My Diary #022

Dear Tigey,

Ever had one of those weeks where you just want to burn down everything?

Entry #022 (Sep 19 2021)

Table of Contents

Burn the…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #21
ට  Photograph of the Week #9
ට  Dreams

School

Three important school-related things happened this week. The first is that our province is tightening down the hatches and partially shutting down again, so in-person classes had to be cancelled on Thursday and Friday and I sense that a lot of people in the upper echelons of the University had to work overtime this week to figure out messaging and plans around what to do.

After some time of not being “allowed” (by the provincial government) to mandate vaccines, the Universities in the province did so anyway (local), although I think by this time the province has changed their tune anyway (but I didn’t read that this had happened officially). We have a whole slew of guidelines and timelines (local) now that people are still trying to figure out while going to class and work in many cases. Fun. I’m glad I took this semester off of school.

Secondly, I got this email:

Hi,

You’re receiving this email because you’ve applied for an exchange happening in the equivalent to UAlberta’s Winter 2022 term.

I previously told you that UAlberta would make its final decision concerning the viability of your exchange plans by early October.

We will now, however, make the decision sometime near the end of October instead.

In the meantime, I’ll kindly remind you to please avoid making financial commitments related to your exchange and to not drop out of any of your Winter 2022 term courses at UAlberta.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or require more information but please understand that my response time might be slow.

While good to know, I worry that this feels a little premature to me. End of October? For an exchange taking place in April next year? Japan’s vaccination numbers are at 53.2% now, which is getting better than before, but newspaper articles state that they pretty much won’t have plans to ease restrictions until around November or so. I have my doubts that the April study abroad plan is going to fly.

Because of that, this third and last point that surfaced this week intrigued me. I’m part of a program at UAlberta called the Certificate of International Learning, and one of the programs they trialed out last year and are continuing this year is the Multicultural Learning Pods program. I do want to go study abroad anyway, but this would take the place of (and be a backup for) the study abroad portion of that certificate if that thing ends up never taking off. However, the deadline for me signing up for this this year is before the deadline where I’d find out whether the April trip is a go or not, and so I’ve been torn on whether to register for this or not.

It does largely sound fun though, although it’s a bit of a time commitment (but far less so than a regular class), and even though it’s ending in March or so, it would probably clash a bit with my plans to go abroad if that does happen too. As well as any planned multi-week vacations. I don’t think I’d have a problem doing any of the work, though, so I went to check with the coordinator, who said:

Hi Jessica,

We have changed the structure of the Pods this year. We are having it span the two terms (so there is more time to digest the content) and we have eliminated the intercultural project and replaced it with two reflective essays (one due in Dec, one due in March).

Also, we structured the program so that it was accessible to students who are in Japan (since many of our visiting students are from Japan and one will join from there). It would mean an early morning meet up once you are over there (7am instead of 4pm), but, depending on your schedule, it could be doable. I would say the Pods would be a great place to meet Japanese students and to explore culture and intercultural relationships in anticipation of your trip abroad.

So that definitely piqued my interest. I’m not sure that there are many Japanese students here right now though, that was actually one of thethings I noticed doing the In-Person Campus Check-in program for international students a couple weeks ago — there were no, or barely any, Japanese students. I do know some are coming via another short-term program that we also help out another department (Faculty of Extension) with at my actual job though, but those folks have nothing to do with this program. But she seemed to be fairly certain about it, so I kind of want to join it. The tentative schedule (local) linked on one of the above websites would eat up my Thursday afternoon anime-watching plans though, but maybe that’s a worthy sacrifice anyway.

I think my biggest fear with this would be ending up in a group with members that didn’t care, since it involves some sort of group collaborative project as well, but then again everyone in this is part of the CIL program and had to actively work to be there, so that most likely probably isn’t a concern. Probably.

Anyway the deadline on this is September 19th, so by the time this blog is published I’ll probably have decided to sign up for this.

Work

So at the end of last week, my boss asked me to start occasionally doing ticket audits on my teammates, something I was uncomfortable with but could see the rationale behind. Basically helping to keep an eye out for tickets that get old or don’t get done properly, but also, as an extension of last week’s argument, he mentioned also possibly being able to get evidence to support my arguments that way, or the exact reverse, being able to see that people’s time actually was all going somewhere. After all, that being the first week that I was Queue Monitor, plus it being the busiest week of the year and a short week to boot, it was entirely possible that things were overstated and it was just a bad week. It didn’t have to be a formal audit anyway, but he told me to keep an eye out on things and see if I spotted anything because I’m good at spotting patterns and smoke.

