My Diary #084

Dear Tigey,

This felt like a very, very… transitive week. Transitional? Transitive? Like I was in between a lot of things. And I want to spread my wings and fly.

Entry #084 (Feb 12 2023)

Table of Contents

Raring to fly away to…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #82
ට  Song of the Week #59
ට  Writing Prompt of the Week #2
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #66
ට  Last Year’s Entry #35
ට  Dreams

School

The cancelled class last Thursday caused a bit of havoc in our schedule this Tuesday, as our instructor realized that we didn’t actually quite have enough time to complete all the things we needed to cover before the midterm next Tuesday, on Valentine’s Day. She ended up cancelling a couple quizzes and giving us 10/10s for them, and I’m pretty sure I aced the quiz that we did have this Thuesday, *and* didn’t do as badly on the quiz from last Tuesday (I thought I would get 14/15 but instead got 14.5/15) to boot, so I was happy all around. Some homework got cancelled too, which is always nice. Midterm next Tuesday though, but I’m feeling pretty good about it, I just need a couple more study sessions under my belt since I think I roughly know most of the material up till this point.

I also got my 4th Study Abroad confirmation approval on my University of Alberta International’s side this week, which meant that they conditionally approved my initial application for Sophia University, again, and now I’m awaiting a reply from the Sophia University herself. My coordinator, Michal, even emailed the Sophian study abroad coordinator, Maki, to note the circumstances around my weird grades and current transcript again since that was something we had to check with them way back when. That feels like a lifetime ago, even though it was just two years ago. So much has happened since then. Heck, that was about 150 blog entries and a lot of other miscellany ago. Wow, this is my 156th lengthy blog post in two years.

Anyway I finished up the UAlberta-side post-nomination tasks too, it’s the fourth time I’ve had to do all this so I wanted to make sure I crossed all my t’s and dotted all my i’s properly, long before the actual deadlines. I’m just waiting on Sophia to hopefully accept me now, and then I think the only possible roadblock after that would be the government and any travel restrictions.

One of the things that both my Ritsumeikan application and my Sophia application potentially need is a reference from a Japanese instructor as well, although I have previous letters/contact information from my Japan 102/201 teacher still. I don’t know if either application will let me reuse that since it’s dated so long ago now though, so just in case, I asked my Japanese 341 teacher if she would mind being a reference, and she happily obliged, saying to let her know if she needs to pen a letter. What a great teacher. She’s not ethnically Japanese, but she’s teaching this Japanese course (though in English) and can speak fluent Japanese, so hopefully she counts for the “Japanese Instructor” part of the reference check instructions anyway.

Work

I took Wednesday off work to catch up on studies, and Tuesday and Thursday were disrupted a bit by classes, but most of what I did this week amounted to my regular tickets, then some work on resume vetting.

And then I did a bit of testing on the new 100mb Google storage soft cap limit that our University is going to impose on alumni and applicants shortly. It will completely block their Google Drive access, which I don’t agree with, but will not block Gmail even if they are over their storage quota, which I felt kind of makes the whole thing a little pointless. I don’t really agree with this solution though I accept that they might not actually have any other real choice — I think they should impose the limit but allow Google Drive, though.

While thinking about the “cycle of things” at the University and how things change with every new stable of executives who want to make their pointless mark before leaving, I also hadn’t thought about it in a while, but we implemented a chatbot called Eve (from IBM Watson (local)) in June 2018, and then replaced it with Vera (from Ivy.ai (local)) in February 2021. I did the research on those dates so I wanted to put them down somewhere. We were also actually ahead of the “ChatGPT curve” since that only really exploded in the public eye in November last year. I wonder if our next cycle of 4-5 year term executives, whenever they come in, will implement some version of that instead.

Life

So it’s weird, after I randomly checked last week on Feb 03 that I was #8,839 in queue out of 37,000-something for my appeal to CTA, Canada’s Transportation Agency, over my treatment by Air Canada back in May/June 2022, this week I received an email from them on Mon, Feb 06, explaining that I was not eligible for any compensation because the airline had claimed the delay was due to a safety issue. My complaint in the first place was that the ground manager I had spoken to in Vancouver Airport had said that it was NOT for a safety issue, and that it was very easy for Air Canada‘s online customer service team to pretend that everything was a vague “safety issue” in order to get out of paying money, because they have no financial incentive to tell the truth, so I wanted the CTA to check into that, but they just seemed to ignore that portion of my argument and closed my ticket. Just like that. I sent back an email but I think that went into the void.

CTA must really be efficient though, to get through almost 9,000 appeals in three days after letting my case languish for over 7 months, huh. I definitely felt like they cared and took their time examining my issues and not that they were desperately trying to close tickets without looking into them to ease their own operational backlog because Canada’s air carriers are so shitty and generated so many complaints, to the point where they would seemingly misinterpret my ticket and then refuse to give me a mechanism to appeal. The Canadian Transportation Agency is most definitely on the sides of the Canadian people, and not eating out of the hand of Air Canada. Most definitely. I look forward to taking my revenge by trying to avoid Air Canada when there’s a reasonably priced alternative for my trips from now on, and I hope I survive long enough to see the company fall.

