My Diary #116

Dear Tigey,

Shiara‘s Library lives!

Entry #116 (Oct 29 2023)

Life

Snow.

The first snowfall this year came on Oct 23 2023, a week or so earlier than the average day of first snowfall, which is around Halloween. Apaprently it will likely be above melting point on Halloween this year though, according to the weather forecast. There’s a specific temperature bump right on that day itself.

Hopefully all the snow melts away. That’ll teach that pile of condensation of water! Snow outside makes the inside of my apartment feel like a fortress though, and I don’t dislike that sensation, as long as I don’t have to go out anywhere.

The neighbours were rather loud this week, especially on Sunday night/Monday morning, where they were making noise until about 4:30 am, as well as at various times on Friday through the day. I think it’s actually more than one neighbour that’s doing it, and I don’t know which neighbour/s exactly it is. The one above me for sure has been guilty on more than one occasion (like on Friday, when I used my phone to record the noise from outside their door and then sent it to the rental office), the one to my side is now and then as well, but there was someone playing loud music late at night nearby that didn’t seem to be either of those ones.. at any rate I sent in a rather scathing complaint on the annual satisfaction survey that the apartment complex management holds.

I actually accused them of not only not doing anything to help, but also trying to make me feel like the guilty party in terms of always being the one complaining, yet when they go around to talk to the neighbours everyone claims it isn’t them, therefore they can’t do anything about it. The last time I got called down to the office to chat they suggested using white noise or something to mask some of the noises, and talked about how another tenant who lived near the boiler room at top of one of the taller buildings had to deal with weird pipe noises and such (like that has anything to do with me) and I added in the survey that it seemed like the management was trying to gaslight me to stop my complaints. They also offered again that I can move to another unit, but I decided that it’s not right that I have to pack up and go when it’s my neighbours making all the racket, especially since I would have to bear the costs myself, never mind the utter inconvenience of it all. I’ve started using the business end of a broom to pound the ceiling when my neighbour above is making too much noise and I can verify that it’s them, though. And I will continue being a thorn in the management’s side by reporting noise from my neighbours over and over until they figure out this mess (or my lease ends and I move out).

I actually liked my management team from Rent Midwest/Midwest Property Management here at the Village at Southgate, but they’ve become very corporate and less personal over the last couple of years and have been completely useless in trying to solve this problem since they never have anyone on site at night anymore (they used to have a security guard) and that’s when most of the objectionable noise happens. It did occur to me though that I may as well turn up my own volume on things as well and blast out music “to mask external noises like the management office taught me to do”. It’s not like they’re going to ever evict me. And more complaints from neighbours might finally pinpoint the guilty party/s.

I heard from someone involved with the Japanese Conversation Club at school that the Kakehashi program that I had talked about a few weeks ago actually had 68 applicants from the University, and that they had picked 8 from there, so I guess that ridiculously constrained program actually did get many applicants after all. Good for the people I guess. I don’t know why anyone would subject themselves to that nonsensical set of guidelines and restrictions, even for a free trip there. Though actually, since it takes place during our University’s reading week off of school, it’s probably partly because they can’t afford any time (or money) before/after the trip to remain in the country anyway, so that restriction wouldn’t bother them too much. Still, it sure sounds like a Baby’s First Trip to Japan sort of thing. Tyrants.

That random old Backstreet Boys CD from last week came in, hurrah. It was indeed unopened, so that was a great price for it. Canada Post was also supposed to deliver a small box of CDs from Japan on Friday but the postal worker left a delivery notice letter in the envelope in the mailbox instead, and never tried to contact me on the apartment call box even though I was home and waiting all day for him or her, so I filed a complaint with Canada Post in an online chat and ended up with an open ticket about the issue. I have another small box coming mid-next week, I think, and I fully intend to complain again if they do that again. And every time this happens from now on, now that I know the path to do so.

It’s one thing to miss the delivery and another when they don’t even try. They don’t even deliver to one’s door anymore, they used to but now we have to come downstairs to pick packages up from the delivery courier (or chase after the van) when we’re buzzed on the intercom, no matter how heavy the package is. And now this courier isn’t even doing that much. Anyway I did end up picking up the package from the mall on Saturday.

Suruga-ya still used a large 40ish cm by 32ish cm by 16ish cm box for just 6 CDs though, and this cost 4,400 yen in shipping costs according to the packing slip, or about 40 CAD. And the company ate the cost, since shipping was free for me due to their weekly/biweekly promotion (they’ve had the promotion running for the past 3 weekends including this week’s now). I’m not sure how they make a profit off of selling internationally. I didn’t have to pay customs on this one either (only 1 out of 4 boxes so far has had customs applied to it, and I think that was the only box that had a total goods value of over $100 CAD) so that was nice.

