My Diary #093

Dear Tigey,

I haven’t been able to do anything at night besides work recently. So much OT.

Entry #093 (Apr 16 2023)

School

Nothing much happened on the school front this week. The semester ended, so we had our final regular class for that Classical Japanese course that I was in on Tuesday, and 7 people out of 9 turned up on the final day of class so that’s how many signatures our professor got on her card. She brought chocolates for us since it was the day after the Easter long weekend.

I was early to the class that day and chatted a little with the instructor who was teaching the class before ours, the class that always left the tables in the classroom in a weird formation and made us have to move them back before each class. They didn’t do that this week as it seemed like they also just had a final review session and not whatever group work they usually did. Anyway she was a nice Polish lady and said that that class was a Sanskrit class that was held once every other year or something because the number of students opting for the class was never really high. She had additional cookies and chocolates so she left them for our class too.

My acceptance documents for the Ritsumeikan trip were sent out this week and were supposed to arrive on Friday, but that got postponed to next Monday instead because DHL is hopeless and didn’t know how to use the apartment door buzzer. I didn’t have time to work on my Risk Management documents this week either but hopefully will get it done this weekend, since it’s due on Monday and is a rather long document.

One month to my Kyoto/Ritsumeikan trip!

Work

Although I didn’t do OT on Monday and Tuesday, there was still so much work for our team to do, with something like 500 tickets in our queue, that I did 4.5h of OT on Wednesday, and 8h of OT on both Thursday and Friday, on top of my 7-8h workday. And likely some on Sunday as well. And all that OT time was used to just triage and categorize the tickets, with very little time so far spent on actually doing any of it. So many people asking (and in some cases crying) for their accounts back, because they don’t know how to read or thought they had the right to keep their accounts in perpetuity. Though some of them actually do, since our system has problems of its own too. Sorting through them is so time-consuming though, it’s like a million little investigations that have to be done.

I did take back the queue handling duties from the usual queue monitor, though. He came back from his sick time off and took it back over for a couple days but there were so many tickets that we agreed that it would be better for me to take it over because I’m more organized and able to sort through large sets of data, and me doing that would free him up to help the other person working on time-sensitive and more important tickets.

It’s all for a good cause, giving people access back to their stuff (temporarily) or helping them fix their issue, but there are so many that I’m already a bit burnt out and will be completely dead after this next week. Exams are in a week from next Monday too, so I’ll have to probably take a day or two off to study for that — I have so much banked OT time now, more than I need for the upcoming five weeks in Japan and a little bit more afterwards.

Life

Virtually all the snow is gone now as spring weather has rolled in, though it did still snow a little once this past week, and night temperature still flirt with the freezing mark. Day temperatures are great though, and I basically went out for either some sort of walk or trip every day when time permitted (so, basically every day but Thursday and Friday with the massive OT schedule).

Here are some nice sky pictures from Wednesday.

And one from Saturday when I went out to get a breath of fresh air to help my flagging spirits after doing two days of long OT:

And here’s a picture of the underside of a Canada Goose, in case anyone was ever curious what it looks like.

It looks like there’s some overnight snow or something forecast for the middle of next week though, ew.

I did some scanning in the early part of the week, but had no time to do anything of note later on in the week, which isn’t surprising since I was pulling back to back 16-hour work days. This entire section is therefore somewhat truncated this week. I’m very happy that I have a huge pile of ad papers next to me that are processed and ready to toss, though. It’s cathartic.

I did have a rash or something on the back of my left shoulder blade that was both very dry and itchy and then very painful once I had scratched it too much. This started last week at some point and stretched into most of this week, but thankfully was largely fine by the end of the week. It was pretty bad during the middle of the week and I could barely lift my left elbow up past my shoulders, or twist my left arm back behind me, as it would stretch and hurt that part of the skin.

Though the neighbours have quietened down recently, someone was making a ton of noise one afternoon earlier this week, with the usual pounding bass noises travelling through the walls and coming into my main living room, and I went out to see if I could figure out who — to my surprise, my neighbours were actually correct and it seemed to be coming from one of the units above us instead of them. I could hear the music streaming out through one of the front doors when I went upstairs.

