My Diary #075

Dear Tigey,

This was very much a catching up with life and readjusting goals week. It’s good to be home and comfortable again.

Entry #075 (Dec 11 2022)

Table of Contents

Stopping and taking stock of…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #73
ට  Song of the Week #50
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #57
ට  Last Year’s Entry #26
ට  Dreams

School

I officially cancelled my NUS attempt for Winter 2023 this week, even though I was accepted by NUS. My rep over at CMPB did try to offer the possibility of some sort of exemption letter, but not only did the offer come in too late, I don’t really trust them to deliver on that either, at least not enough to get everything done by the deadline before which it would be too late for me to fly over there. Not that it’s really their fault, but it involves more than one department and I’ve seen how the communication between CMPB and ICA have broken down several times over the past 3 months or so.

Or my rep has just failed to actually carry out anything that she says she’ll do, which is also likely, since every time I talk to her its like starting from the ground up and explaining my situation yet again. I said last week that she said she’d follow up with me on Monday, but I had to reach out to her on Tuesday afternoon to even begin to get any sort of conversation going. Actually it feels a lot like talking to my current work supervisor in some regards, since he started managing a team larger than he can handle earlier this year.

Anyway like I said last week, I had already renewed my housing lease and committed to staying here another 6 months, so it wasn’t much of a loss for me. I started my application for Sophia for Fall 2023 though.

Work

As we swing toward the Christmas break, people are in and out of the office and the incoming load of tickets is starting to ease off a bit as well. Which is nice since I have a lot of post-vacation catching up and rest and reflection to do still. Our entire University gets the 24th or so to Jan 3rd or so off every year, and I’m not taking an extra week before Christmas and New Years off like many do. I aim for the week after New Years instead when I have spare vacation time. I haven’t decided this year if I am going to do that — I probably am, as I still have about 95 hours or so of vacation left in my bank, and don’t expect to be at this job past June/July, but we’ll see.

We’re still at 70-something unassigned tickets in our queue, but I hear that the incoming river of escalated tickets to do with the alumni account changes (local) that caused all these tickets has finally started to dry up, because the number of tickets in the main queue (which another team monitors) has hit 0, so that number is going to fall dramatically over the next week or so, hopefully, before people leave on vacation.

Two weeks to Christmas/New Year’s vacation break!

Life

A lot of the week was spent on two things that I don’t have much to wrlte home about. The first was blog upkeep and reorganization, firstly going through my recent Japan travel blog entries for some cleanup touches, and then building the Table of Contents out for it, as you can see on the above page. It’s dynamic, so I just built it once and had it appear at the top of every page in that blog series now.

I would still like to play around with the formatting of that table to make it thinner though, and make some minor changes to things like colours, and thanks to Jah‘s help, I was able to clear up an error (local) that had been plaguing my WordPress table addon for a bit now, preventing me from tweaking the CSS of the tables I made. So now I can do this. When I find the time.

I also did some work on the Table of Contents part of my site, though I am still moderately dissatisfied with how it looks. For now, I broke out book/magazine/booklet scans away from my /papers section, A Stack of Papers, into its own /books section called Winter Night Library, and renamed the former /books section (which was called The Shuddering Library but was basically mislabelled) to a /writing section called Jumbled Letters. This messed up all the numbering on the scans in my /papers section, but I’m not sure if I care enough to fix it yet. I also lumped everything into the main Table of Contents page, partly to be able to visually see how much crap there is on my blog now, and partly because I felt that having four separate Table of Contents pages was overdoing it a bit, but I might yet revert this change. I’ll probably chew on it for a little while and decide.

The second main thing I did this week was to catch up on my anime. Here’s a mood piece from Yama no Susume: Next Summit:

They were in Kamakura, very near where I was, close enough that I recognized the beaches and layout of the place anyway, though I’m not sure if I was on the exact same beach. The girls from Bocchi the Rock! also went to Enoshima on last Saturday’s episode, right next to Kamakura along the beach, a place that I visited twice during my trip and that I hold dear, so it was very nice to see two of my three dearest shows this season visit a place that I was at two or three weeks ago now. I think that will continue to be the place that left the deepest impact on me out of all the places that I visited on this trip to Japan.

Then the Bocchi crew went to Shinjuku LOFT (or Shinjuku FOLT, as they called it) this week, and I was floored. I made a quick Reddit post in the Bocchi episode 10 thread with comparison pictures, but it doesn’t accurately capture the sheer insanity of the place that Hiro brought me to on Day 13 of my Japan trip showing up in an anime two weeks after I arrived home, especially since he had chosen the place that we were going to, not me.

