My Diary #113

Dear Tigey,

Won’t you be my magic familiar?

Entry #113 (Oct 08 2023)

Table of Contents

Casting magical spells at…
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #109
ට  Song of the Week #86
ට  Writing Prompt of the Week #29
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #93
ට  Dreams

Life

I finished a couple of heavily-backlogged projects earlier in the week, which gave me a good burst of contention. One of them was this anime group watch list on Shiarapedia, tracking what shows I had been watching with Satinel and Nak, which had been backlogged by four years. No longer! Never again! Or at least for four more years anyway.

The other was my ad scanning backlog, going all the way back four months to when I returned from RSJP in Kyoto. I’ve also scanned all that now, partially because I feel a lot better about my solution to upload everything to archive.org to reduce tedium. I threw more stuff up on it throughout this week, some new and some replacements for the stuff on my Life Through A Mailbox page.

On Monday Oct 2nd, I received an email that my AncestryDNA package had been received, and that it would be processed in 6-8 weeks. Three days later, I got another email that it had made it through the queue and would be ready in 2-4 weeks. Make up your mind?

A month into my new computer and Windows 11 with all its dumb bugs, a bug I’ve actually come to love as a feature is how when I rename a file or folder, it doesn’t immediately sort itself according to name anymore until I refresh or until I navigate away and then back. I actually… like this setting the way it is. A lot.

I also realized that my provincial ID card is about to expire in a few months. I think I can renew it online.. apparently you can renew it online once if your last renewal was an in person one. I don’t remember what I did 5 years ago in 2019… but it was probably in person. Oddly, I can’t check online even though I can apply online, and if I’m wrong, I lose the application fee.. it’s a stupid system. That being said, this card is the card people get if they don’t have a driver’s licence, so in theory I could just go do my learners exam and get that as well. Preferably before first snowfall. But I haven’t studied for it. Like everything else, we’ll see.

Midweek, on Tuesday Oct 03, I heard about the Kakehashi Project (local), a Japanese mini “exchange” initiative that University of Alberta was invited to attend and was looking for people to apply by Oct 09, for a trip from Feb 17-25 2024. As mentioned on the page, it’s named after kakehashi, or bridge, in Japanese, and is meant to foster relationships between Japan and other nations and cultures by way of exchanging people for a week to experience the other culture, including a homestay at a home belonging to the family of the other nation.

It actually looked very tempting, and diplomatic-like, and would overlap with my planned trip perfectly as well, and food and travel expenses would even be paid for, except for one thing — there’s a strict requirement that attendees go to Japan from Canada, and go right back to Canada from Japan, and they aren’t allowed to come early or leave late either. That made the shortlist of the dumbest things I ever heard, so I emailed them to ask if there was a way to make an exception for the travel restrictions, for example if I paid for the travel expenses myself. Seemed reasonable to me! They said no, however.

I regret to advise that the guidelines are very clear and candidates are required to only travel to and from Japan as per the program offered. There are no exceptions made to the program.

How weird. This is typical, classic Japanese inflexibility and arrogance, and they’re the ones shooting themselves in the foot in the end. The funny thing is, part of the deal of sponsoring the students to go is that they needed the students to do social media and/or blog posts afterwards to talk about and promote the trip and Japan in general. Well, instead, they can have this negative post about the negative experience I had with the Kakehashi Project and staff. The guidelines treat the applicants like children, not allowing them to go anywhere else before, during, or after the trip, even though some of the things they say suggest that it’s catered toward adults and working people too. I don’t know how successful this thing will ever be with guidelines like that in place, but they seem rather childish with their “do things MY way, this is the ONLY way of doing things” gatekeeping bit, and I don’t think they will succeed in the long run with this mindset. I wonder how many people from our University will even apply this year, I’d never even heard of the program until now.

