This week was odd. The week felt really short, and it felt like I did nothing at all some days. Yet, somehow, in that panorama of hours and days flying by, I still felt very busy and completed several small projects, caught up on things I needed to do, and still had plenty of leisure time to burn.
Also, you’re in exile!
Entry #025 (Oct 10 2021)
I had a meeting with my Study Abroad Coordinator this week and floated the idea of going to Singapore to study abroad to him. He said it was not possible for this spring but possible for fall, and I mentioned to him that if this winter/spring session was cancelled by either side again, I would probably forgo my plans to study abroad in Japan and try for Singapore instead, assuming I get my official discharge/clearance letter from the army before then And that should definitely come before next fall. He did mention that the main University there, National University of Singapore, was usually overbooked in terms of UAlberta students wanting to go there, but I could always try it anyway and put the other Singapore university as my secondary choice (and maybe a Japan or China one as my tertiary choice). My GPA calculation and transcript situation is very unique, as you might remember from past blog posts, and they’d have to check to see what the NUS thought of it before they could see if I would be a suitable candidate or not.
The coordinator also mentioned that the Fall cancellation was a UAlberta decision but was not Japan-specific — all outgoing exchanges from the University was cancelled, and this time it would again be an all or nothing decision, either UAlberta would allow all outgoing exchanges or cancel them all. He also mentioned that he was glad I was so mature about things (and setting up Plan B’s this time with all the talk about Singapore and Fall next year) because he said quite a few students were unhappy that UAlberta accepted tons of incoming international students this year while allowing none of them to go overseas.
We’re still on track for finding out for sure on Oct 31. I told him that I read that Japan was making some announcements on their reopening roadmap in early November, and he agreed and said we would probably know if Japan specifically would allow incoming exchange programs around then. I almost wish it would be cancelled at this point because of just how potentially fun my Plan B (which is more than just the Singapore trip — there’s a mini Japan one in there too) would be, but I don’t actually wish that. I think that shows that my Plan B is strong enough that I’m not desperately banking on the Plan A basket though, which is a good thing.
Work is pretty insane still. Our workload has traditionally been the highest in the first two weeks of September, but because we have lacked team members this year, our workload now is as high as it was in the first week of September, which is starting to take a toll on people. I’m really energized myself though, as I love this queue monitoring thing I’m doing, with all the triaging and doing a first pass on most of the tickets, then prioritizing them and sending them out to my teammates to do while flagging tickets for review with my boss or the team or tickets to send back to other teams in general. It’s made me feel important, and I happily poke away at it even late at night many evenings, making sure everyone has a fair and not too heavy plate of work for the next day.
But as mentioned, our queue’s gotten no shorter, I just have managed to get it under control so that there are no urgent tickets hiding in a pile of inconsequential tickets — they all get pulled out and processed right away if needed. My boss did his interviews for the two spots we’re hiring this week though, although our fresh blood are probably still at least 3-4 weeks away from formally joining the team.
We’re all eager to find out who our new friends will be though. There were six or seven internal candidates in all, and even though the calendar events were set to private, it was amusing adding calendars from people we knew had applied or were potentially going to apply, and seeing where their calendars had private event blocks that coincided with the private interview events on our supervisor’s calendar. I mean. I didn’t actually write that incriminating sentence out, nope. It was just an elaborate typo. Teehee..
All in all, I’m really enjoying work right now. It is tougher and busier than the summer months for me, by at least a factor of two, but it’s probably the most fun work has been for me in ages. I’m just sad I’ll probably lose the queue monitor gig to someone else (since he wants to eventually rotate it) when I go on vacation around the end of this month. I don’t think anyone else can manage and juggle the queue as well and as efficiently as I can. My boss is really worried that I’ll burn out, as I haven’t taken a good vacation in eons, but as long as I don’t end up grabbing too much work myself, I haven’t been feeling tired in that way yet. For now. I keep telling him this work is energizing me, but I’m not sure he believes that!
So many things happened this week. One of the potentially most important things is that I finally went in to see the doctor, specifically about my itching. The itching that kept me awake at night is thankfully gone, but I do still itch here and there and my arms and legs specifically still are pockmarked with scratch and claw marks, craters and wounds from gory battles between fingers and irritated skin. It’s actually really weird on my arms in particular, because the top sides of my arms (around where I was sunburnt while in Calgary in early July) are where all my wounds are, whereas the undersides of my arms are smooth as butter.and basically free of itching lumps.
Anyway, the doctor gave me some 5% dermal cream to try — it’s used against scabies, and while she said she wasn’t sure if it was that, she said from looking at the marks on my arms that it *could* be that, and that that treatment was a good guess at a starting point because it was a one-time cream application thing paired with washing all my clothes and bedsheets and stuff at the same time, so it wasn’t particularly intrusive but yet had a good chance of at least drastically reducing the symptoms if not ending it altogether. The ointment was kind of expensive, $40 for two tubes (I only ended up using one) because it wasn’t covered by insurance, but it was an interesting experience anyway.
