My Diary #073

Dear Tigey,

Ittekimasu! Wait, you’re coming along wih me!

Entry #073 (Oct 19 2022)

Table of Contents

Putting on my boots of…
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #71
ට  Song of the Week #48
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #55
ට  Last Year’s Entry #24
ට  Dreams


I was largely distracted from work this week by a certain upcoming trip. Largely did my daily work and then went to continue my research into Japan. Or went outdoors to get things in preparation for the trip.

Next week, the University is apparently going to send out a nasty email about (in my opinion necessary, but poorly implemented) plans to restrict Google Drive access to many accounts in response to the terrible, lying company named Google ending their unlimited storage after taking all our data and making sure we’re too deep to back out of using them. I think it’s coming out basically the day before I leave, so I’m conveniently going to have to take those couple days after that announcement off so I can fly to Japan and not have to deal with the firestorm of tickets that will be coming in. Quite by accident!


So I decided to do a diary entry this week, mostly because life moves on whether I want to or not and the stuff that happened this week would just disappear into the void of history if I didn’t write something. Although I’m going to publish this on the 16th, I’m going to continue editing this until the 19th, the day before I leave, and have it contain all the non-trip stuff that happened this week (though there’s a bunch of overlap in terms of trip preparation). So this post is dated the 19th instead of the 16th.

I went out pretty much every day this week in preparation for going abroad in some way or another, and I had the thought along the way that I was basically also preparing my body to do some major walking every day for over a month. I couldn’t actually buy my plane tickets until Wednesday, the 12th, because that’s when my new credit card finally came in. I wanted to put my plane tickets on this card (a Scotiabank Visa) because it would give me much better insurance for my trip if I did it this way, plus I no longer wanted to earn points toward my previous card (RBC Visa). I did use a bunch of points from it to subsidize the cost though, so I only paid about $500 for my round trip. But if I had my card earlier, I could have saved an extra $100 or so, that’s about how much the price rose in the past week since I first started looking at it. Ah well.

I somewhat regretted getting a Visa instead of an American Express Gold though, which was my other choice, because I immediately ran into problems with my Visa and trying to buy things on a site online, and having the purchase automatically blocked “for my safety”. Getting around that involved me calling Scotiabank‘s credit card department twice (20 minute hold each time), and visiting the nearby branch once, and each time they said they had contacted the fraud department to authorize the charge and that I would be fine in 15 minutes or so… but this never worked out. The third time, the credit card department redirected me to the fraud department to talk to them instead, and this took two hooooours of waiting on hold, but they finally were able to authorize this purchase.

I hope this doesn’t become an issue while I am in Japan. Then again, if I am going to be having any issues, I’d rather it happen now instead of when I go there for studies sometime next year. I hear that foreigners generally find it impossible to get a credit card there, and also that some foreign credit cards, potentially Visa in particular, have trouble being accepted in some locations. We’ll see though. Nothing like going there to test it out myself firsthand.

A way to mitigate this for me would be by bringing some actual cash along, but although I tried to withdraw some CAD and exchange it for yen on Friday, Oct 14, a full six days before I leave on the trip, it turned out that this might have been too late as well. Both the RBC and Scotiabank branches said that they would have to order in yen from their respective HQs if I wanted to withdraw/exchange my CAD for yen there, with RBC giving me an arrival date of around next Wednesday or Thursday before the yen would arrive, and Scotiabank giving me an estimate of next Friday. I also talked to Calforex, the money exchange shop in Southgate, and they said that they were also out of yen but would be getting a new shipment on Wednesday. They said both their branch locations in Edmonton were entirely out of yen, actually. I guess many people are currently planning to go there? Or they just never really carried it since Japan was closed until this week? Anyway I decided to go with that, and will visit Calforex on Wednesday to try to get my currency swapped. Otherwise I’ll have to do it at the Canadian airports or in Japan itself at a bit of a premium, ugh.

I also had to call Scene+ this week to merge my two Scene+ accounts, one because I had a physical card already from signing up at Safeway a few weeks ago. I got through and had it fixed (accounts merged) after only 35 minutes or so on hold! Amazing. Apparently this invalidated my old card and they’ll be sending me a new one while I’m away, and they apparently couldn’t really do the reverse so that I could keep the account/card that I already have, because the newer one is attached to my credit card, but that’s fine.