Well, come Monday, I dole out my usual dose of tickets and start watching. On Monday night, I notice something about one of my three workmates, not the one I ranted about last week whose production is near zero now, but another one who occasionally has problems and was the reason I said we were performing at only a 2.5 person (out of 4) capacity despite largely only complaining about the first person last week.

From a quick ticket audit , I could clearly see that he basically didn’t do any work at all on Monday but didn’t take a sick day either. He worked on three simple tickets in the morning between 7 and 8 am, doing work that would have taken about 10 minutes top, and then never touched his tickets for the rest of the day, including everything I assigned to him that day. When I told my supervisor about that the next day, he said he’d talk to him about it, but the gist is that my supervisor knew that the person in question “always has bad Mondays” and “makes up for it on Tuesdays”. This was partially true, he did a blitz on Tuesday to get a bunch of tickets processed, but he still never caught up with the new work coming in through the entire week even though I had to give him less work than the two people who were actually performing well on the team to compensate for his leftover tickets each day.

He then announced at the end of the week that he and his wife were having a baby due early next year, so that was a huge yay. Still though, I’d really like to be in a spot where I got paid but showing up on Monday or doing work was just a suggestion. Seriously, this dysfunctional, half-assed team.

Anyway, tempers then kept building until I had a heated argument with raised voices with my boss on Friday, on a years-long standing disagreement between my boss and the team, especially the two senior members of the team (me and the person I complained about last week), on whether a certain piece of work fits on our team or not. We’re basically liaisons playing secretary for another team for this one, because they’re “not good at” or “don’t want to” talk(ing) to clients, and yet we get saddled with technical questions we have no hope in answering without talking to said other team anyway, because we don’t actually have access to the system nor training about it. It’s ludicrous and infuriating on normal days, but especially so during the busiest time of the year when our unanswered queue is 70 deep (slightly over a full week behind) and theirs is about 20 deep (with many old tickets waiting for some other project to happen — they only really get about one new ticket a day — but they have lots of other projects to work on too, to be fair).

Our supervisor wants it for job security purposes though, and, I allege, was unable to say no to us retaining it, because the lead of the other team (where it SHOULD be) is a good friend of his. The teams are being merged in the very near future though, most likely with our boss as the new team leader of both sides, since there’s a lot of simmering resentment between our team (and many people in the department) and the other team’s lead.

When we re-exchanged our heated opinions this week, my supervisor’s best arguments that he had in favour of this were that “everyone on the team has always managed to do it this way just fine” (everyone that has ever been pegged as the knowledge expert on this has also been the next person to leave the team, though, and this has happened to 6 people now, so it’s a running inside joke that taking care of this is a death knell) and that “it’s on our job fact sheet” (when I asked for proof, I found out that it’s not exactly phrased that way, but he then heatedly said he could just change the wording if it was all that important — how’s that for leadership?)

So with all that, this particular task has been a sticking point between our boss and us, and basically every time any disagreement is brought up about it, even in our internal team meetings, it’s now “making him look bad in front of others” and results in a side talk after the meeting. As in, he’s trying to divide and conquer us because he knows everyone is against it. it culminated in me declaring that I was going to finish my work in the morning and take Friday afternoon off, which he agreed to.

Anyway, work is extremely painful and unsatisfying right now, and I felt completely burnt out on Wednesday, furious on Monday and Friday, and simmering anger on the other days. At this point I mused writing a two-week notice of resignation. I can’t actually submit this until I know that Japan is going to happen though, because I’d be left out in the cold if Japan falls through, but I think I’d want this letter in my back pocket because I think there’s a small chance I will be out of here by as early as November or early December, possibly after the vacation that I’m supposed to take (but will probably cancel) in late October/early November, if things don’t improve. My one revenge at this point might well be to sign up for the intercultural pods thing mentioned in the School section above, as that overlaps slightly with work and takes me further away from work and toward my goals (and more fun things in general).

Although, I guess my true revenge is actually just writing about it and immortalizing it in a tiny corner of the Internet Archive forever.

Life

So while all that’s going on, I’m pondering cancelling the trip to USA in late October/early November, as I alluded to at the end of the last paragraph. This was to be Rin’s wedding and then a trip to some of the cities through USA, as several of them are on my bucket list of places to visit. The more I hear about the stories and danger both down there and over here in Alberta though, the less eager I am to go to this, so right now it’s sitting at about a 50-50 and I have absolutely no preparation or planning done for this trip done yet. But things are getting worse, not better. In particular, Las Vegas itself, where the wedding is, had pretty much shut down again due to being a major hotspot for cases (and nutcases), though this could change between now and end of October and reach a state that I’d be comfortable travelling in. I mean, we’re our own burning hotspot up here in Alberta. I might take a trip around Canada in October instead though, though if all the borders were open I’d rather go to South Korea or Japan.

