My Diary #120

Dear Tigey,

This is one of those weeks that I can legitly say that not much happened. I’m also feeling a bit blue, possibly because I was out of the country the last two Octobers/Novembers or so, but not this year. I’m restless.

Entry #120 (Nov 26 2023)

Table of Contents

Treading water near…
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #116
ට  Song of the Week #93
ට  Writing Prompt of the Week #36
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #100
ට  Dreams


It’s probably good that not a whole pile of things happened this week though, since I’ve been trying to cut down on the amount of time I spend on writing these blogs every week. Even for an archivist, the more I type, the less I actually get to go out and experience and do things. Although who am I kidding? I’m not going anywhere and doing anything, especially during late fall/early winter, even if the temperature is really good for this time of year (+3 degrees Celsius on Saturday).

I was very busy this week with work on Friday, as I was covering queue monitor duties since people were away, and there were a bunch of little things that cropped up during the week too. It feels like all my time in any given day has been partitioned up, starting from work the moment I wake up, then once I get off work my timetable transitions right into anime group watch from 4 or 4:30 to 5:30 or 6 pm or so, then we have our daily AMQ games until 7:30 pm or so, then a bit of time set aside for dinner (but often overlapping with AMQ), then games with Satinel until 10 pm or so, then a smidgen of game programming lessons until 11 pm or so, then finally a bit of personal time which usually gets invested on games until midnight or 2am or so until I fall asleep. Then I wake up again the next morning and the cycle repeats.

I like the things I do but I don’t know where to fit in more personal time into that, and I feel like my battery’s draining. I even took Wednesday off work (because I have two more — one now — use it or lose it physical/mental health days before the year is up) and didn’t feel recharged by that at all.

Black Friday was this week, the day after American Thanksgiving Thursday, and I was supposed to look out for things to buy, in particular a vacuum cleaner that I was holding out for Black Friday to decide on. With the chaos at work and then the full schedule of hopping from one thing to the next though, I didn’t get a chance to even touch this until 1 am or so when I finally freed up from things, at which point the Black Friday deals on Amazon had apparently been retagged as Cyber Monday deals (even though they were exactly the same deals) and at which point I also had a massive headache. I did end up buying one, a Shark upright vacuum for $120 or so, $136 after tax, but I didn’t notice that the delivery date was not until next NEXT Tuesday. Oh well, my apartment can remain dirty a while longer, it doesn’t really matter does it.

My neighbours upstairs have still been very noisy, although I have noticed that they try to open and close the door more quietly at night now. They clean their apartment daily though, usually between 1 pm and 3 pm or so, and it drives me nuts. Although they haven’t done it today and it’s nearly 3pm as I’m writing this. And they still open and close their door dozens of times a day so they can go out to the balcony for a smoke. On Thursday, between 2:55 pm and 3:10 pm or so, they opened and closed the door for about 200 times consecutively, and I have no idea what they were doing. It started to sound like they were trying to scrub something or to wear off some rust or something. I complained bitterly to the rental office about that and also eventually brought out the broomstick sans bristle head again (I had not used it in over a week) to pound the ceiling with until they stopped.

Then on Saturday night/Sunday morning, they opened and closed the balcony door all night long, likely because there are two of them and they both took turns waking up and taking regular smoke breaks through the night, to the point where I myself did not get a single wink of sleep that night. I wrote a very politely bitter letter to the management office on Sunday morning and pretty much declared war on my upstairs neighbour. Things are going to be very miserable around here for them unless the management office steps in and they drastically change their habits or move out to another unit.

In happier news, Jah replaced the Shiarapedia database this week after some apparent blog pressure, and now we have a brand new database without any spam on it. Thanks! Now to fill it with our own spam.

I also wanted to book some plane tickets this week but have not been able to do so. The more time I wait the more expensive it’s probably going to get, but I just didn’t have the time. I did get confirmation from my boss that I could take as much time as I wanted overseas though as long as I was working most of the time and had the vacation time to back up the times that I was not working due to travel or events or fatigue. I crooked an eyebrow at this. Even as long as three months? I ventured to ask. Say, January 26tth or so to May 02 or so? He said yes! I don’t know that I actually want to be gone for that long, but it’s an option. I wonder about just booking a one-way ticket there and waiting to book my return trip depending on how I feel. I also haven’t decided for sure but might name the blog series something along the lines of Shifting Sands or Shifting Shores.