I had my proof of vaccination (now with 4x vaccine power) printed out for free at the local library this week. I also converted the physical Telus SIM card in my phone to an e-SIM, allowing me to keep it in my phone when I go to Japan and buy a physical prepaid SIM to insert in it for internet access as well. At least that’s the plan. I also plan to eventually see if I can park the phone number on some online service when I go over to Japan and/or Singapore to study, and it needed to be an e-SIM for me to do that, I believe. After converting it to an e-SIM for me, though, the sales rep at Telus then told me that if I were to change my phone, I would have to pay a fee to transfer the number over to the new phone as well. That’s very weird. But he said that there were plans to change this eventually.

I talked to Yaoxiang this week to confirm that I would be meeting him (and his husband) in Tokyo for lunch. I had made a mistake at first, thinking that he would be there from *October* 24-28, until I noticed just before contacting him that he had said *November* 24-28. Thankfully my trip is so long that it also encompasses those dates, and I had luckily made my return date November 25th, and would be flying out from Tokyo on that day, so we made plans to meet on the 24th for lunch somewhere. Fun!

Another pre-trip preparation event that happened was that I went to tell my rental office that I’d be out for a bit, and they noted it down and said that they would send someone by to check the apartment every few days or so, just like last time when I went down to the States. Neat. It will also be time to renew my apartment lease (or not) once i return — I should also know by then whether Singapore study abroad in Winter 2022 is happening or not (most likely not).

Around all this, there were a lot of preparations done for the trip, especially online. Lists of things to do/find/visit while there, lots of webpages and videos to read, people to contact, music to listen to, and a neverending list of things I could do to improve my experience if I had more time. There’s also several things I really want to buy, like some better shoes and a bag, that I suspect I will not manage to do before I go. I also wrote both this blog post, as well as this other one, which will serve as the Introduction/Day 0 post of my trip. I also recorded down my walking total this week as per the Google Fit app on my phone, recording both the Heart Points numbers (described as “You score Heart Points for each minute of activity that gets your heart pumping, like a brisk walk. Increase the intensity to earn more.”) and Steps (described as “Steps are a useful measure of how much you’re moving around, and can help you spot changes in your activity levels”). They missed a period at the end of that description for Steps.

Anyway I’m recording it here to show that it’s been a busy week this week despite working from home (as opposed to last Sunday, when I didn’t go out), and for a baseline that I can hopefully remember to compare my vacation weeks to, assuming that Google hasn’t shut down the app by then.

A postcard from Rin also arrived this week, containing a nice, handwritten thank you note for attending his wedding last year. Pictures are attached below!

It’s easy to find me in the group picture, since I stick out like a sore thumb thanks to my automatically tinting glasses.

How nice! Tigey appreciates the call-out.


I had originally wanted to skip the Games section, as we only played a bit of Deep Rock and Gloomhaven this week as always, but one notable thing did happen in Gloomhaven, which was that Tes retired his first character, a Cragheart, which had been duoing with my Spellweaver, and we rolled up a couple new characters to round out our party of four (we had just two up to this point but wanted to check out a few different classes) for the next time we play. The game is flexible and allows us to control any combination of characters we like, with the dungeons scaling to how many characters we bring with us, which is super neat.

Plushie of the Week #71 – Neko Dango

Neko Dango means Cat Dumpling, which is what this little grey furball is. I didn’t name it — I mean, I chose to keep the name, but the name itself is actually written on his tag in Jepanese hiragana, and that’s the name of the actual line of plushies, made by the Japanese company San-Ei. Kel gave him to me around December of 2019 when she came back from Japan, and he’s been sitting in my plushie army ever since, trying his best to look like a cute dumpling. I don’t have much more to say about him, but here are some pictures!




Pawprint tag:

Two tag sides:

Other side of second tag:

Song of the Week #48

Title: Nobore! Susume! Takai Tou!
Artist: KikuoHana
Album: Dai Ichi Maku (2016)

One of the things that I am going to do in Tokyo is attend a couple of music conventions, one for Touhou doujin and one (hopefully) for generic doujin music, and this will be interesting because I don’t know much about Touhou, doujin or Vocaloid music at all, as there’s only a little bit of overlap with that stuff and anime songs, which is where most of my listening time goes to.