Working from home sure has made it easier for me to do things like file complaints about things I don’t like though. I wonder if I’m becoming one of those crabby old ladies that yell at anything that doesn’t go their way. Or if this is just part and parcel of standing up for myself and no longer accepting slipshod service from others. It also doesn’t help that inflation has been rampant this past year in particular, and everyone feels squeezed by higher prices of goods and lower quantity or quality of services, and tensions are probably higher than they’ve ever been everywhere. In truth though, I’m still pretty happy overall, though you might not get that feeling from this week’s blog. In between some slices of unpleasantness (and annoying tinnitus) are many moments of serenity, hope, and satisfaction though. Things are, all things considered, going well for me. I do still wish I did go to Sophia after all, but the wish isn’t a huge, painful, hurting one. Just a “hey, that would have been cool to experience too!” one.

Back to a more grounded topic, one of the items my family anecdotally uses (or at least I do, based on old family memories) as a measure of how the economy is doing are these Maple Leaf Vienna Sausages, which used to be avaialble for a loonie (Canadian dollar coin) several years ago, but then got hiked to a point where getting them for a dollar would only be possible on a rare discount, and then got hiked even further to a point now where the price is a joke.

Inflation is out of control, wage increases are being squished, a general recession is very obviously coming, scientists are promising climate instability and likely disasters for the foreseeable future, and for me I’m wondering when the best time (and to a certain extent, where) to buy my house around this mess is.

Talking about downsizing, the KFC in Southgate apparently stopped selling mashed potatoes a couple of weeks to a month or so ago, not long after I had (re-)discovered it and blogged about it. Rude. From talking to the attendants, it might be a permanent discontinuation, though they weren’t 100% sure either, nor whether it was just their store or all other KFC branches too. That’s been the only reason I’ve been trying to frequent them at all recently though, so KFC will drop back down to a 0% cut of my purchasing power until this already-overpriced side dish returns.

My workplace is transitioning from our old ticketing system, ServiceNow, to a new one, FreshWorks, this weekend. It will probably be interesting, but stating this here now means I can state it matter-of-factly before actually using it in production and getting mad at all the things that it can’t do correctly (if any), since we aren’t allowed on it this weekend to mess around. I did end my last day on ServiceNow with 0 tickets left open though, because I’ve been working on a project to analyze and tabulate some rather large spreadsheet data dumps (this is fun!), so at least there’s nothing to import over for me.

Most of the new seasonal anime this anime season had launched a couple of weeks ago, closer to the start of the month, but one called Kusuriya no Hitorigoto only launched this week. It started two weeks late and thus dropped its first three episodes all at once, apparently because of a Rugby World Cup airing that ate up its first two weekly timeslots in Japan. How rude. It’s set in an Ancient China-style Imperial Palace in an alternate version of not-China, and features one of the best Japanese female voice actors playing an irrepressible and funny apothecary character who gets kidnapped to work there and apparently becomes an apothecary detective for one of the concubines there. I’ve been very enamoured and infatuated by it so far, to the point that I was pining for more and was (and still kind of am) mildly tempted to go explore the world of live-action Chinese Imperial Court drama shows to help whet my appetite between episodes. It’s a 24-episode anime with each episode getting released weekly though, so the next few months should be a good ride.

I played around with an app called Glass2k (local) this week. It makes any open window transparent in a glassy sort of way, so I applied it to my Discord chat program so that I could see the desktop (or any hidden windows) behind it, and I really liked the effect. It made it seem as though my Discord client had a background applied to it, without me having to download any other custom app to replace the official Discord client itself. The weird thing about this Glass2k app is that it was a beta program written for Windows 2000/XP that hasn’t been worked on in over 22 years. And it still works now, on Windows 11, all these years later. And doesn’t even require an installation. How neat. I committed it to my local apps archive, just in case the site and all mirrors go down.

My wallpaper rotates from a set folder of pictures every 10 minutes. I do need to set aside some time to find new wallpapers, though. I haven’t worked on those in a long time.

And lastly, I got my first archive.org collection this week, Shiara‘s Library, located here. It’s sometimes a little silly, like scrolling past the end of the page can occasionally cause an error that requires several reloads to fix, but that’s archive.org‘s servers being terrible. I have so much more to scan and upload, and even more stuff that’s scanned but not uploaded yet, so I’ll be busy with this for a good long time yet. That being said, while I don’t expect any replies, I posted a Kijiji ad (local) offering to scan people’s papers and stuff if they handle transportation, as a sort of experiment. It was free after all, and there are several categories this ad could have fit under, and several ways to write it, so I’ll need to rewrite it after some time depending on what sort of (non-)reaction it gets. I have lots of my own stuff to scan still anyway though, so even just one good bite every 3 or 4 months would make me overjoyed.

Games

Not a ton of time was devoted to playing games this week over in my corner of the universe. The main thing I did play was more seamless co-op in Elden Ring with Satinel, but even that was just a couple evenings in the week. I did splatter some time across a couple of solo games — Shisensho Solitaire, Ni no Kuni II, Cyberpunk 2077, and Honkai Star Rail (local), but all in all my time mostly went toward other ventures.