The first part of this week was, like the last few weeks, basically shot through dealing with my itching issues and the sleeping problems that came with it. I was actually really appreciative that the Japan trip had been cancelled, I have no idea what I would have done if I were stuck in a foreign country where I could barely speak their language, and then have a problem like this. Mysteriously though, this itching came to a screeching halt on Thursday, and ever since then everything has been.. absolutely normal, even more normal than the intermediary period two weeks or so ago when I said it had subsided for a bit. I have no clue what caused this or what cured it in the end.

And maybe I never will, since my doctor’s appointment still has not rolled around — it is/was scheduled for Tuesday, Sep 21, but with the new provincial Covid-19 measures having dropped on us late this week, plus the disappearance of my problem, I’m not sure it’s worth going in anymore. The office sent me a note on the online health provider/patient system, MyAHS Connect, on Friday, but I can’t even log in to read it because the system has been down since Friday, probably partially due to the literal (there’s a queue to log in) hundreds of thousands of people trying to get online to get/print out their proof of vaccination ahead of whatever system they’re going to implement for that. Even when I endured that queue to the end though, the messaging system was completely broken and inaccessible.

Part of the reason so many people are trying to scramble to do this is probably also because federal elections are on Monday, September 20th. I’m not sure if there will be any sort of mandate enforcement for THAT to be able to vote, and it’s going to be a complete gong show to vote, especially since they removed the on-campus option to vote this time around. We don’t even get any time off work to vote as we’re only mandated to have three free hours between 7:30 am and 7:30 pm to vote, and since our work officially finishes at 4:30 pm, we technically have 4:30 to 7:30. That’s not going to fly in a pandemic though, so you bet I’ll be taking time off in the middle of the day to go vote.

We also have a municipal election next month, on October 18th, and that, among other things, comes with a referendum to eliminate Daylight Savings Time, which is more a provincial question. Fun. I hope that one passes, although some argue it’s a waste of time, and I love the duality in that declaration, too.

On a more personal note, peeking at school club Discord channels means I ended up in several Japanese language learning ones, and got inspired to try to pick up the pieces of my education again. In particular, someone linked this site and I really liked it, and I swear it’s only partially because the author is a fan of Love Live! and other slice of life/romcom/idol shows. Anyway, the big takeaway from there, which was something I had organically started doing on my own in a notebook before but had dropped off, was this long page, and specifically the section a bit past halfway down that talks about Anki and Mining. I am definitely at a vocabulary and knowledge stage where I could be doing this, and it kind of is a better version of Wanikani. That feeds me words of its choosing instead, but also uses the spaced repetition technique that I found to be really helpful.

This one mentions doing the same thing, but with the user actually building the list of words from things they come across in Japanese media that they consume, and I love this idea, so I set up Anki and Yomichan (and a lot of Japanese dictionaries) and tweaked a bit of ShareX as well (though I use that latter app already and already had most of the mentioned things set up for other external reasons).

But seriously, Anki is amazing. It’s a highly configurable “flashcard” program, where you can specify the type/layout of card you like and insert all sorts of media into them, not just words, and even sync it across your devices. And it’s free? Really? And without a storage limit? Never mind learning Japanese — after configuring it, I actually did a hard right turn here and experimented with adding some of my tougher Anime Music Quiz mp3 tracks as audio cue cards on this thing so that I could access and try to learn them from my phone while in bed, out on a walk, sitting at my desk, etc. Too bad it doesn’t seem to have a “random start point” feature like the game. Well there kind of is but it’s a bit over my head and seems like it’d be a pain to add many different files to a whole new custom field (right now I can just drag and drop audio files in when making flashcards).

Lastly, here are some random pictures from my walks this week.

Games

In Games this week, we first said goodbye to New World as the open beta ended, though not before first invading a dungeon and getting all the way to (but not defeating, because we were severely underlevelled) the lat boss. And then Trinstar bought a house in town, and we went inside it for a tea party. Pictures attached below. I think a couple people were tempted enough to purchase it, and good for them, but I still hold to the opinion that this is a game without a goal and with too many bugs right now (especially the one that annoyed me multiple times every session but no one else — the one where NPCs and enemies and some terrain took many seconds to a couple minutes to load in even after I arrived in its vicinity) and wouldn’t be a good purchase for me.

We then resumed the MMO Project with a new MMO mid-week, since no one was interested in returning to WAKFU. We did our nominations and a roll, and despite half the group picking Blade & Soul, Neverwinter won instead thanks to Gibbs, and eight of us (so far) downloaded that. The Neverwinter MMO has undergone several iterations, and the current one feels quite good, as we made our way through the levelling content and even a low-level-scaled dungeon, and then rode in circles on slime mounts that left a squishy trail of goo behind them.

