This last year was crazy, hey? I had hoped that I would be able to visit Singapore or Japan, but never thought I would be able to visit both and have such an adventure in both places, and meet so many of my friends this year. It had its ups and downs, but as you can tell from reading my diary entries over time, I found myself much happier and much more at peace at the end of 2022 than at the start, as I exorcised a number of personal demons, particularly on the Singapore trip. Here’s hoping 2023 allows me to continue my upwards trajectory.
Entry #079 (Jan 08 2023)
Table of Contents
Colour commentating on…
ට Plushie of the Week #77
ට Song of the Week #54
ට Memory Snippet of the Week #61
ට Last Year’s Entry #30
My first University class in a year started this week. Japan 341, Classical Japanese, in-person twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Same professor as my Haiku class from last winter, which was also the last class before this one that I took. Despite being taught in English, the class, which seems to have a lot to do with linguistics theory, is considered a language class, which means its set up the same way as a lot of the basic Japanese classes in terms of having homework from the textbook and short quizzes to do at the start of each class, and a midterm and final exam, but no written paper or anything of the sort, as far as I can tell, which should be nice. No oral exam or anything weird like that either.
For some reason there were only supposed to be two textbooks for the class, but I had picked up a third little booklet in my package that was the answer key to the homework exercises, and apparently supposed to be something only the teacher (or any self-learners) has. The professor showed dismay when I asked her what the booklet was, and asked me not to look at it while doing the homework — in the end I just decided to give her the book and she said she’d hold on to it for me until the semester was over.
I’m not sure why I have that third book, I acquired those books quite a while ago because I had been thinking of taking the course in the past but never did so. This was probably about a year before the Haiku class. So perhaps I ordered them from Amazon instead of the local overpriced school bookstore and that was how they came in? I’m not certain anymore and don’t care to investigate my receipts for it, but it was funny nonetheless.
I’m not actually back at work yet so there’s not much to put in here. I go back to work this upcoming Monday. This is here largely as a reflection of the fact that although my classes are only twice a week, it will be on top of my daily team meeting on both days, so this upcoming next few months should be a weird one at work.
Although there was no work this week, I ran into a workmate, Shelley, at the local mall this week, which surprised me. I suddenly heard my name being called out as I walked past a pair of ladies, and it turned out that she was there with her young niece (Hailey? I’m not sure what her name was, the name exchange was brief) visiting the Apple store in the mall in search for a new iPhone, though apparently they were sold out of it. She was a former member of our team who had moved on to another team within the University, but I hadn’t seen her since COVID broke out, except occasionally over Zoom in larger departmental meetings, so it was nice to talk to her briefly again.
Arsh Khaira, the writer/performer of the McNally graduation song during our school year that I briefly wrote about here and who contacted me in August last year, contacted me again and said that he had reconnected with the drummer from the song, Blair, who he hadn’t seen or spoken to in 20 years. They apparently had started writing some new music together and even made a music video over Christmas, which he said he’d share soon. I don’t know if it was presumptious of me to assume that Arsh finding my blog last year was at all a small catalyst for him reconnecting with Blair, or if that would have happened nonetheless (probably!), but I’d like to think that it was in some way, so that was super nice. And even if not, it’s still a very nice sidenote that I would never have heard about (or get to report on for readers centuries in the future) if I hadn’t started writing this blog, so there.
That Buyee proxy shopping site “consolidated” my packages for me when they arrived at their warehouse by dumping them all into a big box, so there’s apparently 15 CDs or so in a box that measures 40 cm by 36 cm by 40 cm, and they’re trying to get me to pay inflated shipping (8,800 yen) for a whole big box of Japanese air now while I’m trying to get them to get rid of useless packaging and repack everything properly before sending it. It’s very weird. Granted I have a 3,000 yen shipping coupon anyway to take the edge of the shipping cost, but they didn’t actually save me any money at all by consolidating the smaller packages into one big box, judging by the shipping prices before and after their “consolidation” service, so that’s weird. If this doesn’t get resolved properly I’ll still pay it, but suffice to say I’ll be trying out a different proxy company for my next purchases.
Lastly, this section isn’t very long today so have some nice crisscrossed and explodey cloud and sky pics from Thursday morning, when I had to step out of the house to go to school for the first time in forever.
That was a short Life section this week! That’s because I spent most of my free time gaming, having gotten hooked on several games thanks to the Steam sale. I blame Kynji for starting this with her Touhou Mystia’s Izakaya thing last week. Although I didn’t play that this week, that led me to wander back into the Steam sale and pick up several things, and also pick out a few more things from my library that I either played or might play in the near future.