I finished my first course this week, the Complete C# 2D Unity Course one. I even got a fancy certificate for it.

There’s still a big jump from being able to follow assignments and do little skill tests to being able to plan out an entire game project from scratch though, even a simple one.

As we now roll toward December, I’m happy to report that my New Year’s Resolution to eat at least one bread/pastry product every 7 calendar days is still rolling along, though it’s just going through the paces at this point since for a good chunk of the year, including these last couple months and the next month, it’s just random pieces of bread from the Safeway near my house or one of the fast food stalls in the mall food court near my house. Not really anything unique or.. exotic or.. interesting. I have thought a little about what (if anything) I want my next year’s resolution task to be, but haven’t decided on anything.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been working on a mini-translation project for an anime called Hikikomari Kyuuketsuki no Monmon, which airs on Saturday morning, and which generally has at least one thing each week that they show in coded symbols without actually translation into Japanese or English for the audience. That intrigued me, so I figured out most of the cipher key in the first couple of episodes and have been translating them for the /r/anime community ever since, but those translations tend to take up a good chunk of my Saturday time that I usually use for blog-writing too. That’s good in a way too though, since it forces me to write these blog entries faster and thus make them a bit shorter.

I did find time early in the week to do some housekeeping on my blog, and as part of that I created a new page for my Table of Contents upload sections, The Memo Bank. It’s blank for now, but things like the MSotW from two weeks ago will go in there once I have the time to compile them properly.

I also finally found the time to finish reading the Alberta Driver’s Handbook, which the written test for one’s Driver’s License is based upon. I haven’t done the practice tests for them yet, but that was a huge manual to somewhat read through over a period of several weeks.

Lastly, apparently Santa Claus is coming to visit again but this time he won’t be roaming up and down the corridors like a lost maniac, he’ll just be at the main office instead.


On the co-op side of things, Satinel and I spent basically the entire week de-Nazifying Europe in Sniper Elite 4. Fun game. I especially like the scouting bits trying to find people through binoculars. We’ve completed the main campaign now and only have a couple more DLC maps to go.

On the personal sides of things, I split my late night gaming time between two games, Backpack Hero and Dysmantle. The former on my desktop, the latter on my Steam Deck, although the former apparently also sort of works on the Steam Deck. I don’t like the controls there though, you have to press up/down/left/right too many times to iterate through things you can do, to get to the thing that you actually want to do or press. Although I still don’t like Backpack Hero’s UI when all is said and done, the game mechanics themselves are solid and I more or less fell in love with it early on in the week once I got used to everything. I am definitely part of the intended audience for inventory management games, and this game does a lot of cool stuff around that concept.

The Steam Autumn Sale started this week, but I haven’t bitten on anything yet. I’ve barely had any time to look through it. There are a few DLCs between a couple of games that I was eyeing, but none of them went on sale this time. There are other full games I am eyeing though, some of them co-op and some of them not, but I haven’t decided to pull the trigger on any of them yet.

Plushie of the Week #116 – Blue Octopus

This nameless blue octopus was brought to us by Kel, who bought it from a store named ActionCity in Singapore for $3.50. That’s about all we know about it, so it’s perfect for a shorter weekly blog! Front:

Back and tag front:

Tag back, with price tag still there:

How nice of it to still have its original price tag!

Song of the Week #93

Title: Adia
Artist: Sarah McLachlan
Album: Surfacing (1997)

Despite being yet another song in the 1996-1998 era of music when I listened heavily to the radio, this song was somewhat significant not only because I really liked it, but also because she was Canadian, and the song came out the same year (1998 — the album came out in 1997 but the single the following year) that we moved to Canada from Singapore, so it sits in a position in my mind that is inextricably linked with our family’s migration as well, and is both a song that I often heard on radio before as well as after coming over to Canada, even though the Wikipedia page for it oddly doesn’t mention it charting in Asia at all. I should really scan the song charts I kept from back then.

I couldn’t explain why at the time, but I also considered this a very “princessy” song, especially with the lines that go “I pull you from your tower, I take away your pain, I’ll show you all the beauty you possess” etc, and the bits about being born innocent.  This aspect of the song was very important to me, even though it would still be another 4 years before I discovered what being transgendered meant. To my younger mind at the time, it evoked a very fantasy fairytale sort of scene in my mind, and I liked it a lot. In addition, this song also strongly reminds me of Mom, though I’m not sure why, I don’t quite have a reason or memory that I can point to for this feeling.