I’m not sure it worked, even if it were scabies it could still apparently take a couple weeks for all the itching to subside, even though the ointment would allegedly have killed off most of the bugs. But at least I have mentally felt better this weekend after going through this treatment on Thursday night/Friday morning, and that’s always a good sign. She also gave me some betaderm ointment to use locally on places that threatened to itch — the look and feel of this cream in its bottle reminds me exactly of Vicks Vaporub — and THAT might also cure the last vestiges of the itching without ever letting me figure out what the original issue was. But that would still be fine in my book. My doctor was really confused overall as to how I could have gotten scabies though, if that indeed was the issue, since I hadn’t really travelled anywhere of note (to some place where I might have encountered something like this through a high degree of contact with an infected person or bedding) since early July. The itching started in mid-August, according to my blog, though the worst was over as of a couple weeks ago. I just never got around to seeing a doctor until now.
She also provisioned me some forms for bloodwork as I hadn’t done a checkup since COVID-19 started. I’m probably going to get around to this early next week. I gave her a thank you card in return, for being my doctor for nearly 10 years so far and for writing the letter which ultimately earned me my pardon from the Singapore army — she seemed to be really happy when she saw the card. Give people nice greeting cards! They have such a great, positive effect on people.
Tigey really should have been included in that bedding and clothing washing spree too, but he’s not particularly smelly yet (I think his last bath was in June or so) and I didn’t really want to put him through an extra hot cycle in the washing machine and dryer, so I made a deal with him instead — he’ll sit at his usual vantage spot by the computer for 3 days without following me to bed, and the 3 days will ensure that he will be bug-free by the end if he ever wasn’t, since they apparently can’t survive that long without a human host. I kind of doubt that scabies is actually the answer though, since I haven’t seen a telltale burrowing mark of some kind that’s supposed to come along with it. Not that I could see it well even when I tried looking up pictures of it online. A couple new skin bumps have continued to appear as well even after the medication, which suggests the root cause is or was something else.
However, the remnants of the itching pandemic have noticeably gone down overall due to the usage of the new ointments and cleaning of sheets in general, and that’s a good sign. It better fully clear up before the end of October though, or I might possibly risk spreading some mysterious superbug to a happy newlywed couple.
Anyway, in more interesting news, the energy from work and from my completing my CIL orientation last week spilled into this week as well, as I completed several tasks that had been on my task list for months and months. These are relatively minor tasks in the grand scheme of things — I finished scanning my third Secondary School yearbook and started the fourth and final one, and I finished two sorting tasks on my digital archives, one for a screenshots folder and another for a music one, both of which have been on my ongoing to-do list since early 2020. Minor tasks they might be, but I was still absolutely very happy with the sense of accomplishment from this, since it had been so long for the last two tasks in particular. Patiently doing a little bit more every time I have a block of spare time to devote to them has really been paying off for my side projects recently.
In between all those little accomplishments this week were wide expanses of time that just seemed to disappear into the night. Some of those were devoted to walking videos, or some Japanese or Chinese live action shows or movies that I was looking into. Another chunk of this time was devoted toward idly looking to the future at potential jobs down the road that would allow me to travel, and looking in particular at dream jobs like travel writing. It’s not quite right though as I don’t know that I want to constantly travel between places if I don’t have to, but I definitely would like to travel between places every now and then. I’m definitely targetting the east and southeast Asian coastlines right now.
And while my blog writing is still fairly terrible, as you can see, I do have hope that the practice and experience from doing this (and all the business writing I already do at work) will help me toward a job somewhere in the direction of this travel writing realm in the future. I do, at the end of the day, want to do something like that for my blog anyway as part of chronicling events. It would just be nice if I could be paid for chronicling and recording events of my choosing, and talking to people and examining hyper-local communities for cultural history. At the end of the day though, that can still come as a side gig, paired with some sort of job that I like that allows me some measure of travelling freedom.
Talking about travelling freedom, Singapore announced this weekend that borders would be opening to Canada as early as a week and a half from now. Suddenly I think I would really like to save up and spend my vacation time over there, once I get my proper papers, instead of travelling around the USA or Canada. This is a pretty remarkable turn of events considering this was not remotely on my radar even just two months ago. I hunger to visit my home country again. After all these years.
This does throw another wrench into my plan to visit Las Vegas for Rin‘s wedding though. I had also talked about getting a video camera last week, and I had basically talked myself to getting it just after the 15th or so of October, as Amazon seems to offer a one month warranty on electronics and that would give me a bit of time to practice before the trip, and then I could actually bring it along on the trip itself to see if I could use it in a way that I would be happy to keep the camera around for, and get home just before the return period ends in case I could not. I thought I was so smart. And then this Singapore thing comes along and also throws a wrench into the situation because now I have to weigh the Las Vegas and Canada trips against a potentially longer Singapore one. I currently have 148 hours of paid vacation time (and accrue another 11 or so every month) banked, so I could afford to burn a full month’s vacation if I decided to.