The game does definitely have a few issues, like far too many different types of currency, esoteric gameplay systems nested within other gameplay systems, a terrible account system if you sign up through Steam or Epic, and apparently the odd bug sometimes that breaks quests (none of which I have seen so far), but I’m quite enjoying the game thus far. It’s also a little absurd how many ongoing free giveaway promotions they give out — there were at least eight going on when we signed up, though none of them were for 30 day VIP status free trials. I have three of those from old giveaways though, which was nice, though my VIP status doesn’t seem to give much in the way of benefits at all.

Anyway, the best part of this is there’s no way that we’d ever have ended up playing this and doing absurd things together if not for this MMO project and the people buying in to it. It’s ephemeral and fleeting in all the right ways, capturing a sensation similar to how we all started playing and exploring new MMOs together in the past. Except we need to figure out how to involve everyone since party member sizes are limited to five. But these little forays are excellent for making cool memories to look back on in the future, as well as having common points of knowledge to compare other future games to, so I do think they play a really important role in our friend group continuing to develop close bonds with each other.

Plushie of the Week #21 – Melony

The last two weeks have seen two back-to-back entries for plushies that I had bought from online game stores, so why not a third? I don’t actually have very many plushies that I’ve purchased from an online store for a game that I’ve played, and I’ve featured three of the four (I think it’s four) that I own already, in Egg!, Tibbers, and Cuddles.

This last one is a Poro plush, and was christened Melony, though I sometimes call her Poro-chan, when I can’t remember her name. She was also purchased from the Riot Games store, the same place as Tibbers. She came together with Tibbers, and since they split shipping cost as far as I’m concerned, she ended up costing $31.51 USD. She’s as big as a watermelon, and occupies a spot by the foot of my bed next to Tibbers and Egg!. I never really played much League of Legends, but I remember these little critters passively running around in their ARAM (All Random All Mid) game mode which we played for a bit, and that’s where I knew of them and why I wanted a plushie of them at the time, I suppose!

Front:

Just look at that tongue.

Back:

Underside:

And that should cover all her tags as well. Her horns make for great handlebars when cuddling.

Photograph(s) of the Week #9

I originally wanted to show different pictures this week, but explaining them without showing our family tree turned into a convoluted mess, so for context, I decided to feature our family tree this week instead.

For background, this was for my Individualized Research Study (IRS) project that I did in either 1994, when I was in Grade 4, or 1995, when I was in Grade 5. Japanese school anime often make mention of a jiyuu kenkyuu – an individualized summer research project that the more boisterous boys and girls usually put off until the very end of the summer vacation break. In Singapore, in the Gifted Education Program that we were in, we had to do this every year too, except it was a year-long IRS project that culminated in something that we had to submit for grading in November. We even had a class period (of about half an hour) a week dedicated to the project alone, where we could do research, ask our teacher for guidance, spend time slacking off and chatting with friends, etc. This was at least true for Primary (grade) 4 through 6, I don’t really remember this happening in Secondary 1-2, but I might be wrong on this count.

Anyway, while I had forgotten all about this project until my mom snapped a picture of it for me, I do remember using a typewriter in our Yishun 723 house to type out, and then cut out, little labels that I then pasted on a sheet of paper to create this poster below. I definitely had help from my parents coming up with names and dates and relationships between our large extended family, and I seem to dimly remember having to go around and asking my grandparents on the paternal side for some names as well. Still though, it’s shocking that this still exists though (thank you for keeping it around, parents!) and shocking that I had managed to get even my great-grandparents names on both sides. And now I am delivering this one last remaining memory of them, and of all the people that have come since, thrusting it into the future for people many years from now to hopefully come across them and briefly touch all our lives that once were.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’ll start in the middle, at the bottom. That’s me (pre-transition), my younger sister, and my younger brother. They’re my dear siblings, and the line extends out from us to our parents and to their grandparents from there.

Up on Dad’s side of the family tree, you see small pictures of my dad, as well as my paternal grandma and grandpa. Most of our family gatherings were done at their small apartment in Bishan, a residential town in Singapore, and as you can see by the family tree, they were often really large. Really, really large.