Some of Sarah’s other songs are nice, and most of the rest of them are okay in general, but this one in particular is the one song of hers that I really, really like, and am happy to share here today. I still had no idea what the lyrics meant all this time though, until today when I checked the Wikipedia page above.

Writing Prompt of the Week #36

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“Remember a time when you were looking forward to something for a long time. What was it, and did it live up to your expectations?”

I’m not sure what event would fall into this that I haven’t already talked about, but maybe it would be entering the GEP in the first place, where I studied in from Primary 4 through Secondary 2. I was happy to get out of Peiying after my disaster of a homeroom teacher in Primary 3, and happy to be the first person from my school to head into that programme as well.

Did it hold up to my expectations? I still dream of the people I met there to this day. I was always in the “worst” GEP school (Rosyth, Dunman — by no means bad schools at all, but the other GEP school options were more prestigious) and we were not particularly studious since the more studious ones all went to the “better” schools, but we had a lot of fun and saw and did a lot of clever and interesting things. Even above and beyond moving to Canada, that (being selected to join the programme) was probably the most momentous and fortuitous singular event of my life, even if I heard later on that I absolutely aced the exam and finished top in the nation in the Math one.

The GEP intake process involved two rounds of tests, and I specifically still remember riding pillion on Dad‘s motorcycle as he brought me to one of the local schools somewhere or other for an exam day in their hall, and kind of taking in the moment and hoping that I would succeed. If I am not mistaken the questions were less general knowledge and more critical thinking sort of questions, which were completely up my alley since I loved puzzles and lateral thinking.

That Wikipedia page is also interesting because it talks about the third round of testing after Primary 6 that was discontinued in 2003, which would lead to a secondary entry point to the GEP for students that did well on the nationwide Primary 6 test. We had two students in our secondary school class who came in through that route, Paulene and Gillian, and I’m super happy to have met both and am glad that that aspect of the program was around back then.

Memory Snippet of the Week #100

This is a weird one, but sometime in I believe it was late Primary School, so in the mid-1990s, we had some local Singapore author or something come to our class and try to sell us a book. I don’t know why she was allowed to do that — was it some paid sponsorship thing? — and I don’t remember what the book title was called either, though I know that we bought a copy.

The only thing I do remember is that one of the catchphrases in the book, which the author was describing to us as one of her experiences, was that she was on a plane and there was confusion (because of the Singaporean accent?) between the phrases “Snack on a plane” and “Snake on a plane”, and either she or the stewardess or something that she was talking to, or some random seaterby, mistook the first one for the second one and this caused a kerfuffle of some sort.

It’s been too long, I don’t recall the exact situation. I do remember the two phrases (more or less) though, and I know that I (or my parents) bought the book, as did some other classmates, though I doubt we have it anymore. It was also a very rare event, it’s not like we had authors coming in every month or even every year to try to pitch their book to us, as far as I remember it happened exactly once and that was it, and we were most likely sent home with order forms (for our parents) to fill in if we wanted a copy of the book.

I want to say that either one of the phrases might have also been part of the title of the book.. but I’m not sure. Either way, I can’t for the life of me remember what this book was, or find any sort of information online about it. Female author, circa 1995 (lower bound 1994, upper bound 1998). It has nothing to do with the 2006 movie on Wikipedia and far predates it. Maybe one day I’ll run into this weird book again.