My Neopets account retrieval attempt that I mentioned in last week’s Plushie of the Week section was successful. Apparently they need the email address you originally signed up the account for in order to grant you access to the account again, and I had thought it was one of my main email addresses, but apparently I had a for-spam email address that I originally signed up my Neopets account under that I had long forgotten about, and digging that up from email logs (stretching way back to October 2004!) was what eventually earned me back my account. Geez. What a unique thing to require.
Last but not least, several election-related forms (that will eventually be scanned and posted) appeared in the mailbox this week, paired with a sharp increase in anonymous phone calls trying to sell me on one local political party or another. Anonymous phone calls just get ignored here though, but boy are they getting annoying. All a reminder that our second election season this year (this time for the municipal election) is in the air and just around the corner I suppose. I am not doing advance voting because the location for it is far too far away, but the election day location is much closer and well within distance for a pleasant walk.
I bought Outer Wilds this week because it was on sale, and it threatened to give me a headache/dizziness attack just long enough that I haven’t been back to it yet after the first night, even though I didn’t actually get a headache. The game is playable, but having to constantly fight the controls in 6DOF both on foot and in a ship isn’t fun and the game itself, while quite interesting and ooh-fancy in places, hasn’t quite caught me yet, nor do I consider the art style particularly pretty. It is majestic though and I do feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of it, it’s just difficult to play for any decent length of time.
It’s both a good thing and a bad thing that it saves (only) every 20 minutes or so, because it lets me play small chunks at a time and have to make a conscious decision to play on after every save since it could be some distance to my next one. But that in turn also encourages me to stop after one or two segments only, especially if I feel a headache coming on, which could give the game a sort of disjointed feel in the long run. I guess that’s a good thing for my sanity and health, but it’s bad for immersion. Especially when the next time I come back to the game I feel like I have to start all over again (even though that’s not quite true).
The jury is out on what I will think of this game in the end, or even whether I’ll get very far in it, but we’ll see! Trinstar, who highly recommended and pushed the game in our main social circle, was also pushing a new MMO for the MMO Project, and after some discussion a bunch of us democratically selected and downloaded Star Wars: The Old Republic over the weekend to perhaps poke around at next week. This will no doubt cut into any Outer Wilds time though, so!
Plushie of the Week #24 – Unnamed Rainbow Alpaca
This is my second of two alpaca plushies, and one of the very few plushies that actually shares a birthday with me IRL — Tizilla being another (after I recently settled on an acquisition event for him). I acquired her on Feb 25 2021, from a new store in Southgate Mall that I happened to walk by while in the mall that day, Ilahui, apparently stylized as iLahui SouthGate. It’s a Korean store, very fancy, with tons of cute items. The alpaca plushie cost me $12.59 CAD after tax, and she was labelled as an “8 inch rainbow alpaca doll” on the receipt.
Here she is staring at the phone camera with a cocked head:
And on one side, we see why she’s called a rainbow alpaca:
Very cute. The other side is blank, though:
Here are her tags, the iLahui tag says just that on both sides and the other one is blank on the reverse:
And lastly, what happens if she tumbles over:
She doesn’t have a very good center of balance, so she tumbles over a lot if I don’t balance her against other plushie. She’s in the plushie pile most of the time though so this isn’t really an issue.
Photograph(s) of the Week #12
My picture this week is special, because it is the sole surviving picture that I have found so far of a candid shot involving my Secondary 1-2 classmates in my collection, that was taken while I was there. Outside of the class photos where everyone was nicely lined up, anyway.
Back in those days, smartphones were not invented yet. Mobile phones and cell phones were not really a thing either. If we needed to call someone, we called their home number — there was no way to contact a classmate to arrange something with them after class without physically meeting them face to face before they left. Nor any way to privately chat with friends at home in our bedrooms — we had to tie up our family phone lines to do so. Even Dad was only contactable via his pager or his office phone number at the time, he did not have a cell phone or mobile phone despite having a job as a delivery courier that kept him mobile a lot of the time. I’m pretty sure we didn’t even own a flip phone until we came to Canada, and no one else in class back in Singapore did either, or I would have recorded their number down on my class contact sheet that I compiled, maintained, and printed out to give to everyone in our two GEP classes.
Due to that lack of mobile phones, there were no such things as phone cameras back then, and no easy way to capture pictures of each other or the places and things that we were fond of. This makes pictures like this all the rarer and more precious, while also raising questions about the context and reason behind the picture, who the photographer was, and how I ended up with a physical copy of this photograph despite being in the picture myself (and thus not the person who had brought along a camera for some reason).
Judging by the people in the picture, the location of the picture, and the clothes we are wearing, this picture was taken sometime in 1997 or 1998. From left to right, we have Yucheng, Antonia, Sandra (partially obscured), Zixiang (partially obscured), and then me. The location would have been one of the lecture theaters in Dunman High School, judging by the walls and Chinese instruments in the background. Yucheng is wearing a phys ed uniform, or at least the shirt portion of it, whereas the two girls are wearing the regular school uniform for girls. Zixiaing is wearing regular school uniform shorts, while I am wearing the phys ed uniform shorts, but the two of us were wearing a special shirt from some sort of camp or event activity instead of a regular uniform.
