My Diary #095

Dear Tigey,

This will be my last full blog post for a couple of months. You and I will be en route to Japan this time next week. Stay safe, okay?

Entry #095 (Apr 30 2023)

Table of Contents

Stars glittering at…
ට  School
ට  Work
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #93
ට  Song of the Week #70
ට  Writing Prompt of the Week #13
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #77
ට  Last Year’s Entry #46
ට  Dreams

School

After I prodded UAI about it, our short-term study abroad coordinator started a Discord server, of all things, for our study abroad cohort of students going from UAlberta to Ritsumeikan in Kyoto this year. There are apparently 6 of us, though only 5 (plus the coordinator) are in the server so far. They also had apparently met up at the Pre-Departure session on April 1st that I had skipped, and the five of them had formed an Instagram group there. Oh well. Though if I had gone to that session, I would have been with the group going to Tokyo for the year instead of to Kyoto for the summer anyway, since I am essentially double-dipping this year. I dislike Instagram as a platform as well so no harm done, and if they end up using that over Discord and leaving me out then I don’t much care either. There’s been a little bit of conversation and a couple of useful tips shared over Discord so far though.

One of said tips was about how to book a train from Tokyo to Kyoto online, and apparently this site (local) is a good way to do it. So I did so, booking a ticket on the Nozomi, a train that I could not ride when I had my JR Pass since the Nozomi wasn’t included on that. So this should at least be a new variation of an experience that I’ve previously had. This also alleviated one of my greatest worries about my connection from Tokyo to Kyoto that I have to make on Monday May 08, since I was not sure if I could buy a ticket with it being just after the end of Golden Week. There were lots of tickets for that Monday afternoon trip left still though. Also, apparently at least one of the six students from our University left Edmonton this weekend and is over there already, to get in some sightseeing before the lessons start. I would probably have done that too if I were not going back there in August or September anyway!

There’s also a number of small tasks that I have to do before I go still, including lining up a SIM card for my time there, but those will be things I’ll be handling next week.

My final exam for my Classical Japanese class was on Monday, and by Friday we already had our final grades posted — so fast! I picked up an A, which I have mixed feelings about. An A is great because it counts as a 4.0 out of 4.0 for GPA calculation, no different from an A+, and I think I didn’t do particularly well on the final due to lack of time so I was worried about dropping to an A- or worse, but on the flip side it also means I actually indeed didn’t do so well on it and only ended up with an A despite all the bonus point opportunities we had. Oh well, an A is fine. A couple other people also got A’s, which is weird to say in a class of 10 people, so I’m not sure that I even topped the class in the end, though it was close either way. The class average was 3.0 out of 4.0, which is a firm B.

One of the students who turned up for the final exam was someone who seemed to know a couple other people in class but who I hadn’t seen in class at all except maybe in the first week.

That’s the last compulsary course I needed for my East Asian Studies diploma too, though it’s a little weird that one of the three requirements is a language course at the 302 level (Japanese, Chinese, or Korean) which I satisfied with Chinese 302 and not Japanese because I stopped after Japanese 301 here at the University, and another of the requirements is Classical Japanese, Chinese, or Korean, which I just satisfied with Japanese instead. Most people just do one language or the other.

From what I can see on UAlberta‘s online tool, what I’m lacking for my base undergraduate diploma now are just:

  • 1 more senior-level East Asian Studies option course (something in the 200-400 level), which I -think- will be knocked off by RSJP.
  • 3 more courses on top of that taught by the Faculty of Arts, which I’m not sure if going to Sophia will count for.
  • 1 more general course from anywhere in the University on top of that to reach my 120 credit total.
  • And a couple of minor things for the additional Certificate in International Learning on top of my diploma.

Not much more to go, and no more specific courses I absolutely have to take.

Work

Work is still busy, but toward the end of the week I stopped doing overtime and we transitioned away my queue monitor duties back to the other person who usually runs the ship. He’s also taking classes, and his final exam for the course that he’s taking this semester was on Tuesday, one day after mine. We were still getting around maybe 70 tickets a day, though it dipped to about 40-50 by the end of the week, and as most of them were just account extensions/restorations, we got through them just fine anyway without OT by letting them sit for a day and then splitting the work a bit more effectively. We did get a few nastier/ruder tickets this week from clients, at least one that got escalated to the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer for privilege revocation of said client, as well as some really perplexing ones like someone complaining that their YouTube account was locked when they “didn’t sign up for YouTube with their UAlberta account, they just put their UAlberta email address in when creating the YouTube account”. Excuse me sir.

HR came back this week to tell me that I actually am not allowed to bank so many hours of OT as vacation time, or banked time as they call it, and there’s some clause squirreled away in our collective agreement that caps the amount of time I can have in that banked OT bucket to 80 additional hours. Despite me planning to use all that time next week anyway. So about 50 hours of extra banked time that I had saved up is probably going to spill over and be immediately paid out instead. I will still have enough vacation time to cover my 6 weeks in Kyoto, but my actual leftover vacation time will be cut by another 50h, which would have mattered if I planned to stay on at all.

