Phew, this was an exhausting week, but it’s now Reading Week! No school next week! I can rest and relax and.. work?
Entry #085 (Feb 19 2023)
The biggest school-related event this week was midterms, or well, midterm, since I only have one class this semester. The bulk of the midterm prep work involved memorizing a Classical Japanese conjugation table with about 45 rows and 8 columns, and I had been studying over the previous weekend all the way up until my midterm on Tuesday, trying to regurgitate the table on and off every couple hours in between rounds of games and scanning projects, and this worked out really well — by Sunday night I more or less had the entire table down pat and by the time Tuesday rolled around I could, and did, on the back of the exam paper, reproduce the entire table with a pretty good amount of speed.
This was a good thing, because the midterm was really long, 16 pages in all (although 5 pages near the end were just blank lines for us to provide a translation of a preceding passage, or to scribble down our notes and conjugation tables on), and we only had 75 minutes or so to go through the entire thing. Our professor did suggest that we spend the first bit of the class writing down the conjugation table, which I did, and that helped immensely when answering the questions because a lot of them involved figuring out which possible conjugation or meaning a word represented out of several possible choices, but even then I barely finished the paper and had no time to check my answers.
I thought the midterm was rather “fun” though despite that, and I think I did really well on it. She hasn’t finished marking it yet though, even though there are only 9 of us in class now — one student must have dropped out — and only 7 or so show up for most classes. But she said she’d likely finish it at some point during Reading Week and would email us our grades once she was done. She did give us all a ball of chocolate each after we turned in our midterms though, since it was being held on Valentine’s Day.
On the study abroad front, I noticed that there were discrepancies in the new application page for the Ritsumeikan Summer Japanese Program in Kyoto that did not include a bunch of information that the previous website application asked for, so I emailed them about it and they finally came together and edited both the application form and the website (local) so that they both more or less said the same thing. That was a scant few days before the deadline, so I’m not even really sure how many other students are going to register for this reduced one this year — only six students were at the information session a couple of weeks ago. The Terms of Participation document (mirrored here) on that page that we were supposed to read before applying was still not updated though, and still pointed to a 2016 copy with many things no longer valid. It was probably valid all the way up to 2019, the last time this program was successfully run.
I wonder how many students from our University will turn up. Hopefully the program isn’t cancelled (on the Ritsumeikan end) due to a lack of interest from students or something. I’m really looking forward to this one.
On the Sophian end, regarding my Fall-Winter program, things took a little stumble this week as well as my coordinator reached out to confirm about my grade and peculiar transcript (and how I have a bunch of old courses in there from my first Required To Withdraw that the University doesn’t count toward my current GPA since they were from 15 years ago on a different admission) and the new coordinator over at Sophia University basically put out a bunch of question marks, so we had to explain it all again and are now awaiting their confirmation that it is still okay for me to apply. I’m a little bit worried that they will suddenly reverse their decision and not let me apply — I’ll also find this out by next week I guess. It’s.. probably.. not a very big problem but it is the largest remaining stone currently in my way of studying abroad this year.
While I was doing some last-minute reviews for my midterm on a bench just outside the classroom on Tuesday, a deaf student walked up to me and handed me a small badge, no larger than a dollar coin, with a deaf-awareness message on it and a blessing from God, and then something on the back saying something to the extent of pay what you want for this. He then immediately walked away to another bench and gave those out as well. He then came back to me and held out his hand expectantly, and we frowned at each other until I returned him the badge and he moved on back to the other bench to reclaim all those badges there either. That reminded me of those hustlers I met in Las Vegas and Los Angeles who tried to foist their (blank) CDs on me, writing my name on the CD and everything, and then demand a donation from me in exchange for the CD or they’d take it back a little later on in the conversation. What a moron.
Because I was so far ahead of my midterm studies, I didn’t actually end up taking a day off of work this week. Besides my normal work tickets, I got put on activating key fob tickets as they came in — a relatively simple process, but one that requires admin access to the control panel for the app we use and one that also needed to be processed fairly quickly and separately from the normal queue. So that was a nice way to pad the numbers I guess.
Next week is Reading Week, which is a week off from school, but in addition to that, Monday (Feb 20) is Family Day here in Alberta, and I’m probably taking next Friday off as well, so it will be a short, short week for me.
Our excellent weather last week continued this week, although our night skies have been cloudy so we haven’t had a chance to see the auroras that were supposed to potentially be visible across Canada late this week. Oh well. Probably not in the city proper anyway. Next week’s weekday weather is terrible though, so thankfully I have the week off from school.
After last week’s complaining about the Canadian Transportation Agency, I thought that was case closed for that entire sordid affair, but they actually sent me a followup this week in response to my emails that basically said that Air Canada had offered me a $400 voucher (on top of the $100 one they had already offered me way back when I first complained to them) to settle the case and they were trying to contact me to arrange it if I wanted it. I actually accepted that, and was happy with that resolution, to the point that I was ready to forgive Air Canada and even CTA for it. But despite the CTA rep saying that he would put the Air Canada reps in touch with me early in the week, no one’s actually contacted me yet. Hopefully they do that soon.