I did try out both games that I picked up last week, with My Time at Sandrock in particular taking up a good day or so of my time, but I realized that since it was in Early Access, the relationship stories and such between the romanceable characters was not complete yet. With that in mind, I changed gears and went back to their earlier game instead, My Time at Portia, which takes place in the same general “world” but at a different town/location. With less sandstorms. Although I’d seen parts of this game played by two different streamers already, which was the initial reason I had thought to go right to Sandrock, it’s been great so far playing it by myself anyway, even if there’s a bit of weird lag everytime I get into combat for the first time after some chill farming and crafting. In particular, I really like having to build up my own quick travel system and installing things like bus stops and lampposts and tables around the town, which the characters then also use and/or comment on. Here’s some pictures of Tigey Tinker, which should have been Tigey Tinkering or something but I ran into a character limit (the workshop name limit is longer in Sandrock than it is in Portia so I couldn’t name it the same thing when I went backwards from the second game to the first one):
Foggy morning. Here’s inside the house, a lot brighter:
And a group screenshot from a cute event:
The game gave me an option of English and Chinese voiceovers so I’m playing the entire thing with Chinese voiceovers with English text. Half the character names are very much Chinese in origin while the other half are very much Western names.
I also picked up two other games of note, one being Zompiercer, a train-based survival game where you design and build your own train as a sort of moving base simulator, which is a genre I wish there were more games in, since this one only really fast travels between a couple key locations (maps) and isn’t really a vehicle you can drive around and park at will. But it does scratch the itch a bit, especially since I can place the crafting stations and various decorations anywhere inside the train, and can even dump resources and things I bring back on shelves or on the floor inside the train if I want to, without actually putting them inside generic containers, which is a big plus. Their zombies are ugly and cartoony though, but apparently this is because they had done a graphical redesign recently to get away from a cartoony style and these are the last remnants of it that they hadn’t replaced the models for yet. Soon though, they say. Really though, they look so offputting:
The other game I picked up and really got into was Erannorth Chronicles, a deckbuilding RPG with tons of mechanics and tens of thousands of different class/race/background combinations and a large open world to explore. The open world is rather shallow lore-wise, since there’s no text between the start and end of missions, leaving your imagination to fill in the blanks, similar to how Signs of the Sojourner did their convos but on a much larger scale. It’s like you only are given the synopsis on the back of a Dungeons and Dragons module book to start, get thrown into a bunch of battles for the mission, and then are told what the outcome was at the very end. Sometimes. If you’re lucky.
Despite that, the game is a lot of fun, it basically distils a dice and paper campaign down to a deckbuilding game with levelup mechanics and perk trees and lots of different gear and action and follower cards to collect, and you can edit your cards/deck and gear and everything else along the way, even in mid-combat if you so choose, so there’s probably rarely a case where you build your character into a dead end. There seems to be a ridiculous amounts of different card categories with their own unique mechanics, from the cards I’ve seen in town and on other random cards I encounter, and even my current overpowered character has only really touched upon one out of what I think are dozens and dozens of playstyles.
She’s only playing on the lowest difficulty though so it’s not really anything to write home about, and she’s gotten to the point where nothing much is a challenge anymore and everything dies really quickly, but that was recommended for a first playthrough anyway since the game is really complex, even now I’m not sure sometimes why I’m doing so much damage or how all my cards actually synergize together. Nonetheless, I have an army of friendly witches and some minibosses that I charmed along the way into more or less permanently joining my army, all of them with maxed out health and damage stats now (but still levelling up, the level just doesn’t really do anything I think), though I still personally steamroll most opponents I find instead of using my harem.
After a much-needed two week break or so, we also started playing some group Valheim this Saturday. Unfortunately no pictures of this one, but we did take down the Mountain boss, Moder, and started working on a new Plains outpost base. Tes and Kay had been busy in the intervening weeks and had upgraded our main base to look even nicer too, with some extra buildings and perimeter walls and a much larger farm.
Looking back at my last couple weeks of blog posts, it also seems like I forgot to add my Steam Replay 2022 (local) somewhere, which was a recap of my Steam playing time last year, similar to how Spotify has been doing a “musical year in review” thing for people who listen to songs on that service for the past few years now. Besides the giant link (and giant local mirrorer copy of the link) above, It also generated a small infographic, pasted here in this scrapbook with a dollop of virtual glue:
What’s crazy to me is that both Deep Rock Galactic and Lost Ark came in at slightly over 200 hours each according to my Steam client, and each represented about 10% of my total playtime this year… so even though the Steam Replay 2022 thing refuses to list my actual total playtime this year, I know it’s around the 2000 hour mark due to this. That’s over 5 hours of game time a day for the entire year, even counting the two vacations (7 weeks) that I took with no game time involved! And that’s just the stuff on Steam!
