My Diary #128

Dear Tigey,

Do I regret not jumping at the bit back in December and travelling to Singapore? I’d be there now if I had. I don’t know, do I regret it? Is this why I’m watching street food ASMR on Twitch?

Entry #128 (Jan 21 2024)


One thing really nice about having my haircut a couple of weeks ago is that my constant tinnitus attacks are a lot softer in volume now, especially at its peak. When I have a lot of hair on my head from not going to the barber for a while, I’ve noticed that my tinnitus attacks are a lot louder, something about either the weight of the hair or how often it tugs on my scalp or something if I guess. It’s weird.

One of the nice things about keeping an expenses ledger for myself is that I can see interesting trends that I’ve never really thought about before — for example, due to the cold streak last week, I apparently did not go out and thus made no purchase at all from Jan 09 to Jan 15 inclusive. Just survived off of existing supplies for one full week.

I had a much more pleasant week with my upstairs neighbour/s this week, they’re (or one of them is) still there and making noise, but after the cold snap, one of the “passive” sources of noise, a particular creak in the ceiling that I never blamed them for but that always annoyingly happened at night, seems to have been much reduced and almost even vanished completely. I wonder why. I also subscribed this week to the “drown them out with my own noise” philosophy, because I didn’t like being so angry at them like I have been over the past two or three months, and that’s helped quite a bit too. Also despite the much balmier weather this week, compared to last week, it’s still cold at around -15 to -20 Celsius, and a -40 wind chill front swept through Edmonton on Thursday night as well, and I enjoyed the thought of the person upstairs freezing whenever he(?) went out for a smoke.

In that vein, I’ve been watching a lot of Youtube videos and Twitch streams. Some of my favourite Youtube channels so far include Splattercatgaming and AmbiguousAmphibian, while for Twitch streams, I like variety streamers that talk a lot so that I have a lot of background chatter, but whose channels are not too big, and they must be fun and nice and it’s a bonus if they make me laugh at times too. I’m still looking around but so far I’ve been listening in to SoEverdream during the day and Nomakk at night, with a couple of other smaller streamers here and there that I haven’t decided whether they are good or not to lurk with long-term yet. But I still hop channels a lot, trying to find smaller channels to call home, especially since no one is on all the time.

The Twitch channel with street food/cooking ASMR videos that I mentioned in the introduction to this blog post is RoadToMadeiraLIVE, since I know that I will forget this eventually despite tossing this channel a follow. I think it only has a small subset of videos though and even at full volume not nearly all of them are loud enough to drown out the neighbours upstairs with sizzling hot plate noises.

I hadn’t really been on Twitch until the past two weeks or so, but I used to be somewhat active and channel-surfing a couple of years in the past, and cleaned out a bunch of dead channels when I returned this year, while hemming and hawing and wondering what the heck some of these other channels I had followed years prior were.

I also discovered this week that Twitch no longer has a friends feature, so I can no longer spy on friends and what streams they’re watching. Very sad. The feature apparently was depreciated in May 2022, so it’s not like I’ve tried to spy on friends for a long time as well, since I hadn’t noticed that it was gone until now.

I also learnt from a friend this week that YouTube had introduced a new “Ambient Mode” feature recently on videos that everyone was automatically opted into, and that allegedly tended to slow down browsers, especially for people with slower machines. Slow or fast, this was an unnecessary feature and one I’m not interested in giving away any portion of my processing power to, so I disabled it in the video options of any random video.

I also ran into an issue where a program I use a fair amount to bulk manipulate tags on music and video files, Mp3tag, suddenly no longer appeared in the right-click context menu on files and folders in Windows 11 after an update. Not sure if a Windows 11 update or an Mp3tag update caused this. Anyway I did eventually find the solution (local) and I need to write this down here so I can look it up myself in the future when this undoubtably happens again: To fix this, open the command prompt as an administrator, navigate to the Mp3tag folder, and run “regsvr32 Mp3tagShell.dll” to register the context menu again.