I bought a couple of anime music CDs early this week, though they’re still on the way to the proxy shipping service I’m using. I’m using a different one this time, Remambo instead of Buyee, which seems to be a little bit more expensive overall but allows me to buy from an additional second-hand shop that Buyee doesn’t that has cheaper prices on a couple CDs that I want. Plus Mart gets a small kickback on purchases that I make through this one since I used his referral to create my account. This one will be a couple more weeks before it arrives here though since I want to get a couple more items so I can bundle all the packages together and only pay for shipping once. And I don’t currently plan to purchase any more after this set before I head off to Japan in May and September. Some of the songs I’m trying to get this round include previous Songs of the Week, including SotW 58, SotW 35, SotW 19, and maybe SotW 14 as well, though some of them are a little tough to find for a reasonable price.
In the meantime, I finished several scanning and scan cleaning projects this week for my CDs that I brought back from Japan. Not all of them, but at least all the eight or so from my Autumn Reitaisai 9 and M3-50 visits are now scanned and archived. That took way longer than I had liked, and in particular there was a reflective CD in the mix that did not scan well at all and I had to figure something that was at least passingly acceptable for it. Ugh.
This is how it looked like before and after the colour balance processing (the actual file is a png without a background but I converted it to a jpg for the sake of the blog’s bandwidth, and jpgs don’t support transparent backgrounds):
Because the weather was so nice, I took the chance one quiet evening this week to walk out to the grocery store to buy some price-reduced meat (that appears in the evenings due to impending expiry dates) for my soup. I took some nice evening pictures along the way.
I really like the deep blue colours of the evening sky, it’s so, so pretty.
After exams on midterm day at the University, I walked through the bottom floor of our main University library and came away with this archive picture of the weekly question board:
In addition, just before my Thursday class, as we had no quiz or homework that day to prepare for, I took a walk around campus, heading out the other exit from the train station and passing by the southern entrance to the South Academic Building, which had been under construction for many years.. I’m not sure if it’s time dilation from the pandemic but it sure felt like it had been under construction since before COVID hit. Anyway it’s finally completed and opened now.
I then went over to the Students’ Union Building, where I saw that they the travelling poster sale was still making its rounds across the major Canadian Universities and was currently at the U of A.
This comes to the University of Alberta biannually, and I think is here for 3 days or so at a time. I’ve bought a good number of posters from them in the past, and it felt like fate that I happened to be here this day because, while this building is on my path from the train station to my usual office, I no longer work in that office and it’s in the opposite direction from the building with my classroom, so I was nearly never here and certainly hadn’t seen any ads about it.
I looked around and none of the pictures really caught my fancy until near the very end, when these two jumped out at me. This cat:
And the bottom picture here:
Despite it feeling like fate, I didn’t actually purchase anything and feel a slight tinge of regret at that, but I definitely appreciated keeping the $21 and tax in my pocket instead, especially since I already have enough posters to fill up a large wall (not a good excuse) and won’t be staying in Edmonton for much of the near future (a better excuse). In another time though I would definitely have snapped them up. A lot of posters were still present from incarnations of this travelling poster sale from 5-10 or more years ago anyway, and there’s a decent chance those two will still be there in future years if I ever catch this poster sale again. Though new posters pop up too — they had a small number of anime ones, including ones as recent as Chainsaw Man, and your usual, rather boring, run-of-the-mill merchandise from My First Anime sort of shows like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan and Ghibli shows that you can get dime-a-dozen at any anime shop, but no actual good recent shows like Bocchi the Rock! or stuff from more niche slice of life shows.
Anyway the reason I was in the SUB was because I was headed to the bookstore to buy a postcard. Kynji had alerted us in Discord that a friend of hers had a kid whose kindergarten class was hoping to get postcards sent to them but was having trouble finding people from out of state or anything. Also, I found out that our local Canada Post store in Southgate no longer sold postcards. Trin reminded me that our school bookstore still did, though, so I stopped by to pick up a couple of them, planning to use most of them as random conversational gifts for when I return to Japan, but picking one out to send to Miss Linda’s Preschool Class in Goddard School, Wyomissing, PA as well.
The message I wrote on it was:
Hello from Canada! This postcard has travelled a long way!
I hope you all grow up to become amazing people! Study hard and make good friends!
Come visit Canada one day as well when you are a little older!
Next up, tea. This actually partially happened last week, but I bought my first small can of tea, Valerian Nights from David’s Tea, from Safeway, even though it was a dollar more expensive there than on the website. Cost of not having to pay for shipping or taking the bus all the way to West Edmonton Mall to visit the shop there, I suppose. I really liked the little can that it came in, and the tea itself.. well, it’s a mix of apple and coconut, and it smells and tastes exactly like I thought it would from reading the name — just like a fantasy library. It’s not grrrreat, but it is pretty good.
I also haven’t been able to figure out how to steep the other coconut oolong tea that I really liked from them to achieve the same level of amazement that I felt the first time I drank it any more, since I still had a few more helpings of those tea leaves that Kel and Mom passed to me earlier this month, but I’ll figure it out again someday. In the meantime I even started a table of the different teas that I’ve tried (starting from this year) and how I rank their taste.