Plushie of the Week #77 – Winking Ball
I guess I could have called this guy Winky or something unoriginal like that, but I never did formally give him a name, so he’s just Winking Ball for now. He’s a green squishy ball, though not in a rubber stressball sort of way, it’s more like he’s a cloth- or velvet-encased ball of really light.. beads? Holding and squeezing him is like holding and squeezing a delicate cloud, he’s super light for his size, having about the same dimensions as Tigey when Tigey is seated, but weighing about half of Tigey‘s weight at most.
I was never even really sure how to describe what’s inside of him well, since it’s not actually regular beads inside of him, but more like some sort of really fine, sand-like cotton or paper balls or something. Despite being really light, they keep his shape perfectly round and full, and he can’t be squished flat (he just unflattens into his spherical shape again), nor does everything collect at the bottom of the plushie due to gravity like beaded plushies tend to do.
However, looking at his tag, it says that his filling is 100% Polystyrene, so I guess they’re polystyrene pellets like the kind one finds inside beanbags or something. They’re really light though, he’s ridiculously light for his size, and I still don’t really know how he keeps his shape so well even knowing that, so I guess that will remain a mystery since I don’t want to give him an autopsy to find out. He’s basically a green baseball, but weighs about as much as the diminutive Ducky despite being as large as Tigey. I should get a weighing scale one of these days to weigh all my plushies.
As far as I can tell, I picked this guy up from a flea market around April or May of 2013, when I first started venturing out again after my voice surgery and real life transition. I don’t remember exactly which flea market or how much he cost, though it probably wasn’t more than a couple dollars at most. It was probably from this Super Flea Market (local) as well, though I haven’t been there in many years. My earliest picture of him dates from May 19 2013:
Where he sits with Tigey, Ducky, Aria, and two other plushies that have not been featured. And a fairy figurine that I no longer have.
I took pictures of him, as I did with all my other owned plushies, on August 07 2022, and those pictures are featured below.
Side (to show off his baseball markings):
It reads: Cover: 86% polyamide, 14% elastane. Filling: 100% polystyrene.
While doing research for this, I discovered to my horror that despite me keeping lists to avoid just this situation happening, I had accidentally duplicated Cat twice in two previous Plushie of the Week segments, in Diary #051 (PotW #049) and Diary #062 (PotW #060). I went back and replaced the second one with a minor plushie who had the same number of pictures saved as I had uploaded for Cat that week, so that I could just replace the pictures that had used those filenames (Diary887-891.jpg), since they were all duplicate pictures anyway. Whoops. However, this also led from one thing to another and ended up with me installing a link checking addon which has found a bunch of broken links for me to fix through my blog too, so that’s a good thing for its health.
Song of the Week #54
Title: Lady Rain
Artist: Indecent Obsession
Album: Relativity (1993)
This sooooong. Even though it clocks in as a 1993 song, this song is one of the iconic 1996-1997 childhood songs for me. It reminds me of Rosyth School, my old primary school, where I graduated from Primary 6 at the end of 1996. Of the old school complex that no longer exists, the large school field that we shared with Parry Primary School next door, the hopscotch lines in the school bus foyer, the separate building where our Primary 4-5 GEP classes were held, the rectangular central courtyard surrounded by little drains, the two vending machines at the bottom of the stairs at the end of the tuckshop/canteen, argh. It reminds me of my friends, many of which followed me into Dunman High in ’97.
It rains a lot in Singapore, and often comes pelting down in storms like a moody lady might shed tears. It’s just one of the things about living in a tropical climate, and I loved the rain, even though it often threw plans awry or meant that I was stuck in school, smelling the briny breeze and feeling the warm air wash through the canteen, wall-less and open to the elements on three sides, or stuck in Tampines bus terminal under shelters with a multitude of other people, back in an age where no one was had smartphones to be self-absorbed in and everyone was far more mindful of the world around them. Or bored.
I’ve always been a rain person, even if getting drenched meant that I would be standing outside our family apartment for a few minutes as Mom brought old newspapers out for me to stand on and drip-dry, and took my dirt-stained white shoes and socks away to balance up on the kitchen windowsill twelve storeys off the ground. I didn’t always do it on purpose, but I definitely sometimes did, and this song brings back so many memories of being a Singapore kid for me. Say what one will about the politics and economics and weather and regional racial tensions and everything else that might go on there, but it was a good place to grow up as a kid, and I miss those times.
