Entry #054 (May 22 2022)
No news on the school front, except that I received an email saying that there were another two students going to NUS this upcoming semester from UAlberta, so there are four of us now (that have publicly shared their names, anyway). I still haven’t received my letter of acceptance though, so I haven’t reached out, and I’m not sure I will even after I receive that, until I figure out if I can get my Student Pass and actually go or not. I think the chances are still right around 50-50, perhaps even 40-60. However, I still have my Winter application to Sophia if Fall falls through, so hopefully I find out sooner rather than later.
My coordinator said that I should continue my winter app for the moment and that I should be an expert at it by now. Ha ha. What a joker. (This will be my 4th time through the first part of the application.)
I had a nice compliment this week from a client because I saved her presentation with a quick phone call, that made me quite happy because I wasn’t getting through to her when I emailed her instructions and she seemed to be pretty frustrated. She said she’d drop my name to some execs from the department that she occasionally meets as part of her job or something like that. She doesn’t have to, but that was a nice comment to hear anyway.
Besides that, most of the latter part of the week was spent on clearing out my incoming tickets, and a minor fight over Knowledge Base articles and standardization with the new Knowledge Manager (who is reputed to be a bit too controlling), even though I think our team is one of the best at maintaining them in general. It was mostly a struggle between my boss and her though, with their joint boss stepping in at some point too, and the altercation was over before I really formulated a strong opinion one way or another about it.
I went out nearly every day this week for various things. Groceries took up a couple days, as I am trying to arrange it so my fresh vegetables and meat run out before I leave. Why do I have so many potatoes and onions on hand?
On Sunday, Nov 15, there was a “blood moon” solar eclipse, so I went out at around 10:25 pm for about 20 minutes and did a loop around the neighbourhood to see if I could see the moon. Sadly, the moon was low in the horizon at that time and there were a ton of clouds in the sky, so this was an abject failure. I did get to view my neighbourhood in a new light though, since I seldom go out that late at night, and that was cool to see. But I also counted three roadside lamps that were busted. I didn’t take any pictures of this little excursion, though. I also noted that while the Christmas Tree that I can see from my house is still off, the lights are still coiled around the tree, so it must just not be plugged in. There are lights on smaller trees in front of the office that are still on nightly though, and I walked by them on this particular excursion.
I was at home all day on Monday waiting for the Steam Deck to arrive, which it did. On Tuesday, I went out again, this time to the University to see my doctor and get refills on my prescriptions, as well as to print out some documents to bring along to Singapore with me. Since I visited the University, I passed by the library and took a picture of the weekly question board.
Even though half the scribbles don’t answer the question, I actually really like how multi-language the board usually is. I think it’s a good display of the number of languages and cultures at the school. Although it does need more representation from non-English, and non-East-Asian languages in general.
I also saw this big bear in our bookshop:
Boy he’s stuffed. And I saw this lady seated at a bench and.. sketching?
I wish I had more time and courage to approach people like that and talk to them to find out their story, but I didn’t, so I didn’t.
Oddly, my pharmacy did not have full quantities of any of the three pills that I needed, so they told me I’d have to come back the next day for one of them, and next Wednesday for the other two. I was only told this after a 30 minute wait too (they thought they had everything in stock before, I guess). This was a problem since I was fleeing the country on Monday. I told them so, and they told me they’d try to get it for me by Sunday.
I then went out on Wednesday to the mall to get a haircut at the salon. It was more of a trim, but my hair had felt really heavy and uncomfortable lately, so this was nice to do. I didn’t dye my hair this time, so it was a much quicker cut than usual, but it still cost $72 or so. I didn’t feel like I lost much in terms of hair length, but my head/hair definitely feels lighter now so I definitely lost some volume on it, which will be nice when I visit Singapore as I’m not looking forward to the heat and humidity there.
I went out yet again on Thursday, to the grocery store and to withdraw $800 CAD and exchange $776.75 of that for $800 SGD in notes in preparation for my trip. That should be enough for two weeks as long as I can use my actual credit card while there too. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of small shops and stuff where I can’t use a card though. Or maybe I’m just biased because my memories of Singapore are credit-card-less because the technology wasn’t quite that widespread when I was back there at the time and there were a lot of Mom and Pop shops.