Since I plan to leave in August regardless, that would most likely have just gotten paid out in the end anyway, but on a different paycheck that would likely have cost me less in tax. Additionally, it would also have given me the option to also take an extra paid week off before I went to Tokyo, and now I can’t do that. This is a friendly reminder that the HR department is not an employee’s friend.

Overall though, April 2023 was a very interesting month at work. I can’t say I disliked it, even though it was a bit stressful and we got run a bit raw. I liked the feeling once I really got going and could efficiently process tickets, while also feeling like I could grasp what was going on and quickly solve the problems in many of the edge case tickets that we got too. And it was a very unique month which I will remember, and that is a nice thing to carry with me into the future. I ended up with 1,157 tickets closed this month, instead of our usual and expected 100-250. Hungry, hungry hippo.

I also had the idea that I would, at some point after I return from RSJP and before I leave for Sophia, propose to my boss a certain option which I fully expect will be rejected, or at least the University will be incapable of accepting due to salary inflexibility. One of the reasons I’m leaving is that I’ve completely maxed out my salary progression here at this job. This (local) is our pay progression scale, and my job is a Grade 9/35 hour job, with new hires generally making something nearer the left end of the scale for their job grade, and pay increments (a rightward move along the column) near-automatically coming every year, sometimes with multiple increments for a good performance review.

But the flaw of this is that once I’ve hit the rightmost column of the scale, which I have for my job, there’s no more salary progression to be had, and the inflation bump we get each year in our salaries does not actually cover the cost of inflation since the University fights our union (as they should, I suppose) to try to keep it as low as possible. But there’s absolutely no motivation for me to keep working harder in my current position. Nor is there any way “up” in terms of progression potential here. Even though I have so much institutional knowledge with me, and generally like my teammates and boss, there’s little reason to stay career-wise.

Anyway, the offer I will make, which will likely be rejected, is to see if they can find a way to raise me at least three pay scales and shifting me left on that column, so I have around the same salary but have the *potential* of making more money for the next several years. And in return, I would cancel my Sophia study abroad and continue on here.

Something like that would be what would be needed to keep me at this job. However, I’m fairly sure that this isn’t something that my boss or department can actually do at this publicly-funded mess of a place, since the grade position of our job is supposedly strongly tied to job definitions and roles and I’m not sure they do any exceptions besides people who were grandfathered in from a higher-paid role that no longer exists. I literally can *never* get another raise here because my job description sheet isn’t complex or difficult enough despite all the new things that keep getting added to our job responsibilities that we have to keep up with. Still, my gut is telling me to ask anyway, not necessarily for my own benefit (as I’m sure it will fail) but to plant some seeds for the future, so I probably will when the chance comes up.

Finally, I took Thursday and Friday off next week in preparation for my Saturday morning flight.

Life

I had a haircut this week, and it was expensive since I opted to dye away some of my gray hair too. Got to present my best foot forward at this thing. The hairdresser was very nice and kept telling me how cute I was and how my hair and skin were very nice and smooth. Probably fishing for the extra tip (which I did give) if I’m being cynical, but it was nice to hear anyway.

My new glasses arrived this week, and they’re great. I appreciated that the world looked brighter and more vibrant through them, since my last pair of tinted glasses, now relegated to my spare pair, always blunted the sunlight a little bit, and I somehow found the time to take a couple of afternoon and evening walks this week to get used to seeing the world in full light bloom again. And no more weird glares in certain situations when the sun is in front of me!

That book that I ordered last week also arrived this week. I had chatted to the author a bit over email while ordering the book from him, since it wasn’t a book that could be ordered from an impersonal online form, and he sent a nice note along with the book that I will cherish as a bookmark.

Jessica,

Thank you for buying this book. I hope you think it serves as a fitting commemmoration of Ann’s ^hill life and writing. Maybe you will find some of my stories of interest too, or maybe not.

Best wishes,

Alan Dawson

He’s too self-depreciating! His stories are as good as his co-author’s. The book cover got a bit chipped in the Royal Mail envelope that the book came in, because the envelope got stuffed roughly into my mailbox where it barely fit, and I wish Canada Post had done a better job of delivering it overall, but I don’t mind a little personality to my books anyway. The book was really heavy too. One day, I will have a house with a small cozy library in it, and I will populate it with little meaningful treasures like this. I sent him a thank you email.

I applied for an advance voting form this week for the provincial election, which is slated for May 29 2023. I’ll be in Japan from May 06 to Jun 14, so that doesn’t quite work for me. I’m not sure the advance voting form will even come in time, since they won’t send it out until at least May 01, but it’s fine if it doesn’t. I at least tried. And I might at least end up with a nice, rare form to scan or something. Hopefully the United Conservative Party gets voted out, they’ve been very destructive for the province recently, and the current leader, Danielle Smith, is particularly bad and unworthy of leading.

I’ve had a lot of tea recently, and I’m a good ways through the tea sample boxes I bought in early March.

I even bought a new tin of the one that I had bought in mid-February, Valerian Nights from David’s Tea, because I had completely finished that tin and liked both the tea and the tin it came in quite a bit, and it was on sale again at the local Safeway. I still like how much it “tastes like a library” to me. I’m very much into an evening tea habit now, as long as it wasn’t a day where I had multiple bowls of soup for my dinner. My tea experience list is still growing as well, even though it’s all still largely from one company, a consequence of getting a large sample box from them.