The picture was almost certainly taken as we were trying to put together something for a presentation or project or something as part of the camp or event. Antonia and Sandra were never in the same class as us — in Sec 1 and 2 at least, us three boys were in 1L and 2L whereas the two of them were in 1K and 2K, so the mixed group definitely indicated some sort of collaborative group event was going on. There were quite a number of those though, I think, which is why I have no clue what exact event this could possibly have been, despite the unique shirts.
I actually still have that shirt — it’s really faded now, as it’s gone through the wash hundreds of times, but it still survives and fits me a cool 23-24 years later:
You can’t really make out the words anymore, but in the top left corner of the green box are black lines that read “Just being”, with the big red Friends then taking up the middle of the box. Just being Friends! Just outside and to the right of the bottom right corner of the green box is the Dunman High School badge, in black ink instead of its traditional blue and red.
Song of the Week #1
Title: Lemon Tree
Artist: Fool’s Garden
Album: Dish of the Day (1995)
I was chatting with a couple other people in my main Discord about the blog, and the conversation turned to me asking about ideas for new segments for the blog, since I had removed a couple segments altogether recently. Jahandar suggested Song of the Week, which I thought was a great idea (at least, much better than Gibbs’ Soup of the Week idea, although it does jive nicely with the album title of this week’s Song of the Week. Don’t worry, Gibbs, when I go on vacation, the blog is going to get tons of meal pictures.)
Therefore, Song of the Week was born this week. A segment where I will talk about songs that are meaningful or special to me in some way, and mention why or what I like about it. The first entry in a series generally tends to be an important and significant entry, and just like Tigey was the first Plushie of the Week and my first main childhood home was my first Photograph of the Week, there was really no better choice for the first installment of Song of the Week than Lemon Tree. It was a no-brainer for me — I settled on the song before the conversation in Discord had even died down.
This song is an extremely special song to me. My fondest years were 1997 and 1998, my Secondary 1 and 2 days before I moved over to Canada, and although this song was released in 1996 and quickly swept through Singapore and became the #1 song of 1996 in the country, I actually more strongly relate it to my 1997 and 1998 class, as it practically became the anthem for our generation of school kids. Like every popular song, it was ubiquitous wherever you went, and played a ton on all the major English radio stations, as well as on department store and mall radios, MTV, and more.
And for that reason, everytime I hear this song, it transports me back to my vision of Singapore in 1996-97, when the country’s technology, infrastructure, architecture, attractions, and society were developing and progressing at a rapid pace, but compared to today’s Singapore would have probably felt very primitive and simple. That Singapore doesn’t exist anymore except in my and others’ memories. It takes me back to 6 of us boys standing around the teacher’s table at the front of the class in the morning during lunch, singing the lyrics (that practically everyone knew by heart) at the top of our voices and serenading the other bemused boys and girls in class. It takes me back to corny school projects where we reworded the lyrics for presentations in front of the class.
And it takes me back to the McDonalds near the Kallang MRT Station in Singapore, where we used to hang out after school, and where we would occasionally plop a coin into the jukebox to make it play this song. I believe this McDonalds no longer exists. But back then we would enjoy our fries for an hour or so (I always had mine with tomato and tartar sauce mixed together), then leave the McDonalds and wander out into a certain nearby little park/courtyard to sit under the shade of a specific tree in in front of an apartment block, and shoot the breeze or play cards with whoever else was present that afternoon instead of going home. It was a secret little rendezvous place that everyone in both GEP classes knew about, and different classmates would stop by either the McDonalds or the tree to hang out with whoever was there on any given afternoon after class. That was the special Lemon Tree of our childhood.
I’ve noticed that I’ve been having a lot of musical/stage/idol dreams lately. Interesting. Also, I bought a new dream notebook. It’s tiny, but just the right size for what is convenient to keep by my bedside.
Oct 04 2021
- I was part of a group of 5 friends that merged into a larger group in some sort of MMO or game. Satinel and I think Nak were there too. Someone that was already in the guild called us a new faction that had been added to the community.
- One of the things our guild did was defeat giant octopi or kraken, as part of a larger goal that I don’t remember. The kraken were developing and evolving over time or over seasons too, there were tier 3 and tier 4 krakens at first, then a tier 6 one, then a tier 11 one…
- At some point, I think after the tier 4 kraken, another guild we had met and I sort of knew also merged into us. It had vibes of being Steffy’s group, and there were five of them that merged into the main guild as well, but it was led by Seren, who apparently played a character based after Holo from Spice and Wolf, but was named Hololive, and was thus also considered to be the leader of that V-tuber organization.
- I had some files on her, or the character she was based on, in a clear plastic folder in my 4012 home (that was usually used for storing music charts), and I went there at some point to try to find and retrieve those files.
