My Diary #132

Dear Tigey,

This week, I washed the little pink bag that you sit on at home. Now that thing doesn’t have residual stink from travel too!

Entry #132 (Feb 18 2024)

Life

Here are some pictures of the food I brought back home from the Chinese New Year visit to the parents’ place last weekend. Firstly, some rice, nasi briyani/nasi biryani, that our Indian family friends dropped off in a surprise visit:

Yum. Then, some Chinese New Year snacks — pineapple tarts from Singapore, shrimp roll things, bak kwa (one pack spicy and one pack not), and some random biscuit things that I don’t know the name of. The pineapple tarts are one of my favourite things, and lasted me one full week. Yum. Although I think the Chinese stores here sell them too.

.

Here are two red packets that I brought back from my parents. They’re unopened.

Actually I have red packets from something like 10 years ago that are still unopened, I think. I just put them all in a box instead of opening them and retrieving the money as I should. One day I’ll do that all at once and suddenly be really rich. I have no idea who Vivienne Tam is, but the website linked on the back of that one envelope is long gone. There’s a 2008 link on the Internet Archive though. How odd.

Kel left back to China on Valentine’s Day, though I believe she said that she’ll probably visit again in the middle of the year, during the next school holiday. Looking forward to that.

I spent some time this week backing up some of my Discord servers and chats with Discord Chat Exporter, something I had done a bit of back in September 2023. I’ve only backed up some of my more important or quiet chats/servers, rather than every single server I’m in, but the nice thing about it is that I can select a “from” date as well, so for the servers that I had already backed up the last time, I could just do an incremental backup starting from that time until now.

This week, while chatting on a Twitch channel that I actively follow and visit, I mentioned that I had gotten some gift subs for channels that I had only ever briefly lurked on last week. From that chat, I learnt that there was a Twitch setting for turning off gift subscriptions from channels that I don’t follow. I turned that setting on:

I’m not sure why that isn’t on by default, apparently by default gift subs that you donate to a channel can go to anyone who’s visited the channel recently. That’s very strange. But anyway this didn’t actually help my case because the random channels that I had received gift subs too recently (for this channel and this channel, for the record) were channels that I did follow anyway, but had not spent a ton of time on, nor had I ever spoken in any of them. I just currently follow interesting things to see when they’re online and what they are playing. It seems like a waste to get gift subs to channels like that when I’m largely still looking at them from a distance and haven’t gotten myself involved in their communities yet.

I remember back when Twitch launched, there was an option for the first couple years of its service that would let you hide your channel from the channel lists, and thus effectively have a private channel that one could only directly access via URL, since no one could find it in the directory search. I remember that they removed that option at some point, and then made it so those channels that were already private could remain private, but if they toggled their setting to public, then that was a one-way change and they could never toggle the channel back to private again. I wonder if there are still private channels out there to this day or if they’ve since forced all the stragglers over to public channels.

From that, I was also tangentially curious what date my Twitch account was created on. Apparently you can find that out by typing /user <username> in any chat, it pops open an overlay in the chat that gives you information about the user (yourself or whoever else). Mine was created on Nov 24 2011.

That’s so long ago. Jahandar‘s was even older, his was created Feb 04 2010, back when dinosaurs roamed the world. My dizzypixie account was named after a character named Dizzy Pixie that I had in a game called Glitch, by Tiny Speck, a web game by the company that made the chat platform Slack, before they made Slack. They eventually closed it down and I was sad about that, though I did pledge for a commemorative tie-in artbook called The Art of Glitch on Indiegogo shortly after it ended.

Talking about things created in 2010, I logged onto an old email address this week and saw this spam:

Photobucket is such a piece of junk site now. This account was created in May 2010, never really used as far as I know (it wasn’t my main account, which I’ve since downloaded everything from and deleted), and then they’ve just been spamming my email since August 2023, saying my account has gone inactive and threatening imminent deletion for months now. Shut the hell up and fade into the wastebasket of capitalism already, Photobucket.

