My Diary #064

Dear Tigey,

This week, we work on the blog! Worked. The week’s over.

Entry #064 (Aug 14 2022)

Table of Contents

Treading water at…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #62
ට  Song of the Week #39
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #46
ට  Last Year’s Entry #15
ට  Dreams

School

There’s several cancellations and renewals and things I have to do now that my Study Abroad (Fall 2022 edition) is officially withdrawn, which happened at the start of the week when I reached out to my UAI coordinator to tell him it wasn’t going to happen. The main one I still have left to do is the cancellation for my student housing in Singapore, as they apparently require documentation for the cancellation of the program and I’m not quite sure what documentation they’re talking about. I asked the NUS coordinator if he could help with that and am awaiting an answer for that.

I still haven’t actually gotten back the Student’s Pass rejection yet, but could probably use that as well if I can still access it in the system after this cancellation. Not sure when I lose access to that system.

There’s a volunteer opportunity available to me for the next three weeks — it’s something I did last year as well, being a Welcome Ambassador in the University for incoming international students. I’m not sure if I’ll actually do it, it might depend on how many other volunteers sign up for each day. The main issue is that I don’t actually have a replacement work laptop yet for the one that managed to die when I brought it to Singapore — they’re working on getting me a new one, but it isn’t in yet. So if I do go to the school for a volunteer stint, that might mean I have to take a day off since I can’t very well work there, at least until my new work laptop comes in. Or I’d go for half the day and work for the other half or something.

I also considered taking a class this semester, especially since my professor for the Haiku class I took last winter, who is also an assistant chair for the Department of East Asian Studies currently, sent out an email highlighting classes with low enrollment that had lots of spots left open and were at risk of cancellation. The one I was interested in was EASIA 346, Modern Japanese Literature in Translation, and its summary blurb is:

This course will introduce students to modern Japanese literature, starting from the emergence of the shōsetsu (novel) and discourses surrounding it through the postwar era. We will look at changes in the conception of literary texts and readership, and their relationship to changes in Japanese society and the construction of the image of “Japan” during this period. Readings will cover canonical authors from the late Meiji Period through the present such as Natsume Sōseki, Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, Edogawa Ranpō, Hayashi Fumiko, Mishima Yukio, Banana Yoshimoto, and Murakami Haruki; they will also include key works of Gothic literature, proletarian literature, and zainichi literature.

That’s all very good, I actually find this topic very interesting, and would love to take it (and in fact was going to take a similar class at both NUS and Sophia, so it might be redundant anyway..), but the class is an in-person class only, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 3:30 pm, which means I’d have to take a chunk of vacation for it since it clashes with my work from home job, and I’d have travel time and other costs built in to my week. My boss is willing to let me do it, but this would also mean giving up my planned October vacation, so at the end of the day I decided to just skip it.

I did sign up for a Japanese-English tutoring exchange thing on an “if you need any more people” balancing out the numbers basis, run by the University’s extremely active JCC — Japanese Conversation Club. They have collaborations with quite a few Japanese universities and incoming Japanese students in general, and for this upcoming semester/year are running a program where you can be put in groups to teach English and learn Japanese and vice versa at different proficiency levels. I figure that this will be a good thing to have in my pocket since I plan to go to Japan to study next year, and possibly even vacation this year if the borders open, and also since teaching English there is a possibility down the road after I return from my Study Abroad stint/s and finally graduate. They’re taking signups through August and possibly beyond, though I think they also mentioned that they’ll start matching people up for groups soon. We’ll see if I get anyone.

Work

Our new team member on the dev side of the team, Emily, started this week. Yay! They’re apparently hiring at least one more, I believe his name is Alex, no word on when he starts though. On our half of the team, Daniel officially left our team at the end of this week to join the central IT Service Management team. Well, sort of, he had already started there this past week, and he was doing both jobs this week as a transitional thing.

And as mentioned above, there’s been movement on getting me a replacement computer for my poor Surface Pro that gave up the ghost when I brought it to Singapore during my trip in May. I expect I’ll get the replacement laptop at some point next week.