That bit of unpleasantness aside, I actually had a really good week this week, taking some days off from gaming and immersing myself in things I wanted to do. I worked on the blog a bit, scanning a bunch of stuff, and slowly uploading a couple of them here and here. I did some research on a couple of my scans, a couple tickets from an event called Dunman High School Presents Rhapsody of Spring, which was, and apparently still is, an ongoing annual Chinese cultural exhibition. The 2017 event page, listed here (local), describes it as “an evening that presented various representations of the Chinese culture: Cross-talk, Opera, Drama and Dance.” Interesting to see that it’s still going on after so long.

I also cleaned up a couple of CD scans, played a bunch of ambient music from mynoise.net, and had the balcony doors half-open most of the week because the temperatures were so good, hovering around or just over the freezing mark for most of the day. It wasn’t cold at all at my desk, about three feet away from the balcony door, and the fresh air was great. Basically, it felt like spring had come early, even though it was probably a false spring, and I spent the week emotionally floating on a cloud and puttering around with small projects. I came very close to At Peace with the World, with the only thing preventing that being my upcoming midterm.

I also came up with or moved up in priority two blog projects that I would like to get started on this year on top of everything else, one being to save a local copy of all the YouTube (and other) videos that I have linked on my blog, and the second being to manually transcribe all the pamphlets and papers and things that I have uploaded and will be uploading into text, the reason being that this way the contents of the scans would be searchable as well. To prepare for this, I created landing pages for all my single-page scans, like say this one (there were 14 of these pages altogether). In the past I had just directly linked single-page scans as a picture right off of my Table of Contents, and not with its own special page.

The housing management people sent someone by this week to add/change some sort of shutoff valve in my bathroom in preparation for a water shutdown on Feb 14 and a project to replace everyone’s toilet/shower heads on Feb 22-23. I chatted up the maintenance person who came by as I recognized his accent, and he turned out to be a friendly, middle-aged Chinese man from Malaysia named John. Penang specifically, although he had owned a place in Johor Bahru in Malaysia in the past as well, which is the city basically on the Malaysian side of the Johor-Singapore Causeway road linking Singapore to mainland Asia. So he said when he lived there, back when the Malaysian currency was stronger, he would often just walk across the causeway to buy fruits and other things from Singapore.

Now, like me, he lives in Canada, but occasionally visits his home country and takes trips down to Singapore for the food again while he is in the area. He planned to go back next year, he said. He recommended a train route from Singapore’s Woodlands Train Checkpoint station that apparently goes up through Malaysia and into Thailand and other countries like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and even China, if I ever wanted to see the Southeast Asian region cheaply.

He also recommended two other things to me before he got buzzed by his radio and had to leave, the first being a housing apartment complex in an area called Danga Bay that was being built in Johor Bahru that he said he wanted to invest in because it was very near to the Causeway and because units there were being sold these days for 33% off or something (which took it down to 300,000 Malaysian ringgit or slightly over 90k Canadian dollars). He said they were looking for buyers and he called it a secret, but it’s no secret that Malaysia in general is one of those places that people planning for retirement look at as their overseas money goes a much longer way there with cheap food and housing.

The second recommendation was a Mandopop oldies Taiwanese singer named Fei Yu-Ching that he said he loved, he said that the singer (sometimes with his brother) would occasionally come down to Sentosa to perform in sold-out concerts and sing songs like this. I wasn’t sure if he realized that the singer has apparently recently retired though, which I found out once I looked him up after promising to do so. Nice silky voice though.

The little mom-and-pops convenience store in our apartment complex, called Village Foods, apparently has new ownership now, as an Indian lady was at the counter instead of the usual Chinese couple that I knew. I chatted with her briefly as I picked up a couple grossly-overpriced things from there to support them, and found out that the old man who owned the store had actually retired and had sold the business to her back in September 2022, which goes to show how often I stopped by the place due to how uncompetitive they are. I had no idea, and blamed being away in Japan for a couple months plus the ensuing winter for that. Everything was as overpriced as ever compared to the nearby Safeway, but it looked like they had a couple new food and drink items in stock, which was interesting at least. I asked if she lived in the area and she said no, she lived in Sherwood Park, a little municipality attached to the eastern end of Edmonton, which meant a 20-minute drive to get here on the best of days. Interesting.

I also moved my bed two feet over on the living room floor so that it’s right up against my stuffed animals (who are in turn still lined up against the wall where I took the photo of them two weeks ago. Those two feet also gave me a boost of well-being this week and made everything seem new and novel somehow even though I am still basically sleeping in the same place. I haven’t been right up against all my plushies since before the bedbugs incidents in 2021 though.

I cleaned up my main hard drive this week. In particular, I noticed using a disk space analyzer program named Wiztree (local) that Wallpaper Engine‘s cached files were unnecessarily taking up something like 20 to 25 gigabytes of space on my C: drive, and had filled it up to a point where my backup program, Backblaze (local), couldn’t back it up due to lack of available disk space to make temporary files on or something, so I eradicated those files to get things working again.