Among my walks this week was a walk on Tuesday afternoon when I went to Safeway and back home while ominous clouds were rolling in.

On my way out, I was going to take a long detour back home, but the wind blowing through the wide open area that was the carpark kicked up all the sand that was still lying around the road, from winter measures where they spread the sand on ice and packed snow to add friction and prevent slippage, and which hadn’t been cleaned up yet. The sand blew everywhere and created an extremely localized sandstorm that cut visibility to ridiculously low levels and stung me (with no lasting effect) all across the back side of my bare legs and arms.

Similar to taking pictures of fog or smoke with my camera, the camera picture is actually maybe twice as clear as it actually was to the human eye, but even then there’s enough of the sandstorm captured that you can imagine how it must have looked. It felt like I was in a video game and there was an “out of bounds” mist zone to my front and left side, with the only safe path onwards being the right side path from there, which more or less led directly home instead of toward a detour. I took that as a sign and went home instead, saving the detour for Friday evening.

Also on Friday, I saw a man walking his free roam cat from my balcony.

I’m pretty sure that was Echo from My Diary #063. I watched them from my computer chair until they were out of sight.

While I haven’t found my deck of loose cards connected to last week’s Memory Segment of the Week, I randomly found four misfit cards this week while rifling through another a folder that would have been part of the ragtag set, but I probably never combined them because I had no idea where the set was when I acquired those cards either. I don’t know where or when I acquired these ones, although they are definitely from the Canada part of my life.

I went back to add them to last week’s entry too. Maybe I should just start a new collection.

Kel found a tag and booklet that used to be attached to Ally, and she snapped photos of them and sent them to me. I am super thankful for this and I’ve attached them to Ally‘s profile in Plushie of the Week #36!

There is at least one very important thing I haven’t done for my trip yet, and that is to decide what the name of my travel blog series for my Kyoto trip is going to be. Well that and how often I’m going to do a blog post.. daily? Every other day? Weekly? We’ll see.

Games

Honkai Star Rail (local) launched this week and I love it. Unlike the devs’ previous game, Genshin Impact (local), it’s not a large and continuous open world game, but it seems to consists of little zones on different planets to go around and explore, with loading screens so far. It reminds me of the Tales games (Berseria and Arise being the ones that I have played significant amounts of) in terms of gameplay, except it’s turn-based combat.

What I like about it is the aesthetic and the character designs though, they’re so beautiful and the space station area that serves as the entire first tutorial area, where I ended up spending something like 15 hours, is gorgeous. I really like both trains and outer space, and the aesthetics of this game just blow me away since the main adventuring group goes between different planets in space on a celestial train. Of course, the first planet we get to after the tutorial is an icy, snowy planet, so I dropped the game right there (I’m kidding).

Here are some screenshots of the game from my first week in it:

Big planet hologram!

Friends! (Neither one is the MC, but both are starter characters on my team)

Platform area with astral train!

Astral train set against a background planet outside the space station!

Mood piece with words of wisdom!

I really dig this mood piece too, a little bed on the floor in a mini-library and next to a window gazing into outer space!

The character designs are gorgeous to me too. Electric guitar girl!

Main character’s BFF!

And the main character herself is an awesome goofball.

Oh it’s not good for me to get addicted to this just before I leave for overseas. I’m sure, just like Genshin, it’s going to have a lot of quotable mood pieces that jive with my philosophy on life, and have a couple story scenes eventually that will make me bawl like a little baby too.

Steam‘s Golden Week sale is on, and I spent the last week also loading and preparing some games on the Steam Deck for my flight over to Japan — Yakuza 0, Atelier Ryza 2, Final Fantasy XV, and Persona 4 Golden being the headliners on there so far. Not that all of them are going to get playtime, it depends on my mood on the plane. I’m pondering a few other games from the sale too, and we’ll see what if anything I bite on over the next week or so before the sale ends.

Plushie of the Week #93 – The PvZ Crew

I have three plushies themed after characters from Plants vs Zombies — a zombie, a sunflower, and a pea shooter. I haven’t really assigned them names or anything, but they’re quite obviously all from the same place, and I’m reasonably certain that I bought them from a random table stall that was peddling random things in the Students’ Union Building in the University of Alberta, sometime between July 2012, when I 100%’d the Plants vs Zombies game on steam, and December 2012, when I distinctly remember making a joke that Hisham, my supervisor at the time, had a snow jacket and hood that made him look like a pea shooter from the game, which cracked Tyler A. up, while on the way back to our offices from a Christmas team dinner, as I was thinking of that plushie at the time.

Very weird memories, but it places the acquisition date of those plushies into quite a small window, which is nice for once.

I don’t know why I got them, and they’re all kind of floppy so they usually sit together, leaning against each other or a larger plushie or the wall behind them, but they’ve been a mainstay of my plushie army for quite some time. Grunt troops of the army, just like in the game itself! I also sometimes call the sunflower Flowey, but that’s a character from Undertale, not Plants vs Zombies.