This should be a fun list to compile over time. Some of the “bad” ones probably just have to be taken with sugar or milk or something to find their er.. sweet spot. Looking forward to experimenting with them and find a good taste to raise their rankings for too, or to see if my tastes develop over time, since I’m still really new to teas and cannot even tell the difference between different-coloured (red, black, green, etc) teas.
Lastly, while in the mall on Thursday, I ran across this cute dog and had to take pictures of her, with her owner’s permission.
I don’t actually know if she’s a female dog or a male one, the conversation with her owner didn’t get that far, but he said that her name was Chichi, pronounced Geegee. I need to start two picture collections in my Collections page, one for people’s pets that I have taken pictures and names of while wandering around, and one for stray cats that I see while wandering around.
This week didn’t really feel like a gaming week, even though I did dabble in a bunch of games.
I played one more Steam demo before the Steam Next Fest ended, which was I Am Future. That plays as a cartoony survival-lite game with shades of Dysmantle, and while it isn’t a particularly deep game, and didn’t scratch my cyberpunk itch in the least, it still was moderately fun for the hour and a half or so I played it, though I rushed the end bit to complete the demo because I had gotten a bit tired of the repetitiveness by the end of the demo alone. Being a demo, there were lots of mechanics and locations still left locked though, of course.
After my midterm, Satinel suggested a game she had come across, Minesweeper Tetris, and I gave that a shot since it was free but found the combination rather weird. I could see how it could be fun in a certain sweet spot but I didn’t like the time rush aspect of it and I didn’t like rows randomly disappearing because I had happened to mark the last bomb on the row even though there were still unguessed tiles. I’ll probably stick to the occasional game of Fine Sweeper for my Minesweeper needs.
Jah then got me interested in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain again, and I replayed the first four levels or so to relearn the game and refresh myself on the story, since it apparently had been about 5 years since I last touched it. I was quickly reminded about the bits I didn’t like about it though, largely the long, long missions, easily 3 hours long at times, that always made me tense up and squint a lot and get tired by the end of one mission. Still, maybe I’ll play it now and then still.
13 paragraphs into a V Rising rant while writing my blog on Saturday this week, before our weekly gaming session, I realized/decided that this was not something I wanted to post and that that situation was not healthy for me, as I was not having fun and had been accummulating bad vibes toward both the game and the group that were undeserved, so I talked to the Tes/Kay/Trin group and said that I wanted to split off from them and start my own game as I wanted a slower, more paced gameplay speed for my first romp through the game, whereas they all had more time and wanted to go faster than I could afford time for. They agreed.
I think this turned out really well, and everyone was hopefully happy with the outcome and hopefully no bridges were burnt, which is the important part. I like both the people and the game, but this isn’t the first game where I’ve noticed that if I’m being dragged along and offered free stuff from other people (experience, levels, gear, etc), and end up skipping content on my first playthrough of a game, then either I get frustrated with the game, or just have my interest level fall off a cliff.
It was a bit of both in this case, so I’m glad we split off in the end. I say we because Satinel followed me as well (thank you <3) and we both started a new game and puttered around a bit in it, plopping our first base down in a completely new location and trapping a treant in a small room inside our base as our new pet. Now something that was casting a bit of guilt and resentment over my entire week is gone, and I feel happy toward both the game and toward everyone involved again. And all it took was a little talk. I hope to play with Tes and Kay more again in the future, even this game, once I actually learn the ropes and have learned and beaten the bosses by myself (or with Satinel) and gone through the rite of passage that is learning a new game and its many quirks.
Plushie of the Week #83 – Penguin Trio
These are Singapore plushies, as in they came to Canada with us when we came over to Canada from Singapore in 1999. However, I’m not sure we actually bought them in Singapore — due to their tag, which suggests a Vancouver store or company, we might well have bought them in Vancouver during our June 1997 family trip there. It was definitely after 1993 or so anyway, since there are three of them, with one for each sibling, since before 1993 Jon hadn’t been born yet.
Specifically, the label and logo on their tag, as seen below, says Western Family — this seems to be a Save-On-Foods private grocery store brand (local) now, although I don’t know if it was like this back in 1997 either. It’s a grocery store chain that only operates in Canada though, primarily in Western Canada, and so these plushies, which share the same logo of a sun rising over a house as the logo in the link above, must have been from our June 1997 Canada trip.
Anyway these are three jovial penguin siblings of indeterminate gender who look exactly the same as each other (as most penguins do to human eyes!) except for the colour of their hats, which are stitched on. We never really gave them specific names or personalities that I know of, but they always hung out with the other plushies that we had at the time on the plushie chair in both Edmonton 4012 in Canada as well as Tampines 294 in Singapore before that.
Each one of us siblings owned one of the penguins by the colour of their hats — Jon had the Orange one, Kel had the Red one, and I had the Purple one. A front and back picture of each penguin is showcased below, as well as just the best front tag of the three of them, since they’re all identical. Currently, my Purple-hatted penguin lives with me, while the other two are in the family home.
