it as well. It gave me some great experiences and two friends, and I had no idea that was allegedly not even supposed to have taken place!
  2. Bowls of cold water. I haven’t talked about my itching issue this week at all because it’s nearly completely gone now, but the little bit of itching or pain that remains has been very quickly quelled by a small bowl of water that I kept next to me for most of the early part of the week, changing it out every few hours. A wet cloth also helps, but even without that, just dipping my fingers in the water and then gliding it across the affected areas helped so much. I’m just waiting for my last few scratch wounds to heal and fade away into nothingness now so I can get back my more or less smooth skin again, and not have to worry about explaining away odd little wounds whenever I go out, but it’s been great being able to sleep all night long again without feeling annoyed.
  3. The fact that I don’t seem to have any allergies (as far as I know, at least, I haven’t done a comprehensive test or anything). In particular, I like eating and trying different foods, and having to worry about a major allergic attack from some unknown ingredient in the food, or some mixing during the cooking process of the food, is a worry that I have never had to deal with, and I appreciate this a lot. This came up as a thought largely because I was wondering if I did have any allergies and if that was what caused all this itching. I don’t know for sure, but it doesn’t seem to be that way, and the only suspect I had, some odd almond non-milk extract that I had bought just before the incident, seems to have ruled itself out, since I bravely finished the rest of it after my outbreak subsided, and that did not cause any additional effect. Eat the world, eat the world!
  4. I’m thankful that I have no issues waking up early when I have to, and that I am more or less both a morning and night person. There was a period of time where this wasn’t the case, largely when I was ensnared in my last bout with depression 6 or 7 years ago, but that, thankfully, has resolved itself and I seldom have any stress around when I wake up, or the yearning to stay in bed and sleep for an hour or two more. I can generally comfortably wake up on my own without an alarm clock or without feeling tired somewhere between 7:00 am and 8:30 am every day, and that’s a really nice superpower that sets the tone for the rest of my day.
  5. Train noises. Distant or near. Trains rumbling on tracks, or train horns in the distance. I love them all. There’s something majestic about trains that I can’t easily put into words, and various kinds of train noises are an aesthetic sound that generally taps into some sort of childhood memory for me, pairing together with the feeling of humanity and time inexorably passing me by as I sit at home, lie in bed, or whatever I am doing when I hear the sound. I see complaints from people sometimes about a location being undesirable because the train passing by keeps them up at night or irritates them on an ongoing basis or something, but for me that sound and sensation is a plus!
Dreams

This week was a mix between short to medium dream diary entries, and then the monster on Sep 01 2021, which definitely has a current spot in my top 5 list of the longest diary entries that I’ve written. The 2nd dream especially was rather interesting! Now if only I can turn these long dreams into lucid dreams.

Aug 30 2021
  • I was a student actress, along with another cute girl whom I apparently was often working with but didn’t actually know outside of the dream. We were acquaintances but not super close friends. We had several acting gigs together, and sometimes the director would just pick one of us for whatever they were going to shoot.
  • One of these shoots was a porn shoot, and the casting crew came in to audition us in some method that I don’t remember. They picked me for the role, which was ultimately to be tied up and tossed into some basement of a club by the owner, and she was mad about that and wanted to know why they didn’t pick her, even though I was less interested in the actual role than her.
  • However, she was mollified after the camera crew and director agreed to take a picture together with her for her as a keepsake. She even invited me to be in the picture and I came. One of the camera crew members saw the edge of Tigey peeking out from my pocket and inquired what that was. She told him in no uncertain terms that that was Tigey, as though that would explain everything.
  • She then went to stroll around the neighbourhood, something she said that she never had the chance to do since moving here to work, and we went off for our shoot.
  • The company apparently had 6 or 7 torrents online that together backed up all the movies that they had ever shot. I wasn’t interested in helping them back it up, though.