Life

I renewed my housing lease this week. The housing management people said they weren’t allowed to do leases shorter than 12 months without approval from central management, and that they weren’t allowed to offer any discounts on market price for the month to month lease, but I talked them down anyway and they eventually offered me a 4 month fixed lease at $1250/month, which is the same price that I was paying before, and right on what they consider to be market price for my unit. Except my unit is smaller than other units of my size because I lack a storeroom, but whatever. I do really like the management here, but hopefully Winter 2022/Spring 2023 Study Abroad works and I can get out of here and move on with my life. I did inquire about moving to a new unit in the same apartment complex, and they said that it was possible, but that I would have to sign a new 12 month lease for that. Makes sense I guess.

I also lodged an informal complaint against my next door neighbour for noise — once or twice a week my entire living room would thrum and bounce due to my neighbour playing loud music, not due to the music itself but due to the accompanying bass. It’s painful to the ears and annoying because I can’t block it out. If I place my hand on the wall separating our units, I can feel the entire wall vibrating, which is quite something. On the bright side, this was also the wall that the bedbugs hid in last year, so if there were any vestiges of them still left, they’d probably be shaken to death by the intense vibrations as well.

Anyway, while it usually happens in the late evening/early night, a couple Fridays ago it happened right at midnight for an hour or so and affected my ability to sleep, and it’s happened the last two nights this week (Thursday, Friday) as well, so I decided to make the report when I went down to sign the lease. The front desk clerk, Cosam, said that he’d discreetly give them a call requesting that they be mindful about the noise, and we’ll see where things go from here. They’re also sending a repair person over early next week to fix a broken faucet in my bathroom that I casually mentioned, so that’s nice.

I spent a bunch of time this week working on my blog, in particular uploading this Vernon Barford Grade 9 Graduation/Farewell booklet from 1999 that I found (even though I didn’t go to graduation that year, or any year in my school career thus far), as well as starting up a page entitled (for now) A Stack Of Papers, which is (or will be) a collection of document and card and miscellany scans that I will be collecting and uploading over time. I’ve mostly populated it so far with scans from earlier blog entries, though I added a few new ones as well.

This has been a planned part of my blog for quite some time now, as I think that archiving and chronicling one’s life does not only mean to save one’s memories and thoughts, but also to save and display documents and keepsakes and just random trinkets that are part and parcel of one’s life but that few people ever look at twice or pause to pay attention to. In addition, these scans and uploads are pretty low-effort, many of them are just 1-4 pages long for example, so they give me a way to feel like I’m adding something of (dubious) value to my blog while not actually taking up much time if I just want to tinker with my blog some nights.

Anyway, this will probably be quite an important page to me, even if it’s worthless to everyone else on Earth right now, and as I state on that linked page, I hope scholars several hundred years from now stumble upon it and find it to be a unique peek at life in the late 1990s and early 20X0s that no one else that I know of is really scanning and chronicling.

The exact list of what sort of items belong on that page are still up in the air, for example, I’m largely concentrating on “public” documents without personally identifiable information on it, so for example while I scanned my juror summons from last year, I didn’t upload that one, only the COVID-19 informational attachment that came with it. Similarly, even though I scanned and even uploaded my vaccination form onto the blog last year, I didn’t include that here as well, but I did include the vaccine survey card that came with that. On the other hand, I consider the Oct 2021 Edmonton Municipal Election Voter Information Card somewhat public even though my address and my voting station was on it, so I blanked out my address and uploaded that card as well.

As a corollary of publishing that blog page, I also went back and added some scans to a couple of my previous travel blog pages. In particular, I added scans of the Love Live! Superstar!! collectible cards near the bottom of my Singapore (2022) Day 1 page, and I added an addendum section for my AnimeNYC scans on my New York (2021) page too. Some of those scans are also on the A Stack of Papers collection page above, but not all. Those scans that require a separate page for them are being added as standalone pages too, not blog posts, so they won’t appear in the RSS feed or the front page/table of contents. I hope I can look back at this segment in a year’s time and say that it was a success. Also, this new blog section is the first thing of hopefully many that I can safely say happened because Fall 2022 Study Abroad did not, and yet it will be something I can eventually add to even once I do go abroad to study as well.