I don’t remember ever meeting the Iris/Theresa/Benedict/Sebastian/Adeline part of the family tree, and I certainly don’t remember a Sara-Jean or Mary-Jane at all, though it’s possible we might have run across them while going around visiting relatives during Chinese New Year festivities. During the first day of Chinese New Year, we’d travel to something like 4-5 relatives’ homes on the paternal side of the family tree, and stay at each place for an hour or two, and us kids would play with whoever was present as our parents, particularly Dad, caught up with whoever from the larger family tree happened to be present and visiting at that time too. And for me, people and places mostly blend in together to the point that I couldn’t tell you who we ever met or visited, until the evening, when everyone below my grandma and grandpa (not sure about the two cyan names, though) would gather at their house for a family reunion steamboat dinner.

While I don’t remember anyone on the top left side of the tree, I do at least seem to remember the names of Nigel and his children, Erin and Denise, though I don’t have mental images to put to the names.

For the part of the tree beneath my grandparents, it’s interesting (and I’m going to leave it at that adjective, as I don’t know their feelings around it) that they had nine children, but had to give away/adopt two of them out to relatives, who raised them instead. My Dad was the second child overall, but the first one that my grandparents ended up keeping and raising themselves. The siblings that were kept did keep touch with their siblings that were given away, but I don’t think they were ever particularly close.

We called my paternal grandparents Ah Ma (阿媽, lit. grandmother) and Ah Kong (阿公, lit. grandfather), since we were Hokkien and borrowed a lot of family terminology from Hokkien honourifics. Robert, David, Ivan and Anthony had hokkien nicknames that we were instructed by Dad to call them, which were Ji Chek (二叔 lit. second uncle), Saa Chek (三叔 lit. third uncle), Si Chek (四叔 lit. fourth uncle), and Sui Chek (which I always thought was 小叔 for youngest uncle, but it might not actually be this 小). We could call them Uncle Ivan, Uncle Robert, etc too of course. For my Dad’s sisters, they didn’t have any nicknames that I remember, I just remember Auntie Doris and Auntie Joyce.

Anyway, as you can see, the family tree on Dad’s side is very crowded. I’m sure I have more cousins (black boxes) as well that I am not aware of. Haven’t seen or talked to any of them since we moved, though — none of them outside of my immediate family knows of my transition.

Mom’s side is less horizontally chaotic, although I’m aware that there’s some branch of the family isn’t mapped but that I remember seeing when we visited them on the second day of Chinese New Year each year. The notable part of my mom’s family tree is the vertical chaos — there was a 26 year age gap between her mom and dad, and her mom, Tan Choon, had her when she was 41, and when her dad, Tiong Phua, was 67. My mom’s elder sister was conceived when my maternal grandma was 18 and grandpa was 44, so even she was 23 years Mom’s senior in age.

With such large age gaps, it was basically left to my Mom’s sister, Peggy, to raise Mom once their parents passed away when Mom was 3 (mother) and 6 (father). We obviously never were able to meet our maternal grandparents, but Peggy and her husband Willie basically acted as our maternal grandparents anyway, and we would visit them in their little apartment in Queenstown, another residential town in Singapore, occasionally as well. I have very fond and nostalgic memories of both the Queenstown apartment and the Bishan one. We called her Yi Yi (姨姨, I think, which means mother’s sister), and her husband Yi Tiu (姨丈, or mother’s sister’s husband).

The other oddity about the family is that due to the age gaps, Winston and Wilson, who were technically on the same family generation line as us, were already adults by the time I was conceived, and their children were the ones who were equal in ages to us and that we associated and played with. Winston and Wilson were fond of us though, I remember their warm smiles (and Winston’s cologne) very well, and we called them Kohkoh Winston and Kohkoh Wilson (哥哥 being the prefix, lit. elder brother). Mom called them Ah Siong and Ah Sen respectively — Ah is a casual person indicator, and Siong comes from Winston’s nickname, whereas Sen likely comes from the -son part of Wilson, since they’re pronounced the same way.

And that’s my family tree! It needs an updating, but I’m not even really sure how anymore. Maybe if I ever go back to Singapore, I’ll try privately reaching out to some of my cousins.

Dreams
Sep 13 2021
  • My dream had a plotline or game mechanic about how answers to a question had literal form in the world somehow, and needed to be loaded with a substance that more or less acted as an explanation or endorsement before the answers would become valid. I was able to load them and was leading around a group of people to show them how to load them, but there were also restrictions like trying to figure out which answers were the best match for each question, as well as things like off-hours and shifts, that could throw off which answer was the right one to pick.
  • Because answers were literal objects, there were also cases where answers had been expired and buried in the ground, but it was still possible using a tool to see the buried answer and shoot it with the substance to select it as the right answer, catapulting it to the surface. We did this at least once to a box that we could see down through a basement wall.
  • The person doing the loading was also important — at some point there were kids that had requests which needed to be fulfilled, and they wanted to try to load the answers themselves, but they were terrible at it and I understood that this would not change, so I had to help them with it.
Sep 14 2021
  • Snippet: I remember the understudy girls from AKB0048 the anime, embroiled in some plot to do with transitioning some sort of event in the dream from a before state to an after state, although remembered details are extremely vague now. For example, there was some background character who wasn’t sure if her role would remain after the event, and the girls swung by, not only with enough supplies to finish the transition there in the shop/building she was in, but also to reassure her that she would get to continue looking after the place afterwards.
Sep 15 2021