I also changed my 2-factor authentication program this week, away from Twilio Authy (local) and over to 2FAS (local). The impetus for this was an email from Authy saying that they were retiring their desktop app (local). Sure I could have moved to their mobile app like they wanted me to, but I didn’t appreciate being jerked around like that, so I moved to another competitor’s mobile app instead. Plus Jahandar had recently moved from Authy over to 2FAS and liked it, so who am I to argue with him? I only had a couple of apps to move over so it took less than ten minutes or so to do. It took about as much time to write up this paragraph and backup and upload all those hyperlinks above.

I bought a little tray of peeled garlic while I was at the Chinese supermarket near the end of last week, and I’ve been spending the week chopping up and putting one clove of garlic into almost every meal I’ve made this week. Yum! I still have probably about a hundred cloves to go and its great.

I continued fighting with my upstairs neighbours this week, but I reached a point with myself on Friday night (or Saturday morning) where I made peace with my apartment and decided that I’m going to talk to the rental office sometime at some point, possibly over the next week, to see if I can still accept their offer to move out of this apartment and into another nearby one for the rest of my lease, assuming the upstairs neighbour still isn’t moving anytime soon. I figure I can actually use this as a dry run for eventually moving out of here to somewhere else, not only in terms of figuring out the logistics of packing up and moving (which I’ve largely already done from my aborted study abroad trip to Japan, but never have actually put into motion), but also so I can figure out things like mail and documentation that I need to update, while still being the same administrative area of the apartment complex so that I can access the old apartment for a while if needed. Plus now that I’m open to the idea, I’m kind of excited about potentially getting to see some new scenery for a few months.

I will likely at least float the idea next week, although with how hostile and incompetent the rental office has been in regards to our dispute, and how demand for rental units have spiked recently, I’m not sure how that conversation will go, nor if they even have many options (or even care) to move either me or the moron above me around, so I’m guessing it’s going to be at least until the end of the month if not beyond before anything can happen even if I volunteer for this “free” relocation. But at least due to this plan of action, while I was very upset on Friday before my decision, when we fought all afternoon and night for the umpteenth day in a row, I was very smug by the time Saturday rolled around even though we continued fighting (via prodding the ceiling or floor). At least, I felt free because I had a plan of action so I no longer felt trapped.

I also realized on Saturday that my computer sound could go even higher than maximum as long as I opened up my Realtek Audio Console panel in Windows 11 and then turned on Loudness Equalization. This was also a godsend because despite being at 100% computer volume level, I could actually still hear thumping and dragging noises from the neighbours upstairs under certain configurations of white noise and/or Twitch channels, and it always felt like there was an artificial limiter in the way for the sound. Now I can turn it up several decibels more when they’re annoying me, like when they came home on Saturday and seemed to start throwing furniture around the room.

On Saturday morning, I took a walk down to the local Safeway shortly after it opened at 7am, because it’s been a while since a morning jaunt to the supermarket, and I like how everything looks different in the morning. The parking lots (and aisles) were empty, and the sky was beautiful:

At the checkout of the grocery store, I let an old lady on a walker go ahead on me because she only had two bags of chips, whereas I had a basket of victims for my next few dinners. She mentioned apologetically that she wasn’t sure if she had enough money in her purse for the chips, and it turned out that she indeed didn’t once the cashier had rung up the two items and she had emptied out her purse on the counter. She only had a bit over $4 whereas the two bags of chips cost $9. Highway robbery it was. I offered to pay the balance for her though and she was thankful for that. It was then that I discovered (though it makes sense in hindsight) that the cash register can easily split the total bill between cash and credit card.

Kynji sent Tigey a new plushie for his army, this arrived on Saturday and will be Plushie of the Week next week, since I had already written up this week’s one. Thanks Kynji! The poor guy was left outside the door in a wrapped-up package and I only found it waiting for me while I went outside to get laundry. How rude of Amazon.

Quintopia, a friend who I had met at SGDQ in 2017 and had stayed in touch with online ever since, mentioned in chat this week that he wanted to visit Japan in late April/early May (with someone else — possibly his mother, whom I know works as a travel agent, but I’m not sure and did not confirm), and he wanted to see if he could get tickets to a Bocchi the Rock! Kessoku Band music event in something called the Japan Jam Festival. He casually invited me along to that and I said that I’d be interested if he could figure out the tickets around that event. We didn’t make any firm plans, but that could be interesting.

