My Diary #123

Dear Tigey,

The end times have arrived, the end times.. of 2023. Whereby everyone is off work and no actual work gets done anywhere.

Entry #123 (Dec 17 2023)

Life

The rental office isn’t available over the weekend, but I called them on Monday to come to my apartment to listen to the noise and they said that no one was available because they were shortstaffed. I called them on Tuesday, and same thing. I emailed the office to complain and they sent some people over after that — two people for five minutes, well over an hour after I made the call, so there was no more noise to be heard anyway. They commented on how silent it was (yes, because you came randomly loooong after I asked you to, when last week it was “call us as soon as you hear the noise and we’ll try to hurry over to catch the noise before it ends”) and tried to convince me that hearing noises from your neighbour upstairs is totally normal and no different from people walking outside in the hallway. Excuse me?

Whatever. I actually found a REALLY effective method this week to lessen my irritation at their noise, which is to turn my computer speakers all the way up. I used to put them on top of my computer tower, which itself was on the floor, and had them facing me, but now I’ve raised them up and put them on top of a few nearby boxes, with the speakers facing upwards so they’re not pointed directly at me. I then turn my computer volume up from 30%, which is a “normal” volume to me, right to 70% or even 100% whenever I hear noises from above. Sometimes even with the balcony door ajar.

In my fantasy, this irritates the Ukrainian couple living above me, as well as possibly the Indian neighbours next to me who always irritate me with their bass noises and weekly parties too. In reality, since I think my speakers don’t produce much if any bass, I think the floor/ceiling and wall is thick enough to absorb most if not all of the noise, but that’s totally fine by me since the louder volume both masks out my upstairs neighbour’s incessant noises and gives me a mixed feeling of vengeance and rebellion, like I’m not supposed to be doing this but no one’s complaining about it. Whenever things get quiet, or I get tired of the loud volume, I turn it down back to 30%, but the moment I hear a noise from above — zoop, the volume roller on my keyboard goes right up again for half an hour or so.

The end result of this is that I went to bed on Tuesday evening feeling none of my usual irritation at all, and didn’t stew for hours in bed before sleep replaying arguments with the rental office over and over in my mind. This continued through the week, and I feel a lot better mentally. Though I did knock lightly on the ceiling a couple times on Saturday night when they had no one to cry to since the rental office was closed.

I put it up on a few nearby boxes because I want to try to not disturb the downstairs neighbour though. I’ve never had an issue with them, obviously. But if I ever find out that one of the two is being annoyed by my “noise”? That would be icing on the cake.

The myNoise website that I used released a blog post (local) this week talking about their new Android app and the development lifecycle behind it and noting that lifetime access to all the soundpacks, current and ongoing, was available for a one-time premium purchase. Although it was pretty expensive ($38 CAD or so), I was happy to do this because I’ve used the website so, sooo much over the past couple of years (and Mom also used it a little on my account while she was stuck in the hospital recuperating) and hadn’t donated recently.

I did run into a weird problem where when trying to purchase it, it said that my Google Rewards/Google Play Store wallet only had 78 cents in it when the Google Rewards app itself said I had $13 or so in it from doing occasional Google surveys, but I found out in the end that toggling it off and then on again as a payment method on the purchase screen, updated the Wallet amount to the correct balance. So in the end it cost me about $25 or so, plus a bunch of lost privacy data points from over the past year.

I have an addon that monitors all the links in my blog, and this week it told me that every single Reddit link was broken, whether the links were truncated, redirected, or full. They all obviously still work, but I guess Reddit blocked whatever method the link monitoring addon is using to monitor links, and they all return 403 Forbidden errors now when accessed by my link checker. A good number of other sites do this too and it’s irritating.

I did some scan uploading and blog updating this week, and also started very gingerly on a long project to categorize and list all my owned gamebooks, currently living across a number of different boxes, into a digital table. That table only exists in Microsoft OneNote right now though.