The weather was so nice this week that I went out a couple times as well and took some pictures here and there, so to close out this Life section I’m scrapbooking in some pictures.

These first three are from Feb 06, when I was making my way to the local Asian supermarket and liked the contrast of the sky depending on where I looked (the first two pictures were taken from the same location facing a different direction, and the third was taken some time later on):

The fourth picture was taken from my balcony on the 6th as well, late in the afternoon, and while it showcases the melting landscape, I took it largely to capture a bird perched at the very top of one of the trees like a Christmas star:

And this last one was from the 10th, as apparently some of the ground floor units now have little balcony railings guarding them from.. I’m not sure what they’d be guarding against, really, intruders would just go over it, and cats would just go through the holes in the railings. Not that we have many stray cats around here. Who exactly is that railing going to stop? Plump rabbits? (There was another similar railing about four units to the right.)

Games

While we did play a little bit of Vintage Story and V Rising this week, neither game really held my attention for that long as my interest levels for working on my blog and scanning stuff and altogether just chilling out in the evenings surged to the top of my wishlist again. Late in the week, I also played some games from the Feb 2023 edition of Steam‘s Next Fest (local) demo festival, although I didn’t devote nearly as much time as I would have liked to go through all the interesting games on display.

I played four games though, the first being Mineko’s Night Market, which was such a bad and uncreative game (both in terms of controls and writing) that I ended up removing it from my wishlist altogether even though I had been anticipating it for easily two years or more at this point. Very sad. The second game I tried was Mahou Senshi Cosplay Club, which I liked from what I played, but the demo was very short and slightly glitchy and the blocky graphics aren’t the greatest either. That being said, it had potential and could be a lot of fun.

The third was Voidtrain, which was okay, I played through the entire demo and kind of liked it but the gameplay felt like it could get stale really quickly since the train literally was on rails and the resource gathering and crafting part was limited to a small area around the train and felt immensely boring even within the demo. I also am slightly biased against this game because the inane developer spams a number of indie gaming subreddits on Reddit mercilessly every couple days (local), including one that I subscribe to, and I find that distasteful. The narration was great and the action parts seemed neat though.

The fourth game I tried was Archmage Rises, which I really liked but was also extremely buggy. Hopefully they fix all the issues before they launch into Early Access in April, because I might pick up this game when it goes live if it’s not overly pricey (or unless they can show that the game is long and/or runs differently in different playthroughs, as the demo worlds I played were all basically consisted of the same world questline and I didn’t get the sense that the gameworld was very big or that I had a lot of freedom).

Plushie of the Week #82 – Pipsqueak

My cascading series of lies continue, as this week’s plushie of the week is yet another named plushie from me and my siblings’ time living together in Edmonton, Pipsqueak the Elephant. We might also have just called him Squeak now and then, the two names might have been interchangeable, but Pipsqueak is the longer name anyway so the other one, if we did use it, was probably just a contraction of the name.

We have no idea where we got this elephant plushie, or for how much, but I do remember that his name was rather simply inspired by the contradiction between cartoony or fable stories of elephants being scared by mice, and therefore we gave this elephant a mouse-like name. I’d say there was a deeper meaning, like to encourage him to not be scared of things and thus to strive for his best, but nah, I/we just liked the name.

He was a little difficult to photograph because despite being somewhat cuboid, he doesn’t really sit up properly. So here’s a front-side picture of him:

And here’s a side-front picture:

Here’s one of him looking up at the phone camera:

And here’s one looking away from the camera as he pretends to sit upright while using his trunk as a balance against the ground:

His tag looks like this:

And this:

And there was probably something written on this one before, but it’s basically totally faded away now:

He currently resides in a box in the family home with many other plushies.

Song of the Week #59

Title: I’ll Be Here
Artist: The Tuesdays
Album: The Tuesdays (1998)

This was the second single from the 1998 self-titled album by Norwegian group The Tuesdays, and was far and away my favourite of their two main singles from it that I remember having some success in Singapore before I left the country, although the first single, It’s Up To You, is also quite nice and apparently was their most successful single.

This song though, probably came around at a good time for me to latch onto, as 1998 was my final year in Singapore and my final year with my Dunman High friends, and is forever intertwined with memories of our classroom, the garden pavilion in front of the classroom, Kallang McDonalds, and hanging out with Huihan and sometimes Zixiang in one of various shopping malls around the country. It also reminds me of evenings in Tampines and walking under the HDB void decks under buildings there, on my way to a soccer game or to Geeyong‘s house or something.

I really liked the song, especially the vocals, as it reminded me of another song that I also really liked — Road Rage by Catatonia — which I apparently haven’t yet featured yet. Inexplicable. I will resolve this in two weeks (Edit: it took me eight weeks). And it has a vocal talking part with a sigh too. I love it! I’m not sure, without digging up my old song sheet rankings, that this song ever entered my top 10 list of favourite songs, but I think it definitely was in my top 20 and at least must have challenged for something around the 11-15th spots.

