My Diary #124

Dear Tigey,

Why am I over here and not in Japan?

Entry #124 (Dec 24 2023)

Life

I dropped my Discord subscription this week — or rather, I was on a $49.99 Discord Nitro Classic annual plan that I dropped into a $29.99 Discord Nitro Basic annual plan because the Nitro Classic plan wasn’t giving me my money’s worth anymore. The only thing I lose in going from Nitro Classic to Nitro Basic that I used was an animated avatar, I think, and I actually gain the use of animated stickers across servers by this switch too, so it’s even a small net feature profit. There’s also a $99.99 Discord Nitro full-featured annual plan but that’s too pricey.

I’m also likely going to drop my Amazon Prime plan, as I’m not utilizing that to anywhere near its full potential either. I think Twitch Prime is probably the most use I get out of that one, and that “usefulness” is very marginal. I guess all these planned plan drops are part of the effects of rampant inflation and sticker shock going through the economy huh. That one renews in June though, as opposed to the Discord one which renews in late January, so there’s some time still.

In the meantime, Humble Choice already offered me a renewal discount offer on my annual Humble Choice subscription for $99 USD even though I just cancelled it two weeks ago, and even though I still have one monthly credit left. This beats the usual $129 USD cost for the annual package (12 monthly credits), which goes to around $170 CAD. I might just take this deal. This offer expires at the end of the month so I still have the next week to accept it if I want to.

My Ukrainian neighbours upstairs are still insane — early on Tuesday afternoon they were screaming at each other, things like the man yelling “Fuck you!” and the woman yelling “Leave me alone!” for the entire block to hear. What an embarrassment. I reported it to the office with a phone call but as usual they were too understaffed to do anything about it. They also cleaned their apartment 3 times that day — once before the argument in the late morning, once right after the argument at around 1 pm, and then again at around 3 pm. They must be obsessive-compulsive right?

And then on Thursday night we got into a ceiling/floor banging war with each other than went on for over half an hour. That was interesting. It started with them throwing something down onto the floor above like someone was trying to hurt someone else or something. They were throwing things around and slamming the balcony door and gods know what else by the end, and I heard the woman yell the F-word from the balcony out into the night too. I was shaken enough by all this that I dragged a heavy box in front of the inside of my front door for protection that night.

I couldn’t sleep until 3:30 am and was woken up again at 6:15 am by them. I wrote another letter to my rental office reporting all this, fell back asleep until 11 am, rebuffed another offer from the rental office to move the next time a unit opens up, and went about my day after feuding with them in the morning again. When they came home on Friday evening, they immediately stomped about 10 times on the floor above to announce their arrival, and when I replied with two knocks, they proceeded to blast music out at full volume. This didn’t bother me though since it had no bass, and it even masked their noise for a bit, but it’s gonna get them neighbour complaints from their side neighbours. One knock on the ceiling now and then seemed to be enough to drive them into a screaming tantrum and multiple retaliatory stamps on the floor above, which is ludicrous considering how many noise bombs they throw down above my head on a daily basis.

They are so not going to enjoy this holiday season. And not only just by my hand or whatever, right on cue on Saturday morning they were yelling at each other again for gods know what reason now, this is at least the third fight that’s happened this week between them on top of all the other noise they make. I’m not sure I will enjoy the time off either, though I’m going to try despite them. I don’t like doing this to them, and I think most of the discomfort I get from doing this is because I do know on some level that this squabble and knocking on the ceiling is “evil”, like I’m suffering a loss of alignment points or becoming more of a psychopath each time I give in to the feeling of self-righteousness (which is a very dangerous sensation to get addicted to) and pound at the ceiling, but they have long ago crossed lines that cannot be uncrossed. That being said, I have also, up till and through this point, not instigated any knock on the ceiling, not even once. Everything I’ve ever done has been retaliatory for some loud noise they’ve made.

They spent some of Friday night and then Saturday afternoon trying to instigate me, I think, with two new “measures”, one using that loud music as mentioned above and the other being their new response of opening and closing the balcony door something like ten times when I prodded on the ceiling. The former isn’t working, as mentioned, since it annoys their side neighbours more than me and they’re not using something with bass; and even if they do I’ll just play my own music instead. The latter isn’t working either, because they had their door looked over and oiled/fixed by the maintenance staff a couple of weeks ago (to try to alleviate one of my complaints about them using the door 100+ times a day), so ironically it doesn’t make more than a nice swishing “pebbley” noise anymore. They’re not slamming the door shut each time, only wrenching it back and forth.