  • Snippet: Part of an earlier dream involved NexusMods and how a game studio had to pick one of the versions of a mod that was hosted on that site to officially support as part of their game, as they were going to bring in a new feature to their game and several mods had implemented their own version of it already. They ended up picking a medium-sized mod that had a modest 10k or so downloads, and people were complaining that they didn’t pick one of the super popular ones that had more than 100k downloads.
  • Snippet: I had some sort of test that I “failed”, although in the dream it felt more like it was cancelled, similar to how COVID-19 scuttled my Japan trip. But this was a physical test in the form of two different sheets of paper, and I was put on some sort of two week probation due to it. However, one of the administrators seemed to like me, and she helped give me some advice on how to appeal, and what things I could do, to improve my chances to pass the second chance appeal by the board at the end of the two weeks. With her help, I passed, though both of us were still a bit mystified as to what the appeal was actually based on in the end since it wasn’t a real test to study for. It worked though and I thanked her, and went off to see my family and blog about my experiences.
Aug 31 2021
  • One part of the dream had me go through a Physics test of some kind at school. I did okay on the test, but could have done better if I had actually studied for it, since the first part of the test had short answer questions based on the early part of the book that we were tested on, and was written more to test whether I had memorized it than actually testing concepts or ideas.
  • After the test, I took a bus together with Mom and Kellie over to my parents’ place. The bus was really crowded and it was standing room only, but a pair of twins or triplets who had gone on the bus just before us abruptly left the bus before it took off, so we could move further back into the bus. This also caused a seat to free up and so we gestured Mom to take the seat.
  • There was a secondary plotline about Mom’s cooking here as well, but I forget the details on it. It was something to do with how cooking took a long time and so she could only cook for us kids once or twice a week, though.
  • Later on, as part of what probably was a game, there was also some kind of small building with a large overhanging roof over it on all sides, kind of like a petrol station, and a person or team was assigned to defend it while another was assigned to attack it. I was on both sides of this game at different points in the dream, and not all my opponents fought me either (particularly when it was obvious that I would easily win), so we stopped to chat with each other at least twice.
Sep 01 2021

Dream 1

  • I was in the backseat of a car in a parking lot. There were four people in the car, and the girl in the backseat with me was a girl that we were transporting somewhere, who I noted at one point was the fourth person that I had helped smuggle out or brought somewhere that day. She gave off an aura of being slightly spoilt, or a tsundere, but I don’t remember her actually acting that way.
  • While in the parking lot, though, she got out of the car and started tossing small stones, and then comically large boulders, at someone on the other side of the parking lot, who turned out to be her mother. We asked if she was worried that her mom would find her, and she said that she would hide if mom came close. Indeed, they seemed to have different draw distances — even though the girl could clearly see her mom across the parking lot, her mom had trouble locating her assailant even though she clearly knew she was being hit by who was probably her daughter.
  • By the time the mom came halfway across the lot toward us, following the projectile of the rocks, the girl had fled back into the car. She hid herself in the back seat beside me, lying down and spreading a couple dress shirts or jackets on top of her, while telling the driver to please take off. The mom started peering around at the cars in the area, looking for the culprit.
  • I remember looking down at myself wearing my Dunman High shirt/blouse uniform with the metal badge pinned onto my left chest, and wondering belatedly if I and the person in the front seat that was wearing the same uniform should at least take off the badges so we were less suspicious. But it was too late. However, the mom just stared in our window, and made a comment that her daughter used to attend that school too, but didn’t see her in the backseat and made no move to stop us as we drove off.
  • At some point before the car incident, possibly even in the same parking lot just before the girl incident, I was also feigning sleep while listening in to a conversation next to me by the others in the car. This gave me some information that I used in conversation a bit later when I woke up, and the others I were talking with all thought I was really clever for realizing or understanding what I had actually just heard while asleep. Also, I don’t remember the details of the other three people that we had transported, but it was done in two separate trips earlier in the same day, with one a group of two and another a solo person. I also remember looking at a map, and we had followed a road straight north out of a city for some distance, before turning a sharp east to the parking lot that we were in.
