Talk about wasting a week doing nothing of note instead of preparing to go abroad! That’s me, this week.
Entry #103 (Jul 30 2023)
Regarding a clarification email I sent, I got an email back from Sophia this week confirming that even though I said no to the housing options, I was indeed eligible to still apply for them all for the Spring 2024 semester, the the second of my two semesters, if I wanted to. So that’s an option that I’ll look at once I see how I feel after a few months at staying at the one that I’ve already booked. They also inquired about whether I needed housing again — even though it was past the original deadline (the 24th) for the offer for the other Sophia-affiliated dorms they had made me, and I told them that I already had a place to stay.
They also told me that their school doctor wanted me to get a letter from my doctor about my pre-diabetes:
<Questions and Request from the doctor>*Reply needed
① Please explain about status of diabetes control
② Please explain the response when experiencing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
③ Obtain the English referral letter which cover the following points:
3.Progress since the onset of the disease
4.Details of treatment
5.Important aspects related to the patient’s medical condition
Because it could be difficult to get treatment and/or medication in Japan otherwise, they said. The pre-diabetes thing is the least of my worries in terms of the medication I need while there though, as I don’t think it’s a big deal even if I never ate a pill while there, so I asked if I should get a letter for the other two as well (estrogen for my transgendered status and antihistamines for my eczema) and they said that:
Thank you for your reply. I think our doctor mainly concerned about your diabetes.
However, if there is a possibility for you to visit the clinic for other symptoms, you should obtain the letter.
In fact, in Japan, there are still many hospitals and clinics where English communication may not be fluent, so having the letter will be very useful to start your treatment smoothly in case of an emergency.
Which I’m not sure is a yes or no. It depends if I can bring in a year’s worth of medication I guess. I’ll have to speak to my doctor next week or the week after. And I know this will mean another round of bloodworks to find out what the current levels actually are, again, as well as whether there are any other problems.
This week, I also booked my appointment with the Consulate-General of Japan in Calgary. Their earliest time slot was more than 2 weeks out, and I took it — it’s scheduled for Aug 14, a Monday. It’s also in the morning, which means I might have to stay in Calgary overnight the night before. Or take a morning flight there, which is probably cheaper (around $120 for a flight plus associated costs, versus $45 for a bus ride plus some price for an overnight hotel fee, plus associated costs) and then a bus back. I’ll also have to guesstimate how long the actual appointment will take (likely under an hour) and then guess as to when the earliest bus I can book to get home will be.
It also means that the library book I had borrowed, which I’m enjoying very much but am only 1/3 of the way through right now, will be due before my trip there, so I can’t really bring it along with me. There are also currently 13 other holds after me (I had been on the waiting list for a while before I got it!), so I can’t renew it either. That being said, I did realize that due to our Edmonton Public Library having abolished late fees (local) entirely going forwards during the COVID closure (Jun 11 2020), and the fact that there is a grace period (local) of 21 days or so after a book is due before I get an “item is gone forever” fine, I could just hold on to it for another 7 days, which would cover the day trip to Calgary, and I could then return it the day after I get back.
I got my underwater camera from Trin back this week. I had lent it to her a couple months before my Japan trip, and the little Olympus Tough TG-5 camera went along on her trip to the Galapagos Islands (although I think she ended up mostly using a GoPro instead while there) and made it back home safely. Welcome home, little one! Are you ready for a trip to Japan.
It was rainy and cool for most of the week this week, which I love in general but has been comparatively great because large parts of the USA and other more southerly parts of Canada have still been baking under an unseasonably hot (but possibly status quo going forward, if one is to believe predictions) summer. To the point where apparently one can get burns (local) from falling on the pavement.
That being said, I love storms, but there was a scary thunderstorm early on in the week, in the wee hours of Monday morning, where the lightning and thunder were so strong that my computer table shook from the force of the thunder, which was instantaneous after the lightning flash, meaning that the lightning was happening basically right on top of the city. That was definitely a little rattling. And it was late at night so many people were woken up by it and our local subreddit was full of threads of people commenting about the storm and how it woke them up and kept them awake.