The week that just ended was my second last week at work for the year, and for a good quarter of the team it was the last week outright, as they’re taking next week, the week before Christmas, off. Everyone at the University gets Christmas to New Year’s off (and as a paid holiday at that). Many people take either the week before or the week after off as well; I prefer the week after off so that’s what I did for this year… errr next year. My boss took both weeks bookending our holiday week off, so this past Friday was a lot of “good job this year!” and “see you next year!” and it already feels like the winter break has arrived since when the cat’s away the mice will come out to play. Just kidding. Poor overworked chap. Hope he enjoys his three weeks off!

Here are some random photos from the week, firstly a couple from Monday of a bird and the sky:

Then two from Wednesday, one of the Christmas tree at nearby Southgate Mall and one of the courtyard below:

And lastly one from Saturday night where it was pouring.. rain! In mid-December!

Everything’s remarkably brown for an Edmonton winter and all the lingering snow on the ground was gone by then.

Games

Satinel and I finished Sniper Elite 5 early this week, at least as much of it as we want to play. This included the entire main campaign and the first DLC‘s campaigns. It had started crashing to desktop and giving us other problems upon launch after we finished the main campaign, and (for me anyway) had an annoying habit of popping open an Epic Games login browser tab asking for me to link up my accounts for cross-play integration purposes even though I had that cross-play option turned off in the game settings, so it was becoming more annoying than it was worth. The game itself was okay, though it kind of felt like they were trying to cash in on the Hitman/Deus Ex playerbase with stupid things like non-lethal bullets and bonuses for keeping people unconscious instead of killing them and hiding bodies in tall grass and boxes.

We then started Star Wars: The Old Republic (local), and we’ve finished the first Empire planet and a bit of the second, and have picked up a couple of companions for our harems. We both apparently had Founder accounts from ages ago and somehow, like in every game we’ve played, she was a little ahead of me in xp again for most of the first two planets. Not sure how that happens. I have a Bounty Hunter and she has an Imperial Agent.

So many little things are paywalled behind the F2P program that SWTOR has, but oddly enough, one thing that is not paywalled (unlike ESO and LotRO, I believe) is an infinite crafting bag that’s shared between all your account alts. That is so nice. We’ve hit level 26 though, and apparently past level 20, non-subscribers start taking an XP penalty on all incoming XP. I feel like this doesn’t really matter though, since all MMOs come with an abundance of XP unless one skips zones or content a lot. Also, we’re going around collecting datacrons on the planets that we’ve been on, and those are account-based, and I’ve found that I’ve collected many of the ones so far already despite not having a high level Empire character. Must have gotten them on my lowbies back when I played it in 2011/2012.

I even bought my first stronghold (it cost all of 12 credits).

I played a bunch of The Division 2 this week, though it wasn’t technically entirely by myself, as Jah came on and randomly joined me once and even took me out to lunch:

I’m up to about level 25 now, out of 30 for the base game and 40 for the expansion.

Plushie of the Week #119 – Keroppi

This week’s plushie is Keroppi the frog, a Sanrio character that I don’t know much about other than he exists and looks weird. I don’t remember the plushie, but we have it, so it was definitely gathered at some point after we came to Edmonton and sometime before I visited my parents in 2022, and that’s all I know of it. So meet Keroppi, who sounds a lot like keropok, the Malay word for cracker (and that Dad loves to eat).

Front:

Back:

Tag 1 front:

Tag 1 back/Tag 2 front (slightly obscured, but I don’t have a better pic):

Tag 2 back:

Song of the Week #96

Title: hectopascal
Artist: Yuuki Tadaka, Minako Kotobuki
Album: Yagate Kimi ni Naru OST (2018)

I watched the anime that this song was from in January of 2019, just after the show ended. I hadn’t started watching seasonal anime at that point yet, with the exception of Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, but this show and a couple others had just finished the season before, and I was watching them in preparation for what eventually would be a long career of watching seasonal animes. I really liked both the main OP and ED from this show, but the ED, this song, especially captured me.