My time toward Star Rail this week came about partially because they were holding a welcome back event with rewards for players who hadn’t been playing for a while, but also because of a seasonal anime called Potion-danomi de Ikinobimasu!, where the main character, who’s a bit of a cheeky gremlin, ends up leading a pack of slums children in the place that she was living in. Kind of like a thieves guild/eyes of the city’s underbelly sort of thing that she uses to help spread good deeds around town. This thing also happens in Honkai Star Rail in a very similar sort of setup, by a very similar sort of gremlin main character who’s a lot of fun to watch and play, but as exactly zero of my friends even play Star Rail or watch that potion seasonal, never mind do both, I didn’t have anywhere else to point out that connection, so I’m putting it here instead.

Plushie of the Week #112 – Seoul Turtle

This is the fourth and final plushie from this set of four plushies that I bought in Seoul, South Korea on Jul 30 2014, likely all from Lotte World Adventure or a nearby mall. I’ve previously shown a photo of the four of them that I took that night in my hotel room:

But I had actually forgotten about this when writing up the page for Pink Fox, and wasn’t sure if I had gotten her from South Korea or Singapore or somewhere else, so I had to go back and edit that page too. From right to left, the pages for the other three are as follows: PotW #61 for Mew, PotW #62 for Pink Beluga, and PotW #104 for Pink Fox.

Seoul Turtle, for lack of a better name, was given to Kel as a gift when I next met her, as he looks a lot like Shelly, another turtle plushie that we had in our core group of plushies growing up. Doesn’t he? I’m not the only one who thinks that, right? I don’t think this turtle ever got a name, but he sat (and is still currently sitting) around faithfully in a box of the forsaken with the other plushies in the family home. I did take some pictures when I went over early last year though, so here they are:

Front:

Back:

Lying down:

He’s a little derpy-looking, isn’t he?

Song of the Week #89

Title: If We Were Lovers
Artist: All Star United
Album: International Anthems for the Human Race (1998)

While this is another 1998 English song from the pile, I had actually forgotten all about this song until two weeks ago, when I went through my old websites and the top 100 lists posted there. It had been years since I had listened to any of their songs, and they had slipped through the time cracks of my memory to such a point that they weren’t even on my Spotify list. I’ve rectified this, and am now featuring one of their three songs that I loved, and that bring me back to my last year in Singapore before I left my friends and my secondary school there.

I thought All Star United was an Australian band all this time, but apparently not, they’re American. They apparently have had several albums released, although I’ve only really heard of the first two. The Wikipedia page notes that this song made it to #1 in Singapore in particular though, and I believe they were right, it was rather popular there and received a good amount of airplay when it first came out. It’s a very energetic, summery song to me, fitting for Singapore, my homeland of eternal summer, but yet is tinged with metallic melancholy around the sides, and the vocals and instruments all combine together for me to give it a sensation that I associate with synthwave pop these days too, like a mental scene of driving in a car down a vertical road away from the camera and toward a giant setting sun in the distance.

Ugh. I love this song, and I love that I’ve been reunited with this song (and band) after so many years.

Writing Prompt of the Week #32

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“What role did books play in your childhood?”

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a couple of formative books when I was younger, stuff from Enid Blyton like the Famous Five and Secret Seven books. She also had other books that I read, where I learnt all about the (problematic use of) golliwogs, and then proceeded to wonder why no one else at school, nor my parents, knew of the word.

I’ve also written about gamebooks in a couple places, one in this Fabled Lands memory snippet in My Diary #075, and a little bit along a similar vein in the “Shop” section of the preface of my dream diary. Fabled Lands was extremely influential to me in my teens, but gamebooks in general have always been a big part of my life — heck, my dream diary entry this week even includes a mention of a couple. I had tried and loved a number of other gamebook series, going back to Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf, and Tunnels & Trolls books, which enraptured me for a long time before Fabled Lands.

Back before all that though, I, like many people of the generation that read gamebooks, could trace my gamebook experience back to a single series, the original Choose Your Own Adventure books. I believe the original first gamebook I picked up was Book 120 in the series, Ghost Train, apparently published in January 1992. My book has a price tag on the front of it still, which says it was “bought” from MPH Distributors, for $4 90¢.

If my memory serves me right though, I didn’t actually buy that from a “real” bookshop. I’m not sure about the accuracy of this memory, but how these gamebooks tie in to the Enid Blyton and other books that I read as a child is that, back in my Primary 1 to 3 classes in Peiying Primary School, I was actually an academically great student. In Primary 1, when I was 7 years old (1991), I had a 297.1/300 average across the three courses that we had exams for (English, Chinese, and Math), and this was enough to be the #1 student in my grade in the school, position 1 out of 330 students. In Primary 2, I had a 290/300 total, which gave me 3rd position out of 332 students. In Primary 3, when this dimwit teacher was our form teacher, I came out with a 274/300 score, which.. well, actually, they didn’t give us a grade-wide ranking for that one, but I was only second in my class that time.