My replacement replacement RBC Ion Visa card arrived this week. That was fast! It had the same card number as the new one it replaced, just with a different expiry date, no wonder the guy on the other end of the line when I called the RBC Credit Card support phone number said that I could no longer use the old one effective immediately once he did something while I was on the call with him.
My Monday video chat with Zian was cancelled this week as she was preparing to move to Sydney to resume her studies there, but we instead had one on Wednesday morning (my time) while she was in Japan, on a layover while transitting between China and Sydney, and then another one on Friday night from her dorm room, where she showed me around a bit. It looks like we might be able to continue weekly chats for a while longer too, though we’re not certain of schedule just yet, so yay! I think maybe I passed some sort of test with her as she said she’d been enjoying the calls (and I have been too, of course).
We were supposed to have a family dinner this weekend but Mom had to be checked into the hospital so that was cancelled. I still did meet up with my siblings though, and among other things I was presented with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Card Game set which they had managed to finally unearth sometime in the last week. It exists!
I had the number of each card slightly wrong; there’s one copy each of Splinter (1), Krang (3), and April O’Neil (18), and four copies each of the Ninja Turtles (2) and Genghis Frog (7). And two copies each of every other numbered character card. For whatever reason we also had 3 red bombs and 6 blue bombs, so I feel like we might have had 3 extra red bomb cards elsewhere too at some point, but I have no idea where they are if so. We’ve only always just used 3 of each in our game though to make a balanced deck. I flipped the three extra blue bombs around to show the “back” of the card.
They’re very well-worn cards, since we’ve played a lot with them over the years. I traded them for a Cruiser (well, I sent Cruiser back to Kel for a week or two before she leaves for her study contract, and Cruiser will probably do better in a box in a family home than in a box in a storage facility somewhere).
Suruga-ya (local) is having a free international shipping campaign sale (local) this week and the next, which is pretty big as they’re the largest and best Japanese store that sells second-hand anime, manga, music CDs, v-tuber, doujin stuff, etc. Well sort of, that’s the English version of the Japanese site (local) and has slightly less content than its local partner, but I’ve bought from the Japanese version of the store before, both in their physical location as well as online through a proxy shopping and shipping service. Anyway, even though I can’t really afford the time to do anything with them besides toss them in a box anyway, and even though individual prices are a bit higher than buying them in person, I’m still sorely tempted to buy something or two since this is quite possibly a once in a lifetime (or at least once every 5-10 years) sort of sale. The shipping tends to be the killer for importing anything from Japan, easily $20-30 at a very minimum and scaling up depending on the number of items and/or how one purchases them, and not the actual price of the goods themselves.
Other than that, not a ton happened this week, so here’s a bunch of neighbourhood pictures from various points in the week.
Sunday (July 23rd) at 9:13 pm, some neighbourhood kids taking advantage of the nice weather and late sunlight while playing Red Light, Green Light (local). I could hear them shouting out the words from my computer desk through the open balcony door. The caller, the girl at the bottom, kept sending back the other kids for infractions that didn’t look like infractions to me!
A little later, around 9:18 pm on the same night, as I also took advantage of the weather and sunlight to go outside for a bit. There was a moon high in the sky already even though it was still brightly lit.
Tuesday (July 25th), 12:49 pm. Despite walking this route before, and despite how I try to be mindful of the world around me and all that, I never really noticed that pretty much all the trees lining this road are of different species!
The cars too, but never mind the cars. Thursday (July 27th), at 12:22 pm, and it was a rainy day but I went out after the rain had subsided for a bit, so here are some ominous rainclouds:
Thursday again, at 5:40 pm, the picture isn’t very good since I took it from the inside of my apartment and through the mosquito netting and then the balcony grilles, but I saw some people pull out their own chairs to sit on, and use one of the benches as a table to have a mini picnic or something.
Friday (June 28), 1:08 pm, I saw one of the two cats that occasionally get taken by their owners for walks around our little complex. This is Echo, who I’ve previously written about here.
And lastly, Saturday (June 29) at 10:41 am, just clouds, clouds, and more clouds. They were actually shining brightly due to the morning sun trapped just behind them (and off screen to the top and left) but that colour differential doesn’t show very well. It still looked a bit like a face looking down from the heavens though, with the eyes being on the top left and bottom left sides, and the mouth on the right side.