It was a very different sort of bubblegummy melody and song from what I had heard from anime songs up until that point, and for me it still evokes a very “early anime-watching days” sort of feeling, plus a very strong sensation of wandering in the evening through a city, everything blue and purple and with a cool breeze rushing through the streets. Especially as part of a vacation to other exotic cities. Why? I’m not really sure, but it does.

Writing Prompt of the Week #39

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“What was your favourite thing to do in the winter? Tell a specific story about it.”

Singapore had no winters, and most people there have no concept of a changing season or snow at all. The average temperature fluctuates by maybe 2 degrees Celsius year round at most.

I did see snow a couple times during vacation trips when young, both in England as well as Canada, but I don’t have strong memories as to anything that happened then. Instead, the first strong memory I have of snow was when we were in a temporary house, in Edmonton 1929. A friendly Indian family that had also come over from Singapore, and that we had been introduced to as part of our move over, came to play with us as well, and a couple pictures from that time remain:

Those pictures are dated Jan 17 1999. The three of us, along with a couple (2-3) of their kids, were playing in the backyard of that house while our parents and their parents watched on. The backyard was sloped, and so was like a mini hill covered with snow by that time that we could slide down upon. We ended up building a couple of snowmen that took a while to melt, and threw some snowballs around for an hour or so before everyone got bored. I kind of remember missing my friends and thinking that I had traded them for this artificial experience though.

Is it my faovurite experience? No, but it’s the first one and main one that pops to mind when I think of winter, besides staying home. My *ideal* winter day would be spending a day in a mansion with a view overlooking a lake, safely and cozily indoors, reading a book in a large, personal library next to a window.

Memory Snippet of the Week #103

There’s a song or three I remember from my childhood, that I wanted to put in this snippet to track and maybe someday eventually find. Maybe I’ll even use this memory snippet to keep track of songs like this and update it as necessary. The main one though is one that I believe used to play on the Singapore radio, though maybe it was the TV.

It was a song that accompanied a water-saving or hand-washing campaign or something similar, and the stanza that I remember particularly well, which might have been the chorus, went like this:

It’s in your hands,
It’s in your haaands.
Use water wisely,
(and?) It’ll never run dry,
It’s in your haaaands..

etc.

I cannot find a trace of this song, ad, campaign, or jingle around the web. Or at least, Google gives a lot of other irrelevant results when I try.

There are others like the English version of this Nano Nano candy ad (local) that I remember very well — although it’s “lost media” at the moment there’s at least a lot of people acknowledging it, and the Malay version of the ad with the same tune is uploaded on various places around the web, just not the English one. I didn’t find any sort of article or blog post or wiki page or anything about my original song above though, so I gave it one here.

Another song snippet I have from childhood that I never did hunt down was a radio ditty that went as follows:

Radio, celebrates, 60 sound years.
Raaadioooooo ceeeeelebrates
60, 60 sound years.
Raaaaaadioooooooo celebraaaaates
60, 60 sound years.

I can’t find a copy of the song, but I did find this article (local) mentioning it at least.

There’s also a slogan from one of the old radio stations in Singapore, that went like this:

Rise and shine, the day is fine, 90.5 Radio One!

That one was sung as well and nicely included identifying information so I know exactly what it was from, I’m not sure that ditty exists anywhere anymore though. I also did find an article (local) that quotes this one though.