Writing Prompt of the Week #2

In comparison to last week’s prompt, this week’s prompt, the second one in the book, is very simple, mostly because I don’t really know the full answer. It reads:

“My family ancestry originates from…” Go into as much detail as you can.

My immediate family comes from Singapore. My dad and mom both grew up there. As far as I am aware, their parents also grew up there, although I seem to have a memory tidbit that my paternal grandpa might have been from Malaysia/Malaya, but the two histories get mixed up anyway since Singapore only became an independent country in 1965, so technically even my parents were both born “in Malaya”, as Singapore was part of the pre-Malaysia Malaysia back then.

Going further back, as far as I know all my grandparents were likely from the region as well, but since our cultural dialect is Hokkien, it’s likely that the bulk of the family history before Malaya came from Fujian Province in China. We’re not 100% sure on this though, and this writing prompt question actually just reminds me that I would like to take an ancestry blood test (and have my family’s blessing to do so) at some point to see if that can trace our roots back further and find anything interesting. Maybe the next time I see a sale on the ancestry test or something.

Memory Snippet of the Week #66

Since I mentioned him in Song of the Week above, this is probably a good week to finally devote a section to him. Geeyong, or Law Gee Yong, was my best friend growing up from about Primary 4 (1994) when we were in Rosyth together, until the end of 1998 when I left the country. He was in the GEP from Primary 4-6 in Rosyth, but he left the GEP after that, and went to a normal neighbourhood secondary school instead of following us to Dunman High or elsewhere, so we weren’t even in the same school in 1997 and 1998. I’m not sure if it was his choice or if it was forced based on a grade issue or something. However, he lived in Tampines, where my family moved to either near the end of Primary 6 or near the start of Secondary 1 anyway, so we lived very near each other and still occasionally hung out with each other on the weekends or evenings despite not being in the same school anymore.

I went to his house and met his Chinese-speaking parents several times too, and he would also occasionally come to my place. Along with Zixiang, he was also one of the couple of close friends that I would spend some evenings talking with on the phone for over an hour, irritating my dad who was watching the television that was located right next to where the phone was in the house.

I have several memory snippets relating to him, the first being that on a couple of occasions, we went to a Tampines soccer game at the local stadium together. This one, for example, was most likely an outing that the both of us did together by ourselves. One time we each even brought along a pack of L5R cards (one of many games we both played together), and spent the entire soccer match sitting on the red athletics ring that surrounded the soccer field away from the fans in the stand, playing the card game with each other while looking up to see how the match was going. I don’t know if that memory was linked to this particular match, but it might have been, as we only ever went to a couple of them in total.

Another memory is that I would often visit his house, and on one occasion he introduced to me a comic book named Groo the Wanderer, and also a card game that he had based on that franchise. Likely this one (local), without the expansion set, as the cards and box look vaguely familiar. I saw the cards on sale once in Singapore before I left, behind some shop’s glass display counter, but didn’t buy it then, and have never since seen them again in-person. I’m not particularly attached to the franchise, but both the show and the card game remind me of Geeyong.

A third memory of mine is a specific silly joke he said jokingly when we were hanging out at some point in ’97/’98 – “人家是 Mussolini, 我是 Mesolan.” He was rather self-depreciating, and although that particular quote crosses three languages (English, Chinese, and Hokkien), as Singapore English, or Singlish, often does, and was a quote that I looked at him askew for after he said it, it’s somehow stuck to me all this years. It roughly translates as “While other people are named Mussolini, my name is Mesolan”, where lan means “lousy” and Me-so-lan translates to “I’m so lousy”.

When I got back in touch with my Singapore Whatsapp group back in late 2021, I was also put in touch with Geeyong again through a mutual friend (Harvey, as they were both from Rosyth too and had met again in University), but we only chatted very briefly before drifting apart again. He’s still kicking around and has two kids now though, so whoa, life has sure been moving along for him!

Even in Rosyth, our primary school, I don’t think I was in a class with him very often, he was usually in the other GEP class, not the one I was in. He can be seen in this picture though since we were in the same Primary 4 class.

From My Diary #058 and dated Sep 26 1994. He’s the leftmost person in the shot.

Last Year’s Entry #35

My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #040. This was published on Feb 13 2022.

I had forgotten all about that narrowly-averted strike from last year. How quickly things move on.

I love my curtains! It’s been a year now, huh. Happy birthday, curtains! You’ve brought a lot of happiness and peace of mind into my life. While I might have implied that you weren’t perfect back then, and I’m not actually sure I can’t find better ones, I like you even more now than I did back then that first week we were together.

I bonded with Debbie over those class seating arrangements when I went back to Singapore and met her twice there. I know they don’t mean much to anyone not directly involved in those classes but that was and still is one of my favourite MSotW’s that I’ve written about thus far.