It’s descending to eat our city!
I burned a lot of hours playing Skyrim this week, specifically the museum mod (local) that I’ve wanted to play for some time now. According to the Steam tracker, I’ve put 105 hours into it over the past two weeks, most of it this week, though a chunk of it was also either time spent putting together and testing mods or just plain being AFK with the program running. Due to how the program needs to be run for the player mods to hook in properly, I don’t think it’s fully accurate on its tracking too because I think having some of the modding-related tools open also contributes to the game’s playtime. Not entirely sure about that though.
Anyway, the game’s been a ton of fun, like eating some comfort food from the past. I’ve collected nearly 650 relics for my museum thus far, though a lot of those are rare/set books or variations on armour types. Even though I have better things that I should be doing, like getting ready to move. I guess I’m getting one or two last rounds of gaming out of my system before I move on from this for a while though.
Outside of that, I continued to play Risk of Rain 2 with Satinel this week. Very fun! I played nothing else (besides AMQ) outside of that, not even Honkai: Star Rail. The new content hasn’t really grabbed my attention and I’ve stopped doing dailies too. It doesn’t even get a link in my blog this week.
I’m getting a hankering for a roguelike or card game of some sort though.
Plushie of the Week #99 – Portland Bear
I’m so creative with my names!
Portland Bear was bought during my 2013 trip to Portland, Oregon. My first ever trip to the USA, I went with my Dad, and we went on this trip to get me my desired voice surgery at a voice clinic there in advance of my real life gender transition, but I backed out at the last minute over reasons that don’t belong in this post and that I should really write about at some point.
Anyway, while on the trip, I bought this bear for $5.95 USD from a store named Made in Oregon, from Pioneer Place in Portland. The purchase was made on Mar 08 2013, or so I found out after diving into my receipts and collectibles from the trip that I still have in my vacation box of many things. It sits with all my other animals besides my bed, and soon to be in a bag somewhere in a cold storage facility for a year or so. Still, at least it got a feature before my 100th PotW segment, so giri giri safe.
The shirt can actually come off, so here’s Portland Bear without his shirt:
And here’s the shirt itself. Front:
And can you guess what’s coming? Of course you can. Here’s Tigey wearing the shirt:
Song of the Week #76
Title: Pure Pure Heart
Artist: Ho-Kago Tea Time
Album: K-On!! OST (2010)
K-On! was the sixth anime series I watched when I started watching anime back in late 2019, and was an extremely influential one for me, one of the reasons I fell in love with anime music as well as setting me on the path toward mainly watching and loving Slice of Life style anime. I liked the show so much, in fact, that I visited the (abandoned) school that the show was based around, in November 2022.
I love and have multiple songs from the show in my top 50 anime songs list, but while the band alternates between two lead singers for their songs, all of the ones I like (except one) are sung by Mio, the girl in the video below, who also sings this week’s song. She’s voiced by Youko Hikasa, and is one of my favourite anime characters. The song doesn’t remind me of anything special other than the show itself and AMQ, but nonetheless I like it a lot. Stay pure.
While the video I chose is a bit dubious, and I’m not completely sold on how they did the weird bouncing lyrics yet, I found their representation of lyrics interesting at least, so I featured it here over the other available ones.
Writing Prompt of the Week #19
This week’s writing prompt reads:
“Top 10 time! List the things you did as a child to express your creativity. What drew you to each one?”
I think this is a bit of a weird question. I would rather talk about this separately in memory snippets, instead of one brief chunk here, and I probably already have done a few of those. However, it’s a good time to bring up one “hobby” I had, and that was making lists.
I had lots of lists I would make and maintain on my own to pass the time. I often compiled and recompiled my own list of favourite songs, for example, it started with a top 50 list and expanded into a top 100 one, and I think I still have a few of these in one of my files that I can scan at some point.
Another set of music-related lists I would make is that I wrote down and kept track of weekly song lists from the radio — Rick Dees Top 40, as well as the top 10/20 charts from the local radio stations in Singapore, Perfect Ten 98.7 FM in particular I believe, and the Asia, Europe, and USA MTV top 10 charts as displayed by MTV Asia at the time.