Tag (Front) (Orange):
The Tag (Back) is visible in both the Red and Orange hatted penguins’ back pictures above. My Purple one is faded something bad.
Aren’t they jovial-looking? And yes, the Orange-hatted penguin’s hat is definitely more of a yellow hue than an orange one.. now. But we’ve always called him Orange. So Orange he is.
Song of the Week #60
Title: Irochigai no Tsubasa
Artist: Yuka Iguchi, Kana Asumi
Album: Yama no Susume: Third Season OST
I’ve already previously featured the opening song to this anime, the 3rd season of Yama no Susume, or Encouragement of Climb, as an earlier Song of the Week, but I actually liked and still do like this song more than that one overall, even though it holds less general nostalgia and specific memory for me. I’m not sure why that’s the case, but nonetheless it is another CD single that I’m looking to pick up for my personal collection since I like it just that darn much. It’s never hit a #1 spot for me, but it held down the #2 spot on my favourite anime ending songs list for quite a while, and still to this day (as of writing..) is hanging about in the #6 spot in my list of best ending songs.
While it has less nostalgia than the other song, Chiheisen Stride, it still does have some nostalgia, though they mostly go to the same thing — my early days of watching anime, and the camping trip to Jasper. These days, both songs also remind me of the trip I took to Hanno when I was in Japan in Oct/Nov 2022, the hometown of the characters in the show, and the various encounters and experiences that I had there.
Anyway, great song, and while the full song is linked below here, the actual ending visuals and song in the show just uses the first 1 minute 30 seconds or so of the clip, and the rest of it is the uploader adding extra stuff in order to make the video last the length of the full song. I think they did a great job, except for repeating the last part of the 1 minute 30 second video multiple times through the clip. Still, that’s a minor quibble. Great song, great video, especially the spinning pre-chorus bit that starts 43 seconds in, and I just adore my slice of life/iyashikei shows. they’re the best genre of anime by far for me.
Writing Prompt of the Week #3
This week’s writing prompt reads:
What is the history behind your family’s name?
These first few are all broad-ranging oveview questions on general family history I suppose. I assume here they mean surname, and mine/ours specifically is Tan.
Despite sharing the same spelling as the colour tan, which also is more or less our skin colour if we spend too much time under the sun, this name has nothing to do with that, and isn’t even pronounced the same way. It’s pronounced Tahn rather then Ten, though most Westerners mispronounce it and it’s often easier to just roll with the flow than correct them, especially since they know how to spell it correctly from that pronunciation.
The name itself is an offshoot of the Chen family name, 陈 in Simplified Mandarin or 陳 in Traditional Mandarin, and according to Wikipedia is one of the most common surnames in Asia and definitely the most common one in Singapore. In my Dunman class of 16 alone, there were at least 3 of us, possibly 4, that shared the same root surname. There were multiple ways of Romanizing the name though, as seen in the article, with Tan being one of the more common ones. According to some online sources (local), it traces back to a descendent of Emperor Shun named Chen Hu Gong who lived about 3,000 years ago. Interesting stuff.
Memory Snippet of the Week #67
Today’s memory snippet consists of a couple of pictures from 1995, when we were still living in Yishun 723. I was 11 at the time, which would have put me in Primary 5 in Rosyth. Kel was 6 and Jon was 2. On this weird day on May 12 1995 (or thereabouts), a crow flew into our balcony and crashed against the balcony door with a thud, landing on the floor of the balcony in a daze.
Dad rescued it, picking it up and putting it in a box of newspapers and towels that Mom put together, while bringing it some water as well. I’m not sure how injured the bird was, or how long it stayed with us, but I think it might have actually stayed with us (in the balcony, which had access to the open sky) for a couple days before it finally felt better and flew off again. Or maybe I’m hallucinating and it was gone within a couple hours. There was definitely a bowl of water given to the bird though.
Either way, it did not leave immediately though, and it was even brought into the ground floor of the house at some point, so a couple pictures of it from our family album thusly follow. This first picture is of the bird in the box where it rested in for an indeterminate length of time.
The second picture is the bird walking around on the floor of our unit, next to some cabinets, just outside and right next to the box that it was in, which can be seen at the edge of the photo.
And lastly here’s the bird in the same corner, being trapped by my 2-year-old younger brother (although Kel and I were probably just behind him as well).
He’s turning away shyly but I’m sure they both studied hard and became good friends.
Reminiscing on this incident reminds me of another incident where after a rainstorm back at Yishun 799 (I think) a few years prior to that, we found a swarm of dozens of dead moths or some other equivalent-sized bugs in our balcony that had flown in from there during the storm. Thankfully our balcony door was closed at the time to keep out the wind and rain, and so none of them got into the house, but it was weird.
Another similar incident happened in Rosyth School, either when I was in Primary 5 and was in class 5D1, with the other GEP class next to ours being class 5D2, and when our classrooms were in a separate, old two-storey building annex next to the main school building, or when I was in Primary 6 and was in class 6D1, with the other GEP class next to ours being class 6D2, and when our classrooms were on the 3rd floor of the main school building.