One of the very few songs I do know though, is this song linked below, which I randomly stumbled upon or something around April of 2019. Its title roughly translates to “Climb! Advance! To the Tall Tower!”, and it’s composed by Kikuo. There are two main versions of this song, one a Vocaloid version featuring Hatsune Miku, and one a.. well, human version, sung by Hanatan. This latter version, by Kikuo to Hanatan (“to” here being the japanese word for “and”), or KikuoHana, is the one I prefer. I love the vocal range and melodic/tonal switches in the song and the strength of her voice.

The lyrics are fairly neat as well. Although on the surface it looks like a song of encouragement, and pushing on to meet your goals, and the general pattern of the song is of pushing forward, falling down, and then getting up and pushing forward again, a closer reading of the lyrics actually paints a rather bleak scene that to me warns of the dangers and folly of capitalism or something along those lines. The interpretation can vary, but a criticism of capitalism was what was on my mind when I first heard of the song and read the lyrics, long before I knew any Japanese outside of a few Japanese anime titles (I started watching anime in November 2018), and that’s the way it’s stuck for me since then. There’s also a descent into madness theme in there, which I like.

It’s a great song, and in my very limited exposure to Japanese doujin/indie music up till this point, one of the best that I’ve come across so far. I’ve since come across the vocalist in one anime song as well, where her great vocal range was on display as well, but this was the original Hanatan for me.

Memory Snippet of the Week #55

My memory snippet this week is one that I had forgotten for many years until some point last year after I started blogging and looking back into my past. There’s no pictures for this one, just a description.

One thing (primary, secondary, pre-U) schools in Singapore differ from (most) schools in Canada is that we have school uniforms there, and this includes white socks and shoes as well. We’d change our socks after the end of each day once we got home, but the shoes were something that in most cases we had to wear from Monday to Friday, and keep relatively clean — if there were brown stains on the shoe due to jumping in a mud puddle, then something had to be done or they’d still be stained the next day when worn to school.

So an integral part of school life, at least in my family, was that every Saturday morning, or early afternoon, I would sit down at the entrance to the toilet (aka bathroom, the toilet in Singapore refers to the entire bathroom, and not just the bowl like in Canada/USA) on a stool, and I would have a small, blue plastic washbasin of water and soap in front of me. I would also have a small brush that I would dunk in the water and then scrub the shoes clean, inside and out, top and bottom, canvas and rubber, and even the shoelaces (which I had to take out and then soak in the water). I would wash the shoes like so and then rinse the soap off with a hose afterwards. The entire toilet floor in Singapore was tiled and meant to get wet, with a drain generally set beneath the basin or shower area, and with no separate area that was meant to be kept dry like many washrooms in Canada (and assumedly the USA). So after I was done, I usually just emptied the washbasin water onto the ground and hosed that soap down the drain as well.

I would then set the shoes against the wall of the toilet to drip-dry, and it would eventually be moved onto the window-sill or countertop somewhere for the sun to bake to a fine crisp.

Sunday, when it was dry, was shoe painting day — I would bring my shoes to a table, lay it on top of some old newspapers, and there would be some special white paint and a small brush that I would use to apply the paint to the canvas parts of the shoes, and I believe the rubber part around the bottom rim of the shoes as well. Once that was done, the shoes were again left to dry before they were ready for use and the shoelaces could be threaded back in, often on Sunday evening or night. If I wasn’t careful and painted over the shoelace holes while I was painting the shoes, then there would be a thin film of crusted white over the affected holes that would crumble in a satisfying way when I poked it with the shoelace. What an odd memory to carry with me all these years.

Also oddly, I don’t remember much about the paint we used. I know it was some sort of shoe whitener paint, but it’s nothing that I can find online, nor remember exactly. It’s mystifying. Most of the products that I see upon googling shoe whiteners seem to either be something that lets you apply it directly from the bottle to the shoe, or some sort of marker pen, but ours wasn’t like that. I think ours involved a brush that was attached to part of the cap itself, so the brush would be in the bottle and dipped in the paint when it was closed shut. And then the cap would act as the handle of the brush when it was out and being used to brush paint all over the shoes. I can’t be certain of this though.