Dreams
Feb 06 2023
  • Snippet: There were groups of 3 garden plots in a large piece of tilled land where pipes would send out plant and animal spores to, and they would shortly grow into full enemies/plants after landing, and my aim was to backstab them in the proper order so they all died properly. At some point, the police came to investigate the game and arrested a man from some nearby house who was in charge of piping the largest of the three pipes, and this was somehow linked to some government directive that all women should flee from Iran due to something that guy had been doing. I didn’t get in any trouble for it as the player even though I was right there too though.
Feb 07 2023
  • I was with Zixiang and Debbie in the basement of our school, finishing up some sort of puzzle game overnight while chatting with the two of them as well as I had not seen them in ages. The puzzle game was lengthy but had to be completed before school started the next day, and we were successful in this.
  • Our reward for finishing the game was ten small turtles which formed a sculpture when put together. This was something we were going to turn in on behalf of our class for some sort of school-wide scavenger hunt contest between different classes, so I took it with me and the three of us left the puzzle room and started heading up toward class.
  • We passed through an empty basement level that looked like a huge garage of some sort, there was supposedly low gravity here and both Zixiang and Debbie said that we could move faster if we took large leaps into the air, but neither of them seemed to be jumping any higher or moving any faster than normal even when they did that, nor did I feel the effects of the low gravity when I tried, so I largely ignored it and continued heading toward the stairs in a normal fashion.
  • The stairs up led into a class full of unfamiliar people, but I figured out that this was the 3L GEP class, our seniors by one year as we were in the 2L class. We passed through the classroom, out into the corridor, up another flight of stairs, and then found our classroom.
  • Valerie was in the classroom cleaning up some cupboards, and fretting a bit because she was our class’s contest organizer and we were almost late with our turtle sculpture, so she had already given up on our class finding it and had crossed it off a large list she had pasted on the wall. Nonetheless, we turned it in and she was very happy.
  • Soon after, class started. For the first class, we watched a music video that was half-anime and half-live action, with a very familiar song in it, Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros. In the dream, the video itself was named something else to do with the theme of Change, and credited to a guy named John, with a Western surname that was 6 letters long. I said I recognized the song from AMQ but not the producer, and Jah said that he had produced over 25 songs/videos and so I was probably familiar with some other work of his.
  • After the video, we were all told to write down something that we thought would affect the world in the coming months. The answer then displayed in front of our desk on a panel, much like a game show. The teacher then revealed that the producer himself was seated at the very front of the class as a special guest and speaker, and the guest as well as the teacher started going through the answers and commenting on them.
  • My answer was that Holland would be changing, which was inspired by some news show that I had recently watched in my dream. and the speaker agreed with me, though he said that it was a bit vague. The person next to me had a prediction about a female chess or tennis player, and he thought a while before slowly nodding and saying that that was likely to change as well.
  • Snippet: Much earlier, there was some sort of a truck chase going on, where we let a criminal we were trying to catch steal a truck and run from us on purpose. The truck had some sort of nozzle that could spray out stuff, but it was advantageous for us to have him in that truck, so we pretended to slip up and have him take the truck and try to escape.
Feb 08 2023
  • I was in a 3 person group running a group quest instance where I was underlevelled and the other two were basically killing stuff for me. For this quest instance, I remember bringing along a character who had an ability that would do a certain amount of true damage no matter what the difference in level between the character and his target was, so that I could contribute a bit as well everytime my cooldown was up.
  • We then joined up with some other friends for a 6-person quest instance, and in this one we were going to run some sort of Mist zone so I was choosing between a deer character and a dog character to play as and take along instead because both of those characters were originally from the Mist and so would have slight bonuses in that zone. I eventually ended up picking the dog, even though the deer character was level 2 and the dog was level 1, because the dog had a skill that could steal items from enemies and that would generate more loot for the group since it came from a separate loot table than what the enemies would normally drop.
  • Near the end of the quest, we got into a car, and I got to the car along with a groupmate named Danh some distance before everyone else. We entered by the back left door, searched the car’s leather seats for loot, and then climbed into the two front seats so that everyone else could use the more easily accessible back seats when they arrived. I was in the front right seat and Danh was in the front left one.
  • While waiting for the others, we chatted to each other a bit, and I found out that he was working at the same University that I was at, for the graduate studies department. He said that he wished he had gotten into game programming as a career when he first came out of college 20 years ago, but that game programming had now become so commercial and complex, you not only had to make the game but also had to collect people’s email addresses, handle social networking, and so on.
  • Snippet: Later on in a separate dream, I was summoning little white figures on road intersections on a grid map so that friends and groupmates could find each other more easily by meeting at them. An example of this working was that a group of girls that I knew had gone to Yucheng‘s house to pick him up for a festival but he wasn’t at home or wasn’t able to come to the door, and so they had left without him, but thanks to the meeting points, he was able to run into them later on nearer the actual festival and joined them that way.
Feb 09 2023