I thought I had expunged all those wistful memories and feelings when I returned there last year. I guess I haven’t, yet. And maybe I never want to lose this feeling entirely.
Memory Snippet of the Week #61
This week is an extension of last week’s post about my kindergarten. I wanted to talk about Auntie 795, my babysitter who lived in Block 795, Yishun Ring Road, in Singapore. This was the apartment block directly behind our block (Block 799, so I call it Yishun 799) where I grew up from 1987 to about late 1992/early 1993 or so. The reason I am writing about all this is to bring forwards a couple of pictures and paragraphs and maps and such that I had originally started doing up for a different configuration of my blog, but had left to languish on private pages, never to be seen by the world. I want to delete all that now, but not before I save what I can into various memory segments like this, so there will be a few more of these articles before I am done.
For context, when I was this little, my knowledge of the world, my “world view” so to speak, was limited to a tiny area around my family block. More or less this region.
The original Google Map link to that view without the border is here. Very tiny, as you can see, but I was 3-5 years old then. I did go out to other places on the weekends or whatever if my parents went somewhere, but by and large this was my home (799 in the bottom left), our food kopitiam/coffeeshop (795A on the east side of the red lines), my kindergarten (highlighted, 794 on the very top), and my babysitter’s apartment, smack in the middle of the area. There was a police box to the southeast and a train station, Khatib MRT Station, to the south of that and across a road as well, but while my world view eventually expanded to include all that and more once I hit primary school, they were all outside of my preschool bubble.
The coffeeshop/kopitiam in particular was very important as we went there maybe every week or so to have meals as a family, though it felt like a treat when we did so. These pictures from its Google Maps page were fairly nostalgic when I wrote this section up a couple of years ago.
In particular, I had annotated the third picture as follows:
This road is very familiar to me. 799 was the block on the left (orange star), and I remember capriciously crossing that orange residential side road many, many times in my childhood. My babysitter lived in block 795 on what I thought the 5th floor, specifically in the corridor marked by the red circle, though I’ve since confirmed from walking through the area that it was likely on the 4th or 6th floor instead. Her unit was set in an alcove along the walkway there, but the 5th floor doesn’t have those alcoves I was thinking of. The blue circle signifies where the main lifts (elevators) and stairs were for the block. The dark green circle marks out where a motorcycle parking lot was, and I am fairly sure that my father, who only ever drove a motorcycle in Singapore, had his assigned parking spot located around there.
Many of my dreams that involve elevators or stairs in an apartment block, or walking about between the wide open areas beneath buildings (called void decks), are a derivative of the time in my life that was spent here in the Yishun 799/795 area, or around my next house, Yishun 723, and sometimes even involves travelling between the two.
I remember that I used to call my babysitter “Auntie 795” because that was her block number and that was my entire world in this stage of my life. Both my parents worked from morning to evening, so before kindergarten started I would go there to spend the day, and once it started my parents would drop me off in the morning, and Auntie 795 would pick me up after school and bring me to her place for a couple hours before my parents came home. I’m not actually sure what her name is, but I still distinctively remember her voice, and I wonder how she is doing now. I don’t remember if she lived with any other family members. I think I was the only child there most of the time, but there might have been a point in time where one other child was there too. I also do know my sister was there at some point, but I’m not sure if our paths intersected much. Likely a bit though, since she was born in 1988 and my mom worked until some point in 1989. I think I stopped going there around then, not long after I entered Primary 1, but I still saw her time and again afterwards.
I remember one of my absolute earliest memories was sitting in Auntie 795‘s house, in a doorway to a side room, playing with some kind of science-y toy that was really just a bunch of round rings that you could move along the wire from one end to the other, with the ends of the wires themselves affixed into a wooden base. There were also other toys in a couple baskets beside the doorway, like a stack of different-sized donut rings that you could stack on a wooden pole to make into a tower. I was facing the kitchen in front of me, there was a side bedroom to my right (and I was basically sitting in its doorway), and there was a couch and a TV behind me. Auntie 795 was in the kitchen to my right, cooking something. This “earliest memory” was interesting though, because I seem to remember suddenly being conscious of myself and just noting that I was here. It was like my mind had awakened from a haze and was acknowledging my own existence.
I don’t remember if Auntie 795 cooked meals for lil ol’ me, or if Mom and Dad took care of that, but I do remember that I would occasionally wander to the house at the end of the corridor her unit was on, which belonged to a completely unrelated person, whom Auntie 795 knew, and my parents eventually befriended, and we apparently called Auntie Lillian. I remember just wandering into her apartment, which was to the left of the red circle in the picture above, and watching TV and getting fed food there now and then. Because I was a Cute. Little. Kid. Unfortunately, I also was overfed some sweet potato stew one day, and I ended up throwing up in the house. I remember my dad had to come pick me up. I don’t think I ever went back after that, and I’m still a bit wary of sweet potatoes to this day.