Nov 20 2023
  • Snippet: One snippet I remember was me sitting out in a hallway at a desk and table there, while some people I knew were in a room nearby. I don’t remember what the exact context was or if this was in a school situation or not. At one point Amy came out of the room and walked by though.
  • Snippet: The other snippet I remember was a specific scene where I was planning to organize and chaperone a 30-student trip to Lake Louise near Banff and was discussing what vehicle to take there and whether to get transportation ourselves or charter a bus.
Nov 21 2023
  • After passing through the ticket gates of a train station, a fat policeman stopped and asked to frisk me, possibly since I had tried to put my transit card into a turnstile going the wrong way before I finally figured it out and used a proper gate. He started from my feet upwards and his touch was ticklish so I tried to interfere with him by using my hand to grab his, especially when it went up between my legs and on my thighs. We were locked in a deadlock there for a bit, then I noticed that he seemed to be getting visibly excited about this, sweat was rolling down his face and he was biting on the front of his police uniform which he had pulled up and rolled together and put between his teeth so his fat belly was visible. I pushed him back and looked at him coldly as he lay on the floor panting, his saliva-soaked uniform coming free and covering his belly again, before I moved on to the train.
  • A little later on the actual train itself, I saw him again harassing four girls that were much younger than me, specifically targetting Yuu from Hoshizuku Telepath as he held two fingers up suggestively. She seemed to be way too agreeable toward whatever his demands were. I stepped in between him and them and guided her and the other three to safety.
  • In a separate part of the same dream, I took part in two fighting tournaments located in a room in a school and won both. Both tournaments featured 4 people in 2 one-on-one matches, and both winners would then fight each other in the finals. The choice of weapon included a baseball bat or a wooden stick with a veil covering it. I learnt during the second tournament that there were actually two versions of the wooden stick with veil, one for archer and swordsman classes and one for everyone else, and I belonged to the second category but picked the wrong wooden stick before the organizer gave me the correct one. The veils were completely useless too since they were removed before the fight started anyway.
  • I was overwhelmingly more powerful than anyone there so I easily won both tournemants, but I was suppressing my power so my opponents underestimated me, particularly another girl that I met in the finals of the second tournament who was a bully. I overwhelmed her in under two seconds and her friends were very unhappy about that so the tournament was hastily adjourned after I was declared the winner, and everyone was forced out. Later I went back to help the organizers clean up the room, and saw a pink water bottle cap that looked very much like the one on my milk-bottle-shaped water bottle. I checked that water bottle, which was in my bag, and saw that the lid for that was still tightly attached though and had different grooves engraved in it. There was also a plastic head of an art model on the floor, with hair that looked like Johannes‘, and the organizer mistook that head for an actual person and started to get upset about it before I told him that it was fake.
  • Lastly, before and after the tournaments and even around the train station scenes, I learnt that I could fly/float/hover off the ground by flapping my arms and specifically spreading my palms wide, face-down, as I brought my hands downwards, before balling up my hands into fists again as I brought my hands upwards, to create more drag on the way down and less on the way up. The sensation of moving my arms and hands through the air like this felt very much like it would if I did it in a pool of water in real life. This allowed me to cross my feet beneath me as I floated in midair, or I could let my feet dangle a foot or so off the ground, as I wandered through the streets, up and down corridors, and onto the train, surprising a group of kids at one point and various adults at other points as no one else was able to do it. I also met a humanoid crow at one point who was talking with another girl, and upon looking at the way I was flying, he commented that humans were very inefficient flyers.
Nov 23 2023
  • Snippet: The only thing I remember is someone asking me why I picked him as a starting character in a game because he had some sort of defect that made him have a starting ability score or something lower than everyone else. I think the defect might have been that he had no parents still alive. I didn’t answer him directly but part of the reason was simply that the more different people with unique statistics that I completed the game as, the more unlocks or rewards of some kind I would have.
Nov 24 2023
  • Snippet: I remember a specific scene where I was walking along a dirt path between mountains in a game, and saw the path open up into some meadows where a huge giant was lying asleep on the ground. Next to him, on the edge of the dirt path, was a trap that was stylized as a numbert of moss-covered large manacles lying on the ground. I knew that this was a trap for the giant specifically and that if I woke up the giant and lured him toward me, he would end up captured in the trap.
  • Somehow, this was connected to a larger overall dream where three girls were looking back at their school life either near or just after their graduation, and I had been searching for something in that game/along the valley paths related to that. In that larger overall dream, a couple of us also had invites to different Japanese universities, at least one decent one and one with terrible average grades but a really high pass percentage that seemed to be a “last resort” University.
Nov 25 2023

Dream 1

  • I was in a school and there was a pending kidnapping about to happen but it hadn’t started yet — the two guys involved in it had driven their car into a wide hallway in our school and parked there but they seemed to be waiting on something, as though like a director’s signal to start rolling the cameras. I had been near them when they rolled up, so I might have been a prime target, but due to the wait I was able to freely wander off and decided to head elsewhere into the school.
  • I went to look for a toilet and planned to head for the furthest one from the scene, but I met Daniel at a corner intersection between that wide hallway and another one, and he pointed me to a nearby door with some symbols on it, including a blue cog wheel and a blue droplet of water. He said that behind that door was both a washroom and a water fountain, both of which I had mentioned to him that I was going to visit, and he said to just use those since it had both, and then wondered why anyone would use one further away on purpose. I shrugged and decided to use that one instead as he suggested.