I’m glad I managed to catch up on all my seasonal anime so quickly though, as my backlog from the trip totalled well over 100 episodes (though about a third of that were 2-5 minute shorts). Both the backlog of anime as well as of blogging from my USA trip last year at this time definitely caused me some ongoing stress this year as both took over 6 months to clear out, but this time I’ve apparently grown as I’ve managed to somehow resolve everything in about 2 weeks.

Outside of those two events, I also started cataloguing my box of English CDs mentioned back in My Diary #067, and transcribed the diary entry shown there into a digital table, before expanding that table with other details about the CDs as well. One problem I ran into, and should have noticed when I was first writing that Diary 067 entry, is that the list of CDs I have only actually covers maybe half the CDs in that box — which means I likely never wrote down the purchase details of the other half of the CDs in there, though I know when most of them were from (basically 2000-2005 or so before I stopped buying CDs). Most of them were secondhand at that point too, so they didn’t come with price tags or anything like that.

Oh well. I do have well-catalogued information of the CDs that I bought from this Japan trip, so I need to get what information I have down in my files and then add the Japanese CDs to it. I’m glad I saved the CDs from being thrown out (and I’m glad my family asked me if I wanted them before they moved). I have previously mentioned this, but my scanning project now involves scanning my owned CD booklets too, using a rather involved scanning and cleaning process where possible, and I got a couple of CDs done this week in between watching episodes of anime.

I would also like to research and learn more about Chinese and Japanese music and eventually pick up a handful more Chinese and Japanese CDs for my collection too. I don’t know how or where to start on the Chinese ones, but in the meantime I did learn about a Japanese proxy buying service called Remambo that apparently works quite well for buying things over there and then shipping it over to Canada (or elsewhere) with somewhat minimal overhead costs on top of the existing shipping costs, and is especially useful since I can consolidate orders and even ask them to repack it for a fee so that my actual shipping cost would be lower. Haven’t tried it, but I might soon. It’s not just CDs too, they can receive and send out almost anything that one can buy from an online store and can send as a parcel (i.e. not digital/illegal goods), so it’s nice for things like combined orders for different people in the family. Though I feel like I shouldn’t be doing this too much just yet. This is more a thing that I will be doing once I get back from my Study Abroad adventures, if and when I do go, and then decide on a place to settle down for my Forever Home.

Although my sleeping schedule is back to normal now, in terms of timezones at least, my sleep is still all messed up. I keep waking up 4 hours or so after going to sleep and then not being able to go back to sleep after that, and ending up needing a nap in the afternoon or evening. I then toss and turn for an hour or so, give up and get up, and start my work day at 5 or 6 am. Then I sleepwalk my way through the late evening before getting a late wind and staying up all the way until midnight or so. Hopefully I can combine my 4 hour sleep and my nap into a normal 6-8 hour sleep rotation soon.

The weather was also very odd this week — between our Tuesday morning (-36C) and Wednesday afternoon (-4C) there was an incredible 32 degrees Celsius jump in temperature. Yeesh. the gap might have been a bit larger too, those just happened to be the temperatures when I checked.

Tigey likes his new Lycoris Recoil clothespeg signboard, which I bought from a Gamers store in Nagoya on Nov 16 2022. I finally unwrapped it and gave it to him to place beside his usual perch by the computer.

He better appreciate it, it cost me just under 1000 yen.

While going through Southgate this week, I also found this new little vending machine:

Which I recognized from the first leg of my USA tour last year, the Las Vegas leg:

Carlo’s made his way over here now! I didn’t try any but maybe I should. Pricey as heck though (but apparently a bit cheaper than the USA one after conversion, assuming the prices are the same over there still).

I thought the plastic containers that I ordered last week were cancelled, but apparently only half the order was cancelled and Walmart’s notification system is just weird. I received two of my original four boxes this week. They’re the nice lilac purple ones too, the ones that were cancelled were grey ones that I had ordered together with them. The vacuum also arrived and is sitting in a box waiting for processing. I feel like my apartment is turning into one of those hoarder’s paradises, since a lot of my stuff from the trip is also sitting around on the floor waiting to be processed, together with the box of CDs that I upended this week to sort through.