The Christmas lights on the trees in the courtyard, including my favourite tree that I can see from my balcony, went dark on Jan 17 2024. How weird that they’re so vigilant this year about removing them. Maybe it’s due to the power grid warnings that we’ve been having the last couple of days. Nonetheless they’re not lit up any more. I haven’t actually gone to the special tall tree (located in front of the rental building) that’s been lit up for the past 4-5 years now though, to see if that one’s lights were completely stripped or if they were just temporarily left off. I can see the smaller ones (located behind the rental building) just fine from my balcony though, and all those lights are gone now, though they were just installed during the Christmas period anyway and were never year-round fixtures.

I went down to the Royal Bank of Canada on Friday to open my First Home Savings Account as a follow-up to the financial conversations I had at the bank two weeks ago, and got roped in for a discussion with a financial advisor and ended up moving some of my money around into my Tax-Free Savings Account as well, which is an investment account that I can park my money in for 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year for a guaranteed return that’s significantly higher than just letting my money sit there. I had set it up many years ago but basically had my savings sitting around, about 25% in that (but uninvested, or something) and 75% in my regular chequing account. I determined that I wouldn’t be buying my house until slightly over 6 months from now, so I agreed to a 6-month investment period, with a return of 4.9% interest instead of 0.9% or whatever I had been earning before, and a maturity date of July 18 2024. I guess I should have been doing this sooner hey. Oh well.

Anyway this way even if I don’t end up buying a house this year somehow, which is very possible considering my 2023 record of things not working out, I’ll have some extra pocket money building up for the future.


I finally beat Hades this week! With my slow and steady one-or-two-games-a-day progress, I had been banging against phase 2 of the final boss for a while now, and with the help of some healing passives, I finally put a dent between his eyesockets with a sword.

It took me 33 tries, without the God Mode setting on, which makes the game easier after deaths or something. I’m still pressing onwards though, since I kind of want to get all the achievements and the game still has a rather long tail of things to do. My second win was with a spear, on attempt #42.

This was also the round I finished the Pierced Butterfly achievement, which requires 15 perfect (no damage taken) combat rooms in one run:

So that was nice. The other weapons are terrible though, except with specific hammer skills that change each weapon’s playstyle, but maybe at this point since I’ve already beaten the final boss, I can turn on that easier mode to grind the achievements. It’s not a game I can play too much of in one sitting, at any rate.

Other games I played this week include ZERO Sievert, Dead Grid, and Project Zomboid, so I guess it was mostly a zombie-oriented week. Satinel and I finished another planet, Taris, in SWTOR as well, so the galactic train there is still slowly chugging along.

I haven’t played the merchant game I bought recently, Merchant of the Six Kingdoms, because they announced last week that achievements were probably coming soon. Looking forward to that, since I like the meta-goals for playing a game and discovering all the content that achievements give me.

Toward the end of the week, I purchased Palworld, which a lot of streamers have been playing but which I have been largely trying to avoid streams of, to avoid too many spoilers (if that’s even a thing), though I watched a couple to get the gist of the game and liked it from there. I don’t come from a strong Pokemon background but I have enjoyed it thus far and hope to spend a good chunk of next week at least on it.

Plushie of the Week #124

This nameless turtle stands out from some of the other riff-raff in our family box of abandoned plushies because he’s coloured like a chameleon that’s knocked over a pot of paint, covered in webs of orange and yellow and blue.

This is one of our few plushies that’s from a random other country that isn’t Singapore or Canada (or to a lesser extent Japan or South Korea where I’ve visited) — this one is apparently from Thailand, and was a gift to Kel from an ex-boyfriend of hers, when he took a trip there. Now it languishes in a box in Canada.