A third one, related to this, is that I would carry around and write down on a piece of paper all the songs that I heard from TV, on radio, or out in the wild in shopping malls and such, and then tally up the total number of times that I heard each song play in a week, and compile my own top 20 lists from there. This was very involved and I roped in my siblings to help at some point too — I’d make them write down the initials of songs that we heard if I couldn’t immediately write it down myself, and then I’d do my lists at the end of each week and compare it to past weeks as well as to the current charts. I have dozens of these, and they need to be scanned at some point too.
Outside of music, there were L5R card lists, I mentioned this passingly two weeks ago and even showed rough pictures of some of the sheets that I made. I made and remade those lists several times though. I was very much not only a collector but also a cataloguer.
Another set of lists that I kept was a notebook full of soccer team names, largely gleaned, in a pre-Internet era, from the sports section of the local Straits Times newspaper, which would not only feature the soccer fixture results from the most popular European leagues, but would also occasionally list scores from weird countries and smaller leagues. This was a way that I learnt a bit of geography when young, since most of the team names also corresponded to a city name of some sort somewhere, and I would write down the team name as well as their country in brackets after them. I remember being somewhere in Primary 4-6 and starting a weekly “feature” on our class blackboard where I would write down some random team name in a corner of the class blackboard, square it off with chalk and put a DNE (do not erase) or PLO (please leave on) or something next to it, and call it the Soccer Team of the Week. I maintained all this in a notebook, but I don’t believe that I have this notebook any longer.
My school friends were hapless targets of this in other ways too. This need to find things to sort into lists eventually created Operation Sokrates. In a more benign example, I also kept and updated the class rosters for all my Secondary School and some of my Primary School classes too. And often the other neighbouring GEP class as well. And occasionally the juniors one year below us too.
There were other smaller lists as well. At one point I kept a collection and list of coins dated by denomination and year, and would examine every coin to see if it was already part of my collection grid or not. At another point my siblings and I would spit our bones into the kitchen waste basket during dinner and we would aim for any egg shells that we saw in the bin to try to land our bones in that — I turned this into a minigame by keeping a running tally over a long period of time as well. I had a few game-related lists too, like the ones in this jotter book, or an “address book of named places” list that I kept while I played Fabled Lands, for no good reason other than I wanted to keep a list.
These days, I have anime watch lists, favourite song lists, and when I go on trips I keep meticulous lists of everything I buy. As I’ve argued before, lists help keep me organized and adds motivation to do certain things, and they were a partial catalyst for me even starting this blog as well, since I get to make many lists as part of trying to organize all the things I’ve written and published here.
Memory Snippet of the Week #83
For the memory snippet this week, I wanted to expand on last week’s Writing Prompt answer on what TV shows I watched when young, because I did more thinking over the past week and have come out with several more shows that I do remember watching to some extent!
For starters, besides Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there were a bunch more western sitcoms that I remember watching, though they’re older ones for the most part. ALF was one that stood out to me, because he was a silly creature (and still is a silly creature), but as a young kid I liked the show. Who’s the Boss? was another one that I remember watching, although the memories of this one are VERY dim — I don’t recognize the show’s theme song at all, but I do remember bits and pieces of the characters and actors/actresses faces, as well as the show name itself. I also watched some I Love Lucy, as well as the The Cosby Show, before later scandals in life tanked the credibility of that guy. Lastly, there was ‘Allo ‘Allo!, a show about a tavern in German-occupied France that brought me a lot of laughs when I was a wee little thing.
In terms of movies, we watched the Home Alone series a lot, that was our Christmas tradition if anything could be said to be our family tradition, since we never fully celebrated it. I also remember fully watching the Back to the Future series of movies, as well the Naked Gun ones where someone gets run over by a steamroller and various other things after falling off a building. There were likely others, like I have a mental image of the Mary Poppins movie linked to a noodle dish in Singapore called Cantonese Noodles (I think), because I ate that dish on the same day that we watched that movie back in Yishun 799 I think, and although I used to like the noodles, I ate too much and got sick of it on that day, though I eventually grew to like it again.