And then, surprise, I went out again on Friday, this time to the library to return my two books, since I had now completed the second book, which was Better than Homemade by Carolyn Wyman. I didn’t like it as much as the other one that I’ve talked about previously, the Food Traveler’s Handbook, but that one was pretty difficult to top anyway. This book gave the history of many different western snack foods, and I really liked that. It also had a really good effect on me in that I had never really given a second look to some of these products even though I’ve been here in Canada for upwards of 20 years now, but after reading that book, I actually started to *see* some of these products on the shelf. Like Pam’s spray, which was on a little stand in Safeway. And Jiffy Pop Popcorn in the local dollar store when I went there to buy a folder. So I appreciate that it opened my eyes and world view a little bit more, even if I didn’t like most of the foods in the book (everything seemed too American junk food-ish). I loved reading about the origins of each food and how that tied in to world events of the time, particularly the Second World War.
Shockingly, I went out on Saturday as well, because I was informed that the rest of my prescription had come in. And they had! Safe. I also bought a few chocolate tins from one of the gourmet chocolate boutiques at the mall to give to friends over in Singapore. I don’t want to talk about how much it cost.
The heat at my house is still out — this has been the case since the furnace fire on the roof two weeks ago. I guess since we don’t actually have to pay for heat here, they’re actually saving money by taking their own sweet time to repair it. (They say they’re having trouble locating a replacement furnace. This is totally the reason I’m fleeing the country and going to Singapore to absorb the heat there until the furnace is repaired.. yup.) I don’t like leaving the space heater on for so long in the house though. That feels wasteful.
I’ve also spent a lot of time working on the blog this week. Almost all my free time, in fact, to the detriment of actually preparing for the trip in any meaningful way other than daydreaming and reaching out to some Singapore friends and organizing my papers. I should be planning out lists of where to visit. But maybe that’s overplanning anyway. I’m also re-encoding all my USA trip videos and am nearly done with that — my bottleneck is actually uploading these monstrous things to YouTube.
My one single plate broke this week, though I have a few bowls too, it’s not my only piece of crockery. Just my only plate. It’s served me faithfully for quite a few years but had been visibly cracking recently in the microwave. I took a sad picture:
And was about to write an elegy for it, but Jah wrote a Bad Haiku for the plate instead and I accepted it:
you poor little plate
oh why did you have to break
time to buy three plates
Thanks, Jah…. I think. I actually did see a nice plate at the Asian supermarket that was about 2/3 the size of that above one, and was pink and had cherry blossom motifs on it, so I liked it a lot, but it was $8 and change, and I’m going abroad in a couple days anyway, so I might find something nice there that I really want too. If I’m going to buy a plate locally, I’ll wait until I return. And even then, if I’m going to go study abroad in two months, there’s no point again. That’s also why I haven’t replaced my broken can opener from last month too, until my future is clearer. I did find a couple old plates in a drawer anyway, so those will work for now. Sorry Jah.
My Steam Deck has arrived! I fiddled around with it, and added a 1 TB microSD card for extra space. I also installed my dbrand skin on the Deck, and took these pictures:
Very pretty. I tried out some games on it too, trying to find some games to tide me over for the upcoming trip. The first game I tried was Atelier Ryza 2, which did well, then Slay the Spire, which did okay too. Occasional button presses seemed to flub though, but not many, so it might have been me not being used to the handheld device. I installed a few other games and hopefully will get to try them out before or when I go overseas.
I also am still playing Dawncaster on the phone, which Thrandor recommended to me a few weeks back. I’ve beaten the game with four or five different characters now, on normal, and still have a couple mechanics I haven’t explored at all. Fun stuff.
The biggest news this week though is that Satinel released her game to our Discord, and a few of us played it and enjoyed it. The game is called Majokko Rail, and it’s basically a straightforward shmup/rail shooter game, but a great first game (well, second game) for someone who only started programming a couple months ago! She’s been putting a ton of work into it (even if she downplays her work a lot) and this is something far past anything I have ever created or probably ever will. I played it to the end, and eventually managed to beat it after about 45 deaths, even though I didn’t think it was a game I could beat when I first started playing.
Plushie of the Week #52 – Panda
Panda is a tiny black and white panda that’s shaped and sized basically like a baseball, just a very soft one. He came into our lives around the same time as Beluga from last week’s Plushie of the Week, so “sometime not long after 2003”, and as mentioned then, we often considered the two of them a pair. Beluga was the baseball bat, and Panda was the ball! I don’t have a ton of memories about Panda either, none that didn’t also involve Beluga and that weren’t already mentioned last week anyway.
Panda doesn’t even have any tags, unlike Beluga, so we have no clue where (nor when) he’s from at all.