They must be expending a lot of energy and rage each time to do all this too, which is weird, they’re like petulant children. So that’s the lens I’ve adopted this week to treat all the noises as — there are children upstairs and they’re making noise because no parents are home. I’ve made sure to respond to those two noises as though they bother me though, especially the balcony door one, since I don’t want them to find things that might *actually* bother me. A bored poke at the ceiling every minute or so when they’re in one of their “moods” seems to do wonders, and keep them opening and closing the door continuously for like 30-45 seconds, and in the meantime I’ll happily be playing my games or watching my anime. I’ve made sure not to respond to the noises that annoy me the most recently, as though I can’t hear them at all. Only to the tier 2-3 ones, so as to lead those children down the wrong path.

A lot of my frustration from this drained away when I found better flight prices from Edmonton to Singapore on Saturday this week, at least compared to the past three weeks or so of prices. This was the day after Jon came to my house and asked whether I was still going to Singapore or not, and the same day Kel mentioned over chat that she was herself going to Singapore.. that very night! It’s a lot more tempting to go now than it was two weeks ago since the neighbour issue seems to be escalating, and since I found out that no apartment was available for them to move out to yet. I figure that if I go, I can irritate them until mid-January or so and then get out of there for a couple of months to clear my head while they worry every day when I’m going to strike again. And hopefully they’ll be gone by the time I get back, or strike again I will.

To that end, I will most likely make a final decision by Dec 26 (possibly Dec 25) as to whether I am going in January to Singapore and then to my other planned destinations (Taiwan, Australia, Japan) as well. Basically, I will wait and see if there are any Christmas/Boxing Day sales. If not, I will not go unless I find some miracle last-minute price (or I get too distressed by the children up top). If I don’t, I will push it back at least a month to mid-Feb, or possibly even as late as mid-April, or else just not go anywhere at all this upcoming first half of 2024. This entire process is what I call casting the dice to the wind — letting fate decide if I should do something or not by adding a logical condition/excuse to it.

I replaced my toothbrush this week, the one I brought back from the Kyoto place that I stayed in finally became so worn down (with one side row of the bristles on the toothbrush head basically unusable) that it needed to be replaced. It had a good eight-month run for what was a disposable travel toothbrush. This paragraph is in memoriam of that toothbrush. And celebrating my new one, which has given me a temporary morning and evening mood boost.

Also, I spent a couple hours this week filtering and dragging a bunch of old folders with settings and savegame files and such from my old computer, which I replaced back in mid-September just after I had turned down the chance to go to Japan to study, to my new computer. Sad times. Actually it seems so long ago now that it felt like cleaning out an old closet full of memories. Also I need to get a new external hard drive soon.

I also spent a couple hours this week scanning old Singapore papers to my computer and uploading a couple of them. In particular, My Diary #119’s Memory Snippet of the Week got a power-up as I found and added two documents pertaining to the JSIST program that I took part in back in 1998 and wrote about on that blog post.

I went to the mall on Friday to do some end-of-year grocery shopping, and while grabbing lunch on the way back, I found that all the stalls at the food court were cash-only because whatever payment system everyone was using (apparently Moneris) was down. That was weird. I didn’t have any cash on me so I ended up saving $15 or so on a hypothetical lunch and went home to have some instant noodles instead. Thankfully it was up when I made my grocery purchases about 15 minutes before attempting to buy lunch from the food court!

Oh, and work has finally ended for the year, yay! Despite three (small) last-minute “emergency” tickets that all appeared in the last hour of work (3-4pm) from poorly-organized and panicking people, and that I all handled myself since everyone else was gone. We’re off work (but paid) the entire of next week. Time to find time to do a few things that I never could find the time for, like maybe finally get a haircut. I’ve also just about solidified my main New Year’s resolution for next year, but I’ll leave that for next week as I might find a couple of side things to add on.

I also registered for an online renewal for my provincial identification card this week, in preparation for possibly going abroad, and since who knows how long it will take for me to even finally get the energy and focus to go down to a registry agent and pass the test to get my learner’s licence. I also figured that even if I do get that learner’s to replace this ID card in short order (i.e. two cards count as one’s personal identification card in Alberta, this one that I just renewed as well as the driver’s or learner’s licence), it would be nice to have a backup card anyway, since my current one is expiring soon. To that end, while trying out the online renewal for the card, I also signed up as an organ donor. That is apparently done here (local) and adds some sort of designation onto the ID card. I should also write a will sometime…

Games

Steam‘s Year in Review 2023 came in this week, and mine is linked here with summary pictures here:

That trough in playtime was from when I went to Kyoto. Good times.

I got to level 30 in The Division 2 and finished all the main missions and most of the side missions in the Washington portion of the game. For now the game will sit a bit, there’s still a New York portion that I can play but it’s all a bit too samey right now. I was going to buy some Steam games in the sale, but the issue with the upstairs neighbours rattled me too much and occupied too much of my attention and energy, and I didn’t have much left to get excited by sales or sift through mountains of games looking for cool things to buy and play this week.