The problem is that it isn’t really possible to figure out which door it was from (there are four doors leading out to the same cul-de-sac in the hallway) without individually knocking on the doors, which I have no intention of doing. And when I went to tell the rental office about this discovery, they also said they had been having problems trying to figure out who exactly had been making all the racket because none of THEIR direct neighbours had actually complained, and the unit above my neighbour had claimed it was the unit across from them, but the unit across from them was actually empty, so they weren’t quite sure who to send a warning letter to.

Apparently news came out this week (local) that the Japan Rail Pass for tourists will have its price increased by quite a bit starting around October 2023. The 60,000 yen 21-day pass that I had bought back in October/November 2022 will turn into a 100,000 yen pass instead. That’s a crazy price increase assuming that the prices of the regular train rides remain the same — I did a complete price tabulation of how much my rides actually cost during my trip to Japan, and I would never have been able to use 100,000 yen (or ~1,000 CAD) worth of trains in the 3 weeks that I was there.

This stupid increase would completely gut the usability of the JR Pass, even though the JR Pass was useful to help me alleviate several first-timer mistakes that I made when I went there by myself as well. The 7-day pass is now going to cost more than the 14-day pass did, and not that much less than the 21-day pass did before! If a tourist was going to spend 50,000 yen on train rides in 7 days to make that pass worth it, they would not be actually able to enjoy anything about the places that they went to. It’s not possible. Local/regional passes would be the way to go, I think, after this increase, but they are very difficult to plan around for first-time travellers.

Games

I didn’t really play any games this week. How boring. The closest I got, besides a little bit more of Etrian Odyssey, were little festival minigames that the Twitch stream I was watching while working OT, Always Break Time, or ABT, had. But those aren’t really games either, they’re just redeeming channel extra credit points (from watching the channel) for random leaderboard festival points in the hopes for a small prize (they’ll do a draw to pick some lucky winners and design a background character for them).

That channel, an AI-generated “anime” story channel, has fairly frequent updates, nice viewer interaction, and an interesting usage of ChatGPT (version 4, I think) that keeps generating stories that are quite coherent, and occasionally pretty wild, while being kept within a set of constraints that make up the scenario and tropey character definitions. I like it and I’ve been approaching it from a chronicler/archivist point of view, helping the community clip interesting storylets for the Discord clip archives. But I’ve also burnt out on it multiple times already and have had to step away for days, just because it can be so.. repetitive? Inane? It’s still kind of fun though. Like fishing for treasure in the form of the characters doing (saying) weird things.

But that’s not really a Game, so why is it in this section? Oh well. Here are some screenshots of the minigames from their announcement post. I was the one who took the second screenshot and they featured it from there.

I’ve been watching that a fair amount while doing OT or scanning my stuff but also have gotten burnt out on it three or four times already and have had to take breaks. At some point once things free up, I’ll just put it aside to concentrate on a game. Can’t really watch it when i’m overseas next month either anyway. At least, it would be a colossal waste of opportunity to.

I also bought the new Vampire Survivors DLC, which released in the past week, but I don’t think I’m anywhere near playing that. It was only $1.81 after tax though and I’m happy to support that game for setting such a low price threshold for this game genre (that other similar copycat games have had to follow over the past year or so).

Plushie of the Week #91 – Mini Furby

We picked up this little Furby toy sometime between 2000 and 2002, when we first came to Canada. Dad had opened a laundry-cum-internet shop as a requirement of whatever immigration program we came to Canada under, and this mini Furby was left behind by a customer, one of several plush toys and similar things that customers left behind there in the years that Dad owned that shop. Though many of them were damaged or smelled of smoke or something like that and so we never actually brought most of them home and claimed them for our plushie kingdom. Though there were exceptions, like Titanto.