Games

I didn’t really get to play anything for most of this week at all, because I was catching up with life and with my seasonal anime backlog and with scanning projects.

That being said, we started a co-op Valheim game this week on Saturday, with the “we” here referring to people from two separate friend groups — Tes and Kay from one group, and Milumbar and Satinel from my main Discord, with a couple others possibly joining us next week. And myself of course. Tes is hosting, and we’re tentatively playing this today and next Saturday, before taking a two week break for the holidays, and then continuing again after that. People got interested in the game again due to the newly-released Mistlands zone, which was a placeholder zone near the edge of the world that we got to the last time my main Discord group played, just before we stopped due to reaching the end of available content.

The session we played on Saturday was extremely fun. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t be able to stay awake, as I only had four hours of sleep the previous night and had woken up at 5am, and then napped for an hour and a half around lunch, but the adrenaline from the game kept me awake all the way up to 3am without any problem and I could have gone further. I actually slept fairly well (relatively speaking) after that too, collapsing and waking up at about 9am on Sunday, and did not require a nap that day. We also ended up casually playing a little more on Sunday evening, in order to farm more wood and copper/tin ore to support the group of potentially up to seven players that we would have on the server. We started building a new secondary house with a big trench around it, courtesy of Kay.

I am also very thrilled to introduce and have more people from these two groups meet — more good people to play games with is good for all parties, and gaming buddy friendships eventually have the chance of turning into actual friendships that last a lifetime.

Here’s a screenshot of some pixellated grass, and Satinel soloing a lot of monsters at once:

And one of us all at a sleepover at Kay‘s place at night.

The game murders my machine during fights but Tes suggested I use my laptop to run the game instead, I might look into that at some point.

We also played a bit of Deep Rock Galactic on Wednesday to check out the gameplay from the new season, Season 3, which launched while I was away gallivanting across Japan. The game’s also as laggy as ever on my potato but I like my new grenades that somehow summon flying drones when thrown.

Genshin Impact also apparently has a new TCG feature, and their Chinese New Year festivities, my favourite time of the year, can’t be very far off now, so I might be headed back that way soon as well. The last time I tried it a few months ago I bounced off, however the siren call is fairly strong right now, although my gaming river of consciousness also tends to be heavily disrupted in late December due to the annual Steam Winter Sale and any games I will surely get from that.

Plushie of the Week #73 – Patchouli

Patchouli, who might eventually be renamed something else (but I don’t have a better name right now), is a plushie that I picked up from the Autumn Reitaisai 9 event on my Japan trip, that I visited on Oct 23 2022. My travel diary entry for that event and her purchase can be found over here. She was from a store called Gift, and cost 2500 yen, as well as a bit of sanity from joining and waiting through a really long queue. The character itself is a resident librarian and witch in the Scarlet Mansion of the Touhou universe, and I thus figured she was a good representation of me.

Here’s a repost of the original picture that I took of her (and my other loot from the event) a month and a half ago:

And two that I took today. Here’s one from the front, together with Tigey for comparison:

And here’s one from the back:

I don’t like the way they did the hair as just one cut-out piece of velvet or whatever material this is, I consider that to be of low-quality, but the rest of the plushie is cute. I believe that the piece of paper in the first picture between Tigey and Patchouli, which was in the bag as well, is a seal of authenticity, though I’m not familiar enough with the Touhou subculture to know if that’s actually a thing.

Dec 17 2022 edit: I found out that the hat comes off as well, which made my impression of the doll shoot up. Not only does the hat come off, but I’m fairly sure her gown also comes off if I pull hard enough — i.e. it’s not stitched onto the doll as far as I can tell. I won’t actually do that though, firstly it’s so tight that I’m not sure I can get the dress on again without damaging either the dress or the plushie, and secondly I’d like to preserve her modesty. However, here are some pictures of her without her hat:

And Tigey, being the scamp he is, tried to appropriate her hat. It didn’t go so well.

It looks a little better this way, but is still way too big for him.

I now very much appreciate and like this Patchouli doll, though. I also found the store page for the doll, over here (local) on the Gift website. She is -not- from the more famous (and more expensive) Fumo line (local) of Touhou plushies by Gift, though she seems to have the exact same hat as the Patchouli Fumo (local), but she is one thing that those Fumos are not — she’s mine!!