Satinel and I continued playing Star Wars: The Old Republic this week. We have finished the second planet, Balmoora, and are partway through the third one, Nar Shaddaa, so far. Even as F2P players (or well, preferred players or whatever they call accounts that have made a purchase in the past), we’re up to level 30 now. Still rolling along in the early game I guess, though the level cap only goes to 60. The game is very grindy and gameplay is a bit of a drag though. We also played a round of Streets of Rogue, which was still lots of fun.

Satinel also finished making a game called Fast Acting Microbes (local) this week, and it started off well as a game where you tried to get high scores by avoiding obstacles and tagging microbes:

It seemed buggy though, there was a transparent Tigey asset that I had given her floating around and that Tigey seemed to eventually break the game so much so it looked nothing like the original premise:

But the game was still playable without too much pain, you just had to use your imagination to fill in the blanks. Her programming power and code skeal levels have really shot up through the roof and it gives me lots of pleasure to call her my friend.

Late in the week, after watching a few YouTube videos by a streamer, CohhCarnage, that I used to play against in ArcheAge while in Steffy‘s guild there, I got a little bit hooked on Kenshi, a game that I had picked up in last year’s summer sale but could never get into. I finally “get it” now though, at least the early game portion of it, and I spent some time unravelling some of its mechanics.

Some of said mechanics turned out to be really stupid though, since skills train up when “used”. Like, to train strength, you mine a bunch of ore and put it in a backpack and walk around back and forth while encumbered. To train thievery, you take a stolen item, go to a safe place, and drop it on the ground, and pick it up again, over and over. Otherwise you have to train it up basically by save scumming. This might be a game better spectated than actually played, in the end. So far it’s pretty fulfilling though, I have a small group of four and a little house with stashed loot from robbing shops in town, and am contemplating starting my own settlement very soon. Robbing shops is funny too, since I only have limited carrying capacity but can transfer items between characters as long as they’re somewhat near each other, so I have my thief in the shop and a teammate waiting innocently outside, and as I loot stuff I “toss it out the window” to the waiting packrat.

Plushie of the Week #120 – Adventure Time Plushie

This thing is from Adventure Time — I barely know what that is itself (Google tells me it’s an animated show) never mind who the character is (apparently he’s called Finn the Human and he’s the main character of the show), so all I know about and think of this plushie is that he’s the “adventure time plushie”.

Apparently Jon got this from the University of Alberta, during one of their Welcome Weeks many years ago when he volunteered for it. Welcome Week is an event at the start of the school year to celebrate the arrival of new freshmen, the poor first years coming right out of high school in most cases into a University landscape about to suck their wallets dry and spit them out into the adult world. But I digress. It was apparantly part of some giveaway or event as part of the larger Welcome Week event, but there were extras sitting in a box at the end of the event, so he rescued one and brought it home. So rather than it languishing in someone else’s box of unloved plushies, it now languishes in our box of moderately loved plushies instead.

Front:

Back:

Tag 1 front:

Tag 1 back:

Tag 2 front:

Tag 2 back/Tag 3 front:

Tag 3 back/Tag 4 front:

Tag 4 back/Tag 5 front:

Tag 5 back:

Song of the Week #97

Title: I Adore Mi Amor
Artist: Color Me Badd
Album: C.M.B. (1991)

While my largest exposure to English songs came in the mid to late 90s, a few early-90s songs crept into my repertoire for one reason or another too, and one such song which reminds me strongly of my childhood is this one, even though I don’t particularly like the song now (it feels kind of slow and dull).

In terms of memories though, this song reminds me of being a mall kid at shopping malls, particularly the two at Tampines MRT back in the late 90s — Tampines Mall and Century Square. And also of Singapore’s shopping/commercial culture in general, which I do miss. I guess I must have heard it over the shopping center’s music PA system one too many times during my more impressionable years or something. It reminds me of having a much smaller worldview and feeling a sense of “exploration” that I really liked. It also reminds me of being a young child at Yishun 799, the first house that I really remember staying in, and Yishun 723, the second one, and that does match up with the time frame when we stayed there.

It reminds me of Mom in particular as well, and specifically it reminds me of sitting at the dinner table in Yishun 799 with a bowl of her dinner soup in front of me, and the big kitchen radio on the table on my right side playing that song. So that scene probably did happen and got burned into my synapses somehow.

The song isn’t one of my favourite songs or anything like that though, it’s never been in my top 100 songs list and never will be, but I like it and get fairly strong nostalgic vibes from it whenever I hear it, so that’s nice. I’ve always thought since I was young that the song lacks an actual chorus though. That it just has a bridge that promises more but leads nowhere.