Anyway, as part of finishing top in my grade in Primary 1, I was actually given a voucher award for books, and I believe this happened in Primary 2 (and *possibly* 3) as well, since it wasn’t just the top student who got an award, but the top few students. I think this was the Scholastic Award, or something like that, something -astic anyway. It was sponsored by some company (perhaps this MPH?) and I remember this following memory very fondly:

To cash in our award, Mom took me to a bookstore, somewhere, possibly in our school or another school or just wherever the sponsoring bookstore operated out of. At that location, there was a rectangular room with long tables lined up in the middle, and if my memory serves me correctly then there were tables along the walls of the room as well. On the tables were stacks of various children’s books, and each one had a price tag on it. I had a cash value on my voucher award, something like (perhaps) $50 or $100 or so, and was told to basically go walk around the room and pick out some books that I wanted to read, whose total price came out to around the price of the voucher. And I got to take all those books home.

That was fun! When I talked to Zixiang back during last year’s visit to Singapore, one of the things he had casually mentioned was how much of an effect reading English books had on him when he was a kid — his family only really spoke Chinese at home and no one had gone to University or anything like that, but reading English books as a kid sparked a lifelong interest for books and learning in him and even at an early age eventually got him into the GEP where he met me. Similarly, these books, and perhaps the sheer fun of just “shopping” for books like this, had a pretty big effect on me. I was really proud of winning these books, and earning them “myself”, and I read the books I picked up during these couple trips a lot. I believe my first Famous Five and Secret Seven books were originally from here, as was my first ever gamebook.

Which gamebook? I’m assuming it was that one above, since that’s the earliest one I can remember owning, though I’m not 100% sure. The reason I’m not sure is that I remember that a lot of the books that I picked up from this scholastic book shop came with a piece of paper that was glued or taped to the first page inside the front cover to signify that it was purchased. But I don’t think I actually have any of those books left in order to confirm this memory or see what that paper looked like. This book does have something on the first page inside the front cover too, but it’s just a weird red stamp that says “Paid”.

Anyway, although it definitely seems like a case of the rich getting richer, in that only the top students got to do this, I believe I won vouchers and got to do this for all three years that I was at Peiying, and I credit this for stoking a large part of my initial interest in reading. It’s still a happy memory that I carry all these years later!

Memory Snippet of the Week #96

There were many other books that I read while growing up, of course, and one of the books that I felt would be apt to put down as a Memory Snippet this week was a book series called True Singapore Ghost Stories. I only ever owned one of these books, I think, and I’m not sure if “I” was the one that actually owned them (via one of those above sales, or via bugging my parents to buy it for me) or if “my parents” were the ones that owned them, but it was likely Book 1, which its Wikipedia article states is the all-time number one bestseller in Singapore. Interesting. Most if not all the stories were apparently sourced from reader tales, too.

Anyway, even without having seen the book in ages, there were some stories and tales that still stick with me 25+ years later. One was about a man who lay in bed with the window open and his shirt unbuttoned, and suddenly in the wee hours of the morning he woke up because there was something heavy pressing on his chest, something that he identified as a shadowy tiger or lion or something similar. He was paralyzed and couldn’t move, and was haunted by it the next morning. I never dared sleep with my pyjamas shirt unbuttoned after reading that one (not that it’s a thing I ever wanted to do anyway. These days, with an adult’s eye, I now understand that it was likely sleep paralysis, but that phenomenon wasn’t well-known back then, especially in a time before the Internet, so knowing that now actually lends the story itself even more credibility that someone actually experienced that.

Another story I remember is one where someone was dared to spend the night in a cemetery, and he snuck over the cemetery gate and in to try it during the night, but got increasingly spooked and decided to make a break for it. He ran back to the gate and started to climb up and out when he felt a hand clasp upon his shoulder. It was then said that he was found dead the next morning, still clutching on to the gate halfway through climbing it, a look of sheer terror on his face.. and a tree branch, fluttering in the wind, tapping against his shoulder over and over. My question ever since I was young was that, if he didn’t survive, then how did anyone manage to know his story? Hmm.

A third story I remember was a bit more grotesque, it was the story of someone rubbing his own urine into his eyes after hearing about an old wives’ tale, and discovering that the tale was true — he gained the ability to see phantoms and spirits wandering around by doing so, and it was something he could never undo no matter how he washed his eyes out. I think the ending was that he eventually committed suicide, but I’m not sure about that. I guess the moral of the story is not to put weird bodily fluids into one’s eyes. Although.. I did actually passingly consider the idea now and then in the following years after reading and remembering that story. I’ve never seriously considered it though. Really.

Those were the main stories I remember that left the greatest effects on me. I did also learn things like how the smell of the frangipani flower supposedly means there is death nearby, and that book was also, I believe, where I first learnt about the pontianak creature from Southeast Asian mythology, which then made me very glad 25ish years later when a Steam game named Ghostlore that focused on Southeast Asian mythology included that creature as well.

Dreams

In defiance against AncestryDNA’s suggestion that my DNA indicate that I have a poor dream retention trait, this has probably been one of my best (top 3 at least) months of dream retention ever. Through the 29th of the month, I’ve had 24 dream diary entries.