Dream 1

  • This dream took place in the front living room of a second floor apartment very similar in layout to a mix between our Yishun 723 and our Tampines 294 home, and it also had a front square balcony that was open to the elements and a back square balcony that was sheltered. Everyone in my immediate family was home. Jon was a toddler (but able to fully communicate as a grown up) and Kellie was about 8-10 years old.
  • The dream started with me playing a virtual game on some handheld of some kind. The map was the ground floor below our house/block, and I had to stop slimes from attacking us. I lined the road leading to the elevator, that would come up to our apartment, with bombs, leaving a diagonal path for people to walk. I figured that even though the slimes might partially follow the road, they were too spread out and too chaotic to follow an exact path and would cause enough explosions that collateral damage would kill most of them.
  • Instead, the slimes ate the bombs and fused with them into becoming bigger slimes. Apparently the bombs themselves were made of a slime-like jelly as well. Two large slimes were soon beating against the futuristic (Jetsons-like) elevator door downstairs, and I had to use some sort of other floor trap to kill them all.
  • Once I was done with the game, Dad was prepping to go out. But first, he was looking for a Lotto 6-49 ticket that he had bought. I brought in a jacket of his that I remembered from childhood and that was hanging out in the front balcony to try on a hanger, but had fallen to the ground along with the embedded hanger. I asked if he wanted to look through the jacket. He said no and almost immediately found what he was looking for — it was on top of a pile of CD jewel cases that I also remembered from childhood.
  • I took in the hanger and jacket anyway as Kellie took the lottery paper from Dad, and they brought it to Mom to check against the newspaper. Ours had a 6 digit number on it, and we had the first 2 digits match one line in the official results, and the middle 4 digits match another line in the official results, but neither one was a prize combination, so it was a failure of a ticket.
  • There were some other towel and clothing racks, plus one towel that was draped over a stool in the balcony, and I was uncomfortable with them outside where Mom and Kellie had put them earlier on, so I resolved to bring them in. There was a feeling of “rescuing” these items and hoarding them safely within the house somehow, and apparently the balcony that was open to the elements did not count. The apartment was cramped and full of clutter, and I would eventually have to move all items, especially the clothes racks, further into the apartment to make room. However for now I prioritized getting them all in and stacking them on top of each other. Dad and Kellie both needed things off the racks so they were happy I did so.
  • My worry and subsequent rescue also paid off as it began to rain white ash. The clothing, which would have been the most damaged by it, was all fine now, but I noticed that Jonathan was sitting outside in the balcony playing with a box of toy cars. I asked him if he would mind playing inside, and he said he’d definitely prefer to. So I helped him move the toy cars inside as well, so that he could play with them while avoiding being in the white ash.
  • The one last item was a large orchid in a flowerpot on the left side of the front balcony, and I got Mom’s help to move that one in, with an eventual plan to move it to the back covered balcony, where it would be safe indoors but still be able to get sunlight similar to being outside in the front balcony. With the front balcony now empty though, we shut it tight against the white ash storm. Mom looked at it curiously and thought it was snow at first, but I pointed out that it was far too warm in Singapore for snow.
  • Mom asked how we kids had planned to spend our day. I said I had nothing going on but was considering going out, and she replied saying that that definitely wasn’t possible now!
  • At some point in all this, even though it doesn’t relate directly to the plot, I noticed that I was still flagged as an applicant in my University, instead of a full student, even though I had been studying there for a couple years now.
  • Friends I knew from school were also dressed in animal suits and standing by the (sheltered) elevator downstairs, trying to assist stranded bystanders who were caught in the white ash storm.