- Character classes had tiers too, and at another point, Satinel asked me to look around and check with someone, whom I think was or felt like Tatsuo, to see whether he had written a tier 6 guide for the class that the two of them played yet, since he had access to the class in the beta server/preview server for the game and thus knew about any upcoming changes. The person was living in a fancy suite in a dorm when I went to visit him.
- The final, tier 11 kraken fight consisted of a couple stages, and took place on a map with a deep lake, a path around the lake that the players could walk on, and an upstairs corridor that also went around the edge of the lake but was pulled slightly further back, so healers and archers could stand above and be safe. I believe Nak and I were healers, while the other three members of the group were down below fighting the kraken.
- We both had to go down and DPS the kraken for his final stage though, and I ended up using a really powerful charged lightning attack as a finisher at the end to pick the kraken up, impale him horizontally with a bolt of electricity, and then slam dunk him vertically, deep into the lake water.
- I then surfaced and the kraken didn’t, so we had won, but we also needed to loot the corpse, so I dove back down to retrieve the corpse. Bringing it up to shore, I saw that it had two pages worth of loot, which was more than a kraken usually had.
- Snippet: A later dream involved snippets of a girl band group that was part of a franchise (similar to BanG Dream) and people wanted to write or perform songs with them or something. One of the girl producers had one of the girl bands pretty much as an emotional hostage and wouldn’t let them go unless someone brought her a picture of a certain bookstore for some reason, so I took a camera and went to the place to get the photograph, standing outside the street and looking at the store before then deciding that I wouldn’t help her anyway and would look for some other way to free them. The store across the street from it was also a bookstore where my Mom worked, and she was inside, seated on a stool between two of the shelves and reading a book. I saw her but she didn’t see me.
Oct 05 2021
- There was a musical single that was being delayed before release, and two A-side singles that I and someone else were battling over to see which single would be placed as the actual A-side and which one would be demoted to the B-side track.
- This initially involved fights between summoned hologram-like representatives of both songs. Later on, it involved radio/tv show appearances, cultivating allies who would vote for me, and other events similar to that.
- I remember a group at some point that wanted to be repaid for a favour they had helped me with, by being invited along the way to a cheap concert performance of the single. And possibly even an invitation to play as a side band in it.
Oct 06 2021
- This dream memory involved glowing lights — everyone had a couple small devices that looked like glowing lights and that fit in the palm of their hands. I think they could have their meaning changed and then be used to represent words to fill into sentences. But there were also four large stones that were also glowing lights, in the shape of the menhirs from Asterix or the quantum shards from Outer Wilds, left by an ancient civilization in a clearing, and no one knew what they meant or why they were humming gently. I think a good part of the dream focused around what they were and trying to figure out how to use or interpret them.
- This dream started in a home that was kind of modelled after our Edmonton 4012 home. My entire immediate family was present. Dad told us not to bathe if we hadn’t bathed/showered yet, because people were coming to visit in about 40 minutes and they needed the shower and bathrooms dry. We could go bathe after they left instead. This included the side bathrooms which they probably wouldn’t be using, and I complained a bit about that but be refused to budge.
- I was still in my pyjamas, and my shirt was had a couple holes in it, so I went downstairs to change it, but the clothing drawers were in one side of the downstairs spare room and the other side of the spare room had turned into an infinite space that looked like the side of the hill, full of large and small stones and even a few upright rectangular boulders, and one dungeon to explore right at the start of the area.
- A narrator or something here complained that one previous group that had came in had ignored the dungeon right in front of them and went off to explore the rest of the infinite space, and because it was infinite, even though there was supposed to be nothing else of note in the area, eventually enough RNG was generated that they found an area of terrain that had randomly generated to look like a dungeon, and had went into that instead. But obviously they didn’t find the artifact that they were supposed to retrieve there since that was in the first dungeon.
- Either way, I got distracted by that and other things and never finished changing my clothes. The doorbell then rang and I ran upstairs to let the people in. Winston/Joannme, Wilson/Esther, and several other adults from the extended family were standing outside, as well as Droy/Stella, and a LOT of kids, about 20 of them, ranging from babies to University age.
- I tried to open the door to let them in, but the top of the door got caught on some part of the ceiling that was jutting out from the doorframe of the door leading to the garage next to it. I had to close it and reopen it for it to work, while Mom came up and asked what the problem was.
- Once everyone was in, and we had done some greetings, I noticed I was still wearing a shirt with a few holes in it so I ran downstairs to change it, finding and picking through most of my current RL shirts as options. In the meantime, Mom led them in, after giving one of the girls my age a report card from the University with the University’s contact and signup info written where the semester results and GPA normally are. Apparently the girl wanted to join the University and had asked for it, or Mom had figured out that it would be good for her to join.
- Once I had done this, I went out of the room. Most of the adults were in the living room talking to Mom and Dad and I didn’t care to talk with them, so I went upstairs to look for the kids, who were up on the top level of the house.
- I first ran into Uncle Droy and someone who wasn’t Auntie Stella but who had come with them as well, and was obviously part of their group as they were the only Indians there. They were off to the right in a spare room where my bedroom would have been IRL, and they had set up a large lego model train set and were watching trains rumble around in circles with several little babies and toddlers that had come along with the group.