Front/other side:

Tag front/Underside:

Tag back/Backside:

Song of the Week #101

Title: November 91
Artist: The Padres
Album: Night (1997)

The Padres are an indie band from Singapore, who had some modest airplay on the local radio stations during my childhood there. They had three songs that I know of and remember, and that gave me a flood of nostalgia when I found a reference to them in my old song sheets. If I ever go back to Singapore again I should really dig around in some old CD shops and see if I can find old, local CDs that I recognize and remember.

Anyway, two of their songs will just get hyperlinks here: Water and Kiss in the Dark, but the third one (and the one I seem to remember most fondly out of the three) gets a segment here for it and an embedded video below instead. I don’t have specific memories about any of the songs though, just vague memories of doing homework at home and listening to the radio. I don’t think they ever got much market penetration outside of Singapore and maybe the surrounding Southeast Asian region though.

But wow, music that I had long forgotten about. I had pretty much forgotten that I’ve forgotten them! I have no idea what event the title of the song and the chorus about raining forever actually refers to though. Maybe this typhoon?

Writing Prompt of the Week #44

New section time! Let’s see how badly this goes.

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“The first time I drove a car…”

Nope, never driven a car. Except in my dreams for some reason.

“What did you want to change about your home life, and why?”

This is in the context of my young adulthood? I wanted to move out, because I felt (and I think I was mostly correct) that it was a prerequisite to being able to start my gender transition. I did kind of start the transition before I moved out in the end, since I started my gender transition by talking to my doctors in March and April 2011 and moved out in July 2011, but gender transition is a long, long process anyway. And the process of moving out became part and parcel of that, being able to get my independence and privacy so I could start to make my own schedule and order the things I need and live the way I wanted without parents and siblings looking over my shoulder.

It definitely added to the financial pressure at the time though but that pressure wasn’t as high then, things were a lot cheaper than they are now and it was a big positive boost for me in the end to have my own place. I still remember the first couple of nights living here on my own though, lying in bed at night in my proper bedroom and worrying over every little noise that I heard outside. Especially since I didn’t have curtains back then. It was nice to not have a curfew to go to bed though. If I move back in together with my parents (or rather, have them move in with me) once I have a house, I wonder if this will change any.

Memory Snippet of the Week #108

I scanned a number of things this week, and one of the things that I scanned and thought was important enough to also upload to was this, a “Rosyth‘s Health and Fitness Programme” booklet that has a bunch of mildly interesting governmental health guideline information in it and also acts as an archive of my height and weight when I was young, specifically from 1994-1996 when I was a student in Rosyth.

There were other related health/physical fitness booklets too, one for an annual physical test and one for tracking things like vaccinations, but I haven’t scanned those yet. That being said, I don’t actually remember any of these, err.. “tests”, but obviously they happened, and I belatedly appreciate all the data points I now have on my life.

I’m also happy to see that they spelled my favourite Indian rice dish as nasi briyani here — that’s how most of Singapore spells it, even though in the western world they spell it nasi biryani instead.

These are uploaded on, but I wanted to reproduce them here too.

The actual height/weight values were written down on a card slipped into the back booklet:

Jan 15 2024
  • I was in what I believe was an alien game world, although I do not remember seeing any aliens. I orchestrated and led a large escape attempt from an old man’s house, which was a large hospital-like building. the old man was known to me, and may have been represented by Yi Tiu, but I’m not certain on that. The people that escaped with me included friends from Rosyth, like Nicholas, friends from Dunman like Allen and some of the girls, and anime characters like the eldest brother from Yuzuki-san Chi no Yonkyoudai, as well as other random people.
  • The old man didn’t follow us when we escaped the building, but while I wanted to head eastward from the hospital front door, which was on the south end of the building, to get away from it, I was overruled by people who wanted to head along the north road going by the eastern side of the hospital, so we did that instead.
  • This led us to stopping at and then climbing a ladder to a 2nd floor window of a building in the city block north and east across the road from the hospital, while the old man watched us from a window on the northern side of the hospital. Apparently he was satisfied with watching us balefully and did not send any troops to recapture us. The building we stopped at was a rebel base and a freedom fighter was waiting at the top of the ladder, at the second floor window, to give us food and weapons as supplies.
  • A bunch of us picked up guns from this, which held clips with 24 rounds of ammunition. Some people kept the guns and clips apart, some loaded the clip into the gun and then folded the gun itself in half and clipped it on their belt, which apparently made it so that the gun was only “half loaded on both sides”. At least two people duelled each other for fun too.
  • A bit later on, we were on a spaceship escaping the planet, and it was going to be a long trip through space. I had a membership roster board where I could see everyone sorted by age, and there was a separate section at the bottom for children and babies. I noted that our population had dwindled over the past little while even with the new children born and hoped that we would reach our destination soon. There was a sorting error among a couple of the babies that I proceeded to fix, but it caused a bit of a stir because other people thought that I was eliminating or deleting a child when I picked up its token from the board.
  • In the same dream later, we arrived at our destination planet and ended up in a house that was very similar to our Edmonton 4012, although we had an extra door out to the garden. Our entire colony, even the spaceship, which was represented by a large wooden plaque, was holed up inside the house, and we had strangers occasionally visit us asking to join our colony. We would usually accept them. Now and then a hostile visitor appeared as well and we would try to chase them away, defending either from the front door or the side door to the garden. One time I hurriedly waved Nicholas and two others into the side door and into safety before I slammed the door shut in the face of the intruder right behind them.
  • Snippet: I was in the front left seat of a right-hand-drive black minivan that was owned by Dad, he was in a store and had left it running by the side of the road. Jon was in the car’s back seat as a baby as well, I believe. The car began to drift off and down the road, heading onto the main road and toward a highway in the distance, but I had apparently learnt to drive this specific van in a previous dream and so I told myself to keep calm, undid the seatbelt, climbed into the right seat, and steered the car off the main road and into a side lane before it hit the highway. I then hit the brakes and decided to wait right there until Dad came out of the store, since it was still near enough that he would probably see us in the distance once he noticed that the vehicle was not where he had left it before.
  • Snippet: I was playing cards at a saloon bar, there were five wooden stools facing the innkeeper and the 1st, 3rd, and 5th stools were for the three players in the game. I won by 30-something points but apparently Fames held the record with a 50ish points win from several years ago, before the pandemic. I also learnt that after each game, everyone stood up and went to the next game seat on their right, and after two more rounds I was in the rightmost stool at the bar. I mentioned that I had never sat in this seat before because I had usually just played one game and left when I stopped by in the past.
  • Snippet: Finally, there was a scene where I was in someone’s home, and she made dinner with veggies and rice for herself, me, and another girl that was slightly hostile to her, but we were all currently in a truce state. The food was served using an interesting Rube Goldberg machine setup that involved at least a dozen different interactions between objects. I believe either I or the other girl might have been a magical girl as well, but I’m not sure which one. I and one of the other two were also “new students” to the school that we all attended, and I had a slight language advantage over the other girl in terms of getting to know the natives, because I either knew Japanese or Chinese.
Jan 17 2024
  • There was a building, possibly a cable car building, at the top of a hill with lots of zombies inside. It was a place where I went with two others to level up my skills at, with a separate building nearby to buy new skills or upgrade current ones at. For some reason or other the game itself was missing some skills and upgrades that were still Coming Soon though.
