Entry #104 (Aug 06 2023)
In school trip preparation notes this week, I went down to the University on Thursday to get a letter for my diabetes condition from my doctor. She looked at the Sophia request and wrote up a short note on University letterhead to cover it — so short that she didn’t even charge me the usual $80 fee (or something close to that) for a doctor’s letter, since she said it was so mild that it shouldn’t be a problem. I emailed that off to Sophia but have not heard back from them.
I took that opportunity to talk about my other prescriptions too and she gave me a year’s prescription for all three pills that I take, so that I can avoid having to see a doctor there. She said that she wasn’t sure if insurance would cover more than 3 months worth at a time though, and warned me that I might end up with a rather high out-of-pocket cost at the pharmacy when I went to fill that prescription. I haven’t actually done so yet to check the veracity of this worry; this will be a next week thing.
I did wonder if I should have insisted on a letter anyway though, just so in case I decide to extend my stay or go elsewhere after the one year. Oh well. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. There’s always the online system (Medeo) that the University Health Center uses, where I can request something like that through.
I also received an email from Sophia University about something that I had (apparently) signed up for on the initial application form:
Greetings from Sophia University.
We would like to confirm your interest in the Sophia Exchange Supporter Program.
On your application form for our exchange program, it is indicated that you would like to sign up for a Sophia Exchange Supporter.
We will arrange exchange students and supporters both individually (one on one) and in groups (approximately 10 people per group). This way, you will have the opportunity to participate in group activities as well.
They also sent an excerpt on what this was in the first place, which is good because I had long forgotten about this:
<Sophia Exchange Supporter Program>
Sophia Exchange Students’ Supporter Program is a program to support exchange students’ life in Japan on and off campus.
We will arrange one Sophia student for you who will be happy to assist your various matters.
Before arriving in Japan, your supporter will contact you via e-mail* –please feel free to ask any questions to him/her using this opportunity.
After arriving at Sophia, we suggest that you meet your supporter in person and get to know each other.
This is a good opportunity to interact with non-exchange students at Sophia. *Please agree that your e-mail address will be shared with the supporter.
I haven’t been contacted yet because we’re currently in a confirmation/”if you’re having second thoughts now’s the chance to opt out” period for the program. It’s cool that this system exists (it’s similar to UAlberta‘s Senior Peer (local) system that I had signed up for but never got to participate in due to COVID, as well as the Summer Connect thing that I did get to do with Ran.
Mom had a major stroke last Friday (Jul 28), for which she was admitted to a local hospital. Thankfully it was caught by Kel just as the stroke itself started to happen, and so not only did they get her to the hospital quickly, but secondary physical damage like from falling was completely prevented as well, so her current prognosis seems to be rather hopeful, and while she’s still weak and tired and will have to go through rehab to hopefully get most of her motor skills and physical ability back, her mental ability seems to be all there still (and almost uncannily sharper than before at times, according to Kel and Jon), so we’re very glad about that.
Dad, Jon, and Kel have been taking turns staying down at the hospital with Mom so that she always has someone by her side, while I, being the bad kid, have only gone down there a couple of times during the ensuing week to see her (and the rest of the family), partially since I haven’t taken any time off work. I do feel a bit guilty about this. I have offered to go down and cover for them when they need to go back and rest though, but so far I haven’t been taken up on that offer yet. I plan on making weekly or biweekly trips down there for now.
Partially due to that, while Mom probably doesn’t want to hear about this, I have definitely been considering just scrapping my Sophia plans (since I already got a good chunk of the “study abroad” experience out of the way in Kyoto two months ago anyway) and staying here to be near the family, just in case she (or Dad, who has been a champ, but is even older than she is) needs help or in case something else happens. Partially guilt, but partially also just a rearrangement of life’s priorities. I could definitely do it. I probably won’t because her prognosis for the moment seems great, but we’ll need to see how the next couple weeks go.