Song of the Week #29
Title: Som Av Meg
Artist: Kari Rueslåtten
Album: Spindelsinn (1997)
More song of the week snippets this week as I don’t have that much time to put into the blog. This song is apparently Norwegian, and is the only Norwegian song I know, never mind like. But I do like it! I randomly listened to it back in 2013 or so, and liked it so much that I added it to my Spotify list, apparently on May 15th of that year. I don’t have any particular strong memories linked to it, especially since I don’t know the lyrics, although translations can be found around the web. They look to be really rough translations though. I do also link it to the pre-surgery period of my transition life, but specifically the stage where I knew that my surgery was coming up soon. My real life transition (when I started presenting and living as a female) was March of 2013, so this would have come up just after that and would have been a song I listened to for the next few years on and off, probably right up until just before I had my final surgery in November 2017. It conjures up a mood of vague panic and depression due to that era of my life that it’s associated with, but is still a song I think of more positively than negatively in the end.
Memory Snippet of the Week #36
While rifling through my ocean of documents this week, I found the name of a book that had entranced me sometime around 2001-2002, when I was in McNally High School. As part of the Full IB program that I was in, which was the advanced placement program more or less equivalent to the GEP in Singapore, we had to do 100 hours of community service or something in (or perhaps by) our third year of high school in order to get our certificate. I wasn’t doing anything particularly noteworthy for mine — I just volunteered at the school library since I was there quite a bit anyway, and would come in for about 30 minutes before the start of classes each day to help put some books back. Some days there would be nothing to do, and I would either use one of the little computers at the back of the library, or sit down and do any remaining homework that I had. And if I didn’t have homework, I would instead turn to books.
In particular, there was a mythology dictionary that I found and often turned to when I had nothing in particular to do. This dictionary listed names, places, and phrases that were relevant to various mythologies around the world, everything from the Bible to Greek and Roman mythology to Asian ones. I would pull out a notebook, flip to a random page in the dictionary, and copy down interesting entries to add to my collection of mythology and trivia and fantasy world stuff that I was building up at the time. I was always really interested in designing a fantasy world from scratch and had plenty of trivia lists, names of items, foods, and spells, and even drawn maps that were inspired or filched from various sources and sounded or looked like they would fit right in to an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or Forgotten Realms style homebrew fantasy world.
I was aware that I had this list kicking around in a box somewhere, but I thought the name of the book itself was long gone. For some reason, I always remembered the book as being Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, but when I found that book in adult years, I realized it was wrong. That book was present too on the same shelf, but it was an entirely different book. I had no idea what the original mythological dictionary was called.
Until I actually found my notes this week and noticed that I had scribbled down the name of the book in bibliography style, complete with author, publisher, year, and so on, at the top of one of the pages! I was so happy about that. I even found the book online for free on archive.org. It was called the Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore and Symbols, by Gertrude Jobes, and was published in 1962. There’s apparently more than one book in the volume, which in hindsight was probably something I knew but forgot. Anyway, I immediately downloaded a copy for my archives. Hurrah!
Last Year’s Entry #5
My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #005. This was published on May 23 2021.
I never did use that food bank donation receipt when I filed my taxes this year, oops. Oh well, who cares.
I still haven’t gone back to McNally like I wanted to back last year, since they’ve said no to me twice now, but I will probably try again once I come back from this Singapore trip. If I have time. I don’t know if the principal ever forwraded my information on to that former form teacher of mine, but I never received an email from that, either.
I see that bedbug incident #2 happened last year around this time. At this point I still had not SEEN a bedbug yet, that didn’t happen until November. How terrible. I still look at my walls and under my bed suspiciously and flinch at any little itching sensation on my arm even when I’m nowhere near the floor. And there are horror bedbug stories all around the Internet. Those damned things.
I miss that SoulWorker character with a guitar that I played in the game, as well as the second town quest hub in the game. I think I still have the game installed just in case I want to log in again someday and just strum a few notes with her.
It is also a stroke of serendipity that Diary Entry #005 popped up this week, as that entry was the entry that featured the brightly-lit Christmas Tree outside my rental office that’s generally lit year round (but not lit right now..). This is because I’m also currently working on finishing the blog entry for the New Orleans leg of my USA trip in 2021 as I write this, and part of that entry involved going to Jah‘s house and physically seeing my poem hanging up on his apartment wall. How cute. I’ve added plenty of pictures of the tree since, like this one from My Diary #022
Or this one, which I made on May 24 2021 using this tool:
I even took a picture with it when I visited Jah‘s house in Mississippi:
How random. How capricious.