I had originally thought that Lillian was Auntie 795‘s name, but upon conferring with Mom and Dad they don’t think that was the case, and they were the ones that suggested that Lillian was the name of the woman at that side apartment. I’m not sure what Auntie 795‘s name was, although I feel like I knew it at some point nonetheless. It might have been something like Hannah. I feel like she did have an English name (Christian name, as we call it) though, in addition to her actual Chinese name, just like we all did.
Anyway, I had written most of that before I visited Singapore in May/June 2022, though I added a few new bits in there as well to spice things up a bit. Most importantly though, I visited this place again on Jun 05 2022, Day 11 of my trip to Singapore, and it was both amazing and extremely sad to go back there again and see just how much had changed and how much had remained the same. Next trip I might even have the courage to knock on some doors and see if I can find anyone that used to know us.
Last Year’s Entry #30
My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #035. This was published on Jan 09 2022.
I apparently missed the karuta finals this year at Omi Jingu, which were played overnight on the night of Jan 06/morning of Jan 07 in Canada time. Oh well. I was happy enough to have visited the place in November, so that will have to do. Perhaps that was my karmic penance for taking this picture where they usually do the awards (The judges booth in the videos on the Youtube channel are set in front of this stage thing).
I had some good middle of the week dreams this week. Satinel seemed pretty impressed by my Jan 06 one in particular. She said that my dreams are amazingly logical and self-referential. I pointed out that the couple in the story somehow aged a lifetime in 7 years.
Jan 02 2023
- Most of what I remember is being in a map that was half forest and half city, and running along with a male friend away from two large giants as I showed him around the place, being quite familiar with the map myself. I saw that he had all the parts to build a motorcycle in his inventory, and I took him to a safe place so he could do so and escape the map.
- After he had gone, I lured a couple of the giants to a druid shelter in the forest, which was patrolled by humanoids dressed in fur and bone with red name tags floating above their head showing off their names, which were all 15-20 characters long and made out of all vowels (and the letter H). Any giants that came close got oneshot by them, and I could then loot them afterwards.
- A few hyenas or wild dogs or something also came along, but the druids couldn’t oneshot them because the creatures shot mucus over the druids which disabled their skills. They then tried to attack me and I panicked at first until they caught me and I realized that they did next to no damage. I waited for all of them to come up to me and defeated them all in one blow.
- Snippet: I remember having a female friend that I was trying to send some information to over email, but couldn’t do so for some reason. I eventually found out that I had blocked her for being annoying on a previous day and had to look up a Youtube video on how to unblock her within Windows, which involved opening up the Start Menu, looking for the Security Centre or something, and then removing her name from the blocked list there. Weirdly, despite being hard-blocked in Windows, I could chat with her over a chat program, just not email her directly.
- Snippet: Another snippet I remember is being at home in my Edmonton 205 apartment with Dad, and a family friend bringing a large and friendly dog of his over for us to dogsit. I went to my bedroom, sat on the bed, and petted and rubbed the dog’s head vigorously when he excitedly came up to me. His hair was short and a little bristly.
Jan 03 2023
- Snippet: All I remember is being detained by a woman at the Singapore airport and the authorities confiscating some sort of paperwork that I had from my backpack, and then having the feeling that I was going to be trapped here for quite a while.
Jan 04 2023
- Snippet: I remember losing two new potential pet cats while walking outdoors with both of them. One was a grey tabby, and the second had a face whose left side was black and right side was white, with a dividing line that went vertically between his eyes and down the middle of his face. Both of the cats disappeared into busy crosswalk intersections that were full of other people walking their dogs and cats, that I had to reach via crawling through a small hole set into a pillar at the base of an apartment building.
- The second cat was from a friend and I was over at his house playing board games with him and three or four other people. Jah was there too and was taking his time on a turn so we had called an intermission and I had gone out with a friend and the cat to get some drinks when this second cat wandered off.
- Snippet: There were a group of five heroes who rode capsules that went up long, clear tubes pressed up against each other, so if one was to look down at the tubes from above they would look like five circles that formed a flower or a pentagon shape. Anyway, the heroes could communicate with each other while in the tubes if they turned their capsule to face each other, but one of the guys was either new or sulking or a tsundere or something today and had turned his capsule away from the others, who promptly left him be and didn’t try to convince him otherwise.