I ordered a number of CDs from that Suruga sale that I wrote about last week — mostly because the prices (for their cheaper overstock/”junk” CDs) were as good as being at the physical store itself, plus shipping was free, so it was even better than buying them in person and having to carry them all the way back home — they get really heavy. It was around 25 CDs for around $100, as I’m largely trying to flesh out a couple artist collections (largely Wake Up, Girls! (local)) that I have been working on, and their CDs tend to be mostly $3 to $4 CAD each. Counting the ones en route, I should have about 2/3 of their entire discography now, most of them acquired for a song. No way I can archive them or anything before I leave though, so they’ll be a project for if and when I return.
There was a lot of stuff there I was tempted to get but didn’t, and in the end the promotion ended a week early because the company got really inundated with orders, so my temptation to get anything was entirely removed because the shipping costs are killer — I added another 4 CDs to an empty cart to check the shipping cost for this blog post, and just the shipping alone costs 3,320 JPY ($31.34 CAD) via EMS and 4,336 JPY ($40.94 CAD) via DHL for the four CDs, plus the actual price of the CDs, and then plus customs (and DHL‘s predatory hidden customs fee if I use them for shipping) on top of that. While it’s not completely unpalatable, it’s a once a year splurge thing at best. That shipping cost being waived was what made the deal so good.
Our rental company announced a Resident Appreciation BBQ for next week, and I should be around for it again. They had one last year too, which I quite enjoyed viewing from my apartment. It’ll be a noisy afternoon but I will be looking forward to seeing this again.
I was thinking about a wishlist for my future residences, and noting that while all my childhood homes in SIngapore were high-level apartments, often on double-digit floor numbers, so they usually came with good views that I really liked, I also really like my low apartment here because I get to see and hear the sights and sounds of the neighbourhood, and I’ve been really getting into this recently, as one can probably tell from all the photos on my blog. I think ground floor apartments would still be terrible though, there’d be a lot more bugs and it’s also a lot less safe (and susceptible to weird weather), but one or two levels up would be the sweet spot for me if I wanted a place for looking out over the neighbourhood.
I’ll actually really miss the courtyard view from this apartment once I leave this place. It’s public enough to have a decent stream of people strolling past over the course of a day, while still maintaining an incredible sense of serenity most of the time. It’s pretty and well-maintained, with lots of trees and flowers and walking paths and benches and children playing and cats and dogs and rabbits walking by, all presenting a curated but ever-changing slice of slow, mostly tranquil life to me that I feel like I can partake in to some extent from my computer table by just turning my head left and looking out the balcony door.
I sometimes feel like a princess from one of the old Japanese palaces with carefully-arranged flower or rock gardens set up for maximum zen and visible from their bedroom windows. Except those princesses probably didn’t have noisy neighbours that kept them up playing loud music with bass at 2 am that they couldn’t eject. I sent off another couple annoyed emails to the housing management about my neighbours again this week, by the way.
Anyway, here’s a couple more pictures for my scrapbook’s weekly diet. Om nom nom.
Sunday night: It was raining during sunset, and the sky was very beautiful, although I only caught the end bit of it and my apartment isn’t pointed west anyway:
I still liked the colour contrast and wet sheen in my photo though. Although, five minutes later, the wet sheen turned into this mess:
The storm arrived and swept everything away. But the next day, everything was bright and sunny and cloudless again.
I went to the local Safeway store at 8:30 am, and saw the staff holding what must have been their morning standup meeting. A nice little moment to see as a random passerby.
These pictures of the courtyard are from Tuesday, taken two hours apart, one at 6:54 pm when the neighbourhood kids were out playing,
And one two hours later, at 8:51 pm, when they were mostly home but there was still enough light for people to be wandering about and enjoying the evening,
I wonder what everyone’s stories were. I think the rental management installing the benches last year during COVID were a great move though, since it turned the place into a neighbourhood gathering spot.
I went down to the University clinic on Thursday, and I went early enough in the morning that the local mall was still closed, so I had to go around it to get to the station. While doing this, I ran into a DHL trailer around one side of the mall, where I’ve seen a temporary food truck or two occasionally parked in the past. I didn’t know temporary DHL locations like this existed though.