Anyway, that rainy morning in particular seemed to be a normal, if rather wet, one for us at first glance, but the XD2 class next to ours was another matter — when they arrived to class, they found dozens to hundreds of something.. I think it was bees, clinging to the ceiling of their classroom. The school had to call in someone to come clear them out before the classroom could be used again.
Last Year’s Entry #36
My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #041. This was published on Feb 20 2022.
I’m still using that “cheapish carpet” under my computer chair, I’m surprised it’s lasted this long without my chair legs either ruining it completely or me being irritated by the hair on it or something and tossing it away. I don’t absolutely love it but I don’t dislike it at all either, which means it’s doing its job just fine.
It’s oddly coincidental that I’m sending off the postcard to Kynji‘s friend’s kid’s classroom this week, when I apparently sent one off last year around this time to my former Airbnb host in New York as well. I did get back a nice thank you message from her over the Airbnb app once she received it, though I believe I never posted that one anywhere.
My ongoing dream streak was finally broken this week, on February 16th. Prior to that, the last day that I had missed a dream journal entry on was January 16th. And then January 11th, January 09th, January 07th, and then December 25th last year. We’re almost to the end of February and I’ve only missed a dream journal entry 5 times though. That’s pretty good!
Feb 13 2023
- Dad and I were walking along a beautiful street, drenched in a reddish hue with either light rain or flower petals fluttering down from the sky. There were floating balls in the air above us representing various periodic elements, about ten types or so in all, from hydrogen and helium as the lightest ones up to gold as the heaviest one. The smaller the number, the lower the ball was floating, so the light blue hydrogen balls were only about 15 feet or so in the air whereas the shiny golden ones representing gold were maybe about double that.
- We could both jump really high distances, so we did so to grab some of the balls, and then used the umbrellas that we were carrying to break our descent and float down gently to the ground afterwards. I stopped after a while and resorted to taking pictures of Dad against the backdrop of red trees and glimmering city street lamps as he continued.
- A couple women came by and sat at a nearby bus stop to wait for a bus. Dad said it was impossible for people to still be trolls with how beautiful the area was and how fun the ball-collecting was, and one of the women disagreed and said that she’d still happily troll at the bus stop if she felt like it.
Feb 14 2023
- I visited a shrine with Dad and while he prayed at one altar, I prayed at a separate one and saw a couple of 300-yen coins sitting on the altar. I picked them up and put them in a bowl next to the altar, then donated my own coin as well as I saw some temple stamps/goshuin there for the taking, though the art on them was Chinese and seemed to reflect the Goddess of Mercy, Kwanyin, instead of a Japanese shrine or temple. Each stamp just had a big number in Chinese on it, and I took the top one, which was the number 41.
- Dad also came over with a slip of paper of his own, his was labelled 47. They both summoned fire engine characters that followed us around, but we didn’t need two, so I asked if he was attached to the 47 character and he said no. I just decided to keep the 41 one and we unsummoned the 47 one.
- We then ran into a quest for the fire engine character that involved a fire magic character being summoned next to a water puddle on the ground, and the engine being able to summon some water spells to suppress his fire ability while about four or five other toys that I owned tried to do damage to it to defeat it.
- I then woke up from this dream within my overall dream world, and found myself in an unfamiliar bedroom. I saw a number of toys on the ground next to the bed, including a little fire engine, which was still wrapped in a plastic wrapper, and the other toys from the dream lying scattered around. My phone was also on the ground, and felt very warm from running a game that was apparently that last battle from the earlier dream.
- Much to my horror, I could see glue around the sides of the uneven phone screen, and realized that the phone screen was rising and separating from the phone casing again due to its internal battery expanding from the heat and pushing the two apart, and I cursed the shoddy workmanship that the second hand shop must have repaired my last phone incident with as I tried to push the screen and the casing together. Instead, the phone crumbled and came apart in my hands and weird text appeared on the phone.
- I lay in bed a while and noted that I had a school excursion that Ronnie was leading today, and without my phone I wouldn’t really be able to take pictures on the excursion, so I wondered if it was worth going. I apparently had two or three midterms that day too, and taking a day off would allow me to postpone them as well. Dad came into the room and rummaged around in my closet, and I contemplated feigning sleep but instead decided to greet him cheerfully. Mom was cooking eggs on a frying pan in the kitchen.
- I got up and went to my computer, hoping to find a guide to repair my phone with. However, my computer, a HP Workbench 5146, also crumbled and imploded and this sent me into a bit of a panic, although I could still see chat on the computer screen from my Singapore friends, who had formed a group on a Google Chat-like program and were trying to arrange some sort of show for a teacher that was returning to Singapore (or Canada?). Paul was leading this conversation but several other people, including someone whose nickname was simply Singapore and made me wonder who that was, had chimed in as well. Without a computer or phone, I couldn’t reply to them but I had bigger issues on my mind anyway.