- Eventually, the vertical tubes gave way into horizontal tunnels, and the capsules caught up with a train. Two of the capsules each attached themselves to the two ends of the train, while the fifth capsule, piloted by this man in question, hovered near the middle of the train, which then split into two. The capsule then moved in between the two halves of the train, which proceeded to fuse together with the capsule to form one longer train again.
- As the man left his cockpit, a burly man who was his replacement for driving the capsule told him that the burly man’s partner who was supposed to come sit in the back end of the capsule was away from work today and was he interested in pulling a double shift but sitting in the back of the capsule this time. The man who had just finished his shift snapped angrily at the burly man at that, who was surprised and raised his hands in a “whoa” gesture. The burly man said to forget it, and that he must have had a stressful shift and to go enjoy his break.
- Snippet: I was running some sort of dungeon and when we got to the first boss, a scrawny looking thing in a cavern, I saw another girl waiting there already so I waited patiently for her to attack the boss first so I could get it on a respawn, but she seemed to be waiting for some friends. Soon more people came and there was a queue of twelve or so. I asked what the delay was as it was already 4pm and I was in a hurry, my Dad was waiting to pick me up from outside the dungeon and there were still several bosses after this.
- One of the other girls said that they wanted to go first, they had been there earlier but the entire dungeon had reset when Calgary came along onto the server and booted them out. I told them to go ahead then but they were busy arguing with some of the other girls as well.
- I took matters into my own hand, inviting five other people that I could see that were ungrouped there, and then attacking the boss that was still standing around, getting our entire party credit and moving on from the protesting girls. The next boss was in a school assembly hall, and one group was letting a solo member of theirs finish up the boss, who died as we approached. They said they hoped the boss respawned quickly, as the rest of the group was going to do the next respawn but that other groups (they looked at us and one other group just behind us) would likely try for the boss too and they knew that the group with the highest damage done to the boss would get credit.
- At any rate, it was 6pm before I finally finished the dungeon and could get out to join up with my family waiting patiently in the car outside.
- Snippet: I remember diving just off the edge of a beach, most people stood around on the shallow part by the shore but I ventured just a little bit into deeper waters, and found two mushrooms growing deep in the water, one a pretty red one that I accidentally snapped off by the stalk and the other a breed with three caps that I gently dug out. There were also a pair of rectangular-frame glasses that I found next to the two mushrooms, and I grabbed that as well. I brought all three of them back to a classroom in the school that I was in, submitting the two mushrooms as resources and the glasses as a lost-and-found item.
- Snippet: I was on a trip with my family as my female self, with four other people — Mom, Kel, Jon, my male self. The four of them were younger versions of who they are now, circa the mid 1990s, with Jon in particular being a little toddler. We took a series of buses, with two or three transfers that we had to make, but I sat separately from them and kept on losing sight of them. I would occasionally catch a glimpse or two of them in the crowd though, which was how I knew what the next bus to take was.
- Eventually, we reached our final destination, and I saw the four of them with their backs turned to me, looking over a map. I joined up with them and said that next time we should all sit together so no one gets lost. To my surprise Mom had even found time to stop off at a Costco at some point, perhaps taking a separate route here from whoever I had followed.
- Anyway we plotted out our walking route, particularly trying to decide where we were going to have lunch. I suggested a Noodles 115 shop to the northwest that I had seen on the map before, which sold bowls of noodles for $1.15 and that I was interested in trying. Mom pointed to a shop with a big sign at the end of the road we were on, which said Yishun Chicken Rice, and asked if I would mind trying that instead as that seemed like Singapore food. I agreed that that was also acceptable, and we all started walking off in that direction.
- We were all chewing on some sort of sweet as we walked, with my male self and I each holding one of little Jon‘s hands while walking on either side of him. He dropped his sweet on the ground at some point and looked at dismay at the little clear sweet now sitting in a tiny drain by the side of the road with a gush of drain water rushing over it. Mom pulled out the bag of sweets and gave him a replacement one, and I told him to be careful and to make sure his mouth was firmly closed if he looked down at the ground so that he wouldn’t lose another sweet.
- We also walked by a vertical sign that said Goshuin (御朱印) in Japanese, and I cried out in dismay that I hadn’t thought to bring along my book to collect temple stamps in. Past the sign was a half-Chinese, half-Indian festival taking place in an open field, with lots of plastic chairs facing a stage, and a no photography sign pasted on some pillar nearby. It looked like it was for a wedding. I wondered if I could take a general picture of the area from a distance anyway for my blog once we walked past the entire thing.