With that new addition above, I’m in the market for some sort of a portable scanner as well, though a lot of options I see are quite bulky. Not exactly sure what I’m looking for though. I am also in the midst of testing out some phone apps, but in my limited testing so far, these apps tend to be light/shadow sensitive, and my current room has very uneven lighting, so test scans that I made had random shadows in weird places. But it would be nice to have something I could carry with me to scan things when I went overseas.

Late this week, while writing my blog, the singer and songwriter of the graduation song that I had highlighted on my McNally 2002 yearbook page actually contacted me via email, as he had organically stumbled upon the page and wanted to reach out to me. I didn’t know him while we were at school, although I’m sure we walked by each other many times in our 3 years there, so this was a really neat encounter and I am glad that he reached out! We exchanged an email or two and he updated me on his bandmates in the video, and that basically made my week. It also did make me think that I should reach out to McNally again and see if they’ll allow me to go back to the school to take photographs and maybe a video or two now that COVID-19 restrictions are largely gone.

Games

In what was probably an avaricious reponse to Fall 2022 study abroad not happening, I picked up a few new games to play this week.

Horizon: Zero Dawn — This was something like 60% off on Fanatical after coupon-stacking, so I picked this up and tried it. I already own it on the PS4, but wanted to see if it ran any better on my old PC, as I prefer keyboard and mouse controls over a controller. The game itself actually runs fairly smoothly, but the sound is absolute garbage, and when there’s any sort of conflict going on, the sound will get all stuttery and poppy and cut in and out in an awful way. Sometimes even when nothing is happening in game except the pouring rain. I have not been able to find a fix too, although the game isn’t unplayable per se, just annoying.

Alina of the Arena — I had been watching videos on this game for quite a while and had taken quite a liking to it, so I picked it up because it was on sale and played a couple rounds of the game, dying horribly each time. It’s a card-based roguelike with an arena grid and seems to have a ton of depth to it though. I look forward to finding some time to playing more of it.

Terminus: Zombie Survivors — This is a game that sits somewhere along the survival/scavenging axis together with games like NEO Scavenger, Project Zomboid, 7 Days to Die, and Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead. The sort of game that gives you a bunch of houses to enter and loot and occasionally fix up. It’s top-down and turn-based though, and I’m still undecided on whether I like it or not, as there are some really idiotic implementations of basic systems here, like how you have an Action Points bar and an Energy bar, and sleeping will restore Energy but not Action Points, so if you go to sleep for 6 hours in a safe area while out of Action Points, you might wake up with full energy but you will still have to rest another hour or two to fully regenerate your Action Points, which is the dumbest thing ever. It smells of devs with very little experience at making game systems that synergize well with each other, and are trying too hard to stick to some sort of warped vision despite player feedback. But the gameplay loop itself is decently fun.

Stacklands — I virtually fully completed this one in two nights. It’s a fun little game that’s similar in gameplay style to Cultist Simulator, though with a lot less ways to die — I went through the entire game on my first playthrough and got all the achievements, though I didn’t kill the final-final boss because that would involve me having to go back to a secondary zone for a third time to grind something out, and I already had too many settlers in my main colony and each turn was taking forever to do because there was too much busywork. It’s definitely missing a bit of QoL and the board gets really messy in the late game when you have a ton of cards, but otherwise it was a neat game and well worth its low asking price.

There are other games that I played a fair bit of this week, Deep Rock Galactic, Monster Train, AMQ, etc, but they’re continuations of previous weeks and mostly gaming staples at this point.

Plushie of the Week #62 – Pink Beluga

As a continuation of last week’s PotW, I wanted to introduce the second plushie from the right from the top picture on that page there, the only other plushie that I have good purchase detail from. Like Mew, he is also from Lotte World Adventure (I believe all four of the plushies were), and was also purchased on Jul 30 2014, though likely from a different store within the area as I seldom pick up two plushies from one store. He was a bit more pricey than Mew, coming in at KRW ₩18,000. The other two plushies were also eventually given pages in PotW #104 and PotW #112. The picture from last week is reposted below for good measure:

This plushie is a pink beluga, and I never bothered giving him a proper, creative name so his working name all these years has just been Pink Beluga as well. Why not just Beluga? Because there’s already another plushie named Beluga! Our uncreativity knows no bounds.