Once Kel started school, we either took turns doing our shoes, or one person would wash both pairs of shoes and the other person would paint both pairs of shoes. It varied by week, and could also all be done in one day if we were in a rush (due to, say, a family outing on one of the weekend days). Jon was not old enough to start school (besides kindergarten 1) before we left Singapore, so he never had the chance to do this. I found it a dreadful chore back then, but it’s certainly a very nostalgic (if spotty) memory now.

I had Scouts as an ECA in secondary school, which took place on Saturday mornings, but I am pretty sure we had a separate pair of black shoes for those. I don’t seem to recall ever formally washing those in a washbasin and definitely did not have to paint over them with any special paint.

Last Year’s Entry #24

My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #026. This was published on Oct 17 2021. I’m also going to do My Diary #027, published on Oct 24 2021, and My Diary #028, published on Oct 31 2021. I’m mostly going to be doing quiet editing on them and not commenting much on them, since there are three entries to go through. This will take me through my trip as well, since I also took a trip around this time last year for Rin‘s wedding, and My Diary #029 wasn’t until Nov 28 2021 when I returned. I’ll do that one once I return from Japan!

That intro to My Diary #026 about how time has flown by and how the diary entries have captured them, made me both laugh and grimace. Even more time has flown by since then. Diary #026?! That was forever ago! So many things have happened in the past year that I never would have expected. Or remembered if I hadn’t put pen to paper… err fingers to keyboard.

After a year of trying out the glasses with transition lenses, I… don’t like them. I’m probably going to buy a pair of glasses at some point once I get back, and use those instead. They’re nice for blunting the sunlight sometimes, but at certain angles when the sun is in the lower third of the sky, the glare from the sun blinds me in a way that it doesn’t when I use regular lenses on my glasses, and that has been a little dangerous when crossing roads and such. I’m not quite sure why it does that, something about the way the sunlight refracts off the transition lenses or something. It also looks terrible in photographs to me.


Not a whole ton of dreams this week, especially early on in the week. I’m probably too consumed by the excitement of my impending trip. This sort of happened the last time too — My Singapore trip started May 23 2022 and I didn’t have any recorded dreams from May 20 to Jun 01 — but this time it started a week earlier.