In terms of cartoons, there were less common shows like Yoink! of the Yukon and Biker Mice from Mars that I liked, in addition to more common ones like Tom & Jerry Kids. There were definitely other cartoons too, it’s hard to come up with an exhaustive list because there were a lot that I watched at least partially now and then. We had a Foghorn Leghorn VHS tape in the family that we watched a few times, and I seem to remember a VHS tape for the movie The Silence of the Lambs as well, although I never watched it.
I also neglected to mention some Singaporean sitcoms, particularly a show called Under One Roof, and another show called Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd. Those two were popular shows in the late 90s on Singapore English television, and both leaned heavily into Singlish as well. The government didn’t like that and tried to infleunce people to stay away from Singlish and speak “pure” English, but no one really listened to them. Both shows I believe are still available on mewatch.sg (local) these days.
In a slightly tangential TV-related memory snippet, I remembered while I was talking with Zian this week that I apparently used to sort of sleepwalk a little bit when I was young. At least, when my bedtime was something like 9 or 10 pm (so before or during very early Primary school, definitely before age 9, possibly before age 6), my parents would still be in the living room watching TV after we were sent to bed. Apparently I would sometimes wander out with my bolster in tow while not being fully conscious, or sometimes even if they had gone to bed I’d just walk out into the living room even though it was dark. I don’t remember much about it anymore if it were true, it’s a very distant memory at this point, but if I recall right I sometimes wouldn’t remember anything the next day, and other times I would dimly remember seeing myself do it from behind a veil of sleepiness, as though from behind a glass wall.
How much of those distant memories are made up I have no idea. At any rate I haven’t done something like that for upwards of 30+ years now, I’m a very stable sleeper now and barely even ever roll around in bed. I also used to sometimes fall off the bed from rolling too much in my sleep when I was younger, but that also hasn’t happened probably in 15-20 years as well, I think. My bolster still does end up on the floor now and then, but not me.
Another week, another terrible week of output. It’s like my mind is also preparing to move and has decided to clam up.
Jul 26 2023
- I dreamt that I was at Ah Ma‘s house, my paternal grandmother’s place, but in Japan. There were 9 of us in total, 4 males and 5 females, and this group of people included me, Dad, Ah Ma, Harvey, and Tsukasa from the Tonikawa anime. We made plans to drive from there to a bus terminal and then catch a bus from there to a beach, and we were all either neutral about or in agreement with the idea so it was decided on in quick succession and everyone stood up to leave. Everyone except Tsukasa, that is, who was sleeping while seated at one of the low floor tables that everyone else had been lounging about at as well. Apparently the rest knew that she would be reluctant to go so they didn’t bother waking her up.
- I had wandered outside to do some gathering, collecting green leaves from a tree and then realizing that a footnote in a crafting guide I had been reading about some white fabric that could also be collected from the trees, was in fact referring to the white fruit from the same tree. Most of the fruit was too far up but I reached up and managed to grab a couple of the lower-hanging ones.
- Once I was done, I wandered back in to find that Tsukasa had just woken up, all bleary-eyed. I told her that everyone else was getting ready to go to the beach, and as expected she didn’t want to go and didn’t mind staying behind. I guessed correctly that it was because she didn’t want to be seen in a bikini though, and I told her to come along and not to worry — I would not be wearing one in solidarity too. Or rather, I would be wearing a large, plain T-shirt overtop of it and would not be taking it off.
- She agreed, changed her outfit, and then collected her things to come along as well. One of the other people, not any of the five above, was a background character here and yelled out that all the girls needed to be in bikinis. I refused and retorted that Ah Ma was technically female too but because she was really old, she was obviously exempt from that, but that could hardly mean “all” of us had to anyway. In the end, neither Tsukasa nor I went back to change to something skimpier.
- We took three cars of three people each to the bus terminal. I went in a car with Dad and Tsukasa, and we reached there well ahead of everyone else and went to queue for the bus, which was the rightmost line in a square, partially-covered bus terminal foyer with about ten different concurrent queues for different buses. Most of the other people around us were Japanese and were speaking Japanese.
- We began to chat while waiting and watching out for the others to arrive. We noted that this beach trip was actually an alternate arrangement, our original itinerary had some more friends coming to visit us at Ah Ma‘s house, but someone got an incision on his finger and a group of people couldn’t come because of that somehow.