While we’re on the topic of my planned trip in February or so, I tentatively reached out to my CMPB offiicer over WhatsApp to see if I could reenter for a trip there while waiting endlessly for them to process my paperwork (which I’m pretty sure at this point will never get done — my officer is just stalling for time because her superior refuses to sign the paperwork.) To my surprise, she said yes, and it ended with me officially emailing their email address to ask about the procedure. Still waiting on a reply, but if she’s not just telling me what I want to hear again this time, I might see about stopping by there. I also talked to Zian and Huihan about stopping by Sydney, Australia, but haven’t hammered out any exact dates for that. It looks like I will be able to manage to visit them both there though, if I time it right.

I brought back two toothbrushes from Japan, a pink one from my excellent Kyoto place, Floral Green Maple House, and a white one from my terrible Tokyo place, Japan House Ikebukuro. I’ve been alternating using the two of them, white in the morning and pink in the evening, because my old toothbrush was terrible anyway and because I had nothing better to do with two toothbrushes but didn’t want to toss either one away either. And you can’t really give away used toothbrushes. Anyway, the white one gave way this week, in that I got tired of how weak its bristles had become, so I tossed it. This is a memorial paragraph for it. Cheap quality like the Tokyo place I stayed in I guess.

I went outdoors on Monday evening to throw away some garbage and then wandered over to the roadside to take some pictures of the lovely sky as well.

Complex and messy cloud formations are the best. I also saw this cute car on the way back in:

On Friday, I was made aware of, and then watched (and downloaded for preservation) this YouTube video by Jacob Geller entitled “How Can We Bear to Throw Anything Away?”, a 40 minute video essay and treatise on digital hoarding and collections. It was great, the speaker and content both enraptured me, and I subscribed to the channel afterwards, something I almost never do. I also placed a hold on a book that the speaker talked about.

Lastly, an Internet friend who wishes to be credited as TheWisterian sent me a poem, and I smiled at it and promptly acquired permission to preserve it on the blog here. It is entitled The Caterpillar, and dated Thursday, Oct 05 2023:

Beneath the boughs, above the road
He hung by ghostly twine;
A branch the rod, and he the bait
Attached to his own line.

He wore an orange suit and was
A hairy gentleman;
He seemed to dare the whole wide world,
“Come eat me, if you can!”

And yet I worried that before
He found his wings to fly,
He’d be inside a bird, or worse,
Inside a passerby.

“Should I move him to safety?—No.
Let Nature run its course!”
I left, but in an hour was
Led back by my remorse.

Alas! He hung around no more
(Or else I couldn’t see.)
I hope this verse I wrote for him
Is not an elegy.

Excellent, isn’t it? More friends and acquaintances should send me more cool things to memorialize on my blog!

Games

I acquired, then spent a large amount of the nights this week playing Stardander School for Witches, and then wrote a long review about it and had a nice chat with the dev afterwards. It’s finally out! I’ve been waiting for it for nearly two years. It was more linear than I expected, but I enjoyed the story writing and characters anyway. It’s also still in early access, with 4 years (chapters) out of 7 or 8 or so planned, so while I’ve finished all the game there is right now, there will hopefully be more coming in the future.

Outside of that, the only other game I played this week was more Monster Hunter: World with Satinel and Nak. We’ve nearly finished story mode, I think, which is a good thing because the game repetition is beginning to grind at me a little. My hope is that removing the NPC cutscenes and weird queueing stuff it forces us to do from the equation might make it feel a bit more open-ended and make it feel less of a rush to reach a certain power level to beat a certain boss at any given time. Though I’m not sure that’s the problem with the game. It’s just repetitive.

Also apparently the main game gives you both a “best armour” and “best weapon” now that is far better than, and invalidates, just about everything else, and although you can *choose* not to use them, especially since the community seems to frown upon using them, that sort of artificial hamstringing kind of sours the taste of the game for me. Like we’re taking longer to beat things on purpose (and dying and wasting time sometimes) to artificially stretch the length of the game, in a game that I’ve already beaten once. I didn’t even realize my weapon was one of those “OP” ones until a couple of nights ago. That tension makes me really upset everytime I cart (die) when a stupid elder dragon chain stuns me.

That or we’ve been playing it too hard recently. I also picked up Elden Ring from Fanatical this week, since it was on all-time low price sale there, and hopefully will play some of it with Satinel soon. And Jah encouraged me to install Hitman 2, so I did, though I don’t know I’ll end up playing that. If Elden Ring becomes a co-op game though, Hitman could be my late night solo venture into self-care. Or I could go upload things to the Internet Archive instead.