My doctor’s appointment was to get the letter I talked about in the School section above, and even though I went fairly early in the morning and there were only four people ahead of me, there was still a 30-40 minute or so wait time before I could get in to see my usual doctor. On the way out, I helped myself to a couple of snack bars that they were giving away for free, and also snapped a picture of the other free stuff that the clinic had for students to take — one was a basket of condoms and the other was some sort of detergent packet.
I also picked up a free box of COVID test kits from the University pharmacy while I was there. I had no idea they were still giving those out. I also did process that basically no one in Edmonton wears a mask anymore — even visiting the hospital, there were a few remnant mask signs around but not even the nurses and staff walking around the place use masks anymore, never mind visitors. From my personal experience at least though, the few people who do still wear masks don’t get strange looks or anything and I have never seen (or experienced) anyone being yelled at for wearing a mask, though anecdotes of that happening can be found here and there.
Finally, lunch time on Friday outside the mall, whereby I went to Safeway to get groceries but realized about halfway through my trip that I had forgotten to bring along my prescription to hand it in to the pharmacy, even though it was one of my original goals that day. Oh well. Next week.
By the way, now that the soft ban on single-use plastic bags has kicked in for a while, I must say that I hate it for one particular reason — food court stalls are not allowed to give them out too (unless the consumer pays an extra 15-50 cent or so surcharge), but using reusable bags to carry food court or restaurant plastic food boxes is inane because the boxes tilt and leak all the time, and the hapless “reusable” bag I now use for bringing those boxes home has gotten soaked in some form of sauce four or five times already. It pretty much has to be sent through the laundry every week now to keep it clean as even washing it with dishwasher soap doesn’t always fully clean it, and this is with me only eating food court food once or twice a week as is anyway. I can’t imagine how much nastier it would be if I ate there more regularly.
It severely cuts down on the lifespan of those bags though, which defeats the purpose of using reusable bags in the first place since they cost a lot more energy to make, and create more waste than a simple plastic bag (which I used to reuse as kitchen waste bags) when thrown away. Is this really helping the environment?
I finished going through and recycling all my old clothes, shoes, etc this week, I think I have about two plastic boxes left that I am keeping but the rest have been dumped into the clothes donation bin in the recycling depot visible in that last picture above. Hopefully some of those clothes find a better home than what I gave them, and don’t all end up at a landfill.
I wrote a couple weeks ago that the rental company had stopped locking the apartment outer front doors in the evenings and on weekends, but it’s been a couple weekends now where I’ve found the doors locked anyway, so maybe they just stopped doing them during weekday evenings. Or whoever doing it is just inconsistent because who really checks it anyway. Very weird though.
I think it was partly due to the hospital thing, and partly due to the planning to leave Canada soon thing, but I felt really restless throughout this week. I felt like I needed to do something during the evening but I had no idea what, everything felt (and still feels, to a certain extent) a bit wrong or awkward somehow. I needed to work on the blog, but the timing felt wrong for it. I needed to pack, but it was too early to pack and I didn’t have boxes anyway. I could watch some shows, but I didn’t feel like I had that sort of attention span. I wanted to, and eventually did gravitate to, playing some games, but nothing really stuck for most of the week either.
I spent most of the week visiting both old games and new. My game list this week looked like a highway pile-up, featuring Gordian Quest, GemCraft, The Enchanted Cave 2, Tales of Maj’eyal, Garden Galaxy, Siralim Ultimate, Skyrim, Chrono Ark, Yamafuda! 2nd station, and Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror. And those are just the ones I actually launched, there were others like Disgaea 5, Creeper World 3, Disco Elysium, Library of Ruina, Epic Battle Fantasy 5, Erannorth Chronicles, Time Break Chronicles, Euro Truck Simulator 2, LOGistICAL 3, Horizon’s Gate, Across the Obelisk, and more that either got installed but not launched, or that I had put serious thought into trying but talked myself out of it before I started. What a long list of worlds to explore.
On the other hand, that wasn’t really a bad week either, as I felt a bit like a cosmic traveller wandering through different game worlds and sampling a bit of everything, and mixing my feelings from one game with the next one, and there’s a certain poignancy and sense of freedom with that. Plus I appreciate that I even have the ability to do that and am not stuck in a hospital bed unable to move and being bored out of my mind.