  • Later on, I was in a University building, similar to our School of Business building, and my mom gave me a toy model bicycle set that she said was a parting gift from my maternal grandpa, who had just died. It was a toy that had parts that could be folded and assembled together like some sort of weird transformer. Indeed, once folded up and assembled, it turned into a bicycle that was about one and a half feet long and half a foot wide and thick, with “handles” on the four long edges of the bicycles that were made up of characters. Two of them were Disney characters, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, but I had no idea who the other two were.
  • Mom (or maybe Ronnie, it gets blurry here) suggested we took a lift up to one of the business office levels of the building, specifically to an office where someone might be able to identify it. I agreed and brought along the bicycle model in a high-quality, red-handled, shopping bag as we headed to the elevator lobby.
  • Mom entered the elevator first while I was tagging along just behind. I was carrying my purple transition diary book along with me, and there was an old coupon and a couple papers tucked inside the front page that dropped out and fluttered to the ground as I passed some male students in the elevator lobby. I bent down to pick them up, starting with the coupon, but one of the guys grabbed the two papers, then blatantly crumpled them in his fist in order to pretend that they were actually his and not mine when I knew they were very clearly mine.
  • I grabbed them from him anyway, then yelled at him for damaging my property. I then grabbed one of his books with my fist, strong enough to crumple some of those pages too, and waved them at him, asking him if he’d like it if I gave him the same treatment. He stared back at me blankly, and one of the other students warned me that I should let him be because he was mentally unstable and might crack and fly into a rage at any time. I backed off and went back to the elevator.
  • Mom (or Ronnie) was still holding the elevator and waiting for me at this point, but the door was closed and the elevator looked to be on the 6th floor to me, so I said that we had gotten out of sync due to the distraction and to please reset the elevator to the ground floor. That happened, the door opened, and I went in. We took the elevator up to the 10th floor.
  • Once on the 10th floor, Mom took the lead and led me down a corridor, peering into the open doors of some of the cluttered offices before finding the one she was looking for. Apparently there were some professors there that owed her a favour and were also really interested in weird artifacts, so she wanted me to show the bicycle to them. Going into the room, I saw two females, one adult and one teenager, as well as a teenage boy. The room was air-conditioned, and the girl and the woman were both staying in the office to accompany the boy, who lamented that they would have to leave the nicely air-conditioned room and go home soon because he was just about out of clean clothes to change into. Apparently they had been here for quite a while.
  • But for now, everyone took a seat on a chair, far away from each other but pointing toward the center of the room. Mine was near the south wall and facing north, whereas Mom was on the north side facing south, the woman was on the west wall facing east, and the other two on the east wall facing west. After being prompted by Mom, I took out the bicycle model, unfolding and folding it together to demonstrate how it worked to the other three, and then placing it in the middle of the room for them to all look at it.
  • Editor: I’ve never met my maternal grandparents, they were long gone by the time I was born.

Dream 2

  • I was a 2nd year student in a magic school. Our class was a mix of strangers and people I knew, but I did feel more of an attachment to them than my usual dream class. We also had a pet plushie mascot, which was a bright pink jellyfish plushie that looked somewhat like Clara, but who was attached by a long string to the middle of a pen. She was part of a collection of things on a table at the back of the class, that had other stories around it, but I forget the details.
  • Our last class of the day was an elective, and our class split up to head off to the classrooms assigned to each subject. The one I picked was some sort of magic theory and practical class where the lesson being taught was that magic use must and will always zero out its effect upon the world. Since it was an elective, I didn’t recognize most of the students in the class, but I did see Jean from my Dunman High class as well as Jonathan from my McNally class, Jonathan was sitting behind Jean and was chatting to her. I sat behind Jonathan.
  • I had brought along Clara to the class, and unwound the plushie from the pen, before propping the pen perpendicularly atop the metal grille under the school desk (usually for storing books and bags) so that Clara hung down below and could look forward at the class. Of course, her view was blocked by Jonathan and Jean’s legs, and I belatedly wondered about moving seats closer to the front, but then the teacher came in at this point so I lost that opportunity.