Oct 13 2022
  • I went to Russia with some people on a work exchange program, I think Ronnie, Kel, and I were in a small office on the third floor of a building. It looked like one of our regular work offices but smaller. At the end of the first day, Ronnie lay back on the ground and fell asleep and we couldn’t wake him up, so Kel and I just left by ourselves and headed to the bus terminal.
  • We talked about or pointed out some buildings and landmarks along the way as we walked. Between the building and the bus terminal was firstly a long and narrow park with trimmed hedges forming intricate patterns that you could walk through. Most people just walked around it since it was only about ten or fifteen feet wide though, but it was over a hundred feet long. It was named D-something park, where the D- word was 5 characters long, something like Death but not quite that ominous.
  • Between that park and the terminal was a hawker center with a number of stalls in it, four of which were open. We weren’t allowed inside, and I actually recognized the area as the bottom level of the hawker center from my Oct 04 2022 dream where I had bought a few bananas from. The hawker centre was full and the short flight of stairs leading up to it was cordoned off by red velvet rope though, and Kel said that that place was famous for its shopkeepers being in full character roleplay mode at all times while on duty, whatever that meant. Next to the cordoned off section was another hawker center, or perhaps another wing of the same one, with regular stalls and selling regular Singapore-style food. In front of that was the bus stop that we needed to catch the bus from. There were two long buses lined up there, the front one being the one we needed to catch to get to the right train station to get home, and the back one waiting for the front one to leave so that it could move up to take its place. We got onto the front bus and headed home.
  • The second day was also our final day on this work exchange program, Ronnie was no longer there as he had taken the extra time yesterday after waking up to pack up all his things before heading home. The day was quiet, and we both started slowly packing up once there were only a couple hours left in the day. I had a very bad feeling about Russia and what they might try to do to us on this last day though, so I decided that I would finish packing and then leave even if there was still an hour or so to go so they couldn’t spring anything on us at the last minute.
  • I packed up all my bags and then went over to Kel‘s desk to help her pack her stuff too. She had a couple loose bags, including one Safeway black reusable shopping bag that I gave her, and she held the bag open as I put a pile of things into it. We almost took the telephone as well — she asked me just before we left if I had erased the list of outgoing calls on the phone, and I said that unlike last time, whatever that meant, I didn’t do it as I couldn’t navigate the phone menu since it was partially in Russian. Pressing 5 on the phone menu would probably delete the messages, if it was similar to the other one we apparently did before, but I couldn’t risk the possibility that they had switched some options around and pressing 5 would summon guards or something. We almost ended up taking the phone itself, which looked like a VOIP phone from my regular office, with us when we left the office, but decided against it as that might have caused Russia to take revenge against the next set of people from Canada who would accept this work exchange program next year. We then left early, past the rather deserted hallway, except for one or two office doors which were open and had suited executives working within. They didn’t spare us a second glance.
  • Once outside, my walking companion turned from Kel to Dad, and we basically walked toward the same bus terminal as yesterday, although we took a different route that bypassed by the park and the first hawker centre and went straight to the second one. We saw both buses pull away as we arrived, but that was fine, as we were apparently getting a ride from Uncle Ivan, one of Dad‘s younger brothers, to his house in his car instead. While waiting for him, Dad wanted to go for a walk, so we walked backwards past the front of the other hawker center, where I repeated what Kel had told me yesterday about the shopkeepers always being in character, though I kept calling the shopkeepers “innkeepers” instead and having to correct myself. I wondered what the best term to use for them were. The area was cordoned off today as well.
  • I told Dad about the park behind the hawker center, and he mentioned that there used to be an outdoor food stall around there as well that he really liked. We didn’t go that way though, and instead continued walking along the road, until we got to a point where the road turned into a wide, rectangular paved “park”. There was a path snaking left from it, vaguely toward the direction of the office building, although what we could see down that path were a couple of expensive-looking apartment buildings that it passed by. Dad remarked that they probably were not that expensive as certain facilities nearby, like the hawker centres as well as the presence of “any place where people could meet”, were pulling down the property value of those places.
  • I was going to ask what he meant by the latter, when I looked down to the other end of the “park” area, and saw a bench there. I instantly realized that that was what Dad had meant. Past the bench was a path as well, and that one led to a HDB flat with slightly peeled blue paint on the outside walls of the building, giving it an old and cheap look, as though that proved Dad‘s point somehow.
  • We turned back toward the hawker centre, and looked at some of the food stalls when we reached it. Dad said they looked good but we agreed not to buy anything to eat here as we were going to eat dinner at Uncle Ivan’s place. We could maybe eat out tomorrow instead. Although we were still early, Uncle Ivan suddenly approached us, greeting Dad and saying that he had arrived at our rendezvous point about 10 minutes ago and had been seated on a stool at a table, watching the people go by.