- The rest of the kids, easily 10-15 of them, were in a room to the left, in a spare room where our parents’ bedroom would have been IRL. They were also playing with Lego model trains, but on a large table in the middle of the room instead, and they had a large track looping around the outside of the table as well as some tracks bisecting the oval and cutting across the middle of the table, connecting opposite sides of the loop.
- These children, ranging from around 5 years old to some in their late teens/early 20s, were standing at equidistant spots around the table and were planning to each decorate and design the portion of the track in front of them. My sister and I entered the room together and they gestured us to some spots open on the far side where no one was standing.
- I thought about modifying my part of the train track so the tracks would slope up and the train would go airborne before landing back on the tracks. Or making a system so every other train that came along the track would be sent along one of the shortcuts across the table instead of continuing the loop, for variety’s sake.
- A little bit later on, I wandered away from the group and went to a nearby seminar that was nonetheless being held in Dunman High, on a grass field, though it was attended by mostly adults. I was in a female uniform here. About 200 scientists were in attendance, split across two squares of 10 by 10 plastic chairs that were divided by a small walking path exactly wide enough that they could have fit another column of chairs there and formed a perfectly equidistant 21 by 10 square. I felt a bit out of place here, but no one seemed to care.
- My initial chair was on the middle of the left 10 by 10 section of chairs, and the scientist in front of me, wearing a hat with a model train carriage affixed on top of it like the siren on top of a police car, turned around and tried to flirt with me by telling me how clever he was, and how he was the only scientist in the room with a name that started with the letter K (even though the actual presenter himself had a name that started with the letter K, and we could see this in the brochure that we had). I endured his boasting, and when I had the opportunity to do so, disengaged myself and moved over to a chair in the right 10 by 10 square instead.
- Not long after this, the presentation started. It was about free will and whether an action done by someone that was forced or convinced to do it could still be considered something that they did themselves, and whether someone could truly ever be forced to do something, and the conversation went weird places from here. I didn’t really understand it. At some point, the boastful scientist on the other side called out and said he would like to hear from a Chinese scientist that was seated near to me and expected him to speak up about the issue. A spotlight shone on the scientist he was talking about, and he did indeed stand up and eloquently deliver some good points. A couple scientists near me also stood up and started amiably debating the issue.
- The speaker in the front quoted a page from some book whose title or author had a short, 3 letter name, something close to Tey. He quoted something from page 26 or 27, and the people who were standing up and debating seemed to understand the book, but they looked puzzled as they said the quote was probably closer to page 30. Then it was the presenter’s turn to look puzzled, and he said maybe it was due to different editions of the book and they were probably right.
- An announcement then rang out asking if there was anyone from the school here at the seminar, as some people off to the side needed some sort of help. I volunteered for this since I was just a young student compared to all the scientists and wasn’t super interested in the semilar, and moved out of the seminar area. I saw Antonia and another professor on the side, she had tried to lead him here to the seminar but he had fallen ill or become exhausted along the way.
Oct 07 2021
- At least part of my dream was musical in nature, as I remember a concert stage with a large square floor panel button in the middle that triggered some sort of effect every time the performer stepped on it. There were two people performing on stage, one on each side of the stage and button. The dream also had something to do with a singer retiring, and she had three years or three CDs worth of music that became plot-relevant somehow.
Oct 08 2021
- My dream involved quite a few primary and secondary school friends. To start off with, I was a young boy again, and I got into a squabble with Andy, from primary school, about something, I believe to do with donating to or believing in some sort of charity organization that he was trying to fundraise for, though it might have been some form of authority as well. I refused to buy in to that and there was some bad blood between us for a bit.
- This culminated in some sort of distance race that we had to do for a Phys Ed class. Being larger in size, he fell down when we crashed together at one point, and I raced on while he had to get up and dust himself off. I also had a run-in with Eisen (I think) during the race for a different thing and decided that that was enough as I didn’t want to make enemies of everyone.
- At the finish line, I apologized to both of them — I don’t remember the exact reason, but I did need to win that race, and I told Andy the reason I didn’t support that charity organization, which I don’t recall now but I think was a combination of how I was leaving or resigning in six months and didn’t trust that organization and wanted to support someone else instead. That cleared the air, and he understood, and said not to worry about what I did in the race as that was fair game and just part of jostling and fun. Turned out he wasn’t particularly mad.
- I don’t remember how I patched things up with Eisen but I did too. In the end I asked the both of them to please kick me twice in the shin as revenge, but being a dream, I didn’t really feel anything from either of them so it seemed like neither of them were really trying.
- At another point, I visited some building with those same primary + secondary school friends, and there were a stack of 12 baskets hung up on the right wall after we entered the front door. They contained different herbs and veggies in each one — things like green garlic stems, some leafy spinach-type plant, and a few other thin-stalk plants. A sign above the baskets said they they were free (except for a herb identification book in the last basket which I didn’t take, but which cost $50-60 or so and was made payable at a booth further in). I started to gather some of the herbs for soup, and a few of my friends followed suit while the rest went further in.