  • The teacher was a tall, pretty woman whom I had never met or seen before, as this was the first class of the semester. I couldn’t understand her lesson at first, as she seemed to be speaking what I thought was Thai, before transitioning to English, Chinese, and then Japanese. She then broke out into humming a song — Idol Katsudou from Aikatsu! — and I hummed and bobbed my head along with it.
  • After a minute, she stopped, and then asked for a show of hands, to see who recognized the song she was humming, and had also sung it before. About ten hands went up, including mine, and she asked for us all to stand up. The class was about 75% or so male, and I was the only female that stood up, so she happily exclaimed my name, something to the effect of, “Ahh, Jessica! You know the song, huh.” To which I nodded but replied, “Please don’t ask me to sing it though.” I remember looking down at my uniform at this point too, and seeing that I seemed to be wearing the dark blue pinafore and white blouse that was the female uniform of my Rosyth days.
  • Anyway, she used this grouping to group us into a 75%/25% grouping in a simulation that we all watched “on screen” or via hologram in class, with the 10 people who had stood up having their characters assigned special privileges, while the other 30 did not. To be precise, it was a week-long simulation where the 30 students who had not stood up were assigned a small room each but only given the bare minimum of food and nothing to do. The 10 students who had stood up were given larger rooms away from the 30, decent food and even some money to do shopping on the side, but had a bunch of rules they had to adhere to and tasks they had to do.
  • One of the rules was that there was absolutely no talking or interaction between the 30 and the 10. However, in the simulation, one of the boys was hungry and desperate at some point, and so he approached me as I was carrying a backpack back to my room, not saying a word but trying to catch my attention to see if my backpack contained food.
  • The teacher, who played a harsh taskmistress in the simulation, immediately swooped in and attacked my character, hitting and kicking me and causing me to fall to the ground and my backpack to spill open. Inside were a number of bright plushies that fell out onto the floor, among other things, and the teacher even tried to stomp on them as I cried out and tried to protect them. None of the plushies were hurt, though, but I was bruised and a little blackened from dirt by the time all was said and done, as the hapless boy looked on in horror.
  • There was a chapter break here in the simulation. The scene faded to show a picture of the last page of a book flipping over and closing up, signifying the end of that segment, and next to the first book was a second book, whose first page automatically opened up, before the simulation faded back into existence with a changed scene. This showed that the abuse part was just an example of things that had happened during the week, and that there was now a time skip in the story.
  • The scene now shifted to the final day of the week, where we were expected to take a group exam as a class, to get by an obstacle course together. The 10 separated students, including me, were shown to still be exhausted and dirty, whereas the other 30 students were physically fine but weakened from hunger. Jonathan, representing the 30 students, also noted to the teacher that due to the hardship faced by two groups, and how busy it was in the school with other classes also undergoing exams and clubs having activities, our class hadn’t been able to book a room for practice and so hadn’t had a chance to work together. The teacher ignored him.
  • The exam took place on the second level of a gym area, and the teacher was also overseeing a 1st year class that she had, who she was teaching the same subject to, although they hadn’t been subject to any hardships and had been able to train together prior to the test. They had their own identical obstacle course on the first level of the same gym, right below us.
  • Once the test started, we thought we were going to fail, but we realized that the 1st year class, by clearing their obstacles on the floor beneath us, were also triggering effects that were clearing our obstacles at the same time as well. Bemused, we simply walked through the obstacle course as everything disappeared, without the need to cast a single spell. At the end we saw the taskmistress, who had shed her strict demeanour and was now beaming.
  • The scene faded, and we were back in class on that first same day. Our teacher thanked us for putting up with the cruelty, and noted that the reason that things played out that way was the Universe righting itself to a Zero State. Because we had suffered cruelty and unfairness, either the magic or the teacher itself made it so that our exam was ludicrously easy to balance out our week, which also cancelled out circumstantial “mistakes” like not being able to find a room to practice in as a class.