Lastly, here’s a couple of people seated on the bench in the middle of the courtyard at 6pm in the evening last Sunday:

I had the picture floating around in my camera roll so I uploaded it.

Games

A good chunk of the week was spent playing Yakuza 0 — while I still think I won’t be 100%ing this game because some of the goals are very annoying, I did complete some rather time-consuming minigames and activities this week, including Bowling, the Telephone Club, Pocket Circuit Racing, the Real Estate Royale, and the Japan Catfight Club, the latter of which governs the 4th rarest Yakuza 0 achievement on Steam.

The last one, a Scissors Paper Stone style minigame, is weird — a lot of Internet guides say there isn’t any strategy to it other than picking one of the two girls with the highest stats, Jennifer or Momoko, based on the ticker at the bottom which would sometimes say a girl was having a good or bad day. This won’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t actually tried out the minigame, but I found that my winning strategy involved ignoring the ticker altogether, and picking the one girl out of the top 3 (Jennifer, Momoko, and Francisca) who was not facing either of the other two until the final due to the random tournament bracket, and I actually liked Francisca a lot as a pick because she seemed to have a lengthier button mash segment during her Rainbow attacks, to the point that she could oneshot an opponent from full health once I set up a button mashing script for it, even though the community barely even mentions her as a viable option.

So in the end, I downloaded AutoHotKey (local) and put together this script by copying other people’s tutorials around the web:

$F1::
    GoSub, AutoFire
return

AutoFire:
    Send, {e DOWN}
    sleep 5
    Send, {e UP}
    if GetKeyState(“F1”, “P”)
       SetTimer, AutoFire, -10
return

$F2::
    GoSub, AutoFire2
return

AutoFire2:
    Send, {q DOWN}
    sleep 5
    Send, {q UP}
    if GetKeyState(“F2”, “P”)
       SetTimer, AutoFire2, -10
return

Even though I use a controller, this made it so F1 spammed the E key, which came into play when the Scissors Paper Stone minigame resulted in a draw (half the draws are unwinnable anyway but the other half can be won if you can mash the key fast enough), and F2 spammed the Q key, which dramatically increased my attack during my character’s Rainbow attacks. And Francisca seemed to have a deadlier Rainbow attack than the other two top characters, because she’d get a double mash phase sometimes (especially when she won with a Rainbow Scissors) and that let me oneshot an opponent from full health to 0 in one go now and then. And I didn’t have to ruin my controller or my fingers for this.

It took me about 6-7 hours to get this achievement, which requires 10 tourmanent victories, while running back and forth between this and the Real Estate minigame (and its associated tedium/battles), but I only set up the autohotkey script in the last 2-3 hours, and got my remaining six victories fairly quickly after that. And I was at least reaching the finals in about 75-80% of my games, even if I lost there. I ended up with about 4-5 wins each with both Jennifer and Francisca, with the remainder 1-2 from Momoko. And all of Francisca’s wins came after I set up the script above.

Outside of rampaging yakuza, I picked up and Against the Storm on sale and played it a bunch in the latter part of this week. This was a purchase that I’d been planning for a couple of weeks now from watching people stream it and from barely passing on it during the last Steam sale. I like the gameplay loop of doing the early setup of a colony, and then abandoning it to move on to a new one once a certain maturity threshold is reached, instead of being mired down in late-game tedium as happens in colony sims a lot. This also seems to match my philosophy or drive in playing games in general, so I’m sure we’ll be good friends until I reach midgame with it.

I also continued playing Hades, and am exploring the post-main-storyline content now, which includes a few tantalizing stories that I have not unlocked and completed yet. I have decided that the god boon I covet the most by far is the one from Hermes that lets me Dash additional times. In second place is the one from Athena that lets my Attacks (though sometimes on certain weapons this is replaced by Specials, and the Dash version is often fine too) deflect enemy projectiles. Third would be Artemis’ boon that fires a seeking arrow after every successful Atttack or Special or Cast.