- Kel came into the room with a laptop that I borrowed to look up instructions on how to repair the computer. There were several casing parts and bolts and screws that needed to be put together somehow, and I was frustrated because Googling up the model of the computer alongside keywords like Assembly were not getting me the results I needed, like an operating manual or a how-to page, but a bunch of Russian sites with obviously fake URLs instead. After some time, I decided to ask someone else to call a technician while I fast forwarded time instead, as I knew that the tech could repair it off-screen and I would have at least the computer back by evening, and could then figure out my phone the next day.
- I decided to go outside for a walk along a road near a school to let time pass at my home without me being there so that my computer could be repaired, and the moment I stepped outdoors, it had already become late evening and the skies were covered in a deep blue hue. I walked around a bit and wondered what I had missed that day before going back home to my repaired computer.
Feb 15 2023
- I had rejoined my first primary school, Peiying, years after leaving it, except now they were teaching University or Pre-U classes as well and that was the grade level I was at. I was there primarily together with Huihan, and we took classes together as good friends, although there were other people in the dream that I recognized as well.
- On this particular day, the first day of school, it was raining, and our last class of the day was Math, and was conducted in a classroom as rain pelted down outside. Our teacher was a tall black man and he gave us a quiz to start off the class, and went to the back door of the classroom and dragged a cage full of cats out of the classroom as we did the quiz — this was him apparently letting his beloved cats out to enjoy the fresh air while class was in session, even though they couldn’t leave the cage.
- He carried out the class after that, and several people had questions for him which he tried to answer. Near the end of the class, I asked him if Peiying took part in any math competitions that I could sign up for, and he said no, they didn’t. I was surprised and disappointed at this since even though I wasn’t that good in University math, I felt I was still good in applied math and could easily challenge for the national titles. I resolved to directly ask the principal myself at some point for permission to join on my own.
- After class, Huihan and I went to the school canteen for some food. She asked which teacher I liked better, our current math teacher or the one from our last school. I said the one from our last school was better, because I had observed three breakdowns of communication that this new teacher had with a couple of the students in the class today, including one with Zixiang who had asked a question and then looked really confused at the answer afterwards. Also I didn’t like that math contest answer.
- But I noted that even for our last teacher, I started off thinking he wasn’t very good, and as the classes went on my opinion of him improved on a curved trajectory that looked like a tilde key ~ with the valley dip in the middle being a small one and the final point ending up higher than the first tick. I suspected that my opinion of this teacher would follow a similar pattern.
- I was standing around and eating as I answered, but when I looked up from my food, Huihan was no longer there. I looked around and she was hiding behind me playfully. She said that she lived nearby and had timed all the five buses that passed by her house from the school, and two of them in particular were really fast. One was coming, so she was heading off shortly. I nodded and also prepared to head off in the rain, I had to get to the nearby train station and then take a train home.
- There was an intermediary tale about a restricted room in the train station here, where a safe usually held a precious gem. However, on one particular day, the gem was left on the table outside of the safe, and someone came in to steal it. There was a security camera in the room but it was focused on the gem and so angled at such a way that it could only see the bottom half of anyone that came in.
- Upon reviewing the footage of the thievery after, a detective concluded it was some sort of inside job, as the door handle normally had to be held down for 15 seconds from the outside before it could be opened, drawing a bit of attention to the person, and a random person doing that and entering a room unfamiliar to them would usually have to survey the room first to take their bearings, but the person waltzed right in, apparently bypassing the 15 seconds (although I was a bit dubious that the camera would even capture this since the camera was in the room), and going right to the table, snatching the gem, and leaving again.
- The detective stated that there were no clues left behind, as he had dusted the area for fingerprints, except for one thing — on the video, the thief very clearly clipped the fingernail on one of his index fingers with a nail clipper, and left the nail, with a dab of chocolate on it, under the table in the room. It was still there, and they took that in for evidence. However, they were unable to figure out who the thief was or locate the gem in the end.
- The dream scene camera shifted from there, floating out the door to show that the door was located at a T-junction that a side stairwell in the train station led to on the way to the platform. I was walking by the door, and the camera followed me as my original dream continued onwards. It was still raining outside, and I was still chatting to Huihan, but this time on my phone, since she was now on the way home. A train headed in the direction I was heading stopped at the station, but it was going to the wrong final stop — it only had two more stops to go, the first stop being a station called Garlic and the second stop being another 6-letter station — so I passed on that train and waited for the next one.
- Huihan sent me some puzzles over the phone, starting with two word scramble puzzles. One a was long quote, something that started with “Everything I do, I say. Everything I say, I do.” and then another short piece before ending with the author of the quote. The other one was a much shorter hangman. I solved both even though I didn’t have a piece of paper to write down the eliminated letters with, and Huihan was really impressed by that.
- The next set of two puzzles took place in a large, dusty room that had a plate of roast duck on a table in the middle of the room somewhere. On the right side of the room was a green classroom chalkboard with something written on it, and two detectives, one male and one female, that stood just inside the room past the front door, trying to figure out what the clue written on the board meant. I solved that puzzle, and submitted my answer by clicking on a dialog box of some kind, and the two detectives received the answer that I submitted. A couple of seconds later, a box popped up telling me that they had analyzed my answer and it had been correct, and they had recovered a gem from a secret panel that opened up in the chalkboard itself. They then left the classroom.