Here are pictures of the zombie. Front:

Back and one side:

Other side:

Tag front:

Tag back:

Here’s the sunflower. Front:

Back:

Tag front:

Tag back:

And finally the pea shooter. Front:

Back:

Underside:

Tag front:

Tag back:

All their tags say the same thing — the English side says Linxinweiye staff toys co., ltd, and the Chinese side says 霖听伟业 or Lin Ting Wei Ye. The website http://www.lxwy163.com.cn/ is long gone though. It seems like even the Internet Archive only ever saved blank or squatter pages for it.

Song of the Week #70

Title: Aruite Ikou!
Artist: Nao Touyama
Album: Koisuru Asteroid OST (2020)

This is the companion song to Song of the Week #19 — that one was the ending song to the Koisuru Asteroid anime, and this one was the opening song. I still stand by what I said there, that the show was disappointingly average for an astronomy anime, but that I still like both the starting and ending songs very much. Although I like the ending song more, the starting song, which translate to Let’s Walk! or something similar, is no slouch of its own, and that’s why it’s here. Although I don’t have too much to say about it, it’s a nice, thematic song for my final Song of the Week post before I go off to Japan, where I hope to do a lot of walking, and a nice, thematic song for the Honkai Star Rail game that I’ve been playing this week, since it ties in to the magic of the celestials as well.

My only lasting memory tied to this song besides the anime itself is that I used both this, as well as its partner song from the Song of the Week #19 link above, as walking songs three years ago, in the summer of 2020, around when COVID-19 first forced work from home. How empty the world seemed then!

Writing Prompt of the Week #13

This week’s writing prompt reads:

Top 10 time! List the top ten smells you associate with your childhood. What does each one signify?

I went out for a walk on Friday evening and could smell a whole bunch of food wafting out from the apartments nearby from people having dinner. Half of this list could easily be food! I will try to avoid this. I cannot sort these in any sort of order though, so these are ordered by what came to mind first.

1. Hokkien Prawn Mee (archive.org).This is my favourite dish, and I can smell and taste it from the pictures. The sauce, the egg, the lime.

2. Fried Carrot Cake (local). This is another one that gives me strong childhood memories. The preserved/salted radish, especially, called chai po in the local language, is amazing!

3. Durians. They say that most people either love or hate them. I’m somewhere in between, I like them, though I don’t love them. I have memories of my parents seated on little stools with newspapers spread out on the floor and durians placed on top of them, being peeled and cut open. And after we eat the durians, Dad takes the durian shells, fills them with salted water, and lets us drink from that too.

4. Baby powder. I still use it now, but the smell of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder (local) is something we grew up in and I associate with both my siblings and me.

5. Similarly, Dettol (local). See Writing Prompt #6 for a specific memory on this, but the smell of this also brings me back. Dad used a body wash version of that brown antiseptic bottle listed under Household Disinfection in our bathwater when we were little, but I can’t find a picture of that anywhere anymore. Or maybe he did use the antiseptic version meant for surface disinfection on us!

6. The fresh scent of rain, or the scent on the wind that warns of impending rain. I’ve alluded to this several times when I still had my Things I am Thankful For segments going, like here in #06 or here in #07 or here in #09. And there were a couple other mentions of rain that neglected to mention the smell in particular too. It rains a ton in Singapore, so the scent of rain has always been very nostalgic for me.

7. The slightly sweaty smell of school uniforms. This might sound weird, and I’m not really sure how to describe it, but they all have slightly different scents when dry, and slightly different scents when dirty, and it just reminds me of being a kid again in general, in a way that adult shirts (dry OR used) do not. Under this, I will also tuck in the smell of white paint that I used to paint my school shoes with, something that we don’t do in Canada at all. I talked about this in Memory Snippet #55.

8. The smell of pencils, especially coloured pencils, as well as sharpeners, erasers, and other stationery. This led me to some interesting memories, so I decided to spin it off into a Memory Snippet of the Week below.

9. A sweet-smelling flower called frangipani (local). However, the smell of this flower is also associated with death and a particular legend in Malay folklore about a ghostly apparation called a pontianak (local) in Singapore. It’s an interesting piece of local mythology unique to Southeast Asia!

10. The smell of charcoal grilles, particularly of fish. As well as mothballs. Both of these remind me of my paternal grandma (Ah Ma) and her house, and the latter one also reminds me of my maternal “grandma”, who was my mother’s elder sister (Yi Yi). I really liked that grilled fish that Ah Ma used to make in a little charcoal pot in her kitchen.

There are definitely other entries I could have put into here, but let’s go with that list for now. I can always add more later!

Memory Snippet of the Week #77

Back in Rosyth School, my Primary 4-6 class, I used to have quite a lot of stationery with me in my desk, and I was proud of the volume and variety I had and would lend them out to people now and then. The school desks basically also acted as a shallow treasure chest-like container, and the surface top of the desk was also the cover of said treasure chest, which had a depth of about six inches or so. It could be lifted up and closed back down, and both the table surface “cover” and the table itself had an O-ring that lined up with each other, and one could slip a lock through and lock the table up that way.

I enjoyed being a purveyor of random stationery, everything from staplers and hole punchers to coloured pencils and markers and paper clips and more. However, one of my years in Rosyth, I actually lost the key to the lock for my desk near the end of the year and didn’t have the courage or know-how to ask a custodian to help me unlock it, so I think I lost a bunch of stationery in there that probably got donated to the classroom stash. Oh well.