Satinel and I also played our usual two SWTOR days this week, and we finished Belsavis, the prison colony planet, and are some ways into Voss now. Satinel hit the level 60 level cap just as we ended our second of two weekly play sessions on Thursday, from one last bit of exploration xp that she got as we flew into a new quest hub. She ended up 610k xp ahead of me somehow.

Plushie of the Week #128 – Persimmons

Yet another thing I brought back from my parents’ place this last weekend, Feb 11 2024, was a new plushie — or rather, a set of three permissions attached together on a keychain. They were a gift from Kel, and they came with Miniso tags, mostly in Chinese — I assume it’s from a Miniso in China and not from the ones in Canada. They apprently cost RMB 29.9, or about $5.64 Canadian dollars as per Google, as of today.

I don’t have names for these three yet, they’ll probably end up being either something weird like Per, Simm, and Ons, or Percy, Simon, and.. Monsper? Or maybe Persimmon A, Persimmon B, and Persimmon C?

Anyway, plushies front:

Back:

Tag 1 front:

Tag 1 back:

Tag 2 front:

Tag 2 back:

Tag 3 front:

Tag 3 back:

Tag 3 says “好柿连连”, which is a pun on “好事连连“, or Hao Shi Lian Lian. This means that good things come one after another. The “Shi” in the phrase, the second word, which normally means “things”, is replaced with the “Shi” as in “persimmions” here though, so the phrase at face value means good persimmons will come one after another.

Song of the Week #105

Title: We’re All Alone
Artist: Rita Coolidge
Album: Anytime…Anywhere (1977)

I like this song very much. I’ve also cried to it before, I know that for certain, although I’m not sure exactly when or under what circumstance. The song itself reminds me of my USA trip in Oct-Nov 2021, particularly the time I spent in New York, although I don’t really know why specifically. It was a song I hummed to myself during the trip to keep pushing me onwards though, alone but free as I explored that little corner of the world. The song also contains wind and rain motifs through its entire body of lyrics, both of which are things that please me very much. Especially the former, for I am a creature of the wind.

The attached music video is interesting too, as someone apparently edited and compiled it together using some footage from BBC Four, but it seems that *that* original source video has since been taken off of YouTube altogether. So I snatched this one and backed it up locally just in case.

Writing Prompt of the Week #48

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“Describe your physical appearance as a teenager. How aware were you of how you looked, and how did you feel about your body?”

This question is partly redundant, partly unanswerable, and partly not something I need or want to answer for obvious reasons. I was normal, slightly on the thin side, with short hair and plastic glasses, and I didn’t like my body without knowing exactly why.

“Write down everything you remember about your first day of high school.”

I remember next to nothing about that day. The one thing I do remember is sitting in the classroom and noting where my friends were and looking at the new people that I had never met before. I knew that it usually took me a couple of months before I feel comfortable around a new group of people, but having some pre-existing friends (and us being the largest existing friend/acquaintance group) definitely helped with that, at least for me, since I think I was decently good friends with everyone in my class within a couple of months.

It helped that our seats got rotated around basically every week, away from the solo tables of the first week into little table islands of three to four people. I think that was a great experiment (by our form teacher, Mrs Shu) and a large reason why we were largely able to gel fairly quickly, since there was quite a bit of work that we did in our little table groups across various classes.

I’ve covered these table islands and our seating arrangements before in a previous Memory Segment of the Week though, including the picture of our class seating arrangement on the very first day of high school. Those were located back in My Diary #040.

Memory Snippet of the Week #112

I found a somewhat interesting stack of papers a couple of weeks ago, and mentioned that I would upload a few other things from it soon. One of the other things I did find was a small collection of consent forms dated 1998 from my secondary school, Dunman High. These were forms that a student’s parent or guardian needed to sign and return to allow them to attend school-related events. These are valuable because they mention said events, many of which I’ve long forgotten, as well as the dates that these events took place on, and in some cases drops teacher names as well.