  • It started to rain as we started walking over to his car, and I passed Tes along the way, who was apparently heading in roughly the same direction. I couldn’t offer him a ride though as neither Dad nor Uncle Ivan knew him. Plus the car was a 4-seater and the fourth seat would probably be needed for all the bags Dad and I were carrying. I waved to him and he waved back and that was it for our interaction as the three of us that were walking together then reached the car and got in.
Oct 14 2022
  • Snippet: While I was hanging around waiting for some office work and homework to be done by some other people so that I could process it, I played some games with Satinel that involved us both sitting together at the same keyboard, with me controlling a character and Satinel controlling the character’s companion. Later on, Satinel challenged a teacher’s character with her level 50 companion but lost as characters were a lot more powerful in general, the teacher said he hated fighting against other people’s companions though. Other snippets included a bus stop that was going to drop me and a bunch of others on a road that was implied to be near my Yishun 799 home, and Ronnie saying that we would have shabu-shabu for lunch in our office.
Oct 15 2022
  • I watched a scene involving a number of people possibly trapped on a school bus and forced to play a game of werewolf/mafia by the school bus driver. It didn’t feel like they were captives, but that they were unable to leave until they had finished a certain obligatory number of tasks, or some time had passed, sort of like students in school. This game was very vanilla and low stakes and somehow involved drawing events from a stack of cards that the bus driver was holding to see what happened to each character each day, and unlike in the real game there wasn’t really any agency as to what the players could do, so there were scenes here involving the players just chatting to each other as well.
  • After the game, a second bus pulled up behind the first and gently bumped into its back, joining the two buses so the people on each bus could interact with each other. The two bus drivers conferred, with the second bus driver saying that he wanted to introduce death as a mechanic for the last game. Returning to the busses, he paired up the students in one bus with students in the other bus and said that this game was higher-stakes but that they’d be allowed home afterwards, if they survived.
  • My dream viewpoint basically followed a girl from this point on, she got paired up with a tall Caucasian guy from the other bus and the two of them sat together. The bus environment turned into a classroom with toilet cubicles on the side at some point, and the game itself started the same way as the last one, with cards drawn and such.
  • Although no one initially died, the girl had gotten wind of the death mechanic at some point because the students had seen the two bus drivers conferring again just outside a different classroom in a separate building across from where they were currently located, through the classroom window. She teleported into the other classroom somehow, sat with her back against the external wall of the other classroom, and heard their conversation floating in through the windows on the upper half of the wall. She then teleporterd back and told everyone about it, so everyone played extra cautiously and no one died.
  • Suddenly, there was a knock on the door of the classroom. Someone opened the door and I saw a little skeleton with a grinning face, about one foot tall, dancing on the spot before running away. That was apparently the precursor to the next part of the game, where the people were sent out in their assigned pairs to scavenge things from a large zone.
  • The pair I was watching through the girl’s eyes were one of the frontrunner teams at this point, and they got assigned to a large sandy desert where there was a crashed ship half-buried in the sand, and debris everywhere. The girl was driving some sort of ski-doo or motorcycle at first and managed to dig up all sorts of artifacts that they needed at first, quickly mastering how to use the vehicle even though it was difficult to control, while the guy also did some digging and sorted all the artifacts that they had found. They found that there was an invisible line beyond which there were no artifacts, just pure grains of untouched desert sand, and Minecraft-esque sandstone a meter or so beneath it if they dug down far enough.
  • They had found all the necessary items before their alloted time was up, so they began digging around again for some extra stuff, especially after one of the two found an award plaque with Singapore’s former president, Lee Kuan Yew’s name engraved on it, as some sort of historical artifact that someone had dropped. The two people continued digging in the general area, finding more stuff like that that seemed to be historically significant, as well as a number of random things like ticket stubs belonging to some event, a bunch of sticky note paper with weird names written on it, and even an old résumé booklet that apparently “I” (the dream me that was watching the two players) had submitted a long time ago pre-transition, to a Manchester United store, because Dad wanted me to work there so that he could get discounts on the merchandise since he was such a fan of them. The dream me had been rejected from the job by the owner because I had no enthusiasm for working there or didn’t meet the qualifications, but the booklet included a knowledge quiz about the team that I had to do as part of the application itself.
  • The desert morphed into a room at this point, and my viewpoint or consciousness melded in with the girl so it was as though I was playing as her. We both saw a panel opening in the middle of the exit door located at the far end of a corridor. A round muzzle stuck out of the panel, and we both dove behind an alcove as it started to fire bullets. I yelled that we had found some really significant artifacts that the country would be very glad that we had found, and to please let us out so that we could explain, but the pleas fell on deaf ears.