Song of the Week #50

Title: I Like Chopin
Artist: Gazebo
Album: I Like Chopin (1983)

I became aware of this song through Singapore radio in the early to mid 90s, and came to really like it — it drifted in and out of my top 20 English songs at one point, though it eventually fell out of my top 100 list entirely. I still like it though — I particularly like the synth portion of the song at the start, and I like the melody in general. And like its Wikipedia page mentions is that people mistakenly do, I did assume at one point that they did borrow melodies from Chopin himself due to the title, and due to hearing the instrumental version out in the wild now and then.

The song weakly reminds me of Singapore, and particularly of a rainy day, with the rain pattering against the window grille of a HDB apartment through a window left ajar. I’m not sure why, it must have been a remnant memory from hearing the song on the kitchen table radio as a kid while staring out of said window. It also reminds me of the dual memories of ice cream and the Tampines bus interchange together, though I’m not sure why, I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten ice cream while over there.

I’ve forgotten and rediscovered the song several times over the past 20 years or so, so I’m putting it here this time just so that I don’t forget it again.

Memory Snippet of the Week #57

Do I really have 57 of these already? Good lord.

This week, I want to highlight Fabled Lands, my favourite gamebook series, or “Choose Your Own Adventure” style books, as they’re commonly also called.

The book series consists of an interconnected world divided into 12 different (planned) books, with each book concentrating on one region of the world and offering a big dose of adventure and glory. The genius of these books is that there isn’t one “main storyline” to follow that shepherds you from one place to the next, or a main story with a fixed start and ending. Rather, you roll up a new character who starts at one of several starting points/backstories, depending on which books you own, and you travel around the land finding little mini-adventures that are lightly intertwined together with each other. And the occasional grand adventure that shakes up the region of the world you are in.

Because they each represent an area in the game, the books are structured so that walking (or sailing, teleporting, etc) to the edge of one book’s map gives you options to cross over into the book representing the adjacent region. The regions covered by books 1 and 2 were adjacent to each other, with 3 being a region south of both 1 and 2, and 4 being a region north of both 1 and 2. I’ve previously linked this diagram (local) showing the world map — book 1 is Sokara, the blue area, book 2 is Golnir, the orange area, 3 is the red Violet Ocean area to the south, 4 is the Great Steppes to the north, 5 is the Uttaku and Old Harkuna green area to the west, and 6 is the Akatsurai area east of book 3. 7 is Ankon-Konu, the jungle area south of book 3’s ocean.

You have to actually own a book to travel to it, of course, which presents a little problem due to the rarity of the books. Books 1-4, first published in 1995, were very common to find in bookstores in Singapore, especially 1-2, which were the most heavily reprinted. This was also reflected in the western world, since 1-2 were also reprinted under the rather generic gamebook name Quest. Seriously, Fabled Lands is bad enough already, which genius picked Quest as the name of their book series and expected it to sell?

Anyway, while 1-4 were easy to find, books 5 and 6, published in 1996, proved elusive at first. I searched bookstores in Singapore for them through my late primary school and early secondary school years but never saw them on sale in the gamebook section that used to exist in stores like Popular Bookstore. They likely did not see a very big production run, since 7-12 got canned and were not written and published, leaving a good chunk of the game world accessible, and the writing was probably already on the wall by the time 5 and 6 were published. I never ended up finding them in Singapore anywhere.

However, I knew from the fledgling Internet that books 5 and 6 existed somewhere, and I was still determined to find it. And I eventually did, in June 1997, when our family visited Vancouver for a trip during the summer holidays. There, on a Barnes and Nobles store (that I believe was on Robson Street) that we visited in the evening, I found exactly one copy of each book sitting on the shelf, and made my parents buy it for me. That was a very special day for me, one of those “realization dawned on me that I just did something very special” moments that has stuck with me over the years.

Between 2000 and 2010 or so, when I was still living with my siblings, we picked up a couple extra copies of some of the books, because my siblings both read those books as well, and I figured that that would allow us to not be bottlenecked by each other if two of us were reading it at once and wandering around in different parts of the world but wanted to cross into the same book. At the time, I eventually wanted to get 3 copies of each of the books so we would all have one each for when we eventually moved out, but we never found that many copies in person (and it wasn’t a big enough need to assemble them from online auction sites). I left those extras with Jon when I moved out.