- Snippet: Lastly, there was a dream about some two conflicting groups on a planet, one a human group trying to set up interplanetery train stations that were part of preexisting colourful rail networks on the planet, and the other two aliens that might have been trying to stop them somehow. They both arrived on rockets, a nuclear bomb was detonated by one of the parties, and the planet itself, as a self-defence mechanism, turned back time to before both of them came, making the rockets and trains and bomb damage all vanish.
- The two aliens managed to return to their home base, and had to submit a failure report to their evil overlord, who didn’t believe them at first but took a look at the planet himself and marvelled that it had been able to do that. The two aliens were grateful that he wasn’t the stereotypical sort of evil boss who would eradicate his underlings for a failed mission.
Jan 05 2023
- I dreamt I was playing a game of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, but my minimap radar had fog of war things that were pulsing in and out as friendly and enemy units wandered through my lands in real time, and I was trying to figure out why this was the case. I built more pillars of vegetation or something that were supposed to help illuminate my land.
- Later on, back in turn-based mode, an AI player destroyed the necropolis town west of me across a body of water, then took a ship and landed on the east side of the lake where I was. I juggled around a few troops on my two heroes in a nearby town, giving one of them troops from my conflux tower (the three highest tiers, including phoenixes), and some low levelled tower troops from purchasing new heroes, while the other held on to some spare troglodytes. I then sent the first hero to go attack and destroy that enemy hero.
- Later on, I was overseeing a classroom made up of two rows of lecture theater style seats, as the teacher went down the front row from left to right and asked the students some questions that I found awkward and difficult. One of the students wasn’t paying attention and admitted that he had just finished up some PVP game on his phone, and thus had no idea how to answer one of the questions until he Googled it up, and even then the teacher got irritated at him for asking if 535 or whatever was the correct answer because he was supposed to state the answer in the form of a definitive statement which he would then be marked on. He eventually figured that part out too though.
- After the class, I went down to the school bookshop and ordered a book. The queue snaked on past a yuri (girls’ love) books section with an adults-only warning sign in front of it, but it moved quickly and I was soon at the front of the line. I saw a boy carry in a shiny plastic bag and unload a pile of newspapers from it onto a bin near the front of the line, so I took one of those too. I paid for my items and then said that I would use my own bag for it, specifically using the term 手袋, or handbag in Chinese. The proprietress, who looked like my Auntie 795 babysitter, corrected me, saying that a plastic bag was just 袋子, and 手袋 was reserved for the actual handbag item and not just a plastic bag that I carried in my hand.
Jan 06 2023
- This dream involved me living in a house that was modeled similarly to part of my Edmonton 205 home. I was in my bedroom asleep at night with rain pattering against the window from outside, but I could also hear occasional buzzing noises like there were also bees at the window trying to gain refuge from the storm outside. I was afraid they’d find their way in but they didn’t.
- I got up early in the morning, and went downstairs to have breakfast in the kitchen with Mom. There was a really nice silhouetted view of the building across the street from us outside the kitchen window due to the rain and the pre-dawn darkness, and I went to the window to try to take a photograph of it, as did Mom. I asked an Alexa home device on the kitchen table to turn off the lights in the kitchen, and Mom agreed and authorized it with her own voice command too, but Alexa only switched off one of the two kitchen lights and not the other, and I felt like I still couldn’t take a good picture. Mom snapped some pictures of her own though.
- I decided that I’d finish breakfast first and then try to figure out the lights. I did so as Mom left the kitchen to do something else, and then fiddled with the lights until I finally managed to turn it off. There was some news story segue at this point over the radio or something talking about a Canadian ice hockey team, a weaker Team Red, who had squeaked by a strong foreign team in an international competition due to some player’s last minute heroics, and who was now going to play a stronger Team Blue, which was also from Canada.
- The dream perspective drifted off to the house across the street as I stopped being the protagonist. Instead, I learnt that the house used to be owned by some foreign diplomats but was now owned by some local old couple, though the woman was fending off a couple cops who had come by and wanted to investigate something about the home. She refused to let them in as her husband was old and shouldn’t be disturbed, and when they said they wanted to investigate a murder that had happened here years ago, she scoffed and said she’d be happy to go down to the police station to talk about it instead.
- She left the scene with the police officers in question, and the scene shifted to another external door on the other side of the house, where the old man, who was still in good health and much friendlier than the woman, was talking to a University-aged boy who was a history buff and invited him into the house to investigate pretty much the same thing that the police officers had wanted to look at.
- Basically there was a laptop that had fired off some signal from what seemed to be the house during the storm, and the man said that it was probably from the basement of the house which had been sealed off by a lock for years. Either the lock had broken off during the storm, despite the door being an internal door, or they managed to pick the lock and open it somehow, and they descended into the basement, where there was indeed a table with a laptop on it. The man pointed at it excitedly and said that he remembered that laptop, but that it had been years since he had last seen it. It was buzzing out a signal that proved that something had happened here seven years ago, even though the room had supposedly been locked for ten years.