Closeup shots of Pink Beluga follow. Front:

Sides:

Top:

Bottom:

Tag:

Tag reverse:

Big plushie means big number of angles to take pictures from. He’s also my bedside defence weapon if my house gets invaded at night — I can grab him by the tail and bonk an intruder with it, especially if the intruder is plushie-sized.

Song of the Week #39

Title: Sakuramachi
Artist: Kenichirou Saigou, Tomoki Kikuya
Album: Youkai Watch Original Soundtrack (2014)

Sakuramachi, or Sakura Town, is one of the town theme songs from the Yo-Kai Watch 2 game on the 3DS, the only game in the series that I’ve played (nearly to completion, I didn’t beat the last boss because he was annoying). Of all the tracks in the game, this one in particular hits some high nostalgic notes for me, and although I don’t have actual memories linked to it outside of the game, the song and melody itself remind me of lazy spring and summer days slowly drifting by, and a mild pining for the distant past. The yearning to be innocent and carefree again and, at the same time, a mournful undertone to it all because I know that feeling will never truly come back.

The song also brings back many memories about the game itself — hanging out with friends, going to school (even if school is out in the time period that this game is set in — summer vacation), visiting train stations to fill my stamp book for a stamp collection quest, attending a summer festival (sort of), catching bugs, doing things for parents, exploring the city at night, and even some time travel. And solving zone puzzles and fighting lots of monsters along the way, of course. I really appreciated that the game let me use a female protagonist (the player can use either a boy, Nathan, or a girl, Katie, as their main character). This particular track was so good that I racked up some time in the game just idling in the main town where the music played, placing the 3DS down and plugged in and just letting the music waft over my apartment.

At some point, I even picked up a longer version of it (longer than the one from the OST linked below at least, which is 2:20 long). I’m not sure from where, but since I do have a music player plugin for WordPress now, I uploaded that MP3 to this blog section as well.

Memory Snippet of the Week #46

This week’s snippet will be somewhat derivative, as it’s going backwards from the Memory Snippet from two weeks ago (where I talk about LotRO and some of the people I met from there), back to the first MMO that I ever played, DDO, or Dungeons and Dragons Online. I’ve largely actually talked about this already, in My Diary #032, the last Photograph of the Week entry that I did before retiring the segment for a while and bringing it back as Memory Snippet of the Week, but while that one concentrated on my best friend in the game, this one will talk more about the game at large.

I started playing DDO because my supervisor at work at the time, Brad, also played the game himself. We chatted a lot about gaming during our spare time at work, during lunch and other occasional downtime. He had dreams of making his own engine and MMO and even tried to draw up a design document at one point, and we occasionally sat down and tried to dream out and hammer out details for what our ideal MMO would look like. Before we ever started any of this though, he knew that I enjoyed gaming and had played MUDs in the past, but had never tried a graphical MMO before, but eventually convinced me to give DDO a try.

I bought the game back when the level cap was 10, a far cry from what it is now (local). My account was created on Jul 28 2006, and I initially joined my boss’s guild, Mithril Aegis, on a server called Fernia, which consisted of him and a couple real life friends. His main character was named Dorim, and like me, he enjoyed mapmaking, though I had largely only worked with creating hand-drawn maps in MUDs that I had played on in the past. He had graphical tools at his disposal, and even made a thread on the community forums entitled Dorim’s Map Shop (local) where he shared his maps with the community. Although all the Adobe Photoshop psd files on that link are gone, I’ve downloaded and saved the maps in this archive.

Anyway, we seldom actually played together since he wasn’t on a ton, while I was brand new and levelling up, and since I was still in my pre-transition period then (and had not yet revealed my transgender thing to him — that would come years later and be well-accepted) and trying to find online safe harbours where I could present as female. So I had rolled a couple of female characters, Mirra the rogue and Ellyssa the cleric, and used the great ingame Looking For Group tool to find my own groups to play with.