However, this one was a staple in the shop for a couple of years, and it literally hung around the computers and Dad‘s front desk and the spare room in the shop. We three children occasionally went to the shop after school, because if Dad had to pick us up from school on any given day (especially in winter), he had to close the shop to drive to us, so we would drive back to the shop instead of back home most of the time so that he could reopen it as soon as possible, in case customers came by. So we were all well-acquainted with the little blue Furby even though it had never actually come home to the Edmonton 4012 house yet.

Eventually, during some point in the shop’s lifespan and all the back and forth that we did to and from there, the little blue Furby came home with us, and he joined our home plushie crew. I don’t know if we ever formally gave it a name, but we informally called it Mini Furby, I think, since we also had other regular mechanical Furbies, so that’s the name I went with here. I’ve linked this picture many times for different plushies in the picture, but the blue Furby is in this picture from May 15 2003:

He’s at the bottom left next to Orson, George, Snake, Titanto, and a blue porpoise that I’m not actually too familiar with but I have pictures of for another week. He’s made of polyester and doesn’t have any mechanical parts, unlike a regular Furby. He is technically a keychain, with that yellow keychain latch attached to him.

The other pictures I have of Mini Furby are from my Jan 30 2022 batch. Front:

Back:

Bottom:

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Song of the Week #68

Title: Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku – Dainana Gakushou ‘Mugen no Ai’
Artist: Momoiro Clover Z
Album: Mouretsu Pirates OST (2012)

This is the opening song to the Mouretsu Pirates anime, and has a title that is way too long but that is often abbreviated to just “Mugen no Ai”. While I like the idea of Japanese idols in general, there aren’t a ton of actual songs from idol groups that I have fallen in love with. This one, though, is at the top of the pile.

I like the anime itself quite a bit, and that definitely influenced how much I like the song — the show is currently sitting at #6 on my favourite anime list, whereas this song is #2 on my favourite anime opening songs list. The song has a bit of a.. spicy taste, is the best I can describe it — it has a lot of voice layering (there’s a choir in the background and they overlap themselves at times), and spoken/yelled portions that contrast with and lead the melody and beat onwards, and both layering and spoken vocals are things that I like in songs a lot.

Despite liking the song a whole lot though, I don’t really have any memories bound to this song like I have to many of my other songs, my main linked memories to this song involve watching the actual anime itself, and of delightful reactions in AMQ whenever this song might come up, which is why the song hasn’t been featured until now despite being #2 on my anime openings list. They also namedrop a star, Antares, in the lyrics, talking about how their infinite love is shining as brightly red as the star, which I love.

Writing Prompt of the Week #11

This week’s writing prompt reads:

Describe an illness or injury that stands out in your memory. What happened, how long did it take to recover, and what do you remember from the recovery?

I’ve never been seriously ill or injured to the point that I’ve been bedridden or anything like that for more than one day, or had to visit the hospital for it, with the exception of the surgeries for my gender transition (which took several months to recover from). I’ve never had to have a surgery outside of the two I underwent for that, as well. I’ve never broken a bone, or had to use a sling or a crutch or a brace or anything like that (outside of first aid classes, for learning how to tie a sling). Nor have I ever been stung or seriously bitten by an animal, or been involved in a car accident, or any number of other “fun” experiences that humans get involved in that I absolutely do not mind forever missing out on.

Nonetheless, there’s still three incidents that come to mind as the answer to this question. Number one was mentioned back in Diary #042/MSotW #24 here, sometime in Primary 4 or 5, when I pressed the side of my lower leg against the exhaust pipe of Dad‘s motorcycle as he was bringing me to school and caused a kerfuffle with my parents when they discovered it that evening, even though I survived the day with the pain just fine and was going to ignore it and let it heal on its own. They didn’t like that I didn’t tell them about it.