- Further in, there was a large grid playing field on the ground and I recognized that as some turn-based game that some of us had played in the past. But this was a demo of that game, and there was a 2 by 5 cube on the floor of the grid that represented a monster. There were two “cars”, about 2 by 3 in size, that players could drive, and Zixiang, as someone who had also played it before, was driving one of them and demonstrating how you could use it to manouver around the “monster” and injure it either by driving into or shooting on it, and he demonstrated injuring the 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 squares of the monster, leaving the 5 and 10, two adjacent squares on one end of the 2 by 5, intact.
- He then let the other player try to control their car and destroy it. At first Valerie seemed to be driving this car, but later on it became a guy in the car, possibly Jackson, instead. At any rate, they couldn’t figure out what to do, and the dream stalled there for a little bit as we tried to figure out how to explain it better. I said that there really needed to be some sort of visual explanation, like a floating board above the monster or somewhere that showed which of the monster’s cubes were still intact so he could see what 5 and 10 meant.
- Some of the ideas that were brought up also somehow connected back to Andy‘s fundraising above, but I don’t recall how.
- In a different scene, I was in a classroom in the evening with about 10 other people from my primary and secondary school, as well as a teacher, who I believe was Mrs Shu. Our desks were pushed together to form a 5 by 2 square in the middle of the room, with the front 4 desks facing each other and the back two desks facing the front of the class.
- Several things happened here, but the main thing I remember is that she was taking attendance, and inquired about an empty seat on the right side. I told her in Japanese that the person who was supposed to be sitting there, Yaoxiang, had already gone home since it was late. She asked around a bit confusedly if Yaoxiang was the new student from an American University or something and everyone said that no, he had been with us through Secondary 1 and 2 and we were now in our third year together.
- Snippet: I wasn’t a boy for the entire dream either — at one point I do remember being a girl and trying to push my way down the exit stairs of a public bus, where there were tons of adults that were dressed like secret government agents with dark sunglasses on who were also trying to push their way down so they could alight the bus. I was still also with my primary school friends then and at least one other girl was impressed that I managed to push my way through — she got off behind me by hanging on to me and following me.
- Snippet: I don’t remember the context, but by the end of the dream the 6 months that I had left before leaving had whittled down to something like 3 months or 3 weeks, as that came up in some plot point as well.
Oct 09 2021
- This plotline involved a Chinese anime I’ve only heard the name of in passing — Tian Guan Ci Fu. It first appeared in AMQ as a random unknown song sung by a Chinese male and I guessed it correctly, much to the surprise of Satinel and Nak.
- It then later transitioned to us later winning tickets to see it performed live on stage — I was in an opera theatre with about 7 other people and a hostess, and we were all seated in the front row of the theatre watching. The rest of the theatre was empty.
- It became evident from the performers performing on stage that it was a love story of some kind set in Ancient China and steeped in mythology and folklore. It also involved a fox spirit matchmaker, even though I knew that that was the name of a different anime altogether.
- The hostess handed out cards that she said would enter us into some sort of prize draw afterwards, but it had a skill testing question on it whose answer was 3 numbers that were relevant to the plot of the show and that the actors had mentioned or would mention during their performance.
- This started off with some sort of snippet about gathering Chinese snacks for a Chinese New Year celebration, that morphed into making preparation for watching a hockey game together with my family.
- After a bit, this morphed into me knowing that there was a Math Olympiad contest or training thing going on at a nearby school some distance to the southeast from our house, a couple kilometers away, and trying to make preparations to see if I could join them from our Edmonton 4012 house.
- I had been invited but had initially ignored the invitation since I would be going abroad next year and the Olympiad would have clashed with my Study Abroad plans. However, I felt that since it wasn’t a certainty, and I would stand to gain knowledge by going, that I should turn up in the end. I knew it was taking place “today” on a Saturday in-dream, and I knew it was most likely taking place in that aforementioned school, with a small chance of another nearby school, but I didn’t know exactly what time (I guessed 1pm) and didn’t know if it was a selection test or training or something else.
- I tried to get Dad to bring me there in his car and he agreed, but I got hung up on packing. Things kept getting forgotten, so I had to keep running back from the car into the house to pick up stuff. One example was my Math Olympiad selection letter, I couldn’t find that at first until Mom helped me dig it up from two different piles of papers. Another example was my smartphone, I realized I had left it behind on the large table in the living room and my sister tried to toss it to me, but she was a terrible throw and the phone smashed off of a wall and landed at my feet.
- The phone was thankfully fine in the last instance, but I looked at my sister with a really upset face for the last one and she ended up getting 200 downvotes on Reddit when that clip was posted.
- There was an impending sense of dread that I was running out of time pervading through this dream.
- This dream also had a little bit of lingering time dread from the previous Math Olympiad dream, and I feel like that was still a minor plot point here, but it had become of far less consequence and was just a thing passively happening in the background that I knew about but was most likely not going to make anyway.