Plushie of the Week #109

I believe I only have like three plushies left that live with me and that I have not featured yet. There are a few others that live with my siblings/parents that I have pictures of but have not featured, and if I do end up moving in with my parents again (or have *them* move in with *me*, rather) next year, then we will all be reunited again, but in the meantime, my own army of plushies is almost all featured now.

One of the remaining three is this Ganz turtle, the brand Ganz makes me certain that it’s a Canadian-era plushie in terms of when I got it, and likely post 2010, and possibly linked to a festival like the other Ganz plushies that I’ve featured before. I don’t remember though, and I never attended any of those local festivals from 2010 until at least 2019 or so, so who knows.

Even though I don’t know much about him, he’s very much a plushie I recognize and remember as one of the members of Tigey‘s humongous bedside army, so here he is in all his glory.

Top:

Bottom:

Front:

Back:

Side (there’s a W engraved on his shell! I wonder what it stands for):

Tag 1 front:

Tag 1 back/Tag 2 front:

Tag 2 back:

No mention of a name, just a Ganz-Cheektowaga tag, which would be his brand name, and something about HM150 Turtle and a TS328G stamp on it, whatever that means. Obviously his name starts with a W, but I’ve never formally gave him one.

Song of the Week #86

Title: Iro wa Nioedo Chirinuru wo
Artist: Yuuhei Satellite
Album: Iro wa Nioedo Chirinuru wo (2010)

I’ve already featured one song from Yuuhei Satellite before, back in My Diary #089/Song of the Week #64. This is their other song that I really like, with a title that translates to English as “Even the Blossoming Flowers Will Eventually Scatter (local)”, and it’s probably their more popular one because it’s a mix of a very popular Touhou theme song and also was used in the Touhou fan anime, which sadly is not in AMQ, as the first opening song.

That was where I first heard of it, and one of the very few Touhou songs that I know and like, and fast forward to when I visited Japan in October 2022, I ended up goiing to the Autumn Reitaisai 9 Touhou music convention and visiting the Yuuhei Satellite table, and coming away with a CD that includes the English version of the song. It wasn’t particularly good, I prefer the Japanese version, but I probably have rose-tinted glasses on that song anyway because it was my gateway, or one of my first gateways, into the Touhou music world (of which I still haven’t really dived into). Or because I just like the Japanese vocalist, senya, quite a bit.

The Japanese lyrics of the song itself are also a reference to the famous Iroha pangram poem that contains every hiragana character exactly once, since they share nearly an identical first line, and the poem is pretty universally known among the Japanese. I thought that this was quite cool when I first learnt about the poem (I learnt about the song before the poem though, which is probably a bit backwards).

Writing Prompt of the Week #29

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“The best gift I ever received was…”

This would be Tigey for sure, back in June 1998, and I’ve talked a bit of it over on Tigey‘s dedicated page already. Next!

Word association exercise: don’t think, just write! What person comes to mind when you hear the word “money”?

This would be Jahandar, partly because he works in a bank (or “bank” — credit union), and partly because not 15 minutes before I wrote this out, he was playing Hitman 2 on Steam and telling us about a bank infiltration mission that he was in and how it felt very familiar to him once he broke in.

What odd timing. Otherwise it would probably be Mom, who also used to work in a bank, back when she first met Dad and up until I was about 5 years old or so, and thus dealt with most of the family finances when we were growing up.

Memory Snippet of the Week #93

While rifling through papers last week, I not only scanned that Kallang McDonalds attendance sheet that I had made, but also this following sheet entitled “Remember the Good Ol’ Days?” I feel like I remember writing this shortly after I came to Canada, while sitting on the carpeted floor next to the computer in our Edmonton 4012 house, but I don’t know for sure, it might be a manufactured memory. Those happen. However, I’m also pretty sure that that page is from an Edmonton-era notebook.

Anyway, this is the sheet I wrote, circa 1998-1999:

Transcribed, I had written:

Remember the Good Ol’ Days?