I played Risk of Rain 2, as well as a new game, Ravenswatch, with Satinel this week. Ravenswatch… feels like a tech demo. Lots of things unexplained, lots of same-y fights, several UI issues, and lots of apologists on forums defending the utter lack of content, since there’s only one map that takes about 30 minutes to do. But you can repeat the same content with 7 characters! On 10 different difficulty levels! But you knew what you were getting into when you bought an early access game! It’s still a tech demo with a nice art style, and not much more, right now. Are those people new to gaming? Good lord.
Roguelites/roguelikes and card games were kind of the theme of my gaming week. Also, of the solo games above (so besides Ravenswatch), Garden Galaxy was my only new one, an incremental(-ish) game that Trin recommended because you could collect furniture items over time and build interesting landscape things with it, but I actually found that I bounced off of it pretty hard after a couple hours, because while you can stack things on top of each other and in boxes to keep them, the struggle to keep finding places to store more variations of the same thing, and the constant slow stream of coins into the system, put a sort of mental stress on me that eggs me on to a point where I lose interest in the game. I’ve found that incremental/idle games also tend to impose this feeling on me, so even though I like them in general I’ve never played a single one to “completion” as I eventually reach a point where I feel it’s unhealthy and need to detach from it for some time. I have no problem detaching though, at least, like I did with this one for now.
The game that I ended up spending most of my time with was Queen’s Wish, which is a top-down RPG by Spiderweb Software, who have a number of open world games like this. It’s interesting, though I feel that the difficulty curve is a bit wobbly sometimes, most of the time (on Veteran difficulty) I have no problem whatsoever with a fight but sometimes (like with giant slimes) I get into a whole ton of trouble with them and have to exploit line of sight things to win a fight, and the whole game feels rather.. boring is the wrong word, but it’s lacked interesting surprises or secrets or clever speech trees or difficult moral choices or exciting things like artifacts so far, so it feels very plain. I do like being a princess though, and being addressed as such by NPCs.
Plushie of the Week #100 – Gund Peanut Butter Bear
I’ve wanted to feature this bear for a bit, but had always held off for one reason — I knew the circumstance and location that I had bought the bear from, but finding out his birthday would have involved digging into 13 years worth of receipts, so I kept on putting it off. I decided to be industrious for this 100th edition of Plushie of the Week though, so I sat down this afternoon and did it.
I’ve kept virtually all my receipts since I moved into this apartment back around 2011 or so. Actually a little back, my earliest receipts trace back to around 2010. Among these receipts were a whole pile of Safeway ones, since that’s the closest mall to my house, and I remember getting this peanut butter mascot bear free as a bonus gift on a 2-for-1 Kraft Peanut Butter sale some time back in the late 2010s, but I had no idea exactly when because it was so long ago. I had an inkling that it was roughly around 2014-2015 based on some Ventrilo and Discord chat logs that I had though, and so after digging through my receipt files, I located the receipt in question — for $6.99 CAD, I had acquired two 1 kg jars of Kraft Peanut Butter and this bear on Mar 17 2015.
I barely ever eat peanut butter since I don’t like bread in general, and I saw chat logs at the tail end of 2016 from myself lamenting that I had some old peanut butter in the fridge that I still had not finished. But at the time, I couldn’t resist the bear, so I don’t know whether to list the cost of the bear as free (as a bonus gift with the purchase of two Kraft Peanut Butter jars, one of which was free itself as well), or as $6.99 (and it came with two free Kraft Peanut Butter jars). Nonetheless, this bear is the only other plushie in my collection besides these unicorn twins that are from Safeway, since as a general rule that supermarket doesn’t sell plushies. Both just happened to come as part of a set of other items.
Anyway, after all that, the bear itself isn’t particularly fluffy or cute or anything, in fact he’s a very stiff bear whose limbs can’t bend at all. But that’s okay, every plushie army needs a peanut butter bear.