  • The other building also had a cafeteria one could order food from, and I saw Mom and Kel there, though Mom was in a different line visible through a window. I stood behind Kel and she said that she liked my shirt, which was a gray shirt with the word Transitions on the front, which one could get from volunteering at UAlberta, though oddly the random girl in front of her in the line was also wearing the same shirt, just of a different colour, which meant that it was from a different year.
Jan 18 2024
  • Three friends and I were taking the train somewhere but the first train that stopped by the second level of the station that we were waiting at was only a one carriage train that stopped further down the platform, and we couldn’t reach it in time before it left. A second, much longer one came immediately after though, as we were still trying to reach the first one, so we stopped and took that one instead.
  • The second train was very crowded and we were separated from each other, with two of us near each other and the other two were also near each other, but the two pairs separated by about half a carriage. We could all still see each other so we tried a pantomime game that went really poorly — one pair tried to act out something but the other pair completely misinterpreted what was being acted out and replied with a pantomime of their own that made no sense.
  • Snippet: There was also a game where I could level up gun skills that I had through a tier system, I think by attacking and killing goats for experience. The skills had multiple upgrade trees/paths but one of them was obviously better than the others because one could upgrade it a lot more times in that tree than the other ones, something like over 10 upgrades compared to 3 or 4 for the other paths.
Jan 19 2024
  • Most of the dream that I remember took place inside a high fantasy world with a parchment game map that looked like something out of Skyrim. There were ruins and points of interest all over, and I stayed in a run-down castle near a river in the middle of the map together with a dwarven apprentice NPC. The dwarf mostly stayed at the castle, although once I met him on a path while I was travelling around the realm and he was glowing and moving at a really high speed as he zoomed past me and in the direction I came from.
  • The game had weapons that one could level up over a hundred times, and stat boosts similar to other fantasy games, for example at one point I met a enchantress on the side of a road, and she bugged out while trying to embrace me as she was hung up against some decorative post on the side of the road, but once she despawned she left me with a pair of tight jeans that gave 48 less strength than the armoured pants that I was wearing but gave dexterity and other stats in return, though I felt that it was out of place for a fantasy world.
  • I remember fighting and defeating a troll who was about 1.5 times my size at one point as well. I was powerful, but there was one drawback, I was slowly decaying from the bottom of my body upwards everytime I swung my weapon, and I needed to find glass shards from a zone the dwarven apprentice told me about that was near my castle to stave this off somehow. I couldn’t find these zones on the map, but I suspected it was one of the ruins to my north or northwest though, alongside the river, since I had not been there yet and thus had not unlocked their names for their map icons. Otherwise, if I decayed all the way until I lost my arms, I would only be a floating, disembodied head and would not be able to attack anything.
  • There was also a real life component outside the game to this dream, though these only exist in the form of snippets. I remember playing this game with Allen and possibly other friends, and I remember being in an unfamiliar house, remotely controlling the computer in the kitchen from my room. Mom and Dad were in the living room watching TV, which was off to the left of the kitchen from my vantage point from my room, and I remember hoping that they didn’t go into the kitchen and see the enchantress when I was meeting her, because she was dressed rather skimpily.
  • I was also visiting or planning to visit Japan, and there were dream snippets about visiting a school and only partially being able to communicate with people there in broken English and broken Japanese, and how that felt tiring. I also boarded a train at one point.
Jan 21 2024
  • While between runs in the game Hades, I was resting up at a hotel overseas with Jon, the two of us tucked in to our separate single-person beds in the room. We were playing AMQ with Heg, who was at a separate hotel in another country, using a technique that I had taught everyone that allowed us to connect to the servers using our laptops and broadcasting the feed to the televisions in the hotel room for higher video quality and audio fidelity.
  • One of the songs that played seemed to be Water by the Padres, which I also thought was weird timing because I only just happened to write about it in my blog that week and there were very few Singapore-centric songs like it in the entirety of AMQ. As the song progressed I think I decided that it was a different song after all though.
  • After the game, I went off to the hotel kitchen, and ended up chatting with a hologram of Milumbar, who was also on a business trip and also currently in a hotel room in yet another entirely separate country that night. He mentioned how he had managed to get his company to reimburse him for not only the plane trip but also the hotel room and his expenses during the trip. I mentioned that we were playing AMQ and I knew that he would be too polite to ask to join us unless I specifically invited him, so I did so while heading back to the bed and my laptop to teach him how to connect to his television.

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