I would eventually find a second copy of book 5 as well, in a second-hand bookstore in Edmonton, Wee Book Inn, on Oct 19 2019. Because I knew how comparatively rare they were, I picked this one up too, but the funny thing about it is that I didn’t actually notice it at first. Wee Book Inn is locally famous for being a second-hand bookstore with a resident cat in several of their branches, and I had actually snapped the following picture of the cat during this visit to share in my Discord server, because it was a cat and people like cats.

After sharing it and looking at the picture to refill my fluffy cuteness meter, I realized that the green book in the background was coincidentally book 5 of the Fabled Lands series, somehow just lying there on the table and waiting to be sorted. I was still in the shop at that point, and snapped it up without hesitation for $15.95 plus tax.

Cross-book events and “passage of time” events were governed using codewords — you’d gain codewords from a book when certain events took place, for example killing a crime lord or defeating some knights or even just visiting a place a certain number of times, and many areas of the book had things like “If you have the codeword X, turn to this paragraph number, else turn to that paragraph number”. All the codewords from book 1 started with A, all those from book 2 started with B, and so on, so one could easily tell which book was needed for a certain event, and even earlier books sometimes had references to codewords from later books even before it was printed, showing that there was a good amount of world planning already done by the authors

This was important because for the longest time, the series was stuck at 6 books out of a planned 12, which meant that the rest of the world could not be accessed, and even certain story threads in the first 4-6 books could not be accessed legitimately (even though one could always cheat and pretend to have the codewords just to read on ahead). Despite that description, I should still state that the vast majority of the stories and events were still self-contained within each book, and there wasn’t a whole ton of interaction between the former 6 books and the latter 6, but one of the major crowning events of book 4 required the codeword Diamond, which first required the codeword Emerald — its E signifying that it came from book 5. Because book 5 and 6 were so difficult to find back in the late 90s when I started reading the book, this was not legitly possible to get and there was basically an entire arc of that plot that was missing because I didn’t have book 5, even if I “read ahead” to see how the event concluded in book 4, so it really vexed me. So I was really happy when I finally found book 5 for sale.

Still, 6 of 12 books was where it capped out for the longest time. It was by far and away my favourite gamebook series, and I had joined groups online and even checked out the authors’ blog to see if they were ever going to release the rest of the story. Back in 2012, I even emailed them as a fan, asking them to consider putting it on Kickstarter or something.

But they never replied. Still, the gears of time were turning, and I’d like to think that I played a tiny part in this eventually happening in July of 2015 — the Fabled Lands Kickstarter project for Book 7! Upon hearing of it, I immediately pledged for it, and actually did receive my book in the end, although it seems that a number of backers never received their pledged books because the publisher they chose was a poorly-managed and rather scummy one. At least the book itself escaped publishing hell and is available for purchase in various places. It took over 20 years after book 5 and 6 came out, for book 7 to be written and published, and I hope someday that 8-12 get to see the light of day in some form or other as well. Hopefully not with a 20 year gap between each one, I’d like to be alive when they come out.

My current copies of the book look like this:

I actually have still not read book 7 — by most accounts the author (Paul Gresty), who inherited a bunch of notes from the two original authors (Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson) and then wrote book 7 in their style, did a great job, but I’m half-afraid to lose the nostalgia I had and half just out of time to do much reading these days. Someday, though. I’ve read the first six books so many times and have a pile of “maxed out” character sheets from different playthroughs that I just never bothered throwing away.

There is also a computer game version of the books that I’ve mentioned before and had bought on Steam. It had two books adapted on launch, and at a glance, it looks like they now have four — 1, 2, 4 and 5, so the entire main starting continent, with book 6 in the works, and the other unwritten books in a potentially-maybe-perhaps stage. I’m curious if this will become the future platform for the “official” release of the last five books.

This is not the first app-style release of the books though, that honour going to FLApp, or the Java Fabled Lands app. I’ve been following that one since as early as 2006 and contributed a few small bug reports to it very early on in its lifetime.

There used to be a Yahoo Group that sprung up around that Fabled Lands app, which contained a lot of extra files and utilities that other fans created for the game, before Yahoo shut down Yahoo Groups and killed a lot of Internet history like the scum they are. They at least provided a ways for people to export the messages and files in groups before they shut down the groups though, so I did download and preserve this group and have re-uploaded it here.