Tag 2 front:
Tag 2 back/Tag 3 front:
Tag 3 back/Tag 4:
The 0615HU is weird, if I didn’t know better I would assume that it meant June 2015, but I picked this bear up in March of 2015… still, I wonder if it signifies which regiment.. err 2015 manufacturing batch he came from, or something, with HU being a military.. err factory location of some sort.
Song of the Week #76
Title: When Susannah Cries
Artist: Espen Lind
Album: Red (1997)
About 1/5 of my Songs of the Week are from the 1996-1998 time period, which is probably no big surprise since I’m an 80’s kid, and the late 90’s, when I was a teenager, were when I was listening to the most radio by myself and when music was most influential to me. And so, here’s another one to add to the list of songs that are quintessentially Singapore to me, and bring me back to 1997-1998 or so whenever I hear it. I’m not sure this song got much exposure in North America at all, I certainly don’t remember hearing it after we moved to Canada in the early 00’s at least, but its Wikipedia page doesn’t list it as charting in Asia either, whereas it most certainly did so in Singapore.
Espen Lind had two songs from this album that charted and that I know about, and this was the better one to me by far, it’s a mournful ballad that ended up in my top 10 favourite tracks at one point in my sproutling days — I love the slowly climbing melody and I love the way his voice warbles. And I love how slow the song is, since that meant it was an easy song to memorize and learn how to sing from end to end. I even own the CD, picked up from Tower Records in Singapore on Nov 26 1998 (so a month before we left for Canada) for $22.56 SGD, and that purchase was largely on the strength of how much I liked this song back then.
Anyway, I don’t think I really have a lot of pastel memories or colourful connotations or childhood memories attached to this song or anything like that, it’s just a song that in general reminds me of happier, younger, more carefree days back home. There are two things I do attach to it though, the first being me leaving Singapore while never actually formally ending my relationship with Huihan back then, as even though we both knew that I was going, I think we never really talked about it and what it meant for us. The other thing it reminds me of are Singapore shops, for some reason, rows of little shops tucked into the bottom of HDB flats to form little independent markets. I used to dream of them a lot, and would dream of this song now and then as well.
I miss home.
Writing Prompt of the Week #20
This week’s writing prompt reads:
“Name an object from your childhood that you still own. What is the story behind it, and why have you kept it?”
This has got to be Tigey, or one of a myriad of other plushies that I’ve owned since then. He already has his own page and doesn’t need another one here. I don’t think I have anything else that would really qualify from that far back otherwise, besides papers and random objects tucked away in boxes that I don’t ever take out and so don’t really have a good story to talk about.
The next prompt was:
“Who was your best friend and what did you do together? Did you stay friends into adulthood? If not, why?”
I also already have a Memory Snippet article about this, this is Geeyong, and you can read about him here.
“Top 10 time! List your favourite foods and drinks that your parents made. Go into as much detail about each one as you can.”
This one I can do. And it’s a Mom-focused list too!
- Stir-fried french beans. Mom used to make a french bean stir-fry every Friday to go with our rice and soup, it was a family dinner tradition thing and it was one of my favourite dishes. It was best eaten with a spoonful of rice and drizzled with a bit of our Friday soup. Talking about which…
- Potato-carrot soup. While I don’t really know how to replicate the french beans recipe above, I do know how to make this one, which is just potato, carrot, onion, garlic, and pork thrown into a big pot and boiled for hours. Although the meals on the other six days tended to vary in terms of exactly what side dishes we’d have on any given night, we had this most Fridays for the soup dish for our dinner, and it usually came paired with the french beans in #1, so these two go together for me. The potato and the sliced onion in particular work very well together, so I’m happy that this is a very easy dish to make and I often just toss together the ingredients plus whatever other spare ingredients I have sitting around into a pot to make a soup that tastes very close to the original. We colloquially called this Potato-Carrot Soup, ignoring all the other ingredients. Also, Mom often boiled the soup using more vegetable ingredients than necessary, and then removed the spare ingredients sans soup and pork (so the potato, the carrot, and the onion) about two or three hours before dinner as the pot simmered. I have many good memories of us sitting down to eat these spare ingredients, which were as tasty as the actual soup dish itself, instead of throwing them away.