  • Bringing Huihan‘s Maths Textbook to Macs for her because we thought she had left it behind — turns out she had already done it.

I remember this one. Zixiang and I thought she had left her Maths textbook behind in class and would not be able to complete her Maths homework that day, so we brought it along to McDonalds, our daily after-school meeting point, where we knew she would be. Turns out she had already done the homework and thus had left the book behind so she didn’t have to lug it home and back the next day. Oops. Turns out she had to in the end! This was a time before mobile phones. Also, Macs is a weird abbreviation for McDonalds for me, but apparently we used that back then.

  • That old lady and her P2 retarted son. (sic)

I don’t 100% remember this one but I think an old lady and I guess her slightly mentally-challenged son came by to the McDonalds now and then and asked us to tutor her son a couple times. P2 would be Primary 2. Not certain and I have no idea what happened to them eventually. Those were less politically correct times.

  • The 2 Golden Rules of McDonalds
  • 1. The Parasite Rule — There are always at least (x-2) parasites.
  • 2. The Straw Rule — The no. of straws needed for a drink is proportional to size of person…
  • Is it?

The first one refers to the number of moochers who would come and sit with us and steal French Fries from whoever had ordered some. It was generally safe in a group of 2 or smaller, but groups of 3 or higher usually had moochers, often numbering more than the people who actually bought. The second one..seems a bit rude.

  • The Marble League

I don’t remember what we did for a Marble League but I remember having one, I remember making some sort of scoreboard and league table for it, and I remember many of us owning marbles at some point. Interesting. I think mine are long gone.

  • The “Zixiang vs Ms Tan” Maths Textbook Encounter

This was definitely a different math textbook “encounter”, but I don’t remember anything about this one. We didn’t have a Ms Tan teacher either, so I probably meant Mrs Tan. (Though we also had a Mdm Tan for extra confusion.)

Oct 14 2023 Edit: Thanks to next week’s MSotW, I’ve figured out who Ms Tan was. Our Sec 2 Math teacher. This specifically dates this document to 1998 or beyond, though I already knew that by my gut feeling last week based on the contents of the document.

  • The Philos (still up)

This is actually legitly still up on archive.org, I think, or else I’ll upload what I have someday, but I haven’t talked about this one yet.

  • OpSok — Anyone still remember where & when it started?

The way I worded this made me wonder if I was still in Singapore when I wrote this. Anyway I *have* talked about this one before, back in My Diary #052.

  • The Can Collectors, Washers & Sorters.

I haven’t written about this one either. One day.

  • Playing cards, literally! Cardboard!

Someone must have made this to get around the teachers not liking us bringing a pack of poker cards to school to play Big 2/Daidi with. I don’t remember much about this though.

  • The Tigey Imperial Guards (Elite Yunit)

I don’t know why Yunit was spelled like that, but this referred to the four or so Tigeys that we sometimes left on the teacher’s desk in class to accompany them during lessons. Our secondary 1-2 class was a good class.

  • Saw 3/4 of Jumanji

I eventually finished watching it! In 2021, at the bottom of this page!

  • ‘Squash’

I don’t know if this referred to an actual made up game or variation of Squash or something (though we didn’t have actual squash courts or anyone that played the real sport) or if it referred to the Zhuquan spider incident that I described here.

  • Songs charts — people’s choice

I’m assuming this refers to the song lists that I made. I never shared those with classmates though, so why would this be here? Am I missing some other context?

  • The ‘anagram’ craze

I really liked anagrams and we had a craze sweep around the classroom during our Sec 1 year where we’d write down anagrams on pieces of paper during class and then exchange them at the end of the day to solve. I still have a few of those around somewhere, firmly lodged in the to-scan queue.

  • Chinese Chess Competitions

I wasn’t as good as this as some of the other guys, but a lot of the boys did play Chinese Chess and a couple people like Xuanjie did regularly bring a set to school to play. The teachers also did encourage this game over poker cards! The competitions would have been just informal, amongst the people (again, mostly if not entirely boys) in our two classes, though.