- On the left side of the room was a darkened interior and a balcony shrouded in moonlight, and a phone number written on a pamphlet that I called by clicking on a dialog box. This number reached a rooftop gardener who was also a vampire in disguise, with the pamphlet noting his true identity. I called him and told him I had learnt about his identity through the pamphlet, and he seemed excited that someone was calling him about this. He asked me as part of the puzzle who the pamphlet had been written by. Due to the game’s UI, I couldn’t actually put down the phone to check the pamphlet, but two name options popped up on the screen, and I passingly recognized one of them, a female name, from the pamphlet itself, although I lacked the context of what the name had been linked to. Still, I clicked on that name, but it turned out that it was wrong, so the vampire hung up the phone.
- This entire segment was voiced by an energetic female narrator, and I remember thinking that oh, this must be what Disco Elysium the game was like, even though I had not yet played that game despite owning a copy of it.
Feb 17 2023
- The dream started with me controlling Batman at the start of a new Batman game, in which he was on the opposite site of Gotham City from his castle-like mansion, and saw explosions taking place back home that rocked the city, causing flames that he could see from where he was. He hurried back home, passing by a bystander woman that commented something along the lines of “Oh dear, but luckily he probably doesn’t pay much city tax on that.”
- He fumbled with some potion bottles on his quickslot bar, which was arranged in a 3×3 grid. None of the buttons in the grid were labelled, but they apparently simply corresponded to how the number keypad on a keyboard was arranged, and the bottom three slots (1-3 on the keypad) had three tiny blue potions in there, so he drank two of them. The game left the empty bottles in his hand and he was confused as to what to do with them, so he put them back in the quickslots.
- Eventually reaching his mansion, he found a female friend fighting a couple of imp-like creatures outside his castle’s perimeter wall, as well as a number of game collectibles there that implied that the player should go around and check the outside of his mansion wall later to collect these as part of the game. However, they weren’t collectable right now, and the fight scene itself was frozen in time as well, and he also realized that the woman was supposed to be dead already in the current timeline, so he concluded that this was him looking into a scene from the past and that the game storyline was probably going to be sending him there shortly.
- I “woke up” from this dream while still asleep, and started writing down keywords for some parts of that dream on a laptop. Something about clockwork toys doing something. Dad wanted to drive Kel and I to school but we were running slightly late and I had to use the toilet still, so I hurried out of my room and finished my morning routine. Mom was apparently running an orphanage or hotel or something, there were lots of kids waking up in their own separate rooms across three levels of the building, separated by school year. I pretended to be someone from one of the other levels and yelled out something that made Mom, who was on another level, mad.
- Running out, Kel and I got into Dad‘s car. He wanted to try to get us to school on time still, but to do that he had to ride down the wrong side of the road for quite some distance against oncoming traffic, in order to more quickly reach a turn onto a highway that would take us there. I felt really embarrassed as the car dodged and weaved its way through traffic, and wondered if a police car would show up in the distance. If it did, he would only really have a split second to pretend he was just in the process of making a turn out from that road onto the other lane, or he would get caught. Luckily, no police car arrived on scene, and he reached the highway turnoff without incident.
- At school, I joined an economics class and we started off with a quick quiz before going through and answering some homework questions. The tables in class were arranged in four columns, with two people per table, and the teacher wanted the people in the side columns, which consisted of me and two people behind me making up the leftmost of four columns, as well as a couple of people in the rightmost column, to not answer the questions, unless it was our turn that week to prepare a presentation, because it tended to be mostly us who had been volunteering to answer homework questions in previous classes. That was fine by me, since it turned out I had a couple homework questions wrong anyway. I erased a 3 and marked down a 4 in its place for one question once that was given for an answer.
- A couple people came in to class late, one of them being Harvey, who sat down next to me. He had not been to previous classes and I was surprised to see him there. The teacher offered the other people who came in late a chance to do the quiz that he had missed, but strangely did not seem to see Harvey and offer him that same chance. I tried to attract the teacher’s attention but she seemed to ignore me at first, then after a while looked my way and shook her head. Harvey didn’t seem to care, and had a few questions about where we were in the textbook, so I helped him out with that.
- At the end of the class, both Harvey and the boy behind him recommended to me a new book named Bookstore, asking if I had heard of it or read it before. I said no. They described the book, and it basically sounded like a Slice of Life book in a digital visual novel/management sort of game format following a group of people in a city in Western Europe. Apparently there would soon be a patch that would add a new nearby city with a bunch of people from there as well whose stories I could read about. I joked that with a name like Bookstore, hopefully our school bookstore actually sold it.
- The girl behind me attracted my attention and indicated that she wanted to talk to me after class about Harvey, when he was not around. I told her to meet me behind the swimming pool area in class. There were two pools, an outdoor and an indoor one, and I hoped she understood that I meant the outdoor one.