The second incident is a little bit before that, this would have been when we were still living in Yishun 799 or 723. I apparently managed to let the elevator door close on my right foot while I was a little kid, and this supposedly ended up crushing my the nail of my little right toe, even though the door opened again right after that once it detected an obstacle in the way. Mom and Dad were with me and they brought me back home and tended to me, but we didn’t go to the hospital or anything like that either because it wasn’t that serious. However, to this day, the toenail of my outermost right toe is still split into two and more or less grows together but separately — the best analogy I have to describe this is like trying to pull on a roll of scotch tape with a cut 1/3 along the width of the strip, so the entire strip that you pull out from the roll is divided into two separate (and useless) strips even though they all originate from the same roll of tape.

The last incident of note happened during my early University days, which would likely have been somewhere around 2001-2003 or so. Around when I was going through my first spate of depression for being transgendered. Somewhere around this time, I suffered a severe, dizzying migraine while at school, and while I think Dad came to pick me up, it was so bad that he instead took me to the University hospital and I sat there for a couple hours in the outpatient waiting area. I never got to see a doctor though, since my migraine recovered after a couple of hours and the queue still hadn’t gotten around to me yet, so we just walked out the door instead. This was the precursor of me going fully deaf in my left ear, although I wouldn’t actually realize this for 1-2 years still, until one day when I used the phone and realized that I couldn’t hear a thing through my left ear. I could hear perfectly well through my right ear still, so it’s never really been more than a minor inconvenience, even up to this day.

Writing that down reminded me of another incident, which would have been when I was in Vernon Barford, placing this memory sometime between February 1999 after we moved here, and June 1999 when I graduated from Grade 9. We were told to run up and down the stairs in a stairwell and record something to do with our panting, for the purposes of a Science class, and when I did this, I ended up feeling really dizzy and essentially collapsing in front of another random classroom. I remember being helped to a school desk in that classroom to rest, and when I fully regained my senses, it was lunch time and I was alone in the room (or perhaps with a teacher seated nearby) and feeling perfectly fine. After some experimentation I discovered that over-exerting myself to the point where I was panting and gulping in lots of air would cause me to become lightheaded and dizzy after a minute or so, and depending on how bad it was, could cause me to approach a sensation of fainting — weak legs, vision growing dark and not being able to see things more than 1-2 meters away from me, sweating profusely, and so on.

This never happened even once when I was in Singapore, but started once we moved to Edmonton, so I blame the difference in air and climate since Edmonton is a higher elevation city. This still sometimes affects me if I have to run to catch the train at our transit station since the train system in Edmonton is so bad. However because I now know how and when it happens, I also know to try to grab a seat if I have to run for the train, or failing that, at least a place where I can lean against the side of the train for support. I also know that drinking water while in the throes of my panting helps dissipate the effect a lot faster, as does regulating my breathing and trying to make myself take slower, deeper breaths instead of faster, gasping ones.

I also remember throwing up into an air sickness bag on an airplane once, but this would have been when I was a little kid, so this was likely our May-June 1987 trip from Singapore to Canada, when I was 3 years old.

None of these are really illnesses or injuries though, but they’re the closest experiences I’ve had to what this question is trying to go for.

Memory Snippet of the Week #75

There have (technically) been two or three unauthorized entries to my Edmonton 205 house over the 12 years that I have been living here, and I wanted to spend this week’s memory snippet noting them down.

The first one happened on Sep 03 2014, when I was on my way home from work and got an alert on my phone that someone had opened my front door. At that time, I used a home intruder camera and door sensor from a company called Piper (local), although they’re dead to me and I absolutely don’t recommend them any longer. I stopped using them after they killed IFTTT (local) support.

Anyway, at that time, I turned on the remote camera and saw that the “intruder” was wearing a maintenance outfit, and stopped by the rental office front desk instead of going straight home after I disembarked from the train. They made some calls and had the maintenance man come down and the story in the end was that a neighbour had filed a work order to fix a broken balcony door lock or something and he had entered the wrong unit to fix it. I was *also* having balcony door locking issues but hadn’t reported it, so he ended up fixing that anyway, and I did see on the camera that he didn’t touch my things (insofar as the camera angle allowed me to see, anyway). So, whatever.