Oct 23 2023
  • Kel was living in my apartment inside a walk-in closet with a small door that led to a large, but secluded, room without any external windows. I was on a workplace meeting on Google Hangouts but put that on mute to receive a call from Mom via Kel, but she was calling me with a messenger app on the phone instead of using an actual phone number, and the app malfunctioned, not for the first time, by not notifying me when the call ended, so I was left on the line with silence on the other end. I didn’t realize this at first until a couple of minutes of silence, at which point I hung up, and then went back to look at the workplace meeting — it had ended and everyone had left except me, and someone else who also had their camera off and was muted and was thus also idle at their computer like I was. I went over to Kel‘s closet door, opened it to poke my head in, and asked her to formally say goodbye the next time before hanging up so that I knew when to shut off my end of the call too.
Oct 24 2023

Dream 1

  • This dream involved a top-down co-op game at some point where I could put down sandpits. It also had a side-scroller view component where my character was in a slime tank with Satinel, we had been shooting a big slime outside the tank with our guns, which shot out slime that was of a different colour from the actual slime monster so that it would hurt the monster. Both our guns shot out different coloured slimes as well. The slime monster couldn’t get to us due to some barrier on the entrance of the tank so it was perched just outside of it. We absorbed slime of our same colour from the slime tank as we shot the slime monster, and some of the slime that we did shoot at the slime monster flowed back into the tank after we had shot it so that helped to refill the tank too at a slower rate.
  • However, because we were using up a fair amount of the slime in the tank, and some of the slime monster’s coloured slime was also flowing into the tank as we shot it, the slime in the tank started getting polluted and turned white, which was a combination of all the coloured slime. Our gun also had a filter action that could extract just the colour of the slime we needed, but it still took an action round to do so and then reload the gun before we could shoot the gun again, whereas normal reloads didn’t take an action. Satinel did show me a trick though, that the self-healing action on the gun also came with a free filter action for whatever reason and would leave some leftover filtered slime in the gun that we could immediately use, while making sure our characters were topped off in health.
  • Later on, there was a train scene set on the eastern MRT line in Singapore, where Allen was showing a Professor around town and was taking him from our school station (East 3, Kallang) to a museum (East 12, Pasir Ris). I was going to follow along with them to record and archive the tour and eventually turn it into a podcast as well, and they were okay with this, but some mutual friends also wanted to listen in on the tour as it was happening and thus coerced another mutual friend, henceforth known as the Recorder, to follow Allen and the Professor as well and to stream the tour. We were all aware of this second part, but Allen was not okay with it, so in return, Allen had arranged for yet another two friends, henceforth known as the Decoys, to dress up like them and try to throw off the Recorder.
  • While I was aware of this, I was not aware of who was who, but I suspected that the Allen and Professor that I was seeing in the same train carriage as me were decoys, especially since the Professor popped out of the train at an intermediary station (East 5, Paya Lebar) when the train stopped there, and went into a small bookshop located on the platform itself. He popped out of the store holding a book that he had purpotedly authored, and got back onto the train before it left. Surely the real Professor would not need to buy a copy of a book that he himself had written, and it was a prop to fool the Decoys into thinking that he was the real Professor.
  • Nonetheless, when Allen and the Professor hopped off at the station before the museum (East 11, Tampines), and made it seem like they were going to walk to the museum from there, and the Recorder followed them, I still needed to confirm that they were the Decoys and not the real duo, so I made a save game on the train, and hopped off as well. I watched the three of them move up the escalator into the area outside the pay zone, with the Recorder trailing a bit behind the other two, and then watched him become extremely confused when the two Decoys suddenly split off down opposite passageways full of people in the station area, making them impossible to follow any longer.
  • While at this station, I also ran into a woman whom I recognized as a language studies teacher from University, though I didn’t remember if she was a Japanese teacher or a Chinese one. I greeted her with a Hello Sensei anyway, and she said hi and smiled, and left into a nearby shop.
  • I texted Allen at this point and he said he had gotten off at the proper station (Pasir Ris) at this point and was already en route to the museum. Now that I was certain that these two were the Decoys, I loaded the save game to just before I had left the train at Tampines and remained on it this time.