- I first had to shake Harvey though, who had apparently become a bit suspicious, so once class ended, I veered off and out toward an oval road just inside the school’s front gate where cars could come in, drop students off, and then leave again. There was a movie being shot there, with many actors who would be famous in the future, and Harvey himself was actually the main director and was directing it, so I knew that he would be coming this way as well and wanted to show my presence there so he wouldn’t suspect me of meeting the girl afterwards. I had a task to edit a board there so I did that, and then left shortly after her arrived, making as though I was headed off to the next class before going off to meet her.
- Snippet: I’m not sure where this fit, but at one point, I had reached home and was just outside the front door to my apartment. Me neighbour had a contractor over for renovations, and I met him outside the door as we greeted each other. My door had four locks on the outside, one on each of its hinges, and he had locked three of them for my home’s protection while I was away. He started to look for his key to help me unlock them once I arrived home, but I told him not to worry, I also had my own key for them. He was then called away by my neighbour and so had to leave anyway, so I fished out my keys and let myself into the house, before shutting the door but waiting just inside my doorway so I could listen to the contractor and my neighbour speaking.
Feb 18 2023
- Snippet: I dreamt that someone was captured by the Russians for badmouthing them or something while in their country. He was taken with another nearby bystander to a processing center where he had to fill in a form stating his name and other personal details, then undergo some blood tests, then sit through and pass ten cultural training courses that lasted about a day or so, before he was freed again.
- Snippet: I dreamt that Mom wanted to go down to Calgary for her birthday but her friend that was supposed to go with her was not able to make it. I woke up in bed next to the kitchen and almost spilled some sauce from a dish over the bedsheets, but got it over my arms and legs instead and managed to saved the sheets. Mom helped me clean that up, and I told her that I would go to Calgary with her if she liked. For some reason, Calgary was to the north of us instead of the south, and was two timezones over, so when checking the Saturday routes there I mainly saw two options, both by train, and both costing about $600-$700 each and taking 7-8 hours. Either we had to leave at 8:50 am or so and arrive at nearly 5:00 pm, or leave at 2:00 pm and arrive just before midnight. She didn’t like either option though but we would be staying the next day so she could spend some actual time in the city. I figured I would bring a laptop along so that I could write my weekly blog on the train, too.
- Snippet: I was watching or helping some Russians shoot some things going through the city, whereby shooting them would turn them into some trophy or defensive structure or something else that had ten tiers/versions of it.
Feb 19 2023
- I was on a cruise ship with my parents, as we sailed past several islands and mines just off the coast of whatever dream world I was on. It turned out that even though they looked real from the mainland, the mines and other things on the island were all fake, the ship passed by close to them and even stopped at a couple briefly, long enough for me to jump off and grab some stuff and jump back on if I wanted to, but there was nothing to grab on each of them.
- At some point, the ship became a car or taxi on the road on the main dream world again as I and my family were headed home. Mom was driving, with Jon in the front passenger seat, and Kel sitting next to me on the back seat. We passed by Dad and Uncle Wilson by the side of their road, they had left work on their lunch breaks and both just happened to meet each other there, right before we stumbled across them. Mom stopped the car and they both got in too, with Dad on my left, Wilson on my right, and Kel seated on my lap. I apologized to Dad and Uncle Wilson for the car being cramped, and put my hand on her right leg to protect her, so that even though we were pressed up against both of them, she wasn’t directly touching Wilson since he wasn’t part of the core family.
- We drove home, passing a tall apartment block along the way whose top unit was on fire and burning in what seemed to be a light snow. By the time we got home and went into my own apartment, the rest of my family had vanished, but Uncle Wilson was still there, along with Uncle Winston, his brother. Both of them sat around in the main room of my apartment as I went to the back, into the washroom.
- While in there, I heard one of the management staff come in and talk to my uncles about vacating the apartment because the unit a couple floors above ours wanted to do some renovation work. I wasn’t pleased at having to leave the building again and hoped that this wouldn’t end up like the other apartment on fire. However, when I came out of the toilet, the staff member was nowhere to be found and the plot point was never brought up again.
- I went into my bedroom and found some worksheets on the ground relating to a History play my sister had taken part in, while she was still in school. They were all on similar letterhead and were dated with either the year 2022 or the year 2KT. I remembered that my Dunman friends were trying to figure out some stuff about their own History play in the past, under our history teacher named Ms Lim, whose face also came to mind as I thought about it. I saved Kel‘s sheets so that I could scan them at some point.
- Snippet: At some point, the dream turned into a game where therer was a cheery experienced player who was protecting some natives in a forest area and was also trying to figure out what a whole set of map icons meant. She was also negotiating with some men who wanted to vacate the natives but decided to leave them be for the moment because she was there and they were under hre protection. Due to that, she couldn’t leave the area. She was also a former school teacher and had been interviewed by a former female student many years ago, and then recently turned the tables and interviewed the student herself many years later, after they both had grown a little older and met again in a professional workplace environment.
- Editor: There was indeed a question about the some History play, that I don’t think I ever took part in, being asked about by Debbie in my Dunman Whatsapp group earlier in the day on the 18th.