- I pointed out a mall across the road to Tsukasa and Dad and asked if that was Londonderry Mall, and got an affirmative answer. I said that I really loved a noodle store in that mall and that we could have gone there instead of our beach trip and maybe still should. Dad said that Tsukasa and I should try to not talk too loudly and noisily as we continued to chat away incessantly.
- Editor: The taste/smell of some noodles in particular did come to mind, though the particular taste I was reminded of was actually a noodle store in the old Sembawang Shopping Centre that no longer exists.
- Finally, we saw the other 6 people walking toward us from the carpark. As they approached, I looked behind us at the people flowing in and out of the foyer and saw Alvin Foo, or an older version of him even though his face looked exactly the same. I gave him a hug and called him by name, and he asked in puzzlement if I was someone he should know. I whispered to him my original name and that I had transitioned several years ago, and while I had reached out to some old friends since then, I didn’t have his email address to reach out to him. His eyes flickered in recognition and he returned the embrace happily. I wondered if Harvey would still remember him from our days in Rosyth together.
Jul 30 2023
- I dreamt that I was overlooking an excavation effort being done by a team consisting of a bunch of friends from online and from my childhood schools. I think among other people I remember seeing Yongrui there, and possibly Leon as well.
- There was a doorway set into the side of a small building in a residential area with HDB flats and some small shops around, but the actual rooms inside the building were solid rock and had to be mined out voxel-style block by block, which took a lot of effort and time. I and several others who were not volunteering for the digging part of the job waited outside the building to guard over it while those who were helping me dig squeezed past an empty treasure chest that was blocking most of the doorway, and went inside to dig.
- At the end of the evening, I pulled the treasure chest out and entered the building to see how much progress had been done. To my surprise the team had already basically finished excavating the place, and were very proud of their handiwork. There was a passage leading to a large room with a tall ceiling and a few adjoining rooms off of it, and in the room was a place to put some parts for a rocket launch as well as some other things that I don’t recall.
- This signalled the next part of the event, which we could leave until tomorrow as it was now the end of the working day. This second part involved forming groups of 4 and raiding some sort of dungeon to retrieve parts to fill the missing exhibits in the room and eventually start the rocket launch.
- I signalled to some friends that I would be willing to lead an exploratory mission from home that evening though, and would take along Steffy and Satinel, who were nearby and agreed to it, since I knew they were also commonly online in the evenings. The expedition would take 4 people, so I would just have to find one other person, and I was more concerned about leaving potential interested people out than not being able to find anyone at all.
- There were a few weird snippets connected to the dream that I remember, for example Steffy said around here that people often found this zone or game uncomfortable due to the background music being a certain pitch or volume or something like that.
- Also, Dad called me and told me to look at the government website for the game, there was some sort of announcement for “today”, which was the 21st of the month, that said that everyone had to validate their identity by calling in to a hotline and identifying a slightly pixellated picture that they were given on the website. The picture was different for everyone, and I saw that my picture was a small plastic bear seated on a toilet seat, so I told Dad that I should have no problems with this quiz. The government was also considered the “enemy” in this game that I was playing and leading an exhibition in, so I didn’t really care about them too much outside of staying out of trouble.
- I also realized that because the game itself was being streamed to our computer by torrents, once I “logged out” of the game I could still explore the areas around me via walking up to them before the data packets decayed, since the data packets were stored locally on my computer, without actually visiting the locations in-game, which could arouse suspicion. I managed to walk up to a small bookstore and take a look at the books within, for example, while in this semi-offline state, without ever going anywhere near the store in the actual game. The packets underwent several stages of decay, each stage taking a few seconds longer than the previous one, and they decayed in order from the furthest areas away from where I logged out to the nearest areas, so it was basically a ring around me that slowly shrunk and restricted my movement until there was nothing left.
- In addition, there was something about dividing a rectangle up to figure out its length and breadth from its area, and then from there figuring out what its four vertices were. One of the numbers involved in the rectangle was the number 31, and I wondered how that divided nicely into anything since it was a rare prime number itself.
- Lastly, there was a scene where I returned to a temporary room that I was staying in and saw a bunch of ants on the floor. I followed their trail and saw that it led to a dead moth on the ground, and some ants were carrying off its wings and other body parts. I took a broom and swept the dead moth outside my room.