Lastly, Fabled Lands is influential to me in many ways — it stimulated my childhood imagination, and has direct, mutual ties to my love of roleplaying games, things like tabletop Dungeons and Dragons as well as digital computer games.Within the large sphere of things that have influenced who I am today, it’s intricately tied in to things like music, writing, dreams, childhood friends, and more. Book 4 infected me with wanderlust, and a wish to have a hidden library squirreled away in the countryside. Book 2 taught me about the wonders of exploration and treasure hidden around every corner, and the phrase “further afield”. Book 6 is Japan-inspired, and contains many references to Japanese folklore and legends steeped in a cloak of mystery that I love.

The books also frequently influence my dreams in two ways — they occasionally show up as objects in my dream itself, but more often as an object that I search for in bookstores, hobby shops, and libraries in my dreams, and I’ve even had occasional success finding them there, though more often than not I do not. These books are a motif that goes back a long way in my dream history, long before I started writing my dream diary six years ago, even back to when I was still in Singapore in the company of my dear childhood friends, as some of them read these books too. They likely represent something that I’ve always been yearning and searching for, perhaps some sort of unfinished closure, and although I love them very much, I also take it as a good sign that they don’t seem to turn up much in my dreams anymore. Or rather, I no longer seem to have this need to search for them very often anymore.

Last Year’s Entry #26

My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #031. This was published on Dec 12 2021.

This is a very important and significant milestone, because this is one year after my bedbug heat treatment ordeal last year. I remember the first time they found bedbugs in the unit next door and wanted me to pack everything up to get chemical treatment, and I wanted to find some sort of way in my lease to get out of the hassle heh. By this time, the third round of treatments shortly following the first time I actually saw a bedbug, I couldn’t wait to get them in quickly enough.

They say that bedbugs can survive for one year without snacking on blood, and so I’ve always looked forward to this one year mark because I feel like mentally, crossing the one year mark without seeing any bedbugs since the heat treatment means that they perhaps are finally gone from the unit, and not squirreled away in a box somewhere. Part of the reason I ordered the plastic boxes last week is that there are still a couple cardboard boxes from that bedbug period that I am supposed to throw out, the ones that were located right by where I saw the bedbugs. They went through the heat treatment like everything else, , but I’ve put them under a table and left them be ever since, just in case. Now I can transfer the magazines in them into the storage boxes and toss away the cardboard boxes.