Going back even further, in Peiying Primary School, where I was for Primary 1-3, we had a small bookshop that sold a variety of stuff, and I used to buy bags of rubberbands from it. I did this because, in my classroom, my seat was next to a window that faced the outside of the building, and there was a long ledge jutting out about maybe ten feet or so on ground level on the other side of the window, which was obviously the roof of a walkway of some kind on the level below us. The windows blocked us from actually going out there, but many pens and pencils and similar things apparently accumulated on that ledge from people dropping them from the classrooms above us, and I would sometimes spend the time between classes daisy chaining together a bunch of the rubberbands, flinging one end of the daisy chain out the window, and trying to hook some of those pens and pencils and reeling them in to the edge of the window where I could bend down and grab them through the window panes. It was fishing for stationery, and I was good at it!

The Peiying bookshop also sold square erasers with country logos emblazoned on them, and it was a fairly popular thing to buy a bunch of them and then play “The Eraser Game” with other friends, which involved us taking turns flipping our erasers and trying to land one on top of the other. Successfully doing that would allow you to take control of and essentially keep the other person’s eraser, although there were variants that allowed for continuous play and reverse flipping (i.e. trying to flip the bottom eraser onto the one on top of it) as well, and variants that didn’t involve playing for keeps. I’m pretty sure I still have a box of these erasers, somewhere, but I have so much stuff. They’re at least easy to find pictures of (local) online though!

I also remember lining up all my erasers and dividing them into groups and making my own “World Cup” tournament with them, having one on one faceoffs to see which countries would win. I quickly figured that it was a waste of time, because I was too biased in favour of the countries I liked, and I’d try extra hard with them so they would just steamroll the other erasers anyway.

Last Year’s Entry #46

My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #051. This was published on May 01 2022. I also looked at My Diary #002, published on May 02 2021.

I still haven’t gone back to backup that old guild forum of ours. At least the public and semi-public parts of it. This is a continuous reminder for me to do it before I regret it one day.

These days, the only Wordle-type app that we still occasionally play seems to be this Guess the Game one (local).

That Song of the Week #26 video was dead, oops. Replaced!

Hello from Last Year’s Entry #46, dear Last Year’s Entry #2! It’s not quite #54 because I did indeed make it to Singapore AND Japan and so missed several weeks!

Regarding how down I felt in My Diary #002 about my workplace, I feel like I’m a lot more chill about that these days, and I think it’s a mixture of having had a light at the end of my tunnel for so long, as well as the vacations I’ve taken and the flexibility of working from home. Would I actually work here longer at the same job, even if I was given a large pay raise? Hmmm.

Dreams

This week, I had a couple of dreams about Satinel, a couple about granting email accounts to our University alumni again after doing so much OT the past few weeks, my first dream about ABT after watching a lot of that around the same time that I was doing all that overtime, and a princess dream! I love princess dreams!

Both Apr 25 and Apr 26 will likely get Highlight Awards when I get around to listing 2023 dreams in my Dream Diary. That project progressed a little this week but is still stuck back in the middle of 2017. My dream diary is so long.