I eventually fell in with my first actual MMO guild, the one that the muse in the My Diary #032 entry above, Althenna, led. It was called Face Stabbing Misfits, or FSM, and as stated on the other page, was a play on the initials of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I ran with them one evening and liked them a lot, saw them advertising again the next evening and joined them again, and eventually it got to a point where I figured out that I really liked the people I was constantly running with, so I left Mithril Aegis and joined them.

We were a small guild that started with under 10 people, but eventually grew to about 15-20 or so, just enough to run the 12-person raids every week as long as people remained active. I don’t intend to give hover text entries to people from this guild other than Althenna, as I probably won’t have much of a reason to talk about them in the rest of the blog, but they include Realmeat, Maeric, Snit, Zenfandel, Halador, Dantiar, Devlon, Castinonem, Gruntle, Redbull, Rhowan, and more. We learnt and ran all the instances and all the raids (except a Titan (local) one, which no one on the server was able to beat at the time, although we eventually teamed up with another larger guild and took it down once it got nerfed/fixed a bit), and generally had a really good time.

This game was where I figured out that I really loved playing a healer, which was part of the reason that my minstrel (healer class) eventually became my main character in LotRO as well, although in both games, DDO and LotRO, my first character was a rogue/thief class that could sneak around. I was also an officer in the guild — I had been active and helping out and running stuff for some time and one evening Althenna went “Hey, how come you aren’t an officer yet?” and promoted me, and that was that. I became the treasurer and helped run part of their DKP system (DKP is Dragon Kill Points — basically a standard MMO term for a system that tracks raid participation and activity within a guild or alliance), keeping track of who had how many points and keeping a stash of gear that they could redeem their DKP for.

Since I was one of the earlier players in the guild and one of the officers, I also for better or for worse often got a spot in the nightly guild instance runs if I wanted it, especially since I had both a rogue and a cleric, two classes that the guild was always short on. I also hung out a lot with Althenna after (or before) our runs, we would climb up to rooftops in the main city, which was a non-combat staging area for all the actual quest instances in the game, and chat with each other — her on voice and me just typing. I never told her about my transgendered nature, but she was nonetheless a big part of me being able to accept myself and a big, positive influence on my life, as we whiled away the hours chatting. Just like Lady Jinx before her, she represented a platonic female friendship that I really needed in my life, and I was able to find that through her, and slowly explore what it meant to be a female.

I eventually drifted away from them when LotRO launched and I jumped ship to join that MMO, but this was an extremely important development in my life, even though I apparently only ended up playing the game for about 6 months (during that stint anyway, I would come back for other stints on other characters in the future). Not only for the friendship I found, and the chance to help lead a guild and experience small group raiding that involved figuring things out instead of reading raid walkthroughs, but also because if I hadn’t been invited by my supervisor to play DDO, I would also never have tried LotRO, and would never have met my current group of Discordia friends, who have shaped so much of my life over the past 10-15 years or so, in the end. It boggles my mind to think how things might have turned out differently if some small event here or there in the distant past had played out differently. Would things have turned out better? Worse? Nonetheless, it’s a miracle teetering on the edge of many little arbitrary past decisions that things are exactly the way they are right now with life and friendship.

I’ve added two pictures here from my screenshot stash too, the first being a group shot of sorts dated Sep 22 2006, and the second dated Oct 20 2006, as we stood around waiting for doors to be opened, apparently a common occurrance in raids.

Last Year’s Entry #15

My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #017. This was published on Aug 15 2021.

My poor DeskCycle! It does still work but it’s currently sitting next to my desk instead of underneath it. I had to remove it for the multiple bedbug treatment stints last year, and I got annoyed with constantly having to remove and reinstall it. I also suspected it as a cause for my eczema at one point, although that’s pretty much been debunked. I’ll probably get unlazy and reinstall it sometime this fall/winter since I now have another few months before leaving the country.

I haven’t gone back to see the optometrist since late last year, and I probably should at some point, but there’s just been too many things on the plate and neither my eyes nor my glasses have been giving me any issues lately. Generally I only go in to the optometrist when it’s time to get new glasses. I did notice this week that one of the lenses in my glasses is slotted in weirdly so it’s kind of jutting out of the frame though.