- Vegetable porridge. I’m not really sure how to make this one myself, but there’s a certain lump vegetable porridge that Mom made that I loved too, and that I associate with being sick to the point of not being able to eat solid food, so I’d eating this while recovering instead.
- Carrot porridge. While Potato-carrot soup featured carrots chopped into chunks, this one involved thinly sliced strands of carrot mixed in with porridge in some witchy recipe that made a great meal. There was either fish or some other sort of meat in this porridge too, as well as possibly minced onion? I’m not sure on that last one.
- Lotus root soup. I’ve never cooked with lotus root myself, maybe I should try. Mom used to quite a bit though, and I liked it quite a lot.
- Maggi instant noodles. We occasionally had 2-minute Maggi instant noodles in Singapore for lunch (and their signature phrase — Fast to Cook, Good to eat! — still hangs about in my mind like a tenant who refuses to pay rent) and it would often be topped with some sort of fresh vegetables as well. Although it’s not at the top of the list for me these days, it’s still an instant noodle brand/product that I consider S-tier and like a lot. Instant noodles were easy to make so I soon learned to make them myself, and for this reason these are the only instant noodles in this list — by the time we tried other kinds of instant noodles that I also love, I had long since started making them for myself. These ones I ate when I was young enough that I wasn’t taught how to make them yet. The Canadian version of this noodle actually taste a bit different though, or maybe the ones from my memory are just rose-tinted somehow. Wait, what’s the gustatory version of something being rose-tinted?
- Bread with fried egg. Dad never cooked dinner, but on Sundays he (or he and Mom together) would occasionally fry bread and egg together in the wok for breakfast. This smelled great! And tasted pretty great too, though there was oil so you couldn’t eat too much of it at one go or you’d get sick of the oily taste. The bread and egg weren’t two separate things that you then combined into a sandwich.. they were fried together into one entity itself, and you ate it similarly to toast, either with your hands or with a fork. It wasn’t as crunchy or hard as toast though. Our name for this dish was “fried bread”… but it was in Singlish, so it was jian lo ti.. or chian lor dee.. or jian roti.. depending on how you pronounce/spell it exactly. The jian/chian, using 3rd tone Mandarin pronunciation, is Hokkien (or Singlish) for fried, or deep fried, and the roti or lor dee, using 3rd and 1st tone Mandarin pronunciation respectively, or whatever is apparently Singlish for bread, originating from the Malay word roti. I had no idea before writing this that the Singlish phrase for it came from two separate languages.
- Fried noodles. I’m cheating a bit, because this technically isn’t a dish Mom made very often or that I associate with her, though I think she knew how too. This was a dish that Yi Yi, her elder sister (and our de facto maternal grandmother), made whenever we visited her house though, and I loved this noodle. It always came in a large, white, squarish pot with rounded edges and little flower and fruit motifs on the side of the pot, and it was bee hoon (rice vermicelli) fried wit various vegetables and offered to us with a side dish of a certain chilli sauce that tickled the top of my throat.
- Fried fish. I’ve always loved fried fish in black sauce, preferably with a side of chopped chilli and/or onion added to it as well, although I couldn’t even really tell you which fish (salmon? mackerel? something else?) the dish in my memories is made from. Ah Ma used to make this in a charcoal burner, and I loved the charcoal taste together with the fish, but Mom made a pretty great one as a side dish for our dinner sometimes as well. Even when playing fantasy RPG games or cooking games these days, I’m quite partial to fishing and fried fish dishes.
- I feel like I’m missing well over a dozen dishes that I’m just not thinking of to be able to note down in this list right now, but I wanted to pivot a bit to a different kind of dish. While our family never made pastries, one thing that Mom did make now and then was bergedil. I always thought it was spelled burgerdale. Anyway, bergedil or begedil is a Malay or Indonesian lump of fried or steamed mashed potatoes that are then stuffed with various spices or small vegetables and then formed into little patties or nuggets. I really should try looking for a recipe and making this one at some point. They tasted amazing.