Writing Prompt of the Week #40

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“My most memorable birthday was…”

I don’t have any birthday memories from childhood. We don’t celebrate birthdays outside of wishing each other a happy birthday on the day itself. So the answer is probably the one two years ago when Satinel made a ridiculous game for me.

She’s still programming games, see the Games section above!

That was pretty much a non-answer, so looking at the next question,

“How did you like to dress as a child? Did you choose your own clothes, or did your parents choose them for you?”

I did have a longing to dress in female clothes, but obviously that was never a thing that I had the privilege of doing because I didn’t understand what being transgendered meant back then, never mind talk to my parents about it. I did occasionally try to crossdress in secret because it felt right, but one thing I never could do was find a female school uniform to dress in. Though I tried — I have vivid memory of looking through the class storeroom in my Primary 4 Rosyth class, which basically felt like an attic full of treasure boxes, trying to see if there were random sets of school uniforms hiding in a box somewhere. There were none. I’ve also mentioned all this in My Diary #050 before.

But hunting around in that room, and the shelves at the back of the classroom itself, both of which were stuffed full of our form teacher Mr Grosse‘s old worksheets and stuff, always gave me a really nice tingling sense of anticipation and hope, like I was a treasure hunter. I remember getting to stay back after school now and then while waiting for Dad to pick me up on his motorcycle, say after the French extracurricular class that I took once a week. And since none of my friends were generally around at that point, I would secret myself away in the classroom, peeking out now and then into the corridor to see if any students or teachers were coming while rifling through the many boxes of papers and games and other paraphernalia in the attached storeroom. And rarely, someone would actually come by and I would have to act innocent or hide until they were gone. Fun times.

That personal childhood demon was finally dispelled when I visited Singapore back in May of 2022 and one of the things I did was to go down to the place that sold our old secondary school (Dunman High) uniforms and pick up a female set for myself though. It’s still collecting dust in a box somewhere, but it made me feel very vindicated and that’s the most important part of having it to me. It’s not the primary school (Rosyth) one, but I didn’t like that one as much anyway.

In general though, I was never interested in guy clothing, and so my parents just picked out simple things for me.

Memory Snippet of the Week #104

There was a picture in a seasonal anime this week, Kusuriya no Hitorigoto, which elicited some memories for me that I wanted to use for this week’s memory snippet. The picture in question, from 12:16 of episode 11, is here:

The two characters are basically sucking nectar out of a flower, though they’re doing it from the back of a flower here. I did something similar to this back in what I believe was Peiying, one of my random memories that hasn’t found a home yet was that sometimes during lunch break, I would wander out into the garden area behind the classrooms, where there was a pond as well as a number of flower bushes, and look for flowers that had recently fallen off the bush. I’d then pick them up, make sure no bugs were on them, and squeeze the pistil of the flower until a drop of whatever nectar it produced came out, at which point I would drink it.

Somehow I survived doing all that as a kid.

I don’t remember what sort of flowers they were, though I think they were shaped similar to these ones, like tulips, though perhaps not that exact flower. The hibiscus also comes to mind as a possible option as to what flower they were.

Another related memory (in that it has to do with flowers, not with sucking nectar) is that when we were living at Yishun 723, we had a couple of orchid pots that were part of our family, I think there was one in a clay pot in our balcony, and one or two outside the front door, above the drain groove in the HDB flat’s common corridor. I don’t think we brought those flowers with us to Tampines 294 when we moved, and I don’t think we had them in Yishun 799 before we moved to Yishun 723 either, so we must have inherited them from the previous owner or something.

I never really cared about any of them back then, I think Mom or Dad watered them now and then and maybe that was it, though Singapore gets so much rain anyway that that might not have been fully necessary. Now it’s become a childhood memory though. I don’t have any flowers myself now, and the closest I’ve been to becoming a horticulturalist was when the rental housing people sent everyone these plants which I quickly sent back to them.

Dreams

In this week, dreams about “terrible upstairs neighbours” and “how to terrorize smokers”, apparently. Also, an ACPMC dream because I recently finished my writeup on it.

Dec 18 2023
  • I was clearing zones in a city in a game, this involved a large game map with various nodes and I would go to each one and defeat whatever was there. After that, I would either replace it with a guard that was around the same level as me, or I would replace it with a sound file that would make it seem like there was a guard there unless someone looked closely at it.
  • There was one specific node with a guy who wanted to marry me, but I disliked him very much and wanted nothing to do with him. I had to hide behind a car while he got into another car in a carpark, and then sidle around the edge of the car as his car drove around that other stationary car while driving out of the carpark, so that he and his friend inside the car would not see me.
Dec 19 2023