Clara is still one of my most beloved recent plushies, and s/he has followed me to both the USA and Singapore now, and thus is already more well-travelled than the majority of my other plushies. She hasn’t met anyone the way that Tigey has though, besides my younger siblings (I think).

While going through the links in the Dream section of the last year’s blog, I ran across that Lion City link and noticed a blurb from that page that said:

1. Who may use the Lion Head symbol?

Any Singaporean individual, organisation or company may use the Lion Head Symbol to identify with the country.

So hey, because Singapore refuses to process my renunciation and refuses to tell me why, this means I can use this symbol and associate it with my blog too. So here we go:

An ode to lousy and inefficient bureaucracy! Heck, have a Bad Haiku too:

Public sector jobs —
Do the least you can, delay
’til retirement.

My own workplace feels like that at times too.

Dreams

Not a whole ton of dreams this week.

Aug 10 2022
  • Snippet: I remember being in an outdoors area in one part of the dream, building houses with metal sheets and firing different kinds of arrows from a bow or crossbow that didn’t require much arm movement at all.
  • Snippet: In another dream I met up with my Dunman High friends, a bunch of us were in a room just hanging out. I joined a circle of people playing Uno at one point, Zixiang was dealing out the rounds but there were already 8 players so he couldn’t deal me any cards, but when one person left I took control of their hand. He said something about being happy that I joined the circle so he had a chance to help me integrate in with everyone else who hadn’t met me post-transition yet. I sat next to Eisen and he stared at me, we then chatted for a little bit. At another point I saw Paul playing with a Steam Deck and Harvey came up to him and asked him what he thought of the handheld device.
  • Snippet: I was also with my family at one point and Dad was really angry with me, I asked Mom why and she said something that made me conclude that it was because I had my own life and plans now and she said that to assuage him I should promise to put him and the family’s wishes first as long as I was still staying with them. I refused, saying that that would be a blank cheque for them to request anything like me not going overseas or pursuing my dreams.
Aug 11 2022
  • I dreamt that Jon and Kel each had an apartment next door to me in my Edmonton 4012 home, but they both came over to my apartment to sleep at night, and we each slept on mattresses on the floor along with a number of actual animals that just curled up on the floors next to us.
  • I had a skill that allowed me to do something akin to gathering resources, but would once in a while also just explode in a noisy manner and discharge something that left what looked like shotgun spread marks on the walls — this happened a couple times at night when we were supposed to be asleep, and while it didn’t wake up the animals, nor Kel, who was asleep already, it did cause Dad to come in from another adjacent room to ask us to be quiet because he could hear the noise from his own room and that could mean that our room’s protection and integrity was being compromised.
  • That in fact was the reason that Jon and Kel came over to sleep at night, so that we could all triple check the lock on my front door and so that any invading thieves would be far less likely to target our room and the animals. I was thinking that Kel should bring her valuables, in the form of 300+ gold coins, to my place at night as well to keep them safe here. Jon‘s valuables included a server computer which he was administering, which was harder to move, but I did say that he should consider it as well. If not though, at the least, I told him that he should check the MMC (Microsoft Management Console) logs on the server daily to see if there were any intrusions during the night.
  • Snippet: There was also something about a game involving large robot enemies and the ability to summon them in groups of 5. The overland was a hexagon grid with 6 tiles surrounding each time, and I thought the incongruency between the numbers 5 and 7 were a bit weird. Anyway I was fighting the robots with my workmates from work, and Matt was there as well.
  • Besides fighting robots, we also had to import stuff from one server to another, there was a whole shared folder labelled Yishun where all the filenames started with Yishun – something, but after looking through one of the files we saw on the logs, we realized that it contained a couple scenes that included footage of people getting shot and I proposed to my team that we decline the request to transfer this video over. They all agreed. I said that we’d give them the names of the songs in the video clip anyway so that they had less reason to actually need the video.
  • Melbourne was happy with my solution and said that he was glad that I was here as a mentor and had not promoted to the development or operations side of the new/merged team yet, and I said that I had no desire to be promoted in that manner since I was only going to be here for one more year maximum before moving on. There was also some sort of Google Forms survey later on that the University wanted me to fill in.
Aug 13 2022