It’s only a top 10 list, so there’s no space for other things like potato curry… or some of the drinks Mom made, though I didn’t like most of them. There’ll be other chances to write about them, I’m sure!
Memory Snippet of the Week #84
This is a short extension of something I wrote about last week. In there, I mentioned a dinner game that my younger siblings and I used to play, which was to spit/drop our bones out into uncovered eggshell halves in the kitchen dustbin during dinner time, with each successful bone in an eggshell earning the player one point. This happened in the 2000s when we were living in the Edmonton 4012 house together, and I mentioned this last week because it was one of the things that I eventually even made a list for to start tabulating our results.
While digging around for the receipt for the Gund Peanut Butter Bear plushie this week, I actually found the old sheet that I used to keep score for this little game, so I scanned it for uploading here.
A is me, K is Kel, and J is Jon, and I apparently kept score, at least on this sheet, for a little bit over two years, likely in the latter half of our time together before Kel first moved out, somewhere around the 2005-2009 period or so. Apparently Jon was really good at this game! I kept a point total for a given day as well as a cumulative running total in brackets that was carried forward from previous days.
There are negative points listed in the table too, and the reason for this is that a negative point was earned when a bone landed on the floor instead of inside the bin. While one might think that a dustbin was pretty huge and difficult to miss, the bin was often stuffed full of other things — newspapers wrapped around fruit peels or yesterday’s dinner, or discarded boxes or wrappers of some sort, and so on, or else sometimes the eggshell was right up against the inner edge of the bin to begin with, so it was often tricky to accurately drop or spit the bone into the eggshells in the bin to score a point. Also, things like watermelon seeds counted for this too, and those could be really inaccurate if they stuck to one’s lip or tongue instead of loosely falling right into the bin.
Lastly, we called the imaginary prize for this contest the Bone Trophy, and this came from some sort of book that I had read when young. I don’t remember the exact situation, it might have been characters conversing in a book that I had been reading, or it might have been a puzzle book whose answer section at the back of the book I had been glancing at while I did the puzzles too, but it involved adding letters to a word one at a time while making sure that there was at least one word in the English language that started with those letters. And at one point going from B-O-A to B-O-A-N, and the book (or a character) saying that the only word in the English language starting with B-O-A-N was a ten letter word called boanthropy, and it was unlikely to be a known word. Somehow, that stuck with me (and thus my siblings as well) for years, and we thus dubbed this award that Jon won for two years running the Bone Trophy.
Jul 31 2023
- Something about my sister paddling in a little rowboat to reach the toilet room. I don’t remember much.
Aug 02 2023
- I was on an airship together with several other people, and we approached a second airship in mid-air. Two others and I were invited and brought across to the second airship as visitors. The two others might have been Jon and Kel, but I’m not certain. The second airship was crewed by people who spoke Chinese, and Zian was there as well, but they used English when they addressed us.
- We were brought to a lobby area to take part in a game show that was an hour long, it consisted of two or three little walking cookies, each about the size of a clenched fish, acting out shapes of different cookie products from the same cookie company that they were from, and the object of the game was to guess which cookie products they were roleplaying as. We’d get a free batch of those cookies if we could guess them correctly too.
- As it was all very sudden, and I had no idea what cookie products the company even had in the first place, we didn’t guess a single one, and it seemed like a very pointless game. They said that that was alright, however I actually resolved to actually go learn the names and shapes of the cookies back in my airship cabin afterwards. Someone else also mentioned that it would be a good idea to know things like that and be able to recall them as part of an idol’s job, and this gave me extra motivation as well for next time.
- I dreamt I was a tall guy visiting a girl and her grandfather, the girl liked me but the grandfather hated me and tried several times to find an excuse to kill me. I arrived via a car on a snowy day and parked in a carpark outside her house, but I had some sort of body dissonance and was separated from my main body at some point as a second copy of myself spawned and I went to a nearby jewellery store to buy three jewellery pieces from them.
- The reason I had done this was that the jewellery store was government-sponsored and thus free, but in return the store only sold bits of jewellery at a time and it was time-limited. You had to put in an order and then line up and wait for the next batch of jewellery to arrive, at which point the three anthropomorphic rabbits who were working the area behind the display counter would give you your order and send you on your way.