Dream 1

  • I was playing some sort of 5v5 team PvP game that involved two teams shooting at each other with the ultimate goal being to invade the opponent’s base and capture their flag. My team of 5 included friends that I knew, whereas the opponent team was random people that I had no idea about. The game was slow and tedious because it was set as a hardmode round with less gold that one could earn and less items in the in-game shop, so everyone only had normal weapons, and not the flashier or weirder weapons that the shop usually sold.
  • Also, I was dead, as Jah had shot me through a tree in the forest that I was hiding behind at some point early on in the round, and the game did not seem to feature respawns so I was in spectator mode for a good chunk of the dream.
  • The rest of my team still seemed to be holding on fine without me though, and I was bored just sitting there watching a firefight with everyone shooting at the other team from behind cover. So after a while, I asked Jah to come over to my corpse and rez me, which he did. Since my team was doing fine without me, and the other team wouldn’t have seen me for over 10 minutes at that point and probably still thought I was dead somewhere, I said that I’d sneak away to try to achieve the objective to win the game since there were only 5 minutes left in the game.
  • I snuck off and entered a building on the way to the enemy base. I could technically have gone all the way to their base to try to capture their flag, but that would set off alarms and a game-wide announcement that their flag was being carried away. But in this building, a sports auditorium/school gym, there were several collectibles littered around the floor as well as a painting hanging on one of the upper corners of the room against the ceiling and walls, and retrieving that painting and bringing it back to base would also give us enough points to win without alerting the opponents until I turned it in. So I looted all those collectibles and hauled that painting back toward base.
  • Jah also came in to the gym to check on me a little bit after I had entered the building though, and I was afraid that that meant that it was likely that the standoff was over and the opponents were also on the move.
  • Snippet: At some point in the dream, Allen was trying to figure out why Yiwen went to a convenience shop on campus and had dried tears on her cheeks when she came out. He was concerned and considered going to another similar shop somewhere not too near the school, so no one would find out, and dropping a few thousand dollars to buy one of everything in the store so he could figure out what item she had eaten that had caused that reaction. However, I eventually figured out that it had nothing to do with the store — rather, Yiwen had watched a sad video involving dolphins in the class just before the lunch break, and had gone into the washroom in that store to wash her face.