  • This was the end of our first day of actual class, so we packed up our things and moved back to our homeroom next door in order to prepare to leave for the day. I realized that I had left Clara still dangling from the table in the room next door. I went to retrieve her, and then returned to our home classroom, placing her on the table at the back of the homeroom. I then casually packed up my bag, chatting with a couple friends as I did so.
  • Somewhat belatedly, I wondered out loud to them how the teacher knew my name, as we had never met before, and while she would have had access to a general student roster, there were other girls in the class too. I said I had no idea who the teacher was, but one of my friends interjected at this point and looked incredulously at me, before telling me that she was a Zoom celebrity who put on magic shows online. I said that I had never attended any of those before.
  • There was a feedback form for the class that popped up in front of us at some point too, where we could pick one word from a list of words to rate the class that we were just in. The word I picked for my review was Surprise.
  • Snippet: At some point, music was playing, and I could see details on the name of the song and the band. The artist of the song that was playing was “Death Head Fountain & Jenny Turn”.
  • Snippet: At another point in the dream, for some reason I was with Mom and we were going through our physical mailbox in the lobby of our apartment flat. Among other other things, we both had brochures telling us that our new ID cards were on the way and had the effect of several old ID cards combined into one.
Sep 02 2021
  • We were renting a home in an overseas neighbourhood where the outside of the house looked very similar to our Edmonton 4012 neighbourhood, with a row of houses on one side of the street facing one across the way. The inside of the house was unfamiliar though, but had the feel of a hotel room with many actual rooms.
  • One plotline that I don’t remember ended with a couple wild animals wandering across the street, first a bear and its two cubs, then a walrus, then a white elephant. There were a lot of children, over 20-30 of them, running around as well, even though it was really dangerous — they were poking and peering at the wandering animals, and the bear and its cubs and even the walrus would occasionally try to grab and bite one of the children, but it would never connect.
  • The plotline I forgot about also ended with one of our neighbours owning a faulty machine of some kind, producing something that might have been the cause of the roaming animals. The wife of the house tried to convince us to buy it from them for $15000 but we refused.
  • The elephant went berserk at some point, and charged our rental house, smashing up against it and causing the entire front part of the house to collapse into a pile of rubble. Thankfully us 3 kids were outside at that point, while Mom and Dad were near the back of the house. All the little kids clamoured around our door, saying that they could help us rebuild or repair the house, but I told them to shoo and stay away as I entered the house through the front garage door which was still intact, and then went to look for Mom and Dad.
  • I couldn’t find them at first, but was eventually able to text them, once Mom started texting us with an exclamation of surprise at the part of the house that was now reduced to rubble. We all met in one of the house’s hallways, and I said that we should pack up some small luggage and get ready to move out to a temporary shelter for the night as the city’s cleanup crew was sure to chase us out while cleaning up the mess. Mom disagreed and said the rest of the house was still fine and we could probably stay here.
  • I don’t remember the details of the exact event that preceded this, but before that intermediate part was a segment that took place in some sort of housing neighbourhood as well, where I was the first person in my class to complete some tasks or dice rolls, and had about 140 points to spend on 3 cards ranging from 1 to 100. Each card gave you two active or passive skills.
  • I considered the cards for a long time, before noticing that there were also bonuses given for each set of 3 consecutive cards ending in a multiple of 3. The cards weren’t necessarily better the higher number they were either, so since I had the first pick, I picked cards 40-41-42, which gave me passives like increased carrying capacity, more armour, and more hp.
  • After everyone had picked their cards, I believe the scene turned into some sort of theater scene or singing event that might also have involved working with other people or checking out their skills at some point, and had a hint of being an illegal activity as well. That event eventually ended but led into the rampaging animals above.