Dreams
Dec 11 2023

Dream 1

  • This dream had a combination of two distinct games, one an outer encompassing game that featured turn-based combat and the second a minigame within the first game that featured short bursts of wave-based real-time gameplay.
  • I don’t actually remember any combat within the first game, but I had a weapon that could change between a bunch of other legendary weapons, including one form where it could launch missiles and tracers at my opponents. I also had a shield which was visually represented by a UI with 6 rows, with two buttons in each row. Each button would turn off the other button in its corresponding row. The shield became boosted and more powerful when all 6 rows either had their left buttons or their right buttons activated at the same time. This was called stacking 6 shields vertically.
  • The second game was launched from within a market that I could visit within the first game. This market was in a large indoor domed hall, and I was in a part of the bottom level specially dedicated to a wet fish market. Hanging a couple dozen metres in the air above the fish market were four glass-walled classrooms belonging to a small school that overlooked the bustling floor below.
  • The game was launched via creating a tiny monster character in a fish tank full of water at one of the stalls. I had been playing the overarching game with Jah, Heg, Phow, and Hobbs, but the first two had become busy and were unable to play the minigame with us at that moment, so the three of us remaining started the game. I believe the game itself was nonetheless solo though, and had the feel of a festival or carnival game to it.
  • When I started the game, the map shifted so I had an overhead view of the market. The market was set up as a rectangular-shaped building, with a path going all the way around the outside perimeter of the stalls, and two more paths cutting across the length of the market floor. Kind of like the Japanese/Chinese character 目, except the two middle lines were parallel with the longer side, not the shorter one.
  • In addition, when the game launched, the first thing that happened was that a general evacuation order was given, which caused all the store vendors and visitors in the game representation of the market to head for the elevators. The classrooms were also given an order to evacuate, first the three classrooms with actual students — 1A, 1B, and 2A, and then the other classroom, 2B, which apparently acted as a cafeteria for the students. There was a single woman in the 2B classroom who was their cafeteria lady, and she was grateful that she was not forgotten in the evacuation order.
  • There were two elevators located in the level, and the object of the game was to guide my monster into one of the elevators and evacuate safely. My monster was a small white furry blob and was invisible. However, it was considered “evil”, and the wave-based gameplay involved “good” enemy guards spawning and patrolling and shooting randomly down the aisles, so I had to constantly dodge and hide from them despite being invisible, as I tried to reach either of the elevators. I largely did this by using the perimeter, as the “good” guards tended to guard the central rows since the two elevators both opened up into them. There were many other little monsters trying to escape at the same time as well, though I wasn’t sure if those were players or NPCs.
  • I also had to carry around a white stake with me, and everytime I picked up the stake and then threw it down again, it formed a white, circular aura on the ground that helped me in some way as long as I remained in it, and that the guards apparently could not notice. I eventually made a break for an elevator, and threw down my stake inside of it, but then was not able to make it in myself due to a guard’s presence, so I watched as the elevator closed its doors (with a few other monsters in front of it) and took off toward the upper level.
  • Without the stake’s protection, I turned from a white furry blob into a red one, and I thought the game was over. However, it did not end, and I shortly thereafter managed to make it into the other elevator by being more daring since I figured I had nothing else to lose anymore. The elevator door closed and I travelled upwards in the elevator with three other little red imps, making it to safety, although the doors opened up by some sort of surface bunker and there was no sign of the other elevator or my white stake.
  • But it counted as a victory nonetheless, and the game ended. We wanted to play again, and Jah returned at this point and asked if the game offered mid-game saves in case he had to pause, and I said that it most likely didn’t, individual games weren’t long enough to justify that feature and it involved real-time wave spawns and possibly other players as well so it would be hard to save. I said that the all-encompassing outer game we were playing, being turn-based, likely did have a save feature though.
  • Tigey had an appearance in the outer game as well at one point, as some sort of 5th player, possibly as a demonstration of how to play the wave-based minigame and get to extraction point.
  • In addition, music video splash screens appeared now and then while I was playing the minigame, with text credits popping up at the bottom of the “screen” announcing the song that was being played, the artist of the song, and the album that it was from. I never heard any actual music though, but the first song I remember was “Humor” by “I Am A Music Video”, from the self-titled album “I Am A Music Video”. The second and third song credits I saw later on were both by “Xiaoto” (or possibly “Siauto”), the second song was called “Devoted” and the third was called “Automatic Paintbrush”.