  • (My) Science Scrabble Win

I won this in 1997! By over a hundred points in the finals. It was a very small school competition. We scored double points for making science-related words in the game. it didn’t feature in the 1997 yearbook though, whereas the 1998 winner got into the 1998 yearbook. Rude.

Dreams
Oct 02 2023
  • My school held a new story event that we attended and watched/learnt about every 3 weeks or so out of a pool of 6 stories, where attended here meant that we were immersed in the dream world but could come back out at any time to the school version of it, and had some worksheets and stuff to do relating to the immersive world.
  • The current one was similar to the story of Anne Frank (and her name even came up several times). It involved a family who was living in oppression in some European-like city under the rule of an occupying power, whereas us students also lived in the city and could walk around but were in no danger because our characters were the correct race/nationality and so on.
  • In particular we were following a girl in a yellow jacket and her family, and saw how even though they had the correct ID cards to keep them supposedly safe from being captured by the opposing soldiers, it was still dangerous to be out and about and eventually, when they were on their way to watch a movie or something in the city one day, the girl and some of her family members were captured by some soldiers and forced onto a bus to a prison camp. The only person who did not get captured was the mother, who eventually became (or was played by/the character of) our teacher, and who looked sad 30 years in the future when we went back to the school dream world.
  • There was then some plotline about following the girl in the yellow jacket and how she kept a diary just like Anne Frank did, and something about pictures of her in the diary showing how she liked Madagascar because she often had a geography book opened to the Madagascar page in those pictures.
  • There was then another plotline from some other dream world where the mayor of a small town that we were visiting died and became a ghost, but while her ghost was normally not allowed to remain as mayor, no one else wanted the job and everyone liked her so she was asked to stay on and did so. That dream then eventually also had a plotline about the ghost being urged to visit Madagascar as well to see if she could find and talk to the yellow-jacketed Anne Frank as it was likely that her ghost went there since she seemed to like it so much while in the living world.
  • Editor: This yellow-jacketed Anne Frank was likely a combination of the red-jacketed girl in the Schindler’s List movie as well as the Anne character from TROUBLESHOOTER: Abandoned Children.
Oct 05 2023
  • I was working at a desk in a room, while listening in to Ronnie and Melbourne, who were having a conversation on the other side of the room, close enough that I could hear them speak. Melbourne was bringing in some cables that belonged to an Apple TV monitor, although the monitor itself was not present. Ronnie was laughing and was telling Melbourne about the backstory of the Apple TV.
  • He said that that was Tyler A‘s monitor while he had been working with our team, although at this point it was more than 5 years since he left the team. He had brought it home with him while working here to be his work monitor at home, and had always meant to return it at some point, especially since he and Ronnie both lived in the same gated apartment complex that apparently Melbourne also might be living in now.
  • He never got around to it though, since he was flaky, so the monitor just sat in his home office gathering dust until now, when he finally decided to clean it out. He got hold of Melbourne and started the process by giving him the cables to bring back to the office since they were small and easily transported, and Ronnie said that they’d need to figure out a time to bring in the actual monitor itself too.
  • Later on, I was in a scene where I was walking along a narrow and cramped outdoor passage with small shops and entrances to apartment buildings on either side. I could see the sky above and I think it was night, but it was hard to tell. I had two or three fans/groupies as well as a black or grey cat following me, but I was well ahead of them, so when I bumped into Allen carrying some grocery bags and going the other way toward where I had came from, I walked back with him toward a lobby area that I had passed a minute ago, both to let my team catch up as well as to let me catch up with Allen and chat about old times.
  • Once at the lobby, we parted ways, and I looked for the rest of the people that were supposed to be accompanying me. The groupies had stopped somewhere before the lobby and apparently needed to do something else before arriving, and the black cat was there but was lying flat on the ground in a lazy manner, and looked me over but refused to move. Oh well. There was another white cat nearby that was also lying down on a couch and I petted it, then showed my hands to the black cat, as though to instigate some sort of jealousy in him from the scent of the previous cat. The black cat didn’t care.