Dream 2

  • I made a friend while travelling but let her walk off into the distance along a road and chose not to follow her. We had both feigned introductions to each other to start since we were walking in the same direction, but had later confessed after one or two adventures, and more or less made up. She was the CEO or leader of some company or group but feigned ignorance of that group. I also claimed to not be able to do something that I could because I didn’t want to show off.
  • Later on, I met another young girl who could have been a travel mate but also let her walk off. I was scared of commitment.
  • At some point, I was on a bus ride with a friend from USA, who regretted not going abroad to study while she was in high school. She was 37 now, same as me. I encouraged her anyway, and said I was going back to University and planned to do so. I leaned against her on the bus as we talked.
  • Later on, Matt was leaving the work team, and he said that just before he leaves, he’d transfer documents belonging to the rest of the team to us. These were documents that he had saved for something, and he regretted not saving and properly naming more. He had even saved stuff from Ken, who had left many years ago.
  • Odd imagery accompanied this scene, with a few pieces of chopped green onion circling the drain of a metal sink and being salvaged because they stuck to the metal before they went down the hole.
  • There was a mood-changing hat at some point, which made someone intensely focused on doing one thing and only one thing that they wanted to do. The hat itself changed hands a few times while someone tried to track it down and prevent it from being spread.
Sep 16 2021
  • My dream started in the lobby of a school building that looked and felt a lot like the lobby of the AGRI building at work. Gillian had recently left the hospital and was coming to class but had broken her leg, and another mutual friend (possibly Paulene) was helping her along as she made her way down the hall slowly on crutches. I was with them as well but ran ahead of them toward class to tell the teacher.
  • I apparently used a pogo stick to get to class, and ignored the eyes of a few students I passed who were looking at me. I also had some large green leaves with me that might have been used as clothing (or TV modesty covers) at some point but I dropped one of them along the way and crumpled the rest up into a ball and tossed them into a bag.
  • I seldom attended class, so I felt a bit out of place in this classroom, though I had encountered the exact same classroom in other dreams in the past few months so I wasn’t that worried this time. It was a Chinese GEP class and the teacher was Mr Ng. I apologized for being 5 minutes late, and he said it was no problem. I told him about Gillian and Paulene and how they’d be coming along eventually.
  • I went to my seat in the middle of the class, in front of Jackson and behind Mellandall. I didn’t speak to, and had never really spoken to, the former, but he was sitting there to help assuage my fears of being in the class with a known presence, so I liked him. Mell in front of me was the same way, although we had spoken more. I tapped her on the shoulder and told her about Gillian as well.
  • To the right of me was a young brown girl that I had never met, and she looked curiously at me and then greeted me, saying that she had never seen me before. A couple male friends of hers that were hanging by her desk also looked my way. I said that yes, I seldom came to class, but was happy to meet her.
  • By way of friendly chat, she asked me for my personal details, some of which I couldn’t remember. One of her friends seemed to be a mind reader though, so he rattled off my date of birth, my height and weight at birth, my current height and weight, and my current positive feelings toward the three of them. I had no idea how he got my birth and current height/weight either, nor was the girl asking for them. But since he was obviously reading my mind, I formulated a “Hi!” in my head for him to read as well, and he said a “Bye!” out loud in reply.
  • There was homework due on the 3rd week of class that was coming up, but thankfully I think I wasn’t late for that yet. I needed to catch up though, especially since I was freshly rejoining the class. The moral of a book that we were reading for class was that we cannot change our fate, but the discussion in class was that we actually could.
  • Snippet: I had a computer display thing that displayed lots of lines about an event that happened on July 28, which was a log file of sorts. Mell suggested that I should delete them but I said no.
  • Snippet: Other odd snippets including me milking a cow at some point, as well as the surname Hachibana being relevant somehow.
Sep 17 2021
  • I was a detective or problem solver of some kind, but I don’t remember most of my dream at all, until the very last scene before I woke up.
  • In this last scene, I had just bought an iron mine, and hired someone, a single golem or giant, to mine the ore with me. One of my friends in the small town near the mine pointed me toward the mine and I started walking there with my companion. My companion got angry with me because he said that it was a long walk and there was no way for me to transport all the ore back even if he mined it for me, and so it was a business venture that I hadn’t put enough thought into. I said not to worry and that things would work out.
  • Indeed, a minute later, the son of my friend, a young, chubby Indian kid, drove up on a gleaming new blue bus that looked like an Edmonton Transit bus, and stopped it in front of the two of us. He got off, handed control of the bus to me, waved to me, and started walking back toward town, much to my companion’s amazement. I then had a quick highlight reel flash through the ways that I had helped out my friend and his kid in the past.
Sep 18 2021

Dream 1

  • I only remember the very end part of this dream, where there was a 6 versus 6 group fight in a round arena on a grass field next to a long, tall wall that ran across the field, and near a museum. The team I was supporting was made up of friends from school, but they were from the country or area across the wall, and our land was “hostile” to them, so they had red enemy nameplates, whereas people from our land, including the opposing team in the fight, had green nameplates to me. So I had to smuggle them over and across the wall just before the event started so that they could take part in the fight. The fight itself was stylized like a Guild Wars 2 guild vs guild fight, where the focus was everyone gathering as close as possible on one spot while running again and targetting the same target to try to burst them down. My friends won, in the end.