Dream 1

  • Spring break was approaching, and I was with some friends from Dunman High and we were moving from one place to another place to stay there for the duration of our time off. There were a number of potted plants that Huihan had been watering at the old place, and I said that we should harvest whatever we could for now and move on to the next place.
  • I also did point out that out of the potted plants, there was a poisonous potato plant stacked on top of a regular potato plant which in turn was stacked on top of a third plant, and so to be careful of watering them like that because the slightly poisoned water would trickle down to the other plants as well. The two potted plants beneath the poisonous one seemed to be fine though.
  • Five of us took a train to the place we were going to, with me seated next to Harvey on my right and Zixiang on my left, with Huihan seated across from Zixiang and Jean next to her, across from me. Quizzical looks were sent Harvey‘s way as though to ask if he minded not sitting across from anyone, and he nodded to that.
  • I started chatting with Zixiang about spring break plans and he said that he had an extra week off on top of what we were getting, and really looking forward to it.
  • When we reached our destination station, we all disembarked and I went slightly ahead of the others with Zixiang. Reaching the double toll gate, he went through without any issue but I was stopped in between the two toll gates, and told that I had to write a review of something before they would let me pass.
  • They said I could use a paper from a stack of papers that I had, or could take one from a pile that they had, to write on. I indeed did have several papers that looked like junk mail, but I wanted to scan them when I got home, so I didn’t really want to use any of them right then. The papers they offered were all difficult to write on as well though, as the papers were thin and the back side of the papers were thus see-through enough that they didn’t make for good writing spaces.
  • I eventually found one that mostly worked though, and wrote up a quick review on LAPPRO 51-55, which apparently might have been a set of CDs or books since they were catalog numbers of items 51-55 in some series or other.
  • Snippet: There was also something about heading to the third floor of a building and finishing building a snowman.