  • A clear liquid dripped down onto my face from the ceiling above, but that didn’t seem to be acid or poison or anything so I ignored it. As we sat down and huddled together in the alcove, we had a premonition of a mechanical hand arcing along at our (seated) neck level and holding a stick of dynamite, which would explode if it hit us. So we lunged forward to get out of the way and successfully dodged that as well.
  • The gunfire had stopped by this point, although the muzzle was still pointing down our way. We knew we couldn’t stay in the alcove any longer, so the two of us took the chance to run out of the alcove and against another wall, our last point of refuge before the exit door, reaching that checkpoint before the bullets started whizzing by again.
  • During the next break in the hail of gunfire, we both ran for the exit door, which apparently wasn’t the actual door with the gun panel itself but a short side corridor right next to it. The boy led the way, but he fell just short of the exit as he failed some sort of dexterity or agility check, and a brief flashback scene played as he died, showing him as a kid exercising on a playground and pulling himself up on some monkey bars. He had been partially shielding me, and I also had fairly good stats, so I did make it to safety, and I mourned him before I left the area with a heavy heart.
  • Outside, I met my mom, who chided me for not contacting them for two weeks. Apparently time passed differently inside that zone than it did outside. I tried to explain, but she was having none of it. She also said that she had made friends with the boy’s grandma, who had come by every week to see if there was any word of him, but that she had gone home and thus wasn’t here right now for us to break the bad news to. I looked around and noted that the front door was located at the end of a short corridor that really reminded me of what happened in the zone, so I walked over to it, opened it, slid it backwards into the room as the door itself was apparently movable, and then shut it again. I said that it was important that from now on that we shut the door as far into the room as possible, as that extra little bit of distance could be the difference between life and death and would have saved my friend who didn’t make it.
Oct 16 2022
  • I dreamt that there were cults forming in remote northeastern Russia or a place similar to that, little walled communities on the map attracting people from all over the world that promised security and safety. Recruitment videos showed people walking to morning assembly around a little pavilion area and singing for the camera as they did so. While it looked idyllic, it wasn’t, and I was some sort of investigative journalist looking into them.
  • The morning assemblies were also recruitment sessions and were free for the public to attend, so I actually attended one and saw some people in the crowd that I recognized from my Rosyth and Dunman days but had not talked to forever — Jianwei and Kenneth were both here in the crowd, and Jianwei was standing next to and talking with Enli who was dressed in a graduation gown and cap, signifying that he had reecntly joined the cult.
  • Someone asked the cult leader about his advice regarding the education of new babies, and the leader answered saying that he had looked into nearby nurseries and recommended one in particular because it was the only one who taught children the proper way to kneel down on the floor and bow, and that was really important in their society for them to be able to kneel and bow to the cult leaders as soon as possible.
  • Snippet: Somewhere in the dream, I was with my parents and Jon and a bunch of plushies on my bed, and I was feeling sad at how the stuffed animals had to be sent somewhere in the world for specialized cleaning now and then, and sending them out like that was dangerous, but Toodles had thankfully just come back from a cleaning and wouldn’t be due again for several years. I split Toodles in half down the middle and gave one half to Jon. He challenged me to a game of golf in our parents’ adjoining room, which was filled full with tools and tables and other potpourri, to try to cheer me up, even though it was nearly midnight. Our parents were in the room and were miffed at Kel for something or other when we entered, but they all soon left the room, so it was just Jon and I left, and we placed some golf balls on the floor, and took turns hitting our balls with an extendible golf club/vacuum cleaner hybrid machine that we had on hand.
Oct 17 2022
  • I was taking a Biology final exam, administered by a teacher named Suila. It was a GEP class and I had come into this class after skipping some time so I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to take the exam. There were stars and circles on the front page of the exam and I tried to press them with my pencil to see if there was a glitch or Easter egg that I could get extra points from, but there wasn’t.
  • The first page of the 4-page exam was a bunch of short questions that I most likely could answer, so I flipped past them and looked at the last three pages first, each of which consisted of one long answer question and a bunch of space below each question to answer it. The third page was a Physics question involving a person and a pail of paint or something, and I realized that it happened to be the one question that I remembered from reviewing last year’s tests just before the exam.
  • The fourth page was a question involving something about a John Wick Effect, and asking me to define it, which I had no idea what it was. The question also had a note from the teacher sarcastically making fun of Wikipedia for the name of the effect. The second question, however, also involved a Lesser John Wick effect, and I realized that I could extrapolate from that question that it had something to do with the human body and a cold bathtub and would be able to guess the answer to the fourth question from there.
  • There was also a scene regarding the exam where the teacher mentioned something about GEP classes soon going back to tougher midterm papers where the pass rate would only be 15% or so and the class average would experience a drop after the midterm, like the good old days, whereas these days the exams were basically so easily that most people currently breezed through it.

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