A couple of these consent forms link up to events that I’ve already previously talked about and uploaded other scans for. For example, this Astronomy Camp and Quiz one from August 06-07 1998 that’s linked to this previous post:

This “every Wednesday” JSIST one, likely from 1998, which I added to My Diary #119:

This Math Enrichment Camp one for March 19-21 1998, which I added to this page:

And then these other ones which are not linked to anything else that I’ve uploaded yet:

This Drama Centre (wherever that was, I feel like that wasn’t its full name) one from March 09 1998:

This NACLI, or National Community Leadership Initiative, one from May 25-27 1998:

This Singapore Science Centre one for an Omnimax Movie show from May 28 1998:

This “MSG Trail” event at Pulau Ubin on May 30 1998, a small island just off the coast of Singapore (that’s still considered part of the country):

This tour to the Singapore Art Museum on July 16 1998:

And this field trip to the Singapore Zoological Gardens on September 03 1998:

Usually we’d get the form handed out to us about a week before the actual event, and would have to bring the signed form back (along with any money, if required) over the course of the next week to our form teacher. I wonder why we kept these, but I’m very glad we did, and I wish I had more of them to show.

Dreams
Feb 12 2024
  • There was a real estate minigame where I was buying up little properties but needed helper NPCs to help me with buying them. I could apparently do three or four at a time, and there was an NPC that I could assign to odd-numbered trasnsactions and one that I could assign to even-numbered ones. The odd one could be levelled by just using them, but I couldn’t figure out how to level the even one at first. I eventually figured it out though, and it was something about using cute shirt buttons as an accessory along with the NPC for every transaction. Otherwise it would only gain experience in one out of every five transactions or so.
  • Later, I was on an MRT train with Dad, we were heading toward Tampines but were on an alternate line that we figured out, with the help of another of the passengers on the train, would not quite reach Tampines. It would reach Tanah Merah though, which was just two stops away from Tampines, and we figured we’d just transfer to another train once the train arrived at that station.
  • As the train was reaching the station though, one of the other passengers borrowed Tigey from me and put him on the floor, using him as bait to lure over a bug, possibly a stick insect, that was crawling around. The passenger then started to use a number of twigs to try to trap the bug, and Tigey, against the wall by propping up the sticks diagonally against the wall so they leaned over top of Tigey and the bug. I said that I needed Tigey back before we could leave the train though.
  • Snippet: Much later, there was something about being in an inner classroom with several other people late at night. The inner classroom was only reachable by walking through other outer classrooms, and there was a knock on the door of one of the outer classrooms. A dog that was with us went up to the door to try to open it, but we figured out that it was a ghost of some sort knocking and we all fled into the inner classroom before the door fully opened.
Feb 16 2024
  • Snippet: I was in a room waiting for some results of a game or contest to be announced by some judges. Waison was there, as an organizer or judge, and he was talking my ear off and seemingly refusing to take a hint that I wasn’t interested in talking. I eventually avoided him by ducking into a side room to undergo a doctor’s checkup from another guy that I knew. He still followed me to the doorwy while chatting but I eventually managed to close the door on him despite the doctor not really wanting me to do that. He didn’t insist too hard though. I looked on my arm for some sort of germ storage or something that I wanted to show him so that he could dispose of them, but I couldn’t figure out where exactly (on my body) I had kept that storage.
  • Snippet: Later on, I joined a 4 vs 4 capture the point game where I was not maximum level, but I was grouped with 3 other players who were maximum level (level 50), but they were not really playing the game as the 4 players on the other team, none of whom were maximum level, were far more motivated then them and were spawn camping us and killing us for points. However, we had apparently captured the flag first, and capturing the control point was worth 50 points, whereas the overall objective of the game was to reach 100 points. A team got one point per kill, so they had recaptured the control point after us and then proceeded to farm us to the point that they were leading 90-50 or so by the time I joined, assumedly because the original 4th player on their team left early. I took advantage of this lacklustre play by my team though, going invisible and sneaking away behind everyone else to retake the control point, earning another 50 points so that we won 100-90.
  • Snippet: I also remember helping someone with their trip planning at some point. They had a sheet of paper with a grid on it and prices for flights from Edmonton to Singapore through various airports, and I told them that I had found good prices for a flight route through Vancouver for April, which would cost just under $700. It looked like he had also already found that price point and had it down as the first column on his grid, however.
Feb 17 2024