Dream 2

  • This dream involved some sort of war apparently over something to do with overthrowing the administration at some school located in a big city. It led into a long fight involving two sides with superpowers and highly skilled personnel. A group I was with was investigating the deaths of some high ranking targets on our side, we were too late to save the second one who got assassinated but figured out who the third target was, and one of our party members transformed into a large yellow helicopter, in a similar way to Morgana from Persona 5, and we flew off at a comical speed to the top of the tall office building that she was in.
  • We ran into the assassin on the way, who was parachuting down toward the building, but none of us actually had guns to deal with her, so the enemy leader told her not to worry about us and to continue the descent with the bomb that was strapped to her, as we couldn’t actually stop her. We did have a net gun though, and fired it at her to tangle her arms, and she started taking small arms fire from some regular NPC soldiers on the roof of the building. One of them hit a little clock display that was attached to the bomb, and she cried out as the clock detached and fell down to the ground below, as the bomb could not be activated without it.
  • She landed to fight instead, killing the NPC soldiers and looting their shirt pockets for ammunition. The perspective shifted to some kids guarding one of the middle levels under instruction from some higher up woman. They were new to the fight and one of them in particular was jumpy and went to challenge everybody he saw enter the level, even though most of them were friendlies. He almost shot one or two of them. The other boy joined him and calmed him down, and they evenfually found the assassin when she came down to their level, and defeated her.
  • Somewhere in the dream there was also an interlude where I went to a canteen located on one of the building levels with two friends. The two of them had ordered before me and were at a table eating, and one of them had some tofu soup that looked great. I already had two dishes of my own, one an entire small fried fish lying in a small pool of curry, and the other some sort of side dish that I decided would go great with rice. I didn’t actually have any rice though, so I went to the same stall that they had ordered from, planning to order rice and a bowl of that soup.
  • However, I got held up for over 20 minutes at that stall, possibly as long as 45 minutes, due to the people ahead of me being slow and chatting with the stall attendant. One of them even started singing to her at one point and everyone clapped at that. I complained about the time once the two of them had been served and the stall attendant was trying to walk off somewhere to waste even more time though, and she apologized and return to the stall and took my order.
  • She gave me my rice and soup in separate bowls on a tray, however the rice bowl was crumbly as it was also itself edible, so it held neither the tofu soup nor the curry well. Upon seeing this, the stall owner gave me a plate so that I could place both the rice and the edible rice bowl on top of that.
Oct 25 2023
  • Snippet: I was in a hotel room with a couple of people, including Antonia. The bedroom had a couple of thick mattresses lying on top of bed frames, the bed frames had black springs on the bottom and acted as a sauna as well, heating up the bed. We were chatting about how nice and novel this was and Antonia was apparently contemplating buying something like this for herself.
  • Snippet: I was in a classroom with five other people shortly after that, and we were talking about a handbook that we had received that listed our achievements. I was the quiet one and barely ever spoke up, mostly listening to the other five speak, but at one point I said the handbook had a section lsiting all our accomplishments and this was a representation of what potential employers would find if they looked us up in public records right now. I said that I was surprised that it contained most of my math contest accomplishments from after I moved to Canada too, even though it was missing the Singapore ones, because even the Canadian ones had been done under my old name before the transition. One of the other girls had something about a drinking violation on her handbook entry and she was worried that this would affect her job hunting.
  • Snippet: There was a fishing minigame out in a PvP game world where I took a small fishing boat out into a busy harbour to catch weird and exotic fish. The harbour was full of fish and I only had to wait a second or two between casts to catch one. At one point I hooked something rare and enormous, and the screen zoomed way out to show the size of the creature, an octopus-like thing many times the size of my boat. The fishing minigame requested that I select a special bait for it at this point, but I had only crafted two pieces of one single bait out of the many bait options, and when I selected one of those, the creature seemed to resist it and escaped. Paddling back to the harbour, I momentarily dozed off and overshot the dock I was trying to stop on. A large PvP guild ship sailed past me, ignoring me because I was in too small of a fishing boat for them to bother and also because I was still right next to the shore.
  • Snippet: I was in Singapore and had booked a ticket for a trip back to Canada at 9am in the morning. I rushed to the airport at 7am but found that the only check-in room that was open was one where people were emigrating to Singapore and had to fill in forms to get them processed. Confused, I went to the officer there, telling them that I had a flight out in a few hours, he was also confused but left the room to get me a different form that would let me access the rest of the airport. However, he wanted to confirm the flight with me when I got back, as he said that there were no Singapore Airlines flights until the evening. I double-checked the itinerary and was confused too, it seemed like the flight I had picked now actually started from Australia and went through India to Canada. I told him I lived nearby anyway and I’d go back home to check — it was still well within the 24 hour period for free cancellation anyway. Outside, I crossed a traffic light near a walking path that sloped downwards by the light and then up again past the intersection, passed a child talking to his mother excitedly about something, then stopped at a bus stop across the road from a large, beautiful temple and admired the leaves falling down and framing the scene.