Dream 2

  • Different school scene, this one entirely took place at night, in and around some sort of brightly-lit classroom in a night school. First, we were in a classroom which didn’t have enough seats for everyone, so some of the chairs and tables were just outside the classroom. Zixiang was on one of these tables, and near him was a staff room which was also not big enough for all the teachers that needed to use it, so a couple teachers were seated outside of it, typing away.
  • One of them was typing on a keyboard that was way too loud, and Zixiang had confronted her about it in a previous dream but it was still happening. In this specific scene, I had just arrived at school and classes hadn’t started yet, so I supported Zixiang by standing next to him and smiling to keep the mood calm as he went to talk to the teacher again, who was so absent-minded that she called him Raymond instead of Zixiang and went to stand up and check the thickness of the classroom door to see how sound could travel through it even though he told her that his desk was not actually inside the classroom.
  • Another teacher also came by to deliver a CD with Japanese exam questions on it, and the two teachers exchanged some niceties in Japanese. Both Zixiang and I also added our own to show that we knew how to speak the language as well.
  • Later on, on a different night, I was early and waiting for people to turn up when I decided to go do a nearby game dungeon that we had seen the night before. I entered the temple dungeon and broke open a place of nice-smelling giant onigiri at the start of the dungeon, ending up with 5 circular globs of slime and 5 other projectiles which were hidden inside the onigiri. There were then 10 monsters after that, and I used a golden energy gauntlet attached to one of my hands to pick up and throw a projectile at each monster, defeating all 10.
  • I then found a golden spear, which was the temple’s main artifact, and there was a boss monster to defeat after that. I used my energy gauntlet to hold the spear so it was hovering in the gauntlet without touching it, and thrusted that at the boss monster, which instantly died. Taking the spear with me, I left the temple and went back to class to wait for my friends.
  • Some other person that I didn’t know entered the game zone that our school was in and inquired over a global chat where the temple was, I pointed him to it and told him that I had already run it as no one else was around. He checked my stats and told me that as a healer he could probably take me along to see the place as I wanted but that I probably wouldn’t be able to defeat more than one or two monsters on my own. I repeated that I had already defeated the entire thing and that there was still an hour or so respawn time on it. He finally understood and was a bit sad that he couldn’t run it right away, stating the game developers’ desire to nix horizontal/concurrent group farming in favour of vertical farming over time by placing a 1.5h timer on dungeons before loot would respawn.
  • I did also at some point play an MMO that was themed after Lord of the Rings Online but had a very different map with a cloud castle in the middle, and many high-level zones that were not around the last time we played. I suspected some of our old guild members were still around, perhaps in other guilds now, but no one was online in our guild when I logged in. I wandered around and died a few times but was interested in the new content in general and wanted to come back eventually.
Nov 26 2023
  • A travelling clinic came into the neighbourhood, and I decided to go down and see them. Their clinic was located in an ambulance trailer in a parking lot, and I was second in line when I arrived there, behind a man who was waiting his turn. A small line formed behind me as well. My eyes were pressed shut due to tiredness and I could not open them, but I could still sort of see the nearby surrounding world via some other sense, though it was blurry.
  • The man then left for his turn and I knew that I was first in line, but I could not see when he was done with his turn. I estimated by waiting a couple of minutes and then walking up to one of the wire windows anyway, and the nurse complimented me on my good timing and told me to come through the door into the ambulance, which I did.
  • Once inside, I “saw” a male nurse and two female nurses. I told them that I was too tired to open my eyes, but that I could still more or less see them. I also said that I already had regular prescriptions from the local Safeway pharmacy and could also get seasonal flu injections there if wanted, but I wanted to check what other prescriptions they recommended for me.
  • The male nurse said that he would be happy to prescribe me some vitamins. He namedropped two vitamins with rather long names. I asked if these were naturally occurring and if most people took them, and one of the female nurses said that they were found in peppermint. I went ahh and accepted the prescription offer.
  • However, I was apparently communicating with the nurse via a phone even though I was physically inside the trailer, and while giving my affirmation, I said something like thanks and bye in advance, and she hung up on me. The other two nurses were surprised since I was still obviously standing right there and waiting for the prescription, then laughed and said that it was instinct on her part because I said the word bye, and that she was so efficient that had already entered my session into the completed call log as well before she realized anything.

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