Dream 2

  • A school alumni club, I believe with the initials ACPC (which didn’t mean anything in particular except that the AC stood for Alumni Club), was holding a celebration in 2023 to celebrate my win in the ACPMC math competition from 1997 that I had recently written about in my blog. Both my individual exploits and the win by our Singapore team of 4 would be honoured. I was invited to the event and would be seated right up front in the hall.
  • All my friends from the era were invited, although it felt a little bit weird for me since I had since swapped genders. I was slightly worried about shifted pronouns and what people would use. I doubted everyone in the hall knew about that yet. I also felt that it was likely that I would be called up to give a speech or two, and would be passionately talking about my math competition experiences and how fun it was, since there were a lot of younger students there too and I could encourage them to participate in these competitions in that way.
  • I arrived at the hall and checked in at the front desk, which was just a table out in front of the door with Nicholas sitting there as a greeter, handing out brochures with the event schedule on it. I greeted him happily and said that I hadn’t seen him in years. And that even though he didn’t actually get to come along with us, he was definitely part of the team too and to make sure that he came up to the stage with us later when the other 4 of us went up. He smiled at me and nodded, offering me a brochure. I took one of everything to scan later at home.
  • I learnt that the event was organized by one of my secondary school Math teachers, and although I felt like I knew him in my dreams, he doesn’t seem to have been one of my actual secondary school teachers in real life. He did, however, invite Mr Shah, my Primary 6 Math teacher along, and I was delighted that I was going to see him again as well. He told me to expect Mr Shah to show up in his car at some point even though it was a school day. I also learnt that in the prize ceremony portion of the event, we were going to get red packets with money in it as prizes, Chinese New Year style.
  • The schedule said that the entire event was only an hour long, although I expected that I would have to stay and mingle with people after that. That being said, only the first part of the event actually played out in my dream, and that was a 3 vs 3 friendly math tournament on stage, quiz and buzzer style, where five of the contestants were girls and the sixth was a boy named Sakura. The secondary school teacher I was talking to said that they liked the surge in the number of girls participating in the math contests. They were all one or two years behind the grade year that we went to Hong Kong for the ACPMC, so Primary 4-5 or so, and thus were potential competition entrants next year.
Dec 20 2023
  • In the earliest part of my dream that I remembered, I was living in an apartment block and went upstairs to visit the neighbours above me, who were living in a large apartment with a shared open area and something like eight private rooms that were rented out primarily to students, half of them international and half of them local. There was also a family living there that I looked down upon, as they were the cause of large stinking piles of garbage bags that were stored along the wall inside the shared living room of that apartment, though they eventually moved out.
  • Nonetheless, the students in the residence tended to like living there and generally didn’t want to move out, and to achieve that, the group of local students usually took turns doing a thing where one of them would “move out” and then immediately move back in again, since the transient international students couldn’t tell them apart — all the local students, who were white males, looked exactly the same to them.
  • This caused an issue where the international students thought that the shared apartment was really popular, and whenever some of them vacated the place and went home and someone else was scheduled to come in, the roommate who arrived first was always worried that the other roommate would lose their spot because the local side was always full and new residents always moved in within the day that the former residents left.
  • There was also a sideplot about someone wanting to borrow three of my worksheets to copy, although they weren’t for school, they were informational sheets for some sort of external event and had some personal info on them. I didn’t mind him copying it and lent it to him, however when it came time to go home and he still wasn’t done, I said that he could not keep them overnight and I took them home with me. The next day, I returned to wherever we were doing this and lent him the three sheets from my bag again so that he could finish copying them.
  • Later, I went to an airport at 8 am for a flight at noon. I had heard that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes flights didn’t have enough seats and it cost people their paid tickets at times, to the point that affected people would sit down in boxes in front of the airline counter all day in protest once told that there were no more available seats on their plane.
  • Anyway, I wanted to avoid that, so I went nice and early for the flight. I was second in line at the counter, with a black male in front of me and one behind me as well. They were both very jovial although they didn’t know each other, and in the end the one in front embraced the two of us, me and the guy behind me, and the guy behind me embraced both me and the guy in front as well. I was mostly trapped in the middle but leaned into that and gave them both a hug too.
  • The guy in front then faded away into the dream, his turn at the counter assumedly came or something. The square airline staff counter had three staff members attending it, two women seated on chairs at computers in the two corners that were facing the line, and one man on the back right counter that was facing to the side. He didn’t seem to be taking any customers, only the two women in front were. The line was a bit crooked and even though I was the front person in the line at this point, I was actually not directly in front of the counter between the two women as I expected, but off to the side as though I was waiting to be called to the man’s side counter. I adjusted the front of the line to where I expected it to be with the help of the guy behind me, who was now a white Caucasian guy as the black guy had disappeared.
  • Soon after, I was called up to the counter, and attended to by the woman on the near right side. She was wearing a tight leather blouse and skirt and I could see her thong panties peeking out from beneath her skirt and thought it was unsightly. While confirming my flight, we had a friendly chat, and she put a newspaper article in front of me while she worked on her computer. I didn’t read it at first until she indicated that I should because she found it interesting.