The other incidents happened in February of 2016. The way my current apartment is set up, it’s a one-room apartment that lacks a dedicated storeroom in my apartment suite itself, which most of the other apartments in the building apparently have, but it has a separate, tiny storage room located across the hallway that came included with my rent. On Monday, Feb 15 2016, which was a statutory holiday (Family Day) here in Alberta, I noticed while coming home from some errands that that that storage room had been broken into over the weekend by someone who had shaved the edges of the door frame around where the lock went into the frame, and then slid some kind of card into the gap to prise open the door.

Inside, the storeroom was now a big mess, with boxes and stuff strewn around the floor.

Unfortunately for the piece of lowlife that did this, I had only used that storage room for storing empty cardboard boxes, so there was nothing valuable in there. At one point there were a couple of boxes of manga comics in there that my sister had left with me because she was going overseas, but I had this thing where I could not leave them outside my actual physical apartment because I felt like that would be akin to leaving them out in the cold, so I had spent some time a couple of months or years before that moving all of those back into a corner of my bedroom. So not even those were available for the thief once he had broken in. He messed up a few empty boxes and moved on.

I told the rental apartment about this, and they came and changed the locks and gave me a new key. Fat lot of good that did though, since the frame was still damaged, and they didn’t bother fixing that. A few days later, while on my way to work, I noticed that the door was ajar again — someone had again forced it open with a card (and without any extra work or effort) and went in, and hadn’t fully closed it on the way out.

I filed a police report about the whole thing on their non-emergency line and was told to fill in an online form about it instead, and a policewoman eventually came by to take pictures of it. I also managed to use this to negotiate a rental reduction on my contract with my rental company — they took back the storeroom, and I got a $50 reduction per month on the rent or something, as I never wanted the storeroom anyway. That might not have been much for one month, but this was over 7 full years ago now, so that’s been around $4,000 in savings since then (since that was only negotiated during the next rental contract, whenever that was at the time). So the person who broke in to the place actually ended up doing me a favour in the end.

I was given a month to clear out the boxes, which I did by tossing most of them away, and the rental company then reclaimed it and changed the locks again. This time, they did a much more thorough job of securing the door:

Now why couldn’t they have bothered doing this after the first break-in when they were renting the room out to me, and instead only decide to properly secure it once I had made them take it back? Not that I’m complaining about the rent reduction. I do get a little paranoid everytime I leave or return home now, checking my actual apartment’s front door to see if there are any signs of shavings which could indicate a break-in attempt, but the person back then did not try to break in to my main apartment and no one else has since either. The frame on my front door is a little worn down though, and I can see how something similar could perhaps be tried by someone desperate, although it would be harder than that storage room was and there would be a bit of metal they’d have to dig around too. Not impossible if I’m not at home for some time though.

Last Year’s Entry #44

My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #049. This was published on Apr 17 2022.

It’s now about three months before the first anniversary of Thrandor‘s passing, and I see that in this article I mentioned that he had started up a modded Minecraft server and invited me to play on it. This was the server that he ended up cancelling a day before the last time we ever heard from him.

I noticed that the website linked off of last year’s Memory Snippet of the Week mentions a book that contains stories and pictures from the woman who maintained that Mad About Mountains hiking site. I went to inquire how much it might be to get and ship a copy of the book here to Canada…

Dreams

Due to how much OT I’ve been doing, my dreams lately (at least past Apr 10) have been nonexistent and that’s not very nice. At least, I blame work OT for the lack of significant dreams this week. Most days I still sleep fairly well though, though some days I’m too worked up to sleep after working OT until 2 or 3 am in the morning.