  • Even further later on, I was in a musical recital hall, seated on one of maybe a hundred or so plastic chairs facing a stage with an orchestra backing band and their instruments. Most of the chairs were filled though, and two others and I were both apparently being tested on our musical ability even though we were blended in with everyone else, who acted as our audience.
  • We were performing a song where each line in the song was sung by a different singer, but the teacher split the lines into alternating groups of 3 (so one person had lines 1, 4, 7, etc), and wanted us to just do our separate parts instead of all of us singing at once. Valerie was the first, and she sang her lines with an orchestral accompaniment. A guy seated two or three seats to my right was the other testee besides me, and he started to sing, but got caught up on one part where he had to make animal noises, and then continue singing after that.
  • He paused, lost his tempo, then the teacher asked the orchestra to restart from that part, but he said that he was confused and wanted to know if the people in the song, which was normally performed by two long lines of people facing each other, took turns singing in a zipper style format (first person in the right line, first person in the left line, second person in the right line, and so on) or a straight line format (first person in the right line, second person in the right line, third person in the right line, and so on).
  • No one could really answer him, though Valerie said she suspected that it was zipper style. He then abruptly got up to head to the washroom, which annoyed the proctoring teacher once she found out that he was gone. She was about to ask me to take my turn instead when Valerie piped up and asked what genre of music this was, distracting her. It was Asian music, the teacher said.
Oct 06 2023
  • Mom and I were dropped off at a courtyard area which was surrounded by weird scaffolding that started from the ground and gradually rose into the air as it snaked around the outside of the courtyard in a counterclockwise direction, looping around the courtyard 3 times while rising about the height of a building storey each loop that it made. Dad and Jon went to park the family vehicle after they dropped us off, and I chatted with Mom while we waited for them to arrive. I said that I really liked the scaffolding wrapped around the court, as it reminded me of a multi-levelled shopping centre.
  • After waiting for a bit, we decided to start strolling in the direction where we were eventually going anyway. Mom said that the other two would easily catch up with us, and they did so just in front of our destination, a shop that doubled both as a food shop as well as a shop that sold cards and other potpourri.
  • We entered the shop, and Jon and I looked around the shop while Mom and Dad looked over the food. They sold things like basketball trading cards, Naruto cards, cheap festival masks, and other weird things, but we also found a folder of L5R cards and began rifling through that. Both Jon and I pulled out about 10 cards each that we didn’t own and we spent time comparing them to each other to make sure that we didn’t get any duplicates.
  • Mom and Dad ordered a huge amount of rice, and it appeared in what essentially was a huge rectangular fish tank. But there was also another fish tank nearby with coins in it, and at some point the two got mixed together, with a huge maount of rice layered on top of the coins in the same tank, and I tried to separate the two by pouring the tank out over a sieve that was large enough for most of the rice to fall through it but not the coins.
Oct 07 2023
  • This dream started in a London-like town in a small shop with arcade machines set in it. A friend and I were passing through the town and the shop but needed to try to figure out some way to earn money. We, or at least I, were also professional phantom thieves, and I decided to investigate and rob a rich man living in a mansion nearby.
  • The mansion had gates and a flower bed out front, and then a door that required a key to get through, but it would have been too obvious entering from that way, so I climbed the walls and noticed that the 3rd floor bedroom window could be slid open from the outside while standing on a ledge that was jutting out between the 2nd and 3rd levels of the mansion.
  • I did so, and slipped in, then heard several maids coming, so I put on a maid outfit and waited for them. Three of them entered the room, and I pretended to be a fourth maid that was just hired in order to blend in with them. This was apparently the maid bedroom, and we apparently had a job to retrieve flower petals from the garden downstairs and bring them up again, so they were preparing for that and I joined them on their task.
  • We all went downstairs and gathered a handful of petals each. One maid had an armful of blue petals, one had red, I had yellow, and another maid had pink. The maid with pink petals kept dropping them though, which made sense as they were petals and were difficult to carry, but for some reason the other three of us had no issues carrying ours.
  • We eventually all made it upstairs again and put the petals down in the room. We then got paid for our work in little white envelopes. I had taken this time to investigate the house and the owner, and saw things like slavering dogs being chained by really short leashes to walls. The owner came into the room and told us that he had just brought home some of the dogs and saved them so they could meet their families here again, but I read between the lines and realized that that meant that he had taken a bunch of them somewhere, killed a few of the less desirable ones, and then only brought back the ones who passed his test or his whims.