Sep 03 2021
  • I joined an MMO game 10 years after it launched with a friend, where we found the quests really weird — the zone we were questing in had shadow quests where I could see lots of players running around, but they were actually recorded player movements from 10 years ago and such, to give the illusion that the community was still super active while I was on a quest. I could even enter an illusory friendship or romance with the fake players that I met there.
  • However, there were also actual players playing the game, and I could see them in between quests when the shadow players faded away. I did want to find a niche for myself in the game that had never been done, and settled on trying to grow either a 100% quality pineapple or apple.
  • Later on in a different dream, I temporarily moved into a house with my Dad, that was shared with many people. Winston and Wilson were there, as well as Garry. I said hello to them, but it was a bit awkward for me because I hadn’t met them or talked to them in so long, but Dad went to join them and talked to them while I went to take a shower. There were also other strangers in the living room of the house, and I worried about how much private internet time I could get on the single PC in the house here when there were so many people around who would undoubtably want to use the computer too, and resolved to move out as quickly as possible.
  • Yet later, I was travelling through a city with Kellie and Jon, and I learnt that a drawn symbol that we kept seeing on the ground, of a wide open jaw and teeth, meant that the item next to that symbol could be found roughly in the direction that the symbol was pointing in. Once we figured out what that symbol (which was called the molar symbol even though it displayed all the upper and lower teeth) meant, we were able to locate a yellow flower, crossing the road and wandering over a hilly part of a grassy field while following the directions of the molar symbol. Kellie plucked the flower and drank from its nectar.
  • Much later on, in another dream, I was again playing an MMO. This time it was Lord of the Rings Online, where I played a low level minstrel trying to defeat a boss with a group. I tried to save power (mana) to get through the fight while healing everyone efficiently, but the tank did something weird and died at some point, so the captain had to rez him. Even though we also pulled a number of extra adds during this part in order to stay alive, we still won the fight in the end.
Sep 04 2021
  • I remember at some point trying to wave down a taxi by the side of the road with one of my friends. We had trouble making the taxi see us, it was dropping off a passenger across the road and we were up a small hill on our side of the road.
  • I did remember doing a variety of other things with said friend, for example having a meal or investigating something with them, but the details are vague now. However, they weren’t anyone I knew and the focus wasn’t on the friendship at all. Rather, the tone of the dream felt more like we were trying to solve several overarching problems, or avoid something vaguely bad happening. The exact details escape me, however.
Sep 05 2021
  • There was an incident where 10 punks picked the lock to my front door and broke into my house even though I was there and had texted a friend to call the police while I tried to hold the front door closed. They forced their way in and stole $90 of the $100 that I had on me.
  • Due to this incident, our mutual master, basically our guild leader, summoned/gathered seven large zombies and ordered them to protect me. They were friendly zombies, about twice as tall as a normal human and perfectly capable of conversation, and seemed very happy to help. The two largest zombies said that they would take turns guarding me, a day at a time.
  • The break-in incident was caused by a traitor in our guild, a young Brazilian kid who had requested to join our guild but who Dad had flagged right away as a troublemaker. The kid had requested Dad craft him a device for external communication soon after he joined, but Dad had refused to give him any special privileges.
  • I was mad at Dad at first, but noticed afterwards that he was right to do so because the kid was faking all his guild work, for example he had a task to go to a room and dance to some music, but he only lurked in the area so his dot showed up on the minimap roughly in the right room, but when we spied on him he was just lazing around and not actually dancing to the songs.
  • Two of the song names here were Rate of Lilly and Kiss of Love. They were both rock/metal songs, however.
  • Once we resolved the break-in incident and got rid of the traitor from the guild, one of our guild leaders, a girl in a Japanese-style school uniform with an ankle-long skirt, tried to find out the tasks the traitor hadn’t finished, so that she could complete them for the clients.
  • In the meantime, I moved on to a new quset, which was in a large house next to a runway that was part of an abandoned airstrip. I had to clear the house of enemies, which was doable, especially since my mana regenerated quickly, but it still took a long time overall. I got to the house by riding bus 579 from the guild area.

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