Dreams
Dec 05 2022
  • I dreamt that Canada was connected to Japan’s rail system, and that getting there took a while and was somewhat pricey but otherwise could be done just by train. I was scheduled to meet someone down by the Enoshima Station area, where there was a large shopping area and also several adjacent stops where I had not been to yet but was familiar with the area anyway, and could get to for cheap after I reached the main station where we were to meet.
Dec 06 2022
  • I had to go into hiding after doing something that was against the rules of the current world/government, to wait for the rules to be changed so that I would no longer be a criminal. I went down some Singapore back streets before ending up on the second floor of a cool warehouse, in what looked like some sort of classroom and dorm area. It was shaped like a bento box, with the classroom taking up a large square portion of the floor space (the main dish), and the dorms taking up the rest of it, with the dorms portion divided into four equal parts via a cross (the side dishes).
  • There were people downstairs living in a similar dorm and classroom that I didn’t recognize, and a long toilet queue down there, but about 15 or so of my Dunman friends eventually followed me to the warehouse and stayed with me up top, this included Allen, Zixiang, Paulene, and others from my class, and Rachel, Justin, Paul, and others from the other class. Most of them never said a word though so I don’t remember exactly who.
  • I commented at one point that I was happy that they were there with me and also happy that our washrooms had practically no queue for them, unlike the people downstairs. Someone said that the people downstairs had agreed to queue up in alphabetical order to use the washroom so the people whose names started with later letters found it a lot harder to use the toilet too.
  • Zixiang was due to give a presentation on travelling or something like that to our group of friends in the classroom, and we had pulled down the central projector screen that covered up most of the board and darkened the room so that he could do his presentation. It involved several posters he was picking up, and at one point he was demonstrating playing a handheld game to do with adjusting horizontal knobs and vertical knobs on a device that looked like an etch-a-sketch but was a viewport into a crazy world or scene that consisted of round terrain and lots of folds, to try to find the “center” of the world or scene.
  • At another point, there was a lull in his presentation, and I looked up from my pile of papers and went up to the board, taping two Safeway brochures up on the board, to the right of the projector screen. I said that people should feel free to look at that for an example of how Safeway brochures and sales look like, although I knew that most of them now also had access to the store so it wouldn’t be too special or anything like that. A bunch of them still came up to look though, but one quickly pointed out that the right brochure was actually from Sobeys, not Safeway. Oops. I didn’t have a second Safeway brochure to replace it with, but the class ended at around that point anyway.
  • We helped Zixiang pick up lots of things strewn around the floor. I can’t describe these things well, but we picked them up by the handful, and then crushed them together using our hands, which made them stick to each other in round balls, and we then stuffed those balls into a large cardboard box. It wasn’t destructive to the item at all and was quite fun, and Rachel looked confused in particular so I showed her how to do that.
  • After that, we folded up a plastic picnic table that he had used for his presentation, though I saw a cicada- or mantis-like bug on the underside of the table and clinging on to it as we lifted up the table. It never dropped off though. I noticed that Rachel had left her red smartphone on the ground as she helped pick up the table, and was about to forget it, so I took the phone and held it in my hand as we started to leave the room. Someone pointed out that someone had left behind a phone on another table, and Rachel suddenly realized that it was probably her phone — but when we looked over at the table, which was the end table in the basement of our Edmonton 4012 room, we saw that it was a small, black smartphone with a smudge on the screen. We had no idea whose it was. I held up her red phone to her though and she thanked me for saving the phone for her.
  • Snippet: I also had a separate dream where I was four to five train stops away from something and trying to figure out the shortest possible route to the place. I don’t remember the context.
Dec 08 2022
  • I woke up about 15 to 20 minutes before my alarm clock, in a dark bedroom that was basically my Edmonton 4012 bedroom. Mom came into the room, saw that I was already awake, and told me to wake up in 15 minutes and get dressed for school.
  • I closed my eyes without sleeping for a bit, until about 15 minutes had passed, then I got up and got changed. I was in girl mode, and put on three layers of clothing — one layer of underclothing containing a white singlet and black panties (the former tucked into the latter), then another layer of the same thing but with purple panties and left untucked, and then a school uniform blouse and skirt on top of it all. It felt mildly sexy.
  • I brought my bag outside to the car and Mom opened the back trunk and told me to put my school backpack inside. I did so, and she then shut it. We went around the front and entered the car, with Mom in the front left driver seat and me in the front right passenger seat, and she drove me off.
  • We crossed a bridge and came to the base of a hill that I recognized somehow from previous dreams, with a couple of roads leading up through residential and commercial areas and past a carpark building and eventually leading to my University at the top, some distance away. We still had 30 minutes before classes started and I idly wondered if I could make it there if I were to start walking from here. Mom said she wasn’t sure, and I agreed, it would be unlikely unless there were no cars at all and I could dash up the hills at full speed.
  • She continued driving me up, and after a couple more bends in the road, I suddenly heard some cries of “irasshaimase!” floating in through the window. I looked out the driver side front left window and saw a bake sale going on in a roadside shop that was part of a Japanese club fundraising festival, and I suddenly remembered seeing a brochure about this somewhere recently. I asked Mom to stop and let me off here, as we were close enough that I now indeed could make it to school on foot within 30 minutes, and I wandered into the bakery.
  • Inside, I saw that it was a Chinese bakery, with rows of single buns of various flavours on trays along the side. There were a number of guys in the shop making purchases but also socializing with each other and a couple girls there, and I soon found out why. Apparently, part of the promotional event for the sale was that if you paid 4x of the price of the bread, you could elect to join a queue outside the shop and to the right for a blowjob. A girl was squatting down behind a wall that covered her face, with a picture of her face on the wall next to a glory hole there, though her entire bottom half and school uniform was visible, and there was a queue of about a dozen or so men waiting.
  • Within the shop, there was also a system where males and females who met eyes would then have a few seconds to evaluate each other, and then stretch out their hands and give each other a thumbs up — the distance they stretched out their hands reflected how much they were interested in the other person, with a straight outstretched arm being the highest compliment and a bent arm less so. There were far more males than females, and about 20 people in all ranging from college age guys to older men, so I had to do this a bunch, and since I didn’t understand this at first, I basically gave everyone a straight outstretched thumbs up, even though I was somehow reacting to three men at a time. I got a mixture of reactions back in return from the men eyeing me, though it was mostly straight thumbs ups too. I wasn’t sure if I was more annoyed by the full thumbs ups, or the crotchety older men who didn’t give me a full thumbs up, when I found out what they meant. Ultimately though, this system was informal and didn’t mean anything.
  • Anyway, I paid $3.25 for the pumpkin buns that I picked out, and found out that there was a second promotion where there was a public 8×8 chessboard, with each stamp-sized square on the board meant to contain a little digital art piece. For every purchase, you would get assigned a stamp and have to choose a square a legal chess move away from where the previous stamp was placed, to place your own stamp on. The square in the middle of the rightmost row on the board was blinking, so that was where the previous stamp was placed.
  • I picked a pawn move, making the blinking square move one square down from where it currently was, and inserted my stamp there. I found out that if the bake sale raised 6 times its original cost, then the board would be full, and they had secured the services of an artist girl who would draw out the 8×8 picture that the individual stamps together created, into a single unbroken picture on a canvas, and donate it to the club.
  • Outside, I met someone who was upset that he had accidentally submitted his wrong University email address to the bakery for his digital receipt — he had a private account like everyone else, but also had a secondary public account whose email inbox could be seen by anyone who cared to look, and while they could not see the full contents of the email, they could see the title and a blurb containing the first few words of all the emails on the front page of his inbox. Because of the digital stamp and art canvas portion of the bake sale, the email he had received was titled “Underwear”, which was apparently also a local technical term to do with art sketches that the club used. I told him that people would probably realize that it was art-related and not dirty in any way and not to worry so much.
Dec 09 2022