Apr 10 2023

Dream 1

  • I was part of a very small “class” at a school, Class 47, made up of 2 students and 2 co-teachers. Dad was one of the teachers, and the other teacher was a woman. The other student was a girl like me. At one of the earliest points of the dream that I can remember, Dad was driving all four of us to school one day on a large motorbike, and we were discussing some analysis of literature as we went along.
  • He drove past Chinese Garden, a train station on the western side of the Singapore MRT line, and here it was an elevated station next to a large lake, with palm trees lining the side of the lake along which the elevated track was running. There were also a bunch of “lower” palm trees next to the tracks, one or two more rows of trees whose roots were submerged in the lake itself, so they started and ended at a lower elevation than the trees on the shore.
  • When we reached school, us two students and the female teacher separated from Dad and explored a wooden cabin building that reminded me of a rustic eatery somehow. The teacher asked us what we thought of the analysis that Dad had talked about, as neither of us had really spoken up during the trip. The other girl said that she didn’t really like the angle that Dad had approached the comparison of the two articles that we were looking at for today, which was comparing the content of the two speeches that the two characters in the articles had made, as we had already used a very similar technique in yesterday’s class. Instead, she thought that what was most interesting was where the two characters had walked to while they were making the speeches and what that implied. I agreed with her.
  • Our class was also involved in some sort of physical activity outside of the classroom. This part gets fuzzy, but for example, there was one scene where along with army troops, we had to run up two mostly vertical walls to the north and east, which sloped about 85 degrees up from the ground and were about 10 feet high each. Once we got up there, we had to help save people from invading gargoyles and bring them down to the bottom of the wall one at a time to safety again, then going back up to rescue others.
  • At another point, a princess and her caravan caught on fire as she had brought along some copium for her alchemy purposes and the floor of her carriage was strewn in white fluffy powder. It was apparently very flammable too and when some incident happened, her carriage went up in flames. We did successfully rescue her though, and it was made clear at this point of my dream that I was some sort of a princess figure as well.

Dream 2

  • I was sitting on a bus which was heading out from the University, and following the Bus 6/73 route from the University towards the Southgate, Millgate, Lakewood, and then Mill Woods transit centers. I was riding the bus with my two siblings as we all headed home.
  • There was a spate of bus pass and transit ticket thefts recently, and I had two friends who had been victims of it recently, one of them being Geeyong, so I also had a notepad and a scanner device out and was using the latter to detect nearby monthly bus passes and single-use bus tickets of people scanning them as they alighted and departed the bus. My device could read and display their serial numbers to me, and I then wrote all that down on a piece of paper. It wasn’t a foolproof device, but it did capture two bus pass entries from Southgate, and then five more entries from Millgate, which consisted of a mix of passes and tickets. My aim in doing this was to archive who had what in case someone departed with a ticket that they did not board with or had it stolen later.
  • A policeman who was a chibi humanoid dog figure boarded without a ticket at Millgate too and came toward the three of us, as apparently my siblings and I were not really supposed to be off travelling on our own. So he was going to escort us home. He wasn’t hostile or overly pushy though, and just ended up sitting behind us.
  • I noticed that he was also working on the same case as I was and was peering at a piece of paper. I had the window seat on the bus so I could look at the people alighting and departing, so I stood up and made my way past my two siblings in their seats before heading to the police dogman’s seat and offering him the data that I had.
  • I didn’t think the data I had collected was going to be very useful in the end, but he was surprised at what I had done because what he had was a police report that Geeyong had filed, which included the serial number of his stolen bus pass. Comparing that to my list, we saw that one of the two women who had alighted at Southgate, and just departed at Millgate, was using a bus pass with the exact same serial number as the one that Geeyong had lost. The note that I had put on my list next to the woman’s name and serial number was that she had very nice fur clothing. She was obviously the thief and now the police were onto her thanks to my help.
Apr 11 2023
  • Snippet: I remember “defending” a landing with two stairs leading up to it with a group of people against another group of people. It wasn’t a violent thing, but there was something about putting a pile of obstacles at the top of both stairs in order to make it so no one could come up, and about hanging something dangling from a string next to one of the two piles to make it so that it couldn’t (or could?) be tampered with at night.
Apr 14 2023
  • Snippet: All I remember is two women, one of them possibly an outcast from a group, hijacking a huge enemy robot from the enemy and bringing it back to the main group. They came under gunfire at first but eventually got the group to cease fire, and triumphantly came out of the control room of the robot into a large ground-level room that looked like the seating area of a bus with a door that led to that control room.

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