  • Snippet: Finally, there was a snippet where I was playing a team vs team board game, we were defenders of a multi-tiered realm trying to hold off a vastly superior attacking force played by some other friends. There were six or seven realms/layers in all, and we were stationed at the castle of the leader of the fifth realm, Lord Mindspire. Although we were heavily outnumbered, I learnt that I could stall for time by having my spider character cast a defensive buff that would last long enough for our defenders, controlled by other friends including Satinel, to defeat the invaders. The other defender characters were large white figurines and at least one of them was a dwarf. They all ventured out too far and got slaughtered once the golden aura that was my buff dissipated though, even though I implored them to fall back, but by that time they had slaughtered enough of the attackers that everyone had to wait for a respawn anyway. Our respawn timer was 2 minutes, and the attacker’s respawn time was a little bit faster but they had to move back to the besieged castle. There was still technically a small window near the end of the 2 minutes where I was afraid that they were going to launch an attack, so I stalled for time by emptying a bunch of plushies out onto a nearby cushion (I remember Orson in particular) and then setting them upright on the cushions. There were some little spider toys in there too that I said were my minions.
Oct 26 2023
  • Snippet: There was a physical representation of a data set of some sort that I was looking at with friends, as well as some “external” people or groups who might have wanted parts of it. I could divide a chunk of the data into three similar but not identical portions to temporarily give to those people, and the way that I could tell that it was similar was that they each had an indexing word that was a synonym of the other two words. Punctuation was important too in some way or other.
Oct 27 2023
  • Snippet: One scene took place in some sort of home, there was a set of encyclopedia-like books in a living room area and I was showing someone some entries starting with S at one point. At another point, I showed a couple of guests a map of the house and said that the balcony in the main room by the couches had something in the grooves of the balcony door placed there that was important somehow within the contexts of the dream, I think it marked that our family used that area as a meeting place or some sort of cleansing ritual or safe spot once we arrived home or something.
  • Snippet: I visited a flea market and specifcally a second hand book stall that I had been to in a previous dream. There was a toy stall next to it that was open and the owner looked at me but I didn’t enter that one. The bookshop had all books on sale for 75% off and I told the owner that that seemed a bit too high. But in the end it was mostly romance books that I was uninterested in anyway, no gamebooks except a couple of minor ones from the HeartQuest and AdventureQuest series.
  • In a different dream, we also had some guests over in our house and Kel, Jon, and I were hanging out with them while not really talking much with them. Mom came into our room after the guests left, and I asked Mom if she needed her walker/cane now that she seemed to be walking around fine and she said that her muscle memory had returned. She was trying to set up some device on a shelf in my room and I said that the thing she was setting up could be used as a voice communicator between two rooms if she set up another one downstairs somewhere.
  • Paulene had shared something about me on some new social network and Kel had found it and told me about it. I fumbled around with the app but could not find it, and asked Kel for help. She showed me that I needed to be on server 25 (out of over 50 servers) to see it, but I looked and it said I was already on 25 by default.
  • Later on, I met Zixiang and a mutual female friend for lunch, and he had a loaf of plain bread and a bottle of mineral water and showed it to me. I recoiled in mock horror and inquired why that of all things was his lunch. I said that he should come up with a funny or dramatic story behind it, or maybe some sort of sad story about not being able to afford anything else, to tug on other people’s heartstrings.
  • Editor: HeartQuest is a real life gamebook series, and while AdventureQuest is not, my dream mind was trying to refer to a similar gamebook series to HeartQuest, likely Endless Quest.
Oct 28 2023
  • I was in a game world where there was a large world or zone map divided into four equal parts by mountains that ran diagonally along the long diagonals of the map. There was a Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western land, and a single crossroads in the middle where the mountains met, that gave access to all four zones. The world was mildly desert-themed, and all the roads were bascially sand roads, but there were buses and bicycles and other vehicles travelling along them, though they were somewhat sparse. Every single bus stop was also a quick travel point that I could unlock and then teleport from and to.
  • I started by myself on the south side of the Southern land, which acted as the newbie area. The further north I went in the Southern land, the higher level the monsters were, in general. I levelled up slowly by killing single mobs, but heard of or found a quest to unlock something by killing 10 hordes or groups of monsters.
  • These hordes started appearing on the northern side of the Southern land, and would attack the player together once aggroed, usually in a group of five to seven or so. The lowest level ones I found were level 15 though, so I couldn’t kill them fast enough, and the ones I found would run away and despawn after a little while. There was a group of birds that would fly away, skittish deer that would run away, often into other nearby mobs to aggro them, and a small group of 2-3 sparkly grey camels that glowed with deep purple sparkles when hit and also ran off and despawned after a few seconds.
  • I took a bus north, and went to a dusty, two-storey restaurant near the crossroads itself for lunch. It was about 1:30 pm at that time, and the restaurant was emptying out, both of patrons as well as of tables. There were two stalls sharing one long counter with food for sale that I stepped up to. The left stall had a bowl of tofu and the right store had a large bowl of rice.
  • The proprietress of the left stall chatted me up, wondering first of all if I could speak Chinese. But she started speaking in English and continued on without waiting for an answer, so I also used English. She told me that both stalls were owned by the same owner, and her left side was selling the tofu for 90 cents per tofu, whereas the right side was selling the large bowl of chicken rice for $14 and change. She said because lunchtime was basically over anyway, she would sell me the entire bowl of tofu for $15, then after a few moments, threw in an offer of some more free tofu, and after a few more moments, some free sauce. I started talking about wanting the rice from the other stall instead, and she offered a small bowl of rice on top of everything else for the same price, which I was hoping that she would do, so at that point I accepted her offer and bought the entire tofu bowl (and extras).