Apr 24 2023
  • Snippet: I was playing some sort of obstacle racing course game with Kynji, Frotswa, and other people in Discord, with a short course that I was trying to clear in as quick a time as possible. It involved grabbing an item from a bookstore, then jumping across some obstacles and a series of thin white ledges that looked like a series of large books lined up parallel to each other on the ground, and then climbing up onto a ledge to stop the timer. I did this a few times but could not ever beat 21 seconds, although that was very fast as is, except for one time where I didn’t grab the item from the bookstore and ended up with an 18 second timer. I restarted until I had a time that was just barely over 21 seconds though. I then tried to give the item that I had grabbed on that run, which I hadn’t paid for but which was a card game of some sort for couples, to Kynji and Frotswa, but they didn’t want it.
  • Snippet: I was in a swimming pool with some friends at one point, there were about 20 of us in the pool and it was very relaxing. I remember swimming around and chatting to people in the pool but not much else.
  • Snippet: At one point I was offered one of my pencils by a character in the dream. The pencil was a pink one with ten removable pencil lead segments that I think I had picked up on my Singapore trip in real life. It didn’t come with a cap, but I remembered that the cap was at home on my computer desk anyway so I was very happy to accept the pencil anyway.
Apr 25 2023
  • I was travelling around the dream world with a number of friends and acquaintances that kept changing in number, as we played different games and took part in different activities.
  • Early on, one game that we were playing was that we were split into two teams of 10-14 each, and were competing against the other team in a series of rooms in a school to see who could find hidden white packets of powder in each room. The rooms included places like a food lab and a science lab. In each room, we were further divided into temporary groups of 2 within our teams to work on different side tasks like cooking, and these temporary groups were randomly assigned. Satinel was in my team and I wanted to be grouped with her for all of the rooms but could only be grouped with her for one of them.
  • In one of the rooms, I found four of the five packs by myself hidden as ingredient packets inside four container bags that vaguely reminded me of instant noodle packets but were something else. I expected the fifth one inside a similar bag but it was not there. After some investigation, the teacher said that it turned out that when other students were bringing bowls to the room to help him set up for the event, one of the girls, who looked very much like Shuyi from Peiying, had dropped the packet on the ground and not noticed, and another student had picked it up and delivered it to the school’s Lost and Found room. Therefore that fifth packet was never in our room to be found to begin with.
  • Later on, there were turn-based battles, where my screen display of the enemy side consisted of a front row of two large oval spots, and a back row of three smaller circular spots, each spot of which an enemy monster could stand on. I fought smaller ice sprites that stood on the back row and a large water elemental at some point which stood on the front row. Yet, even though it was bigger, I could not really hit the water elemental well because I could not choose where to aim the fireball spells I was lobbing, and the fireball would target what spot the water elemental was in, as it was the nearest creature, and automatically fire toward that.
  • However, the water elemental also kept moving from the left front spot to the right front spot and back every turn right after I fired the fireball, so the fireball kept missing and going past it. There was always an ice sprite behind it though and the fireball would always crash into and murder the ice sprite, who left a puddle of water when it died. Soon there were water puddles on all five squares.
  • Later on, there was an overworld we were exploring and caves that we were looking in for treasure. At the very end, just before the game timer expired, we were in an area where there was a large traversable path around a big mountain that was out of bounds, but one person found a cave leading partway up the mountain on the northwest side of the path. Four of us arrived and found that the cave was very easy to climb, and we bounded up to the top to loot a treasure chest there.
  • Lastly, there was a part where I was walking with a group of people, easily at least 20. We started at a traffic light by the 4-way junction between Yishun 723 and Yishun 799, that I could normally see from the balcony of Yishun 723, and we crossed that road when the pedestrian light turned green. I was also a game admin playing the game as a player, and at this point I was chatting with Zixiang, and telling him about an earlier iteration of this game and that we admins had granted an early adopter of the game, I believe it was Harvey, a request or boon where he wanted to disadvantage another player who was an acquaintance of his.
  • We turned onto a narrow shopping street as we continued talking, and I said I didn’t want to tell Zixiang what we did as we learnt that what we did was unfair and so we no longer provided such boons to players and just played the game as normal players ourselves. He tried to pry out details for me but I refused to say. In actuality, I knew that upon request from Harvey, we had removed the other person’s ability to send random chats to non-friends, and also had neglected to become friends with him so that he couldn’t send a message to the admins to rectify this “bug”. In the end he apparently had a rather lonely game session, which was not what we wanted for players.
  • At this point, I noticed that it was just the two of us left on the shopping street itself as we reached the end of the road and prepared to turn out onto another street. Looking back, everyone else had went into a candy shop that was selling tons of candy for cheap, and I apparently recognized this shop from a dream a few days earlier. Most of the people had bought or were buying candy. We went in to join them as several of them left the shop, commenting about now needing a drink, as the proprietress cheerfully told them that there was a soda shop next door. They were definitely working in cahoots, with one of them selling cheap sweets and the other one selling sugary drinks to quench the thirst from the sweets.
  • Besides candy, the shop sold a few plushies in a box right next to the cashier, and I saw one of the other students buy a bear and walk off with it. Dad was also there, and he purchased a set of DVDs that was on display on the cashier counter. Ronnie was also nearby and was discussing with Dad and pricing out how much a newly remodeled living room, with a long sofa and a TV and stereo setup, would cost him.
  • For my part, I saw another small display box with a couple of CDs in slip cases in it, and a front and back cover for the CD lying separate from the slip cases. There was a sign on it that warned that the CDs may not come with the front and back covers if they were out of stock of those, but the cashier said that they had recently received extra printings of those covers, so I decided to buy a copy of the CD and its front and back covers. It cost $5.50, and the cashier said that the CD belonged to a local male singer. I said that I enjoyed collecting random CDs on my vacations and would listen to them (and rip and upload them as part of archiving something random and local, I thought to myself) when I got home.
  • She thanked me for my purchase and rang up the purchase on her cash register, which then appeared on a digital panel attached to the cash register and facing me, as well as a corded extension with a little digital panel on the end of that as well. I said I was going to pay via visa, but instead of tapping my phone on the corded extension panel or the panel on the cash register, I accidentally took the corded extension panel and tapped that on the cash register panel without thinking, which caused an error and an infinite loop. I tried to tap my phone to pay properly with it but the register wouldn’t accept it, and the cashier said that she’d need to reset it and reenter the transaction before I could pay it again. She did so and I apologetically completed the purchase this time.
Apr 26 2023