  • The owner turned on the TV mounted on the wall in front of the beds, which was playing an FA Cup soccer game — Liverpool vs Everton. He suddenly became very nice and invited us maids to watch with him as well, which I suddenly realized meant that he was going to do the same with the maids, take them out and dispose of them, because we had all just been paid. This was why he was really nice now, either to make us drop our guard or due to impending guilt. I said that we were busy and needed to clean the house.
  • I also saw the owner climb out through the window and onto the ledge between the 2nd and 3rd level. He knelt down to do something obscured by the window sill, and I realized that there was actually something he kept hidden there that I should investigate later on. For now though I tried to figure out a way to get the maids out safely.
  • Snippet: Earlier on, there was a dream involving visiting a country for the Olympics and then a few months later for the World Cup of Soccer. Both times, there were people in the stadium stands as well as the streets drinking alcohol, it seemed like everyone in the city was partying. On the second visit there, a bunch of us were flown there on a jet owned by a mutual jock friend who had saved up to buy or rent it, I wasn’t particularly close to him but I had got the last open seat invite on the 12 or 14 person plane because he also had a letter from someone that he needed to deliver to me. There was also some plotline about a ghost in a labyrinth that several of us, including Jah, needed to team up to defeat.
Oct 08 2023
  • The scene started with me and a bunch of friends from Dunman and from work being captives, and being led by a queen and a bunch of guards into a building. This was apparently the standard start of the game and we had to defeat them as our first mission. Another friend drank a damage mitigation buff potion and aggroed a bunch of little guards, about 20 of them with 3 health each, and hid behind a tree to block most of their ranged attacks while killing them slowly. I lured and aggroed the queen away as the queen would be the one that could give him problems, and I had speed as a skill or potion buff instead, which would have been useless against a pack of guards but was very useful against the melee-based queen, so I kited the queen, who had about 15 health on her own, and slowly whittled her down by hitting her for 1 health at a time. Eventually we both defeated our groups and everyone, about 30 or 40 of us, were freed. Then it turned into a crafting game. We divided up into groups and Satinel and I went resource hunting. Many of the other people helped set up camp, turning our resources into beds and tents and crates and stuff.
  • Before Satinel and I went out, I pulled up a crafting menu to make some items but couldn’t afford the starting axe, which apparently was a higher level item. So instead I crafted a hatchet, and helped chop down some nearby trees as someone had requested more wood immediately. I had other things in my inventory, a white glowing seed and a glowing boomerang among other things, and lots of little resource stacks, those auto stacked into nearby chests that people had already set up. After accidentally sorting my new hatchet into a chest too, I found and retrieved it and made sure to lock the items in my inventory that I didn’t want autosorted.
  • I wandered back to the entrance of the building at one point and saw some lockers there with a few super cheap things that the dour male ghost receptionist would store for free, and everything else we had to pay a flat fee to rent a locker to store. The ghost saw me, and after some thinking, put out some snacks on the counter for me as I wandered by, but I ignored them and went back toward the classrooms where Satinel was waiting.
  • The area was a large building full of classrooms in corridors stretching out as far as the eyes can see. most were empty but some were marked with ghosts, and those were event/quest rooms, smaller ones were easily soloed but for large ones we had to team up to clear them out. We went into the first one and after talking to them, we managed to pacify the ghosts of an Indian couple there by telling them that it was Valentines Day (even though it was actually early March, I realized) and how two girls in our class had come in this morning and talked about painting their nails with the names of their beloved and left them painted all weekend. The ghost couple really liked that story and faded away. I was lying on a chair and got up, surprised and proud that we had managed to solve the room without fighting, as larger ghost rooms almost always devolved into fighting.
  • We had also opened an L5R clan deck and booster pack in the room and I had put those back in its box and pack, including a part of the plastic pack that had torn off, I told Satinel that I was very particular about saving every bit of the plastic pack. I then put both the pack and box into a larger box of L5R cards, and Satinel left me that box to put into my luggage suitcase along with a few other boxes of loot.