  • I dreamt of a game mechanic involving quest objective cards with three phases, where each card had an objective listed on it, often involving a certain condition or state that had to be fulfilled. Once this was fulfilled, the card would rotate around its long axis to show a new objective on its reverse side, which would be the next phase of the objective card. This would then repeat one more time once it was fulfilled again, to show a third, harder objective as its final phase. Once that was completed as well, the objective card would then be fully complete.
  • There was also a UI screen in the game that showed all the pending objective cards for the player, each one listed in a rectangular bar across the width of the game screen with a progress bar. The bars were stacked on top of each other, and were divided into three and filled in depending on which phase that specific objective card was on, just below it, with all the 3/3 completed card bars sorted to the top of the list, followed by the 2/3, 1/3, and then empty bars below that in order.
  • Editor: This had slight shades of Against the Storm, which I had been playing the previous evening, but neither the three objective phases nor the UI was part of the game, just the general idea of fulfilling game states. The overall game might have been a colony management system similar to Against the Storm though.
Feb 18 2024
  • Jon and I were walking around a University campus, while carrying around some things in a bag that we were working on in some way — I don’t remember exactly what these things were or what we were doing. We ran across a small door without a handle set into the wall, but Jon showed me that the door could be opened by grabbing on to the edge of the door and pulling it out from the wall as it wasn’t fully closed and flush with the wall. We knew we weren’t allowed into that passage as it was considered a custodian-only maintenance passage, but we pulled the door open and went in anyway as we needed somewhere quiet to work on whatever we were carrying.
  • We found that the door led into a short passage that ended in a musty abandoned boys’ washroom, with about 10 cubicles and several sinks set around the room, which made sense in highlight because there was an actual boys’ washroom next to the door we had entered as well, so this was evidently some sort of expansion to that washroom that was partially built but never fully completed. None of the cubicles or sinks worked.
  • I put down the paper bag that I was carrying and went around the room to take some photographs of the cubicles. We then worked on our tasks in there for a short period of time before I said that it was time to head out again as we certainly didn’t want to get caught in here, and I was worried that the custodian would return.
  • Jon went out first, and a teacher in the staff room across from the door we had entered saw him and beckoned him over to ask him what he was doing in there. He said that he was looking for a place to study and had gotten lost and ended up there, and had left once he had realized that that place was out of bounds. The teacher, whom I believe was Miss Khoo or someone very similar-looking to her, accepted this answer. In the meantime, I had also snuck out of the door without incident since the teacher was distracted with Jon. I innocently waited for him outside the staff room and we continued on our wanderings once he emerged out of that room.
  • The only other place I remember us passing by after that was a second-floor lounge with a series of floor-to-ceiling glass windows, similar to the viewing lounge at an airport. In fact, there may have been a parked airplane actually outside the window as well, I think. Anyway I could see that it was lightly drizzling outside, and as I looked on, a custodian entered the lounge we were in through another door and then walked up to the glass and pushed something, then seemed to walk through the glass itself to end up on a ledge outside. He then crossed to a neighbouring building via that second-floor ledge.
  • I pointed that door out to Jon and he said that he knew about that one, because apparently Mom had come by this way while she was incarcerated in the hospital last year, and had used that route as part of her walking rehabilitation around the hospital. He asked why I hadn’t been there for that specific occasion and I said that I had been busy.
  • There was also an instance where I was getting ready to do my work tickets, although I was working remotely that day and thus wasn’t with my teammates in their office. I was in a room next to Kent though, and showed him my laptop as though he was job shadowing me, although I realized around that time as well that Sandy, our queue monitor that day, had not doled out the day’s tickets yet, so I had nothing that I could do even though our morning standup was in less than 5 minutes. I was miffed at him for that, especially when he joined the video call for our morning standup, showed us a list of 50 tickets that were still unassigned, then sent me a nasty-looking Google Site one instead of some much-easier reprieves.
  • However, he said that that one was simpler than it looked, and upon looking at it I agreed, as the ticket was filed under the Google Site section of our ticketing system but the actual request made no sense, and was made out of four emails from someone who seemed to be reacting to a website that the university had rather than asking for technical help. I just closed the ticket and moved on. Sandy also showed us a separate ticket from someone else which also largely made no sense and was thus funny in how indecipherable it was, and everyone on the video call laughed at that.

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