Dream 1

  • I dreamt that the ABT infinite anime Twitch stream released two new characters, both of which were rich girls, taking the character cast to 7. They also released a new scene called “Stories with <name>”, where name was one of the two new characters. It was a news report style segment where they brought up old scenes from the show and discussed them with each other. There were also a few other new segments, like a minigame where the viewer was a cowboy on horseback and had to shoot down bandits in the distance as they chased the cowboy, with everyone riding from right to left from the perspective of the viewer.
  • I went in to watch the show after receiving a ping from the Discord server’s admin, although I no longer considered myself a member of the community so I felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there. I saw the mods clearing up emoji spam messages from other people that had been pinged in the Twitch chat when I arrived. However, the room was also a physical room, so I quietly sat down on a plastic chair near the back of the room.
  • After watching for a bit, we had the opportunity to split up into groups and go adventuring if we wanted to in yet another new segment. I didn’t plan to go, but a regular player I knew was on my left and a mod that I was apparently on good terms with was on my right, and they both had undone one of my shoelaces in silent, playful greeting at some point as we had been watching. I only discovered this at that point though. They smiled and invited me to join them without asking me questions about where I had been, and I accepted.
  • This minigame was D&D based and we had to defeat groups of monsters and level and gear up as we went along. They already had a little bit of gear from previous runs but I hadn’t. The first group of monsters were easy though and dropped 3 weapons, a shield, and a piece of armour. I picked up a cleric mace from there, as that was my chosen class.
  • I told them that I had dreamt about ABT last night in my dreams within the same world as well, and in that dream within a dream I had gotten my hands on a downloadable version of ABT that lacked a roof scene but had a new scene situated in the stairwell just inside the door leading out to the roof, and the top half of the door had included a glass pane through which I could see the blueness of the sky beyond it. It was a very brightly-lit stairwell and all the characters had gathered there for a group portrait shot at some point. My downloadable version also had a minigame very similar to the cowboy and bandits one, but it involved zombies instead. We couldn’t kill the zombie but would shoot it repeatedly to slow and stun it as we ran.