  • The article was a large page cutout from The Straits Times, Singapore’s main newspaper, and featured a study showing that airplane ticket prices at the counter was often affected by the perception of the customer from the airline agent, and the price matches were divided into three categories. The first category were stereotypes that caused a ticket price rise, and the largest rise, by up to 50%, was shown to be a worker in leather worker overalls who was clipping his toenails at the counter. The largest fall in prices, also by up to 50%, was a spiritual medium decked out in voodoo-related bling and chanting soft mumbo jumbo under his breath. The hypothesis here was that the airline agents were scared and wanted to get him out of the way as fast as possible. The third category was a discount for students and seniors and similar groups, but it had been cancelled out by pen by someone as airlines no longer offered these discounts.
  • I told the attendant that that was an interesting article and that I should try to present myself in some way as well, perhaps by taking out a laptop and working on some homework at the desk like a student. She laughed at that. I also told her that I was from Singapore too, and she said that that would explain why I looked vaguely familiar to her, since she had lived there for a year or two in the past. All the Singaporean Chinese looked the same to her though, and I fell into that category for her too.
  • She had finished processing my ticket at this point, and asked me if a flight that would end up at my destination, which was Chicago, at 12:20 pm instead of 12:00 pm was fine. I said yes, and that I didn’t have a connecting flight, that location was my final destination and I was going there to meet a friend, Heg, as well as to do some sightseeing.
  • She also asked me if I wanted some seat upgrades. The first class and business class updates were hundreds of dollars more and I rejected those right away, but the premium economy upgrade was only $20 and I thought about that one a little bit. In the end I rejected it though.
  • She then handed my passport back to me and stared blankly at me while I waited expectantly for more. I asked if she could please print out my ticket too and she said oh yes and duly did so, apparently most people just used digital tickets these days but I wanted a copy of it to keep and perhaps scan later. I then took my things and left the counter area.
  • I realized that I had not booked my accommodations in Chicago yet, so once I moved on from the ticket counter, I went to sit down and entered some sort of virtual world where I could see advertisements for local businesses and services in Chicago. It was like a small town square area with flashy signs posted on billboards everywhere. I tried looking for cheap last-minute housing but it was difficult to navigate through all the ads.
  • Much later on, I was on the rooftop of a school, which also doubled as a physical arena for AMQ. Some renovations had apparently been done while I was away on my trip, or at least since the last time I played. The large, square arena was still there but there was now a wall mostly separating it from a rest area to the right.
  • I knew that there used to be a plaque in the rest area where one could check the current score of the game going on as well, but when I went there to check, I found that that area was now sealed off by a balcony. Lined along the inside wall of that right area were posters, each one representing a changelog note for the AMQ game, and I noted that they were spaced so far apart that there weren’t that many spots left — what were they going to do once they ran out of wall space? Make no more changes?
  • The head developer was walking along on the other side of the arena with someone that was new to the game, and the newbie was pointing out irregularities in the colouring of the brick walls that made up the arena. The developer was very pleased with that, and was showering praise to the newbie over the arena loudspeaker for contributing to the development of the game, and gave him some sort of a badge reward that he pulled out of his pocket. Before either of them could see me, I snuck to the exit and descended to the 3rd floor of the building.
  • Even though it was summer holidays, I still had some classes, and while they were not in session at the moment, I wanted to find a quiet room to study in as I felt that I didn’t know anything at all from a couple of my summer classes. The 3rd floor was arranged with rooms all around on the outside of a square corridor that looped around onto itself, and I started just outside my classroom, 3U, on the bottom southeast corner of the square. The room letters went backwards as I went north and counter-clockwise from there, and I passed some rooms on the east and north that were obviously also classrooms, as well as storerooms, a staff room for teachers in the northeast corner, a small but elongated study area with tables and vending machines on the north wing, as well as a couple of computer labs.
  • Although I could have used a classroom, they all felt too big and susceptible to random people walking in at any time. By the time I reached the northwest corner, the room lettering had gone from 3U all the way down to 3C and I still hadn’t found a suitable secret room yet.
Dec 21 2023
  • School had just started up again, although this first Chinese class that I was attending was on the Sunday preceding the actual first day of classes. It was a two hour class or so and I was pretty sure that we were going to watch a movie in class instead of doing any real work. This was a good thing as I remembered that I still had two essays and 5-8 short worksheets to do for the class over summer break that I had completely forgotten about, and I would have to rush them all that night.
  • Although I did get past that Sunday class fine, things kept cropping up that evening that prevented me from actually getting that homework done, and I ended up getting ready for school the next day but still reasonably confident that I could do all those papers while at school before the Chinese class started as I had plotted out the structure and answers for most of the worksheets and papers, I just had to actually write all of it down.
  • Snippet: I could do something to paintings to alter them, in particular I tagged the famous Mona Lisa painting with a modifier at some point which changed the look of the woman on the painting. The effect was reversible, but that is all I remember about this snippet.
Dec 22 2023