- I saw some people lining up already and a couple other people making their orders at what looked like an Automated Teller Machine, like at a bank. I put in my order, listing all three items and marking the third one as optional, and then quickly got in line ahead of the other people at the ATM. I was 6th in line, and the shop was small enough that I had to start a new turn of the line perpendicular to the 5th person in the line because there was no space to stand directly behind them. The other people who were at the ATM lined up behind me seconds after.
- Soon, the queue began to move, and the people in front of me got their orders. I was worried they would run out of stock before they reached me, and that I would have to wait for the next batch of gold to be generated, but they served the five people ahead of me, then gave me two of my gold pieces and were just missing my optional one, before they ran out of gold. I decided that was fine and left the shop.
- I headed back toward my car in the carpark, using that as a focal point to reach the girl’s house again as I roughly knew where the car was. I trudged south and then west and then north again, following the road as it passed through the large carpark area and some snow-covered fields.
- When I reached back to the main house, I joined up again with my other body. The grandfather was angry at me because the girl had helped the other me with taking care of my car while I was gone, something to do with physically taking out the driver’s seat, putting it on the ground, calibrating it, and then putting it back in the car. He felt like I owed her something and that a thank you wasn’t enough, and he wanted me to go out front, step out of the car which I was inside of after testing the calibration, and approach him in the open carpark, at which point he’d pull out a shotgun and shoot me.
- I couldn’t convince him that it was fine except to argue with him that that was not me because I was elsewhere, and that the proof of that was the jewellery that I had gotten the girl. He still didn’t really accept that argument, but I managed to stall long enough that he actually fell asleep, and I carried him back in.
- I asked the girl if she needed any help around the house, because I might be able to win the grandpa over if I could do some housework for them. She shook her head and said she vacuumed every Monday morning so she was done for the week, but that breakfast was ready and we should come eat. She said I could carry Grandpa around, which I did, bringing him in a sling on my back to the kitchen and then to the sink to help rinse some dishes to get breakfast ready. Grandpa awoke at this time, yelled a string of profanities, and then brandished his fingers as claws, before digging them into my back.
Aug 03 2023
- I remember wandering around a Risk of Rain 2 style map with Satinel, except it was in a top-down view and we were looking for some sort of treasure or other triggerable items in a school setting. At one point I triggered a thing that summon a tiny bug that ran back and forth along a straight line, and I called Satinel over to help destroy it, at which point it spit out about five pieces of loot that we split up.
Aug 05 2023
- While I don’t remember the full plotline of the dream, I do remember that it was based in a school building that I and some others were staying overnight in, and that there was a collection aspect where we were trying to collect some things and bring it back to the area where we were staying, a stealth aspect where we were trying to avoid some enemies while doing so, as well as finding light nodes strewn around the school, each one of which would transferring energy from a global energy counter to another in order to let Mom, who was in hospital feeling ill, feel better again.
- There are two scenes in particular from this dream that I recall though. One is that at one point, a girl told me to come up on the roof to see a scene there. It was late at night, and when I got there, Dad and a bunch of other students, including the girl who had called me, were looking out from the roof toward a temple pagoda that was located next to the school. The pagoda was lit up with lights on all its vertices, so this late at night it was a very nice gleaming sight as everything else outside the school building was dark.
- The second scene took place back at our home base when I reached back there with the things I had scavenged. It was a two or three storey room located inside the school itself, and I was led to the downstairs level by a tall guy who taught me what to do with the items that I had brought back, which had to be washed and dried (or perhaps just dried) before they could be used. This could take up to a day. The downstairs area of the safe room was a corridor leading to a couple smaller rooms, one of which was a toilet. He led me inside and showed me a rectangular metal box with a horizontal slit cut in the middle of it, very similar to the top of a tissue paper box. I put two items on top of the box overlaying the slit, diagonal to each other to roughly form the shape of a mountain so that neither item fell through the slit. One was a tool hammer and the other was a similar-length item.