Dream 2

  • There was a pirate attack at work, scattering everyone and causing many little plotlines and events that needed to be solved. It was a group effort to eventually defeat all the pirates in the end.
  • For my part, Melanie was injured and held hostage by the pirates, and I let myself get captured at some point so I could tend to her wounds and save her life, although she was too injured to escape right away so I went off without her. This was just one of many events in the war, but was the main memory that I remembered.
  • At the very end, as a closing scene to the dream, we had a celebration party as a department. Ronnie was seated at a table in a tall leather chair, and was very proud because the NPC seated next to him, an executive that was hired on before the pirate attack started, had finally called him Dad, something that he had been avoiding doing due to lack of trust.
  • Through this pirate attack, there were also side plots going on that had nothing to do with the attack. For example, there was something about a dinosaur class that was being held at the University, and my plan and efforts to sign up for it.
  • At the very end, around the celebration party, the sub-plotline involved me and my family trying to get eye or ear surgery, but I kept being rejected by the male specialist/attendant at the main clinic because hospital beds were full and it wasn’t important enough. My family gave up, however I figured I actually did qualify for it under disability because one of my ears was deaf, so I went to a side clinic to try to appeal there instead.
  • At this second clinic, the female specialist/attendant there took one look at me, embraced and kissed me, and then did the surgery on me, before sending me back to the main clinic to recuperate at one of the beds there because the side clinic didn’t have any.
  • The male specialist at the main clinic recognized me and looked disapprovingly at me as I came to use one of the beds. He inquired how much I used as a bribe to get my surgery. I said I didn’t, and explained what happened, and he replied with how he disapproved of that female specialist because she showed favouritism toward females that she liked, like me.
Sep 19 2021
  • I was part of a team of 5 people playing a MOBA game of some sort, with three lanes and waves of minions that would go down the lanes, although they were largely inconsequential besides the initial push. This MOBA game was actually just a small segment of the overall game, but it was where combat between teams was done, and there was a specific team that had a grudge against us for some reason, and they would abuse the fighting and war mechanic to declare war on us and fight us every day, to the point that we couldn’t do anything else major in a given day due to the fights. We were contemplating writing a letter of complaint to the GMs/developers.
  • Part of the grudge of the opposing team was that the first time they had declared war on us, they were ranked in the top 3 in the world, whereas we were around or slightly outside the top 10. However, we embarrassed them and beat them handily, causing their rank to plummet. Despite declaring war on us every day, they never did beat us, but that only served to stoke their hatred even further.
  • I do remember at least one fight where some of the members on the team had to peel off to the side lanes to kill the minions flooding it, and then they got attacked and almost killed by the invisible players on the other team. I saved them though as I was a healer. At another point, the five enemies were running away from our group in a ball but I cast an aoe on them that stunned them and killed one of them that was really low health. At another point I had a haste spell that I used to speed up my group to catch up to the fleeing ball of enemy players. At yet another point, I could see their rogue stealthing in the distance, and then a little whirlwind symbol appearing halfway between where he had stealthed, and my burly teammate in front of me, as the stealthed rogue casted a buff. I warned my teammate that he was about to be attacked. There was also definitely a respawn mechanic of some sort in the game.
  • Finally, between games, we returned to a shared resting room with beds, and at one point there were automatic firmware/software updates waiting for our cyborg/android-style bodies, and two of the members of our team immediately plugged themselves in and updated. We quickly realized that this was a trap though, as their loyalties got overridden and they asked us why we weren’t swearing fealty to a policewoman bot that was in the room. They had enough presence of mind not to attack us, but they were entirely out of commission as a fight broke out between the other two members that weren’t me, and the bot, who had a second policewoman bot enter the room and help her. The second policewoman bot jumped on one of my teammates who hadn’t been brainwashed yet, and who was on top of the first bot. She started tickling his ribs to make him laugh and loosen his pin on the bot.
  • In the meantime, my hands were bound behind my back and I had rope around my ankles too for whatever reason, and I was lying in an uncovered box in the room as all this happened. As the second policewoman bot had left the door open when she burst in, I took the chance to escape the room, crawling my way like a really quick caterpillar to the outside of the building, and heading toward a vending machine by a pillar in the middle of the field, where I could find something or other to free myself and help the team.
  • Snippet: I remember a floating magical elevator that was basically a large see-through plastic or tarp structure, lined with a material in a thin, criss-cross pattern similar to the back of a kite. It was large enough that hundreds of people could easily stand on it at any one time, and it could basically fly betwen two locations. Among other things, I think that was used in the dream to get between the foot and the top of a mountain.

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My Diary #021

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