Dream 2

  • In a second, separate dream later on, I was living in a HDB apartment building that itself was built upwards from a large open area built atop another larger apartment building, or possibly a bunch of other ones. So the lower buildings went up about 14 floors or so, and on the 15th floor was a large, open park area that merged into the side of a hill so part of it was sloped and part of it was level. On top of that hill was the apartment block that I was living in, which was a separate 10 or so storey building that started counting from floor 1 again.
  • It was about noon on that day but Kel had decided to skip school, and she was hanging out with some of her friends on a couch in the park. I was on my way to work, since it didn’t really matter what time I started work, but I felt like skipping that day too. My parents were at home, and I had just helped Mom figure out how to use some technological gadget on the kitchen cabinet before I left, while Dad had recently ordered a device to attach to the TV that would enhance the shows that he watched, except that there were two versions of that expensive device — one that would enhance live TV and one that would enhance TV that was recorded onto VCRs.
  • He had ordered the VCR version, but we had successfully argued with him that that made no sense — he tended not to watch all the shows that he taped on VCR, and we could get DVDs or Blurays of some of those shows anyway if it came to that, but he would use the live TV version every day. He relented and started the process of returning the VCR version of the device in exchange for the live TV one instead.
  • I left for work after that, coming down from the second building and ending up in the park area on the roof of the first building. There was a large Chinese New Year festival going on there, and in between the trees that lined the park were a bunch of stalls and other festival things. I tried to find a good place to take a picture from but was unable to due to all the trees.

Dream 3

  • I don’t really know if this was a separate dream or if it was a snippet attached to the last one, but I had a dream or memory of recovering from some surgery and being stuck in a hospital in 2013 with Athera and Rainbaw and a few other friends that I was playing games with back then, and that we had a DnD game going with the Critical Role gaming crew in a meeting room in the hospital on a daily basis — Matt Mercer was there, as was Marisha Ray, Laura Bailey, Sam Riegel, and probably the others too.
  • The Critical Role crew were recording their games for some sort of radio show at the time, as they had not started their Twitch stream yet, and they had come to play with us as some sort of ongoing charity event, which turned into an actual campaign that took place over a timeline of several real life weeks. It was part of Season 19 of their current ongoing campaign as well, so the main characters had their ongoing, overarching plots and we were playing minor characters that accompanied them for their season. I played a character that was either named Jennelle or Ellyssa.
  • We had a good relationship with them and continued the game for a little while even after I left the hospital and returned home. In the present day, I was shocked that I had forgotten all about this event until today and certain that this event happened since my memory of it was so strong, and I was trying to look for logs on my computer for it to prove it, either from IRC or some other chat program. But I was not sure what keywords to look for to find these precious gaming logs any longer. It was so real and vivid that I woke up feeling very confused.
Dec 12 2023
  • Snippet: All I remember is having a sniper rifle and being able to use it to tag three things on an overhead map to the south of me somehow, that helped prove to others that they separately existed at the same time and that they weren’t the same thing. This was important for some larger reason that I no longer recall.
Dec 13 2023

Dream 1

  • I remember being on the run and hiding inside a motel room, because I had deleted some data from a work client’s account while in another hotel room and had been fired from it and had the authorities pursuing me for that. When I saw the officers closing in on me in this current motel room, from my window several floors up, I had subsequently shot a couple of them with a sniper gun too, compounding my troubles.
  • I remember thinking that I had “no ties left to this world”, and I meant that in the sense that nothing was tying me down to a location so I planned to flee again, but they had figured out my identity due to a credit card swaipe that I had done to buy a drink at my old hotel a couple of weeks ago or something, so even my (pre-transition) name and face were infamous now.
  • I packed my duffel bag and got ready to move again, folding and putting my jacket at the bottom of it and then piling in a few simple essentials after that. There were many ways out of the motel, for example escaping through the vents, and I was considering what route to take when Dad contacted me and said I could escape the cops but that that it was now time to return to his family ninja school and melt away from society there.
  • Snippet: There was some sort of dream memory about having two separate cakes, one of them with some sort of castle log hidden in it or something. Also something about the uniqueness of snowflakes and an ability to freeze time that I don’t remember the context to.