Dream 1

  • I took the train on a roundabout loop around some Japanese train stations, before alighting from the train at Hanno Station. All the train stations on this loop had a certain paint pattern on the edge of the train platform that I took note of for some reason, a colourless band with a bright yellow line in the middle of the band, forming the line that everyone waiting for the train had to stand behind while the train was approaching.
  • At Hanno, I met a few of the girl characters from Yama no Susume anime, and there was a whole plotline I forgot the details about, but had to do with different ways of getting points while travelling around, with one of the ways which we participated in being the submission of art drawings that we did ourselves. It was some sort of ongoing public competition that was somehow also tied to being a school project at the same time. Another method was to write a story of some sort, and I also did this, though I forget what my story was about. I somehow vaguely remember it possibly being about a garden, a detective, and some Japanese kanji, though.
  • There was also a point in the story where one of the girls who was making the decision on where we should go next bought some train tickets for 11:30 or so, then decided that we should take a bus that came at 11:15 instead, and I stepped in to make sure we tried to find a ticket conductor or booth to get refunds on our train tickets, since it was only 11:00 and we still had time before the bus arrived.
  • Lastly, there was a point where we went to visit someone and thankfully remember to bring along gifts from Hanno to act as souvenirs for the person.
  • Editor: Hanno Station was a train station in Japan that I visited on Oct 27 2022. I don’t actually remember the details of the station well enough for them to appear in my dream though, it was just a generic station named after Hanno Station.

Dream 2

  • I dreamt that I had just woken up in a bed in an upstairs bedroom on a Sunday morning, with my family downstairs. There was a television turned on next to my bed, which was a half-bed half-couch with a pillow, bolster, and blanket on it, and yet also somehow contained a shallow swimming pool, complete with a lane that I swam back and forth in to practice holding my breath and trying to learn how to swim backwards.
  • The reason for this is that there was a competition I was training for in that pool where I would race one or two other people in a small group to the far wall and back, and the winner of each group would get something. There were many groups that were going to race but everyone only raced once, and I had won one of the prizes last time because, while I was only an intermediate swimmer, everyone else in my group was terrible as well.
  • Mom called Kel and Jon to come upstairs to wake me up for breakfast, and I surfaced from the pool and had it transform back into a bed that I was very cozily sunk into. Kel asked if I wanted to let Mom know that I was already awake and I said yes, I was just lazing about and swimming around while watching TV.
Dec 10 2022
  • The only thing I remember from my dream tonight was being in my Edmonton 205 home and looking out of the peephole of my front door, just in time to see a dark shape flash and disappear away from the bottom of the glass. This peephole apparently worked like a periscope, so I used it to glance left and right down the corridor and saw nothing, but when I pointed it down at the ground I saw a homeless family sitting there against my door — a dishevelled man and woman and a child sitting down between them.
  • Kel and Jon were downstairs and coming up to visit my apartment, and I warned them about the people sitting just outside my door, but when they opened the door that led from the stairwell to my floor’s corridor, they saw no one there. Puzzled, I opened the door and let the three of them in.
  • It wasn’t until much later on, after I had woken up and thought about the dream, that I wondered why there were three kids there when I only had two siblings.

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