  • Satinel left the room before me, but before I left I looted a pair of earphones from the teacher’s desk with a TRS jack, that went into a short extension cord that also ended in another TRS jack, and the earphones itself had a small storage pouch with a TRRS plug in it. It was wrapped around other cords and plugged into a power outlet somehow but I managed to separate it and pull the end out of the power cord, and then brought it out of the room after hunting for and turning off the 3 light switches so the ghosts could have peace and quiet and we could mark the room as solved. Even though Satinel was gone I didn’t feel scared because now it was pacified, and other non-combat teammates could come in and loot the rest of the room too, but the earphones would help us immediately.
  • I left the room holding the earphones in a ball and started to untangle them outside. I also had my pink headphones with its thick earmuffs with me, and put them around my neck because it was stylish. There were classes at the main camp too, and while heading back for those classes, I ran into Ms Lim and was reminded that I had a class presentation for History class soon. She had actually asked if my presentation was today, and I said no, but that I was in the second-last group, which she then reminded me was in 4 days and said she hoped that I had started on my topic, I hadn’t, but it was about Japanese rain poems, so I assumed it wouldn’t be too difficult to do.
  • Upon reaching the main camp, I met Yaoxiang, who was the camp leader, and showed him the partially-untangled earphones I had found, saying that they would be very useful for us. He got excited too and asked if he could have them. I said yes, and that I had brought them back to the camp for general use as I already had my headphones, and handed them to him. I then went to the classroom, and saw that Huihan was in my usual seat in class by the front table group by the far wall. It was a 2×2 group of tables, the wall was lined with windows, and my seat was by the back window table in the group. She asked if I wanted it back and I said that the seat had not been giving me the best luck so she could have it, and I sat at the front window table instead. I also remember at one point there was another class scene where the tables were arranged as single islands in rows and columns and we had to sit at altenating tables so everyone was at least one table apart from everyone else. I had trouble finding a seat there.
  • After classes, I went to help clear more classrooms, and ran into another nearby ghost room. It had been started and then abandoned by someone we had hired in a Service Desk sort of starter role, but who Matt said had ended up declining the job because he had gone overseas. However, he had already started the room remotely before his first day and before he declined and left, so the room was stuck in an In Progress state, and had morphed into a caricature of the departed employee, dressed in a glowing t-shirt and blue jeans, walking through infinite darkness. There were little balls of light bouncing around his legs, and the scene zoomed in to show that those were little glowing will o’ the wisps that were attacking him, and also that his jeans and legs were one giant cruise spaceship with interior seats going through outer space, and the outer part of the blue jeans had many little hooks and cotton strands sticking out that showed how imperfect the human was, and also acted as things the wisps could attach themselves to.
  • The scene shifted to a camera making its way “up” the spaceship toward the part that represented the person’s body as a narrator guided it along. We passed things like dining rooms and arcades and in every room some sort of small event and narration cutscene happened. Then they stopped happening, and the narrator realized that the code was broken and the program had basically crashed.
  • He swapped over to a game show scene instead, featuring an Indian woman who had won a prize on a previous episode of the show. The prize was getting 4,000 people in the neighbourhood referred to her by the announcer, and a scene of a boy on a bicycle riding up to her in a playground played in the background to illustrate this. She apparently sold them all a pack of 10 stones for $10 each, and thus had become decently rich, and the announcer said that it was surprising she had found a market for the stones in these tough economic times. She had brought her husband and child to the show this time, and they were all seated on audience stands when the spotlight fell on them, indicating that they had won again. The child, a young boy, presented the announcer with a packet of 10 brown stones that was apparently gathered from a stone pit just outside the game show building. The father asked him to accept it, saying that he knew that the announcer also had to pay the entrance fee to get in and this would help offset the cost since they were worth $10. The audience in the stands around them then got up and left to give them space as the three of them started singing a happy song and performing a dance. The song started by them declaring themselves to be something that sounded like the word Nazis but with the i/e stretched out longer, and then went on to explain parts of their culture.

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