Dream 2

  • The world was full of oppressive fog or smoke that had closed in over the city within the past few hours or so. I was in a building visiting Gregeor, who had gone to work in a business suit and was trapped there with a number of other people in suits. We knew that the fog was clearing out soon and one of the other men said that he really wanted to get home as soon as possible as he was worried about his family, and wondered if it was worth trying to drive in this fog. We managed to convince him not to.
  • The fog was supernatural in some way but it was also known that I either had some sort of effect that could suppress it myself over time, or that I could use to calm the people around me, which was why I had been travelling around myself. Later on though, I ended up in bed in a dorm room, and the scene continued as I woke up from some illness or malady. It was time for school, and everyone else had left, so I grabbed my bag and hurried out and down the stairs. I then realized that I had left some things upstairs, so I hurried back up to my room, and grabbed three things — my water bottle, a plastic file that I put in my bag, and a larger multipurpose file. I then ran down again.
  • I then was sitting on a bench down in the courtyard on the ground floor and packing my things when a set of double doors opened nearby and a younger boy came out of what was a throne room with a king seated on a throne and facing some people offscreen. The boy, who was obviously the crown prince, sat on the lip at the threshold of the door and put on his shoes as a hunchbacked old man I recognized came into view behind him.
  • I quickly ducked out of sight, but I had left my grey multipurpose file on the floor next to the bench, and he seemed to recognize this as he came over to pick it up. I was hiding under the bench at this point so I darted out and grabbed his wrist as he bent down to try to take my file.
  • We sneered at each other and he asked what I was doing. He then said that I should stop playing at being princess, as thanks to me, his plans had- he then stopped short of fully admitting that the fog was something that he had conjured up as the evil court magician, but I knew that and he knew that I knew that as well. However, I was the rightful heir to the throne, not the prince whom he was supporting. I left him be and continued on my way to school with my bag and file.
Apr 27 2023
  • There were dreams set in a voxel world that was somewhere between Minecraft and 7 Days to Die. Satinel and I and a few other players who were friends of mine were based in an abandoned town, and the two of us in particular made one of the houses our base. At one point Satinel was trapped in the house next door because she had too much loot and couldn’t leave the neighbouring house, which she was looting, and although I was busy, I saw her asking another guild member for help, but he was busy taking a shower or something, so I dug a passage from our house to the one she was in so that she could just use that to drag the loot home. I also remember breaking down some flimsy locked doors to even find where she was in that neighbouring house.
  • That house apparently also had another underground zone beneath it with a cliff and a portal that led to a special zone where we could fight a Darkness Dragon. We did eventually make a group of 4 to go fight it. There were about five different mob qualities that the Darkness Dragon could spawn as, ranging from normal to super or something, and we got one of the super dragons but defeated it quite handily. A couple NPCs on hand mentioned that not long before we arrived, another adventuring group had come by and it was an even stronger dragon that wasn’t a Darkness Dragon at all but was an upgraded version with a different name that was similar to Dusk Dragon, but it had flown off somewhere or despawned, probably due to the zone reset.
  • Other things that happened in the zone world involved finding an NPC and doing emotes at it to unlock minor rewards, but the exact NPC or emote one needed to find would change over time. I tried using a cat emote at the target NPC, which was itself a cat-like creature, at one point, but that particular reward had already passed and I had no idea what the new emotes were. There were several other adventure scenes to do with the part of the dream where that house was our base, as well.
  • We also had a rocket with a number of inventory slots that we could launch, and at one point I launched it toward the sun and stopped just at the very edge of what was safe for the rocket could handle without burning up. The reason I had done this was that Satinel had pointed out that there was a chest orbiting the sun at that distance. Leaving the rocket to float in the orbit around the sun, I launched a smaller guided capsule ship toward the chest, but then found that the wider the distance between the rocket and the capsule, the hotter the rocket got as well, so if I got too far away it would still just burst into flames. So I went back to the rocket and instead guided it until it bumped against the chest.
  • I then opened both inventories and started transferring things over. It was a tight fit, but I managed to use up every single square of the inventory grid on the rocket to completely loot the chest. There were many flat dirt blocks that fit a 4 by 4 square but that could stack on each other, which helped save a lot of room, and several ingots in mineral form that took up little 1 by 3 or 1 by 4 rectangles that I could fit around it, some of which I also stacked upwards on top of each other. I then successfully navigated the rocket back home.
  • Within this world, there was also a train scene where I was waiting for the train at a platform which I had been to several times before. I don’t remember much else about the context surrounding this.
  • Snippet: Outside of this world, there was a scene with 4 faces lined up in a row as though it were a camera shot of a hockey team bench. The furthest head shifted slightly as its eyes moved to look at the second head. The second head shifted slightly too as its eyes now stared towards the third head. And similarly, the third head turned to look at the fourth one. The fourth one turned to look at the camera and started laughing out loud to himself.
  • Snippet: I also had dreams about giving out email addresses to the alumni of our school again, but I forget details of it.
Apr 28 2023
  • Snippet: I remember, near the end of my dreams, having a segment where I was restoring and extending email accounts for people.
  • Snippet: This somehow tied in to a segment earlier in my dreams too where I was using some sort of time-limited account and trying to figure out the secret of a floating ghost and how to defeat it, or something like that.
Apr 29 2023
  • There was a classroom scene where I was taking part in a rating class called Raetlong. The classroom had corridors on the north and south side of it and windows through which people could watch the class within if they wanted. I was waiting outside the class for the previous class to finish and in particular, while I normally had 6 tables in the classroom to myself, I was waiting for a guy in the previous class who was also using those 6 tables to finish what he was doing and leave the room so that I could take my seat.
  • The rating class involved short pieces of code that turned into a little floating oval toggle that could be toggled “on and off”, with the off position of the toggle being represented by one > and the on position of the toggle being represented by three >>>. Flipping it on also then summoned a creature into the center of the room that we could then practice rating. The code portion of the class was often outsourced to a different class to do for us. Our rating involved a panel that popped up on a floating virtual interface and many of the functions on the panel had shortcut keys on the keyboard, like n and r, that would trigger them.
  • Snippet: A number of other little unrelated snippets follow. One included a policewoman named Sara that was sent to investigate voting irregularities at some point.
  • Snippet: Another dream I’ve completely forgotten about except that it took place over the span of 62 or 68 years or something, and that that stood out to me in the dream as being abnormal even for a dream.
  • Snippet: Another scene had me at work and had someone asking if we could not offboard his account now that he had left, he had sent in three tickets, the last one asking if he was safe or not. There was another ticket from his department about the offboarding also requesting the same. But this was the day after his last day at our workplace, and policy was that he needed to lose his account and email address once he left, so I ignored all the illegal requests and offboarded his account anyway.
  • Snippet: A last scene involved a map of a country with many little quests on it that I had just unlocked. I stayed in a little house somewhere on the west side of the country, and there was a big castle on the east side with several entrances and exits. At the urging of someone who wanted me to see the following cool mechanic, I got to the castle by driving a car whose bottom half had magically transformed into a boat and was constantly summoning water under itself so there was always an extremely localized area of water beneath the boatcar as it zoomed around. There, I spoke to the king, and then went out to the servants’ wing on the north side to pick up a side quest as I had seen an exclamation mark symbol there when I had checked the game map, signifying that there was a quest that could be started over there.
Apr 30 2023
  • I remember pushing a little Jon in a stroller along a Japanese street towards our home, and stopping off at a supermarket to see if I could buy lunch for us since we were already outdoors. It was only 10:30 am so I thought it was likely a little early, but Jon said it was probably fine, and I saw one of the roadside stalls outside the supermarket itself selling a bowl of green beans that I knew was part of the noodle dish from the stall that I wanted to buy lunch from too, so I agreed.
  • That noodle stall was on the basement level inside the department store, so I turned the stroller around and pushed it toward the nearby door. As I passed the stall, the stallkeeper conversationally remarked about a bit of news that everyone was talking about — there was a pit nearby and someone had dropped a large Singapore stone into it, and had I heard about it or knew who did it? It was a rhetorical question, and I hesitated and then answered with a Wakaranai as the stallkeeper and his friend also nodded and went Wakaranai neee~! But I actually did have a sense of who did it, I had “seen” a dark figure of some sort use magic to lift up the stone and drop it into the pit overnight, I just had no idea who their identity was and how to express all that in Japanese anyway.
  • Entering the supermarket door, a worker standing there told me that while I technically could enter that way, that was the cashier door and I’d have to go down a narrow corridor that led to the front and join a queue there for the elevator heading down to the basement, so it was probably better since I had the stroller that I went out again and around the corner to the supermarket’s other entrance.
  • Snippet: Earlier, there was a whole lengthy plotline involving a school that I was attending and a couple diffrent timeline versions of it. I was trying to do something or get somewhere with friends, but I’ve forgotten the details.
  • Editor: Wakaranai is Japanese for “I don’t know” or “I have no idea”.

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