Dream 2

  • I was taking the train again on the west side of a country, and just leaving a festival that I had been attending. I entered the train station at the Singapore Festival station, and wanted to take the train a couple stops west to Singapore Station. There was split in the train route just before Singapore Station though, and the particular train I was in took the other track and ended up in Mountbatton Station before I realized I was on the wrong train and got off.
  • The elevated Mountbatton Station was a bit weird, there was a train on the opposite platform ready to go shortly but the train didn’t extend the entire length of the platform, and there were people waiting on the other platform past where the train ended, as though waiting for another train.
  • Anyway, that train looked like it was headed where I needed to go, back to the station where the track split occurred, so I hurried in that direction. I dropped my bags on the ground though, so I quickly knelt down and consolidated most of my bags into a larger one before standing up again, and quickly entering the train.
  • I had some leftover food in a paper food holder from the festival with me too, and I sat down on a side-facing seat across from a couple of young boys as I finished the food. The train conductor had announced that the train was leaving in 10 minutes, so I figured that I had time to finish the food and then toss away the food container in the trash bin outside the train on the station platform, but no sooner had I sat down than the train took off. Oh well, I figured I’d use the bin at my transfer station instead.
  • I enjoyed the view of the unfamiliar roads around me as the train sped on. The two boys across from me asked if my seat was comfortable. They were apparently special Japanese-style seats found in some hotels or inns that were just stiff chair seats without legs, meant to be sat on at floor height without actually sitting on the floor itself, except these were raised and placed on a platform so that they were at the height of all the other chairs on the train. Most people on the trains ignored them though, which was why they had been unoccupied and I had been able to sit down on them, even though there were some people standing.
  • No, I said, they were not as comfortable as the regular seats, but they were not terrible either.
Feb 10 2023
  • I was living in some dorms with many other students, most of which I didn’t know, but I recognized a few people I knew from Rosyth, like Andy. We were finishing up a really tough DnD game where we had made it to character level 3, then ran into a trap and got all our levels and progress reset. We had then worked our way back up again to level 5.
  • We students were all invited to a lecture theatre hall for a piano music recital by one of the students, I didn’t really want to go at first as it was evening time by then and classes were ending for the day, but everyone else was going and it turned out to not be as optional as I thought at first. So I brought Tigey along and went as well.
  • After sitting down near the back of the auditorium, an Indian girl came up to me and asked to borrow Tigey as she found him cute. I relented and she took Tigey back to her seat. There were three teachers in the hall, one male and two female, and they started taking attendance. There were about 90-100 of us from the “1998 class of <something> 241”, which I found weird because “it was now 2000, yet we were identifying ourselves by the year we first entered the school instead of the current year”, and we all raised our hands when the male teacher asked us to so he could find us more easily. About 1/3 of the people in the hall did not raise their hands and were apparently either from other classes or just guests.
  • John, another person I knew from Rosyth, drew some attention from a seat near the middle of the hall because he had an old copy of a worksheet from 1998 regarding an event in this recital hall that was possibly the last surviving copy of a worksheet from back then. Even the teachers were really interested in seeing that historical document. I noticed that it had my pre-transition name on it in pen — I must have gave him that worksheet at some point before my surgeries.
  • Anyway, the piano recital finished, and people began shuffling out. I wanted to look for John to ask him to lend me the worksheet so I could scan it, but more importantly, I tried to look for the Indian girl who had borrowed Tigey but could not find her. I knew she was tall and a bit stocky and dressed in regular street clothes instead of a school uniform but was definitely a student from the same class.
  • I asked around, and was told that I should not have let go of Tigey if I wanted him, since I had now basically forfeited rights to him, and a boy told me that if I wanted Tigey so badly, I could play his new platformer game and there were six digital Tigeys waiting to be rescued above some spike pits near the bottom of the platform level. No thanks, I said.
  • I never did find the Indian girl, nor did I find John, but I did realize that she likely did not have ill intentions in forgetting to return Tigey and had probably already left by school bus but would be back tomorrow. Apparently I had to email something or someone named French Bistet with a report on it and had five more days or sessions to retrieve Tigey, which I thought was fine since we would have more school days in that time.
  • Much later on, I also met an old man in a hospital bed who told me that I would indeed find Tigey if I were patient. I also met a young boy who had a long ruler that represented a timeline of chapters in our textbook, he brought it out to point out to us that the class lessons we were taking were complimentary to the textbook that we had instead of just following the textbook, and the lesson contents “fit” between the book chapters — to demonstrate this, he had seven red triangles on the long ruler representing our lessons and fitting in between each chapter demarcation.
  • Snippet: I was watching a brief TV clip at some point and saw two brothers who were both co-presidents of Denmark arguing over which of them was the one who had accidentally killed their childhood dog with a shovel whilst a kid by pretending to be a captain and swinging their shovels around like weapons during brotherly horseplay. Apparently it was a divisive issue between them as adults now, and had divided the country as well. The captain of their soccer or hockey team, who was named something similar to Teddy Sheringham, appeared on TV and exasperatedly asked them to quit their squabbles for the sake of the country. “Blame me. I’m your captain.” he offered.
Feb 11 2023
  • Snippet: I was wandering around Singapore, dressed in the Dunman High female uniform despite not being actually a member of the school. I was wearing the school blouse unbuttoned down the front, with a shirt of some kind underneath. While on foot, I saw both Allen and Xuanjie at different points being driven around in their parents’ cars, and we exchanged waves as their cars sped by. I eventually got onto a bus and was made fun of by some girls from Dunman who said that a patch of peeled skin on the tip of my nose was a third eye. I ignored them and moved in to stand by the rear exit door of the bus. A friendly boy there said he was from Saudi Arabia but was studying here at the moment, and explained that the girls were inspired by a weatherman on the local TV news channel who had mean-spirited TV segments where he went around the city and looked for people with weird faces to make fun of, and that he had been lurking near the Saudi student’s house that morning.
  • Snippet: In a separate dream, I was a student with some sort of magical ultimate ability that needed to be evolved into another skill, which took quite a long time to do and may have involved fights with giant robots in a big room on a top-down map, among other things. It eventually evolved into a glowing bow skill, and I remember being on a school bus which pulled up to a security gate as I showed the security guard my new skill.
Feb 12 2023
  • My entire dream revolved around a computer game that featured a physical game board with a number of circles/bubbles on it, where each circle represented a virtual minigame that could be unlocked using a certain number of coins, and which also then rewarded a certain number of coins per completion of the minigame. Only the very first minigame circle was unlocked at the start, with the next four circles available to buy, but once a circle had been bought, the four after that became available to buy as well if they were not already available, alongside all the previous circles that had not been bought yet.