- The scene shifted again to the same house, but seven years ago in the past, with both men still looking in at the scene unfolding before them as passive observers, together with the dream camera. There were several characters here, starting with two high-ranking Russian diplomats or politicians who were holed up in the basement here and representing the region in some way. This was somehow really significant because most regions were only represented by one foreign diplomat. They were secured by a number of guards outside the door who patted down anyone who came in, and had been here for three years, which caused the discrepancy between the two year numbers earlier — they had registered the room as being locked and out of use but were actually using it as their hideout, and access to it was very restricted.
- Then there was a spy agency representing local interests, who had infiltrated the Russian setup and had control of two out of three jobs that represented their only way into the basement, two young men each carrying a laptop for each of the diplomats, and a female handler who oversaw the two of them. The female handler herself was also secretly a senior spy, while one of the young men was a brand new spy in the same agency as well, while the other young man was just a regular bystander.
- I watched a patting down scene where the handler herself was checked by the staff, whom she was quite friendly with. She was quite fat, and took off her blouse as part of the regular inspection, though she still had her bra on as they patted her down, and did not end up having to remove whatever bottom she was wearing as well. She made some weird joke about getting slightly turned on by the patting down and to ignore it, and this was apparently calculated to fluster the guards. Looking at her, I realized that the fat was actually most likely a layered on part of her disguise that she had made into part of her character, and that she was hiding something in there today.
- The two boys got searched too but were clean, and they then brought their laptop to the locked door, where the handler produced a key and opened the door. She took the two laptops from the boys as they stepped over the threshold of the door, and then handed it back to them, and here we paused the playback as the observing young man from the modern day realized that something significant had just happened, but wasn’t sure where or how. Rewinding a bit, they discovered that the woman handler had used sleight of hand to manipulate a small poison bottle into existence and had applied it to the backs of the laptops as she held them, and no one else had been any the wiser about this all this time.
- We then watched as she waited outside while the two boys brought the laptops down into the secured room. Here the chain of events got odd, but basically the boys would normally have walked right back out and it would have been a perfect crime, but instead the phone in the room suddenly rang, which caused both the diplomats to immediately shift into work mode and open their laptops, and also caused the boys to have to remain in the room as the diplomats had not gotten around to thanking them or paying them or something yet before they got busy. And they would never have time to resolve this transaction, for about ten minutes later both diplomats were now dead and the entire place was in a panic.
- The boys had been standing on the other side of the room from the diplomats and there was camera proof of this, so none of them were even suspected in the sudden collapse of both diplomats, so they left while everyone else was in shock. Once they left the place and split up their own separate ways though, the woman received a call from the spymaster of the local area who was really angry at her actions, as they wanted to continue grooming the diplomats to find out more state secrets from them, and she had gone against orders and ruined this, as well as ruining the young spy’s position, even though he had infiltrated his way into such an important role this early on in his career, since his role was now useless with the two men he was serving being dead.
- The spymaster told the woman that she was being demoted and removed from active duty as a spy, and that her keycard and building access would be removed, her account password would be changed, and she would no longer have access to the “old server” which the spies used as both a repository for their work as well as a social way to keep in touch with each other — they would rebuild it to update its security and not give her its new password. She was told she could still get another job in the agency with them if she wanted, but it would be a desk job at best and no longer something out on the field.
- She protested at this but went along anyway, and coming back to the present seven years later, back to the room with the laptops still on the table and representing the covered up proof of the murders back then, I realized that the old man here was the young spy who had been one of the two handlers back in the day, while his wife was the laptop attendant handler who had been fired from active duty, but who had then turned into a spy handler and had been watching over his career from that day onwards to try to make amends.
- Snippet: I don’t know where in the dream this fits in, but at some point there was a really young girl going to school by herself, and a family dog that followed her all the way to class so that she would be protected from creeps on the way there and back. I feel like this took place in the same world and was maybe from some sort of advertisement.
Jan 08 2023
- All I remember is a small snippet that Satinel, Nak and I were watching the Hidamari Sketch anime and the ingame calendar between episodes turned from Jun 12 to Jun 11, and I pointed out that this meant that they were now taking a look at what happened the day before in the show since the episodes were asynchronous.
- Besides that, there was a general feeling at one point that a number of people, me included, were waiting on packages to arrive so we could each complete something that we possessed, but I don’t recall any other details besides that vague sensation.