Dream 1

  • I was in a room which was divided into thirds by two rows of stacked furniture. I was in the middle segment with about ten to twelve other people, while both side segments each had one person with a gun, a female in the left row and a male in the right one.
  • I had access to a power that turned the world around me into slow-motion, and the girl on the left was a larger threat to me/us, so I used my slow-mo power to make sure that the gun she was wielding was always hidden away from me behind a chair or table leg that was protruding out of the stacked furniture. She wasn’t actually pointing the gun at me, and couldn’t do so due to my power, but everytime she tried to move the gun in the slow-motion field, I moved myself as well so that I could never actually see it, only an outline of it through the furniture’s leg.
  • In the meantime, barring two or three of the other people who were with me, the other ten or so people took down the male on the other side of the room. They then came over to help with the woman. It felt like we were some sort of detective or police group, even though I didn’t know any of them.
  • There was a similar case earlier in the dream as well where I was with a few other people outside a house, and a boss enemy was inside of it. I could partially see the enemy through the wall, specifically I believe I could see his outlines and thus knew his walking path and his current actions, and I used that knowledge to pick an opportune time for us to attack it.
  • There was also some weird snippet about there being an official disc soundtrack of the noises in my dream that had three more noises or actions that I could analyze and use as story/game hooks to react to.

Dream 2

  • My family and I were testing a bus with helicopter rotor blades overhead and a bicycle pedalling mechanism that two people cycled through the air. While it felt lifelike, we also had a save/load game system so we could always rewind time whenever we crashed.
  • It was not difficult to control, but it couldn’t stay still and hover in one spot very well, and when we tried to do so, it just started to fall toward the ground. Someone tried to use some magic item to make it stay afloat but I don’t know that that ever went very well.
  • One of the things we did with the helicopter was to swoop down at smokers to scare them from smoking out in the open. In reality though, when we tried it, we couldn’t really lift the helicopter-bus out of its downward descent quickly enough and it usually just ended up crashing into the ground behind the smoker instead.
  • We rewound a few times and then tried looking for similar YouTube videos to see if someone had made one to explain how to steer this thing better and how much hang time in the air was possible. I found a video about a four-person family bicycle which looked like it had lots of sky places, but when I viewed it, I realized that it was not about the bicycle navigating through the air, rather it was a family in Calgary that had a 4-person bike and used it to visit different highrise buildings in the city while looking for a place to buy.
Dec 23 2023
  • One dream memory I had involved a packed train that was stuck at a train station. I’m not totally sure of all the reasons why the train was stuck, as I believe there were multiple reasons, but one of the reasons was that a bakery at the train station had been delayed in getting its daily stock of bread out and the train couldn’t move until they did. I wandered out of the train and over to the bakery, watching the women place out the bread on the racks.
  • I knew a couple acquaintances on the train had ordered specific kinds of bread, and I asked if they could make those, and the women manning the shop said yes. I said that of the orders I knew were waiting, there was tea bread, coconut bread, and chocolate chip bread. They said they were completely out of coconuts and that order couldn’t be fulfilled. I said okay and maybe the old woman who wanted it might be satisfied with some David’s Tea brand coconut tea instead. I’d have to ask her.
  • Also, there was a train schedule that showed that the train was late to the next three stops, one of them by 15 minutes, one of them by 10 miutes, and one of them was ticking down the last 15 seconds or so before it would be considered late too. The train driver could apparently visit the three of them from first to last or last to first, in that order, and I counselled that he should do it first to last, visiting the one with the longest wait time first and letting the other two wait a little while longer.
  • In another dream memory, I was hanging out with Zian and we met up with another guy who wanted to hang out with her. She said that she was busy today as she was already with me, but she could make time for him tomorrow. I also ended up chatting with that guy a little bit, in both English and Chinese.
  • Some shady-looking older Chinese men rolled up in a car and talked to Zian too, telling her that for a fee, they could make her Science project, which had won a recent award and was being featured in the museum, more visible to visitors. Apparently the museum had a software bug that made projects very difficult to find once they had won an award, and the museum had had no budget to update the software. Zian thought for a while and then said yes to thier proposal, fishing her wallet out of her handbag.
  • Finally, there was a scene where I was in Edmonton 4012 with my family, and a salesman came up to us through the large glass window in the main hall. He was trying to sell us something called directed Internet, which would create an Internet link between two points in the house. Mom and Dad seemed to be expecting this, and I went downstairs to confer with Mom, who was in the toilet but handed Jon a blueprint of the house with some lines drawn on it showing the current Internet flow through the house. Jon was busy so I took the plans and went upstairs to talk to the salesman and explain my parents’ plan.
  • Basically Mom and Dad agreed to his service if he could fulfil a few terms, one of them being that they wanted this directed Internet set up in our guest room downstairs, pointing out to the living room downstairs, as the guest room was a dead WiFi zone. If he could connect it to the main living room downstairs, then the guest room’s WiFi could join up with the main house WiFi from there. He took a look at the plans, and once we figured out what all the lines meant, he said that yes, it was possible.
  • My parents also wanted him to set it up for a week so that we could test it and make sure it was working, before we would agree to any sort of sale. He considered those terms and also said yes. I then asked, from a question written down on the blueprint map, how soon he could set it up, and he said that he could get it done by this Thursday, four days from now.
  • My parents were then headed out in the family car, and they told Jon and I that they had left a bowl of sliced pears in the sink and that we should go eat those fruits. They also invited the salesman to partake in the pears, and he gladly accepted, so the three of us went to the kitchen to eat, the salesman doing so by circling round the outside of the house to the window by the kitchen sink, since we still had not let him into the house.
Dec 24 2023
  • I was part of a group of 7 people, all friends from my main Discord server, who were running some dungeon as a group. The group did not disband when people logged off, so we all just remained in group and even added and made Danethor our tank and leader for fun, even though he had not been online in months. His absence was fine to us and didn’t seem to affect our ability to clear the dungeon. The dungeon involved moving from room to room with a short loading screen between each one once we touched the connecting exit, and triggering some of the exits involved things like crawling under a table to touch the exit with our head.
  • Later, there was a princess getting married in a school auditorium, but I disapproved of this and thus did not attend the wedding even though most other people from around the area did. Plus the dungeon had dirtied my clothes and I couldn’t find a replacement suit or dress and thus didn’t want to attend it while dirty.
  • I stayed outside the auditorium for a bit and then went back into the school building, overhearing some students talk about how boring it was attending classes every day and how they wished that they weren’t NPCs.
  • I also heard the princess speak to her groom through a TV broadcasting the wedding, asking him to go to a military tent outside one of the school building entrances and approving mandate number 11 or something which would start a sidequest that would benefit people. I walked over to the tent myself, hoping to find the quest and do it before they finished their wedding, but was unable to find the sidequest mandate itself.

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