  • Jah was playing this game for Jah Stream Night, and he started on the first minigame level, which involved exploring an indoor office area and then some nearby outdoor shops. By its blocky art it looked like a late 90s sort of game, but I was shocked because I recognized the game from somewhere and knew what was going to happen in the plot long before Jah reached the end. A name also popped up in my head, a seven letter word starting with L, which I knew was the name of the game. I also recognized the board when I eventually first saw it, and then realized that I had played this game before, perhaps in a previous dream, and that I had unlocked several bubbles in mine already, all the way to one of the middle minigames, which was a tile-based puzzle minigame called Ixidius.
  • Jah used the coins he earned from the first game to buy the fifth minigame in the list, skipping 2-4 for now. That second one he played looked rather risque, but simple, merely sending a number of buxom military girls in cotton shirts and bloomers off after a male commander who was taking them all for a run and some exercise.
  • At that point it was revealed that the physical board itself and all the minigames were also part of the game world from the first minigame, to be precise the board was somewhere inside and near the entrance of the office building, and the minigame that Jah was playing was being broadcast on some giant panels outside in the shopping street area.
  • Mom walked by the giant broadcasting panels at this point, and I was worried that she would see the risque girls and question what we were watching/playing, but they happened to be at the part of a game where they were attacking a tank and a few other vehicles, and the explosions from those obscured anything remotely risque and made it look like a typical war game instead. She walked on and I breathed a sigh of relief.
  • The minigame was very easy and soon finished, and Jah earned slightly over 200 points from it, not quite enough to buy the next minigame. I saw that each circle took around 600-800 points or so to unlock, and granted about 200 coins per completion, so there was probably some repetition involved. Jah didn’t mind them though as they were quick. I was also watching with Justin from work who said that he enjoyed the unlock system and would probably be picking up the game after Jah was done with his stream.
  • Jah re-ran the exercise game twice more, as it was quick, and then unlocked a third minigame which ended up increasing the stats of his character in the outer game world, the one who was launching the minigames from the board itself. After he did that, I told him that I knew that he disliked repeating RPGs, but instead of rerunning the girl game one more time, he should run the first zone again and try to complete all the quests attached to it. There were optional objectives that he had not completed the first time — to complete the game in hard mode, to collect 6 glowing coins, and to pick up 3 water bottles as well. They would be much easier now that his main character was stronger, as that first game made use of the actual character who had just been buffed.
  • He agreed, and found that with his buffed stats, it was very quick to run through the level and very easy to bulldoze his way through any obstacles or enemies that stood in his way. He collected all 6 coins, with the final coin being in the boss’s office in the office building, and collected all 3 water bottles as well, with the final bottle being given out by the door attendant in the lobby just before leaving the building, as she was running a refreshment counter there. Upon completing the quest and all the optional objectives, Jah earned 8,888 coins, which would definitely last him for quite a bit.
  • Jah took a break from playing here, and the two of us went out to a fast food stall in the streets of the outer game area, near where Mom had walked by the giant screens earlier. I noticed that some drinks were free if one bought some food, and Jah asked me if I wanted anything. I said I wanted a snack with a particular drink, but the stall had two menus — the first one consisting of snacks that came with a free drink from a primary list with six entries on it, and the second one consisting of meals that came with a free drink from a short secondary list with two entries on it, but the combo I wanted was a snack from the first menu and a free drink from the second one, and that was apparently impossible without paying for the meal from the second menu as well. I decided not to have anything instead. Their loss.
  • I passed by a low-poly house where Mom and Dad were apparently living, and noted that the windows were so low that I could easily peek in to the second level and see Dad watching TV there. Mom was on the first level, and my home was apparently nearby as well. I realized that I had left my toothbrush in a cup next to the sink right by the second level window when I moved out, so I waved to them and reached my hand through that second floor window, grabbing the toothbrush and pulling it out of the window to bring home with me.
  • A bit later on, I wandered out through a sliding door into a balcony area of a building. Several people (including Eileen, I believe) were sitting on benches there, facing the scenery below them, which consisted of many one and two storey buildings that I somehow recognized as being part of Singapore. We were about four to six storeys off the ground, and I noticed that there were some really, really low clouds rolling through the city below, below the level of our balcony and only a couple feet above the roofs below, even though Singapore was a city that mostly lay at water level.
  • I tried to take some pictures with my phone camera, then turned to leave the balcony but felt a tug on my camera, and I looked down to see that one of the men seated on the bench had “helpfully” plugged the wire dangling from the charger port of my phone into a charger on the wall for me. I yanked it out and stepped into the building again. When I checked the camera on the phone, I realized that due to that, the camera hadn’t triggered and the only pictures I saw on my phone were ones that I had before. I was worried that I had missed the special moment of the low clouds rolling by, so I stepped back into the balcony, and saw to my relief that there were still more low clouds making their way across the city.
  • This time, instead of using my phone camera, I used my DJI Pocket camera, which was covered in a brown paper bag with a hole for its periscope-like lens to peer out of. I took a couple pictures with that, with my phone still held in the other hand, and then turned to leave. The man who had tried to help engaged me as I left, mansplaining to me that I should go nearer to the edge of the balcony to take a clearer picture and that he could show me how to use the phone camera. I coldly explained to him that I already took the picture with my travel camera and that he would not understand how to use it, and then left.
  • From here, the minigames continued, though not all the detail in my dream was captured. There was a soccer game with a 2.5D perspective view point where we/Jah controlled one team and were playing or managing it against another team, for starters, and I believe I also fired up my own version of the game at some point and started playing one of the games in the middle, which introduced a number of girls, possibly the same ones from the exercising minigame, via an idol-style video from each one.
  • Each video wasn’t very long, but Jah and I were seated on a bus that was going to take us to some other game, and the female bus driver called out from outside the bus that only people who had unlocked that introduction video minigame and had watched at least half of the girls’ videos would be allowed to travel on the bus. I had indeed reached that requisite number, but I continued to watch the videos while waiting on the bus, as I was seated in the corner by the window and leaning against the window, looking in at the glass, and thus had no one behind me to watch over my shoulder. Jah was seated on the seat behind mine, letting his own videos run on his phone as well.
  • One last minigame I remember watching involved a fight between an Eastern woman who was called Mistress by a non-human underling that followed her about, who could defeat anyone by absorbing their body into her hand, and an immortal snake who could summon its soul back into existence after being killed. They fought to a stalemate using their respective powers for a bit, with the woman absorbing the snake and the snake just popping back into being a few seconds after, before the underling helped the woman create a large energy shield around her to ensure that the snake could not respawn within her field of range. So it respawned several miles away instead. The woman and her underling then travelled to the house of a woman named Lan, and the two kimono-clad women conversed with each other before Lan used a fabric loom and created some sort of magical cloth that would help trap the snake’s soul and defeat it by preventing it from escaping and respawning as long as it was thrown over the snake’s head before the woman absorbed its body.

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