  • I was travelling with Kel, who had just gotten some sort of research grant to stay in a large house in some distant northern state/province, and we moved in there to find a bald, bearded professor named Justin who himself was a professor that had acted as an assistant for the previous person who lived in the house. We learnt from the woman coordinator who gave us the grant that he was indeed there as a helper. Another younger man eventually showed up to live with us too, he was also named Justin, and we didn’t really like him initially but soon warmed up to him.
  • We eventually became suspicious of the way that the professor was acting and talked to the coordinator about it — at this point we had both their surnames and learnt that the professor was actually not the Justin that was assigned to us, it was the young man and the professor was basically freeloading because he knew about the position from his previous stint here. To us he was the helper, to the other Justin he was a friend that just happened to be here.
  • I asked Kel what she wanted to do about it, and she decided she was going to kick him out. He was in the shower so we chatted while waiting for him to emerge, and I asked her hypothetical questions to make sure she was aware of all the possibilities. For example, what would happen if he asked for some time to find a new house, or offered to pay rent. Kel said she’d be fine letting him stay until the end of the month, or even let him rent a place in the house if he paid something like $1000/month.
  • I don’t remember the outcome of the actual talk, but the dream spun off from there into snippets, some of which involved our group fighting or competing against a rival criminal gang to do things. There was a car race at one point that involved multiple gangs, and a girl on our side called the cops to arrest the people in the main car that was racing with us. The policeman in the police car that joined the chase wasn’t happy to learn that he was up against several other gangs at once. There was also another point where we all gathered in a garage and saw someone in a heavy mech robot suit coming up to us — we raised our guns and pointed them at him but one of our team members waved to him and said that he had called a favour to get this mech and its pilot here — he figured we needed some more firepower as the other gangs had a mech and we didn’t and thus we had been thoroughly outgunned the last time we went head to head with them. He said that if we recruited him, the playing field would be far more even and we would stand a chance. I agreed.
  • There was something about having animal spirits that rescued us or gave us second chances at things if we failed. This included a snake spirit that gave us nine lives, and a dog or something that rescued someone else from our team when they would have otherwise perished.
  • Separately, there was a top-down game I played that looked very much like an ASCII roguelike, where I had to fight my way into a room with loot lying on the ground in a 6 by 3 rectangle, but was surrounded by worms (represented by ~ tilde squiggles). I had to retrieve an artifact from there that was part of that loot pile. The worms were unmoving at first, but would start to move once I attacked them or moved into a square next to them, so I came in from the bottom side where I would have to aggro the least number of them in order to get in to the loot square. I had a dog pet with me as well who drew some aggro and then quickly died. I did manage to get not only the artifact, but all the loot in the room, before using a teleport skill to teleport out of the dungeon again, where I found the dog restored to 1 hit point. I fed it a piece of meat, which was one of the 18 pieces of loot that I had picked up, and it regained all its lost health.
  • At another point, we were in touch with a consignment shop in Alaska which was a cross between eBay and Etsy, which had been accused by the media of being a fake shop. We were going to decline using his services due to that, but something about the media reports felt off, so we contacted him directly for his side of the story and he explained that people’s expectations were off but that he was perfectly legit, it was just a much smaller market for creators up in Northern Canada and USA and he wanted to provide people in that region with a consignment market to sell things in. There was indeed the occasional problem that a buyer or seller might run into, but no more than one would on any other larger major online marketplace. We agreed with him and ended up using his services.
  • Lastly, I was alone in Asia at one point and talking to my friends on Discord, and Jah recommended using a star app on my phone that I could point at the sky, and it would show me all the stars and planets that I should be able to see in that direction depending on my physical location and the tilt of the phone. While these apps actually do exist, this particular dream app then overlaid the stars and planets on top of the actual feed from the camera app, allowing me to actually see the stars through the city’s ambient light pollution and even through the sunlight in the daytime. I took some of these overlaid pictures with my camera app and sent it to Discord, thanking Jah and saying that I liked this app very much. It turned out that he had no idea that the app had that additional feature, and soon he and Fames and others were testing it out as well.

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