Again, I didn’t have many dreams this week at all. I attribute this to the upcoming trip and how busy I am, and also how much I’m anticipating that. I did have dreams, but a lot of them were on the tip of my tongue and I was unable to dig them out before they faded away. Pah I say, pah. I’m pretty sure I was on an alien world of some kind on the 20th, and there was a cracking plate in my dream on the 22nd, but those images come with so little detail that they’re not even worthy of snippets.
May 16 2022
- Snippet: At some point, I was at the entrance to a city and was waiting for a giant chicken to respawn so I could fight it for a quest. Another adventurer came up and waited along with me, as though he was going to try to steal the kill. He tried to invite me, but I was already grouped up with someone inside the city so I couldn’t accept. The chicken respawned and we both started to attack it, although I hit it first so I was going to get credit anyway. It took a long time to whittle it down, but eventually I knocked it down onto the ground and polished off its last few hit points, at which point it immediately turned into a cooked chicken. I sat there and began to start eating the chicken, but also offered him his choice of a piece for helping me defeat it, that he could eat while he waited for a respawn so he could get his quest done as well. He accepted and took a wing.
May 18 2022
- Snippet: I was playing AMQ with Satinel at one point, we were teaming up against someone else to try to guess some songs. I managed to pinpoint a song to one of Heg‘s shows due to the singer of the song and we ended up getting it correct. Show names each had a visual representation that was a floating rectangle, and the little rectangles were all individually arranged in a larger floating rectangle. The show name we wanted was located in the bottom left of the larger rectangle, outside the room.
- Snippet: At another point, I was in my Edmonton 4012 bedroom, seated on a mattress on the floor, and watching a TV that was placed where my bedframe was. I had a pile of colourful clothes and damp towels on the ground and a couple of laundry baskets that I was sorting them into, as I was about to send about half of them into the washer. I was also watching an anime episode (I believe an episode of Healer Girl was on) so I decided to wait until that was over though. To ensure that Mom wouldn’t yell at me for delaying my laundry wash, I emptied the basket onto the ground and sorted them into two piles, and then spread out the damp towels so that they would dry out while waiting.
May 19 2022
- We had an exam for the final two periods of the day in a school that was very vaguely modelled after Dunman High. We were originally supposed to finish after the second last period, but apparently most of the class did not finish in time so the taecher extended the duration of the test. I was surprised as I was done, but I didn’t hand it in early since no one else did, and I waited until the very end before turning it in with everyone else. Even then, I heard a couple people talk about how they didn’t manage to finish it.
- The school was crowded as all the students left at once. I saw Huihan leave and make her way toward the bus stop outside the school. I packed up my things and went out, hoping to catch up to her, but was unable to do so. Instead, once I passed the canteen and ended up at the bus stop, I found myself standing next to Harvey, Allen, and a couple other people I knew but didn’t remember. Harvey and Allen were talking about how Allen had become a really good footballer sometime after I had left for Canada and before the end of secondary school. While I didn’t take part in the conversation as I didn’t feel I belonged, I had a notepad with me and was scribbling down notes in order to learn more about my former friends, and the things I missed after I left the school.
- Harvey said something to the effect of even though we’re all in different schools now, he trusted us (pointing to me, Allen, and two others that were standing by us).
- Allen said something about how difficult someone at my workplace was to work with, because he was very unpersonable. He named Semyon, and I told him that he only opened up to close friends and was otherwise a bit shy and stoic. I said that he would find that Jeremy was the same way, if Allen hadn’t had the chance to work with him yet.
- Snippet: Later on, I was in an apartment building, in a friend’s apartment about four or five levels below my own. For some reason, he had to eat fire alarms, and there were four of them or so installed in his apartment that he meticulously triggered, and then ate, and each fire alarm would chirp once before breaking and emitting a fading “wheee” noise as he crunched down on them. The apartment manager then knocked on his door, and he looked worried, so I suggested that I could teleport back to my apartment and enter a command that would reset his apartment to normal. He agreed, and I did so, except the command that I had access to and had used before required an extra parameter this time that I didn’t understand, as though it couldn’t figure out which 26th level apartment or whatever his floor was I was trying to reset. I ended up having to specify the apartment block name to get the command to work, and even though I didn’t go back down to check if it did work, I wondered if this implied that I could now also reset rooms in other buildings too by specifying a different building name.