Dream 2

  • Mom was away from the house in some sort of hospital setting again, and Kel and Dad were already with her so she was away from the home as well even though it was only 7 am in the morning as I woke up. I packed up my bags to get ready for school, then took in the mail with six pieces of junk mail overall, then put it on the kitchen table and added a sticky note on the top one, requesting that whoever saw it did not dispose of it until I had time to scan it tonight.
  • As I was about to leave the house, Dad came back and exclaimed that I was up early. I said that I wanted to do my part by taking the bus to school myself so that he could stay with Mom and Kel, but he said that since he was here and I was already ready, he would give me a drive anyway since it was on the way. I agreed and took the offer.
  • On the way down to the apartment lobby, we met someone else who lived on a lower level and drove a bus for a living. He said that rain was coming but that the “bad rain” only generally reached the bottom 7 levels of the apartment block. We said that our apartment was 3 or 4 levels above that. We looked at a map that showed that each floor of the apartment building had a different and unique apartment type, like the person below us actually took up the two floors below us, with all their living floor in a wide area two floors below us and their bedroom being a singular room one floor below us, so their house was shaped like a pear. I wondered if they ever found us noisy while in their bedroom, but they had never complained.
  • Apparently our apartment were two-storey maisonettes, similar to our Yishun 723 homes, and we had one of the better unit types in the building, though the person (two storeys) above us had even nicer homes. Most of the people below the neighbour below us had just single storey apartment flats though.
Dec 15 2023
  • Snippet: There was a person who was able to respawn after being killed/defeated, and I was trying to prove it to someone or a group of people without actually killing the person in question or even really letting them know about it. I don’t remember the context or how I went about doing it, but I remember being complimented for my techniques and for not putting all my eggs in one basket.
Dec 17 2023
  • I was part of a number of students staying at a school overnight. The school building itself was divided into dorms and classrooms and lecture halls and most of the people were inside of the dorms. I had a group of friends, 6 including me, who wanted to play a DnD game overnight, so we went out to look for a room as well. We ended up picking a classroom and moving some tables and chairs around so we sat around a large circular table in the middle of the room, though I worried that we were making too much noise dragging the furniture along the ground and disturbing the people below. It was apparently an empty classroom below us though so we were fine.
  • Of the six students, one of the girls decided not to sit with us in the classroom, and she went off to join some of her friends in another lecture hall instead, lounging in a lying-down position on the stage there. We could still talk with her though, even though she was physically separated from us. The others sat down at the table, with the only two guys in the group on either side of me, and the other two (three including a representation of the girl in the other room) girls opposite from me.
  • We decided to play a group game of Scissors, Paper, Stone to decide who was going to pick their character class first. The guy to my left put out Stone, as did I, and everyone else including the missing girl put out Scissors, so the others were eliminated right off the bat. I then faced off with that guy one on one, and I put out Scissors, whereas he used both hands, one putting out Paper and one putting out Stone. I said that that was illegal, and everyone else agreed and made him do it again. This time he put out Paper and I put out Scissors, barely managing to stop myself from contracting my fingers into a Stone, so I won. He was unhappy about this.
  • Even though I got to pick first, I still wanted to be mindful of what everyone else was going to pick as I knew that most of them already had ideas. The guy I had beaten, for example, wanted to be a mage of some kind. One of the others across the table wanted to be a Bard, which wasn’t even a class that was available but was apparently a Prestige Class that a Rogue could eventually turn into. But the list of classes that I could see didn’t include a list of what Prestige Classes they could turn into, so it was very unhelpful.
  • The rest of the dream was me basically being wishy-washy about considering the different classes. I went back and forth from Mage to Rogue to Sorcerer to Paladin to Cleric but came up with reasons for each one why they didn’t feel right. In the meantime everyone else seemed happy to wait and the girls were chatting gaily with each other, though I apologized now and then that I was taking that long. I wanted to pass and let others pick first but they were not having any of that to begin with, though I think eventually I asked again and said that we should at least do them concurrently and they relented.

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