  • After lunch, I went out and continued adventuring in the area. There was a three-storey house where a couple and their cat were living in near the crossroads as well, and a friend and I snuck into the house that night. The house was mostly bereft of furniture but there was a bedroom on the top floor where the couple were sleeping, and we snuck up to just outside the bedroom door, opened the door a tiny bit, and beckoned the cat over. We patted the cat for a little while before sneaking gingerly out of the house again.
  • The next morning, I sat on a bus that went through the crossroads into the Northern lands, unlocking a bunch of bus stop teleport points there as I went along. When I alighted, I found some level 7 ruffians bullying a random passerby, so I engaged and easily defeated them. Those counted as a horde for my quest so I was happy. Though I also aggroed a dragonfly in the area which seemed to be very difficult to hit.
  • Dad came into my room in “real life” (outside the game) at that point and wondered where I was, I showed him the world map and how the area I was in looked like the boot shape of Italy on a world map. He wandered over to a nearby arcade machine in the room and started playing it, so I left the room for a bit.
  • Later on, when I continued playing, I had an adventure with Satinel where we killed some mobs around the northern side of the Southern zone and the southern side of the Northern zone. I had a quest to drink a potion at a bus stop or something and then kill any lizard mob within 90 seconds. I tried this a few times and failed, a couple lizards that I tried were non-attackable because they belonged to an NPC who was part of a quest, and another area I tried might have had lizards but also had an angry bipedal lizard who was far above my level and was stalking me, so I bailed out from that area after being chased into a warehouse. Eventually, I teleported around and found some lizards off the west side of the road in the early southern area of the Northern zone, in a desert-like minizone, so I teleported back to the nearest bus stop, drank another potion, and then went in there to slaughter the hapless lizards.
  • At some point, I also was playing AMQ with some of my friends, there were five of us there playing in person so the program automatically divided us into a group of two and a group of three. I ended up in a group with Lightcaller, and we played against Kynji, Satinel, and Jahandar. after a few random mishaps, like a weird spinoff of Seizei Ganbare! Mahou Shoujo Kurumi that we had never even heard of but almost managed to guess anyway when its ending song appeared in the game, our group won by two points, 17 to 15.
Oct 29 2023
  • There was a half fanatic cult, half student group in our University that was basically a secret organization of people whose main activity was wanting to walk on an endless pilgrimage until they collapsed, and part of the dream showcased a scene where some of them lay collapsed in a region that looked like a desert. The group wasn’t very large that I knew of, with perhaps two dozen or so members remaining, and right now most of them were gathered in Southgate Mall, which was apparently somehow physically connected to or nearby the school that we were in as well.
  • A couple of my friends and I had half-joined this cult or student group out of curiosity in the past, though we had never meant for it to be a permanent thing and we now wanted out. Specifically, Huihan and Allen were both there with me, but we all cut ties and walked off to the other side of the mall from the group at the same time. The group didn’t actually allow people to just leave like that though, even though we were always just fringe members who never participated in the group activities. Nonetheless, we tried, with Allen leaving for the bathroom by the food court to hide out there while I went the other way and headed for the mall exit to take a bus home.
  • The group was targetting me in particular because the group leaders were aware of my blog, although they butchered the name of my blog and called it Yuusha Bikki instead of Yuusha Nikki. They were not happy that I had not mentioned any of my group activities in the latest weekly blog post even though I had written out a long account of my week there. I knew that they figured that they could use the blog to locate my whereabouts, and I was also aware that when I had tried something similar in the past, they had used a spy to try to run me over with a car on the way home, so I wanted to be extra careful when crossing the road at a traffic light near the bus stop, and I watched the cars at the intersection for any sudden movements. I also made sure to stand a little bit away from everyone else waiting at the bus stop, just in case. I did end up getting home without further incident.
  • There was a deadline coming up to submit an art draft for some art exhibition that I knew the group was going to be busy preparing for, and I knew that I was safe until that exhibition was over. I even attended an anime stage event at some Anime Expo around this time but found that there weren’t many people there at all.
  • Once that exhibition was over, they sent someone to my apartment as I expected, and when I answered the door, I was wearing a mask that I used to hide my identity in some online stream or some charitable endeavour that I was using. The person at the door grabbed a corner of my mask, and threatened to cut off a plastic sakura flower petal from that corner, saying that they would reveal my identity if I betrayed the organization by not returning to them. I didn’t reply to him right away though and he said that they would give me some time to think it over.
  • The scene then shifted to a detective and his female assistant who were listening in to the conversation as part of an investigation on the cult and the guy. The detective didn’t really care one way or the other about this turn of events as it wasn’t part of their main investigation, but the girl convinced him that I was worth helping out. I wasn’t technically aware of this in person even though I knew that the scene had taken place, but due to this scene I “knew” about it anyway, though either way the plot never concluded.
  • Once the person left my apartment area, I went to a machine in my house and turned it on, which slowly healed me and my mask to full health/hit points again, and then continued healing me and it past full health. Apparently in this world I had a character sheet with stats on it and I was aware that all the stats were just soft caps — each stat had a gauge and a mark on the gauge that signified my soft cap in it, but they could be increased past the mark with things like this machine, except that the further increases were either just temporary or took a much longer time to increase past the soft cap.
  • There was also a flashback to a past memory at some point where I was sitting in a circle and playing a card game with some of the other cult members using regular poker cards.

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