- Instead, I was in some sort of school setting that also morphed into a Dungeons and Dragons Online tutorial of some kind. Once the tutorial was over, we reappeared in a school classroom, and I could see that most of the school’s students were also DDO characters with set classes. While some people were leaving after the tutorial, other people wanted to form groups for a dungeon entrance that started in a classroom.
- I was one of those people, and I was playing a rogue, my first ever character in DDO, who was now level 11 or so. I started a group with Jah, who had a captain. A dungeon group required 5 people even though a regular group could support 6, and we picked up a couple new players and were waiting on a healer. I said that I could swap over to my healer if needed since my second character was a healer and she was already the maximum level of 15, so we could really get by with either a rogue or a healer.
- Our group was advertised on the LFM (Looking for More) board that looked like a departures and arrivals television screen at an airport, mounted on a pillar up near the ceiling with the screen tilted downwards.
- It took forever, but we finally picked up a 5th player, a female cleric that was really quiet and was possibly remoting in from somewhere else. Jah had to leave at this point though, he said he had to drive home from work before he could rejoin the party. But I refused to kick him, so everyone else sat around and waited along with me.
- While waiting, we got to chatting with an experienced player who was not in our group but was chilling nearby. He suggested that someone with experience in the dungeon should explain it to everyone else while waiting. I had run the dungeon and knew it somewhat well, but never really got a break in the conversation to be able to explain it to the others. The female cleric did ask at some point if the dungeon was easy to get lost in. I said that the dungeon was linear, but shaped with sloping passages like a snail’s shell in places that we had to climb, so it was possible to fall off and get sent back a little earlier in the dungeon if one wasn’t careful. Also there was an optional area at one point that was a dead-end cavern.
- Besides that, neither of us spoke up and the other two boys in our party, both relatively new fighter-type adventurers, carried the conversation with the experienced guy. One of my party members held up a sheet of paper from his character journal and asked the experienced guy if he knew about unlocking the Boobs page in the journal and how to get more — he had apparently unlocked it as an achievement by staring at either a statue of a woman, or some actual women walking by, from the window of a fast food restaurant that he was sitting in. The experienced adventurer said that yes he was aware of it, and there was one other similar page. The cleric and I rolled our eyes at the boys and stayed out of the conversation.
- Jah eventually reached home but took a little bit more before he could log in and start to head our way. The dream ended around here though.
- Thanks to Jah, there was a lot of downtime in this dream and it was filled with random snippets that included:
- Snippet: At one point, I looked outside the window of the classroom and saw Christine from my McNally High School days going by. Someone else engaged her in conversation in the hallway outside and mentioned that it looked like the Arts server, which was apparently represented by an entire building across from the block our classrooms were in, was now back up. She agreed.
- Snippet: At another point, one of my groupmates mentioned that his mom really enjoyed a Chinese drama, to the point that she often took the two main characters, which were both guys, and shipped them with her two sons, one character per son. They didn’t like that, naturally.
- Snippet: Earlier in this dream, there was an advertisement that played that involved a bunch of Safari animal prey — giraffes, gazelles, buffalo, and such — standing huddled together in a ball while a second ball of predators — lions, tigers, and so on — approached them, reached into their midst, dragged out a donkey who was trying to dig its heels into the ground, and proceeded to tear it apart and eat it as the scared ball of prey watched on, unable to do a thing to help the donkey, who was considered the weakest in the group.
- However, later in the dream, this dream was reprised, but instead of standing still, the group of prey animals attacked the predator group, stampeding all over them to scatter the predators and save the donkey. The word “Risk” appeared as an overlay atop the commercial at this point, signifying that the point of the commercial was that you could earn big rewards by daring to try new things.
- This was displayed in the commercial as the scene continued to unfold. The animals gained access to a locked trailer that the predator animals were guarding and had somehow brought along with them. Daffy Duck appeared and struggled with a metal bar that was jammed across the handles of the trailer, preventing it from being opened from the inside. He finally got it free, and out from the trailer appeared a rather pixellated Lara Croft with her twin pistols, ready to help protect the group of prey animals from any further incursions by the predators.
Oct 10 2021
- I only remember the end part of today’s dream, which involved me returning to Singapore and walking around the northern neighbourhoods of the city with two other people as we completed quest objectives. Who the two people exactly were changed over time — at one point when we were exploring and walking along a corridor that was basically a second level walkway of a residential HDB block, it was Satinel and one other friend. At another point by a bus stop next to a traffic light, when we had picked up a brochure guide and were talking to child NPCs and patting them on the head so they would disappear and were waiting around for them to respawn as diver trainers so we could talk to them for our quest objective, they were my younger brother and sister. And at yet another point when I realized we were not far away from my Yishun 799 house and I wanted to visit it again, my Mom was one of the two people and said she would be glad to accompany me.
- Snippet: I also remember a very odd snippet to do with eating little chibi alligators or crocodiles as though they were sub sandwiches, but I do not remember any context around this and this is probably for the best.